Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cabo San Lucas To La Paz

11/06/11 in Cabo San Lucas: Finally we get to leave Cabo San Lucas! We headed to the fuel dock at 6:30am, got filled up with diesel and some gasoline for our generator. We were out of there by 7 and on our way to La Paz.  La Paz is around and up into the inside of the peninsula in the Sea of Cortez, sometimes called the Gulf of California. We plan, for now, to go to La Paz and stay for awhile and then figure out our next step from there. I am so glad we now get to go where we want, when we want. Now our actual cruising life begins. We have heard the weather reports of a ‘norther’ with high winds and steep seas beginning Monday or Tuesday, so we will only go part way to La Paz and pull in somewhere that is protected. We motored for 45 miles or so and pulled into a nice sized bay called Los Freiles—The Friars. I love this place. There’s no town, only a beach and some fishermen’s shacks. Since we have no prop for our dinghy, we went to the beach with the Phillips’ and poked around for awhile. We found some rocks and tide pools where there were hundreds of dark brown small crabs jumping from rock to rock. I’ve never seen a crab jump before—very cool. The best thing about this place though is the isolation and the quiet. Such peace here. It’s very soothing and wonderful to just sit and look around. We had looked forward to doing some snorkeling and taking a hike here and exploring. But we’ll have to wait because of the weather. We plan to leave tomorrow morning.

11/07/11 in Los Freiles: We left this little spot at about 7am. I was sad to go because it was so beautiful and I don’t think we finished doing all we could do there, but the weather is supposed to get worse before it gets better and we want to get to La Paz. The seas were a bit choppy, wind on the nose about 15-20 knots, but lots of sun, so we soaked up the rays as we travelled, and then anchored in Ensenada Los Muertos. There’s no town here, only a very small luxury hotel and golf course on the west side of the bay, a small church on the hill, a cantina on the east side of the bay and a huge empty white beach with a bunch of fishing pangas in between The mountains off to the west are spectacular—high desolate and intimidating. We got settled in by about 3 pm, had sundowners, bbq’d the fresh tuna the fisherman in Cabo gave us, and settled in for the night. I’m a happy camper to be somewhere tucked in behind a bluff with the wind supposed to get pretty nasty tonight and all of tomorrow.

11/08/11 in Ensenada Los Muertos: Today was a mixed bag. After doing a few chores on the boat in the morning, Rick invited us to go ashore with the family for some beach time and lunch at the cantina. The cantina is named 1535 (the year Cortez landed in these parts) and is a nice large airy place with tile floors, tables for dining, a few grouping of couches and chairs for lounging, a bar, and they serve nice meals.  After lunch we went to the beach, and after some confusion, Terry, Rick and I decided to move the dinghy further down the beach to be closer to where the kids were going to snorkel. As we were pushing the dinghy into the water, Terry got stung by some sea creature of some kind on his foot and was in a lot of pain, and it was bleeding quite a bit. So Rick took us back to our boat and I started reading our medical guide about what to do. It was difficult because we don’t really know what got him. We soaked his foot in as hot of water as he could stand. That really helped his pain. After doing a lot of reading we are guessing he stepped on a sea urchin. I noticed that Sydney had found a dead one on the beach earlier, and the symptoms and description of the wound fit the best of anything I could find. There is no town of any kind here, and if his wound started looking worse I was prepared to hire a local person to drive us to La Paz or the closest doctor. He did the hot water thing for 90 minutes and the pain had lessoned and he had no other symptoms of any kind. So the only thing to watch for now is infection. And we also can’t tell if there is maybe part of a spine from what got him still in his foot. Poor Terry, first he pulled his hamstring very badly in Avalon and now this. He was pretty bummed. By the end of the day his foot was looking much better, so I think the worst is over.

11/09/11 in Ensenada Los Muertos: Terry’s foot looks good, and he feels fine, so unless some sort of infection develops, he will live! We have cheated Los Muertos!
We didn’t go ashore today, we took care of boat chores instead. I did two bucket loads of laundry out on the poop deck. The winds are very strong (+20 knots) because of the ‘norther’ blowing down the Sea of Cortez. We are quite sheltered in Los Muertos, as it’s supposed to be blowing +30 knots outside of here. The sun’s still shining though, so there I was hanging laundry to dry, hoping it doesn’t blow off the boat. I also made bread today!!!! I bought a fantastic book called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking.  I highly recommend it.
Because the winds in the Sea of Cortez are supposed to die down by tomorrow mid-morning, we are planning to leave tomorrow and see if we can get to La Paz, which is about 58 miles from here. If the seas are too rough, we’ll stop somewhere. There are several little places we can hole up in between here and La Paz.

11/10/11 in Ensenada Los Muertos: Up bright and early, pulled up the anchor and were on our way by 7am. As we left I went up to the cockpit to see what the sea state was. Winds seemed fairly light and the waves were manageable, so I went down below to cook breakfast. What a joke! I no sooner got in the middle of cooking up eggs and chorizos (our last ones from Boise Sad smile) when all of a sudden I felt like I was trying to cook in a washing machine. Confused lumpy seas, winds picking up, Harmony bashing through the mess, and I’m down below hanging on by my fingernails. The eggs were scrambled by default.The rest of the day was not any better. We had 20 knot winds on the nose the whole day and waves like boxcars. We got pretty banged up by those massive waves. It took us 10 hours to travel about 45 miles and we were exhausted by the time we reached Caleta Lobos, where we anchored up for the night. Looks we should have waited one more day before leaving Muertos!
Caleta Lobos is small, empty and peaceful. The full moon rose in the stillness of the evening and once again all was good in our little world.

11/11/11 in Caleta Lobos: Up early, pulled the anchor and headed the12 miles to La Paz. Flat seas and sunshine had restored our good humor. We got a slip for a couple of days at Marina Palmira. Internet!!! It’s slow and I get kicked off all the time, but it works. As soon as we got in, we took a cab to Lopez Marine to see if they had a propeller for our dinghy. No luck there, but the guy told us where the Yamaha shop was, so we hopped in another taxi. We had a great time there trying to talk to the three women at that place, but they had a prop for us, and $143.00 later we left, after smiles and laughter all around. Nice people. We decided to walk for a bit, and ended up walking clear back to the waterfront, which must have been 3 miles or so. On the way I spotted a Telcel store, so in we went to buy sim cards for our cell phones. They do things very differently in Mexico. The store was lined with bank teller-like windows, I’d say 15 of them. We had to get a ‘little paper’ they called it and then get in line. All these employees working, but no one actually getting anything done. Aye yay yay, the red tape!! We waited in line for 30 minutes or so, and finally got our turn. We had everything but our passports with us, so now we have to go back so our sim cards can be activated. Who knew you need your passport to buy a sim card with cell phone minutes? That was all we got done today. Tomorrow laundry, back to the cell phone store, defrost the freezers, and maybe some grocery shopping. Or maybe not.

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