Sunday, June 21, 2009

Locking down Moondance...

We are happy/sad today. This is the last time we will see our boat/home until ~October. We are definitely going to miss it, plus the adventures and all of the wonderful people we have met along the way.

We have spent the last 12 days getting Moondance ready for the extremes: temperature 120 degrees, high humidity, 70+ mph wind, waves, bugs, and whatever else might happen!

We have -
  • Removed the sails, canvas, life raft, dinghy, and anything else that might blow away and stuffed them inside (like a turkey).
  • Cleaned the engines, holding tanks, fridge, pipes, and whatever else might corrode or grow something nasty.
  • Wrapped ports, hatches, winches, etc. with aluminum foil and blue tape - very pretty and it will keep us safe from alien transmissions!
We are pooped, but all of this work (and sweat) have a slimming affect on our waistlines. We don't eat much, but beverages go down very quickly!

In between projects, we attended a wedding reception for local singing sensation, Mark Mulligan. We didn't know the bride and groom, but the beer and entertainment were free!

We dined out a lot (propane issues) and found some great places to eat, plus enjoyed some of the local entertainment - Mark Mulligan performed "Jimmy Buffet" music at La Palapa and an AMAZING Mariachi band at the Marina Cantina. How fun!

Our vacation starts today. Our wonderful friends, Steve and Ana, picked us up in San Carlos and we are now in Tuscon. It is very surreal to be back in the States. All of the conveniences and luxuries right at your fingertips!

Our route to Alameda will be:
  • Tucson, AZ
  • Sedona, AZ
  • St. George, UT
  • Bakersfield, CA
Might as well have some fun along the way right? We will be back in Alameda on June 30.

We look forward to seeing everyone. If you don't want company, don't answer your phone!

PS: We will still be blogging this summer, so please check back!

Hanging with Totem

How fortunate we have been! Our good sailing buddies on Totem are also docked at Marina Real - just three slips away.

We have all been very busy getting our boats stowed away, but we took some time to hang out with Jamie, Behan, Niall, Mairen, and Siobhan.

We are all cleaning out our perishables, so we had steaks (filet mignons) on Moondance.

We were invited over for Gourmet Pizza Night on Totem. A lost track of all of the wonderful creations that Jamie baked, but I know they were all good.

And threw a party on the beach. We played some boccie ball, tried to ski down the sand dunes, played in the water, and laughed a lot.

Totem left on Thursday heading back to States. We were very sad to see them go, but we will all meet again - on our boats in the Sea in the Fall!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

We were robbed!

Can you believe it?

While we were sleeping last night, something (Raccoon?) climbed inside our boat and stole the Brownies that Behan (Totem) gave us (which we were saving!).

The evidence -
  • Brownie bag moved from our galley (kitchen) counter to the deck
  • Brownies scattered across the deck
  • A chocolate paw print left during the getaway
Doug thinks I must have scared it as I prowled around watching the thunderstorm - the thief didn't get a chance to finish devouring the Brownies.

I am glad I didn't see the thief - I would have had a conniption!

Friday, June 19, 2009

And they said it wouldn't last...

Can you believe it? Today, we are celebrating 27 years of marriage!

We were married in 1982 in Hermiston, Oregon.

Doug received a job offer from Sandia National Labs in Albuquerque, New Mexico, so we packed up our meager belongings and moved 2 weeks later.

It has been a wonderful adventure. We have traveled zillions of miles (by land and by sea), met lots of wonderful people, and seen some amazing sites.

Next year, we hope to sail as far south as Nicaragua. After that, the South Pacific, French Polynesia, and all of those wonderful islands.

Can we make it 27 more years? We don't know where we will be or what we will be doing, but we are sure going to try!

PS: We got a good laugh at looking at our old photos. We were sure styling!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Happy Birthday, Ken!

What a cutie, huh? I am guessing you were 12 and living in Hermiston, Oregon, at the Grody hotel. True? That ought to take you back!

You were looking good then but, looking even better now! I am not even going to try and guess your age - that would just make me think about my age - oh my!

Sorry we can't be with you to celebrate your Birthday, but we are thinking of you. Hope you celebrate in style!

We are looking forward to visiting you and the family this summer in New Hampshire.

Love Carla and Doug

Sunday, June 14, 2009

We made it to San Carlos!

We did - we completed our last big trip on Moondance for the season and are now at Marina Real in San Carlos (mainland).

We have a great view of the Tetawawi mountain, which is part of the Sierra Madre mountain range (We don't need no stinking badges...). Very impressive!

The journey took us 16 hours, but no problems. We motored some, we sailed some, plus tried to catch some fish - no luck. But, we did see Marlin jumping around us - what a site.

We saw an amazing sunset over the Baja Peninsula.

Followed by a beautiful sunrise over San Carlos.

Next, walking the beach in search of food and cervezas!

We will spend the next 12 days securing Moondance, plus do some tourista stuff. We are supposed to anticipate 70 mph winds - oh my!

San Carlos is heating up: 97 degrees and 55% humidity!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Santa Rosalia - Baja Peninsula

Santa Rosalia is an old copper mining town that has lots of relics from the past. It also has very interesting architecture and a large French influence (mine owners). Copper ore would be shipped to the States and wood from Tacoma, Washington, would be shipped back. So, you see lots of wood (versus concrete) homes. They are very beautiful and colorful.

This is a photo of Iglesia Santa Barbarba - steel church built by Gustave Eiffel (Eiffel Tower's creator) and shipped from Brussels. Interesting, huh?

Santa Rosalia is definitely not a tourist destination, but we found lots of good food and things to entertain ourselves.

Statue on the malecon representing the works at the mines.

Attended a local baseball game - rival teams from local towns (doubleheader). We were the only gringos and stood out, but the locals were very nice to us!

Had a wonderful breakfast at the Hotel Francis - beautiful building - built in 1886 - and toured the museum.

A nice place to hang out - have some fun, meet some nice people, and get a few boat projects done.

We leave tomorrow for San Carlos - approximately 70 miles east on the mainland. That means one overnighter, but we are getting used to it. Hopefully, we will have some wind so that we can set our sails!

PS: We made it to San Carlos just fine - I will do a new post soon.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Big squid - yuck!

There is a lot of activity here in the Santa Rosalia harbor late at night! The pangas leave around 6pm and return starting at 11pm and throughout the wee hours of the morning. They are fishing for the big Humbolt Squid (Diablo Rojo or Red Devil) that come to the surface at night to feed and are attracted to light.

From what we have heard, the first squid is caught, cutup, and thrown back which starts a feeding frenzy and the fishing/jigging starts. The boats coming back are loaded and riding very low in the water.

We had to go check it out. The local pescaderos were very nice and excited to show us their catch. I was hoping to photograph a squid before they were cleaned, but that is completed outside of the harbor - good thing.

Just so you can get an idea, we found a video on YouTube - pretty scary (and dangerous) creature!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Back to the basics...

Of sailing that is. That's what happens when you have engine problems, which is what we found when we tried to leave Punta Chivato. Our oil pressure light went off - uh oh. Doug spent the day trying to figure out the problem, but no luck.

So, we needed to come up with an alternative plan. Our batteries are low, no marinas close by, the wind hasn't been cooperating, etc. But luck was with us. Jim and Lynda on Gael Force came to our rescue and loaned us their generator to charge our batteries - yahoo!

We decided to continue to head to Santa Rosalia (27 nautical miles north) in the morning with hope of finding repair equipment and/or a good mechanic. No engine, so we are hoping for good wind.

We had a lot of "firsts" on this trip. First time ...
  • Sailing off of our anchor (twice)
  • Using our staysail
  • Flying our spinnaker (in the Sea of Cortez)
  • Anchoring and motoring Moondance using our dinghy
We had limited instrumentation and use of our XM Radio (oh my), but had a very nice sail. We couldn't make Santa Rosalia, but anchored in Caleta de los Arcos on Isla San Marcos. Another new friend, Jim on Little Fawn, trailed us in and loaned us gas for our dinghy - just in case.

Next day, we tried to sail to Santa Rosalia, but the wind was fighting us. We ended up pushing Moondance with our dinghy - only six miles to go.

We had crowd of cruisers monitoring our progress to Santa Rosalia - thank goodness! Lots of offers to come out with their dinghys, bring us fuel, pull us in, get us a slip, and much more. When we finally pushed our way into Marina Singlar, a line of folks were on the docks to manage our lines: Jim and Lynda (Gael Force), Frank and Linda (Discovery), Alan and Barbara (Native Son), plus the Marina crew. We made it safely Thanks to all that helped!

To celebrate our arrival, Discovery had us all over for Happy Hour on their boat - which has A/C. How about that? Then touring the town, yummy hot dogs for dinner and ice cream for dessert. Aren't cruisers wonderful?

All-in-all, quite the adventure. A little stressful, but that is cruising. I am sure happy that I married a sailor.

PS: After all of the worries over our engine problems, it turned out that our sensor went bad. A quick/inexpensive fix. Yahoo!

We decided we need to sail (versus motor) more often. We like it.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Punta Chivato - Baja Peninsula

Well, we tried to go to Mulege to provision, but the wind and the anchorage didn't cooperate. Instead, we traveled 9 more miles to Punta Chivato and are happy we did.

Punta Chivato is another beautiful bay (go figure!) on the Baja Peninsula. It is lined with expensive homes, an air strip, a couple of restaurants, and a fancy hotel. We decided to treat ourselves to dinner at the fancy hotel, but changed our minds - $38 a plate is too much to pay for fried chicken.

But, it was worth the trip. While at the hotel, we were told that they would be closed for two days and there wouldn't be anyone around to kick us out of the pool. We took advantage of that - we spent two days swimming and lounging. Can't beat that!

We met some wonderful new friends from Tucson/San Carlos: Wally and Sue on Toucan and Stu and Maggie on Mistress. We look forward to sharing more great times with these guys.

We checked out the golf course (hah!), walked the amazing shell beach, socialized, and the usual fun stuff!