Milagro Returns to San Carlos

It is Friday, 17 June 2016 and all is well onboard Milagro. We have completed our 110nm passage from the Baja Peninsula to the mainland arriving at San Carlos, Sonora at 0840 (MST). The passage was a mixed bag but totally fine. We didn’t expect any wind useful for sailing but were pleased to find that wasn’t entirely the case. The first couple of hours was dead calm and required motoring but after that things improved. The wind varied in strength from 0 to 12 kts starting out from SE and moving around in the night to come from the E. So, it came and went driving us to fly the light air sail, put it away and motor, then put it out again and eventually stow the big light air sail in favor of the regular jib and main. At one time or another, we saw flat, glassy water, 1′ to 2′ close spaced SE swell as well as no swell with 1′ confused chop. A mixed bag sure enough. In the end, we were able to log about 50% of the passage under sail alone with the remainder a mix of motorsailing (sails up and contributing), sailing and motoring alone.

image

Looking towards Marina San Carlos from the anchorage.

image

Approaching San Carlost this fishing boat passed off our bow a little closer than we’d have liked. Unique mountain in background is Tetas de Cabra and marks the entrance to the Bay of San Carlos.

We did have a bit of excitement at Sunset on Thursday when conditions were finally right to produce a “Green Flash” for us. After years of watching for one and listening to others recount their experiences this was our first honest to goodness, real green flash. Now we’ve seen one, very cool.

image

This photo of a green flash came from the internet but pretty closely depicts what we saw.

We anchored in Bahia San Carlos at 27 56.823’N 111 03.710’W in 20′ over sand/gravel. OAT was 87, 65% humidity, 83 sea temp and wind E at 4kts. Water is flat and green with visibility about 15′. We moved into Marina San Carlos at 1250 where Milagro will cool her heels for the remainder of the summer while her crew does some land traveling. We expect to return to her in October and resume our Mexico and Sea of Cortez sailing. Hasta luego, y’all.

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Milagro Postion Report

It is Thursday, 16 June 2016 and all is well here on Milagro. We got ourselves underway just about 30 minutes ago from Isla Coronado bound for San Carlos, Sonora. The forecast indicates that it will mostly be a motorboat ride but we have the light air sails rigged and ready with our fingers crossed. We’ve made this crossing 4 times before and have sailed the bulk of it each time so, while we don’t expect the same this time, we are hopeful. We expect to arrive in the early morning tomorrow. In the meantime, we are noisely puttering along while trying to whistle up some wind. Hasta luego.

image

Zero wind and flat seas at Isla Coronados as Milagro gets underway for San Carlos. SV Hotel California is the vessel still at anchor.

Categories: Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Sea life in the Sea of Cortez

One of the reasons we have enjoyed the Sea of Cortez is the sea life. We’ve described some of it in previous posts but today I ran across this well done video by the BBC that illustrates the subject so much better than we can.

We are back in the marina at La Paz for a few weeks. Tomorrow Milagro will be hauled out to get a fresh new coat of bottom paint and to accomplish a couple of other chores best done out of the water. By night we will be staying with Ana Hall who lives only 3 blocks from the Yard and by day Michael will be providing close supervision of the work. More to follow.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How I spent my summer vacation……

The Disney Magic

The Disney Magic

58 days ago we parked Milagro in a slip at Marina San Carlos in order to accomplish a number of things. First, the arthritis in Judy’s lower back was crying out for another treatment that would deaden the associated nerves -this is a recurring issue on roughly a 6 month cycle. She needed to travel to her doctor in the SF Bay Area for this. Second, we planned to haul Milagro in order to repaint the bottom of the hull. That part of the hull that lives under the water wears a special paint to keep barnacles and other marine growth from setting up their homes there. This needs repainting every 2 or 3 years and Milagro is due. Then, we also had a “vacation” planned that cause us to be away for a number of weeks and we wanted a secure place to leave Milagro while we were gone.

Puerto Rico!

Puerto Rico!

Judy rode the bus North to PHX then flew on to SF on the day after our arrival. I stayed on to complete some boat projects (there are ALWAYS boat projects) and to configure Milagro to fend for herself. As the time we would be gone is historically an active hurricane period this included removing all sails and outside canvas as well as making sure it would be hard for the sun (it’s PHX hot here) and bugs to get inside.

Zip Lining

Zip Lining

With the vacation behind us, family and friends visited and much shopping accomplished we finally made it back home to Milagro late on Tuesday, October 7. The “vacation” included visits to Barcelona, Tenerife, Antigua, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, a week in Puerto Rico, and then Orlando with Phoenix on both ends. Jeez, did we really need that much vacation? I guess. Maybe.

In any case, it is really good to be back on board. Even more exciting was finding that Milagro had managed our absence well. In spite of several hurricanes passing through this area while we were gone, including the very destructive “Odile”, Milagro was fine.

Many thanks are due Chip for volunteering to help us get home and to Amy for giving him a pass to do so. The Enterprise car rental folks were happy to let us take their car to San Carlos (about an 8 hour drive) but we had to bring it back to PHX. Nope, no one way rentals to San Carlos. We had planned to take the bus again but we had enough stuff with us that dragging all those bags off and back on every time someone wanted to inspect them (that happens several times on this international route) was not going to be fun. Between Chip and Enterprise though, we found this other option that was big on convenience and only a wee bit more pricey than the bus would have been. Plus we all got to enjoy a road trip together. Win, win.

After leaving her secured for weathering hurricanes there was much work to do to get Milagro ready to once again go to sea. In addition, I had sent her alternator in to a shop in the US for a rebuild while we were away and it had not been returned in time for us to bring back with us. Now it had to be shipped to San Carlos as we could not leave without it installed and working. In spite of the many horror stories often heard about shipping things into Mexico our experience (this time) is completely different. Via DHL the box made it from San Diego to Marina San Carlos in less than 48 hours – including more than 6 hours in the hands of Mexican Customs in Hermosillo! Incredible!

Old San Juan street pavers - they are blue enameled.

Old San Juan street pavers – they are blue enameled.

So now, all the work is done, groceries are bought and stowed and nothing stands in our way except a pause at the fuel dock on our way out. We plan a laid back morning today that will include checking out the Sunday buffet at the marina’s resort then we will get out of the marina sometime in the middle part of the day. After fueling we’ll anchor overnight in San Carlos Bay and then get underway for real first thing tomorrow morning, Monday Oct 13. Our first leg will be a run of roughly 24 hours to make Isla Coronados, on the Baja side of the Sea of Cortez, near Loreto. From there we will enjoy many of the countless lovely Baja anchorages as we work our way South towards La Paz.

What’s that? What about the haul out and bottom paint? Good question. When it came down to the details, the Boat Yard Manager and I could not reach an agreement regarding the cost of the project so we aborted. It still needs doing but now we’ll be shopping the project around to some of the other yards. Both Mazatlan and La Paz have excellent places to get this done and either could be convenient for us. We’ll have to see how it plays out.

Puerto Rican artist Samuel Lind in his studio.

Puerto Rican artist Samuel Lind in his studio.

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A busman’s holiday

We enjoyed a month and a bit in beautiful (but hot) Bay of Los Angeles. The parade of wildlife never stopped and there was a nice group of cruisers to interact with when we felt like being social. There was even an organized “Full Moon” party on the beach and estuary at La Mona. Good times.

We had to bug out a little early though for a couple of reasons. Judy’s lower back problems require occasional treatment (radial frequency ablation) to help manage the pain and she organized one of those through the internet at the BLA village. That plus, we needed a vacation from this brutally demanding lifestyle of ours. Apparently. At least, that’s what the Princess says and thus it is so.

Off we went for the Marina at San Carlos, Sonora. A comfortable and secure place to leave Milagro while we chased these other things. Regular and inexpensive bus service directly to Phoenix was attractive as well. Judy was able to get her procedure thereby increasing her prospects for reduced pain for the next several months. Then, keeping up our momentum, we proceeded to Barcelona (España) to begin our vacation – a cruise ship ride across the Atlantic Ocean.

I know, right? A boat ride? We could have stayed “home” and had a boat ride! And weren’t we concerned that Milagro might be jealous? We probably should be but here we are doing it anyway.

We board the ship about noon tomorrow, Saturday, September 6 but we have enjoyed a couple of days playing tourist in Barcelona. And, while we’ve only been able see a fairly small portion of it, I have a new city to add to my short list of favorites – Barcelona, the cultural heart of Catalonia. Judy feels the same.

Inside Antonin Gaudi's Sagrada Familia Cathedral. Love his work or hate it, there's not much in between, Gaudi was probably genius and certainly way ahead of his time.

Inside Antonin Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia Cathedral. Love his work or hate it, there’s not much in between, Gaudi was probably genius and certainly way ahead of his time.

Most of you know that my former life caused me to visit many, many cities all over the world – way too many, maybe. Of course I did develop some favorites like Singapore, Paris, Shanghai, Vancouver, Sydney and others but I have to say, Barcelona deserves a spot on that list as well. It strikes me as sort of

Another glimpse inside the cathedral designed by Gaudi. Simply incredible!

Another glimpse inside the cathedral designed by Gaudi. Simply incredible!

like Paris but nicer; just as pretty and engaging but cleaner and easier to navigate. I have never had anything but positive interactions with Parisians – well, there was that one time we got on the wrong train and spent the entire night and no small amount of Euros trying to get back. We were CS gassed by a group of teenaged boys at some remote station way south of Paris, but that’s another story. A little drinking may have been involved. Barcelona seems a little friendlier somehow. The jury is still out regarding a food comparison with Paris although Paris would be awfully hard to beat in that department. Still, it seems to be as varied and as good. Another visit, or two, and we could answer that question with more conviction.

La Boqueria, the mercado downtown.

La Boqueria, the mercado downtown.

A clean, friendly, well laid out city in a beautiful setting, Barcelona deserves much more time than we have been able to give her. I don’t know how or when we could pull it off however, we are certain that we would like to return and spend more time here.

Our Transatlantic cruise will terminate in San Juan, Puerto Rico on September 20 where we will spend an additional week playing tou

Jeez, I do love food markets!

Jeez, I do love food markets!

rist along with our long time good friends Wally & Kristi Lawrence. While there are several variables that could affect this date, we believe we’ll rejoin Milagro on, or about, the end of the first week of October.

 

 

Yes, even in Spain, PORK FAT RULES!

Yes, even in Spain, PORK FAT RULES!

Inside La Boqueria you find an explosion of colors, textures and patterns.

Inside La Boqueria you find an explosion of colors, textures and patterns.

 

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nature: it’s not just what’s for dinner

Most of us don’t pay very much attention to what nature is up to when leading “normal”, land based lives. Out here, living like we do now, it is all around us – sort of in our face, every day. We are usually in a position to notice most of it and sometimes it’s pretty impressive.

We did not do any fishing until after leaving Santa Rosalia because, frankly, the fridge and freezer were too full to stuff anything else into them. Yes, we are way over provisioned. Eventually though, that problem fixed itself and we threw a line in the water on Friday after leaving Santa Rosalia. That netted us a small Dorado late in the day and we enjoyed it blackened that night. Even Judy said Yum!

On our next leg, to Animas Slot, we snagged two more Dorado. The first measuring 37″ and the second 48″. Now we needed that freezer room!

But it’s not all about harvesting fish. Along our way we are always treated to first one show and then another. Jumping Mobula rays, pods of Spinner Dolphins capering about, Bottlenose Dolphins either chasing their dinner or riding our bow wave, Pilot Whales, Sea Lions and all manner of birds. Other boaters in our area have reported Grey Whale encounters but we’ve not seen those nor Blue Whales or Orcas either. They’re all here, we just haven’t been in the right place at the right time quite yet.

In Puerto Don Juan we had our first sighting of Blue Footed Boobies. They are an unusual bird found in mass on Isla Isabela way south along the mainland coast. Consequently we didn’t expect to see one until we could visit that island. Striking birds, their webbed blue feet seem to steal away from an otherwise dignified appearance leaving them odd or comical looking. We found a pair hanging out on a small group of rocks along with Pelicans, Cormorants, Grebes, several varieties of Gulls and others we couldn’t name. Pretty cool.

Friday we spied a pair of Whale Sharks feeding only a couple of hundred yards from where we sat anchored so we had to go take a closer look. I got to swim with them as they carved wide circles until I had had enough. Judy chose to man the dinghy and camera instead of joining me. Sadly, we didn’t get the awesome photos you always hope will go along with this sort of thing but we did get a few poor ones. This is the third time I’ve gotten to swim with these massive creatures and, since we are still banging around in their neighborhood, it may not be the last chance either. Maybe we will do better with the photos next time.

Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The Life Un-Technical

We were anchored just off of the village at Bahia de Los Angeles on Saturday, July 26th, so went ashore with the high hopes of using some bandwidth at the internet cafe. There was some banking that needed attention and a few other tasks, including some blog posting.

BLA village is a small fishing village about 50 miles off of Hwy 1 that is popular with tourists seeking a remote, off the grid fishing experience. Supplies arrive only once a week (on Friday – you don’t want to go vegetable shopping on Wednesday or Thrusday!) There is no cellular service and the internet is a recent addition. Microwaved over from San Quitin, it is primarily for basic email and the providing company severely limits the number of subscribers because of it’s very limited capacity. That’s the internet we found at the internet cafe.

At least there IS an internet cafe (actually, it’s a dry goods store with a couple of computer terminals, it’s not really a cafe). So, while Judy had some success with the necessary projects and even managed a Facebook post or two, I could not connect to WordPress at all. I had a post all prepared that included a bunch of photos but I was not even able to connect to post the text, let alone any photos.

I suppose that this is what we get for traveling in such remote areas and there are probably places much less connected than BLA so we should be grateful and just make do. This post is being sent via the ham radio so has to be text only, the high speed stuff – like photos – will have to wait until sometime later.

In the meantime, seriously, go to http://www.farkwar.com (or is it farkwar.org?) and sign up to follow us. I post a short statement every time we move to a new location and that little note will be forwarded to you as an email. Painless and free, you can know where we are and, at least basically, what we are up to.

Categories: Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Stuck in Lodi again

Well, Santa Rosalia actually. But no one has written a popular song about being stuck in Sant Rosalia.

It is often said, and correctly so I believe, that cruising is working on your boat in exotic locations. Santa Rosalia, a dirty, blue collar copper mining town, is hardly exotic but it certainly meets the intent.

We wheeled (?) into town Saturday, July 5th with an ailing watermaker. As we intend to continue into the very remote Bay of Los Angeles next and the boat only holds 100 gallons of water, having the watermaker working correctly was important. If we couldn’t get it fixed we would have to consider a new plan.

There had been some disagreement between Judy and I over just how long to stay at SR but now the issue was settled. We would have to stay until we either repaired the watermaker or knew we couldn’t. That has turned out to be two weeks. Well, two weeks as of tomorrow, that is.

As always, there was a project list as well as the WM issue to keep us occupied. Most of those items got handled and, at least eventually, so did the watermaker. So, we are ready to go.

What we finally figured out with the watermaker was that everything worked correctly until pressure was introduced to make water. At that point, the pump seemed to begin failing. It was reluctant to reach normal pressure and, when it did, the pressure was pretty unstable. Then, the amount of water being pushed through the system was waaay below normal with the consequence of raising the salinity of the water being “made”. It didn’t make any sense but there it was. Repair parts were sent via FedEx but they failed to do the trick so a whole new pump was dispatched. After a wrestling match with mounting the 12volt clutch pulley to the new pump that lasted several hours, we were finally able to test run the system yesterday afternoon. And it all worked great – 56 gallons per hour of water cleaner than any city water you’re likely to find. Yay!!

This might be a good time to say something about the folks who make this watermaker. Rich and Charlie at CruiseROwater are absolutely the best. Always available to us customers, these guys might have just as well been right here with me troubleshooting every step of the way. Rich even drove parts across the border to ship them from Tijuana so they would get to Sta. Rosalia faster. Thanks guys!

Around about 0300 – 0400 tonight we should begin our journey North to the anchorage at San Francisquito. It will take at least 15 hours but could be longer if the wind gods are less than helpful. Regardless, by leaving so early we should be able to reach the anchorage well before sunset.

As Sta. Rosalia is the furtherest North we’ve been, every mile traveled and anchorage visited for the next month, or so, will be new territory for us. The reports claim the BLA is remote but nearly teeming with wildlife (sealife?) so we are excited to get to see it.

It’s always good to have a photo or two to share but shots of me working on the boat or photos of the boat torn apart with tools spread everywhere seemed sort of lame. So, instead, here are a couple of photos that might be a bit more interesting. On our last leg (San Nicholas to Sta. Rosalia) we were accompanied for a time by a small pod of maybe 6 Pilot Whales. No, they aren’t dolphins, they’re for real Pilot Whales.

Not a lot to see here but honestly, it really is a pod of Pilot Whales

Not a lot to see here but honestly, it really is a pod of Pilot Whales

Pod of Pilot Whales

Pod of Pilot Whales

 

Categories: Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Independence Day – El Burro Cove style

There is this fellow who lives on a remote beach in Bahia Concepcion about 20 miles south of the town of Muleje, BCS, named Geary. Geary gets up every morning at 0400, fires up his generator (no electricity or water where he lives) and his satellite internet connection to collect weather information relating to this part of the world. He uses many different sources and then puts it all together to create a weather forecast for the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific side of Baja California. At 0745 each morning he reads his forecast on a ham radio frequency (WB6PKH on 3968 USB) as part of a daily network for sailors. Geary does all of this for free. Of course, Geary and his efforts are much appreciated by everyone sailing the Sea of Cortez or traversing the Pacific side of Baja California.

 

The Fleet is in. Beached dinghys at El Burro Cove

The Fleet is in. Beached dinghys at El Burro Cove

IMG_0370

Our host, Geary. Yes, Geary IS wearing a hotdog hat.

As if that’s not enough, each July 4th Geary hosts a hotdog centric potluck for cruising sailors on the beach by his house. He brings in shade tents, tables and chairs, a vendor of beer and soft drinks and he provides the all you can eat hot dogs. The cruisers bring the side dishes.

This event is somewhat of a big deal attracting most of the cruising boats in the area. Sounds great, right? Well, there’s a downside. This location, El Burro Cove,

Cruisers enjoying the big event

Cruisers enjoying the big event

is notoriously hot this time of year. Like, over 100F hot with water temp nearly the same. Usually there is no breeze either. Nice place, NOT, eh? But this is where we have to go to find Geary and, as a little bonus, there is also a simple restaurant on the beach. Bertha’s Beach Club Resort. No, they don’t have electricity either.

Ordering by gas lamp at Bertha's Beach Club Resort.

Ordering by gas lamp at Bertha’s Beach Club Resort.

While nothing about the conditions seemed attractive to us, how do you reconcile missing a happening this big? So we went. Worried about the heat, we planned to arrive at the last minute and leave at first light the next morning to minimize our exposure to the extreme conditions.

Ha! This year – the first year ever- was the year of thunderstorms, rain and cloudy skies. Lucky us! OK, it was still pretty warm and the water temp hovered right at 90F but it could have been much, much worse. Plus, it was fun. We got to meet many new cruisers, many of whom were also headed to the Bay of Los Angeles as we were.

Next stop on our journey north, the marina at Santa Rosalia. That’s right, electricity to run the air conditioning. Woo Hoo!

 

 

Bertha's Beach Club Resort

Bertha’s Beach Club Resort

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Life in the Sea of Cortez

Yeah, the sailing is pretty gnarly like this sometimes

Yeah, the sailing is pretty gnarly like this sometimes

Since leaving La Paz on June 5th we have visited 15 different anchorages. Some for a single overnight, others for as much as a week.

So rather than the usual “we went here and we did this” kind of blog post I thought this time I would just share a few photos with you.

[Sorry about the photo alignment. I have them arranged all pretty and creative like in the editor but they don’t come out that way on the website. ]

More San Juanico

San Juanico Anchorage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More San Juanico Anchorage

More San Juanico Anchorage

 

 

 

And, one more San Juanico

And, one more San Juanico

 

Selfy (or, is it "selfies"?)

Selfy (or, is it “selfies”?)

 

 

Wild Cotton Blossom

Wild Cotton Blossom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Milagro at La Ramada

Milagro at La Ramada

 

 

One more anchorage panorama

One more anchorage panorama

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.