Friday, November 29, 2019

Blissed out in Baja

     What a month or so this has been! I promise the Kyrie crew hasn't fallen off the face of the earth. I've just, honestly, been enjoying myself too much to sit down and share it all with you. We left San Diego with about 120 other boats on the Baja Ha-ha on November 4th. Our friend Wade flew down to San Diego to join us on the trip and having another adult on board was wonderful! We've known Wade for about seven years through the sailing club in Juneau, plus he has done the Ha-ha before. Wade helped us with trimming the sails better, as well as taking turns on watch so we all could have some more sleep! It made the multiple-day passages much more palatable to have had six hours of sleep, instead of four!
     All in all, I think our favorite stop on the way down Baja California was Bahia Magdelena. We got there a day ahead of the rest of the fleet, choosing to only spend one day in Bahia Santa Maria, and were very happy we did. Bahia Magdelena, or “Mag Bay,” is gorgeous. I think we could have spent a month there, just exploring. The first day, we went ashore to the little village there and wandered around. A lot of the landscape near the water was made up of uplifted seafloor. The kids (and the adults too, frankly!) got a kick out of seeing so many shells embedded in what looked like sand, but was actually about as hard as concrete.
     Mag Bay also has a beautiful palapa that some wealthy individual built years ago and gave to the village. It has a roof made from woven palm fronds, lights hanging from it, a wood-burning oven with a giant turtle shell as a decoration, and a huge kitchen area. There are platforms surrounding the palapa, designed for people to set tents up on. I could handle that kind of camping—waking up each morning with the beach directly in front, and then going down to the palapa to make and enjoy a cup of coffee before breakfast.... Wait a minute! Isn't that pretty much what I do every morning, minus the waking up in a tent?!
     I still have to pinch myself, realizing that this is my life now. We have been saving and working and delaying treats and telling ourselves for so long, “We're doing this for a reason. We have plans we're saving for.” Now that we're enjoying the fruits of our labors, it still almost seems like a dream. People, Kyrie is finally in MEXICO! Oh my gosh, this is has been so much fun. I know we were in Mexico almost the entirety of the Ha-ha, but it finally feels like it now. We stopped in Cabo San Lucas long enough to drop Wade off so he could fly back to Juneau and to pick up all our paperwork for our official arrival in Mexico, and then we got out of there. A storm, dubbed Tropical Storm Raymond at the time, was bearing down on the Capes and we wanted to be out of the area and somewhere safer by the time it arrived. La Paz was our destination!
     We stopped in La Paz for nearly two weeks. The stop gave us some much needed down time to just stay put and explore the town. Can I say that I love La Paz? Population-wise, it's about the size of Anchorage, for all my Alaska friends. It's a lovely mixture of locals, expats, and cruisers, and I can see why so many people come to La Paz and end up staying for years. We fell in love with the Mercado Bravo—an indoor market full of produce stands, a seafood counter where a kilo of warm water of shrimp cost us less than $20 USD, and loncherias with the best empanadas I've ever had. We've been eating grapefruit and avocados until... no, I can't say we're stick of them by any means. Everyone we have encountered so far has been super friendly. Of course, it helps that Megan has said “Hola” to everyone we walk past, and no one can resist smiling at her and saying “Hola” or “Buenas dias” back to her.
     And now, it's time to say good-bye, for at least a week and a half. We walked to our favorite grocery store this morning to restock, filled our water jug in preparation for deck showers, and checked out with la capitainia del puerto. We're cruising past Isla Espiritu Santu, bound for Isla Partida, just to the north, along with a bunch of other boats we know from the Baja Ha-ha. The kiddos are excited about seeing some friends again, as well as swimming in the water. I'm looking forward to being out of town for a while. Joe already managed to catch dinner for tonight—a lovely dorado!
     We've been in Mexico for nearly a month already and I still can't get over the fact that I'm sitting here in the cockpit in shorts and a tank top and I'm totally comfortable. We talked to Joe's parents on my birthday a couple of days ago (side note: am I really 40 now?!) and they said it was in the teens and snowing in Juneau. At the moment, I can't think of anywhere else I'd rather be—chasing the sun with my family and thinking about making a margarita after we drop the hook in whichever bay we decide to hang out in for a while.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

La Paz at last!

Just a quick update here. Kyrie is safe in La Paz after cruising all the way down Baja California, and racing around Los Cabos to stay ahead of Tropical Storm Raymond. Raymond turned out to be no worse for us than a windy rainy day in Juneau! In the meantime, we have seen a little bit of La Paz and love it! I can’t wait to explore this corner of the world and share our adventures!

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Slow Updates

Sorry everyone, we've been running non-stop for the last few weeks and haven't had any time to update the blog. We'll get caught back up when we get further south.

Kyrie is in Mexico! We are with the Baja Ha-Ha fleet and having a wonderful time. We arrived two days ago in Bajia de Totugas and the whole crew has been thoroughly enjoying the beaches, fish tacos and swimming!

More to come later.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Hopping down the Oregon and California coast, part 2

(Once again, I'm behind, but this gets us up to Monterey. I'm working on getting all our photos off the camera and I think the next post will be a photo dump with captions to get up date.)

After a second night in Eureka, we left around 1:00 in order to not get to Fort Bragg ridiculously 
early. Rounding Cape Mendocino (another one of those capes you have to be careful about) was a big nothing. The seas were gentle and we joined a group of sailboats outside of Fort Bragg, waiting for daylight in order to negotiate the Noyo River bar crossing. 
That was an interesting entrance. A bit of waves to buck through, but nothing concerning. However, 
the river has a narrow navigable channel, as well as twists and turns to negotiate. It was fun to go through for multiple reasons. Years ago, Joe and I spent our anniversary in Fort Bragg and watched boats go through that entrance in the middle of a December storm. While we had no desire to repeat that performance, we did think it would be fun to take a boat of our own into Fort Bragg someday. Also, being big fans of the movie Overboard (the original with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell!), we were looking forward to being docked somewhere near where a lot of the scenes from the movie were filmed.
Once we managed to get into the harbor, it took some doing to figure out where our assigned slip was as the float letters and slip numbers weren't easy to see. We ended up in the wrong spot, but thankfully the slip's owner didn't mind! Despite being tired after an overnight run, Joe and I managed to get Kyrie safely backed into the slip and tied off. Four other sailboats followed us in that morning, including a fellow Ha-ha'er--SV Indy.
We ended up staying in Fort Bragg for four days while a storm blew through and then the seas calmed down. Fort Bragg was a neat place, but our problem was that to get into the downtown area, we either had to commit to a two-mile walk one way, or pay for the bus. The bus won out for our one visit to downtown! When it was time, we were itching to get moving again. The other boats we had arrived with had planned to stop in the Bay Area, but Kyrie's crew planned to bypass San Francisco and beeline straight to Monterey. Friends and the aquarium awaited!
It was a relatively uneventful trip, except for my round of "Dodge the container ships." While approaching the shipping lanes outside the Golden Gate, I had to turn to avoid a cargo ship coming our way. For whatever reason, I turned to port instead of turning to starboard. A turn to starboard would have kept us on our chosen path outside the Farallon Islands, which sit about 30 miles outside of the Golden Gate. That goofball moment meant we were now on the inside of the shipping lanes. Ugh! The first cargo ship steamed by and then I had to wait for two more to go by before there was a break large enough for us to get across the lane. When those big ships are traveling at 12 knots and rapidly gaining speed, it's not a good idea for a 6-knot boat to play chicken with them! So, trying not to grumble at my mistake, I waited for those other ships, before turning 90 degrees to starboard to "dart" across. Of course, then there was another ship going the other direction, so I had to alter course yet again to make sure I crossed the lane behind that ship! Naturally, that course put the waves directly on our nose... Joe woke up and asked me if the seas had shifted or something. At that point I was completely disgusted with myself and our situation and I said rather snottily, "No, we're going the wrong way right now, but I'm getting us back on course. Go back to sleep." Once I had us back on track, according to the chart plotter, I turned the autopilot back on, relaxed, and had a good laugh at myself!
The next day was--surprise, surprise--fairly light winds. We did see a bunch of whales, dolphins and sea lions, all along the edges of the Monterey Canyon. It was a quiet day, but we were glad to finally roll into the anchorage outside Monterey's harbor, just after sunset. After a calm night and good sleep, we felt ready to explore a little bit. I called friends who live in Pebble Beach--Alan and Ingrid have been friends with my parents since college, so they are like another set of parents to me. Perfect timing! Their son Doug was visiting with his family and were leaving to go home that afternoon. Did we want Alan and Ingrid to come pick us up and have lunch over there? Yes please!
That night was awful--the storm we weren't expecting until the following afternoon decided to roll in early and set Kyrie to rolling. The wind kept us beam to the waves and kept Joe and me up most of the night. The coffeepot relocated to the floor a time or two, as well as some of our books. Finally, we gave up trying to sleep around 5:30 and watched TV until first light, when Joe called the harbormaster's after-hours line and practically demanded a slip be found for us! Leaving the anchorage required a trip through 3 to 4-foot waves--no wonder we were rocking so much!--but it was lovely and calm inside the harbor. Once tied up safely, Joe and I decided a nap was in order before we did anything else!