Monday, November 28, 2011

La Paz, City Of Peace

...and a serene oasis from the bustling world it is. After so much traveling we are taking an interlude to relax and do a few boat repairs before crossing the Sea of Cortez to Mazatlan. I am making mosquito nets at the moment to fend off the hoards awaiting us. The weather has been idylic here; not too hot, cool breezes and mild evenings. We are spending our days cycling the windey streets and the bay along the Malecon, and visiting fellow cruisers. La Paz is a big city with a small town feel to it. The street vendors sell trinkets,and the outdoor markets hum with the sales of anything from tomales to pigs feet. Our next port of call is Espiritu Santo Island, a small uninhabited island north of La Paz.
   We hauled our dingy up on the beach of the tranquil bay of San Gabriel with the clearest azure water and purest white sand we have ever seen, and sunbathed until that currrent bun dropped behind the barren hills. Noting another sailboat in the anchorage, flying the blue and orange burgie of the Bluewater Cruisers, we went over to pay our respects. It turned out to be fellow cruisers, from Squamish, Geraldine and John, and brother Michael and wife Breda from Ireland.Being kindred spirits and Irish to boot, out popped the guitars and flute, and a celtic jam session was on! Next morning we bade "farewell and full jerry cans" to Sea Reach, and plotted our course for Los Muertes,our departure point to cross the Sea to Mazatlan.
The Two Amigos, and the Pequino Perro hit Mazatlan!
    The seas were agitated from the "Norther" that had been blowing the last few days and a four foot chop off the quarter made for a lumpy ride across the Sea of Cortez, and 34 hour overnighter to Mazatlan. As we neared the entrance to the El Cid harbour the depth sounder began to drop rapidly...20ft. 14ft.,8ft., 5ft.! With the breakwater only a stones throw away we made the split-second decision to reverse, and not a moment too soon. Apparently their dredger had broken down recently and consequently the channel depth was out by over 5ft! After recovering our wits we settled for the sleepy, but charming Old Mazatlan harbour 6 miles down the coast, and took ourselves out for a well-deserved dinner and bevvy in the Old Town. Here in the tree lined Plaza Machado, the old Spanish architecture has been refurbished, painted in bright primary colours,and adorned with decorative wrought iron balconies. Such a pleasure to watch the families and sweethearts strolling hand in hand, and eating gelatos and fresh fruit, as the Mariachi's play.Tomorrow we will join the Gringos and Canadianos for a good old hometown Grey Cup Game!    

Miles From Nowhere
Think I'll take my time,
Oh ya, to reach there.
Look up at the mountain,
I have to climb,
Oh ya, to reach there.
Lord my body,
has been a good friend,
But I won't need it,
When I reach the end.
Miles from nowhere,
Not a soul in sight,
Oh ya, but it's alright.
Cat Stevens

Friday, November 4, 2011

Cabo San Lucas

San Juanico
             Just before dusk we settled into the beautiful village and bay of San Juanico. Mexico is such an enigma. You never know what you will find next. We arrived at a lovely bay with palms and pastel adobe casas dotting the landscape.  We are now buddy-boating with Daragh's racing pal, Ole 'The Dane',and friends Suzanne and Art from Saltspring Island. A great trio, and excellent company. We caught our first fish on the way down, two big ten pound yellow tail Ahi Tuna. Thanks for the lure, Art! We will have them for dinner. We are also learning to ride the surf to shore in our dinghy with wheels. Quite a skill, as we found when we almost capsized on our first time over the breakers.
  As we landed we met Mike Honda on the beach. He said he had been expecting us! Turns out he is a good friend of Ivor's from San Diego. He invited us to visit he and Jan at their hand-crafted and impeccably-designed home on the hillside.It was all very luxurious for us sailors. Then we went for dinner at El Burro, a nice little bistro in the village complete with burro! Fond memories will follow us of our pleasant time spent with Mike and Jan in sleepy San Juanico.
Cabo San Lucas 
 Fiesta Todos Santos! or Happy Halloween in Canada. Here we are in Cabo, tip of the Baja, and famous for Mega Yachts, Sammy Hagar's Bar and Tequilla, 300 kinds! We were greeted at the docks by Piero, the charming dockmaster who helped us get settled in our slip, and then a walk down the Malecon for, what else, Cervesas,which came with a shot of Mexican Water (Tequilla). We had dinner at one of the many festive restaurants along the boardwalk, and who should be our waiter but our dockmaster Peiro at his other job. On Saturday we met our old sailing friends Mel and Marg on
Iridium, from the early days at West Bay in Victoria. They have sold up and plan to cruise for an indefinite period. We so admired them. We went for a dip at the spectacularly beautiful Cabo beach, a warm pool of aqua blue with a ribbon of golden sand. The cloud shapes above were right out of The Simpsons. No kidding! Even the 'pequino perro,' Georgie, went for a dog paddle. Andreas, one of the fellows who cleans and polishes the fancy power boats took a liking to Georgie (also known as Hor-Hay,) and we spent the morning tieing lures in preparation for landing "The Big One". The entrance fee for the big annual fishing derby here is a whopping $64,000 yes, dollars for a top prize of $4 million!
  Our next pit stop was San Jose del Cabo. The C-Map GPS display showed us sailing right up the slopes of the nearby hillside! The iPhone Navionics app came to the rescue and has better details.   Most of the area around here was charted by Capt. Vancouver long ago and is in need of an update, so one must tread softly. The Sea of Cortez northerlies began to blow and we became landlocked for several days. So we explored the quaint old town area as well as the more modern waterfront hotel district. A weather window finally cleared and we battened down the hatches and set sail for Los Frailles (The Friars), a scenic windswept anchorage a day trip away. Here we attempted snorkelling for the first time, and were amazed to find an underwater world of colourful fish and creatures darting between the coral in a shimmering sea of turquoise light! Early next morning we inched our way out of the cove before the winds got up, and set course for Los Muertos, The Bay of the Dead. How appropriate for this day of reflection, November 11th, Remembrance Day.   

Hark now hear the sailors cry,
Smell the sea and feel the sky,
Let your soul and spirit fly,
Into the Mystic.

And when that fog horn blows,
I will be coming home,
I want to rock your gypsy soul,
Just like back in the days of old,
And magnificently we will fold
into the Mystic.
Van Morrison