Archive for April, 2009

Swimming with Dolphins

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

Ever since our first season in Mexico in 2007, Koiya has been obsessed with the idea of swimming with dolphins. Whenever we see them at anchor, she runs to get her swimsuit, and begs us to dinghy her closer to them.

When anchored out in La Paz, pods of bottlenose dolphins come by the boat a couple times a day. If we’re below, we’ll know they are close by the explosive sound of their exhalations as they surface.

A couple of mornings ago, we heard the tell-tale sounds and Koiya decided this was her chance. She threw on her suit and waited at the swim ladder. As the dolphins neared, she slipped gently into the water in front of them. Though they were busy feeding, they weren’t startled by her, and simply dove just underneath her, to resurface nearby. It was only a few seconds, but she was thrilled. “I swam with dolphins!” she cried. (more…)

Snorkeling with Sea Lions

Monday, April 20th, 2009

We’re back in La Paz, having spent a week out at Espiritu Santo with our buddies on Theophilus. For sharing meals, drinks, hikes and just bumming around, they are great company!

After a night in Caleta Lobos, we anchored in Ensenada Grande and Toro gave Captain Ron a haircut in exchange for two bottles of Pacifico. Say what you will about Captain Ron; he was wise enough to get the haircut before he let Toro drink the beer!

The next day was cool and overcast, so instead of swimming we went for a “hike”. I say “hike” because “scramble” would be a more apt description. There isn’t really a trail; you just hop from rock to rock. (more…)

Baja Birthdays

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Though we were having a great time in Bahia Concepcion, strong North winds were forecast for Friday, March 27, so we decided it was time to head further South. On Thursday afternoon we moved to Punta Santo Domingo, a great jumping-off point for heading South from Concepcion. Around 4am on Friday the North swell started rolling in, so we knew the wind was on its way.

We had the anchor up at 7am, and motored out to the sea, but the wind was still light. Just after 9am we thought the wind was just enough for our spinnaker, so we raised it. Not much later, the wind shifted, so we had to jibe the spinnaker to the other side of the boat. As soon as we got it set on the other side, we got hit by a big gust of wind. The large sail snapped and strained; obviously there was too much wind for it. So within about 20 minutes, we had gone from “Maybe we can carry the spinnaker” to “One reef or two?” (To “reef” is to shorten a sail; we can put up to three reefs in our main sail, when the wind is too strong for us to carry the whole sail.)

Todd went forward to set the stay sail, and had just got the sail ties off when a big swell rolled the boat. He lost his balance and went back… back… his eyes big as saucers… back… and SAVED! as his butt caught the life line and he bounced back onto the deck! In his bright yellow foul weather gear, the whole scene reminded me of a WWF wrestler springing off the ring lines. I made a mental note to buy him one of the Mexican wrestling masks that they have at all the mercados. (more…)

D’oh, Bobos!

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Baja is great because there are few mosquitos or no-see-ums, so you don’t have to worry about biting insects. But there are bobos: little non-biting gnats. So no big deal, right?

You would think. But these tiny bugs have a giant-sized capacity to annoy! They land on you, and you feel a little tickle on your skin. You shoo them away and within a second, they land right back on the exact same spot. If you grit your teeth and ignore that, they will then start landing in your hair and buzzing. Then they will crawl behind your sunglasses. They will not rest until you run below for cover, wailing like a banshee and slapping yourself randomly all over your body.

But with her “make lemons into lemonade” attitude, Sequoia got the bright idea to capture a bobo and make it her pet. She used cardboard, tape and plastic to build a Bobo Hotel, complete with a cotton pad bed and decorations. I noticed there was a little sign inside that said “Bob’s Palace”.

“Bob?” I asked. “After your annoying Uncle Bob?”
“No!” she said, exasperated. “Bob is short for bobo.”

But after the first bobo she caught escaped within seconds, she decided it was because he didn’t like the name Bob. So the next one she caught she named Steve. Then I was convinced she was naming them after her annoying uncles!

Steve was with us for an hour or so, escaping somewhere near La Paz. But I have no doubt we’ll see some of his relatives the next time we’re out.

Donkey Beach, Coyote Bay

Monday, April 6th, 2009

We left Santa Rosalia on Tuesday, March 17, and had a great spinnaker sail down to Punta Chivato. The next morning we headed down into Bahia Concepcion, and again had a good sail, this time under main and jib.

Bahia Concepcion is a large bay on the Baja side of the Sea of Cortez. Within Concepcion is another smaller bay called Bahia Coyote, and within Coyote are a number of beautiful, beach-lined coves. We had heard of cruisers spending weeks here, hopping from cove to cove, so we were excited to see if it measured up to the hype.

As we neared Bahia Coyote, we were joined by a number of large bottlenose dolphins. Though they didn’t surface much, we were thrilled to see their powerful, graceful movements as they rode our bow and wake. (more…)


Saturday, April 4th, 2009

Sugata has reached La Paz, and we’ll be updating our blog very soon. But in the meantime, we interrupt our regularly scheduled posts to send our condolences to our friend Peter Truce, whose boat Heat Wave was lost at sea in the Double Handed Farallones Race. While we’re relieved that the two racers survived, we’re saddened by the loss of this little firecracker of a boat.

I found it especially eerie because in his email informing us of the loss, Peter says “a life raft below probably would not have helped.” Why is this eerie? Well, Peter is the one who gave us our life raft, which we carry below!

Read about the loss of Heat Wave, and the amazing survival of her crew, here. On the bay on a calm day, this boat could get your heart racing. I shudder to think what kind of ride it was with 40 knot winds and 10 foot seas.

Adios, Heat Wave! I’m gonna miss singing that song, and Todd will miss sailing on you!