Monday, May 31, 2010

Adios La Paz!

You know that you have been in a place too long when it is hard to say Good Bye! But, it is time for Moondance to sail away...

We are going to miss all of the wonderful friends we have made on the Baja - especially our amigos Fern and Brian. But we know that we will meet again and again - somewhere sometime. More great memories to be made for sure!

Our plans - sail over to the mainland and spend the summer in Puerta Vallarta. Everyone says it is going to be really hot and steamy, but we just received an air conditioner (thanks Fern and Brian)! Staying at Paradise Village Marina allows access to all of the amenities of the resort - pools, air conditioned bars, activities, etc., and we plan to take advantage of them all!

We are planning to do a bunch of inland trips to the high country - why not. Can't wait to see all of the beautiful places we have heard so much about.

During our extended stay in La Paz we have accomplished everything on our project list, plus more. Pretty amazing, huh? The big things:
  • Installed the watermaker, generator, wind generator (almost), opening ports in the main salon, electrical panel, and lots of new gadgets
  • Replaced the fuel and water lines, rebedded chain plates, rewired the starboard side, new canvas,and rebuilt the exhaust system
  • Plus, we still managed to have some fun - go figure.
Moondance is looking good!

Our long term plans: April 2011, we will be sailing off to the Galapagos, Gambiers, Tuomotos, Marquesas, and beyond. We are so excited!

PS: Thanks again to Ana and Steve for letting us stay at Casa Ana - it made our life so much easier while we were in project mode!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

We ought to be in pictures...

And we are! Not for any other reason except we love to share pictures of all the beautiful places we visit.

Below is a collection from our three week adventure up north. We had a great time and loved sailing again and the islands in the Sea. Brian and Fern - excellent guests and crew. Can't believe our adventure is over all ready!

PS: We are back in La Paz. We have some things to finish up and should be heading over to the Mainland within the next two weeks. Looking forward to seeing new places and people, but will definitely miss our amigos on the Baja!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bugging out!

We left San Telmo yesterday and motored approximately 40 miles to Isla San Jose. We tried to sail, but the only wind was right on our nose. We still enjoyed the ride and the scenery - even got to see a whale spouting in the distance.

We spent last night at the southern end of Isla San Jose in Bahia Amortajada and got eaten up by no-see-ums (or Mexican jejenes), so we were happy to leave first thing this morning!

I have always wanted to stop at Isla Coyote, so we did - yeah! Isla Coyote is a small rocky island that is inhabited by fishermen and their families - one of the few inhabited islands in the Sea. We enjoyed the tour of the island and the people. What a view from the top of the 40 foot island - surrounded by Isla San Francisco and Isla San Jose. If you are sailing by, you gotta check it out.

Today, we are anchored in Isla San Francisco - one of our favorite places. It has beautiful green waters and an amazing white sandy beach. We thought about hiking and fishing, but since none of us slept much last night, we decided to play in the water, walk the beach, and just hang out.

A great day followed by an early night for sure. I am thinking that Brian and Doug are going to need some Benadryl to help them forget their bug bites - they got zillions of them!

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Steak and Lobster for dinner tonight!

**Posted via Single Sideband Radio.**

With some brownies for dessert. How does that sound?

We are anchored at Punta San Telmo. We arrived here yesterday after enjoying a great sail. Flew our spinnaker, did a little wing-on-wing, and ended with an exciting finish. The wind had kicked up a bit more than we expected - guess we need to listen to the weather report once in a while!

We dinghyed to shore, which has a beautiful white beach surrounded by amazing red rock formations - kind of looks like Southern Utah. We did a little hiking and took a bunch of pictures. We have been entertaining ourselves by watching the local fisherman, the sea lions, vultures, and other wild creatures, plus the amazing stars at night. Brian snorkeled; we kayaked - busy, busy, busy.

First thing this morning, local fishermen in a panga came by and sold us 4 live langosta (lobsters) - just pulled out of the water. We immediately started planning dinner. Can't wait! Don't get me wrong, the fish that Brian and Doug have been catching have been muy bueno, but langosta - that's a whole different fish.

So far, we are the only boat in this beautiful bay. Brian keeps talking about firing a cannon off the bow if boats get too close. Moondance is going to have quite a reputation! Don't get me wrong, we love cruisers, but every once in a while it is such a special treat to have a little piece of paradise to ourselves.

**Photos will be posted once we get internet access.**

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Rocking and Rolling

**Posted via Single Sideband Radio.**

And the band wasn't evening playing!

We woke up about 5 AM on Monday anchored off of Yellowstone Beach on Isla Monserrate. The boat was rocking and rolling so much things were flying around. Since we were up (and not very comfortable), we decided to hoist the anchor and move on. A small norther was coming in and we wanted to be a little more protected.

We motored over to Aqua Verde, which is one of our favorite places. Beautiful waters, hiking, a couple of stores, and even a little restaurant. But... after cruising through the bay, we decided that there were too many boats for us to be able to tuck in far enough to avoid the swells. Time to initiate our backup plan: Bahia San Marte, which is just around the corner.

Bahia San Marte is an amazing little bay that doesn't get used much - most boats pass it on the way to Aqua Verde. Currently, we are the only boat in the bay and we are making the most of it. We have been here two days and have spent the time hiking, fishing, snorkeling, and enjoying the beautiful scenery and stunning sky - hard to believe there are so many stars out there. All of us agree, this is the best snorkeling we have seen in the Sea so far.

Doug and Brian are dinghying around the bay trolling for dinner right now. They tried fishing with bait first, but all they caught was a moray eel (4 footer they say) that didn't want to give back the hook. Wish they would have taken their camera. The water is so clear, they could have filmed the whole thing - pretty amazing!

We think we will continue South tomorrow - unless we change our mind. Decisions come very slowly around here!

I have taken so many amazing photos - can't wait to post them!

**Photos will be posted once we get internet access.**

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A wonderful time was had by all!

For sure - Loreto Fest was even better and bigger than last year and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Sometimes too much, but that is another story and I won't be sharing those pictures/videos!

There was a spaghetti feed, pancake breakfast, lost of potluck goodies, spam art contest, seminars, dingy races, plus lots more fun stuff. We played games for 3 days and were good competition, but only placed 2nd in Horseshoes. We were busts at Bocci Ball and Over the Line, but loved every minute of it. We got involved in the cleaning the bay project and found some real treasures for our costumes (which we didn't win either). We enjoyed see our old amigos, plus made lots of new ones that we look forward to meeting again and again.

Fern and Brian joined us and got right into the swing of things - we signed them up for all kinds of fun things and got them moved on to Moondance - they have loved it! Everyday, we hear "I just can't stand it!".

After the Fest, we had a "play" day and went to Loreto for a shopping and dining excursion - what a beautiful town. If you ever are close, you got to check it out. Best guacamole and ice cold cervezas can be found at La Cascada, plus you have to see the lobby of the La Posada de Los Flores hotel - it is amazing!

Tuesday, we grabbed Fern and Brian and sailed away from Puerto Escondido - Yeah! We had a little more wind and less wind than expected and Fern and Brian got a good induction to sailing in the Sea. We are anchored in Puerto Ballandra on Isla Carmen and having a grand time. We spent yesterday snorkeling, kayaking, and playing with all of the water toys. We wrapped up the day by dinghy fishing. Fern and Brian were very successful at fishing (not us). They caught a yellow snapper, hogfish, trigger fish, cabrilla, rock fish, plus a couple of small barracudas (that we didn't keep). We didn't get to eat the hogfish though - it jumped off the cleaning table! Guess we need to catch another one! Needless to say, we had a very yummy dinner that we shared with Jess and Shanna from Jessie's Girl. Why not?

Today we are sailing over to Isla Coronados - just because we can!

PS: We saw a whale shark! Not a great picture, but great fun. We think it was about 15 foot long and was just swimming around the Puerto Escondido harbor!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Loreto Fest starts today

And we are ready!

We arrived in Puerto Escondido on Wednesday and had a nice easy motor/sail from Punta San Telmo - even got to fly our spinnaker for awhile. No fish were caught (except a skip jack), but still a very good day.

Since we arrived, we have been busy cleaning, stashing, and stowing. Our amigos from La Paz, Brian and Fern, arrive today to join in on the festivities and we had to get Moondance ship/shape. Did I mention we have way too much crap? Well, we do. It must be time for a yard sale - just need a yard!

It feels like old home week here in Puerto Escondido. I am guessing there are about a hundred boats moored here for Loreto Fest and we know a lot of the cruisers. It has been fun socializing with everyone and listening to their stories and sharing tips. To kick off Loreto Fest, there was a dinghy raft up in Cocktail Cove last night. The first boat there sets an anchor and everyone ties up. Drinks and food are passed around and introductions are made. Looks like we are going to have a good time!

So far, we have signed up for:

Over the Line (defending our championship title)
Bocci Ball
Mexican Train
Chili Cook Off

And, who knows what else. No matter if we win or lose, I know we will have a wonderful time!

PS: Our costumes for the Saturday night party: Endangered Sea Slugs. Very appropriate, huh?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Trekking South

**Posted via Single Sideband Radio.**

We spent two nights anchored at Isla Coronados and had a grand time - the weather and water were warm and wonderful. We spent the days hiking, fishing, and playing in the water. Wait until you see the photos - they are amazing.

Yesterday, we anchored off of Loreto and said farewell to Fern. She bussed back to La Paz and we miss her all ready. Brian is going to sail south to La Paz with us and he's looking forward to the adventure. We hope to show him a great time and really hope to catch some more fish!

We left Puerto Escondido today and motored over to Yellowstone Beach on Isla Monserrate - our first time here and it is just beautiful. The beach is lined with yellow striated limestone bluffs, plus we had the most amazing sunset - hot pink and orange. We are looking forward to more fishing, snorkeling, and checking out the beach tomorrow.

Wish you were here!

**Photos will be posted once we get internet access.**

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Crazy for sure!

No, our projects are not finished, but we are close.

No, our engine issues have not been resolved, but progress has been made.

Yes, we decided to sail Moondance north to Puerto Escondido for Loreto Fest! There are parties, games, prizes, food, drink, and a lot of our cruising buddies will be there. How could we miss that? Plus, we have to defend our "Over the Line" championship from last year. Go Team!

So, we left La Paz yesterday, April 26. It took a week to get Moondance ready to go and, needless to say, we still weren't ready. We are still stowing and cleaning as we cruise and don't expect that to change for awhile!

We have loved our time at Casa Ana and staying at Ana and Steve's wonderful home has allowed us to work on some major boat projects. But, it feels so good to be on Moondance again - we have missed our home plus missed being on the water!

We motor sailed to Isla San Francisco, which is further than we planned, but the wind was good and we needed to cover some ground. We experienced the most beautiful sunset with a spectacular dolphin show - how fun! We anchored in the dark at 9; dinner at 10; and asleep by midnight. Pooped!

Today, we had a great sailing day and even used our whisker poll to sail wing-on-wing (first time on Moondance). Didn't catch any fish, but enjoyed our day. We dropped our anchor at Punta San Telmo and are enjoying a beautiful evening and arrachera tacos for dinner while we listen to the Cubs game. Why not?

Tomorrow, we are hoping for another fun sailing day and expect to be in Puerto Escondido early afternoon.

Life is good!