Archive for the 'Country' Category

Jun 21 2010

Baja Bash: Bahia San Juanico to Punta Abreojos (June 21, 2010)

Got up early, pulled the anchor and set off for Punta Abreojos. Abreojos translates to “open eyes” because there are lots of hidden underwater nasties to catch, grab and sink your boat. The word is to NEVER make an entrance of this harbor at night or in poor visibility.

Marishanna and I made pretty good time on the way, and the breeze was relatively light–starting at 15 – 20 knots and freshening to about 25 knots–a typical day of summer sailing in San Francisco.

After eating all of the sushi from the last tuna, I decided to fish a little more. After 45 minutes with the cedar plug out on the line, I caught another Blue Fin Tuna–this time about 8 pounds.

As the afternoon progressed, the winds built to 25 knots of steady wind and the seas built to 1.5 – 2 meters–but the frequency increased to every 2 seconds. It was rough going, and I was happy to finally pull into Punta Abreojos. Because of the underwater hazards and I was rapidly losing sunlight, I approached the anchorage from the far Eastern side of the bay–well clear of the hazards.

I found a nice place to anchor in about 25 feet of water right around dusk, and watched the moon rise as I cooked dinner. Another really awesome day!

26°45.598′ N
113°30.820′ W

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Jun 20 2010

Baja Bash: Bahia San Juanica (Part 2) June 20, 2010

Published by under Lido 14,Mexico,The Adventure

I pulled anchor around 7:30am and headed for the next stop at Punta Abreojos. On my way out of the anchorage, another sailboat was on their way into the port and they hailed me on the radio–asking if I knew where the panga fisherman met boats for fuel.

Fuel, I asked? With the possible problem with the fuel lifting pump, I wanted to purchase some extra fuel so that I could continue to run off the top of the tank.

He said that a fisherman offered to bring him diesel fuel, and I wanted that too, so I turned around and went back to the waiting area. After another 45 minutes, the fisherman arrived. He was charging 15 pesos per liter (about 6 pesos more than the price at the marina in Cabo San Lucas), but I bargained with him for a 5-gallon jerry can for 10 pesos a liter.

What we didn’t know is that he was going to wait until his afternoon/evening fishing session to return with the diesel–which was about 4:30, and far too late for me to depart for Punta Abreojos–which absolutely requires a daylight approach for all of the submerged dangers.

In the meantime, the other boat and I had rafted together, were well into telling stories, they treated me to a fine pork chop dinner, and loaned me some DVD movies for the evening–and, I shared my charts and guidebooks with them. Theirs were a bit outdated.

During the day, a couple of locals came sailing up in a 14-foot NY Long boat. It was all wood, had the sailing rig attached (it is basically the design of row boat that they used in NY harbor in the late 1800s–with an optional sailing rig). The return line for lifting the keel had slipped through and the centerboard was stuck in the down position. So, they tied up to Marishanna, I loaned them some snorkeling gear, and Christian dove below to retrieve it. Afterwards, we offered them some beers and to come aboard.

Turns out . . . that Bahia San Juanico is a hidden gem of a town with a healthy ex-patriot community of surf/sail loving Americans. According to Christian, they have three restaurants at night, one during the day, a grocery store, a Sailboat/Surfboard designer (Choate), and some really great long-board surf–two really long pipes that I saw. Unfortunately, they have no cell phone service.

And, I must admit the bay was filled with surfers, stand-up paddle-boarders, kayakers, etc. It was quite beautiful, and definitely a place I want to return and stay awhile.

26°15.083′ N

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Jun 19 2010

Baja Bash: Bahia Santa Maria to Bahia San Juanico (June 19, 2010)

Bahia Santa Maria to Bahia San Juanico

I awoke around 4am, and actually had overslept a bit. The passage from Bahia Santa Maria to Bahia San Juanico is 95Nm–about 15 hours of sailing, and I wanted to arrive during daylight. So, I hurriedly, got dressed weighed anchor, and got on my way.

Over the night, the bay had calmed completely. The wind instruments were reading 0 knots of wind, and the water was glassy. As I steered a wide course around the point (most of the points have submerged rocks up to a half mile or more away from them), the wind picked up to a tiny 5 – 8 knots, and I proceeded on my way.

The stretch of land between the two bays has three water-filled lagoons–none of which I would attempt to enter in a boat with a keel. Perhaps a panga, or a sailing dinghy with a retractable centerboard, but certainly not this boat. And, setting a straight line course to Bahia San Juanico is the shortest route. The land curves a good distance away from that route.

Over the course of the day, the winds grew steadily to a meager 15 knots, and it was a fairly uneventful and relaxing (though long) sail. We like them that way. I did, however, drag the magical cedar plug on the end of the fishing pole behind the boat for about two hours and caught a 5-pound blue-fin tuna. I made sushi and put enough in the refrigerator for 2 more sushi servings.

On the final approach, Bahia San Juanico is an easy anchorage. You sail into the big nook on the East side of the bay, and far out in the center, I set the anchor in 18-feet of water. There was still some wind from the day, but the Punta Pequena protects the anchorage enough from the swell that there was no swell at all. And, into the night, the wind even died down. It was a very comfortable anchorage.

In the middle of the night, I got up around 4am and took a quick survey of the boat, and it was beautiful. The water is filled with plankton and with phosphorescence. At first, I looked up and saw that the relative darkness of this sparsely populated area allows for a REALLY good star-show. It was beautiful. When I looked down into the water, I saw something else. The phosphorescence was thick enough that it turned the darting fish into glowing, underwater silhouettes. It was quite a site to see the shapes of the fish, glowing green, darting through the water (NO–this was not an acid trip). 😉

When I was here, the water was a red color–from the red tide, so be careful not to catch and eat any of the fish in the water. Although, I always prefer to catch fish out in the open ocean because the water is simply cleaner . . . .

26°15.083′ N

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Jun 18 2010

Bahia Magdelena to Bahia Santa Maria: The shortest leg of the trip

After the longest leg of the trip, it was great to have the shortest leg of the trip. Today, I sailed from Bahia Magdelena to Bahia Santa Maria–a mere 20Nm and from anchorage to anchorage about 4 hours.

But, let’s back up a bit. Around 4am, I heard a bird land on the mast. Typically, I would run up on deck to scare whatever bird it was away because I hate to clean up their droppings . . . but, last night, I was exhausted and had finally found peace with it. A tired bird looking for a place to rest is not a big deal–a few swabs of the mop in the morning, and all is well. I heard him sitting up there all night . . . or, so I thought.

When I awoke this morning, and was doing my morning survey of the boat, I saw all of the appropriate droppings on the deck. But, when I looked up, I saw a dead pelican hanging limply with his broken wing caught in the middle spreader–about 30 feet above ground.

I am not sure if he tried to fly between the shrouds and the mast and hit his wing, or if he was resting up there and got it caught at some point during the night. But, he was certainly stuck–it took me a while to get him down and set him afloat in the bay. I know that all things of this earth must return to the earth at some point, but that was the saddest thing I have seen my entire trip.

After that, I tried to piece together my morning. Sat and thought for a short time, made something to eat and some coffee, and then took another short rest.

About 10am, I raised the anchor and motored towards the mouth of the bay. Once outside, the winds blew a steady 20 knots all day, and the seas were a lumpy 2-meters high with a pretty fast interval. It was a short 3.5 hours to Bahia Santa Maria, and I arrived to an empty harbor (other than a couple of trawlers anchored out towards the ocean off Punto Hughes).

I set the anchor in this familiar bay (we stayed here for three days on the way down with the Baja Haha), made some food, and off to sleep. If the winds die tonight like they are supposed to, I will depart for the 95Nm leg to Bahia San Juanico at either 11pm or 3am–depending upon the weather. It will take about 15 hours and I need to arrive at the anchorage during daylight hours . . . .

24°46.000′ N
112°15.428′ W

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Jun 18 2010

Cabo San Lucas to Bahia Magdelena: The Longest Leg of the trip

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Out of the two storms, one of them faded, and the other has turned into a tropical storm (Tropical Storm Blas). Although it is moving at roughly 3 knots, it is heading towards Cabo San Lucas. Perhaps the water temperature in Cabo is cold enough to not have it turn into anything . . . which is exactly what I wish for my friends there.

As I was getting out of Dodge, so to speak, I had a rough start. The anchor was buried in over a foot of sand. We had been seeing some pretty amazing currents over the last few weeks, and well, I guess they decided to leave a ton of sand on top of the anchor.

The original plan was for me to pull anchor around 8am, get fuel and water, and set off to sea. It turned out that the anchor was stuck fast. So, I dove down to see if I had hooked some surprise (maybe another anchor? 😉 ) and to clear the problem. And, well, the problem was sand. Over the next 1.5 hours, I repeated the following as much as my body would allow: freedive down to the anchor in 25 feet of water, dig as much sand away as possible, and return to the top for air. It got a little frustrating because there were large southerly swells coming in to shore, and the current would send the sand right back to the neat little hole I had just carved out around the anchor. Finally, I dug out the sand enough to where I could muscle the anchor back up to the surface. This was about 2pm.

After the anchor was up, I pulled into the fuel dock, topped off the tank, filled 6 5-gallon jerry cans with diesel, hosed the boat down, and then filled every water-carrying vessel on-board. Oh, and I bought an ice cream to reward myself for diving and digging the anchor out of the sand.

It was now about 4:30pm–and, I was pretty exhausted. Instead of setting out for a 30-hour sail in this state, I reset the anchor in the far, southern end of the bay (as far from the jetskis as I could get), rechecked the weather, and slept–ready to get a good start in the morning.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

I was up early–around 5am. Changed the engine oil first thing, and was sailing past the arch around 8:30am.

By the time I approached Cabo Falso, the winds were blowing 25 – 30 knots, and freshening by the minute. This area is a pinch point where the land meets many miles of open sea. Rather than bothering to put a 2nd reef in the mainsail, I simply dropped the sail altogether and lashed it to the boom.

Once safely around the point, I headed inland to follow the coastline for some protection from the wind and current, and the seas dropped nicely over the course of the day until reaching a cool 10 knots in the early evening.

This is the longest stretch of the trip at 152 Nm until the next protected anchorage, so I kept myself well rested, very hydrated, and eating small, healthy portions are regular intervals. Which was a good thing . . . because as the night progressed, the seas built to some nasty sailing. By 3am, the winds were back up to a steady 25 knots and the waves were a consistent 2 meters. It is what sailors call–lumpy conditions. 😉

Thursday, 17 June 2010

With the sunrise, the seas and wind laid back down, I was greeted by a spritely pod of dolphins (almost 30 of them came RACING towards the boat to greet me), and I pulled into Bahia Magdelena and set the anchor just south of Punta Belcher around 11am. I set everything out to dry, ate a little food, and slept.

Bahia Magdelena is very similar to San Francisco–without the bridge and the people, of course. Geographically, however, they are nearly identical. Punta Belcher also has a bit of history–in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, it was a processing station for the whaling industry–Mag Bay is where the humpbacks come annually to give birth. Fortunately, the station has been closed for many, many years–but, the ruins are definitely interesting . . . .

The anchorage here is absolutely tranquil. One fishing trawler and a powerboat pulled into the anchorage to join myself and the other sailboat–and, other than a few pangas with fishermen, we are the only humans here. I didn’t realize how much noise and ruckus I lived around–with party boats, para-sailers, dozens of pangas, etc.–until, I heard a single bird cawing in the air. That was when I realized how quiet it is here . . . .

More later . . . .

24°34.408′ N
112°03.980′ W

PS. I have a lot of new pictures and video, but currently I could barely scrape together enough bandwidth to download the weather info. I’ll have better access in a few days.

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Jun 14 2010

Potential Hurricanes in Mexico: Not One, but TWO

Two potential hurricanes in southern Mexico--according to NOAA I was waiting happily for crew to arrive, and for the right weather window, and planning for everything to be just right.  But, with TWO potential tropical storms (according to NOAA) brewing in the south of Mexico, it is time to go.

The first storm is brewing off the coast of Acapulco, and the second one a bit further down.  The first has a 20% chance of turning into a hurricane, and it is traveling West, North-West–basically, towards Hawaii.  The second storm went from a 10% chance to a 20% chance, and is traveling North, North-West.  Neither of them currently are pointed towards the Baja . . . but, that could always change, and I am not taking any chances.

Marishanna sets sail tomorrow in the early morning hours.  Yesterday, I provisioned the boat.  Today is diesel, water and all the last little bits that need to happen, and tomorrow before dawn, we set sail for California.  The goal is to be above latitude 27 in roughly three days (approximately 300nm).  Fortunately, the weather looks decent – to good, and even more fortunately, I will be buddy-boating with some neighbors from Alameda (literally, other liveaboards from the same dock, even) and, I think they are sharing one of their crew with me for at least the first part of the trip.

More updates soon . . . .

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Jun 13 2010

Video: Day Sail Cabo–Luxury Yacht Sailing in Cabo San Lucas, MX

Published by under Beneteau,Mexico

This is a short promo video I made for Captain Bob of L’Atitiude 32. It is a gorgeous boat, and Bob provides an amazing sailing experience. So, if you ever get down to Cabo San Lucas, save a day and go sailing with Day Sail Cabo. (

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Jun 10 2010

The Simple Things in Life

Published by under Mexico,The Adventure

I have been in Mexico for a bit longer than seven months–arriving at the beginning of November. While here, I missed a few holidays to say the least.

My job at the family holidays, over the past 5 years or so, has been to bring apple pies. Of course, my mother does the majority of the rest of the work, but apple pies, from scratch, is my thing . . . .

Around Thanksgiving of last year, I naturally had a craving for apple pie. And, well . . . It never went away. And, well . . . basically, I have been craving apple pie for almost 7 months (it is not an easy item to obtain down here, and CNG for the oven on-board is non-existent in Baja).

One day, two cruisers sailed into town. Ryan and Kristina have been on a grand adventure, and we have enjoyed the sites of Cabo San Lucas together, and we got to talking–about cravings. Of course, I related my 7-month obsession with apple pie, and we all laughed . . . until yesterday . . . When they brought me one.

Thank you, Ryan and Kristina. (Adventures of Ryan and Kristina Blog)

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Jun 07 2010

Calling All Sailors: Crew Wanted

I am looking for a few good sailors for the return trip. The details of the boat are on this blog, and I will provision the boat–you must simply cover your flight expenses to Cabo San Lucas, and return transportation to your home town.

Sunset vista offshore in the Pacific with swell The trip from Cabo San Lucas to San Diego has no place to get off, although we will be stopping in Bahia Santa Maria, Turtle Bay, and Ensenada for our final check-out of the country–with the possibility of other stops along the way to avoid bad weather. Your help on this stretch of the trip would be for the duration of the Cabo to San Diego leg. Of course, you will have to suffer vistas like this . . . but, you will have your share of watches, too. 4-hour watches during the daylight, and 2-hour watches at night–and, we will be fishing the entire trip.

If we were to sail straight through without stopping, and with perfect weather, it could take optimistically 6 days to get to San Diego. Realistically, it will be more like 10 – 12 days–and, if we have to wait out bad weather, or mechanical problems, it could be another 3 – 5 days on top of that.

Once in San Diego, we will be there for a few days to visit friends, re-provision the boat, and check into the country. The legs are much shorter once we are back in the US–San Diego to Morro Bay (with the possibility of stops at Catalina, and Point Conception between), Morro Bay to Monterey, and Monterey to SF.

If you are interested in getting some sea miles under your belt, please contact me through the website, or email me directly at:

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Jun 01 2010

Mission Control, We are in a holding pattern . . . .

Published by under Mexico,The Adventure

My cousin was down to be my crew member for the return trip, and after more than a few delays, he ran out of time. Rather than taking the trip solo, I am still here in Cabo–waiting for additional crew. Perhaps another two weeks for me down here until departure time . . . .

More later!

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