S/V Hello World's Travel Log

mainland folks start the migration back

Since we spent their entire week in the islands which is a national park, we had zero opportunity to shop for everyone back in Idaho...but not to worry, we made up for the week in one marathon day! We practiced our bargaining skills and walked away with lots of treasures...not to mention some ice cream.

In La Paz, the polka-dotted tree is our source for ice cream. No need to try anything else.

The partially finished cathedral in town. Doesn't stop the services!

One of our discoveries down here has been limonada - ice water, lots of fresh limone juice and some sugar. Add rum and it can get dangerous.

We opted not to tempt our bribe fate again by renting a car and instead dropped the girls off at the bus station. We spent the rest of our time in La Paz catching up on more much needed ice cream and hanging out with the long lost s/v Sapphire, back from the mainland.

New to snorkeling? Learn from the sea lions

Afer 2 nights in Ensenada Grande, we headed down to Caleta Partida where Tammy got to try her hand at snorkeling for the first time ever. Next up? Snorkeling with the sea lions of course. No better way to learn!

Snorkeling practice

The real thing!

After Los Islotes, we headed down to San Gabriel for some great swimming, but more importantly, hucking practice and the traditional "suicide swing" as named by my sister, McKenzie.

Ohhh the ol' suicide swing!

Huck preparation

The objective of the huck is the most non-graceful entrance possible. Achieved.

While we were out screwing around, 2 girls in a kayak came up to the boat and asked for some help - their dinghy was broken, yet somehow 6 of them had gotten into shore and their friends were currently swimming back to the boat - over a mile. No way they were going to make it...so Jason went out for the rescue.

The rescue.

24°25.638'N 110°21.708'W

Simultaneous fish hits

Once the sisters (Penny and Tammy) arrived, we did a quick provisioning and then set sail so we could maximize our time on the islands. On our way north, we had two handlines dragging behind the boat and must have driving smack through a school of skipjack because both lines hit at the same time. Jason was down with the flu, so it was up to the girls to bring in the fish (some of the biggest we've caught!). Oh, and still drive the boat. Penny and Tammy were in charge of the 2nd one after they saw the procedure on skipjack #1. They did a fantastic job and Penny even filleted the 2nd fish - she's hired!

We managed to get it all done and sick Jason poked his head out as we were talking through anchoring procedures as we pulled into Ensenada Grande. We were soon busy cooking fish tacos and exploring the anchorage before it got dark. The next morning, the girls took off for our favorite hike up the arroyo while Jason recovered from being sick. Once again, we confirmed that this hike rates at the top of the list for the sea.

Our last night, we met up with a Moorings boat with a bunch of Portland guys - had a great time visiting with them and being convinced into a few taquila shots. We passed on our extra fish since there was no way we'd go through it all - we figured with EIGHT of them onboard, they could eat their fill!

Kayaking the amazing rock structures at Ensenada Grande

Yummmm...fish head...

Morning yoga

The hike at Ensenada Grande goes up an arroyo and ends at a cliff at the other side of the island - amazing views of the sea!

24°33.577'N 110°23.855'W

The sisters arrive - police and palapas

Two of Jason's three sisters came to visit us for a week. It was fantastic to spend time with them and they were also our first visitors in Mexico. They flew into Cabo which is cheaper than La Paz, and only two hours away by car. We decided to rent a car to fetch the girls because it was cheaper than them taking the bus from the airport. Theoretically cheaper anyway.

We failed to consider the fact that we would inevitably be pulled over by the policia not 10 minutes out of La Paz. Gringos driving rental cars attract a bit of attention amongst the the po-po, as it turns out. The very courteous officer that pulled us over very courteously informed us that I had missed a stop sign. Interesting because neither Jason nor I saw said stop sign. We could have missed it. But then again, we were driving on a heavily trafficked road - and no other cars in front of us stopped at this mythical stop sign. Regardless, our options were to come down to the station or pay $100US on the spot. I negotiated the bribe down to 800 pesos ($60US) and was feeling OK about that until I found out that the custom is to hand over $5-10 with your license. Never more than 200 pesos. We'll chalk that up to a lesson learned and next time we come down to Mexico, we'll have a budget item for bribes.

Once we got back on the road, we carefully spotted every sign for the next 5 hours of travel. We stopped in Todos Santos on the way to the airport, an adorable little town on the Pacific coast of Baja. We wandered around the little artsy shops and then attempted to find Playa Tortuga (Turtle Beach). We were unsuccessful at finding any turtles, but we did find most of the potholes in town on our way to the beach. Sorry National Car Rental.

We picked up the girls and got them back to La Paz, but not before stopping for a bit at a little roadside palapa for some authentic Mexican tacos.

THE Hotel California

We decided taking the rental car down this sand path might not be in our best interest

Jason chillin' on a dune

Incredible beach at Todos Santos

Tammy's favorite place of the trip

First lesson aboard Hello World? How to use the head.

23°27.189'N 110°13.548'W

amortajada back to la paz

Amortajada is a giant, giant anchorage. By "giant, giant", I mean about 3 miles of beach off of which hundreds of boats could anchor. When we arrived, there were 2 other boats there. We followed our usual pattern, checked out a few promising spots and decided on one that was a good distance from either boat. Well, those other boats left, so we had the entire place to ourselves. Until the Moorings charter boat showed up, made a beeline for our boat, zipped 10 feet from our bow at about 8 knots, dropped their hook and ended up about 50 feet from us. 3 miles of desolate beach and they pick a spot in which we can count their errant ear hair. Thanks.

These poor Moorings boats get a pretty bad rap from the cruising community. It's not that they're ALL bad sailors. Just 98% of them. I kid. Sort of. The last one we met took the most protected spot in an anchorage, but proceeded to let out 11:1 scope, thereby excluding any other boats from having a comfortable night.

Anyway, we had a pleasant afternoon in Amortajada and took a dinghy tour of the mangroves where we saw a few rays, lots of fish and quite a few birds. Since the anchorage isn't too protected, we jumped south down to Isla San Francisco for 2 nights to enjoy some spearfishing-without-a-speargun. We didn't catch anything that way either.

We had plans to head directly from SF back to La Paz, but we caught some SERIOUS wind on the way south, so we ducked into Ensenada Grande, our favorite anchorage on Isla Partida, for the night before getting the rest of the way to La Paz.

Jason driving us into the mangroves

Windy mangrove "trail"

This guy drove around the anchorage like this for at least 20 minutes. Sadly, no Moorings boats were hit.

24°52.890'N 110°34.470'W

los gatos and san evaristo

We stopped into Los Gatos for the second time, and for the second time, we discovered our timing to be not-so-perfect. As gorgeous as the red rocks are, they're not worth the swell that rolls on into the anchorage. So, after a brief exploration on shore and a night of getting tossed and turned, we headed further south to San Evaristo. On the way to Evaristo, we kicked a catamaran's arse whilst sailing. Until they turned their motor on. Cheaters.

Evaristo, it turns out, is our favorite place to scrub the bottom of the boat - once on the way north and then this time, on the way south. The water has been pretty chilly (yes, poor, poor HW), but that didn't stop an aquarium from growing below the waterline. That could explain the 4 knot max boat speed we'd been getting. Turns out that our very VERY expensive US bottom paint does not really cut it for the tropical waters of Mexico. When we bought the boat, the previous owner suggested we buy a few gallons of Mexican paint because "it's so good, it leaves a trail of dead fish behind you". Well, we sided with the EPA on that one, but are thinking better of that now.

Anyway, we scrub the boat the old fashioned way, donning our snorkel gear and taking big gulps of air. It makes it a little hard to get to the bottom of the keel since we don't have a weight belt, but Jason fashioned his own:

Right. That's 10 lbs of pipe wrench and shackles there folks. We on HW like to improvise when it comes to weight belts.

24°54.616'N 110°42.362'W

agua verde

For those of you who have the Heather and Shawn Sea of Cortez Cruisers Guidebook, you know you can't get past the cover photograph without wanting to visit Agua Verde. Well, we finally got there! And we stayed for a week because it's really as good as it looks in the pictures.

When we arrived, there was a bit of a southern wind, so we hung out in the southern part of the anchorage for a few nights. As soon as we pulled in, we could hear the jingle of bells on the collars of goats that were wandering the beach. I knew then and there, that this was going to be a fun spot (As some of you know, I have a special place in my hearts for goats). We dinghied over to our new friends m/v Blue and got to hear about their frightening Mayday call and subsequent adventure getting rescued by the Mexican Navy (story here). Note to self - if we lose the dinghy, forget about it.

As the wind shifted around, we re-anchored in the northern area and took to wandering around the trails and town. S/v Rio Nimpkish soon arrived and we made it our personal mission to find some goat cheese. It took three tries and much walking, but we finally made it back to the boat with a giant hunk of fresh goat cheese. Only then did we taste it. We should have gotten more.

You well know that there was an "incident" with our newly purchased speargun. We now know not to velcro a speargun to our kayak when out for a morning jaunt. It turns out, if you hit it with a paddle, kirplunk. We spent a significant amount of our time in Agua Verde attempting to recover the speargun. We even recruited some friends from s/v Danan and implemented a search pattern involving the 4 of us swimming in concentric circles. That strategy lasted approximately 1/4 of one circle before we resumed our random search. Sadly, we didn't recover the gun - but it's still available to whomever finds the REAL gps coordinates!

As we were contemplating picking up anchor and heading south, we heard our dear friends on s/v Anon were headed our way, so we had a great last night catching up on the last 6 months since we hadn't seen them since San Francisco.

tortilla lessons

gringo tortilla

bartering works! 6 beers for 2 fish

searching for the lost speargun

we're going to replace the pic on the front of the guidebook with this one

pigs tied to a tree. like you do.

best hammock location ever.

25°31.400'N 111°04.427'W

speargun for sale: CHEAP!

All you have to do is pick it up. Head to these coordinates: 25°31.662'N 111°04.136'W. It should about 30 feet below you (depending on the tide).


Candeleros Chico

We woke up after a quiet night in Candeleros Chico, squeezed ourselves some fresh OJ (we have a few leftover oranges from our 40 lb bag) and settled into the cockpit for our own personal Sea World. Dozens of dolphins made their way into the anchorage and spent 15 minutes feeding, jumping and flipping. You don't get better than this.

Once the dolphins took off to entertain other boaters, we headed into shore for a scramble. Jason found a hill that he just had to climb. I wasn't to be left behind, so I attempted to dodge all the rocks that he dislodged. Halfway up the hill, I heard some movement very nearby. You could say I was getting a little nervous, which my precious fiancee noticed and informed me "not to worry, most rattlesnake bites aren't fatal". Seriously? "Um, not sure, I just made that up to make you feel better".

Thanks J.

Rattle? No worries. Probably not fatal.

Long way down...

Loved the rocks!

The obligatory pic of HW.

25°42'23.71"N 111°12'58.36"W

Honeymoon Cove

Bad news folks. We got lazy with the camera.

Things that we did not take pictures of in Honeymoon Cove:
  • Christy dinghy fishing while covered in 8 yards of mosquito netting
  • The beach littered with hair clippings post cuts
  • Jellyfish sting welts 2 days in - not pretty
  • Our mad anchoring skillz in progress
Honeymoon Cove is not only our favorite anchorage thus far, it's also the sight of our most spectacular anchoring maneuver yet*, in front of spectators no less.

*Fortunately there was no wind to contend with, else our "spectacular" moves would have ended us up on the rocks. We still think we're badass.

Here's how it went: we nudged up into our favorite NW bight in the anchorage until the depthsounder read 9 feet and Jason hucked our secondary anchor off the bow. I expertly maneuvered the boat backwards while Jason paid out 200' of rode on the anchor. He walked the end of the rode to the stern and threw it on a cleat at which point, HW pivoted 180° and Jason ran to the bow to drop our primary anchor as we backed into the bight and I took in half of the secondary rode.

Other than patting ourselves on the back, we had a great time hiking and snorkeling around the cove - finally enjoying the warming waters of the sea again! We met some new friends on s/v Doin' It who we like even more after they've given us the secret recipe for homemade Baileys:
  • 1 cup coffee
  • 1 cup rum
  • 1 cup Nestle Lechera (this stuff is all over Mexico - I think it's just condensed milk with sugar)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

We did take a few pictures for your viewing enjoyment...

Results of mad skillz.

The elusive Mexican red crab. We really have no idea what they're called.

About to go for the winning throw in bocce con shells.

25°48'35.71"N 111°15'35.32"W

more catching up

We got ahold of a big, fat, juicy internet connection in Puerto Escondido so we uploaded photos and caught up on blog entries going a month back.

01.23.2010 Crossing the Sea of Cortez
01.24.2010 San Carlos
02.01.2010 Santa Rosalia
02.05.2010 Bahia Concepcion
02.22.2010 San Juanico
02.25.2010 Puerto Ballandra - Isla Carmen
03.01.2010 Puerto Escondido

Updated photo galleries.

Happy work avoidance!

Puerto Escondito and Loreto

We know, we know...we said we'd NEVER come back to Puerto Escondito, but the lure of internet and fresh produce was too great and we ended up here again. Just for a few days, but enough to get a few blog posts done and fill up on fuel and whatnot. We buddied up with our friends on s/v Rio Nimpkish and rented a car for a day to go to Loreto and explore. It was a great splurge after spending nearly nothing all month. We found it easy to fix that problem and spent a ton on eating out, provisioning and negotiating for a new sarang for Jason (picture coming soon).

The mission in Loreto - the first on Baja.

The "roof" you see here is actually the glass bottom of the hotel's rooftop pool. Bathing suits optional?

Dog on a truck.

We will not die of scurvy, that's for sure.

25°49'00"N 111°18'81.67"W