Tag Archives: hurricane

Up, up, and away!

After our crossing from Mazatlan to La Paz, our time spent in La Paz was relatively short. It was time to start making our way up, up, and away from the hurricanes before the hurricane season (June – November).  We'd planned on staying there as long as it took for me to do all of the online and other required work for my next travel nursing assignment during the summer. A few days of wifi at the Big Sur coffee shop was all I really needed and a day to re-provision. We got a little waylaid with celebrating Mike's (SV Easy) Birthday and meeting a new kid boat called SV Secret Water. There were a few other boats we wanted to visit with too (SV Tribe, Waponi Woo, Orion, Bertie, Adventurer, just to name a few).  Oh the sailing social  life and how it ALWAYS makes you change your "plans".Taj fearlessly jumping off the piling.

"new kids on the dock" Umbrella movement in La Paz.

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By our 5th day in La Paz we felt the itch to continue on, but the pull to stay. I think this will be a common feeling as we continue to sail the world and meet amazing people in amazing places. Alas, we chose to leave with a "see ya later" instead of a "good-bye".

The first week of making our way north, up the Sea of Cortez was faster than our journey up last season. Now that I had work lined up with pre-work classes and assessments schedule in San Diego for June 23, we had somewhat of a time schedule. Mike on SV Easy continued to buddy boat with us. He had already been up to Puerto Enscondido as well, so he was onboard with shorter stops up to that point. Our stops were indeed brief, depending on the wind and water conditions. If there were anchorages or animals we hadn't seen, we'd take some time exploring, but otherwise we didn't lag too much until we got up to Bahia de Conception.

First stop, Isla Espirito Santo/Isla Partida. We sailed all but an hour of our 10 hour day to Bahia Ensenada Grande. We got out the hammock  for a swing and dip in the water while we were becalmed, waiting for wind.

 S/V Easy

The anchorage at Ensenada Grande was spectacular! There we five boats after Easy and Shawnigan had anchored. The Mobula Rays, jumping everywhere, sounded like we were in the midst of a pirate ship battle field. The slaps and splashes from their jumping dance of courtship, feeding, or communication surrounded and echoed off the steep burnt red sandstone and sedimentary cliffs of the anchorage. This was the moment that  we felt the magic of the Sea of Cortez return.

After a relaxing morning aboard, with an abbreviated boat-school day, we took a fieldtrip to hike across the island to the other side. Along the way we explored the many different geological features the island had to offer. Various igneous, metamorphic, sedimentary formations all in one place! It was perfect timing for Ellamae's science block of her curriculum.

Two nights at Ensenada Grande and we were off to Isla San Francisquito, but first a quick swim with the sea lions at Los Islotes before the wind picked up.

We anchored in the southwest side of the island in 58 feet of water with just enough scope for a few ohour "lunch stop". SV Easy anchored just behind us. We new our window for swimming would be narrow before the wind picked up, so we made sure to be ready to play and ready to leave. The visibility was not the greatest and the sea lions were not in their most playful state, but we did get to swim and play around with them for a while. The kids had a blast! To watch their excitement and comfortable interaction with the sea lions was priceless. As we predicted, the wind filled in after 1.5 hours of being there. We quickly rowed back to the  boat and sailed off to Isla San Francisco (Francisquito).Screenshot (3)Screenshot (4)Me, Josie, bliss.Screenshot (7)Taj and the 3 Sea Lions.Screenshot (9)Nina looking down at me with camera in hand and the Sea Lion.Screenshot (11)Screenshot (12)Ellamae (9) about 8 feet down, looking for sea lions to swim with, relaxed and in her element.

Isla San Francisco was just as pristine as it was the previous year. The white sandy beach surrounded by crystal clear azure water makes this anchorage most picturesque. We stayed two nights here in order to hike to the top of the hill and to spear fish.  Taj caught some fish himself, just off the boat with a fishing pole. Mostly catch and release puffer fish, but he did manage to catch a trigger fish. Yummy GrouperMike, paddling to shore.Isla San Francisquito

Nina And Ellamae beat us to the top.

  Mike looking ahead at the steep incline toward to top. Christian with Taj on his shoulders not far behind.

From Isla San Francisco we sailed straight to Punta San Telmo (2519.866 N, -11057.684 W) . The anchorage more of your "roadside anchorage", but it did offer enough protection from the south south westerly winds.  Mike did an awesome job setting his anchor under sail for the first time. This wasn't the only "first time" among us, we finally busted out the flopper stopper for the first time. We were getting quite of a wrap around swell from the south. Mike already had his flopper stopper out within an hour of anchoring. He was rocking notably much less than we were. I somehow finally convinced Christian to set up the Magma flopper stopper. It came with our boat when we bought it in 2012, but we had never used it. As we sat anchored much more comfortably, we both laughed and agreed that we shouldn't have waited so long.  We hiked on shore a bit and settled in for a nice evening in an empty anchorage.  Not too long after a lovely sunrise, we set sail for Bahia San Marte. S/V Easy sailing off the hook!

Bahia San Marte was pretty sweet. We sailed off and back on the hook, as did Mike.  The cliffs that surrounded us were majestic. The cliffs looked rock climbable (hint to anyone looking for new amazing places to climb). Mike took his paddle board and we rowed the dinghy over to them to check out a cave that was highly recommended in the Shawn and Heather Sea of Cortez: A Cruiser's Guidebook.  It was pretty cool. This was just the beginning of Baja's cave exploring for the crew aboard SV Shawnigan.              Mike making is way back from the very back of the cave.

The next day we sailed off and back on the hook again to Agua Verde. One of our favorite places so far, in large part due to the quaint village where you can restock on some provisions as well as purchase fresh goat milk (seasonal) and goat cheese directly out of the farmer's house. The local tienda, or little store, offers fresh fruit and veggies and other essentials. They rearranged it since the last time we were there to hold more products. Everyone in the village was very welcoming. Side note, there are petroglyphs in the area that was visited last year, but we didn't this time around. See our post from last year for details here.  As per usual with our anchorage visits, we swam around to cool down and discover the underwater ecosystem around us. We found a little underwater cave/arch with sea fans and beautiful light. Nina and I dove through first and with time, Ellamae dove through her first underwater tunnel! The same day, Taj dove down to 10 feet! Our kids are turning in to fish!Shopping at the local tienda in Agua Verde.

Hammock life

 

 

Screenshot (16)Taj on his 10 foot dive.Screenshot (19)Relaxing in the cockpit after a swim.Screenshot (18)Taj on his kayak in Agua Verde.

Isla Monserrate was calling our name. We hadn't been there before, the wind at the time wasn't unfavorable, so why not? The sail there was great. We were in the swing of anchoring under sail, so we did it whenever we could. Mike was getting in the groove of it as well. We settled into the anchorage in time for lunch. Christian was having a bout of low energy, crummy feeling from his Lyme disease, so I took Ellamae and Taj to shore to explore along with Mike while Nina stayed onboard with Christian.  The wind picked up more than we were hoping for that evening. It was offshore, but it put a damper on exploring the underwater realm.Screenshot (20)Our 2 boats, Easy and Shawnigan, sitting pretty in the deserted anchorage.

Thankfully the next morning, Christian woke up feeling better. We set for a 10 mile sail for Bahia Candeleros. Another great day of sailing off and back on to the hook. We found ourselves anchoring in Candeleros with only a few with other boats, one of which was our friend John on SV Summer. Candeleros is known for its beachfront resort with day passes and wifi access. Word on the street says that they have gotten progressively uptight about letting cruisers come in and use the facilities. We chose to bypass these amenities this year. Truth be told, even if we wanted to partake in the resort luxuries, the wind was howling out of the west and straight into the anchorage. Needless to say, we were not leaving the boat for any reason, except to swim when there was not any wind during the early daytime hours.  In the morning, we did snorkel. The water was quite chilly, about 68F. The visibility was about 20 feet, so not optimal either, but we still enjoyed swimming with a huge group of the fasinating Mobula rays. 2 nights in Candeleros was enough for us this time around. Next stop… Loreto!Overnight anchorages overview map: From top left to right: Ensenada Grande, Isla San Francisco. Bottom row left to right: Punta San Telmo, San Marte, Monserrate (picture above), then Candeleros.

More Photos:Screenshot (13)Ellamae and Taj up close and personal.Screenshot (15)Hawlkfish

 

 

 

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Not all hurricanes are on the water…

I want to first state that our hearts goes out to all of the Hurricane Matthew victims. Hurricanes are so powerful and scary! Please, if you live near the area and you can help out by offering a bed/boat to sleep in, car to borrow, food etc, please reach out to those in need.

To escape the hurricane season on the Pacific side (June-November) and keep our boat in a safe place, we sailed S/V Shawnigan up the Sea of Cortez to San Carlos, June of 2016. Our boat insurance will cover us if we are out of hurricane zones (above latitude 27) so all was good on that end. In the beginning of September, 2016 Hurricane Newton stormed up the Pacific, up Baja and the Sea of Cortez and straight over us. Thankfully by the time it reached our boat the wind speed was closer to 60 knots, not 80 or more. Shawnigan was in the water at Marina Real and was relatively unscathed. She did get quite a few dings and gouges in the hull, which we will be repairing. Christian will be aboard in a few days to check for further damage, but overall we dodged that major hurricane bullet (knock on wood, as we still have a few weeks left of this hurricane season).

As we have been dodging the hurricane bullet, we recently experienced a different hurricane of our own. I say this metaphorically speaking. A friend once said to me, “some of the roughest storms we ever experience are not underway crossing oceans, but rather those on land and not of natural causes”. Boy, did he hit the nail on the head. We came face to face with “our hurricane” halfway into our 3 month visit back in the United States. Without going in to too much dramatic detail, lets just say we faced the storm that we thought was going to make us stop cruising for a while with strength, support, and perseverance. My poetic version of our personal hurricane: Our house was built with integrity. The roots of the trees around our house were strong and well grounded. Although shaken, uprooted and toppled over on to the house, the house held strong. With only a few dings and shingles to replace, our house held together and we were able to mend it and keep moving on healthy and strong.

Cruising around the world in a sailboat teaches you to “go with the flow”, go with the weather, and avoid storms. With the use of technology and learned skills, sailing safely and avoiding major storms is highly probable. Life, on the other hand, is unpredictable and perfect all at the same time. Although we were faced with emotional challenges, we feel like we’ve used our cruising motto “we’ll see” (as in; we’ll see where we go and when, because you never know) to help us through this one. And it all ends up the way it should. 

We are looking forward to returning to the boat in Mexico and continuing on our journey about the world.  Our plans have changed a bit, but again, we’ll see. I extended my travel nurse assignment at UCSF, so I will be staying in the San Francisco area until Christmas time. Christian is heading down to the boat this coming week to get the projects for repairs started. He will be taking Shawnigan down to Mazatlan, where she will be hauled out and painted. While the boat is getting worked on, Christian will return and we will continue homeschooling in the Bay Area. 

We are currently homeschooling with The Wise Academy just outside of Fairfax in West Marin. The Homeschool program uses the Oak Meadow Waldorf Curriculum. So far we love it! In addition, we have the girls in VILDA, which is this awesome outdoor education program. They love “dirt day” and have met so many other cool homeschool kids. We are fortunate to have found Wise Academy and Vilda. 

(Taj, Nina, and Ellamae enjoying their time on Terra Firma)

In November, everyone but myself will head back to the boat life. As Shawnigan makes her way back down the Sea of Cortez, I’ll continue to work up until Christmas time. I’ll then fly to reunite with he family and boat life. We think we’ll probably cruise between Banderas Bay (Puerto Vallarta) and Barra de Navidad for a few months. And by Late February we’ll wait for our weather window to cross the Pacific.  Maybe this time next year… we will be in New Zealand by way across the Pacific, through French Polynesia, Cooks, Fiji… 

“We’ll See!”