La Paz – ~8160 nm – November 21st – December 8th
In our last post, we arrived at La Paz after visiting San Marte, Isla San Francisco, and Partida. And we had a great week-long visit with Pat. And you may remember we are waiting for the transmission coolant because, during Chris’ routine engine check, he noticed the fluid looked like a strawberry milkshake. Oh, Crap.
Chris doing what he does well. Assisting fellow cruisers on how to use PredictWind and/or IridiumGo. Here is Lucy on SV Maraki.
We continue on completing a few more boat tasks and projects. Chipping away at the projects is feeling rewarding, particularly when you can enjoy the results of your work. Though, living in a small space, it doesn’t take much to create a little chaos in the home. The photos below are a result of needing to get under the aft berth and locker. Or in the engine. Or access to the pilot’s berth, aka on Dharma Girl as the garage.
Amongst the waiting and working, we did hang out with some cool friends. Garrett and Karen from SV SnowAway were in town. And so was Brian and Brianne of SV Rocinante. So we hooked up at a restaurant in Palmira Marina and had a few good laughs. It is a blessing to have these opportunities with friends.
The transmission coolant part arrives and Chris has it installed in no time. Then we completed a trial run to ensure all the ‘strawberry’ fluid it out. After an hour of driving Dharma Girl up and down the La Paz channel, we have a thumbs up. We have clearance from the Port Captain to leave La Paz. Pinchilinque, here we come.
This time on the way out from La Paz, we return to our tradition by stopping in Pinchilinque and dropping our anchor in the little bay. In this relatively quiet bay, we wait for the weather window to round the northern end of La Paz and head to Los Muertos.
A little off-topic but interesting to intercept with. Have you heard of a Tarantula Hawk? This was a new insect to us until a couple of years ago. It is a unique insect from the wasp family. The Tarantula Hawk is found in every continent except Europe and Antarctica. They are found in deserts, commonly in the Grand Canyon and Mexico. The name Tarantula hawk comes from what they mostly prey on, you guessed it, Tarantulas. Their sting paralyzes their prey. After dragging the living catch to their nest, they lay a single egg, hatching to a larva that eats the still-living prey.
If you happened to get stung by a Tarantula Hawk, luckily, the extraordinary pain from the sting will last about 5 minutes. That is the worst of it. But the likelihood of getting stung by a drunk Tarantula Hawk is very low. The insect is nectarivorous, meaning when they consume fermented fruit, they become intoxicated and then flight becomes difficult. We have witnessed these wasps zigzagging through the air, no straight flight was being had. ha ha ha
Enseñada de los Muertos – 8217nm – December 9-12th
WOW – we ask ourselves why we didn’t stop here in the past years. This bay is beautiful and worth the stay when the weather is in favor. Gypsy is here, too. We drop our anchor in front of them. Though Los Muertos is another new anchorage for us, many cruisers stop here as they come or go to La Paz; before or after they cross the Sea of Cortez. We haven’t stopped in the past as we thought stopping would only extend the travel times. Well, we are so wrong about that. With a little refreshing in our thinking this season, we are glad we stopped to check it out. It is another wonderful stop to chill, swim, snorkel, eat at the local restaurant, or hike. Or, run into someone you met 7 years ago.
Carrie went snorkeling with Garrett and Karen of SV SnowAway. The water was still cool. We headed to the middle of the bay and found the largest fern forest we ever seen. It was amazingly large and thick too. Growing in shallow water, we could not snorkel over them. Their brown purple color slender, branched stems with leaves that look like small bulbs swaying in the low current were relaxing to view. Among the ferns were rainbow wrasse weaving their way through the intricate leaves.
Above, we have views from the shores of Ensenada de los Muertos. We took a stroll along the sandy shores with Bill and Nina, of SV Gypsy. It was during this walk we met Harry and Joy, of SV Oh Joy II. Well, we met Harry seven years ago.
How We Really Met Harry & Joy
Years, back I had this really bright idea that we would live on a sailboat. Carrie had of course never done this before, so I had to start the brainwashing process very early. We booked two nights on a boat moored in Eagle Harbor Marina on Bainbridge Island in Washington state. It was a nice Mason 44, with distinctive green canvas topsides. We enjoyed our little weekend getaway quite a bit. I recall they had a nice brewpub right at the marina (bonus).
Fast forward to 11 years later and Carrie and I are sitting in Muertos. I see this boat with the green canvas and say to myself “Self, that boat looks really familiar for some reason…”. I quick-draw my cell phone out and rapidly harness the power of the internet, pulling up our old AirBnB reservation. Lo and behold, we are anchored right next door to Oh Joy II.
As we’re walking down the beach, we spot the other boaters heading in the opposite direction. Easy to do when there are three boats and you’re already walking with Bill & Nina. So, these guys must be Harry & Joy. See, I was always a math & deductive logic whiz.
And that’s how we met Harry & Joy again, much later in time and a whole lot farther down the road.
The weather window for the crossing to Mazatlan presents itself and off we go. Gypsy, Snowaway, and Dharma Girl along with a couple more boats, SV Maraki and Karuna, head east. This two-night crossing is familiar to us. Yet the first full day is always the toughest to adjust to the 3 on 3 off or 4 on and 4 off watches. We have sailed off for a 195nm two-night passage to Mazatlan.
The forecast looked like we could sail most of the crossing. The wind gods had other plans and gave us 24 hours of the 40-hour crossing, with both sails out. It beats listening to the motor humming the entire time.
Stone Island, Mazatlan Dec. 14 – 16th
Oh, Mazatlan – how we love visiting you. We drop Dharma Girl’s hook in the sandy bottom of Stone Island’s anchorage. Then after filling our day with many recovery naps, we woke to this view.
We speak often of Bill and Nina on SV Gypsy, so we think you would enjoy seeing a photo of their boat, a Cascade 36. She is pristine and cute as a button. They also hail from Portland, OR.
Chris is flaking (or dousing) the mainsail.
Another one of our cruising friends arriving at the anchorage just a few hours behind us, Jo and Jamie on SV Sherpa, hailing from Alaska. We make plans for the six of us to go into town the next day. We have a few favorite stops we start with on our walk. We stop at Euro Bakery for an artesian pastry and coffee and chai. Then step on over next door to La Queseria Playa Sur for the best selection of cheeses we have found in the coastal cities. And of course, now that we know of this amazing shop, we must stop at the San Francisco Quilt Shop to drool over the beautiful fabrics one can easily daydream. I haven’t left there empty-handed, yet. After Chris pulls me out of there, we meander to the Centro and enjoy the entertainment of the Super Mercado. With hundreds of permanent booths that sell everything from trinkets to pig parts, we only purchase some fruits and vegetables. Then we somewhat walk aimlessly back to the water taxi that takes us the half-mile back to Stone Island.
It’s a warm afternoon and the six of us are ready to wet our whistles. We returned to the beach where we landed our dinghy. And as a common courtesy, we order a few cold ones from the beach restaurant as they have been keeping an eye on our tenders.
Matanchen, San Blas – December 16-19th, ~8517 nm
Mazatlan to Mantanchen Bay is an overnight passage, about 15-18 hours, weather dependent. Typically, the wind doesn’t really pick up until the afternoon. And right on time, we raised the main and unfurled the headsail and was grateful to sail for over four hours. woohoo. The next day we dropped anchor at 12:30 pm, to be exact. And as we have already reflected before, we commence napping.
San Blas is a short bus ride from Mantanchen Bay. As we have in the past, many come to visit the historical churches and war compounds. The quaint non tourist town reflects a true Mexico. Chickens, donkeys, and pigs roam the streets. Vendors use carts to sell their goods. Cars stop to ask if you need a ride. It is an experience leading you to think about the old days in previously visited towns.
The next morning, Chris and Branden dinghy to shore, walk up the street, and purchase a few loaves of the so popular Banana Bread. This delicious and moist banana bread, thankfully, is on the smaller size as far as loaves go, and lasts about 2 days, maybe 3, on our boat.
Photos: Sunrise while underway x 2, a Happy Captain x 2, Happy Hour crew: Rachael, Bill, Brandon,
Dave, Marna, Chris, Nina, The HH Crew, An Amazing Sunset x 2
Our cruising plan is to head south the next day. On the other hand, our cruising friends in the anchorage are staying longer, so we wanted to host a happy hour on Dharma Girl. With SVs Gypsy, Mosaic, and Cavu in our cockpit, the conversation veers to our current boat project. Commiseration is guaranteed and often a story of our own about our experience on a similar project. Then laughter, believe it or not, about the trials and tribulations of working on our projects. Many cruisers have created their own ‘boat yoga’ as attempts are made to reach a hose clamp with the screw not facing forward or the poorly planned location of an oil filter.
You did it again. You made it to the end of another long blog post. We thank you for enduring the read and photos. We are catching up though. Coming up next is our arrival to La Cruz during the Holiday season, we visit a Turtle farm, and we head south around Cabo Corrientes. And naturally, more sunsets for your pleasure.
Thanks for joining.