S/V Hello World's Travel Log

Ballandra - Isla Carmen

On our way up the Baja coast, we scurried along north whenever we had favorable wind so we could then take our time coming south with the prevailing winds. That said, we find ourselves visiting some of the same anchorages we hit on our way north because they are pretty damn fun. Ballandra is one such example. That and we didn't finish the hike there. On visit #1, we hiked up a great arroyo which theoretically would lead us to the other side of the island to an old salt mine. Unfortunately, we left too late to make it to the other side. We were determined this time to get all the way over there, so we left at a reasonable hour (2pm was the earliest we could muster) and headed east. Jason was in the lead and somehow got us off the trail and out of the right arroyo until we were climbing over trees and through the scrub.

We started out on a real trail...

"Does the trail go through this tree?"
"No, it goes over it..."

Did we make it to Salinas? Surprisingly not. We'll just have to come back and try again.

26°01'11.40"N 111°09'50.04"W

san juanico again

We reluctantly parted ways with all of our friends in Bahia Concepcion to head south. We motored for most of a day to get down to Punta Pulpito, a cool anchorage marked by a massive volcanic point. Pulpito has great protection from the north but wide open from the south. As the winds were shifting the next day, we took off for La Ramada in the morning.

To Ramada from Pulpito was only about 7 miles and we had all day to get there so we unfurled the sails and shut the engine off to ghost along at a knot or so. As the wind filled in from the south, Hello World got a little momentum underway. Soon we were hauling the mail in a 10 knot breeze 30 degrees off port bow. We raced all the other boats into the anchorage (ignoring the fact that they are all at least 13' shorter than Hello World - hey, we're not proud).

The next day, the wind shifted again so we ran around the corner into San Juanico proper and anchored with... 16 other boats. We haven't seen this many boats since La Paz. We're used to sharing an anchorage with one or two other boats. But sixteen?

There was plenty of room, so sunk the hook and hung out for a few days. We did some hiking, met some great folks on boats and hung out with campers on the beach. We met a couple from Telluride, CO - Ben and Bev - who spend their summers in Telluride and their winters driving around Baja camping out of their Land Rover. They had this brilliant tent system from South Africa that folded out of the top of their rig. So they spend their winters driving from Mexican beach to Mexican beach, camping and living on the beach. They call it "overlanding". Overlanding is now another entry on Christy & Jason's list of Interesting Ways To Spend Life.

Our friends on s/v Alta Mae took this picture of Hello World at sunrise at Punta Pulpito.

The awesome volcanic headlands of Punta Pulpito.

The San Juanico anchorage.

Christy gets a nice little chariot ride in the dinghy through the shallows.

The high-security private property gate. A few bowls of ice cream later and I wouldn't have fit.

Ben and Bev in front of their supercool overlanding setup.

Potluck on the beach with all the camping folk.

26°22'06.01"N 111°25'39.76"W

What's your plan B?

I once had a wise mentor named Denis who told me to "always have a plan B". Our plan B with regard to our head (aka toilet) is our 2nd head. It's nice to have two on the boat. Inevitably, head A broke this week and we quickly unloaded the jackets and beer we had stored in head B and got 'er going. Tonight, head B broke. Plan C you ask? Pooping in a bucket.

Boat Insurance? Who needs it...

Well, we here on Hello World do indeed like it. We've known two, yes two, boats that have gone down in the short time we've been on this cruise. One hit a whale off the coast of Ensenada and sank in 5 minutes and one ran aground and subsequently burned to the waterline. Jason likes big anchor tackle to sleep well at night. I prefer insurance.

I've been meaning for the past year to leave our current insurance agent and find one that I like better. I won't slander here, but if anyone is out there looking for a blue water insurance agent, let me know and I'll tell you who I don't recommend. Now that we've met lots of other boats out cruising, we've got a few recommendations and I've found an agent (Pantaenius) that came highly recommended and I'm very happy with the policy. Since HW is our first boat, we took whatever we could get for the first 2 years, but this new policy has a few additions to our current policy that I'm very pleased with:
  • Liability went from 300k to 500k

  • Towing coverage went from 1500 to 5k

  • Medical coverage from 10k to 25k

  • An inspection after grounding is covered with no deductible

  • Nav limits are increase to 15-52N and out to 225nm offshore

  • Living expenses are covered up to 5k if the boat is getting repairs covered by insurance (great since we live aboard)
The premium is about $100 higher than our current policy, but it seems worth the price. Now we just need to steer around those pesky whales...

Mulla and budgets

For all you soon-to-be and hoping-to-be cruisers out there, check out our new article on budgeting for the cruise. Stop saving and just go! Work later :)

The plans for the foreseeable future

Foreseeable future being 6 months in our case. Lots of people have been asking what our plans are. Originally, we thought we'd keep the boat on the hard in Mexico for the summer and then come back down next winter for another season of cruising before going back to work. Well, as always, the money isn't lasting as long as we had originally anticipated, so our plans have been "adjusted":

Feb - Mar - continue cruising the sea heading south (Jason's sisters are coming to visit in March)
Mar - May - start heading up to San Diego and keep the boat there for the summer
Jun - Aug - head back to Seattle for the wedding and jump on the bike for a cross country honeymoon (and more wedding parties)
Sept - get jobs!!!!
Post Sept - move the boat to wherever we get jobs so we can continue to live on it and work on projects

Believe it or not, we're both looking forward to going back to work. It's been a great break, but we're missing friends and family, though mostly refrigeration :)

bahia concepcion

To say that we "liked" Bahia Concepcion might be an understatement. A more accurate turn of phrase might go a little like this: "we loved it so much we almost bought a palapa on the beach".

We settled into the anchorage at Posada Concepcion and were almost immediately pulled into the social scene on the beach. Some of the nicest people live on the beach at Posado, and all around Concepcion for that matter. They invited us into their homes, gave us beer, invited us to Superbowl parties and generally just made us feel at home.

Randy, one of the Posada-ites, took us into to Mulege and gave us a tour of the town. He also drove us all over town (it's not that big so it didn't take long) to go shopping, run errands, and fill up jerry cans of fuel. We also stopped at the hieleria (ice factory), but it turns out they don't have ice. Ah, Mexico.

After more than a week at Posada, we pulled our anchor up, scrubbed the growth off of it and headed a few miles south to Playa El Burro - Donkey Beach! El Burro is homed to the famed (at least by cruisers standards) amateur weather forecaster, Geary. Geary lives in his palapa right on the beach and broadcasts weather every morning over a ham net frequency. Once the weather is broadcast, he blasts a bagpipe rendition of Amazing Grace across the beach. Not a bad way to start the day.

We went in to talk with Geary as he a.) has wifi and will gladly share it and b.) is just too damned funny not to have a conversation with. While there, we fixed a few website glitches for him including his webcam. We told our families about the webcam and then spent 30 minutes dancing around in front of the webcam like trained monkeys.

Nobody saw us. [sigh]

We walked down the beach from Geary's palapa and ran across a "For Sale" sign on a palapa. We'll just take a gander and... oh crap, this place was cool. The porch on this place was about 10 feet above high tide. It had a spectacular stone floor and just the greatest vibe. Solar panels. Thatched roof. Funny little trailer tucked in under the roof in the back. Outdoor shower. The only thing that stopped us from buying it was the fact that we weren't buying any land. At any point, the land owners could step in and say you're outa here. No more palapa.

However, we've added Palapa On A Beach In Mexico to our list of Interesting Ways To Spend Life. But that list is another blog entry altogether.

The beach at Posada Concepcion with the stone hot tub built around the natural warm springs in the foreground.

Chillaxin' in the hot tub.

The beach front homes at Posada.

The post office in Mulege.

Note the palm trees growing through the roof. Awesome.

The folks in the flood plain in Mulege did not fair well in last year's Hurricane Jimena.

The view of Bahia Coyote from atop one of the surrounding hills.

Weatherman Geary at his forecasting station.

Geary lives by a few simple rules in his life.

So much wanted to buy this palapa.

I wouldn't mind in the least bit waking up to this view every morning.

26°43'53"N 111°54'19.28"W

santa rosalia

After San Carlos, we crossed back across the Sea of Cortez to the Baja coast - a much more pleasant crossing than the ugliness of our first round. Santa Rosalia is an old copper mining town with a significant French influence because the mine was French owned. Wood was shipped down from the Pacific Northwest 100 years ago and most of the wood buildings remain today - it's different than any other town we've seen in Mexico. And the church downtown? Designed by Gustav Eiffel (of the Tower fame). We had a great time wandering around town, visiting the museum and finding delicious taco stands. We missed the bacon wrapped hot dogs - still a sore subject.

This chart looks old you say? Yes, from 1875. In fact, it's the same data we're using today. Scary.

Eiffel Tower Church

27°20.396'N 112°15.878'W