Sunday, August 26, 2012

Outbound to San Francisquito

Glad I don't have to say San Francisquito more then a few times a year.  I have been trying to say it right, but have a hard time with the abrupt transition between francis and quito. 

Its about an 80 mile run, and will bring us to within 50 miles of  Puerto Don Juan, which is the hub we will circle around for the next 6 weeks.  Don Juan is a great hurricane hole, it is a small bay, virtually surrounded on all sides by land.  The geography of the place is ideal for hiding out from the killer storms.  There are 10 or 15 other anchorages within a short distance of Don Juan, plus there is a small village in Behia de Los Angeles where we can provision and refuel plus there are two internet stores. 

I would probably not spend much time there if it were not for hurricanes, but I am looking forward to getting there.  Its the destination we have been heading toward since leaving Puerto Vallarta back in May, plus it becomes cruiser central for all the folks who are spending the summer on their boats.  It can become quite social.

We will leave probably early Monday morning, about 2a.m. so that we can get into San Francisquito before the normal starting time for Chubascos.  Delaying departure until 2a.m. also gives us the chance to make sure there will be no Chubascos in the early morning hours, prime time for them to arrive on the Baja side of the Sea of Cortez, having travelled across the Sea from Sonora.

You can check out the web site we will be using to make the go/no go decision.  The address is  Scroll down to the first color chart.  That shows current thunderstorm development, which give rise to chubascos.

Santa Rosalia has not improved much over the last year.  The big mining project that was turning it into a boom town has seen some reversals.  The city budget does not seem to include any clean up crews.  It is very very dirty.  We know several Mexicans who are cruising up here who are embarrassed by the mess and the locals acceptance of it and their propensity to toss liter almost everywhere except in the garbage cans that are fairly common through out town.

Its a shame the mine is not putting much money into the city coffers, I think if they had the money they would keep it cleaner.

One neat thing about Sta. Rosalia this year is the absence of cruisers.  There are only four boats with crew on board.  There are may 20 boats that are being stored here w/o crew.  As a consequence there are very few gringos in town.  Its kind of nice for a change.  Three of the boats are leaving tomorrow or the next day, so gringos are going to be quite rare here.

Will check in again from the village in BLA.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Buster has been with us for about 21 years, not always willingly.  During his first nine years he lived next to Carkeek Park in Seattle.  His back yard was an old growth forest, where he got to be a real cat, hunting birds and squirrels and being hunted by raccoons and coyotes.   The next seven or eight years his universe contracted quite a bit.  He was an indoor cat living on the fourth floor of a condo.  The deck was his outdoors  He didn't seem preturbed by this lose of space.  He spent the bulk of his days laying in front of the fireplace, and he did have enough room to race about, usually about 4am.

The last and greatest shrinkage of his universe was when we moved aboard Grace.  He lost well over 90% of the room he had in the condo.  He did ok when we were in the marina, as he could get off the boat and roam about on his dock meeting people and other cats, but he HATED being underway.  He learned our routine preparing the boat for a trip fairly quickly; the bustle of Judy stowing things safely away and my checking the engine water and oil levels we reliable clues of a bad day ahead, and when suspicions were confirmed by the start of our noisy rattling engine, off he with his sister Daisy would go, diving under covers in the V-berth where they would usually remain all day.

Now he no longer seems to care.  Anchored, underway or tied up to a dock his days filled with sleeping and eating glide by seemlessly.

He has given up exploring when we get into a marina, old age finally stealing away his interest in the outside world.  He does a walk about on deck several times a day, sniffs the air, but no longer wants off the boat.  Thank goodness for this.  We think he has cat-hiemers.  When he gets out of  sight of the boat he doesn't seem able to find his way aback.  He was lost once for a week in a neighborhood next to Marina Vallarta, all the while not more then 200 or 300 yards away from the boat.  We looked for him every night, finally finding him walking the breakwater. 

His only excercise now-a-days is moving to a new place to sleep.  He settles in for a time, then wakes, checks his food bowl, nibbles a bit, then finds another spot and falls back to sleep. 

He is nothing but skin and bones, yet he eats a can of food every day.  Considering what he consumes he should be a fatty.  We were concerned about his weight and took him to a vet while in Puerto Vallarta.  The vet was amazed at Busters good health and felt that his skinnyness was not an issue.  I think being thin has helped with his longevity.

Buster is winding down however.  He sometimes cannot jump up to the v-berth, three feet above the deck, ending up with claws dug into the mattress, struggling to pull himself up the rest of the way.  When his sister Daisy had this problem we built her a carpeted ramp out of a stray 2x6.  We can't do this for Buster 'cause there ain't no scrap 2x6's anywhere in Mexico, besides we don't want a large piece of timber on board that could fly around the cabin when things get wild.  Daisy lasted about six months walking that plank every day until one day she fell off into the great abyss.  My guess is Buster has about the same amount of time left, perhaps less as the stress of living in the heat down here was not an issue with Daisy.

When Buster goes we will miss him a lot.  We couldn't replace him by filling his space with another cat, so it will be time for us to be free of pets for a while.

He's not a real handsome fellow

Monday, August 13, 2012

La Paz to Santa Rosalia

We completed the 300 mile journey from La Paz to Santa Rosalia Sunday August 5th, taking a bit more then a month.  We were able to day-sail the entire way, making 14 stops. 

It was a glorious trip, perfect in all ways except for the unending boat issues.  But dealing our boat issues is the cost of admission, and can be part of the fun, when they don't crush ones spirit, suck the joy of life out of one, or make one(me) feel like the end of our cruise is at hand because of ignorance and lack of common sense.

But, soul wrenching ennui aside, we love being here in this part of Mexico.  It is a little slice of heaven, with sweet gentle people, magnificant scenery and warm waters teeming with sea life.  This 300 mile stretch has got to be one of the best cruising areas in the world.

Brothers in Everisto

Agua Verde

Puerto Escondido

Isla Danzante

Mating Ritual?
God of the Headland

 The rays belly flop back into the water with a loud splash.  There were times that hundreds of these guys were flying about Grace.  I sometimes felt a little leary on being on deck....they have fearsome stingers.

V'ger anchored in Candeleros


We were joined in Puerto Escondido by our friends Andrew and Anne on Windsong who are sharing thier summer cruise with thier lucky grandsons Nic and Greg.  They were great company and worthy Farkle opponents.  Windsong left Saturday for the States via San Carlos to take the boys home.  We were sorry to see them leave, and hope to reconnect with Anne and Andrew and possibly Nic again this fall.

Isla Coronados
atop a dormant volcano
SV Grace is the second furthest speck
in the Bay

Nic making a trail cairn

We are waiting in Santa Rosalia for a "Care Package" of parts that I will use, hopefully, to repair our water maker, gen-set, and alternator. (see "ennui" above)