Countdown

Buenos noches from Marina de la Cortez in La Paz. I’ve been slowly but surely acquiring all my necessities.  Propane tanks topped off, diesel and gasoline full, new flippers and a new mask acquired and a couple of tarps to hopefully create more shade and less heat in the boat during the day. Starting to get toasty if there isn’t any kind of breeze. The marina I’m at is where I’ll stay whenever I’m in port in La Paz. It’s within walking distance of anything I need and there are several really good restaurants right where you walk off the docks. Ended my American food boycott since I left the states in December a couple of nights ago with a Blue Cheese Hamburger and a Pepperoni Pizza the next night. Heres the view from the restaurant.20160227_175937And here’s the burger.20160227_182649

I’m really enjoying when I go out and meet the locals in La Paz. So many of them want to learn English and are very enthusiastic about trying to learn a few words from me while I learn some correct pronunciation and words and phrases from them. I really can’t say enough about the Mexican people I’ve had the opportunity to get to know. I sense racism from time to time and it’s understandably so from my perspective. Most are warm and kind and very respectful. Sometimes I’ll meet people that spin me on my toes. I was in a chandlery looking for some of the things I needed the other day and Strawberry Fields by the Beatles started playing and the guy behind the counter not more than 30 yrs old that was helping me starting singing word for word. Turned out he’s a huge Beatles fan and thinks they are the greatest band ever. A guy I met in Ensenada could tell you what year and who the artist was for almost every song from the late 60’s to early 70’s. He had even gone to Paris to see the grave of Jim Morrison.

Tomorrow I’m in pursuit of a fishing rod. I’m planning on leaving here to head out to the islands early Thursday morning and have a goal of staying out for 3 weeks. I’m concerned with getting enough food onboard and if I can catch a fish or two it would help tremendously. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to buy fish and hopefully shrimp from the local fisherman but I’m not exactly sure. This will be a good test run and hopefully I can get it refined to where I can stay out up to a month. If I ever pick back up my goal of going around the world it will be essential to be able to get the boat provisioned properly for staying out such long periods. Wednesday I’m heading to the Mega grocery store and will have the largest grocery bill I’ve probably ever had. I’ve got a refrigerator and a freezer but I’ve had the freezer turned down so low and have been using it as a fridge but that’s going to have to change I’m pretty sure. I’ll top off the water tanks Wednesday and head out Thursday to finally start doing what I came here to do and that’s cruise on the hook.

I’m in constant awe of the wildlife here. Everyday I see frigates, pelicans  and gulls riding the winds, fish in the water along the docks, a heron stalking his prey, hearing something feeding on the algae on the bottom of my boat at night and today a seal hopped up on a dock to work on his tan until he was ran off by the staff and a guy in a dinghy with a dog. I overheard a group of people say they had gone out to the other side of the bay and seen 3 whale sharks and that there was a large pod of bottlenose dolphins thrashing through the water. Below are some pictures of some of the wildlife.

I’ll update once more before I head out. No wifi or cellular out at the island. I do have unlimited texting via sat phone by clicking on this link  and using this number 881623460962. If you hadn’t noticed the sat phone which gives my gps location can be kind of finicky and shows me making numerous trips back and forth across land but I assure you that’s not the case so if I don’t respond immediately I might not have been able to get a steady signal for awhile. Talk soon!

Radar Back In Action, New Address

I had gotten in contact with Will from Tech Mex last Friday to see about installing the radar that I had never been able to get installed in San Jose del Cabo. He was about 2 hrs late and I was starting to think here we go again!! He showed up though and 5 hrs later and $270 and I was radar enabled once again. Will is 60 yrs old and used to install cell towers back in BC until about 4 yrs ago. He’s a great guy and if you ever have any marine electronic needs in La Paz I’d highly recommend you get hold of him. For me it’s another thing off of the perpetual list!IMG_0374
I headed back into La Paz on Tuesday to check out the marinas to see which one  I wanted to move to next. Costa Baja was so far out of town and inconvenient having to take the shuttle back and forth. I decided on Marina Cortez which is located within walking distance of just about anything I should need. I need a 3/4 wetsuit, a national park permit, propane and lots of groceries. If weather is good I plan on leaving here next Thursday with a goal of staying out on the hook for 3 weeks. Below are some pics from my walk through La Paz. The people here have been so friendly and warm and many of them are as anxious to practice English as I am Spanish which is really helpful. I’m making progress slowly but surely.

I got off the shuttle and was walking down the street towards the marinas and having not eaten any breakfast I was looking for somewhere to grab a bite. Outside of this one building I saw a billboard outside that showed a list of breakfast items. In the middle of the building was a plaza and a small restaurant with one person at the bar, a lady at the grill and the waiter. I sat down as the only customer and he brought me a menu. I didn’t see the item that I had seen on the billboard so we walked out to the billboard and I showed him what I wanted which was basically scrambled eggs and refried beans. I’m not a big fan of chorizo so I got the ham and it was delicious for under $4. I know I’ve only scratched the surface of good food here and there will be many “blossoms for days to come” in the camida arena.

I’ve noticed numerous restaurants that I’ve walked by that have no customers what so ever. Just staff waiting for business. They were complaining of tourism being way off in San Jose del Cabo as well. At one restaurant I ate at the bus boy told me last year when he went to Cabo to visit his brother for Carnival that the businesses wanted to cater to only the foreigners, but things were so off this year that the same businesses were working hard to lure in the locals this time. Unbeknownst to me until recently there was a US State Dept warning for cartel activity issued last May and reissued Jan 2016 for La Paz. I’m pretty sure that explains it. I’ve heard of no violence towards tourist. Everyone I’ve talked to says it’s all drug and cartel related. There’s always a silver lining and it means that I can sit in these restaurants like I own the place and the businesses are happy to take my pesos!

Sorry the pictures of the fish are cloudy and not very clear but they are there and they are everywhere. This place is so alive with wildlife it’s almost unbelievable. I’m almost positive that when I come back from my exploration of Isla del Espiritu Santo and Isla Partida I’ll have some great underwater shots.

Walking around La Paz.

My view from Marina del la Cortez

Next Destination

That’s the Isla Espíritu Santo just north of where I went through the San Lorenzo Channel on my way from Los Muertos. I’m really thankful my plans have changed like they have as I had originally planned on blowing right by here. The more I read about the Sea of Cortez the more aware I become of what a rich, diverse and thriving marine ecosystems it is and I’m really anxious to get out there and start seeing it and experiencing it. Ensenada Grande beach, on Isla Partida was voted the most beautiful beach in Mexico by The Travel Magazine and one of the top 12 beaches in the world. As Wikipedia says “The surrounding reefs are home to parrotfish, angelfish, trumpetfish, Moorish idols, and rainbow wrasse, while many other species pass nearby including sharks, rays,turtles, dolphins, and even whales. Birds include brown pelicans, great blue herons, snowy egrets, turkey vultures, and hummingbirds. A large sea lion colony resides on Los Islotes, off the north tip of the islands; snorkeling with the females and young is a highlight of many tours.” All the green symbols are anchorages and I intend to explore it pretty extensively. Click on the image to take you to the islands in Google Earth.

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Camaron Tacos And A Walk Down By The Water

Continued walking around town down by the water after eating these puppies. I bought some new scuba fins and was trying to find a 3/4 wetsuit but they didn’t have my size. I can tell though that once I learn my way around I’ll be able to get everything I need here in La Paz. The city has a different feel to it than anywhere else I’ve been in Mexico. There were so many people out along the water. The murals that I’m seeing randomly here and there are so beautiful and intricate. I really love the Mexican art!  The church in the prior post was built in 1861. I’m going to go back with my better camera and get some more pictures. Tomorrow is going to be pretty chill I think. There’s an awesome private beach for the marina/resort I’m at and there’s a pool there as well. It was 90 degrees today to start with and no breeze. I never thought I’d see the day when I was glad for clouds and the breeze to roll in. More to come! Getting to the peachy part now!!

Recap From San Jose Del Cabo To La Paz

Buenos dias from La Paz! Made it safely in about 2:30 yesterday.  Looks like it’s going to be another beautiful day! I’m at the Costa Baja Marina. Didn’t have time to do any blogging on the way up due to that whole sailing thing so I’m going to recap here.

When I left San Jose on Tuesday morning I was expecting 15-20 kt winds and pretty calm seas. Once I got out of the bay and started making my way to Los Frailes I put the sails up and was sailing along about 5 kts in 15 kts and the seas were pretty calm. I saw what I think was some kind of small whales.

I was thinking cool this is going to be some great sailing. Up on the horizon I started seeing some white which I thought was more whales. As I got closer I could see it was white caps. I started dropping the sails and sure enough it’s blowing a steady 20-26 kts and the swell is about 2-3 feet stacked up in really short intervals. I’ve never had so much water coming over the top of the boat. I’m thinking why is it everytime I go out sailing I get conditions like this?!? Not a very pleasant ride at all but fortunately Los Frailes was only about 6 hrs away so it was comforting knowing that I wasn’t going to be stuck in these conditions for an indefinite amount of time. The boat handled it well and I finally made it to Los Frailes. There were several boats in the bay and this was the first time I anchored with other boats around. The wind was still blowing a bit and I didn’t get it set good on my first attempt but brought the anchor back up and was successful on my 2nd attempt. About this time the wind died down to nothing. I got the boat in order, cooked some dinner and sat out on the back and watched the beautiful sunset while listening to the manta rays I referred to in my Los Frailes post.

Woke up early the next morning to head out for Bahia de los Muertos and it was nothing like the day before. I had winds of 15 kts for about half the time and they dropped off after awhile so I motored on into los Muertos an hour or so before sunset. I found a good spot to anchor and dropped the hook and made some dinner and relaxed out on the back before heading to bed.

I woke up the next morning and though I hadn’t originally planned on staying the day it was such a beautiful bay and the weather was glorious so I decided to spend the day there and depart early the next morning. The first thing I did was get my mask and snorkel and dove in the water and inspected the boats bottom side. The water temp is about 72 degrees and it felt really good in the warm morning sun. There was a large school of colorful fry swimming around the boat checking me out. I’ve added a picture but it’s not the greatest shot.

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My anchor

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Baby fry

Then I started seeing the manta rays I had heard at Los Frailes leaping from the water and making a loud slapping sound. I saw manta rays doing this from time to time all the way up from San Jose.

I dropped the dinghy in the water and took a tour around the bay. There is actually a boat ramp and a restaurant on the north side of the bay and there are several large villas at certain points around it. There were people camping on the beach as well so though it’s remote it isn’t isolated. Actually got my first shot of Desiderata at anchor! The water is beautiful as you can see

After getting back on the boat I started noticing what I thought were fork tailed hawks congregating way up on the top of this large hill that sits out on the point. I assumed they were just riding the thermals. I’m guessing there were a couple of hundred of them. I turned my attention away and was taking pictures of some of the villas on shore and when I turned around I could see why they had been gathering up. They weren’t hawks though they were frigate birds and one of the fishing boats was tossing fish in the water to feed them. This went on for at least an hour or more. reIMG_0168

Here’s some pictures of the villas around the bay.

I’m not sure what this was but you can see where steps have been chiseled into the rock going into the water for something.reIMG_0211

It was really a nice relaxing day and pretty good taste of things to come I think. I got to bed early because if the winds were blowing I wanted to make sure I’d get into La Paz before dark. It was pitch dark when I got up at 4 am and headed out but this was my treat for being up and out on the water so early.

It was so calm out and I was thankful for not having to “work” so hard to get to where I was going. I was seeing dolphins and manta rays occasionally and then I saw this and I’m not sure what it was.

Shortly after I saw a whale ahead on the starboard side of the boat. I slowed the engine down because I was pretty close to where I had seen him. Next thing I know I see the water boil on the port side of the boat and as I looked down all I could see was the white from the belly of the whale that appeared to be as long as my boat. I tried to take a picture but you really can’t see him. That got my heart racing!!

The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful and it was an awesome ride into La Paz. I could see sailboats anchored in little small bays along the coastline and numerous fishing boats. I’m here at the Costa Baja marina for a week and will hopefully finally get my radar installed on Monday. I need to get some better snorkeling gear and a shorty wetsuit and stock up on supplies for when I’m to head out for a couple of weeks on the hook. For some reason I’m having trouble with phone calls here so I’ll have to check up on that as well. The marina is about 4 miles from La Paz but there is a shuttle that runs into town and I’m planning on heading there later on this afternoon.  Hope everyone is doing well.