Friday, March 7, 2014

Road Trip - Grey Whales

Alan and Ali on Sea Boa were also in La Paz. We made plans with them to rent a car and drive to Magdalena Bay, on the West coast of the Baja Pennisula, to see the gray whales and their calves. These whales travel over 12,000 miles each year as they migrate between the Artic to feed and Baja where they mate and give birth.

These whales can grow up to 50’ in length. At birth they are a mere 15’ long and weigh about 1,000 lbs.

It was an easy 3 hour drive and we stayed at the quaint Villas Mar y Arena www.villasmaryarena.com. This is the same place where we picked up Manny and Nikki in December. Fito, the owner, remembered us and gave us special treatment. His brother, Javier, who drove Manny and Nikki’s rental car to Cabo San Lucas so they could sail with us, arranged whale-watching for us. It was an amazing experience!

At one point we were surrounded by about 6 huge gray whales and their very large calves. The whales were neither afraid nor shy; they were rolling around and at times lifting the calves out of the water. Another one appeared to be nursing right next to our boat. Our guide told us it is not uncommon for the whales to approach the boats to be patted.

Apparently in February there were about 30 whales in the bay with their calves. We had an amazing experience with just 6 or 7! We would strongly suggest Late February/early March as an excellent time to visit Baja and include a trip to Magdalena Bay – we certainly plan to return next year!



Sunday, March 2, 2014

La Paz - Decision time

We arrived in La Paz on March 2 and docked at Marina de la Paz. The plan had been to replace the steel steering cables with spectra, have the genoa repaired, route the copper grounding for the Ham radio, take the Ham radio operator exam, fix the still leaking seacock, fly to Mexico City for the long-stay visas for French Polynesia …etc.

Then we made the decision not to cross the Pacific this year. We realised there is no need to rush things. So we relaxed!

We received an email from our sailing friend in Vancouver, Gary Peacock, telling us how he had been out racing sailboats that day in 30 knot wind and it had snowed, hailed, and had freezing rain all during the race. We responded by telling him how hot, sunny and lovely it was in La Paz. A couple of hours later, Gary emailed giving us his and his wife’s flight details for their arrival the next week!

Not only were we thrilled with the idea of sailing with Gary and Karina, but they were also bringing us a spare genoa! At this point, we had no idea if our genoa could be fixed. While we awaited Gary and Karina, we did take our genoa to Doug at Snug Harbor sails in La Paz. Fortunately, Doug said the sail was still in great shape and could be repaired without trouble.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Fishing Stories - Isla San Francisco and Isla Partida

We motored the 14 nm between San Evaristo and Isla San Francisco. The water was warm and clear. Steve on Aurora came by with his dinghy and a huge dorado  (Mahi Mahi) he had caught. As he has no refrigeration, he was giving fresh fish away. We talked fishing and helped him out by taking some fresh dorado. It was delicious.

The next morning, Steve came by early. He had just caught a huge, much-prized yellow tail! Steve expertly filleted it and to help him out with his lack of refrigeration problem, we graciously accepted some more fresh fish. Now we are always on the look-out for Steve!
As we motored to Isla Partida, Malcolm trailed a green and white plastic squid on the hand fishing line. He caught something and pulled it in! An angry 4’ shark hooked with a plastic squid came alongside the boat. We couldn’t bring it on board without risking serious injury to us! There was no way to reach down and remove the hook. Malcolm went to get the camera before we planned to cut the line (the hook would eventually erode away in the salt water), when the shark somehow disengaged itself from the hook and swam away. Problem solved! We have not used that green and white squid again!