Sad Times on the High Seas

It was a dark and stormy night filled with strange shapes and unsettling noises. Wait. THAT doesn’t sound quite right, that must be some other story. How ‘bout we hear the real deal.

Last Monday evening, April 26, we joined friends on a nearby boat for Happy Hour, tying our dinghy to their stern alongside their dinghy. Just about the time the sun set we took our leave and made our way up into the cockpit. Upon arriving there we stood dumbfounded staring at the water where our dinghy should be but seeing nothing. It was gone.

Conditions during this time were a bit sloppy. There was a flooding tidal current making nearly 2 knots toward the South as the moon was full and causing tidal swings near the biggest of the year. At the same time, the wind was blowing the opposite direction at 15 knots. As a consequence, the sea was sloppy and confused with small whitecapped waves. Which direction should we even look? South where the current would have taken it or North where it would have been driven by the wind? And, at the time of discovery we had only about 20 minutes of fading daylight left.

Even so, we did look. Right away we jumped into our friend’s dinghy and spent what little dusk light remained looking to the South where the current would have taken her. Of course, we saw nothing. Then, the next morning and using borrowed dinghies, I searched more. North about 6 miles to include Bahia Pichilingue and Bahia Falsa as well as South about 5 miles to well past where the estuary opens up to become a large, shallow bay. Nothing. There are a large number of fishermen operating here using Pangas and several of them were flagged down, informed and asked to pass the word. Plus, I checked all of the beaches they use for coming and going. Several times.

The Port Captain has been informed, the diving/tour boat people have been advised, the cruising fleet has been advised, there is an organized group of professional yacht Captains and they, too have been informed.

It has now been more than 4 days and our hope of seeing her returned wanes a little bit each day. Although, another dinghy that went adrift here recently was found and retuned about a week later so, it could still happen.

It is hard to express to anyone who is not a cruiser just what an impact the loss of your dinghy is. We’ve been surprised at the emotions we’ve experienced – so very like having lost someone close. Then there are the practical implications. Unless tied to a marina, a dinghy is your connection to every thing not on your boat. Provisioning, social exchanges, exploring, parts for repairs, etc. It’s how you get ANYWHERE. I could go on but you get the idea; it’s crippling and emotionally devastating.

Now what? The short answer is that we don’t know. At least, not yet. As remote as the possibility may be, she still just might find her way back to us so we are reluctant to commit to any particular response too quickly. And there are a number of options to consider. Although none of the choices are convenient or inexpensive, some are simply too expensive to contemplate seriously. In addition to the dinghy itself we are also out an outboard motor and a portable VHF radio.

So, we will leave it at that for now. Once it all plays out we will return to share with you the details. For now, we are in Marina de La Paz until May 15 so we have 2 weeks to make a choice.

On the beach at Bahia Salinas on Isla Carmen, Judy maintains dinghy security.

At Puerto Escondido, Michael heads north toward the “Windows”.

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La Paz Landing

Today is Wednesday, 4/21/21 and things are good here. As advertised, we made our way this morning from Cabeza de Mechudo to La Paz. Except for SE swell overnight from about 2 to 4 causing uncomfortable hobby-horsing it was a nice stop. Today’s passage was much like the last several days. We are now parked on our mooring just outside the entrance to Marina De La Paz. It’s located at 24°09.343’N, 110°19.837’W and conditions now are: OAT 84F, pool 74F and wind is NE at 9kts. We will be in La Paz until about May 15 when we head out again to buddy boat with friends who are renting a catamaran here. We will resume updates at that time. Hasta entonces, y’all.

On approach to La Paz we found 8 cruise ships moored in the bay, just waiting for COVID restrictions to ease so they can get back to work.

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Position Update

Greetings Farkwarians! It is Tuesday afternoon, 4/20/21 and all is well here. After a quiet and peaceful night at Los Gatos we moved south today to Cabeza de Mechudo, about 6nm S of San Evaristo and apx 5nm across the San Jose Channel from Isla San Francisco. Today was a flat water passage against a 5-7kt noserly. At 1420MDT our anchor was set in 17′ over sand at 24 48.768’N, 110 39.784’W. OAT is 79F, the pool is 70F and a SE breeze is running 5-8kts over flat water. Coromuel winds from the W are a probability tonight and we will be well protected here should they develop. Tomorrow we will proceed on into La Paz.

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Position Report

It is Monday, 4/19/21 and everything is fine here. We enjoyed having cell and WiFi signal for a few days at Candeleros and got to visit with good friends also anchored there. This morning we weighed anchor and continued our move south. Light airs mostly from right behind us became easterly by midday, but never grew beyond 5kts. A NW swell developed last night and remained with us all day giving us quartering seas that rolled us around a bit. Not bad but life is always better without quartering seas. We had several sizable pods of dolphins visit us at Candeleros and today we spied a pair of Orcas moving north. Even managed a few photos as they paused to feed. Cool, eh? Now we are set in Los Gatos at 25 18.172’N, 110 56.736’W in 17′ over sand. OAT here is 82F and it’s 72F in the pool. After overnighting here we will continue south tomorrow. Hasta entonces.

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Or Is Milagro even that kind of girl?

It is Friday, 4/16/21 and, again, things are mostly OK. The fairly good ship Milagro has apparently decided to punish us for leaving her for so long, after all. The watermaker failed to work yesterday so time was spent chasing down the issue and trying to correct it. Two separate problems were discovered, one was able to be corrected, the other was not. At least, out here. Sooooo, we went in to Puerto Escondido and topped off our water tanks then moved south about 7 miles to anchor at Bahia Candeleros – right in front of the Villa Del Palmar resort. We have friends also anchored here so will spend time with them tomorrow before continuing on south on Sunday. At 1657MDT, our anchor was set in 25’ over sand at 25°43.404’N, 111°14.344’W. OAT is 79F, the pool is 72F and wind is NE at 6 kts. There’s a wee, close spaced swell causing some boat motion but it’s only noticeable because Rattlesnake and Coronados were so completely flat.

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Rattlesnake Beach

It is Friday, 4/16/21 and things here are mostly good. We enjoyed our stay at Isla Coronados reconnecting with old friends and making several new ones in the process. There was Bocce Ball on the beach and cocktails in cockpits along with pleasant conditions, although the sea temp is still too cold for voluntary swimming. Yesterday we moved south about 20 miles to anchor at Rattlesnake Beach near the entrance to Puerto Escondido. Our anchor is set in 50′ over gravel at 25 48.108’N, 111 18.552’W. On the way the feed pump for our watermaker refused to do its duty so today will include efforts to resurrect it. Cruising=working on your boat in “exotic” locations therefore I guess we are cruising again for sure. We met up here with first year cruisers Gary and Angie on the SV Nivasi. We met them several years ago as landwelling wannabe cruisers so it was really special to see their dreams realized and find them here. Should we need to, we can fill with water here at PE before moving along, postponing the WM problem to solve when we get to La Paz.

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Cruisers again?

Howdy all! It is Saturday evening, 4/10/21 and all is well here on the fairly good ship Milagro. We have completed our passage from the mainland to the Baja so we’re beginning to feel more like cruisers again. As usual, over a passage of nearly 20 hours you get a mixed bag of wind and sea conditions and this crossing was no exception. Conditions were not ideal, especially for sailing, but they were not going to be better, and likely worse, for nearly a week. So off we went. Calm seas and winds L&V overnight then heavy, wet fog for several hours following sunrise followed by several hours of confused and choppy seas giving way to a SE swell in the afternoon as winds built to become 10-15 from the SE. Directly on our nose, of course. Still, we managed a fair amount of motorsailing. Under cover of darkness we set anchor on the NW side of Isla Coronado at 2000 MST in 20′ over sand at 26 06.266’N, 111 17.449’W. Wind is SW @ 8-12 kts, the OAT is 72F and it’s 69F in the pool. So we’re finally back on the Baja agin! Reckon we will hang out here for a few days before moving along. We’ll keep you posted.

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Back in the saddle again

As I write this it is Thursday evening, April 8th even though WordPress insists in telling you I’m posting on Friday, the 9th at something like 10 AM. Not sure how to correct them so you get this little note of clarification. 😁

Of course, it’s not exactly a saddle. OK, you’re right, it’s not anything like a saddle. We are, however, back on the boat again – finally. It’s been a long 9 months and some odd days so it actually seems a bit odd. Or, at least, less familiar than that “coming home” feeling we’ve come to expect.   We keep trying to flush the toilet like it’s the toilet on the Motorhome and, no, this one doesn’t work that way. Now and again we even have to think hard for a moment to remember where this or that is kept or, “how do we do that here?” That does seem to be improving quickly.

Milagro herself was in pretty good shape and, so far at least, she hasn’t punished us too badly for our long absence. Over several days we’ve completed the usual recommissioning chores along with a few from the “less normal” category and reckon we’re close enough to ready to have a go at it. Today we checked out with the Port Captain, put the car into storage and finished stowing (most) of the remaining gear and provisions. 

Tomorrow we will leave the marina, stop at the fuel dock to top off the tanks and anchor at nearby Bahia Algodones. Yes, that is the bay where the movie Catch-22 was filmed and where you’ll find the Soggy Peso bar on the beach. We’ll spend Friday night there then it’s off to the Baja side of things on Saturday. That should have us landing at Isla Coronado (just north of Loreto) on Sunday morning. And, just like THAT, we’ll be cruisers again. 

As in the past, we will continue postings via HF radio and (if you’re not already following us there you really should sign up. It’s free and painless. Really).

We’ll see you soon. Hasta pronto, y’all.

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What’s this – a blog post!?

It’s been so long since we’ve made a post here that I suspect we’ve lost any audience that we may have once had. Undaunted, however, I continue. We have just renewed our WordPress account and our domain so maybe I should pay better attention to it. So, I f this post doesn’t end the drought it will, at least, interrupt it.

Like everyone else, our 2020 was an unusual year in so many ways. Following our usual Stateside  “vacation” from July through October, we found ourselves “stuck” in Arizona for first one reason then another. COVID concerns on both sides of the border, of course, and questions about how or when we should respond sort of dominated things. In addition, there were medical issues that popped up as well. While those aren’t entirely resolved just yet, we are closing in on them and expect to return to cruising around the middle of March.

Our “beach” at son Chip’s house in Phoenix

We spent much of the summer glamour camping with our motorhome in the mountains near Flagstaff, AZ. While it was a much drier year than normal we still enjoyed cool nights and pleasant afternoons at 7500’. Chip and his family joined us for much of that time so there was always something going on.

Normal daily afternoon showers were a no show this year leaving very dry conditions in the forest

We participated again in the Arizona Memorial Motorcycle Rides – a 3 event charity affair honoring law enforcement and other first responders whose lives were lost in the line of duty. For the first time, Judy suited up this summer and started riding with me. She even joined me on the bike for the November Memorial Ride which took place in Phoenix. 

Our BMW with the group at one of the memorial sites in Nogales, AZ
Judy on board

Given the dry conditions in this part of the world there were necessary fire restrictions over the summer that also prohibited firearm shooting in the open desert areas. That drove me to join an indoor shooting club which I have certainly gotten my money’s worth out of. A generous guest policy has also allowed Chip to take considerable advantage, as well.

I’m not the precision shooter I was 30 years ago but I can still find the target
Chip taking advantage of the club’s guest privileges

We’ve had a much better COVID lockdown experience than many in both Mexico and the US so shouldn’t complain and now, we are both vaccinated and looking forward to things returning to “normal”. At least, someday. For the near term, however, we will try to salvage a bit of a cruising season in spite of the continuing lockdown conditions. Of course, the Mexico vaccinations will lag well behind the US, we still hope their lockdown conditions will begin some easing as time and vaccinations progress.

So, there it is, a brief summary of how we spent our Summer. And our Fall. And our Winter.  Along with an idea of what we expect of the near future. Now, if only I will follow up with more regular posts. If only. 🤔

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Milagro Position Report

Today is Wednesday, 24 June, 2020 and we’re all good here. In fact, really good. After enjoying Pt. Nopolo since the 11th we pried our anchor off the bottom yesterday morning and made our crossing to the mainland. The crossing was the usual assortment of conditions and, except for about 5 hours of confused, lumpy seas early on in the trip, it was all pretty comfortable. With the lumpy seas came a usable sailing wind of 10-15kts but that failed as the seas moderated and we were left with light and variable the rest of the passage. We anchored briefly in Bahia Algadones to move the dinghy to the foredeck and get out and set the fenders and dock lines preparatory to stuffing Milagro into an unfamiliar slip. For the last 6 years (?) we’ve left Milagro at nearby Marina San Carlos for storm season but this year we are trying the competition. At 0935MDT we were secured in slip 25 on dock 13 at Marina Real. That’s at 27 56′.751N, 111 05′.546W. The OAT is 91F with 63% humidity (at 0900 local time!). The next several days will see us configuring Milagro to be on her own for several months and packing up all of the stuff that we just have to take with us. As soon as Saturday, but maybe Sunday, we will be driving north to Phoenix to begin our summer break. For now though, we have air conditioning! YAY! I almost always vow to keep posting about our land based travels but I never seem to. Maybe this year I will. What? It could happen. In the meantime, thank you for following us.

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