Our New Home in La Paz

November 27, 2012
New Home – Marina de la Paz

Given a favorable weather window, we decided to leave on Sunday the 25th to cross over to La Paz, with a rest stop in Ensenada de los Muertos. The crossing was another Emma Jo night of magic, with winds less than 5 knots and seas less than 2 feet, dropping off to nothing in the very early morning hours. Coupled with an almost-full moon, we were enchanted.

The sea was like glass, the ocean swell disappeared about halfway across the Sea of Cortez (sheltered from the swell by the Baja Peninsula), and the water shone like a mirror.  We dropped anchor in Los Muertos about 10:30 a.m., had our first anchor dram (the Emma Jo tradition upon our safe arrival) from a bottle of Norwegian Akavit called, oddly, Anker Dramm.

We passed a beautiful, calm afternoon and evening,  then hauled anchor for the remaining six hours north to La Paz. The wind picked up a little, but the seas remained manageable, and when we rounded the point into Bahia de la Paz, the wind and sea followed us in. [Read more…]

Spectacular Passage to Mazatlan — And a Welcome Reunion

March 17, 2012
Singlar Marina, Mazatlan, Sinaloa

Well I guess we paid our dues the other night rounding Cabo Corientes in that mess.

Our 185-mile passage north to Mazatlan was … dare I say … spectacular. We had little to no wind, with the anemometer showing between 9 and 11 knots relative and subtracting our speed of around 7 knots we can safely say we saw less than 6 knots of real wind the whole 25 hours.

And with that little wind, the sea was almost mirror-calm with little cat’s paws raking the surface every now and then and a gentle swell of 0 to 2 feet most of the way.

During the night we passed two sailboats heading in our direction, giving me practice at identifying targets on the radar at night and verifying what running lights on a sailboat’s spreaders look like. The radio was quiet.

Whales Approaching Mazatlan

Whales Approaching Mazatlan

The icing on the cake was a sighting of humpback whales just after sunrise, a mother and calf feeding not 100 yards off our starboard side. When they sounded, I ran for the camera and hoped they would appear again for a picture…and as luck would have it, they surfaced and blew about 50 yards off the port side.

I could get used to that – but probably shouldn’t. [Read more…]

Leaving La Cruz and Banderas Bay

March 16, 2012

We spent a pleasant four days at the marina in La Cruz, and Ole was in pig heaven wandering around the downtown chandlery Zaragosa Marine, saving me thousands of dollars by not buying everything that caught his fancy.

The bus system makes all kinds of sense here – for 16 pesos, the equivalent of a dollar and a half, we were able to take a 45-minute trip into town for supplies, lunch, and a much-needed haircut. Neither of us has been here since the mid-80s, and the development is astounding.

And we’ve thoroughly enjoyed the company of Daneen and Andy on Rose, dining at the marina restaurant, hosting them for baccalao, and passing “jam night” at the famous Philo’s restaurant complete with falling-off-the-bone bbq ribs and some great amateur (and closet professional) musicians entertaining us until just after midnight. [Read more…]

Well, THAT Was Fun…

March 13, 2012
Marina Riviera Nayarit, La Cruz
Banderas Bay

When we left Chamela last Monday morning, we saw the only “hole” in the weather around Cabo Corientes would occur between 6:00 and 10:00 pm, when the winds would theoretically die down to less than 15 knots.  The forecast for the rest of the week was 20-25 knots for days.

We timed our departure accordingly, leaving Chamela just before 8:00 a.m. to travel with a few sailboats toward the Cape. The late morning hours were fine – certainly 5-7 foot swells, and apparent wind from 15-20 knots. I made lunch…then it all went horribly wrong.

[Read more…]

Underway from Manzanillo to Barra de Navidad

March 4, 2012

Las Hadas Resort

Las Hadas Resort

It’s been a wonderful few days here in Manzanillo, and it’s amazing how quickly we can settle into a routine once we’ve found a great place like this. Mornings puttering around getting chores done, then afternoons by the pool, with the obligatory margarita for me and Negra Modelo for Ole.

One of the best things about this lifestyle is connecting with people who share our passion for cruising…making new friends at each anchorage, and reconnecting with those we’ve met along the way. We’ve shared dinner and boat brand knowledge with Ron and Sheryl from Lazy Days, a 44+5 DeFever. We’ve reconnected with Barb and Gary from Hurrah, a Taiana double-ender we originally met in Bocas del Toro. And we met the wonderful Christophe and Marianne, Swiss friends of Gerry and Chris whom we’ve heard so much about. [Read more…]

En Route from Ixtapa to Manzanillo

February 27, 2012

We’ve been underway since 2:00 p.m. yesterday, and are currently about 4 hours from our anchorage in Manzanillo, where we expect to arrive some time between 4:00 and 4:30 p.m.

Our principal weather sites, Magic Seaweed, PassageWeather, and BuoyWeather, indicated we’d have little to no wind, and very small swell today – and that conditions would begin deteriorating tomorrow. So off went the lines, and out we went, planning on a passage of about 27 hours to travel the 180 or so miles. [Read more…]

“Repairing Your Boat in Exotic Locations”

February 23

Ah, boating. Defined as “repairing your boat in exotic locations.”

Acapulco Harbor

Leaving Acapulco Harbor

We hadn’t even cleared Isla Roqueta off the entrance to Acapulco yesterday when we heard a mysterious bang (not the kind of thing you really look forward to hearing on a boat while you’re underway).

A quick run through the salon and the sound of rushing water…under the sink!  The hose between the hot water tank and the kitchen sink blew, and fresh (thank god) water was spraying all over under the sink. That wouldn’t have been so bad, but it has to GO somewhere, so it went down, through the acoustic overhead in the engine room, and under the cabinets and into the carpet in the salon. [Read more…]

At Anchor, Acapulco

February 22, 2012

Arriving in Acapulco harbor at 10:00 last night, we were finally anchored by 11:05 pm – exactly 36 hours after leaving Huatulco on Monday morning.

The 235-mile journey was pleasant, with seas less than 3 feet, winds less than 5 knots, and lots of wildlife for company.

Sea Turtle

Sea Turtle Dodge Ball

First, it was playing “dodge ball” with the hundreds of sea turtles along the way. Then yesterday morning, we saw splashing in the distance and thought it must have been fish. As we got closer, we found it was a grand ballet of rays (I think mantas, they had that ’57 Chevy grill on the front) leaping up to 10 feet in the air and flapping in unison. Tried to get pictures, but they were too fast and unpredictable.


Dolphin Escort Committee

And at about 5 pm, a lot of splashing and jumping in the distance turned out to be about a dozen dolphins, who rushed over as we got close and played in our bow wake for about 10 minutes. They were the first grey ones we’ve seen since we left Florida – most of our dolphin sightings throughout Central America have been spotted ones. They were so happy – so close that we could hear them “talking” and smell their breath (gives new meaning to “tuna breath.”) [Read more…]

Underway for Mazatlan…

February 21, 2012

Chahue dockside goobye committee

Chahue dockside goobye committee

After almost exactly 22 months, we finally threw off the lines and left Huatulco yesterday. We’re sitting in the pilothouse enjoying the second day of a pleasant 235 miles of our first leg to Mazatlan – hoping to either anchor in Acapulco if we need rest, or complete another 110 miles and drop the hook in Zihuatenejo for a few days. [Read more…]

Crossing the Gulf of Tehuantepec and Arriving in Huatulco

Marina Chahue, Huatulco, Mexico

Well, we made it, voyaging 522 miles over 76 hours across the dreaded and respected Gulf of Tehuantepec. It was the longest passage Ole and I have made together, requiring three overnight runs and constant monitoring of weather, and I must say, we picked a superb window.

We left Barillas Marina at 6:50 in the morning, and were guided out to the ocean waypoint by their panguero. The sea state was fairly calm, consisting of loooonnnnnggg 12-15 second Pacific swells of 4-6 feet, with the wind picking up each afternoon, peaking just before sunset, and subsiding throughout the night. We never had wind over 15 knots (actual), and it was mostly from the west or southwest. Occasionally the wind and swells competed with the current, resulting in a chop that reached 3 or 4 feet on top of the swells, but none of it was overly unpleasant – we just spent a few uncomfortable hours bucking like a bronco from time to time. We had three scheduled “bailout” ports along the way in case the weather turned, and as we approached Puerto Quetzal in Guatemala, Puerto Madero and Salina Cruz in Mexico, conditions looked great to just keep going. The challenge was to make sure we each got enough rest – sleeping 6 or 8 hours through the night is impossible on this kind of passage – so we just took turns standing watch, spelling each other with naps as needed.

We were joined by a couple of hitchhikers who jumped aboard somewhere around Puerto Madero and stayed with us for two days – we christened them Gertrude and Heathcliff…and in spite of arm-waving, horn blasts, and fierce yelling, they sat and shat all over the fly bridge, making themselves quite at home. I had to remind myself of “The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner,” though, and not get too tough with them lest we anger the Tehuantepec weather gods.

Conditions were so favorable, we arrived at Marina Chahue in Huatulco and were alongside at 12:45 (our time) in the afternoon, in good enough shape to meet the neighbors, have a beer or two, and stay up until 10 pm. It’s now just past noon on Monday, April 19, and we’re still waiting for the officials to clear us in. They were going to come yesterday (but it was Sunday) at 3:00 pm, they were going to start coming at 11:00 this morning, but we haven’t seen a soul yet. Aah, Mexico!