Greeting Farkwarians, it is Saturday, May 30, 2020 and all is well here on Milagro. Especially so as we have actually cast off the lines and gotten ourselves underway. While today we only went a short distance outside of the La Paz channel, we are “out here” again – finally. Our plan is to continue our slow march north tomorrow, anchor hopping as we go. Tomorrow night should be Bahia Embuje on the NW point of Isla Partida then Monday either the north side of Isla San Francisco or Punta Muchado. Tuesday could be Los Gatos then Wednesday Agua Verde or we might make a longer day of it an leap all the way to Bahia Candeleros. We are aiming for a comfortable and pleasant, unrushed journey. Conditions during this time are forecast to be mostly light and mostly from the SW which may not produce many sailing opportunities but, at the same time, should not be rowdy. At 1248MDT our anchor was set in Bahia Falsa at 24 15′.528N, 110 19′.059W in 24′ over sand/gravel. The water temp is 74F, vis is about 10′ and it’s a bit green. OAT is 81F and the breeze is making 8kts from the SW. More tomorrow.
Greetings, Farkwar Friends. It is May 27, 2020 and all is well on the Milagro. We have finally returned to her and have spent the past few days in a slip at Marina De La Paz scraping several months of dirt from her and addressing a few projects. With only a few open issues to settle we reckon to get underway in the next few days. The COVID-19 thing has affected everyone in various ways and for us, our cruising patterns have been thrown out of whack. Our aim now is to resume our normal annual pattern: sail Mexico through the end of June, play stateside with the motorhome until sometime around the end of October then return to Milagro and cruise until June again. It’s been our routine for several years now. With that in mind, we should be able to enjoy about a month of normal cruising as we slowly gunkhole our way from La Paz to San Carlos. Most of that time will likely be in the greater Loreto area for all of the great anchorages and other benefits there. Mexico is still very much locked down but there is hope, and some expectation, the restrictions may begin easing in June. We hope so, for us but mostly for the poor folks here who rely on the informal economy for their very existence. Of course, we will resume our normal progress reports as soon as we’ve actually gotten ourselves underway so stay tuned. Hasta pronto, y’all.
(Or, let’s see how many expensive surprises we can find)
On Monday, December 9, 2019, we plucked the good ship Milagro from her watery home and deposited her in the work yard at Marina el Palmar. Routine haul outs are a regular part of boating life and this one had been put off long enough. It was time to have a good look under the water line and apply a fresh coat of anti fouling paint. When this happens it is possible to discover issues needing attention that weren’t known of or planned for. Of course, you hope that’s not the case or, if so, they’re minor in nature and not so very expensive. We weren’t quite so lucky.
The planned work scope included replacing the cutlass bearing and reinstalling our folding propeller. It had been removed last summer when one of its component parts had failed. With that piece now replaced, it would be going back on. And, of course, prepping the bottom for fresh paint and then applying it.
We were hoping there would be no surprises however, we found two. One being a lower rudder bearing that was unacceptably loose and the other some delamination of the moisture barrier on the keel.
The keel issue was dealt with by stripping and grinding the keel down to the fiberglass, fairing it all for smoothness then applying fresh barrier coat followed by the anti fouling bottom paint. Not a complicated process but quite labor intensive, requiring several days to complete. I should note that “speed” while working finds a slightly different definition in these here parts.
The rudder bearing required removal of the rudder and fabrication of a new bearing. The bearing is made of a type of plastic and is secured to the hull with a bonding agent (marine goo) and a couple of lag screws from inside the hull. This whole process, too, added to the overall time in the stands.
So, we went in expecting to be back in the water on Friday morning, but didn’t get to splash until the following Monday afternoon. 8 full days on the hard. The good news being that Milagro is in good shape and ready for several more years of cruising. The not so good news is that these surprises nearly doubled the planned budget.
During Milagro’s stay ashore, her crew rented a small, nearby apartment and stayed ashore as well. It is possible and permitted, to stay in the boat while she’s in the stands but there are many limitations to that which we find unappealing. One of those is the 10′ ladder climb to get aboard. Many of you know of Judy’s shyness around even the shortest ladder so that, alone, would have ended the discussion for us. Even so, Miss Judy DID manage to climb her way up that ladder and into the cockpit on launching day. She did that while making it clear that it was a one way trip – she was NOT climbing back down.
Once again, Milagro is swimming happily on her mooring at La Paz while we lick our wounds and enjoy the very active social side of Christmas Season in La Paz. We’re not entirely sure of our next move but we’ll let you know.
It is Tuesday, 4 Dec, 2019 and everything is good here plus we are back on our own mooring. I want to start by apologizing to everyone for the avalanche of emails youve probably just received. Something seems to have happened on the Farkwar end to cause this because, I assure you, it did not come from us. In fact, we received 31 emails ourselves. Lets all hope that its a one time anomaly that we wont see again. To add to the uncertainty, I first sent this message yesterday, the 3rd. It posted to the Farkwar website but not the blog and no notification emails went out. Again, not sure what’s going on back at Farkwar Central HQ.
How about some more rest of the story stuff? You likely remember our unpleasant neighbor who refused to move an inch to accommodate our mooring? You also know that we slipped our lines and moved to anchor elsewhere so as to avoid a night of fending off the neighbors boat. Well, get this. Less than an hour after we moved, those rascals weighed their anchor and left. We missed seeing the actual departure so do not know where they went but they were nowhere in sight very shortly after we had settled ourselves in at the new spot. What the heck do you suppose that was about? Vehemently stand your ground and insist the other guy give then, when he does, pick up and move on. Odd. Also, Judy asserts that my previous post on this event was a rant. If it came across that way to you, I apologize for that, as well. Until next time.
It is Sunday, 1 December, 2019 and all is well here. We last checked in with you on Nov 23 when we moved on to the mooring by Marina De La Paz. But, there is a “rest of the story”. A story about jerks on the high seas. We actually tied up to a friends mooring right next to ours instead when we found a boat anchored too near to ours for us to both safely be there. I did approach them, explained that they were in a mooring field and that they were too close to our mooring for us to use it. I politely asked them to move just a short distance away. They told me they didn’t care to move so bugger off. (I paraphrase) But, during our “conversation” they told me they would move on December 1st. Knowing we had access to our friends mooring, and, in the spirit of good neighborliness, I allowed as how Dec 1 would be fine, we’d take the other mooring. So, today being Dec 1, we left our friends mooring and moved over to ours. Our friend immediately moved onto hers. The other vessel near to ours had not moved yet and, because they were ashore when we made the move, we reckoned they’d be moving along soon enough. No worries. However, when they did return, observed us on our mooring and that our boats were quite uncomfortably close, they proceeded to let loose. They had apparently decided to stay beyond the 1st and, rather than come to us for a discussion or honor their committment to move as they had assured me they would, they declared us to be jerks and insisted on us moving instead of them. No amount of reasoning seemed to effect their position. So, after several hours of monitoring the closely set boats while reflecting on the merits of playing “who is the bigger jerk” (I can play that game pretty well when needed) verses getting a good nights sleep, reason won out. We slipped our mooring lines and moved a short distance to anchor for the night. If they do not move tomorrow, another mooring right next to ours is supposed to become available so we should make another move then, to ours or to our friends. In all our years of boating, we have never encountered, until these folks, anyone whom you would describe as selfish, arrogant jerks. I suppose we should count ourselves lucky. It takes all kinds in this world and these are not likely the only ones with a boat. At 1633 we were anchored at 24 09.308’N, 110 19.964’W in 20′ over sand/mud. OAT is 78F, pool is 79F and there is 12knts of breeze from the north.
It is Saturday, 23 Nov, 2019 and all is well here. In a surprise turn of events, we heard from our diver late on Thursday that he would be out to attach our mooring tackle on Friday morning. Like, as in, the next day. OK, that SOUNDS great and it IS encouraging but, again, this Mexico and things normally just don’t happen so quickly – we will believe it when we see it. On Friday morning we again heard from him that he expected to be completed by midday but, if we aim to take the mooring about 1400 that should give him plenty of time. I should add here somewhere that the La Paz estuary is subject to strong tidal currents and about the only practical time to be in the water is at slack tides. Since the ebbing tides carry quite a bit of silt and other flotsom affecting visibility, the very best time is a slack HIGH tide. Consequently, the divers options for being able to find your mooring and to work on it are limited to small windows of time twice daily. And one of those times frequently in darkness. You can imagine then, how surprised we were that Jose was both willing and able to get right on it. Now, back to the story. At 1418 yesterday afternoon we were secured to the mooring at 24 09.352’N, 110 19.710’W in 18′ of water. OAT was 80F, it was 77F in the pool and the North wind ran 10 – 15 kts. We are now where we will stay at least through the end of December. There are work projects planned including a haul out to repaint the bottom. In the meantime, we have many friends here (Judy’s already at her first card game), LP is filled with great restaurants and there are muchos actividades to keep us entertained. We will be “quiet” for a while but will pass along anything significant and, of course, let you know when we’re on the move again. Hasta Luego, y’all.
Today is Thursday, 21 Nov, 2019 and we’re all good here on the Milagro. After a quiet night at San Evaristo we were on our way with first light this morning. I DO love a “Dawn Patrol”. Conditions for today were forecast to be very light SW breezes over flat water then giving way tomorrow afternoon to North winds 15-20 and building seas. Would we prefer a “Sunday drive” across flat water over a sporting romp in 4′ quartering seas? Why, yes, yes we would. Although 4 to 5 kt breezes added some ripples early on, once the breeze died to more like 2 kts the surface became glassy and millpond smooth. So there was some pesky engine noise for us to put up with. That annoyance was balanced by an easy passage in pleasant conditions. Here we are then, at Bahia Falsa, just outside the city of La Paz, at 24 15.449’N, 110 19.148’W in 30′ over sand. It’s warm like yesterday at 87F but the pool is 80F so there might be some pool time soon. There’s a 2 kt zypher blasting at us out of the SW and the sky is mostly clear. Arriving here has also returned us to the land of “normal” communication so the cell phones, email, and internet are once again available to us. We aim to sit here at least through the weekend as the forecast Norther moves through. We are working with our diver to get our mooring tackle set back up and we will move onto that mooring as soon as he gets that gets done. (Pro tip: since this is Mexico, it is pointless to expect work to be completed by any particular time. It WILL (probably) get done but circling a calendar date is a certain path to disappointment). Thanks for sailing with us, we’ll let you know what’s up as it develops.
Today is Wednesday, 20 Nov, 2019 and all is well on Milagro. Today was a good day for sailors. We enjoyed a peaceful overnight stay at Los Gatos but were surprised this morning when the low, scudding clouds that hung over the land to our west moved offshore about sunrise this morning. Just enough to bring rain showers to us. That’s right, we got hosed down again this morning. To the east and south the skies were clear which allowed the rising sun to turn our little shower into a very lovely rainbow. Los Gatos is known for it’s red sandstone formations and those colors were deepened by the rain showers, framed by the deep green of wet vegetation behind the sandy beach all topped by a brilliant rainbow and illuminated perfectly by the low angle of a rising sun. Just, wow! So, off we set towards those mostly clear skies to our south. And this is what we found: flat water with a little light chop, SW breezes from 5 to 10kts and sunny skies. The boat dried quickly and we were obliged to endured flat water, light air sailing. All. Day. Long. How sweet is THAT? At 1519 our anchor was set in the bay at San Evaristo which is at the S end of the San Jose Channel just before it opens up to become the Bay of La Paz. We’re at 24 54.666’N, 110 42.348’W in 14′ over sand. The OAT is 86F, the pool is 79F and there is a SSW breeze running at 6-7 kts over flat water. Tomorrow we’ll make the leap across the Bay of La Paz to Bahia Falsa. Falsa is just outside the entrance to the La Paz channel and is our usual landing spot before proceeding into La Paz itself. More tomorrow.
It is Tuesday, 19 Nov 2019 and all is well here with the Milagros. Especially so because the boat is dry and so are we. When we left you last, there was concern over the uncomfortable ocean swell in the Candeleros anchorage so we’ll start there. It settled pretty quickly, disappearing completely by about 2100 allowing for a comfortable sleeping environment. The rain also ended by that time as well. The Candeleros anchorage is notorious for overnight West winds blasting down from the mountains even when there is no wind anywhere else around. True to reputation, those winds showed up about 0200 with 15 to 20 knots steady and higher gusts. We recorded one gust at 28kts. Normally, these winds are hot like your oven making them miserable but the recent weather caused these to be cooler. They are a dry, land breeze and so did a nice job of drying out the boat. Just imagine, dripping wet canvas, towels, everything – dry by morning. The noisy winds only lasted about 3 hours and we woke to calm seas, light airs and a dry boat. Still a lot of low hanging clouds around but no real threat of rain. Off we went for points South, enjoying in the process, a nice passage to Puerto Los Gatos. Variable wind conditions led to sailing under main and jib, sailing under main and Code 0 as well as some motorsailing. Seas were mostly flat and, did I mention, we were dry. All in all, a very nice day underway. At 1337 our anchor was set at 25 18.154’N, 110 56.788’W in 14′ over sand. OAT is 86F, the pool is 78F and humidity is 60%. The wind is SW at 6-10kts and there is a very slight SE swell running. We will continue South tomorrow with our sights set on San Evaristo, about 30nm on down the road. Hasta manana, y’all.
Today is Monday, 18 Nov 2019 and all is well with the soggy Milagro. Tropical Storm Raymond, cum Tropical Depresion Raymond, cum Remnant Low Raymond has been interesting. First of all, Raymond chose a path different from the track forecast for it. As a result, Raymond, for where we are, has been a rain event without wind. Yup, rain. Lots O rain. For the last 48 hrs rain has been with us. Often steady but sometimes a toadstrangling downpour. Everything and everybody is damp. Yes, we now know where all of our leaks are. The southern tip of Baja apparently saw winds to 30 knots and much rain, as well but no wind for us. We are not fond of Puerto Ballandra as it is notorious for its annoying bugs; bees, mosquitos and jejejene’s. Judy is a serious biting bug magnate and usually the object of much attention from those bugs when we do go there but, given the WX forecast, Ballandra was the only logical, safe choice in our neighborhood. She got eaten alive. Again. So, today, while conditions have not quite settled as much as they are going to, we weighed anchor and set off to begin our Southing. We motorsailed in light airs over seas ranging from 1′ confused chop to mill pond smooth, to closely spaced SE swell to 3′ causing considerable rolling. Conditions included low, heavy clouds that obscured most of the surrounding mountains and islands and delivered rain. Sometimes very heavy rain, sometimes light rain but nearly always, rain. At 1705 we set the anchor in Bahia Candeleros in a heavy downpour. We’re at 25 43.371’N, 111 14.276’W in 14’over sand. The OAT is 80F, it’s 70% humid, and the pool is 78F. Wind is NE at 6kts and there is ocean swell wrapping around Punta Candeleros creating considerable swell right on the beam for the boats anchored here. We’re not sure we can even fix dinner rolling ike this. Here we are, living the dream, eh? Sounds like fun, eh? Hopefully, we can get some sleep tonight while not getting devoured by carnivorous bugs, and continue South tomorrow. Hasta Manana, y’all.