Category Archives: s/v Deep Playa

What’s Next?

After our successful fall navigation of the west coast of the United States, winter and spring cruise of Mexico, and summer Land Yacht tour of the United States we’ve decided we’re ready and excited to re-engage in our careers. We own nothing but Deep Playa, her contents and a couple of boxes at our Moms’ houses. We have no storage unit full of junk and no property to which we need to return. So the obvious first question is where to do want to live?

We’ve given a lot of thought to how we’ve been living and here’s what we’ve learned.

  • We love the ocean even more than we did in Seattle. The seabirds, the whales, the fish. Crystal clear, green warm waters. Long beaches to run on. All amazing!
  • There is a lot to be said for amazing weather. Although, Patrick could definitely handle some cold crappy weather every once in a while.
  • We have grown to love this more relaxed cruising lifestyle.
  • Cute dusty Mexican towns are nice to visit, especially if there is surf, but we get bored living there.
  • As in our house, in our condo and on the boat, we continue to enjoy living in a simple space with modest amounts “stuff”.
  • We miss the variety of dining and entertainment options modern US cities brought to our lives. Coastal Mexico is very homogenous.
  • We miss the Asian influences of Seattle. Especially the food!
  • Living at anchor can be isolating, inconvenient and it’s hard to sleep more often than you’d think.
  • We miss the convenience land mobility brings to life. Being able to jump on the scooter or a car and go someplace or get something.
  • We need a bed which can be accessed from the sides, so one person isn’t crawling over the other to enter and exit.
  • We miss having a tinker space or workshop to work on geeky stuff and projects.
  • Dawn needs to be able run when she wants and go to the gym.
  • We eat a lot of veggies and miss the variety and high-quality of produce available in the US.
  • Dawn misses a full size kitchen and pantry full of options.
  • Long hot showers with water pressure so strong you can barely stand-up.
  • We miss really good wine. And Matty won’t bring us any!
  • We miss hoppy IPAs. And Russian River Brewing won’t bring us some Pliny!
  • We miss friends our own age. We miss younger friends. We miss geeks. We miss our kind of weirdos. We miss the depth of friendships and conversations you get from living in one place. We miss having a place to host our friends.
  • We miss the collaboration and excitement that a great job brings to life. Working together with others to make something new. Growing our own skills. Mentoring others and seeing them grow.

With all that in mind, we started to think about where to live and really the only two coastal cities with adequate job options and access to the Ocean are San Diego and Honolulu. Ultimately, while Honolulu may be more complicated logistically and have a smaller job market, we think the lifestyle which is offered there is more appealing. We also have friends who live there already which is a huge bonus.

Will we sail to Hawaii? Living in a marina again would be fun. Living in a marina offsets a lot of the “living on the hook” inconveniences. But, in our mind, Hawaii is not is not a great place to live aboard a sailboat while working. The day and weekend trips seem limited and we’re not day sailors or racers. We think a power boat or catamaran would be more ideal in Hawaiian waters. It’s not a done deal, but we’re looking into selling Deep Playa here in Mexico. We have yet to meet with a broker, but we’re gathering information and looking into our options. It might turn out to be better to take the boat up to San Diego. We don’t know enough yet to make that decision. If we go to San Diego instead of Honolulu then living aboard is a more viable option and one we’d consider. It would be very hard to say goodbye to Deep Playa, but it’s just as exciting to think about what we’re going to do next and to get on with doing it.

So there it all is. We’re getting jobs. Honolulu is our favorite option. We don’t plan to take the boat to Honolulu. We have no precise timeline, but we definitely won’t be in Mexico for the summer.

Our Life in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle

I must apologize for ignoring our blog lately.  Life in Mexico is rewarding, relaxing and wonderful, but it also has its challenges.  One of those challenges includes finding good reliable Wi-Fi access to upload our pictures and blog posts.  So we spend a lot of time moving from café to café utilizing free Wi-Fi while enjoying a bebida fresca.  Most of the time the Wi-Fi is iffy, at best, so I have to utilize the time online very efficiently. 

We are currently anchored in La Cruz (“The Cross” in Spanish) de Huanacaxtle in the state of Jalisco, Mexico.  It is a small fishing village just north of Puerto Vallarta in Bahia de Banderas (Bay of Flags) on the Pacific mainland of Mexico.  La Cruz is a popular destination for cruisers because of its benign weather during the winter months, relatively quiet anchorage (although rolly at times), and easy shore access via a dinghy dock in the La Cruz Marina.  The village is growing from its original roots but still holds its small town vibe due to its beautiful town square and cobble stone streets.  Along the marina malecon is the open-air fish market where the pangas are docked and fish is carted off straight from the bay.  Every Sunday there is a farmers market where I buy organic fresh salad greens, fresh fruit, handmade jewelry and art and, most importantly, yummy homemade baked goods.

Sunday Farmers Market

La Cruz Sunday Farmers Market

Panga beach

La Cruz Fisherman’s Panga Beach

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La Cruz’s Fresh Fish Market

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Stingray swimming by in the La Cruz Marina

So far we have been here for about a month.  And we love it. Smile  The people are so friendly and the restaurants located here are so diverse and interesting.  There is a German restaurant, a British pub, and an Italian restaurant with wood-fired pizza.  And not to mention the many cheap and delicious local taco stands that pop out of the wood work after dark.  One of our favorite places is Huanacaxtle Bar & Café that is is owned and run by a local family.  They are super friendly and make you feel like one of the family every time you show up.  They have an awesome happy hour, 10 peso draft beers, and host karaoke night on Tuesdays, but Oliver is ready for some karaoke any night of the week and will try his hardest to convince you of the same!

Singing our hearts out!

Patrick and me singing karaoke after a few 10 peso happy hour cervezas.

It’s also a popular day trip for tourists from Puerto Vallarta and Punta de Mita because of the easy and inexpensive bus ride. Since La Cruz is so convenient to get from PV’s airport, we had our friends, Melissa and Ruben, down for a visit.  It is always so nice to see friends from back home.  We took a bus up to Sayulita, a quaint hippy surfing town known for their beach palapa restaurants and surfing schools. Since they were visiting from Seattle, they brought a gift for us…rain and clouds!  We hadn’t seen rain since we left San Diego!  That didn’t deter us from enjoying ourselves so we took a bus ride up to Sayulita.

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Melissa, Ruben and Pea getting wet in Sayulita

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Sayulita beach during our wet beach walk

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Downtown Sayulita in the pouring rain

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At least we got an amazing rainbow in payment for the rain and clouds.

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Double rainbow over the La Cruz Marina

And when the clouds and rain cleared up we took at trip into Old Puerto Vallarta and explored the city a bit.  We really enjoyed this part of Puerto Vallarta because of its beautiful beach, historic buildings and streets and interesting art work.  This is much better than Neuvo Vallarta and Paradise Village, which has a very sterile and “Americanized” feeling.

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Walking along the malecon in Old Puerto Vallarta

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View of the breakers along the malecon in Old Puerto Vallarta

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Patrick trying his first tamarind-flavored margarita based upon Ruben’s recommendation…yes it was quite yummy!

This February was our second wedding anniversary Smile and it was my turn to plan our celebration, which wasn’t too hard since there is so much to explore and experience in this area of Mexico.  And so I surprised Patrick with a surf lesson in Sayulita. We decided to use Patricia’s Surf School, which is located right on the beach. Edgar, our teacher, gave us land-based instructions before we hopped into the water to try and catch some waves.  The small surf allowed us to get up quickly and we had such a blast that we decided to make more time for surfing and consider buying our first boards. Smile

Sayulita sunny beach

 Sayulita’s beach after our surfing lesson….enjoying mas guacamole and tatopos

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Sayulita’s local surfers at the school enjoying the sunny evening on the beach

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Sayulita’s beach just as the sun begins to vanish behind the hills

So what’s next for Deep Playa and her crew?  The month of March will be a busy one…there is a regatta from March 2 through the 18th, Regatta Copa Mexico http://www.regatacopamexico.com/, which is a HUGE event including J24 races, kite surfing, laser and big 80 foot yacht races, which is held in PV and La Cruz on the Bahia de Banderas.  Many of the boats and events are taking place in La Cruz Marina and right outside the anchorage.  So we will be hanging out here to watch the boats racing and hopefully hitch a ride on some viewing boats to get close up to the action.  The entire town is being beautified for this event and is quickly being transformed into a clean and well-primped world-class marina.  There is also a big Stand Up Paddle (SUP) and longboard surfing contest in Sayulita http://puntasayulitasurfclassic.com/ that we want to watch.  So our cup runeth over for the month of March.  After March, it all depends on the weather, but we plan on making our way back north to La Paz and up the Sea of Cortez. 

Mainland Mexico!

Having landed safely in Mazatlan, we headed to Marina El Cid to meet Patrick’s parents for the holidays.  We had arranged to have his parents stay in Marina El Cid Hotel while we acquired a slip in the marina, which worked out very well indeed.  El Cid Resorts are sprinkled across Mazatlan and each has a different set of offerings to its patrons.  The Marina El Cid Hotel and Marina had two nice pools, a Jacuzzi, a couple restaurants and bars to choose from.  This was a little high-end for us but we splurged since his parents were visiting and it was Christmas, after all.  We had decided to partake of a few tours during their visit.  The first tour we went on was the Old Mazatlan city tour.  It took us through the historical sections of Mazatlan and allowed us to explore the Mercado (open public market), Cathedral and town square. 

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Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

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The Mercado Central in Mazatlan

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Here we go! Trolley tour of Old Mazatlan

Our favorite tour was the Puerta de Canoas Tour  and the Los Osuna tequila factory. 

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Los Osuna Tequila Tour

The tequila tour was very interesting and the farm in which the agave was growing was incredibly beautiful.   The tour guide explained to us the process in which the agave is farmed, roasted, and then fermented.

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Blue Agave

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The Still

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Tequila bottling and aging facility

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My most favorite part of the tour was the lush green and vibrant flora and fauna on the farm.  The small buildings that dotted the farm were painted in bright colors that contrasted nicely against the deep greens of the palms and bright pinks and oranges of the Bougainvillea bushes.  They were attracting a ton of beautiful and graceful migrating butterflies that fluttered amongst the brilliant back drop of the Bougainvillea flowers.

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Bougainvillea and White Butterfly

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Purple Bougainvillea and a blue butterfly

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The old fashioned method for extracting nectar from the agave plants

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The latest technology for chopping up the agave plants.

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Pure tequila dripping from the still.  100% alcohol waiting for aging.

Our next stop on the tour was the small village of Puerta de Canoas.  We visited a horse farm where they trained dancing horses, yes, dancing horses.  These horses are hired for municipal and state events and parades such as Carnival and Revolucion Day.  I worked on a horse farm in high school and have rode my share of horses, so I appreciated the hard work that went into training these very large animals.  A couple of these horses were easily 19-20 hands tall while the trainer pushed 5’3” (including his heeled cowboy boots)!

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Dancing horses

After the horses danced, it was time for almuerzo (lunch).  We went to a small family-owned open air restaurant where the lovely senoras provided us with a mortar and pestle, roasted chilis, garlic and tomatoes so we could make our own salsa.  After we made our own salsa, they showed us how to roll and bake our own homemade corn tortillas.  There is nothing better than fresh warm homemade tortillas, salsa, and guacamole.  I think that was one of the best meals that I have had in Mexico!

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Yum!!!!

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Homemade tortilla lesson

Throughout Bill and Becky’s visit, we were able to enjoy several local restaurants in Mazatlan, including Te Lucy, which had excellent food and some of the best mole Patrick has ever had!  We appreciated the personal service and the local knowledge imparted by the maître d’.

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Te Lucy Restaurant in Old Mazatlan with Bill and Becky

Thanks to Bill and Becky for coming to visit us during the holidays.  It made it feel a little more like Christmas having some family near to help us celebrate!

XMas tree in El Cid Morro

El Cid Morro Christmas Tree!

Finally Leaving the Grips of La Paz

While we understood why many cruisers claim that La Paz is where cruisers come and they never leave.  We had plans to meet up with Patrick’s parents in Mazatlan for Christmas holiday week so we weighed anchor and headed back down the coast to return to Ensenada de los Muertos, which is approximately a two-day sail to Mazatlan. Mazatlan is located in the state of Sinaloa on mainland Mexico.  It is approximately located just north across the Sea of Cortez from Cabo San Lucas on the border of the Tropic of Cancer.  It borders the southern end of the Sea of Cortez and has a more lush and tropical climate compared to the desert-like climate of the Baja Peninsula.  After having our share of Northers and cooler temperatures they brought to La Paz we were ready for warmer temps and tropical waters of the mainland.  After staying overnight at La Bonanaza anchorage on Isla Espiritu Santo with s/v Bella Star we headed out early to make Los Muertos before night fall.  The water was like glass leaving the anchorage with absolutely no wind so we needed to motor to make it through the Lorenzo Channel.  As we were motoring along, I noticed a ton of fish jumping out of the calm waters so I took that as a hint and dropped the hook.  I had a feeling we were going to land something good!  A few hours later just before heading into the anchorage we heard the wonderful sound of the line whizzing out of the reel.  Patrick grabbed the rod and I got my gaff and the “fish booze” ready, which is cheap vodka in a spray bottle used to knock out the fish after it lands on board.  This time we caught a Skipjack tuna!  This fish was soooo beautiful and strong!

Just as we were bleeding the tuna on deck a pod of dolphins showed up to greet us and check out our catch.  I threw the head overboard for them but they didn’t seem too interested in my measly scraps.

We quickly got on the radio to let Bella Star know that we would be hosting a tuna dinner onboard Deep Playa that night.  After quickly bleeding and fileting the fish I threw it into a marinade of soy sauce, fresh ginger, mustard and lemon juice for a couple hours.  It was a good fish but, like many say, Skipjack Tuna are the ones you throw back, and now Patrick and I agree.  It was a little too fishy for our tastes, so next time we will throw it back.

After spending some quality time hiking and enjoying nachos with Bella Star, they took off the next day for Mazatlan.  We decided to wait till the next day for the seas to settle a bit more.  The following evening we weighed anchor for Mazatlan about 7:30 in the evening.  After leaving the anchorage in a completely moon-less night we experienced rough swell (not forecasted of course) and after 45 minutes we decided to turn around and head back.

The next day we decided to leave about 4:30PM to avoid departing in the dark.  S/v Journey, who we met in La Paz and were fellow participants in the Baja Ha-Ha, buddy boated over to Isla La Piedra anchorage with us.  Everything was going great, we were even able to put up all the sails, including the mizzen, and sail along at 5 knots for about 6 hours!  Just as the sun was setting and Patrick decided to go below to take a nap the winds increased and the swells built to 6-7 feet on the beam.  Patrick came up to see what was going on and decided that perhaps this was not going to be a nice calm night of sailing.  We reduced sail to a double-reefed main.  Throughout the night the winds built up to 30 knot gusts with 8-9 foot swells with a very short period.  Due to the conditions, we decided to take short naps in the cockpit while the other was on watch.  The spray was coming over the dodger and combing making for a long, cold and damp sleepless night.  At one point, I opened my eyes to see the port side solar panel flap in the wind so we had to tie it down to ensure it didn’t flap off the boat.  Around 2:00 in the morning we chatted with Journey about our decision to turn up into the wind and the swell for a few hours to make for a more comfortable ride and they agreed and followed our lead.  Finally about 4:00AM we were able to turn down wind, which put the swell and wind on our stern and made for a MUCH more comfortable ride.  We were able to watch the sun rise just as Mazatlan came in to view.  Oh what a beautiful sunrise it was for such very tired eyes.

Sunrise 1

After weighing anchor in Isla La Piedra anchorage we crashed hard for many hours.  We didn’t even drop the dinghy in the water the next day.  At least we were in Mazatlan, in warmer weather and water!  Or at least we had hoped…but no mi amigo…it was only 68 degrees and the water was 65!!! AAAGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!

Life in La Paz, Mexico

Deep Playa has been in La Paz for nearly a month now so I wanted to write a blog post about our experience of “living” at anchor in Bahia de La Paz.  So far this is the longest extended stay in one anchorage since leaving Seattle (with the exception of leaving for a couple short day sails).  La Paz is an international port city in Baja California Sur (B.C.S), Mexico in the southeast corner of Bahia de La Paz on the Sea of Cortez.

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The Malecon in La Paz

It is a must stop over for cruisers who are on their way up the Sea of Cortez, crossing the Sea to mainland Mexico or for those prepping for the “Puddle Jump” to the South Pacific in the Spring.  There is a cruisers VHF net at 0800 on 22A Monday through Friday which provides you with very helpful information like weather, marina updates, bay information and valuable “local” knowledge about where to find what you need.  We also joined the local cruiser’s club that is hosted in Marina de La Paz, Club Cruceros de La Paz  http://www.clubcruceros.org/.  They do a lot of charity work in the local community and provide a wealth of knowledge to cruisers about the area and cruising in Mexico.  A lot of the members have been living in La Paz for more than 15 years!  We understand how cruisers can get stuck here for extended periods of time!   We will definitely be utilizing more of the services they offer when we return in the Spring when heading north up the Sea.

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La Paz Beaches lining the Malecon

Life in La Paz is pretty relaxed and laid back.  While there was the occasional rumor about a dinghy that had rode off into the sunset all on it’s own, we felt perfectly safe and occasionally left our dinghy unlocked at the dinghy dock at Marina de La Paz (which does have security).  I took multiple runs throughout the city, mostly on the Malecon, which wraps along the coast for several miles, and even has a nifty stop where they installed exercise equipment for pull ups, push ups, sit ups and stretching.  Getting around town was no problem when on foot and we had a couple copies of local maps which aided in the effort. 

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La Paz City Municipal Pier

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Palm trees against a bright blue sky

The Collectivos (local small buses that are more like taxis) are a cheap way to get around but take quite some time in getting familiar with their usage.  We have only been successful in taking one to the Soriana.  I am certain with more time we would be more comfortable in utilizing this cheap mode of transportation.  The local area hosted a multitude of marina chandleries (that sometimes monitored channel 22A), local restaurants, taco stands (we found our fav stand with $10 peso tacos) and bodegas (little family owned stores with beer and soda) all within walking distance.  The local grocery store Chedraui was only a 15 minute walk from the marina and a 50 peso taxi ride back.  They had most everything that you could want from a grocery store and more.  There was also a Mega, similar to Wal-Mart, nearby, which also had a couple hair salons, coffee shops and little restaurants in the same complex. Although we didn’t venture that far there was a Home Depot and Wal-Mart.  We also were recommended to a local seamstress, Katty, from s/v Lightspeed http://www.ecosailingcharters.com/, who makes custom spandex dive suits for $49 pesos each!  I got black, because it’s slimming, and Patrick of course, got green.  I am planning on making him a cape and a large P for his chest.  We totally look like super heroes!  These will come in handy while diving in waters that are a bit chilly and infested with stinging jellies.   Patrick also found all he needed when it came to electronics at Radio Shack and a couple local electronics stores that sold everything from serial cables to tiny drum kits for little kids.  The two local stores he recommends visiting, which were cheaper than Radio Shack, are Sterens (across from the Soriana) and El Sondido Electronics.

I have to say the best part of La Paz has been hanging around with great friends from the Pacific NW, making new and solidifying relationships that we made along the way down the west coast.  We met up with our friends from s/v Eagle  http://www.sailblogs.com/member/bigleftturn/ who we last saw in passing at the start of the Baja Ha-Ha in San Diego, s/v Bella Star, who we last saw in Newport, Oregon, s/v Lightspeed, and s/v Ventured http://svventured.wordpress.com/who we see all the time! Smile  One of our fav spots for the cruising community is The Shack.  It is a great restaurant owned by a Travis, hailing from Texas, his wife, Rosie, hailing from Mexico and their two very cute kids.  This place makes the best coconut shrimp I have ever had (Rosie’s signature dish), huge Texas-sized burgers (and I don’t even like beef, but wow, this is something to be had), and awesome $15 peso margaritas for happy hour. 

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Travis and his awesome Texan Blue Cheese Burger with Bacon

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Sailor Jerry’s Kids Yacht Club has increased it’s membership quickly.  We are still waiting for the dues to be paid!!

This was the destination to get together all the cruisin’ folks for a couple drinks and a round of darts (which I just learned how to throw, but not well).  Nicole from s/v Bella Star http://www.svbellastar.com/ is apparently a dart savant and kicked everyone’s ass including the guys who brought their own special darts.  Way to go Nickky! Smile with tongue out

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The Ringer!  Nicole with 115 points!!!! Johnny from s/v Michaela is stunned by her first-timer skills.

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Aaron and Jeannie congratulating the winner!

While the winds are blowing too hard for us to leave the boat at anchor, I have been trying my hand at baking on the boat (even though I really don’t consider myself much of one).  I have been craving cupcakes and pizza so I had to take matters into my own hands.  The cupcakes were a little heavy but you try to whip butter “until light and fluffy” by hand with a lousy plastic whisk!  Schweeeww what an arm work out!  But the whole wheat pizza dough came out pretty good.  Next time I think I will substitute 1/2 whole wheat flour with white flour to make it a little lighter.

Almond Butter Cupcake 

Almond Butter with Roasted Peanuts                                   

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Vanilla-Vanilla (made with vanilla scraped from pods) & Mint Chocolate-Vanilla

Homemade Pizza Crust

Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

Other than the occasional Norther (long lasting wind storms from the north) that forced us to stay aboard to ensure our anchor wasn’t dragging or inadvertently ramming into another boat, we thoroughly enjoyed La Paz and plan on coming back again soon. We are off to meet Patrick’s parents in Mazatlan for Christmas. We are definitely looking forward to warmer waters and weather further south. It is funny how quickly our bodies adapted to the existing environment. We had hoped to put all of the fleeces and long pants away for an extended period of time, however, I am currently wearing wool socks, long pants, a fleece and Patrick is wearing his skull cap to keep his bald head warm. It is 70 degrees outside. Last night we donned jackets and I actually began to shiver as the temperature dropped to 55 degrees.

Off to Mazatlan!  Feliz Navidad with the ‘rents!

Ensenada de los Muertos y Bahia de los Suenos?

The Cove of the Dead or the Bay of Dreams?  I laughed when I read that…really? Local land developers have been hard at work over the past few years trying to eradicate the name of this desolate little fishing village in hopes of attracting more clients to their high-priced resort.  Marketing dollars hard at work, even in Mexico.  The bay hosts several rather imposing homes perched up on cliffs overlooking the Sea of Cortez and an exclusive resort with individual infinity pools for each bungalow, horseback riding trails and a golf course.  Even the menus at the local restaurant (attached to the very expensive golf course and resort) read the “Bay of Dreams”.  They make really awesome nachos, by the way, we highly recommend them. 

We arrived in Ensenada de los Muertos after one failed attempt at leaving Los Frailes two days prior.  During the winter months there are wind storms, called Northers, that race down from Colorado and Arizona and kick up some serious steep seas and increased velocity as they make their 600 mile journey down the Sea of Cortez.  The day we left Los Frailes, Deep Playa and her crew would experience their first Norther.  We had weighed anchor early in the morning to make some good headway up north after listening to weather reports that the Northers would start blowing later in the afternoon.  We figured we could easily make it almost to Los Muertos before the full brunt of the Norther took hold.  After rounding Cabo Los Frailes well before dawn the seas and winds were calm enough that Patrick went down below to catch up on some much needed sleep.  I was just settling into enjoying the hint of a sunrise when I noticed the seas and wind start building…10 knots (that’s nothing), 15 knots (boat speed is slowing a bit now), 18, 20, 22, 25 and gusts up to 30 knots.  I thought, well, let’s see if we make it around this next point, perhaps the winds will shift and we won’t be beating so hard.  That was not to be the case and I watched the knot meter drop from 5 knots to 3 knots and then to 1.5 knots!  For those not familiar with what that actually means when applied to speed on land, let’s just say your Grandma using her walker would have made it to Los Muertos well before Deep Playa showed up.  I finally had to wake up Patrick to reassess the situation and make an executive decision to turn around and head 3 hours back or try to beat it the rest of the way to Los Muertos.  After the boat literally drove off the top of some of the steep waves and the towers located on the land weren’t moving south any longer we decided to pack it in and turn around.  With the wind and seas on our stern, we wound up making great time back to Los Frailes! :-/

The second attempt to leave Los Frailes behind was much more successful and we had a pleasant motor-sail.  Along the way up to Los Muertos we were boarded by the Mexican Navy. Yes Mexico has a Navy! Winking smile The officer was maybe pushing 18 years of age.  All they wanted was to review our paperwork and ensure that it was in order.  The officers were very polite and respectful.  He even became uncomfortable when he was asking for my age.  What a humbling experience it was for the two of us.  Their uniforms were ill-fitting and well-worn, they wore dress shoes (no boots), their guns were rusted, and the zodiac that transported them from the mother ship to ours was, to put it nicely, well-loved.  He politely thanked us for cooperating and asked us to sign a piece of paper that stated that we did not have pay a bribe nor were we abused by them in any way.  We happily obliged.

We finally reached our destination later that afternoon and proceeded to quickly pass out after a long day’s sail.  The next morning I got up early and rowed the dinghy ashore to do some exploring and go for a long run along the out-stretched white sand beach.  I also really wanted to check out this exclusive resort for myself.  I had the most wonderful run along the shore. The beaches were riddled with fenced off areas where mamma sea turtles had come ashore to lay their eggs some days prior.  I was hoping to catch some scrappy little ones making an escape, but no luck.  I ran around to the south end of the bay until I could run no further and decided to check out the resort.  I casually pretended as if I belonged there as to not attract attention to myself.  I wandered around for a while amazed at the luxury before me, while not quite grasping the fact that we were in the middle of NOWHERE in a DESERT!  I am not sure how that place stayed open while staffing, from what I counted on my short walk, four groundskeepers, two receptionists and several people who groomed the sand on the beach.  Crazy.  I went on my merry way after a couple groundskeepers began eyeballing my activities.  I had a challenging row back to the boat which took a little longer as the winds had picked up while I was exploring onshore.  After putting the dinghy away and working up a good sweat from the exercise, I proceeded to jump into the crystal clear blue 80 degree water to cool off.  Now that was my kinda luxury.  Smile

Bahia los Frailes

Our next stop on our way to La Paz was Bahia los Frailes which is not too far from the Tropic of Cancer at 23° 27’ N.  The trip north was well planned (actually it was more luck) because we had an amazingly speedy motor sail with south winds and south swells, which is highly unusual for this time of year.  We were enjoying trying to best each other’s fastest speeds while surfing Deep Playa down the large swells.  We arrived in Bahia los Frailes and were yet again taken aback by the lack of protection from the Sea of Cortez.  Patrick and I had become so accustomed to well-protected Puget Sound anchorages where we rarely were exposed to anything except tidal changes and swift currents. But we quickly got over our concern and dropped anchor close to the beach in 5 fathoms of crystal blue 83° water in good holding sand tucked behind the large headland of Cabo los Frailes.  Cabo los Frailes juts out into the Sea topped by Cerro los Frailes (the Hill of the Friars) which rises 775’ above sea level and provides some good protection from north winds and swell.  I had big plans of climbing that bad boy the very next day in hopes of taking some pictures of the breath-taking panoramic views.  According to one of the guidebooks you could scramble to the top even though there were no trails.

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Bahia los Frailes Anchorage – Deep Playa in the background

I was so excited to wake up early the next day to go exploring the very long white sand beach and hike up that hill.  Patrick, on the other hand, was let’s just say, less than enthusiastic about the idea.  As we set out early in the morning to avoid the heat of the day we hiked closer and closer to the foot of the hill.  Patrick was growing concerned as it did not look as if it offered good holding on its steep scree-covered hillside.

  Los Frailes Sunset 3

Cerro los Frailes on Cabo los Frailes

Patrick, being an experienced climber, vetoed the whole plan as there were fairly large areas of recent rockslides and not to mention the loads of really good hiding places for snakes.   Sad smile  I understood the logic but I was extremely disappointed anyway.  So instead we hiked a little while over the dunes and went into the village in search of a restaurant that, according to the guide book, offered cervezas fria.  We stumbled into the little fishing village and RV park where we ran into some Americans and Canadians that made this place their home for 6 months out of the year for the past 15-20 years!  We asked about the restaurant and learned that the old guy who ran the place just passed, in some unusual circumstances, three weeks prior and that no one had come forward to take it over. 

It's closed

No cerveza fria…it’s closed.

As luck would have it, the little village was host to a couple locals who had brought fresh organic produce from the farm a few hours away.  Oh I had been craving fresh lettuce and other veggies to make a huge salad.  We had used up our last stalk of celery and carrot just a few days earlier for a rice and beans dinner.  They were also patient enough to allow me to practice my Spanish and helped me with pronunciation.  “Lechuga” (holding up lettuce) “Si Senorita!” “Ajo” (holding up garlic) “AH hoh Senorita”, stressing the A and H syllable, and so it went back and forth until my veggies and fruit were packed in una balso (bag) and taken back to Deep Playa. That night I made a huge taco salad complete with fresh avocados, chilies, tomatoes, peppers and black beans.   Smile  Muy bueno!

Local Veg & Fruit Purchase

Fresh produce from local organic farmers helping me with my Español!

Since we were planning on leaving early the next morning to head further north 50 NM to Ensenada de los Muertos we went to bed early.   We will be back again soon enough to explore further and to enjoy the long beautiful white sand beach.

Where are you going after Cabo?

That was a question all cruisers were asking each other after the completion of the Baja Ha Ha XVIII in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  Cabo San Lucas is located on the most southern tip of the Baja Peninsula in the state of Baja Sur (South in Spanish)  It is affectionately known as “Cabo” which means cape in Spanish.  Hablo poco Español Smile   There are only a few choices.  Either you head north to La Paz for Thanksgiving (which we had planned), take the couple days sail over to Mazatlan or do the Baja Bash, which is for those who were not continuing on cruising in Mexico and must beat their boat and crew back up the Baja peninsula 785 miles to San Diego (ughhhhh no thanks)  If not for Matty coming for a visit, I think Deep Playa and her crew would have spent a couple days recovering from

the Ha Ha and then skedaddled outta Cabo.  While Cabo has it’s “must see” attractions, for instance Playa del Amor (Lover’s Beach), Neptune’s Finger, and the 85 degree water, we really didn’t enjoy Lover's Beach, Cabo

Playa Del Amor, Cabo

the city very much.  We knew it would be a tourist town but I don’t think we were totally prepared to be barraged by locals pandering their coffers especially after experiencing such remote and quiet anchorages on the western side of the peninsula. Patrick and I quickly got very tired of saying “no gracias…no gracias…no gracias” that we joked about opening up our own little store in Cabo pandering t-shirts and hats to tourists that simply read “No Gracias!”  We had heard from other cruisers that the bay was very rolly with loads of jet skis, parasailing boats and of course, cruise ships.  All of these nuisances added up to make for an extremely uncomfortable sleep and stay aboard Deep Playa.

One of the highlights of the Cabo trip was Matty’s visit.  We hadn’t seen Matty since leaving Seattle 3 months prior and we kinda missed the big ol’ jerk.  (We really do love ‘em though)  It was Patrick and his 40th birthdays the end of October, so we had planned to celebrate both in Cabo.  After some trials and tribulations and communications issues we finally met up with Matty late at night in down town Cabo.  There was nothing better than seeing (and hearing) Matty running across tourist central to receive a big welcome bear hug.  Matty treated us by allowing Patrick and I to stay in his suite for a couple days (which had a huge warm shower AND a laundry) at Sirena Del Mar Resort http://www.welkcabo.com/ not too far from where Deep Playa was anchored.  This resort was beautiful, cheap and empty!  There were only a few couples staying there throughout our entire visit.  The staff was A+ and so incredibly friendly.  He also gave me a little gift by taking Patrick away for a road trip further north, where I then spent the whole day lounging in total solitude listening to breaking surf and swimming in pools warmed by the Mexican sunshine… ahhh bliss. 

Serena Del Mar

View from Matty’s Balcony at Sirena Del Mar Resort

After all the Ha Ha festivities were complete and Matty departed for Seattle we quickly weighed anchor and departed Cabo to head north 17 NM for a more remote and relaxing setting.  We left Cabo for San Jose Del Cabo to get a slip in Puerto Los Cabo Marina http://www.puertoloscabos.com/about_the_marina.php  We were lucky to acquire a slip in the section of the marina that moored huge luxury cruising and fishing yachts.  Let’s just say that we brought down the property value a bit during our stay. We were able to finally relax (after cleaning Deep Playa for the first time since departing Monterey, Ca) and enjoyed being in Mexico!  The marina’s grounds were so beautiful and well-groomed by very hard-working groundskeepers.  The marina was encircled by winding paths and gardens that contained paintings and sculptures from local Mexican artists.

DSC02396

Patrick pretending to be impatient with me.  He’s standing in front of one of the local artist’s sculptures

I took off on my own several times for some much-needed exercise and felt very safe running on the beach and through the tourist areas in San Jose Del Cabo.  (Don’t worry Mom I asked the marina security staff if it was safe prior to my departure) We also enjoyed 2 for 1 all day happy hour (well only 11AM- 6PM) at Tommy’s Restaurant http://tommysbarefootcantina.com/Tommys/Welcome.html across the marina.  They have really great tacos (which we wound up sharing due their large size) and a very good Mexican BBQ chicken pizza baked in a wood-fired oven.

DSC02405

Tommy’s Restaurant complete with a pup to stand guard (or to take siestas)

Soon it was time to cut the dock lines once again and head north towards La Paz so we could could meet up with our friends from Seattle, CB and Tawn from s/v Palarran, who would be joining us for some sailing and exploring the last week in November.  Next stop, 28 NM north to Bahia Los Frailes.

The Boat Graveyard

Today Pea and I took a little walk through a boatyard (I will not note the name the boatyard in this post).  I love to walk through boatyards and look at the many different boats and appreciate the work being done by the owners.  I find each and every boat to be so interesting, each has her own personality, an individual soul with a story to tell.  Sometimes when you walk through a boatyard you can see and feel the level of care and love that each vessel is receiving from her owners.  Sometimes…not so much, as was the case with this boatyard.  I called it the boatyard where boats come to die.  I started to feel depressed as I could feel the weight of sadness from each vessel as we took in the scene.  As many of you know, each boat is referred to as a “she” and as you all know, we (the female collective) desire to be loved and cherished. 

Here is a boat that was gutted from a fire.

Gutted by fire

 

 

 

 

 

            

Wounded Vessel

 

Here is another “project” boat that I am pretty sure won’t be making into the water again any time soon.  Note the grill, bicycles and the new “addition” around the keel!

Live aboard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was definitely the most intriguing boat.  Pea and I weren’t sure if it was a fishing vessel or a sailing vessel.  A cutter rigged fishing vessel?

F/V or S/V?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This steel boat has now become a welding workshop for her owner.  Note the high-quality welds holding up the “addition”.  Steel Boat with House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look at that welding job!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The vessel that I felt a very strong connection with was s/v Manu  Kula from Honolulu, HI. 

s/v Manu Kula Honolulu, HI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

S/V Manu Kula

I am certain she was once a beautiful wooden ketch that was obviously loved at one point.  She still has her lovely name painted on her stern.  She must have some stories to tell of the adventures she experienced out on the open blue ocean.  But now, she is sitting here in this yard with two broken masts, dry rot and missing her caring owners.  I wonder what happens to these abandoned boats; where did the owners go and why would they leave her in such a state?

 

 

 

 

I can’t imagine leaving Deep Playa.  She is such a part of us now, a family member, a cherished and beloved soul that will reveal more and more of her stories to us as we sail onto new adventures together.     Smile  DSC_9814

Visiting Newport, Oregon

I have to say of all the destinations to be forced into a weather layover, Newport has definitely been very hospitable and then some!  Our original plan for heading down the coast to San Francisco was to head out around 100 NM and sail into San Francisco about 7 to 10 days later.  However, like so many sailing plans, things changed pretty quickly due to the lack of safe weather window so we decided to hug the coast and head to Newport, Oregon.  I am happy to report that we have really enjoyed our stay so far! 

The Port of Newport Marina on South Beach Newport provides some really accessible and reasonably priced services including showers, laundry (only a $1.00 a load), huge boat launch, pump out, fuel dock, fishing pier, fish cleaning stations (which are all over the place) and a small store.  The location is just beautiful too.  It is situated in the shadow the Yaquina Bay Bridge and the North and South jetties of the bar entrance.  The beaches here remind me of New Jersey Shore beaches without the obnoxious locals (although the local sea lions are very boisterous even into the early morning hours).  The sand dunes that line the beaches are the perfect environment for well-groomed running trails, bike trails, and equestrian trails.  The trails usually end in well-labeled signs so you can easily make your way back to the jetty or back to the beach.  There are camping grounds not too far from the beach and are an easy walking distance down to the water.   The views are breath-taking and picturesque with high cliffs, beach grass-covered dunes and rugged coast line with Yaquina Head Lighthouse as a backdrop.  A really tasty way to wet your pallet is the  conveniently located Rogue Brewery and Rogue Distillery just a hop skip and a jump from the transient dock.  S/v Bella Star has joined us in a tasting of their Gins (I had to try the Pink Gin, even though I don’t like Gin), Rums, and Whiskeys.  So far Pea and my favorite amenity has been utilizing the FREE city loop bus that takes us through the city.  This service is awesome!  We get dropped right off at the R/V Park/Marina office.  It does take some time since it is just a loop so the trip back from Fred Meyer takes almost an hour.  The bus stops around the city are sometimes not well marked so you have to ask around to make sure that you are on the correct corner.  The Old Bayfront is very cool.  It has an interesting mixture of active fishing industry with a few fisheries (including Trident Seafoods) that sit along the same block as tourist traps including Ripley’s Believe It or Not and a wax museum.  Our two favorite stops were Rogue Brewery and the local sea lions!  We spent several minutes watching the silly antics of the sea lions that have a float and a cage that sits in the middle of town.  Watching the sea lions sleeping, scratching, nuzzling each other and fighting each other is quite entertaining.  Our other fav is the Bayfront Rogue Brew Pub which serves up some tasty items like Kobe beef burgers, pizza and pasta and of course, some really yummy beers.  The Double Chocolate Stout is an excellent dessert beer that practically needs a fork and a knife.  I enjoyed the I2PA which is super hoppy!  One caveat, absolutely NO cell phones or Kindles allowed at the bar.  A short walking distance from the bayfront is Englund Marine which has a nice selection of marine supplies and knowledgeable staff.  Vince, who helped us out by lending us a battery tester (only a $700.00 tool) with just a hand shake and our word, is a valuable resource.  Besides, Oregon doesn’t have a sales tax so for us, coming from Seattle, that’s a near 10% discount!  The one thing we have yet to partake of is the Oregon Coast Aquarium which has gotten rave reviews.

The past couple of days have been beautifully clear but super blustery (right now we are rocking in our slip with 20 knot N winds) that have flared up mid-morning and lasted into the evening.  The weather forecast for the coast has gale force and rough sea warnings all the way down the Oregon coast and northern coast of California.  We are hoping to make an exit to Coos Bay on Sunday morning.  There is one other nagging issue that has been weighing on our minds that we need to get cleared up before departing.  Apparently we have a leak in our fuel tank that recently sprung up after our trip from Neah Bay.  We are looking into our options and hope to at least get us to San Francisco.   We will probably need to order a new tank and have it delivered to San Fran where we can then install it before heading down to San Diego and onto the Baja Ha-Ha.