Sunday, December 20, 2009

Tin Cup for a Chalice...

San Diego.

The skyline of big lights and tons and tons of sailboats. What a marvel it was for Eric and I to sit on the shoreline of Shelter Island in San Diego and watch countless boats sailing swiftly past us as they sailed with full spinnakers through the finish line! Originally it was thought that we would spend only a few days in San Deigo- enough to mount some solar panels, get some water and fuel, perhaps fix our transmission and be back at sea. Oh gosh, how dearly we were wrong!

One thing after another seemed to plague our San Diego visit. After Eric installed our solar panels, he found that one was not working at all- and had to be exchanged. After a few days of doubting that we had the right transmission parts, our prayers were answered after looking at some internet schematic drawings (thank goodness for the internet!). Somewhere in there I came down with the stomach flu and spent a day hurling into the toilet and resting...
Our big city visit wasn't quite as bad as you may picture in your minds, however. While wandering through West Marine, Eric bumped into an old cruising friend Sheilagh Goetsch and we spent a lovely evening aboard Sheilagh and Jim's S/V Aurora, a Valiant 42, trading stories of what had happened over the last year, and giggling over past memories and future plans. It was a nice break from the monotonous days of waiting for parts and allowed me to see yet another beautiful boat!

Eric's parents made a surprise visit down to us one of those days and we enjoyed a fun dinner with them, as well as a small tour of San Diego's more historic points of interest...
Eric walking through historical San Diego. The multiculturalism here and history was really interesting!

As well, San Diego has some great cruising stores. Eric and I frequented Downwind Marine and the Marine Exchange more times than we could shake a stick at, whether it be for spinnaker chocks, screws and nuts and bolts, or rigging. We cannot thank them enough for being so helpful!
We left San Diego on our tenth day at the Police Docks. Full of fuel, water and cookie dough (and other things, of course!), we began our 650-mile sail south towards Bahia Santa Maria.
The first couple of days gave me hope for never being seasick again. The seas were relatively smooth with small waves at long intervals, and the wind was tempermental, but kept us going for the most part. We enjoyed the dolphins and sea life and Eric was even daring enough to make a beef pot roast out at sea...!

Eric's first fish- a 15-lb Yellowfin Tuna that we greedily dug into and had for lunch!
The next couple of days were to be reckoned with. A goofy swell coming from two directions gave us a run for our money (and for my stomach). A northern swell came from behind us, pushing us south, and nearly right after, a wave from the east would slam into Nanu, leaving both of us listening to Nanu lurching around hoping she'd make it through. It was certainly an adventure! Between (quite literally) dodging cruise ships and tankers, pounding back Dramamine pills and changing sails on a regular basis, we were happy to head into Sta. Maria.

We got into Sta. Maria after dark. Our wind meter (which we had become quite a bad habit for judging the wind) had kicked the bucket a few days into the sail, and our autopilot was also out of commission. When we turned on the engine (from our perspective) it appeared it was smoking heavily out the exhaust (which turned out to only be normal exhaust that showed up more in the LED lights). We anchored without much hassle... we were the only ones in the bay. As soon as the anchor was dropped, we opened up a bottle of wine, sat across from each other and errupted in laughter. What a goofy predicament we were in!

Interesting geology and rock formations was everywhere on the craggy cliffs and beaches at Bahia Santa Maria

The autopilot was quickly fixed with spare parts from another one aboard, and we have since learned the art of judging wind direction and speed by a piece of flagging tape tied to our backstay. While on a rampage of fixing things, Eric tightened the stuffing box and double-checked that our engine wasn't pouring out noxious black smoke like we could have sworn it was motoring. We passed the emmissions test with an "A".

Eric setting the anchor for our dinghy so it would still be there when we got back (tides).

We were trying to figure out our christmas plans, so we wrote them out. In the sand. At low tide...

We spent two days bumbling around Sta. Maria. I humored myself with finding "the Ultimate Sand Dollar," while Eric humored himself with playing chicken with the numerous crabs in the area (who become quite aggressive if you chicken them too much!) and digging (unsuccessfully) for clams. Our first morning we traded four rolls of lifesavers and two AA batteries for four lobsters and had a meal fit for the kings that evening. We went for a long hike the next day and stumbled upon an old fishing village, presumably flattened by the most recent hurricane. We ended up on the outer shore of Sta. Maria and marvelled at the beauty of the area we were in.

Our Fatty Knees has become the source of much entertainment, as well as transportation.

We had a ball on the beaches climbing in and around the sea caves and other natural formations in the rocks...

Two AA batteries and four rolls of lifesavers scored us four lobster for dinner that evning!

That evening we had drinks aboard S/V Fiona, a Westsail 42. Eric, the captain had just finished doing the Nothwest passage, and we marvelled in his stories and Eric (from Nanu) picked his brain about cruising into remote locations.

We left Sta. Maria by 3am and spent... largely most of that day motoring. The wind was gusty and we often rolled in the jib and main rather than watch them get pushed around on the spreaders or bang back and forth on the boom.

We came very, very, verrrry close to hitting four whales as they swam in front of us our first day heading to Cabo. The sea was teeming with life and after the close call, we kept our eyes glued to the horizon. Eric caught his 20-lb Dorado shortly after and we had a lovely lunch of dorado steak and rice. We still have 1/2 of the dorado steak left!

Eric's beautiful Dorado will keep us fed for awhile, with 1 1/2" steaks as long as the fish iteslf!

Coming into Cabo was an interesting experience. As we anchored, not less than 20 jet skiis whizzed around us driven by wreckless half-intoxicated tourists. Locals in pangas were not afraid to come alongside the boat and ask us if we needed anything from water taxi rides to jet ski rentals to info on the latest party scene... We quickly learned that to appreciate Cabo, you had to have a beer (or two) in your system so you could fit in with the rest of the yahoos...

I insisted on this picture that gave credit to how Cabo really is, quite a pretty place...

Cabo really is a pretty place, although extremely crowded and over-americanized. The water is crystal clear and refreshingly cool to swim in. We spent some time at a beach bar called the Mango Deck and fell into conversation with a couple of locals. The four of us joked and conversed through the evening until we finally decided we had to get back to the boat. Today, we explored more of the inner city. We compared prices of juice crystals from the gringo market to a small Mercado in the more "Mexican" areas, and got some essentials like toilet paper, tortilla chips and some fresh veggies.

The busy city streets of Cabo were our first re-introduction to Mexico. I'm still awe-struck...!

Tomorrow we're planning on leaving. We need fuel and water, and then plan to be heading south towards La Cruz.

We're hoping to celebrate Christmas at Phyllo's!

If you don't hear from us before the 24th, Merry Christmas and Happy New Years...!

We hope that this holiday season finds you in the company of good friends, good food and in great spirits and health. When eating that 'one last christmas cookie,' blame it on Eric or I, and chow it down. We'll do the same for everyone else...


Anonymous said...

Glad to hear about your trip down! We were wondering when you left because there were some really strong systems that came through SD (someone said gusts to 70 mph!). Enjoy your Mexican Christmas!!
Sheilagh and Jim S/V Aurora

Jim & Judy said...

Hope you had a great Christmas day.I really enjoyed your last Email as well as the pictures and comments on the blog . Sounds like you are having more adventure than you would working at K L gold . Merry Christmas and happy new year and safe sailing.
Jim @ Judy Minnett
Charlton Ont.