Monday, December 29, 2008

Cheap eats that are muy bueno!

Steve and Ana have been showing us such a good time, which includes lots of wonderful and interesting places to eat. The best shrimp tacos are made by this lady (behind the counter). They are fried, but we didn't care. The only problem is that you never know when she is going to be open, so you need a backup plan. Also, be sure to bring your own cervesas!


This lady is only open for dinner and late night eating for the partying crowd - right outside of her home. She makes wonderful hot dogs wrapped in bacon and super burritos stuffed with shredded beef. Hamburgers too, but we haven't tried those. Again, bring your cervesas!

Marv and Ardy, from Odyssey, just got into town and joined us for dinner. It was wonderful to spend time with our Gate 11 buddies!




Rancho Viejo is a little more upscale (inside dining) and serves arrachero beef (and other goodies) by the kilo, which comes with all of the fixings. Everyone morning, the staff roasts tomatoes, peppers, onions, and tortillas on the big grill. It smells marvelous. Check it out!

I am definitely getting a reputation at these places. They love to watch me drink margaritas and laugh - crazy American. We went to Rancho Viejo for breakfast and the waiter asked me if I want a margarita - hah!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Easily distracted...

I promise, we are doing some work on the boat, but we are easily distracted! There is so much going on (especially this time of year) and you know us - we hate to miss a good time.

Fern and Brian (new Canadian friends) invited a bunch of us out to their beautiful home - right on Bahia La Paz. It is an amazing place with a pool, outside bar, and the lovely palapas. As you can see, we made ourselves right at home and enjoyed the festivities!

We had a send off for sailing vessels Rainshadow, Vindsang, and Sea Horse at Tequila's. They were all heading back to the states for the holidays. I don't think any of them were too excited about the weather conditions back home, but were looking forward to seeing family. We were having a good time - as you can tell.


Just one of the many places the girls visited on our shopping adventure - The Sex Shop. Just kidding - we couldn't resist the photo op!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sights and sounds of the holidays...

We have enjoyed being in Mexico for the holidays - lots of colorful sights and lots of noise. The markets and homes are strung with beautiful pinatas (made locally) and decorated with colorful lights and Christmas decorations. Every night we here fireworks (mostly firecrackers) going off and live music that plays almost all night - way after we have gone to bed!

On the Malecon (walkway along the beach) there is lots of decorations, plus a huge Christmas tree - very pretty. Yesterday, Ana and I delivered plates of Ana's homemade goodies to the Malecon workers. They always take such good care of the Malecon and we appreciate it. It was wonderful to see their smiles when Ana delivered her gift!

The marina is also very festive with lots of boats lit up with holiday lights - including ours. Yesterday, the local sailing club hosted a Christmas Eve potluck. We had a great turnout, plus lots of wonderful food.

Christmas Eve was spent at Steve and Ana's home where we played games (way too late) and ate yummy tamales. A wonderful way to spend Noche Buena (Christmas Eve)!

We have been watching the USA weather and hope you are all staying warm and dry (as we sit outside in our shorts) - hah! Please send photos of your white Christmas!

We received a wonderful Christmas video from the Phil Warren's - check it out!

Feliz Navidad and Happy Holidays to All!

Doug and Carla

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Birthday, Anessa!

Who would have thought you would turn out so good, huh? But you did!

Sorry we couldn't be there to help you celebrate your 39th birthday, but we are definitely thinking about you!

Love Pear

Friday, December 19, 2008

Shave and a haircut - 2 bits!

Well, not really 2 bits, but it was pretty in- expensive. Doug had the traditional hot-towel shave with a straight- edge, plus a haircut for $10. Doug has been searching for one of these for years (at the right price) and loved it! The locals got a kick out of us watching and photographing the event.

Ana arranged for the girls to have our haircuts at a local salon - Laura's. She did a great job - fast, efficient, and cheap - $9. We were both happy with the results. Good thing - I was about ready to start chopping - my hair was making me crazy. For my team in NM - it is almost the SWIFT haircut!

After the haircuts and shave, we went to celebrate at La Paisa with a bucket of Pacifico's. Believe it or not, this is Doug's first beer at this place - the chair had a blow out. The locals got a big kick out of Doug falling on his butt - so did we. I am so glad that Steve is fast with his camera!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Totem arrives (yeah), big margaritas, and dressing up!

Sailing vessel Totem arrived safely last week! It was wonderful to visit with the Giffords (Behan, Jamie, Niall, Mairen, and Siobhan) and share sailing stories. We haven't known the Giffords very long, but some people come into your lives and it feels like they have always belonged. That's the Giffords! We know we will continue to share our good times, adventures, and margaritas!

The girls hit the pavement and went on a shopping adventure that took us all over La Paz. We were pooped and needed a break and some refreshments. We just happened to go to the Bismark, which has the biggest margarita - yeah! It was a two hander and very good - I would highly recommend it!

Yeah, that is me dressed up - as dressed up as I get these days! The local sailing club holds a monthly luncheon for the ladies. Ana rounded up a bunch of the girls and we had a great time meeting new folks and telling our sailing stories.

Best sailing picture!

We love this picture! It was taken during the start of the Baja Ha-Ha rally when we were leaving San Diego. There are about 140 other boats leaving at the same time - it was a spectacular view and very colorful.

This is the first time that we flew our brand new spinnaker - it turned about beautifully! Doug and Crit did a wonderful job of getting it rigged just when we needed it. You can't tell, but all of us are wearing our "big butt" costumes. Boats were sailing by hollering at us to show our butts!

Our good friend, Ben Warner, followed us out to photograph the event and got lots of great photos of Moondance (including this one). Thanks, Ben!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Making progress on our projects...


Stainless projects - Sergio and his wife, Guadalupe, have been very busy and have done a wonderful job. They have been building the stainless rails around the stern, attaching our solar panels, and building our boarding ladder. It is truly amazing to watch experts at work. I am very impressed by the quality of their work, plus how timely they have been. We can't keep up with them! Sergio's email is: steel_man_381@hotmail.com.

Organizing and re- organizing - as you can tell - it is impossible. Doug was so kind to leave me a small place to work on Christmas cards while he destroyed the rest of the boat. An interesting note about Christmas cards in Mexico - you can't buy packaged cards or find envelopes for cards - who knew. So, I was forced to be creative - they turned out okay. To get them mailed, our friend, Glenn, volunteered to haul them on the plane back to the states. They will be postmarked from Bellingham, Washington. Interesting, huh? Thanks, Glenn!


We love these new folding bikes. Thanks, Michael for the recommendation and for setting them up! We have been all over La Paz. The bread store (yummy) is our favorite stop, but we also enjoy the hardware stores, the chandlery's, and of course, the food and drink joints! The tricky part is getting used to the road rules. Alto (Stop) appears to be just a guideline!

Electric Windlass - Doug is drilling holes, running wire, and mounting our new electric windlass (electric winch to lift the anchor). It will be nice when Doug doesn't have to pull up 135 feet of chain (plus the anchor) when we leave an anchorage - talk about manual labor! He is strong, but I don't want him hurting himself. Then I might have to get involved!

Progress!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Happenings!

Besides working on our projects, we have been having some fun.

Steve and Ana held a great happy hour at Casa Ana (their beautiful home) and introduced us to lots of wonderful folks. We learned about golf marshalls, Trader Joes, Canadian politics, writer woes, and much more - it is a very interesting group that has migrated here. Besides the wonderful company, we had lots of great food and drink. Good times were had by all!

The crews from Rainshadow, Sea Horse, and Vinsang arrived in La Paz this week and we had to get together. We had lots of fun catching up and cruising the Malecon. It is great having them around! Poor Doug was trying to watch the boring Steelers game and we distracted him. Who knew they were going to come back in the last two minutes to win!

Rainshadow invited us out to Marina Palmira last night for a happy hour and Tequila tasting. We met some new folks, plus got to see some folks from the HaHa. We had a great time, but were surprised to find out that we aren't Tequila experts. Doug was crushed to find out he picked Jose Cuervo as #1. I did much better - of course!

Tomorrow, the girls have been invited to the monthly "Ladies Luncheon". This should be very interesting. I hope they don't expect us to dress up! Plus, there is a creative tortilla folding contest at the Club. We have no idea what to expect, but we know the Totem clan will be there, so we are going!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Good Bye Crit!

Crit flew back to the California today. We are really going to miss her. She was a wonderful crew mate, plus a good friend to hang out with. The trip south would have been much more difficult with out Crit's sailing skills, cooking talents, and sense of humor. We appreciated all!

Come back and join us again, Crit!

Todos Santos

Steve and Ana took us on a road trip to Todos Santos, which is on the Pacific side of the Baja peninsula. It was about 50 miles, but takes over 1 1/2 hours to get there. Well worth the drive - of course Steve had to do all of the driving!

What a wonderful place to shop and tour around. It is famous for being the home of the Hotel California, which is supposed to be from the Eagles song. It was a really cool place, but definitely out of our budget range! Lots of galleries and expensive places to eat and drink, but we did find a few good values. As you can see, we can easily be suckered in by a simple sign.

We splurged and drove out to Cerritos beach for dinner. It is a beautiful beach where the surfers hang out - some pretty good waves. Besides watching the crazy surfers, we saw whales breaching and spouting - wonderful dinner entertainment!

Phil and Danette - you would love this place!

PS: We were looking at old photos of family and friends tonight and I got choked up - sure miss everyone!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Settling in...

Happy hours, Subasta, and wondering along the Malecon - there are lots of Americans, Canadians, etc. hanging around the marina and they are a very social and organized group. In the short time that we have been here, we have been invited out for Thanksgiving, Happy Hours, plus thoroughly enjoyed Subasta. The local cruising club, Club Cruceros, organizes lots of charity events - like Subasta - which is an auction to benefit the local needy children. Plus, every morning they get on the radio "net" to talk about weather, emergencies, trades, activities, etc. - very entertaining and helpful.The Malecon is the walk way along the beach. It is beautifully adorned with statues, shopping, and lots of bars and restaurants. My favorite statue (shown here) is the old man, the sea, and his paper boat.

Scene of the crime - Tequila's. We decided that we Gringos can't handle the Mexican margaritas. We look pretty good here, but we don't last long!

Wonderful sunsets - almost every evening there has been a beautiful sunset. They remind me of the family pictures from K-Mart - oh my!

Doug's Spanish lesson - Ana was teaching Doug to say that his wife was more beautiful than yours (of course), plus that he is a well-made @#$@hole. Pretty cute! As you can tell, he needs to practice more - without the beer and margaritas! Yes, that is me cracking up in the background. video

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving from La Paz!

Yeah, we finally made it to La Paz. We had a little trouble leaving Muertos. It was too pretty and we were having such a great time - thanks to the crews of Rainshadow, Vindsang, and Sea Horse! They kept us entertained with potlucks, games, live music, etc. What a hoot!

We are at the Marina de La Paz until January 1. We are supposed to be focusing on boat projects that didn't get done before leaving Alameda - wish us luck!

Steve and Ana are here and have opened up there beautiful home to us - - it is great and we are really enjoying their hospitality.

We have been invited to spend Thanksgiving with some of Ana and Steve's friends and are really looking forward to the excursion and the chance to meet a bunch of the local residents. We got off easy - we just have to bring wine!

Hope you all enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving feast!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bahia De Los Muertos (dead) or Bahia de Suenos (dreams)

This is another wonderful place, but it is having an identity crisis. Muertos is named after the dead-man mooring system they used during the silver mining times. Now, they are trying to promote the place, but didn't think Bay of the Dead would attract the tourists. We will see if Bay of the Dreams does better. We like it just like it is.

Ana and Steve (best friends from Alameda) drove up from La Paz to see us two days in a row. They must have missed us - ha! It was great to see them, plus they took us to town (10 miles away) for provisioning. Good thing - we were out of everything.

As you can see, the sailboaters are great at entertaining ourselves - besides drinking. The macho men were fun to watch tossing their Bocchi balls. Of course, one almost hit Doug in the head, but that is a whole 'nother story.

Alas, our crew, Crit, jumped ship today and headed to La Paz with Ana and Steve. We are going to miss her - she has been a wonderful addition to the adventure. Hopefully, Crit will bring her sailboat, JASDIP (Just Another Shitty Day In Paradise), south next year and catch up with us.

Tomorrow, we are leaving very early for La Paz. There is a front moving in, so we want to get there ahead of the bad weather to make sure we don't miss the Thanksgiving festivities. Don't want to miss a holiday with friends!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cabo Los Frailes or Who Moved the Car?

We had a nice quiet trip from San Jose de Cabo to Cabo Los Frailes. No wind and no fish, but still had a good time.

As you can see, this is a beautiful bay that the sailboats share with the fisherman. The town of Cabo Pulmo is close by. It is small, but has three dive shops and a interesting mix of folks - locals and transplants. This place is well known to divers and snorklers. Just off shore, there is a marine park and one of the few coral reefs in the Sea. Lots of sea life, including whale sharks, hammerheads, and other cool stuff. We didn't snorkel the reef this time due to weather, but promise to on the way back through in January.

We had plenty of stuff to entertain ourselves with. Between the locals, transports, and sailboaters, we had too much fun - which leads to the post title "Who Moved the Car?". After way too many margaritas, I was surprised to find myself on my butt instead of leaning against a car - which I swear was just there! The good news is that I didn't spill a drop of my margarita - what a girl!

We did some snorkeling (Crit snorkeled a bunch). We did some hiking, we did some fishing, and general enjoyed ourselves. We did find that mileage markers aren't very accurate around here. We were hiking to Mermaid cove and must have looked pretty pitiful. Some fellow touristas picked us up and gave us a ride both ways. We still got a pretty good hike in, but at least we didn't have to walk the whole way.

We are having a hard time leaving places, but after five days we decided to set sail/motor to Bahia De Los Muertos - another beautiful bay. I will post again tomorrow. We have been invited to Rainshadow for drinks, dinner, and some 42 (domino game) tonight. We have connected with some other sailboaters from the Ha-Ha and they are wonderful hosts and always include us - very nice folks. Should be fun!
video
A boy and his dinghy... This little boat is really an important part of our lives now and you can tell Doug enjoys it. It is our transportation, or delivery truck, fishing boat, and much more. The surf/surge along Mexico can be pretty intense, so landing on the beaches is always exciting and we usually get a little wet. We haven't tipped it over yet, but you never know!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Puerto Los Cabos Marina - San Jose Del Cabo; La Playita

We have really enjoyed this beautiful place and have felt very protected - the cross above the marina really lights up at night. The marina is quiet, clean, and has hot water! We almost have a dock to ourselves - except for the pelicans, the great egrets, osprey, and the wild jumping fish.

We enjoyed eating and shopping in the town of San Jose Del Cabo - especially after the crazy tourista place of Cabo San Lucas. The town "centro" makes me think of what Santa Fe might have looked like 30 years ago. We ate wonderful guacamole (which is our quality test), homemade totopos (chips), and even found a brew pub - the Baha Brewery. Crit and I actually got to do some shopping, which we thoroughly enjoyed.

The marina is actually next to the small town of La Playita, which is a small fishing village that has been here ~200 years. It has definitely grown since we were here in 2003 and has some good restaurant/bars, plus Marcella's - a great little market with ice and everything - all crammed into a very small space.

We leave in the morning. Our planned stops are Bahia Frailles, Bahia Muertos, and then La Paz. Of course, this is subject to change based on weather, whim, and availability. Our only timeline is to be in La Paz by Thanksgiving!

You probably won't hear from us until La Paz, but I could be wrong. Wont' be the first time!

Pretty crazy life, huh?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Room with a View!

And it is free - can you believe it! We wake up everyone morning to this view. Of course, a cruise ship shows up every day and blocks some of it, but we don't mind. We get to watch the parasails, the jet skis, and the water taxis go by. It keeps us very busy!

We have spent the week shopping, checking out the town, practicing our bad Spanish - Crit is definitely trying harder than we are!

Tomorrow, we leave for San Jose De Cabo. Not far, but we will be slipping into a marina for the luxuries of hot showers, power (maybe), ice, and all of those things we used to take for granted. There is even rumors of wireless internet - yahoo.

After that, we are going to meander up the coast. We are expected for Thanskgiving in La Paz at Casa Ana's (Ana and Steve Hall's Casa). Of course, we have warned them we aren't sure when Thanksgiving is or if we will actually make that date, but they are flexible. Thank goodness.

Did we tell you we are really starting to enjoy retirement? Crit has more experience at this sort of thing than we do and she says that we are definitely getting the hang of it. Of course, we are still getting projects done. We actually have speakers in our cockpit as of today - it is a miracle!

We are thinking of everyone and hope to see you one of these days. Promise to track you down if you are in the vicinity!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Cabo San Lucas: Land-Ho!

We made it. Of course, we anchored at night (again) and didn't get any pictures of the cape, but we are here and it is beautiful!

The wind cooperated for a long time and we sailed for ~24 hours straight - very nice. We arrived in Cabo after 38 hours. It seemed longer since you can see land for a long way, but it takes forever to get here!

As you can see, we quickly adjusted to land and joined the fleet at the cantina party. We were over served and had way too much fun. No wonder they keep us on the boat for most of the trip!

So, we are moving pretty slow today. We have been in the same bar for 6 hours catching up on email, banking, and surfing the web. It is amazing to be connected to everything after traveling ~1600 miles.

Tonight - the final Baja Ha Ha party where we find out where we placed in the rally. I don't think we will be last, but I know we weren't first!

We plan on staying in Cabo for about a week. It is nice to be done with schedules. We can really start relaxing now. We just have to be in La Paz by December 1 - only 150 miles away. I think we can make that! Come and visit us!

Bahia Santa Maria!


Is a very interesting place. No town, but they throw a wonderful party every year for the Baja Ha Ha fleet. They truck in food, liquor, and a rock and roll band from 40 miles away just to entertain us. You should have seen the dancing - how fun!

It was a wonderful place for us to rest up. Tomorrow, we leave at 7am for Cabo San Lucas - the final leg of the rally. Yeah!

Crit is showing off another of her talents. Serving up squid that landed on our boat - yucky thing!

Wahoo - really!


We had a beautiful sail leaving Turtle Bay - spinnakers were flying. Just after take off, Doug caught his biggest fish yet - a 38 pound Wahoo. He was so excited. Of course, just as Doug was filleting our dinner, we busted our spinnaker tack line. That made things just a little too exciting for awhile, but Crit and Doug quickly doused the spinnaker and got us sailing again.

We sailed/motored to Bahia Santa Maria approximately 70 hours anchoring at 4am - yuck. We were all exhausted and quickly crawled into bed. Did I mention that anchoring at night is my second least favorite thing? Yup, right after fog!

Good thing we have a couple of nights to rest up!

Photos from the fleet on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=all&q=bajahaha2008&m=text.

Fun and games in Turtle Bay!

As you can see, we settled into the Mexican lifestyle very easily - margaritas all around! We spent the first day wandering around the small town of Turtle Bay eating and drinking and meeting other sailors. Warning - partying on the streets of Turtle Bay can be dangerous. A slight misstep and you can find yourself tripping and conking your head - just ask me! No permanent damage...

The next day, we partied on the beach with the rest of the Baja Ha-Ha crew. A fine potluck meal, plus cervezas. It's a good thing they don't let us off the boat very often - we all get pretty wild and crazy! Poor Doug was a late comer. He was getting the boat ready for takeoff the next day and had to head into town to track down some engine oil. That's our Captain!

Leaving for Bahia Santa Maria in the morning!