Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Loreto Fest in Puerto Escondido

From Aqua Verde, we cruised to Honeymoon Cove on Isla Danzante (Dancer Island). A beautiful anchorage that we had all to ourselves - yeah! One night of peace and quiet and then over to Puerto Escondido for 4 nights of Loreto Fest - good fun for all!

The Fest started with a Raft Up. Load up in the dinghy, bring a beverage and snack, and meet your fellow cruisers. It was a very good time and we met lots of new folks, plus old buddies.

There were lots of games, activities, and seminars to keep us busy. We signed up for the Bocci ball and Horseshoes, but didn't fare too well.

We hooked up with Marv, from Odyssey, to form a team for the "Over the Line" game (baseball sort of!). We went from underdogs to BIG WINNERS with prizes and everything - how cool is that!

We were very impressed with Loreto Fest and the Hidden Port Yacht Club - they did a wonderful job. If you are in the area next year - check it out.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Agua Verde - Baja Peninsula

This place is beautiful! Besides the amazing bay and the fish camps, they have a school, churches, a store, and even a cafe - civilization!

This is a very popular stop for cruisers and we met up with Odyssey, Meerkat, and other fellow travelers. Always nice to spend time with friends!

We spent two nights here exploring and visiting.

I even got up early to catch the sunrise and watch the goats (with their bells on) trekking along the mountain.



Be sure to check out the Pelican feeding video. It is pretty amazing!
video

Friday, April 24, 2009

Punta San Telmo - Baja Peninsula

After leaving Caleta Partida, we sailed / motored to Isla San Francisco - the North lobe. Check out who blew by us - the crew from Odyssey! We were cruising along - reading books, listening to the Cubs game, too lazy to put up all of our sails. Good job Odyssey!

At Isla San Francisco, we just happened to meet up with Laura, Patrick, Jack, and Rudy (the dog) on Just a Minute. A wonderful family we met in Mazatlan. Welcome to the Baja!

From there, we motored / sailed to Punta San Telmo where we spent two nights all by ourselves in the Northern anchorage. We fished, kayaked, and generally goofed off. Of course, the kayaking was quite the adventure. Did you know those tip over easily? Well they do - I spent more time in the water!

Manuel, a local lobster diver, stopped by with a fresh catch. They were excellent!

We kayaked over to the Southern anchorage and were excited to see Jim and Heather on Meerkat - what a small world!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Where is Moondance?

Since Doug has successfully passed the Ham License tests (yeah!), we can now use some of the cool technology to track our adventure - like ShipTrak. If you want to know where we are and where we have been, check out the "Where is Moondance?" link in the right column of the page. Believe it or not, we are actually cruising!

Caleta Partida

Yeah, we finally got out of La Paz (again) and headed to the islands! Our first stop was Caleta Partida. A large anchorage between Islas Espiritu Santo and Partida. The anchorage is beautiful with green water, white sand beaches, and a fish camp.

Along the way, we watched sea lions playing on top of the water, plus a dolphin circling the bay.

We had a wonderful surprise. Not long after we anchored, we were surrounded by our good friends from Gate 11 - Marv and Ardy on Odyssey. They joined us for an impromptu Happy Hour - how cool is that!

A Coromuel kicked up at in the evening and made for a sleepless night (except for Doug). Oh well, we can catch up on our sleep in route to Isla San Francisco!

Top 10 things to bring to Mexico - updated!

Well, at least it is our top 10 (okay, we can't count). If you are heading this way, you might think about adding them to your boat. They sure have helped us!
  1. Sea of Cortez Cruising Guide - this book is amazing - all of the cruisers love it. The waypoints are dead on, plus they include hiking trails, recipes, and more. Also, Shawn and Heather's book on mainland Mexico will be available Fall 2010.
  2. Keens or Tevas for trekking in the water and hiking on land.
  3. AIS - the ability to hail a ship by name at 3 am - priceless. If you don't know the ship by name, they probably won't answer.
  4. Dinghy wheels - a necessity.
  5. 12 V adapters for computers, cameras, or whatever.
  6. Portable invertor.
  7. Rechargeable batteries.
  8. Bruce style anchor - we had trouble setting our CQR.
  9. XM/Sirius Radio - we love listening to the Cubs games.
  10. Solar lights (bow and stern) - for nights you don't make it back to the boat in time to turn on the anchor light!
  11. Wonder Wheeler - these are great for provisioning, laundry, hauling fuel, etc. especially if you don't have a bike!
  12. External Wifi antenna (uni-directional and waterproof) - you will be amazed at how many places you will get free wifi - even in the bays.
  13. Pool Noodles and Chairs - these are wonderful water toys!
Hope this helps you. We are looking forward to seeing more of you cruising along with us!

Vuelva a Las Islas!

Yup, it is time to return to the islands - yeah! We have really enjoyed our time here in La Paz (again), but it is time to start heading north.

We have spent the last 3 days provisioning, stocking, cleaning, and all kinds of fun things. Doug actually made a BIG SCORE - Sierra Pale Ale! Doug hasn't had a microbrew since we left California. Life is good!

While we were in La Paz, we got to spend time with friends, enjoyed lots of good eats, danced, hula hooped (not) plus got lots of work done like...
  • Anchor windlass finished and added 300 feet of chain - anchor boy is happy!
  • Rebuilt the holding tank
  • Remodeled the water system and added a new water filter
  • Remodeled the aft head and mounted the generator - yeah - no more moving that heavy sucker!
  • Rebuilt the exhaust system
  • Lots of work on the alternator - hopefully it will quit eating belts
  • Got rid of some junk at the Junk Sale
Whew - we need a vacation!

We won't have internet access until May 1, when we arrive in Loreto. Loreto is north approximately 120 nautical miles. We hope to explore lots of islands along the way, plus catch some fish. The Yellow Tail are running, Grouper, Snappers and other good eats. The water should be nice and warm for swimming and snorkeling - yeah!

Good timing on our part - we are actually going to be in town for the Loreto Fest -another cruisers party!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Plans for the next 6 months...

videoWell, we haven't got to any of the details yet, but below is our cruising/vacationing plans for the next 6 months. And, Yes, we do need Hula Hoop lessons - immediately!
  • April 22 - Leave La Paz and head north to the islands to do some sailing, exploring, fishing, etc.
  • May 8 - Phil and Danette fly into Loreto to spend 10 days with us - Yeah!
  • June 15 - Dock and lock Moondance down in San Carlos, Mexico (mainland) for hurricane season
  • June 22 - Travel with Steve and Ana by car to Arizona
  • July, August, and September - Travel around the states in the Ol' Red pickup (we hope) visiting family and friends and finishing up some business stuff we left behind - please save a room for us!
  • August 8 - Mini-family reunion in Pasco, Washington (Phil and Danette's place)
  • October 15 - Back to San Carlos, Mexico to get Moondance sailing again
That's it so far and as always, subject to change. We are really looking forward to our vacation and to seeing everyone in the States again!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Best margarita in La Paz!

La Costa restaurant (Topete e Navarro) makes the best margaritas in town (we think), plus have excellent food and staff. Gabino and Zulema graciously allowed us to film the process.

Behold - the perfect margarita!



Also, La Costa has a wonderful beach setup for playing volleyball. Join us sometime!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

6 months all ready?

It is hard to believe, but it is true - we have been cruising for 6 months. Our Alameda amigos cut our lines and pushed us off the dock on October 15, knowing that was the only way we were ever going to leave. We are so glad they did.

The six months that we have spent cruising has been better than we ever thought - we have met so many great people, seen so many wonderful sites, and learned so much. It has been an amazing adventure and we are just getting started!

- Things we miss... family and friends (of course), Lo Coco pizza, Microbrews, SPORTS, shopping and finding everything you need/want, California Zinfandels, pedicures, mail, garlic dipped ribeyes

- Don't miss... wearing a watch, working, traffic, winter clothes, junk mail, the rainy/cold season

- Things we did well... stocking up on boat parts/supplies, having Crit as crew, bikes, dinghy wheels, refrigeration system

- Not so well... retired late, too many clothes, not enough Spanish lessons

- Things we have learned along the way... living like the locals: rebuild, reuse, barter, less resources/more elbow grease, being better prepared

- And things we love... the islands, the people, the fishing, the weather, cheap eats, arracherro tacos, margaritas, hanging out with Steve and Ana, and meeting new friends

We are looking forward to the next 6 months - come and join us!

Love Doug and Carla

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A star in the family?

Maybe - check it out!

Ryan is graduating from High School this year and a local portrait studio in the Chicago area decided to use his photos for their advertisements.

I don't blame them - Ryan is very handsome!

What's next Ryan? Cologne commercials, underwear ads, Nike spots? No stopping you now.

We love you Ryan!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter week in La Paz

This is a very special week for the locals in La Paz. Almost everyone takes their vacation and heads to the beaches for a fun-filled week - stores are closed, limited services are available, roads are empty - you get the picture.

We decided to check it out so Steve and Ana drove us to the beach at Tecolote. Along the way, we passed miles of beaches packed with cars, tents, people and lots of water toys. How fun!




On the way back to town, we stopped for paella and pizza at La Boheme.


That evening, Mike and Jeanette gratuitously shared their wonderful home (and big screen TV!) with us so that we could have Movie Night: Happy Texas entertained us all while we snacked on hot popcorn. It was a hoot!



We were invited to Fern and Brian's beautiful home in Centenario for Easter dinner. Unfortunately, La Paz grocery stores do not sell hams - at least not at Easter. Instead Fern made Lasagna - I swear, it is the best in town.

Thanks Fern and Brian!





Whew - lots of fun, plus lots of boat chores - we are pooped!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Party Time!

The local sailing club, Club Cruceros, hosted their annual Bay Fest shindig this weekend and we just happen to be available to attend. Of course, we didn't get much done around the boat, but had some fun.

The Club had lots of activities: games, wonderful local bands, dancing, boccie ball, volleyball, food and more. We had a great time and met lots of other cruisers.

We joined in the boccie ball tournament, but only made it to the second round. Apparently, we need to practice!






When is the last time you remember doing the Limbo? A very long time ago for us - we did not go very low. Saving that for the young folks!

Better get back to work!

The Week in Review...

We had a good week and just wanted to share some of the highlights!

Doug passed his Technician and General Ham License test - Yahoo! Now, he can officially use the Ham features of the HF radio - whatever that means. He was pretty nervous about the test and studied all week. Doug's statement after he passed "I was sweating bullets"! Of course, he was not 100%. We had hung out late drinking Tequilia with the gang from Scheherazade - oh my!

Ana and Steve went on a road trip and we got to house sit for them. As you can tell, it is a rough job! This is he first time the crew of Moondance has slept off the boat since August - we enjoyed it, plus we did find some time to catch up on our laundry. We just might have waited too long - ya think?



Vive la Cultura! We attended a classical concert at the Teatro de la Ciudad presented by the Orquesta de la Escuela de Musica del Estado. The orchestra ranged from age 10 - 60 and played Brahms, Strass, Verdi and more. I know, us and classical music - hah! But, we really enjoyed it.

The local sailing club, Club Cruceros, hosted a wine tasting and art event as a kick-off to Bay Fest. Not a lot of wines to taste and not any great wines, but it was well attended and we met lots of new cruisers and had a great time.

Always something going on!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Blooming...

Just had to share some of the beauty of the Baja with you!

Bougainvillea - all colors

Flamboyant trees

Mystery solved! Per Fern, the pretty yellow flowering plant is a Palo de Arco. The hardwood is used to build lots of cool stuff - like furniture.