Showing posts from 2013


We left San Jose del Cabo on Christmas Eve. The morning started off with some nice sailing. By noon, two whales were breaching near us again and we meandered with them for a while. The wind picked up to over 25 knots and we motored through the chop with just the solent sail. About an hour before wee anchored in Los Fraile’s Bay, a whale jumped out of the water about 50’ from our boat! We spent Christmas on the beach at Los Fraile’s and swimming in the warm clear water. Malcolm made duck for Christmas dinner and then, while Zophia went to bed, we hoisted anchor and left for Ensenada de los Muertos (rumour is that it's recently been renamed to Ensenada de los Suenos to attract tourists). We arrived the next morning, as Zophia was waking. We spent a lovely Boxing Day lounging about the boat. The wind was a bit too much to take Tubby ashore and there were many locales with RV’s and small power boats along the shore.   During the evening, there were 5 sailboats and 2 power boats a

San Jose del Cabo

We spent another day in Cabo as Zophia thought she needed a bit more night life. We spent the day at the beach, tried to find a restaurant that did not have mediocre, expensive food, then Zophia decided she, too, had had enough free drinks for ladies and two-for-one tequila and we all went back to the boat.  The next morning, we filled our fuel and water tanks and motored out into the sunshine. Within an hour of leaving the craziness of Cabo San Lucas we had two whales breaching nearby! They were jumping up and over onto their sides, flapping their large flippers! Luckily we had the camera out and got some photos of the awesome spectacle.   We docked in the very quiet marina of San Jose del Cabo and walked to the Hotel El Ganzo. What a find! It is a spectacular hotel dedicated to the arts with a Hunter S. Thompson theme. We fell in love with the rooftop infinity pool and infinity hot tub. The art throughout the hotel is wonderful and we were able to peek down

Cabo San Lucas

Cabo is like Spring Break all the time, but maybe with tourists who have some money, not just students. Basically, it is full of tourists and two-for-one tequila. We took full advantage!  As it was Nicky’s birthday, we got a recommendation for a nice restaurant (Pollo del Oro) from the person at IGY Marina. Later, we had the recommendation confirmed by an information guide on the street. The food was good, even though it was served under fluorescent lights, on plastic tables covered in plastic red and white checkered table clothes. It wasn’t quite what we were expecting, but we hope it is memorable to Nicky! After the special birthday dinner, we visited Cabo Wabo, Squid Roe, Baja Jungle (BJ’s), and the Knotty Bar. Manny wow’ed Nicky with his dancing at Cabo Wabo and Nicky taught us line dancing at BJ’s. Zophia kept getting free shots sent over to our table… Needless to say the next day was quiet. We rested up to go out again! This time we started with dinner at a restaurant

First Guests - the Bar is Set High!

Manny and Nicky got settled into the forward cabin and we all toasted to their arrival with spiced rum and root beers. While on shore, we had arranged with the hotel owner to send a panga for us for dinner; we did not want to drag Tubby through the mud again. During dinner, Manny and Nicky made arrangements with the hotel owner, Fito Gonzalez, to have his brother drive their rental car to Cabo San Lucas. Fito had huge hopes to develop San Carlos into a tourist haven. While the villas looked lovely and the food was delicious, the long and tedious, dog-legged, channel entrance to reach San Carlos does not make it inviting. Not to mention the need for a dock… most cruisers anchor just inside Magdalena Bay at Puerto Magdalena and probably won't want to take the extra hour or two to get all the way to San Carlos. The next morning we left San Carlos and stopped for a picnic on the beach beside the channel. After the picnic we continued on to Puerto Magdalena where w

On to Santa Maria and Magdalena Bay

As there was nothing to do in San Ignacio, we continued south to Santa Maria Bay.  It started as a lovely sail as we flew the gennaker for several hours in the afternoon and then continued to sail well into the night with just the main. The wind picked up to 17-22 knots, so around midnight we put in one reef on the main.   We arrived in Santa Maria Bay, on the outside of Magdalena Bay, about 25 hours after our departure from San Ignacio. We were welcomed by the flipper flapping of a whale! Santa Maria Bay is lovely, with an inviting white sand beach. Several fisherman have fish camps along the shore.  We didn't explore the area because we had to go around the corner to San Carlos in Magdalena Bay to pick up our friend, Manny Souza, and his girlfriend, Nicky Martin, who we had yet to meet. We left Santa Maria Bay early, but were slowed by the lovely views along the west side of Punta Entrada. Then a couple of whales entranced us in the entrance to Magdalena Bay, then there

Whale Reserve (not!) San Ignacio

We left Tortuga Bay late morning on the 11th and arrived in San Ignacio about 22 hours later around sunrise.   About 25 large dolphins escorted us out into the ocean. Otherwise, it was an uneventful motor/sail. Dina had high hopes for San Ignacio. After all, it is listed in the book, 1000 Places to Visit Before You Die. Apparently, neither the whales nor the locals had read the book. We saw no whales. The town did not have a pier or any access to shore, other than to try to land your dinghy, upright, through a rather large surf. Dina was tempted to find the local Mayor and write up a development proposal that included a small fleet of whale watching pangas, training local guides, building a small wharf… The cruisers would flock there and the local economy would blossom.  She was convinced a local mining company working in the region would join in the endeavor along with the Mexican Ministry of Environment, World Wildlife Fund-Mexico, and international whale protection agencies

Windy trip to Turtle Bay, and a Birthday!

We checked the weather forecast (gribs) and anticipated 15-20 knots of wind from the NE for our sail to Turtle Bay. This would have put us on a pretty windy beam reach, but it wouldn't be too much so we hoisted the anchor at about 7 AM and left the San Benitos, sailing with the solent  (smaller headsail) and a reefed main in 16 knots of wind.  By 10am we were motoring as the wind was blocked by Cedros Island. Once we got passed the island, the wind seemed to be funneled between Cedros and the mainland.  It was well over 20 knots and we double reefed the main as the wind picked up to 25 to 30 knots, the waves and swells were choppy, giving us an uncomfortable ride. The good news is that it was sunny and the boat was going a brisk 7-9 knots.  It was a bit of a relief to get into the shelter of Turtle Bay, where we anchored at dusk. Several days before this, Dina tried to make chocolate muffins.   It's unclear why she went into the galley, but she did.  The muffins turned out m

Cannot always trust the charts

It seems that the San Benido islands are not where our NEW Garmin charts seem to think they are. Luckily we approached during the daylight.  Contrary to what the chartplotter shows, we actually went BETWEEN the centre island and the eastern one. Then we found a nice safe place to anchor at a depth of 11.7m, not an altitude of 11.7! We actually used our Navionics charts on our tablet, as they matched what we were seeing.

Seal Sentries and Squids on Deck

We left Ensenada at 3:30 PM after checking out with the Port Capitan (a much easier process than checking in), grocery shopping and a large lunch. We motor sailed into the sunset. Unfortunately, the wind was light and coming from behind us, so we motor/sailed most of the way to San Martin Island. We arrived at 9 AM and after breakfast we launched Tubby to explore the lagoon on the southeast side of the almost a perfectly round island and hike up to the dormant volcano crater. As we entered the lagoon, some seals followed us in. We looked at the beach and discussed where amongst the boulders to land. We notice a particularly large rock, the size of a small car, up the beach to the left. Then about 100 of the boulders all looked up and started for the water! It was a bit disconcerting that so many of them were coming out to the dinghy. They seemed to approach in formation with their heads held high like Meer cats. We noticed the seals that had followed us into the lagoon were

Arrival in Mexico

We arrived at Baja Naval Marina in Ensenada at 7 AM after an easy overnight sail from San Diego. The Dock Master, Rogelio, recognized us from his presentation at the Long Beach Strictly Sail show. He sorted our papers and sent us off to Immigration, Customs, the Port Capitan, and for fishing licenses. Once sorted, we hoisted the Mexican courtesy flag and thought we'd explore a bit. We went to the local movie theatre and saw, Capitan Phillips (in English with Spanish subtitles). It is a great film with incredible acting. We also went to Mexico’s oldest bar, Hussong’s. It has a great atmosphere and great margaritas. With Rob and Debra from Avant, we hired a car and driver and headed for wine country. There are many vineyards outside of Ensenada. We went northeast and our first stop was La Casa de Dona Lupe. Dona Lupe herself was there overseeing the wine tasting, the cheese tasting and the small boutique that sold chocolates and jams. Then we stopped in at L.A. Cetto,

Final part of US West Coast

As we left Two Harbors on Catalina, a pod of pilot whales were feeding just outside the bay. It was a nice start to our sail to Newport Beach. We tied up in the very nice and very friendly Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club.  We had just missed the ‘make your own bloody mary’ special but we did have an excellent margarita at the club bar. Dina's Godmother and her son came to visit us and we enjoyed the club's special Sunday breakfast buffet. After a wonderful visit, they drove us to Minney’s Yacht Surplus in nearby Costa Mesa. We spent a couple of hours looking through bins, boxes and shelves full of sailboat parts. Among other things, we bought an old wooden whisker pole. Rather than have us walk back to the marina carrying the pole, the owner of Minney’s, Ernie, drove us back. You meet very kind and generous people while sailing. The next day we left for Oceanside, and about one hour into the trip the bilge alarm went off. I suspected the fresh water system as Richard Parker (

Channel Islands and a celebrity in Marina del Rey

We thoroughly enjoyed Santa Barbara. It is a lovely town nestled between the coast and mountains.   We sailed (motored) to one of the North Channel Islands, Santa Cruz. We motored past the world’s largest sea cave, Painted Cave.  The photo doesn't show it, but it's big enough for us to sail into (we didn't!). After passing several smaller sea caves and sea arches, we found a quiet anchorage in Pelican Bay for the night. It was sunny and warm so we opened the dodger. The next morning we sailed (and some motoring) to Oxnard and then on to Marina del Rey. The wind was directly behind us   so we tried a bit of wing-on-wing sailing. Sailing "wing on wing" When we checked in at the lovely California Yacht Club in Marina del Rey, we were told ‘another Canadian’ was there, 'that woman who circumnavigated alone'. It was Jeanne Socrates the grandmother who completed a solo circumnavigation last year.  Jeanne is actually British, but sh

Into Southern California

After installing the CPT, we decided it is small enough and unobtrusive enough to just leave attached all the time. We’ll give it a few sea trials and decided if it will be our back-up or our main autohelm. We enjoyed the Monterey Peninsula Yacht Club. Everyone was very friendly. We had drinks and pizza in the clubhouse with some of the members.   We left at 5:30 AM with only the sea lions awake. We had a 16 hour sail to San Simeon; the next possible anchorage along the coast. Unfortunately, there was no wind, so it was a 16 hour motor-sail. San Simeon was quiet. We dropped the hook near shore, within view of Hearst castle on the hill and next to an old pier that Hearst had built in the late 1800’s. We decided to by-pass Morro Bay with its zigzag entrance channel and aim for Port San Luis and the tourist town of Avila. On this passage, we had enough wind to sail for about 2 of the 7 hours. We anchored near town, between the research pier and the Avila pier, then instead of g

San Francisco to Monterey

  Good as Gold docked beside Tappen Zee (our friends Tom and Annie) As we left the lovely Saint Francis Yacht Club and our wonderful friends, Tom and Annie on sv Tappen Zee, this little sparrow flew onto our foredeck. It sheltered in the lee of the hatch while we passed under the Golden Gate Bridge. It must be a good omen. We had a calm sail/motor to Half Moon Bay. It was foggy in the morning, but there was no traffic and the sun came out in the afternoon. We tied up at Pillar Point Harbor. It was the start of the crab season and there was lots of activity on the docks; crab fishing boats and crew, tourists, and fresh seafood shoppers. We left relatively early for a long day’s sail to Monterey Bay. There were calls for gales and small craft warnings and we certainly had to deal with large seas and high winds. The wind was coming from behind and the boat (and crew) handled everything very well. Just as we sailed into the northern part of the Bay, the seas a