Friday, December 26, 2014

Spending time around La Paz

We had a lovely sail down to La Paz from Guaymas.  We made a few stops at some nice anchorages but we didn't go ashore as Malcolm has broken his foot again! Yep, last September he broke his left foot before we left Vancouver. It is his other foot this time!  He was working on some wiring in the ceiling in the boat and caught his foot when stepping down. The resulting crash broke a bone in his foot and now he has to keep weight off it for 6 weeks (3 more to go).  He started out with a regular cast but it didn't slow him down from working on various boat projects, so after 5 days it was falling apart. Now he has a nice sturdy boot for bashing around the boat and a pair of crutches for getting around off the boat.
Malcolm steering the boat while keeping his foot raised

We've had a lovely Christmas.  Both Heather and Zophia came down to visit!
Heather waiting for Christmas dinner on Falcon VII

Dina and Zophia enjoying the sunset from "the balcony"


A lot of the sailing friends we met last year are in La Paz for Christmas too, and we've met many more cruisers. One evening we hosted 13 people and 2 dogs in our cockpit! We were particularly happy to meet up with Rob and Deb again. Rob spent some time in Japan and he came to our boat and taught us how to make Okonomiyaki, one of his favourite dishes.. It was delicious!
Malcolm and Deb putting the toppings on the Okonomiyaki


We have more friends and family coming to visit us over the next few months so we'll be around La Paz for a while. It is easy for visitors to get to and there is great sailing throughout the islands in the marine reserve nearby.




Monday, December 1, 2014

Birds

We've been seeing a number of birds around the boat and the marinas we've been to.  Here are some of our favourite photos.

Brown Boobie hitching a ride

We don't know what kind of bird this is

Green Heron

Great Blue Heron

Osprey on top of our neighbours mast

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Santa Rosalia to Loreto

We'd seen some damage due to Hurricane Odile up in Bahia de Los Angeles, and were wondering how bad things might be in Santa Rosalia.  The whole town is in a large arroyo (gully) and we thought the flood damage might be severe.

Luckily for the town, things were not that bad.  Some roof damage here and there, and some dock damage.  The worst damage seemed to be the museum (partial roof collapse) and the older marina with the wooden docks.  We found out that a couple of boats at the older marina broke loose of their lines and crashed through the docks.  Two months after the hurricane, one boat was still in a pretty bad situation.  In the photo you can see where the dock used to be.

Wooden schooner still in the middle of the crash site
Two friends from Vancouver, Mel and Pete, met us in Santa Rosalia.  They had flown into Loreto and taken a local bus to where we were.  The first day we started off with good wind and were sailing along right away.  In the afternoon we caught a fish and cooked it up on the BBQ for dinner. Mel thought we might catch more fish, but we had to disappoint her and explain that we aren't usually that successful. Other than not catching any more fish, Mel and Pete had a great time. We think we got all the highlights covered: we sailed a lot of the time, got to some nice beaches, saw some cool fish while snorkeling, saw whales, dolphins, and rays jumping, had nice sunsets and great conversations. The plan had been to sail them back down to Loreto and send them home tanned, relaxed and a bit envious.  The four of us all agree that the plan was a success.
Mel and Pete enjoying the sailing

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Bahia de Los Angeles

We got as far north in the Sea of Cortez as Bahia de Los Angeles.  This is a pretty large bay which is quite popular with whale sharks (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whale_shark).  These are the largest fish in the world, they are sharks but they're slow moving filter feeders.  Malcolm and our friend Bill swam with one near La Paz last April.  In this bay we saw several of them right from our anchored boat, but they never came by when we were ready to jump in and swim with them.  We did catch one on video as it approached the boat and then swerved to avoid us.

We went ashore to get some fresh groceries.  It was hot out, so we stopped at Guillermo’s restaurant for some beer on the patio and Internet access. The server asked if we were from that sailboat out there and Dina said we were.  He then asked us if we’d be able to take a sea horse with us and set it free.  Dina said we’d be happy to and the server left us with no further explanation.  We went inside to find out the story and found the sea horse in a large glass jug.

Captive sea horse

The sea horse was accidentally captured by some octopus fishermen, and was only discovered when they were offering their fresh octopus to the restaurant.  We took the sea horse (and the jug) back with us when we motored out to where we were anchored.  We tried to take a video of the event but our camera batteries were dead by then.  Needless to say, the sea horse was quite happy to be back in the ocean and waved goodbye to us.

After a few days we decided to move on and started working our way south again.  Along the way we had some more pretty anchorages and some good snorkeling.  We didn’t see our sea horse friend but we saw some colourful fish and some star fish. 
Another quiet anchorage Fish parade

Yellow star fish Blue star fish

We did find some other people after a while.  We anchored in the bay just south of San Francisquito and met Phil and Dave, brothers from Arizona and Nevada.  They fly down in their Cessnas and land on a dirt runway in the field just behind their trailer on the beach. They insisted on giving us some killer Mai tai's.  They went fishing the next morning and motored past Good as Gold to show us the two Yellow Tails they caught and to invite us to breakfast.  The breakfast was awesome as was the company, by the end of the day we had enjoyed some of their fish (sashimi), our bubbly, and had an awesome BBQ dinner. The next morning we sailed away and they prepared to fly back home.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Beach bonfire and starry night

At one bay we found lots of driftwood.  Since nobody was around to complain we gathered up a bunch and started a little bonfire.
Getting the bonfire started

It was a new moon that evening, so Malcolm was happy to be on a nice stable beach for some long-exposure photos.  They seemed to turn out okay!
Bonfire under the stars (and a satellite and plane)

Good as Gold anchored under the stars

Monday, October 20, 2014

Heading North in the Sea of Cortez

Our friends Gary and Karina are sailing their boat to Mexico and plan to leave it in Guaymas next year, so they asked us if we wanted to drive their car down for them.  We jumped at the chance and ended up having a great time visiting some friends along the way and seeing some amazing scenery (road trip photos to follow).
We also got to do some shopping along the way!  We arrived safe and sound, the car was fine but a bit dirty, the boat was also fine and quite dirty.
Arrival - us, car, and boat all safe and sound Wine and cider from BevMo and Costco in Tuscon!

After a few days getting ready we sailed up to San Carlos, which has lots of vacation properties and a problem with mice at the marina.  Dina sacrificed a plastic bottle for some mice-guards on the dock lines.
Anchored by some vacation homes in San CarlosMouse defense

Lot's of people choose not to go north of San Carlos, probably due to the larger distances between anchorages and the limited amount of facilities.  That didn't stop us and we were rewarded with some great sails, beautiful anchorages and tons of wildlife.  Several times we had sea birds take a rest and get a free ride on our boat.
Cormorant nesting in cactusBoobie getting a free ride

Lizard, related to Iguanas

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Toronto Highlight

We hope Zophia and our friends are not offended, but the highlight of Toronto has to be “the cutest boy ever”. Hudson is an adorable two year old who loves short walks in the park and enjoys picture books. His parents are Mark and Val, two great friends of ours.
Hudson reading in his lounge chair

Mark and Hudson

Cutest boy ever!

Malcolm photo-bombing Hudson's selfie

Hudson’s little sister Everley doesn’t talk much.  She has spent the last 5 weeks eating, sleeping and making dirty diapers. Like Hudson, Everley is also adorable.
Everley staring at the camera

Not sure what she's thinking

Dina explaining something to Hudson
(Everley is bored)


It is very sad to say goodbye to everyone again, but it’s getting cold here and our boat is waiting for us.

Ontario – Friends, Family, Gin and Photography

Back to Ontario, where we spent so many years...

Zophia picked us up at the airport and we spent a LONG time in traffic as we headed out to Waterloo.  With her roommates gone for the summer, there was lots of room in her apartment for us.  It was great to see her, and it seems like she appreciated some grown-ups around who know how to cook.  Apparently she remembered the duck recipe as she claims she made it for a friend and the two of them have not been hospitalized.  Waterloo isn’t that far from Toronto, so we went back and forth a few times as did Zophia.

We drove up to Wasaga Beach and visited with Pat and Ted. They used to live in Vancouver and have retired in Ontario. In addition to great food and catching up, they introduced us to Dillon’s Small Batch Distillery (dillons.ca).

Our friend Michelle was kind enough to let us stay at her place in Toronto.  This meant doing more cooking and enjoying some awesome wine with her.  Michelle works in the wine industry and knows more than anyone else we know. Her blog is here: http://adventureinwine.com/thefermentedgrape/. We went to the Niagara region with Michelle to learn a bit more about Ontario wine and to check out Dillon’s Distillery. We have to thank Pat and Ted again for introducing us to Dillon’s.
Cool looking still at Dillon's


Our friend Tim took us fishing on Lake Ontario, and we caught a salmon. Back on land we helped Tim clean and filet the fish.  A few weeks later we went to see the Toronto Air Show with Tim’s entire family on the boat.  All of us would recommend seeing the Air Show from land, as the authorities don’t let the boats get anywhere close enough to see. It was fun spending time with Tim and Stephanie and their two boys.

We spent some time with our friend Victoria too.  Her place is on the 19th floor and gave us a great view. Her cooking is also awesome, but she’s lactose intolerant so there wasn’t any fattening creamy sauces!
Toronto Skyline at night from Victoria's


We had some time to see other friends, all of whom have been invited to come sailing with us anytime they can (especially Rachel Gibbs). When we weren't visiting, Malcolm got artistic with his camera (http://500px.com/photosbyme-malcolm) and looked at getting into social media (http://instagram.com/photosbyme_malcolm)
Ooooh - Artistic

Artistic flower thing

Wow - what artistic colours

Instagram worthy...#buttertart, #cookedsugar, #yum, #food, #bakedgoods, #fattening

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Road trip down the length of Vancouver Island

We left Haida Gwaii a little sooner than we wanted, but we’ll be back someday.  After taking the two ferry’s back to Port Hardy, we grabbed Gary and Karina’s car (Karina had driven up meet Sea Rover) and started to head south. First stop was an interesting cave formation at Little Huson Caves.
Water flowing under the natural bridge at Little Huson Caves

Next stop was in Bamfield to meet our friend Jennifer and Campell on their boat Camdeboo (http://www.camdeboo.ca/). They’d previously sailed Camdeboo to the South Pacific and back, and are now spending their sailing time around Vancouver Island.  We spent 4 days on Camdeboo exploring the Broken Group Islands.  The scenery was different than we’d seen on our trip so far. It was a lot more wind swept and the morning fog off the Pacific added an extra dimension to it all. Jennifer and Campbell made up some grand story about seeing lots of bears feeding along the shore.  We know they made it all up because we certainly didn’t see any, although we tried.
Beach with windswept trees at Bamfield

We left Jennifer and Campbell to sail back to Victoria while we drove there.  We met up with Heather again and Dina’s Aunt Peggy came over from Port Angeles to spend the day with us. We took Aunt Peggy to explore the beautiful Buchart Garden’s (http://www.butchartgardens.com/) and downtown Victoria including the Empress Hotel. Then we said good bye as we dropped her back at the ferry to Port Angeles.

"Good as Gold" rose


We seem to have good timing, as later that evening our sailing club, Blue Water Cruising Association (http://www.bluewatercruising.org/), was having a little get together.  Jennifer and Campbell had by now gotten home, so we picked them up and went to the party.  There were a few other couples there who also had left their boats in Mexico and flown home to avoid the heat and possible hurricanes.  One such couple was Jim and Trish, on Falcon VII, who we’d spent several days sailing with in Bahia Conception.  It was fun to catch up with them and our other friends from the club.


The next day we went back to Vancouver and stayed with Rob and Deborah, who we spent some time with in Mexico as well (wine tasting in Ensenada, New Year’s).  Their boat, Avant, is waiting for them in Mexico as well. After a few fun days with Rob and Deb, including some great Dim Sum, we had to head to Ontario to see our younger daughter Zophia and some other friends.