Archive for March, 2010

Ballenas!

Friday, March 26th, 2010

On Sunday, March 21, we took the bus to Guerrero Negro, to take a whale watching tour in the Ojo de Liebre lagoon. This lagoon hosts more gray whales than any other, so we were willing to brave the 3 hour+ bus ride.

It was pretty stressful getting there. We went to the station at 6:15am to catch the 6:25 bus, only to find that the 6:25 bus actually left at 5:25. Luckily there was a 7:15 bus that, given our guess that the trip would take 3 hours, we hoped would get us to Guerrero Negro in plenty of time for our 11am tour. And we were doing great time… but when we got to Vizcaino, the bus driver announced we were stopping for 40 minutes to get breakfast. Then that 40 minutes turned into over an hour…

Luckily we made it, and within minutes we’d paid for the tour and were on the mini-bus out to the lagoon. On the way, the guide told us more about Guerrero Negro, and we learned that 25% of the world’s salt is produced there. Some of it becomes table salt, most is shipped to Japan where it’s used in everything from cosmetics to fabric softener, and some is used to de-ice the roads in the US. We saw a barge being loaded with salt from a pile hundreds of feet high- amazing! (more…)

Back Out There!

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

Well, it took us a month, but we finally got all our projects done and left San Carlos on St. Patrick’s Day! We had a great overnight crossing. Despite the light winds, we managed to sail about 3/4s of the way, so we were happy with it.

As we got underway, we discussed our watch schedule and the course we’d take. “Does this course have us going north or south of that island?” I asked. “What island?” responded Capn GPS Navigation. “Um, the one right in between us and Santa Rosalia, that is probably impossible to see on a moonless night?” I replied. “An unlit island in the middle of the Sea? What are the odds?” said Toro, heading below to check the chart. (Note to selves: Check the friggin’ paper chart!) (more…)

I’ll Drink to That!

Monday, March 15th, 2010

Our friend Ross lost over 40 pounds last year. He blogged about his formula for weight loss: Eat Less, Work Out. (I have since been trying out a corollary- Work Less, Eat Out- with limited success. Total failure, actually.)

The last five afternoons, the wind has been so strong in the anchorage that we’ve had to stay on the boat, in case the anchor drags. Late one afternoon, having finished a book and a crossword puzzle, not to mention countless games of Boggle on Toro’s iPod Touch, I was ready for a little physical exercise. I thought Capn Built-In Swim Ring might want to join me.

“Wanna work out?” I asked.
“Chuh!” scoffed Toro, taking another swig of tequila. “I’ve hardly eaten anything today. I don’t need to work out!”
“You just gonna drink yourself skinny?” I replied, trying to point out the empty calories in his plastic mug.
“That’s right!” he boasted, slamming the mug down. “I’m drinking myself skinny!”

Well, he’s certainly come to the right place- or rather, chosen the right lifestyle- to do just that. There are far too many reasons to drink when you’re cruising: you’re getting together with other cruisers, it’s hot, it’s cocktail hour, the sun’s going down, your boat has problems so you need consolation, you fixed your boat’s problems so you need to celebrate‚Ķ.

Sometimes you drink because you want to send an email (because some restaurants/bars offer free internet), and you have to order something before you can whip out your laptop. When we first got to San Carlos, we went to two different bars, trying to get online, and both places were having connection problems. Toro was exasperated, and uttered one of those instantly classic quotes: “How many beers do I have to drink to get an internet connection?!”

I try to remind him that this is one of those problems that is good to have. Kinda like being stuck on your boat all afternoon because it’s too windy to leave her.

We’ve got the new windlass all wired. As soon as we get a good weather window, we’ll be leaving for Santa Rosalia. It’s about 75 nautical miles away (a short overnight sail), on the Baja side.

Check out how great our brightwork looks (if I do say so myself!):

And while I’m bragging, I just have to add… Ladies (and some of you men), eat your hearts out! This man is all mine!

No Time for Tsunamis

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

Everyone has been asking if we were affected by the tsunami caused by the Chilean earthquake. Though we kept the VHF radio on to hear updates from other cruisers who were monitoring bouys off of Acapulco, Manzanillo, and Cabo San Lucas (which saw .5, .9, and 1.2 foot surges) we weren’t very concerned. We were too busy getting ready to launch! And thankfully, there was really no effect here.

We’ve met a number of people whose boats were flooded while they were in “dry” storage during the hurricane. Typically this happened because the cockpit filled with water and then emptied into the cabin. For some it has just meant a muddy mess to clean up; for others, it has meant lost gear, dead batteries, and ruined engines. One guy (who, incidentally, is responsible for reintroducing wolves to Idaho- you meet such interesting people while cruising!) had hoped to spend a month sailing the sea, and instead is hauling his rusty engine back home. So, we were even luckier than we realized!

We worked hard getting ready to launch. While Todd was busy taking the engine apart and then putting it back together, I was in charge of scraping all the old cetol (varnish) off the boat. After coming off my previous job of waxing the hull, which took two days and left me with some sore muscles, I was glad to move on to a less taxing chore. (more…)