Thursday, April 30, 2015

April 30, Puerto Escondido

I'm going to try to make today's report short.  It was a short hop up from Agua Verde to Escondido, only 23 miles.  The ocean looked like a mill pond, perfectly flat, glassy and zero wind.  So the trip today was pure diesel power.  I did put the reacher out for about 45 minutes near the end but only to help the motor a little with the 4-5 knots that was coming from the starboard beam.  Not much to report on the trip, no dolphins, no fish on the lines.  However, just before getting to Escondido I did get a pretty good hit on one of the lines but that is all it was, a hit.

Loreto Fest is held every year here in Puerto Escondido the first weekend in May.  I have never been so I thought it might be fun to see what it is all about.  Cruisers from all of the Sea of Cortez come to help clean up around the bay and then enjoy a couple of days of activities and get togethers.  After getting settled I counted 35 sailboats and several other power boats here in the bay.  One noteworthy event was the buoy I was assigned. (Everyone here in the bay is moored on a buoy and they are all numbered). Wait for it...wait for it...number 112!  Providential!  And no, I didn't get to pick it out.  It just happened that way.  Gotta love that and rest assured I did get some pics of the best looking buoy in all of Puerto Escondido. lol.  

The other piece of noteworthy news is that Gregg Watt is coming down!  It was literally a last minute thing.  He bought his ticket yesterday and he will be here tomorrow afternoon.  Gregg is one of my best friends from college.  Pretty excited to spend some time here around the islands near Loreto with him.  See you tomorrow my friend!

Not much else to report so I will sign off for today.  Ciao for now.

SV Liahona

Tarren - I was in Agua Verde (one of our fav spots) yesterday and went ashore to this new little hut restaurant on the beach for some fish tacos.  It is run by a group of women and along with the food they sell various shells, jewelry, etc.  I was the only one there and was talking with them and also playing with their kids. They asked about my kids and I told them about you and your bros. When I went to leave they showed me this large abalone looking shell with other shells glued around the rim of it, like a jewelry dish, and asked if I thought it was fea or bonita.  Of course I said it was bonita, that it wasn't really my style but that girls would really like it.  They insisted that I take it as a gift for you, my daughter.  Typical latinas, so kind and giving.  I promised them that I would get it to you and that you would love it.  So I have a gift for you and you will need to thank them in person one day when you are onboard again.  Love you mucho!

 The restaurant in Agua Verde

 My fish tacos almost ready...

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

April 29, A peaceful sail (mostly motoring) up to Agua Verde.

Quietly anchored in Agua Verde

7:30 am - I am the net controller for the Sonrisa net on the ham radio every Wednesday so I was up around 7am tuning in the radio and getting a cup of coffee so that I would be ready for the net.  As I start the net, protocol is to ask first for any emergency or priority traffic.  A call came in.  It was Michael on Quest who is traveling singlehanded from Cabo to San Diego.  Marne and I met him when we were in Cabo. He is offshore about 150 miles and some 300 miles south of San Diego and he has electrical issues, all of his batteries are dead from an unknown drain on them and he cannot start his motor.  He is on a sailboat so it is not a dire emergency but we worked through some possible solutions troubleshooting his power drain and hopefully his solar will be able to charge enough today to be able to get his engine running.  He is currently sailing but if some nasty weather came up or no weather at all and he will be wishing he had a motor.

8:20am - After the net the anchor came up, but not easily I might add, so I could head out northbound toward Agua Verde.  Yesterday when I arrived in Nopolo I put a mask on to take a look at the keel and see if there was anything substantial after the run in with the sandbar in La Paz.  I indeed rubbed a little paint off of the front and bottom of the keel but other than that all is well.  While I was in the water I snorkeled out the length of the anchor chain to look at how the anchor was set.  It was completely buried in the sand, which is awesome, but I noticed 2 or 3 large logs lying on the bottom in the vicinity of the anchor.  Not much I could do about it but I was worried that when I picked the anchor up I might get snagged on one of the stray logs.  My concern was confirmed this morning when the windlass starting laboring to pull up the last 50' of chain.  Upon looking down into the clear waters to the bottom I could easily see that I was indeed wrapped around the log and pulling it up along with the chain and anchor. In a worse case scenario I could let some chain out, dive down and untangle the mess and then proceed.  Fortunately, after some high rpm maneuvering the log gave up, let go, and I was free.

9:00am - Only a half hour out of Nopolo and I am in the middle of the biggest pod of dolphins I have seen yet.  Almost as far as I can see, at least 3/4 to a mile around in all directions, there are dolphins jumping and enjoying the warmth of the morning sun. As I motored through the group several came to play in the bow wave then jetted off in other directions once their curiosity with the Liahona was satisfied.  It took a good half hour to finally get through the pod and as I motor northward (there is no wind this morning) I can see the huge pod fading into the sea behind the boat.  Not a bad way to start the day.

11am - Still motoring.  The seas are flat calm and glassy.  I have taken a course heading more north than the direct course to Agua Verde hoping that the wind will fill in and betting that when it does it will come more from the northeast instead of the northwest allowing me to sail the last half of today's travels but so far I see no signs of wind.  I'm a bit bored so I turn the stereo on but it is skipping.  How is that possible with an iPod?  Looking at the face of the stereo I see that the power is blinking on and off randomly.  A loose connection somewhere that will need to be addressed.  I grab my current read, Gone Girl, and start turning pages.  After a bit I decide to walk up to the bow, look into the water and be present for the calm beauty of the Sea of Cortez. The sun is almost directly overhead and looking down into the clear aqua water I see the rays of the sun prisoming down into the water.  Rays coming from around the compass and arriving at a single point that looks to be to be 30-50' below the surface making it appear that the light rays are originating from a spot below and spreading out as they reach the surface.  There are a lot of jellyfish in the water.  About the size and shape of a doughnut, milky translucent and speckled with red dots.  Each one passes quickly under or beside the boat, disappearing only to be replaced by others strewn across this piece of ocean.  It's a beautiful day.  Calm, clear and warm but a day so far spent burning up fossil fuels at the fortunately slow rate of about 2/3 of a gallon per hour as I motor along at 1600 rpms. Hoping that the afternoon breezes will fill in but grateful for the life here on the sea.

2:30pm - Right around noon a slight breeze from the NNE came up as I had hoped.  It is not much, varying between 3-7 knots, but it's better than motoring and since I have nothing to do all day I am enjoying the peace of it all.  Agua Verde is now about 10 miles in front of me and easily in sight slightly around the corner from Punta San Marte.  I haven't seen another boat all day and as I look out into the nothingness of the ocean out to the east toward mainland Mexico my my mind wanders and wonders if this is what it would be like on a long passage to the South Pacific.  Nothing but water, a very slight wind with slow progress toward the destination.

4:30pm - After a very peaceful but slow sail into Agua Verde I am safely anchored in this beautiful cove that is protected on the west by the Gigantas mountains and the the north and east by rocky hills and reefs.  After taking a swim and a bath I wandered over to Moon Drifter to say hello.  Two of the nicest people you will ever meet.  Ralph is 83 and Helen is 70, enjoying the golden years aboard their SeaWinds 1100 catamaran.  The dinghy is launched and I plan to go ashore this evening to a little restaurant on the beach that has a reputation for excellent burgers. Another  fine day cruising the Sea of Cortez. No complaints.  Beauty surrounds.  Look around and you will find it.  Ciao for now.

SV Liahona

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

April 28, Napolo

2pm.  I am currently typing out this blog sitting in the cockpit of the Liahona as I sail northward to a small fishing village called Nopolo.  The day saw very, very light winds and flat seas this morning coming out of the La Paz area then I finally got to turn off the motor about 3 hours ago to enjoy the tranquility of a beam reach sail in about 8 knots of wind.  Mostly a typical day sailing in the Sea of Cortez as I changed sail at least a half dozen times but I was energized by a shrimp cocktail snack about an hour ago. It's pretty quiet out here by my lonesome but after 5 weeks of visitors it is welcomed.  I have passed 3 or 4 boats going in various directions in the lower part of the Sea of Cortez and recently just got off the radio with Paddy and Queenie on Le Chatbute (I'm pretty sure I screwed up that spelling. ha), a couple on a Leopard 43 that Marne and I met on the other side in San Blas.  It is pretty cool to meet people like that, go your separate ways and then weeks, months or years later rendevouz when your paths cross again.  All part of what I love about being a cruiser.

Today it is about 85 degrees, the waters clear and slightly warming up a bit as the sea temperature is now 74 degrees.  It has been such a nice day and I had high hopes for some fish but I have been dragging lures all day to no avail.  While I was motoring in the calm of the morning I decided to get a few chores done and the first on the list was the new salt water pump under the galley sink.  Out with the old and in with the new. About an hour later I again have salt water in the galley which definitely cuts down the amount of fresh water I use for washing dishes.

As I am writing the wind went from 3 knots to now blowing 16. Go figure.  It is coming from the north, the direction I am heading, but I only have about 6 miles to go so I will just motor into the wind and chop for another hour and I'll be there.

5pm - Arrived at Nopolo and dropped anchor in this amazingly beautiful, remote spot along the Baja coastline.  A single family lives here in Nopolo in the only house just off of the rocky beach. No roads lead here, as this spot and the small village just 2 miles north of here that is home to 6 families is only accessible by boat. After arriving I paddled ashore to meet the family and they were very nice.  A young couple with two girls, maybe 14 and 9 years old.  They have called this place home for 15 years now. Behind their humble, cement house there is a narrow but deep valley that cuts through Gigantas mountain range ending here in the tiny valley of Nopolo.  The valley itself is lush and green with vegetation in contrast to the near vertical rock walls that go upward to the south and the north forming this little enclave.  Looking to the east is the San Jose channel formed between San Jose Island and mainland Baja with the nutrient rich channel between the two that is about 5 miles wide and some 20 miles long which provides several families with a way of living fishing these waters.

I am going to make some dinner, watch the sun go down behind these majestic mountains that tower above me and then turn in for the night.  Hope all is well up north. Ciao for now.

SV Liahona

Monday, April 27, 2015

April 27, Run aground! La Paz

Well, I have heard it many times from many different sailors that sooner or later everybody goes aground.  As many times as I have heard it I have told myself "not me, it's not gonna happen to me".  WRONG! Bret Mitchell has officially run his boat aground.  Here's how it went down...
We left Caleta Paritda this morning heading toward La Paz so that Clint, Kari and Katie could grab a hotel, cold beer and long awaited hot shower before jumping a bus back down to Cabo tomorrow.  The entry to La Paz is a long, 5 mile channel that is dredged and marked with red and green buoys from well outside of town all the way to downtown in between the Magote (a sand island) and the Malecon (the boardwalk along the La Paz oceanfront).  As you enter you are on an easterly course and then within a 1/4 mile the channel takes a hard 90 degree dogleg right to the south and then parallels the coast all the way into La Paz.  We entered in between the buoys and Clint mentioned that he is kind of color blind in that red and green look the same to him.  I pointed to two separate buoys, port and starboard, and asked him if he could see the difference.  Just about the time he was looking carefully and responding that they looked very similar we went from 6 knots to zero in about 2 seconds! The boat jerking forward as we came to an abrupt stop.  Chit!  While Clint and I were talking I overlooked a buoy on the dogleg and inadvertently shortcutted the dogleg completely missing one buoy.  Guess what?  It is pretty shallow outside of the marked channel. haha. Immediately my mind raced through a hundred it high or low tide, did I damage the keel or the rudder, can I back off of it, did anyone see me (lol) and the questions went on.  Fortunately it was pure sand and maybe a little mud, not rock. I immediately put it in reverse and tried to back off the sandbar.  With full throttle reverse we were not moving backward but the boat was rotating slowly so I kept it in reverse until we rotated somewhat aftward to the port then went to forward with full throttle hoping we could inch our way into the darker and deeper water that we could see only 20 yards away.  It was a little windy and there was a slight chop which helped because with each small swell the boat lifted for just a second or two and allowed the motor to propel us slightly forward.  Then the swell would drop us back on the sand and we repeated that process for about 5 to 10 minutes before we had actually come completely free of the bottom and we motored back into the safety of the channel. There was another sailboat just a couple hundred yards behind us and he was following us right into the sandbar but he finally saw me waving him off and pointing toward the channel and turned before he hit the sand.  I thought we might have company there for a minute.

Anyway, no damage done except for a deflated ego, a momentary leap in heart rate and a couple more grey hairs.  ha.  We "carefully" docked in Marina La Paz, fueled up, washed the boat down then said our goodbyes. Them going their way headed back home and me back into official single hander status.  Before leaving La Paz I made a quick trip to the store to restock and then to the marine store to see if they had the salt water pump that burned up that feeds salt water to the galley sink.  They had the exact pump so I bought it and hope to have it installed and working in the next day or two.  

I think that is enough excitement for one day my land lubbing friends.  Ciao for now!

SV Liahona

Sunday, April 26, 2015

April 26, Caleta Partida, Isla Espiritu Santo

Last night we enjoyed a delicious meal at Lupe's "restaurant" on the beach in San Evaristo then took a short dinghy ride home to the boat in the darkness on a perfectly calm bay.  Around midnight or so my guests got to experience a Baja "Elephante", strong westerly winds blowing down from the Montanas Gigantas. The winds were blowing 20-25 knots all night until around 4am.  At about 1am I decided to let out a little more scope on the anchor chain just for good measure. As the wind howled all night I probably got up and went up top to check things out at least 8 times.  Not a great night sleep.  When we woke up around 7:30am the bay had returned to perfect calm like nothing had happened.

As we were leaving San Evaristo this morning I had the boat on autopilot while I arranged some things and went about putting out some fishing lines.  First the handlines.  As I let the first handline out that had my favorite purple Rapala on it I got to the end and let it go not realizing that it had come untied from the stern cleat and out the back it went and slowly started to sink.  The options ran quickly through my mind and within a couple of seconds I had taken off my glasses and jumped overboard to try to retrieve the handline and my favorite lure.  As I jumped overboard, doing about 6 knots, I yelled to Clint "come get me"!  I swam toward the handline that was sinking and by the time I got in the general area I could barely see the line disappearing out of site.  I was tired from swimming fast to get to it but took a deep breath and headed downward.  Somewhere around 15' or so below the surface I grabbed the handline and headed back up for air.  By then Clint had figured out that he needed to turn off the autopilot first before he could turn the boat around to get me but within no time he was there and I climbed up the stern ladder. If we would have had sail up I would not have jumped in but I'm happy to have the line back aboard.

Our first stop today was Isla Coyote.  A small volcanic rock of an island that maybe is about 1/2 acre in size and about 40' tall at it's pinnacle.  There are about 6 or 7 small homes on the island and used to be home to 5 or 6 families.  Now there is only one family of six that live on the island full time.  The older gentleman that I spoke to said he has been on the island for 65 years now.  It was a super cool place and evidently one of very few inhabited islands in the Sea of Cortez.  We did some snorkeling on the reefs surrounding the island and then picked up the anchor and headed south toward Isla Espiritu Santo. 

 Isla Coyote

 Around noon we picked up some nice winds from the east that allowed us to sail with the main and the reacher for about 3 hours at 5-7 knots.  Just about the time the wind picked up nicely to around 14 knots or so we got a hookup on the rod and reel that spooled us pretty good.  It was a scramble to get the reacher down and turn the boat into the wind to slow it down so we could reel in the fish.  Pretty exciting as this fish was not happy and took out a lot of line.  It wound up be another Bonita and since we aren't into eating cat food quality fish we tossed him back and watched him swim away.

Here at Partida we are anchored among 10 or 12 other sailboats in the turquoise waters between Isla Partida and Isla Espiritu Santo.  It is a popular anchorage due to it's protective cove, high red rock cliff walls and the beautiful clear waters that shoal up onto the white sand where you can walk in waist deep water for a couple hundred yards.  It's been another bueno day here in the Sea of Cortez and we are looking for more of the same tomorrow as we head back into La Paz so that my boat guests can catch a bus on Tuesday to Cabo where they will board their flight back home.  Ciao for now.

Bret, Clint and friends,
SV Liahona

Saturday, April 25, 2015

April 25, San Evaristo

It was a beautiful morning arising with the sun in Isla San Francisco.  Calm, glassy waters formed the surface of the aqua blue waters of the anchorage that sits over white sand 20' below the boat.  Two dolphins where gracefully cruising around the bay but concentrated most of their time between the Liahona and a trawler about 100' to the south of us.  We lazily enjoyed the morning then pulled anchor around 11am to head across the narrow passage to San Evaristo about 9nm away.  The winds were very light, almost non existent, the sea near perfectly flat.  Within 100 yards of lifting the anchor and placing it into it's spot on the bow sprit we raised the main and rolled out the light wind, blue and white reacher, shut off the Yanmar and peacefully sailed out of the bay and toward the northwest.  We only had a short distance to go, speed to arrive not an issue, so we sailed along on a beam reach at about 2-3 knots in 5 knots of wind.  A medley of music playing quietly on the stereo speakers in the cockpit, the sun replacing the energy in the batteries we had used the night before and the boat pushing through the water at a slow but steady rate with barely a ripple on the surface of the Sea of Cortez.  I was definitely in my happy place.  Total peace.  Not a single worry dancing through my sometimes restless mind.

San Evaristo is a fishing village at the head of a very protected cove. A small, remote, quiet and tranquil village that is home to about 80 people. (Tarren, you know the place...and the store. ha)  After securing the anchor on the sandy bottom we went ashore to have a cold drink at the only "restaurant" in town.  A small hut with a gentleman named Lupe and a gringo couple that started up the establishment about 6 months ago.  Cold drinks and ceviche.  He brought out a small plate of ceviche first to see if we approved then went back into the kitchen to make up the fresh ceviche from scratch delivering to our small table 4 huge bowls, completely full to the rim of the Mexican favorite.  One bowl would have been difficult for us to finish.  We asked Lupe if he could put the leftovers in the fridge for tonight when we return for dinner and he politely obliged and then asked us what we might want for dinner so he could fetch the necessary ingredients for our meal.  Then a quick trip to the "store", a metal shack with dusty cans of various items, some fresh and not so fresh fruits and vegetables in baskets and basic staples like 100 lb. sacks of beans, rice, sugar and dog food. ha. We picked up a few items and paid the two young ladies, both about 14 years old, that were in charge for the afternoon.

Tonight will find us back at Lupe's place for some fresh fish, scallops and more of his delicious ceviche that we couldn't finish earlier today.  A very peaceful, quiet and laid back day.  Oh, one other Lupe's we were introduced to Bobby, a mutt dog that will go get any rock that you throw out into the ocean.  A fist sized rock is best thrown about 20 or 30 yards out into the water that Bobby will run into the water after, then swim to the general area where he bobs around with his hind legs down and his head above the water then when he spots the rock he dives down, head first, maybe in 3-5' of water, picks up the exact rock and swims back to you dropping the rock at your feet begging for another toss.  Lupe said he is famous and if you You Tube Bobby the dog in San Evaristo you will see his videos. lol

That's another day in the Sea of Cortez. Ciao for now.

Bret, Clint and friends,
SV Liahona

Friday, April 24, 2015

April 24, Isla San Francisco

It's been a lazy day here at Isla San Francisco.  Anchored in the southern most bight of the island that is shaped like a giant hook protecting those anchoring here from almost 3 sides.  To the north and to the south there are tall, bright red rock cliffs that are connected together by a white sand beach that appears to be about a mile long.  A short walk to the top of the sand berm on the beach and you can easily see the other side flanked by the Sea of Cortez stretching out to the east as far as one can see.  To the west of the anchorage it is a short 4 miles or so across the sea to mainland Baja which is marked by the striated mountains reaching 2,000-3000' up into the clear, arid Baja air.  The mountains are mainly redish but striated with white, brown, black and other colors blending in between the very visible layers.  From the anchorage in San Francisco as the sun goes down out to the west the mountains are a stark contrast of black sillouettes rising above the ocean into the orange, red and pink skies.  I think it is one of my favorite anchorages.

In contrast to the sheer beauty of this place are the times when wealthy Mexicans roll in their mega yachts blaring music until the early hours of the next day and the ever constant running of their large generators that power all of their excess.  Such was the case last night.  A 80' ish motor yacht with about 15 people aboard, most of them in their 20s singing at the top of their lungs to annoying Mexican pop music.  That lasted until just past 1:30am.  The generator never stopped, nor has it since they motored in late yesterday afternoon.  Today the wakeboard boat sized dinghy and jet skiies were unloaded, pop up tents set up on the beach and the Mexican good life continues. We happen to the be lucky ones anchored just 75 yards away from them on the north end of the anchorage.  Yes, every rose has a thorn.

For us, it has been a day of hiking, snorkeling, exploring and sun bathing.  Well, that was the guests itinerary.  I chose to stay behind to take care of some casual boat chores.  A brief bottom cleaning, scraping off the occasional barnacle, working on the salt water pump, which was officially deemed dead, burned up, seized, not sure but definitely dead, making water and somewhere in between taking a relaxing nap. I also spent some time getting to know our other neighbor, a couple from Washington on a 43' Cheoy Lee.

Last night we celebrated Katie's 41st birthday by feasting on 4 enormous lobster, it did not suck.  Tonight on the menu is marinated Arrachera steak and grilled spuds.  The sun is bright, the water clear and once again I am grateful for the life I get to live.  Ciao for now.

Bret, Clint and friends,
SV Liahona

Thursday, April 23, 2015

April 23, Isla San Francisco

Today we find ourselves at Isla San Francisco.  A reasonably small island, maybe a mile and a half long, north of the town of La Paz by about 40 miles. We were going to stop at Isla Espiritu Santo today but it is completely overcast and we had favorable winds so we kept on sailing to here.  We will most likely head over tomorrow to the mainland Baja to a small fishing village called Evaristo to pick up some fresh fish and maybe some basic groceries like beans and possibly some vegetables.  There is no grocery store there but there are a couple of garage/shacks that the owners sell a few things out of.  

Arriving here at SF Clint and I took a dinghy ride around the point to a small beach on the other side (Tarren, you know exactly where that is...) where we found about 10 homeless looking guys camped on the beach.  Mexican fisherman that campout for a few days, get some fish then head back to town to sell it.  We wound up buying some lobsters from them.  8 HUGE lobsters for $40.  At $5 each we thought we did well.  So you can imagine what we are having for dinner tonight. lol

Fishing report - we caught 2 fish today but unfortunately they were both Bonita so we tossed 'em back.  However, catching non keepers is WAY better than not catching at all.

Back pain - my lower back is still pretty sore but it seems to be getting better.  At least I can handle it with only Ibuprophen which doesn't leave me feeling like I'm just coming down from some big bender.  I'm very happy about that because the last couple days were hell.  As for the boat my only fix this afternoon is the salt water pump.  No worky, so I need to dig in and see if I can figure it out.  I think it isn't getting power, we'll see.

That's a wrap on another day in Baja aboard the SV Liahona.  Ciao for now.

Bret, Clint and friends,
SV Liahona

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

April 22, Puerto Balandra

This morning was my first day as "net controller" for the Sonrisa net which is the ham radio net that I check into daily and get my weather forecasts.  They asked me a few weeks ago if I would fill in on Wed. mornings starting today and I told them that I would but that I was a total ham nube and would probably make a fool of myself. ha.  The net went pretty well although La Paz is a known "noisy" spot with awful reception to the other parts of the Sea of Cortez and the rest of Mexico.  I did have difficulty hearing a few of the check-ins but with a couple of helpful relays things went off pretty well.

After the ham net I turned on the VHF radio to listen in on the VHF net for the local cruisers in La Paz.  At the end of the net I put a call out to anyone that might know an old friend named Dario that we met and buddy boated with here in the Sea of Cortez and all the way through the Panama Canal and into the Caribbean way back in 1980 on my dad's boat the original Liahona.  Someone responded to me and told me he was chatting with someone else on channel 17 so I popped over to that channel and he was there.  I put a call out to him and he was shocked to hear "little Bret's" voice over the radio right here in La Paz after 35 years.  We were heading into the fuel dock to refuel and Dario met us there, came aboard for an awesome little reunion after so many years.  It was so good to talk to him.  He sold his original boat Altair some 30 years ago, bought another boat called Ballena and after 30 years aboard he just, this last week or so, sold the Ballena and is moving on land here in La Paz.  He was blown away that I have followed my pops and headed out to sea and even better that it isn't just a vacation for me.  Pretty awesome visit.

After the 1980 sailor's reunion we headed north toward Isla Espiritu Santo but got detoured to Puerto Balandra before even getting to the island.  Balandra is a beautiful bay about 10 miles north of La Paz with gorgeous white sand beaches that are broken up by large volcanic rock formations.  Balandra is also home to the famous Mushroom Rock, a volcanic formation about 20 feet tall that is 90% erroded away at the base with to top large and rounded.  

My back spasms seem to be a bit better today but after two days of taking pain meds I felt like crap most of the day, my version of a pain med hangover.  Not bueno.  So I have spent most of the day in my bunk trying to sleep off this nauseated headache while the boat guests have enjoyed the anchorage.  I am hoping that tomorrow will find me with a less sore lower back and zero headache.  Cross your fingers.

That's is for now kids.  Ciao for now.
Captain Clint

Steve Jobs custom built multi-million dollar Venus

Seeing Dario after 35 years

Bret, Clint and friends
SV Liahona

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

April 21, La Paz

This is going to be very brief as I feel like crap and am in no mood to write.  My lower back has been in spasms the last two days and Clint being a nurse convinced me to take some pain meds, which I hate because they make me feel like crap even though the pain is better.  That being said, we are safely anchored in La Paz after a very calm 10 hour day today getting here.  We did catch 2 Bonita, which we landed but released and one Dorado which we lost right at the boat. Bummer!  However, it was nice to catch fish.

That's it for now as I'm struggling just to write this much.

SV Liahona

Monday, April 20, 2015

April 20, Bahia de los Muertos

This morning found us in the dinghy early and around the corner from the anchorage in Bahia de Frailes to see the sea lions where Clint Kari and Katie swam with the sea lions for a half hour or so.  I didn't get into the water because it is a National Marine park and we are not allowed to drop an anchor so I was the dinghy man.  All good, I have swam with them several times now.  We got back to the boat around 10:30 or so, pulled anchor and headed north toward Bahia de los Muertos (Bay of the dead). There is no town here, just a restaurant on the beach, a boat ramp and a few homes along the shoreline.  Funny story, this place actually has two names.  Bahia de los Muertos is the original name and still listed that way on all of the maps but several years ago some wealthy developers came in and wanted to develop the bay and surrounding area with upscale homes, a golf course, the whole Maryanne.  The developers did not think that Bay of the Dead was very marketable so they named it the Bay of Dreams which is the nomenclature that is on the sign at the restaurant and the entrance to the failed residential development area.  Like many of the development projects in Mexico, it never came to fruition and now is just visited by cruisers and local fisherman.  Maybe a rename is in order...The Bay of Broken Dreams.  I always wonder what happened to someone's "great idea".

We enjoyed another rare day of southeast winds today that pushed us along nicely on a broad reach.  It was a bit of a long day that found us finally dropping anchor around 6pm.  We decided to check out the restaurant and sitting in the thatched roof building we were not disappointed with an excellent meal followed by vanilla ice cream and flan.  

We are anchored next to about an 80' power boat called "Snow Bored" from Park City Utah with a University of Utah Flag flying off the bow.  Soon after we dropped our anchor next to them they hailed us on the radio and said that being from Utah they were kind of obligated to at least say hello to a vessel with the name Liahona. lol.

Fishing report - Zip! Again! Grr!  However, we met some gringos at dinner that come down here to fish and they hooked us up with some lures and tips so we are hoping for better results tomorrow.  

Wildlife report - Several turtle sightings as we went past the Pulmo Reef National Marine Reserve area.  Other than that we just enjoyed a peaceful sail downwind on a flat sea with beautiful blue water.  

Bret, Clint and friends
SV Liahona

Sunday, April 19, 2015

April 19, Bahia de Frailes

Saturday night in Cabo left the majority of the town hungover and in a deep sleep when we pulled anchor in the darkness of the morning at 5:45am.  Bahia de Frailes lies 45 nautical miles north of Cabo San Lucas and I wanted to get an early start on the day in preparation for the possibilities of strong afternoon northerly winds and chop that I prefer not to beat into.  As it turned out it was a very calm day with light winds coming from the southeast.  We pure sailed for a couple hours but with the distance needed to cover we couldn't afford to only be moving along at 3 knots or so unless I was willing to pull into Frailes at dark...which I'm not.  So we cranked up the iron spinnaker and motorsailed the rest of the day in very calm conditions.  Along the way we were visited by a huge pod of large dolphins and several of the youngsters that were showing off their youthfulness buy leaping several feet out of the water and covering probably 15-20' before re-entry.  We did see one humpback about a quarter of a mile out but it only broke the surface once and we didn't see it again.

We are anchored here in Frailes around 3pm with 4 other boats and a southerly wind and chop which we have no protection for but it will be fine.  Clint and his friends are settling in but leaving the usual bits of DNA from their toes, shins and knees on objects on the boat that I rarely know exist as I have already gone through those pains and my subconcious steers clear of those obstacles most of the time.  We plan to stay put here tomorrow, head around the corner so they can swim with the the sea lions then head north to Muertos on Tuesday.

Fishing report - ZIP!  I with I could figure that out.

Mechanical report - I have had a leak into the bilge over the last week or so that I could not find.  Today I found it.  The salt water pump under the galley sink was dripping furiously at probably a gallon an hour.  Problem found.  Pulling the pump apart it appears that a seal on the pump body that is not accessible or replaceable has decided to give up.  Out comes a tube of magic 3M 4200 marine sealant.  Every seal, crack and crevice was filled with the sealant in hopes it will hold and work as intended, leak free, for the next month and a half until I pull the boat out of the water and then buy another pump in the states this summer.  If the fix fails, I will have to bypass the pump which will be no big deal except I will not have access to the endless supply of salt water to wash dishes which means I will have to use fresh.  

That's it for Sunday the 19th of April, 2015 onboard with the SV Liahona.

Bret, Clint and friends
SV Liahona

Saturday, April 18, 2015

April 18, Saying good-bye...for now.

I have been dreading this day for a little while now.  The day I put Marne on a plane and watch her fly back to Oregon.  The last two weeks have been awesome.  She truly is an amazing person. Kind, sweet, caring, beautiful, adventurous, giving, helpful and loving.  I'm feeling pretty lucky to be a part of her life.  God is good.  She is proof of that.  Missing you already Marne and already looking forward to next fall when we officially cast off the dock lines together and let the wind carry us to where it will.

As for Cabo, it really is not my kind of place as I prefer the quiet and remote beauty found in the anchorages far away from towns, cities, airlines and masses of people.  A few nights ago when Marne and I were in Frailes I went up top, layed on my back and just looked up at the heavens. Remote anchorages in Baja have so little light pollution that the skies look like you are in a planetarium.  There are so many stars that it is difficult to find the most common of constellations like the Big Dipper or Orion's Belt because they are buried amongst so many other stars that they get drowned out.  I have never seen anything like it anywhere in the States, even in remote places like wilderness areas that are far from our homes and cities.

This afternoon I will pick up Clint Wallace and his girlfriend, the last of my whirlwind tour of visitors aboard for the last month and a half.  I am really looking forward to it and hope that they enjoy their time aboard as we sail north toward La Paz.  As for right now...I've got nothing else for ya.  Look for the good and the beautiful in everyone, every place and every situation.  It's there.  Peace out.  

SV Liahona

Friday, April 17, 2015

April 17, Cabo San Lucas

Not too much to report today from Cabo.  All I can say is that the weather is super nice, although a little chilly this morning at 70 degrees, the water is super clear and also a little chilly at 70 degrees and there are a lot of gringos that like to party. Marne and I took a dinghy ride out to the rocks that make up the end of the Baja peninsula which was pretty cool.  We then took a stroll into the harbor and then into the part of town closest to the marina.  Cabo definitely caters to tourists and partiers. Not really my gig.  We saw a HaggenDaz store which sounded amazing so we went in and both ordered two scoops, chocolate, chocolate chip and salted caramel.  At the cash register I think I felt the first heart murmur of my old age...$210 pesos! Like $18 frickin dollars!  WTH?!!  Wow, never paid that much for ice cream before but I guess there is a first for everything, right?  Lesson learned, when you don't know the price, ask first!  Holy toledo Batman!

The rest of the day we just relaxed on the boat and scratched our heads trying to figure out who in their right mind pays $18 for two small cups of ice cream. Oh ya...we did!  haha  

The bay is very busy with drunk idiots and not drunk, not so idiotic people on jet skiis, in tour pangas, Hobie Cats, paddleboards, parasails, fishing boats and probably a few I can't remember.  The beach is lined with nice hotels with hispanic guys on loudspeakers playing "entertain the drunk gringos at the pool" shouting in pretty good English but with that heavy Mexican accent. Oh well, it is what it is.  In a day or two I will be heading north toward more remote, quiet and pristine locations.  

That's a wrap for today kids.  Ciao for now.

Bret and Marne
SV Liahona

PS...a review on emailing or replying to this email.
We love getting news from home and hearing from you.  However, when you write please start a new email or if you reply to this email please delete my original message to you so that you are sending to me ONLY your message to me.  Your message doesn't have to be super short but it is a bummer to wait for several minutes for an email to download then to get a message that says "Loving your updates..." above a 4 paragraph email that was my original email to you.  I hope that clears it up. this carefully.  haha.  Love you!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

April 16, Cabo San Lucas

We decided to make the jaunt down the the end of land on the Baja peninsula known as Cabo San Lucas.  It was a 45 mile, all day hop but it was not without highlight reel worthy events. More on that later.  We left Frailes around 6:15am and for the first hour it was flat calm as we motored south.  At about 8am we had a nice breeze from the north come up that allowed us to turn off the motor and sail nicely downwind, wind on wing, with the drifter (the new 112 sail) and the main.  Around noon or so the wind switched rapidly from a northerly to a southerly but we continued sailing along nicely,pointing instead of running.  We probably sailed for about 4 hours when the wind picked up drastically and headed us.  So we took down the drifter and put 2 reefs in the main and aided our progress with the motor going directly into the 18-25 knots of wind and chop toward Cabo.  Just about the time I was complaining to myself that the wind always comes from the direction I want to go...enter the highlight

Ok, here is another situation where my words can't remotely come close to explaining the actual experience so I will give you the basics and you will have to use your imagination or watch the Discovery Channel to really get an idea of what we got to see.  I spotted a whale blow off in the far distance ahead.  A couple of times we saw the splash that follows a breach but it was probably mile or more in front of us and didn't last long before we saw nothing.  About a half hour later we had a mother humpback and her calf within 100 yards of the boat.  They seemed to be going the same direction we were but off to the starboard so I turned their direction to see if we could get closer without them diving deep out of sight.  The little guy seemed pretty excited to be traveling with some some new friends and began to breach numerous times with mom at his side just cresting her back out of the water and spewing salty air out her blowhole.  Within 5 minutes both whales were RIGHT next to us!  Like sometimes as close as 20 or 30' off of our beam. Junior continued to impress with his aerial display, mom content to be at his side rolling her back above the surface staying close to her playful calf.  Ok...this went on for about an hour...NO...I'm not exaggerating!  Several times we had to adjust course because they veered in front of the bow, a half boat length away, and we didn't want to hit them.  Some big pirate ship with a boat load of tourists saw the action and came over and joined us, the whales between the two boats.  Honestly, one of the most amazing things I have ever seen and BY FAR the best whale encounter EVER aboard the Liahona.  Wow.  We have some amazing videos and pics for proof of our encounter.  ha.  Look for those to be posted up on Marne's FB page when she gets back to Oregon in a few days.  On a lesser note but still awe inspiring, we had a group of maybe a dozen dolphin visit us along the way before we saw the whales.

Currently we are anchored out in the bay in Cabo San Lucas with the party hotels on the beach and a monster cruise ship anchored about a 1/4 mile behind us. Great day, one to remember.  Ciao for now!

Bret and Marne
SV Liahona

Clint - I wrote you a personal email about arrival and also something I need.  Let me know.

Karla, Aven and T3 - OMG!  You would have died to see these whales and we were there traveling buddies for over an hour!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

April 15, Bahia Frailes

Tax day? What?  I have no idea what you are talking about!  haha.  Another nice, quiet day in Frailes.  As I mentioned yesterday, Frailes has the appearance of common but it is anything but that.  Marne and I went back around the point to spend some time in the underwater world of the sea lions.   We also snorkeled several other spots, hoping to see some turtles that others reported seeing but we weren't so lucky.  The afternoon found us doing some boat chores mixed in with some relaxation of course.  

Last night's dive report - we scooped up two lobsters that will find their way onto our plates tonight.  Fishing report - I forgot to give fishing report for the crossing. We got zip! haha.  Actually that had a lot to do with the fact that we had an awesome sail and it is very difficult to fish when you are under full sail doing 6-8 knots.  Without the ability to slow things down quickly it makes it almost impossible to actually land the fish so we rarely had any lines out.  As for current weather we have some white, whispy clouds up high with daytime temperatures in the mid 80s. Winds have been mild, around 5-8 knots from the east.  The pool temp has dropped since crossing over although it sits at a perfectly comfortable 72 degrees. I dove last night for about 40 minutes and never thought twice about it.  I will leave the rest of this report up to your imagination...and please, don't dream small! lol

Bret and Marne
SV Liahona

Mom - Today I set out a clear plasic, gallon water container with some Caffree tea bags.  Good ole sun tea just like the old days!  Brought back some pretty good memories.  Love you and dad so much and I am so grateful for how I was raised and all of the things that we did as a family.  It has everything to do with where life has taken me and the life I am so enjoying right now.  Life on the Liahona lives on! Thank you!  I owe it all to you and dad.  

Clinton - Hope your bags are packed pally cuz ur out soon bro!  Ah hell, you are probably gonna hate it and go home all dejected wondering what to dream about now that you realize how much the cruising life sucks. How does one handle such disappointment?  You might need counseling when you return.

Dave - I am thinking tentatively to haul out on May 26 in the afternoon.  That would mean I would be crossing over from the Baja side between the 21st  and the 24th...ish.  Most likely you won't have a lot of time so you would need to get yourself to Mulege most likely.  I don't know if you can fly there but you can fly to Loreto and bus up.  The bus would only be a couple of hours...I think. Also, what were your plans to get back home? Ride with me to Tucson or Phoenix and fly home or try to fly out of Hermosillo which is about an hour from San Carlos?  Let me know what you are thinking.

Sydney - Yo Boo Bear!  Your mom misses you so much and although she doesn't like the idea of leaving here she is excited to see you.  She would love to hear from you.  Hugs from us.

Catherine - We love your emails.  You are our most faithful respondent. haha.  Your daughter will be home soon. Too soon for her I am quite sure.

Dr. Duck - Loved the email!  You had us cracking up, especially Marne who actually got all of your inside jokes. I am sorry to inform you but I will be stealing her away from you in the very near future.  You can punish me later.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

April 14, Bahia Frailes

Sometimes you get to a place where you have already been and although it is nice you have no real expectations of anything amazing.  Then the day, the place, and even nature slaps you in the face as if to say "what are you thinking son"? Bahia Frailes, a typical Sea of Cortez anchorage with some beautiful waters, rocky mountains, cactus, fishing pangas on the beach...the usual.  But no!  Never expect the average, the mundane or the normal. Amazing things are there for us every day, in every place, anywhere you are.

After the long passage and being a little sleep deprived we slept in past our normal time when we listen to the ham net and enjoyed the extra bunk time arising slowly then enjoying the aromas and taste of fresh coffee. We began to look at the cruisers guide and decided to take a dinghy trip up to the Pulmo reef about 2 miles north of the anchorage.  The Pulmo reef is the only hard coral reef in the Sea of Cortez and is a protected area as a national marine park.  The water clarity around the reef was pretty poor so we headed back south along the rocky shoreline stoping at the northeastern edge of the anchorage where we had seen some sea lions basking in the morning sun on the rocks as we were heading to the reef.  The sea lions seemed pretty non threatening so Marne got in the water with her snorkeling gear and the Go Pro to be blessed with an amazing dive with these awesomely graceful creatures.  She swam with them only feet away as they curiously swam around her as if showing her around their home.  She got some pretty amazing vids.  You can look for those on her Facebook page after she gets back to Oregon next week.

Coming back closer to home I hopped in the water to do a little lobster night dive recon and in the middle of the day saw two small bugs within the first few minutes. I was able to get one of them and put him in the freezer hoping to add to that collection later tonight when Marne and I go back under better lobster finding conditions...dark!  Will let you know how that goes.

After a very tasty lunch we went ashore for a little walk on the beach where we ran across 3 fishermen that had just come back in there panga with several sharks and other fish.  They had a dorado (Mahi Mahi) that I negotiated to buy from them for a few pesos.  Skinned, cleaned and filleted of course.  We have that marinating in the fridge and will be putting that down on the dinner table later tonight.  Later in the afternoon we took a hike/scramble up the steep mountain side made up of huge granite boulders.  At the top we sat looking down on the boat in the beautiful bay as buzzards soared above us rising in the afternoon thermals.  

Upon returning to the boat we put on a little Jack Johnson and sat in the cockpit enjoying the music and watching the sun fall behind the mountains that rise up to the west from the bay as the orange and pink skies lingered well after the sun was gone.  The evening will be finished off with fresh fish on the bbq and then maybe a movie in the salon as we slip into the night and then into tomorrow.  Life is good. Breathe it in.

Bret and Marne
SV Liahona

Monday, April 13, 2015

April 13, Bahia Frailes

We arrived in the protected waters of Bahia Frailes today at 1:30pm after one of the best passages of my short history as a captain.  As noted before we left Mazatlan at 8am yesterday with rain and about 15 knots of wind.  There were several squalls and localized storms the night before which left the Pacific Ocean in a bit of a confused state with no one dominant swell pattern.  Pretty much the entire first day until just before the sun disappeared below the horizon the sea was very lumpy and we sailed under main and genoa in 12-15 knots of wind.  A good sail but a bit uncomfortable with the sea state.

No matter how hard I think of the right words I can't properly describe the sunset as we both were standing on the bow watching the sun  say goodbye to another day. The sun was a bright, almost day-glo colored orange, pinkish color and it was the shape of a perfect ball.  It's movements were slow at first but as it finally set atop the ocean it was a mere count to 20 before it was completely gone.  The clear sky continued to hold the colors that she left behind, like the dust flowing behind an old model T rumbling down a worn, dusty, country road.  I asked Marne if she had EVER seen a sun that looked like that before and received the quick repy "never". As I said before, my words don't even come close to doing it justice.

After the sun went down the seas calmed a bit but we continued to have good winds from off the starboard beam which pushed us along nicely at 6-7 knots.  On a night passage it doesn't really matter how good the sail is or how calm the sea is; it is still a long night.  As the captain, especially under sail, it is impossible for me to get much sleep as I am always worried about sail trim, wind changes, sea state, mechanical issues and the list goes on.  During Marne's shift from 11pm - 1am I took down the genoa and ran just the main assisted by the motor so that there was very little to worry about even though we could have easily sailed during that time too.  

After a short, interrupted nap I went back up top at 1am, turned off the motor and continued to sail.  Sailing at night is difficult.  Sail trim is art and requires constant visual inspection, comparison and adjustment to sail efficiently.  A black night does not aid in that process.  By the time the sun was peeking over the eastern horizon I was too tired to enjoy it's beauty.  I looked aft over the stern, acknowledged it's arrival and laid my head back down on the damp cushions of the cockpit.  Once the light had fully enveloped us  we continued our sail westward under a beam to broad reach, the wind pushing us toward Frailes.  Hours and hours went by with no other sounds than the water pushing briskly past the hull at 7 knots or so and the wind flowing across the sails.  It was magical.  All counted up we had motored a mere 3 hours throughout the 30 hour passage.  And of that 3 hours, really only a about one hour was completely necessary, the other two, just convenience so that I might rest a little easier.  Overnight passages are not my favorite thing but this one was pretty awesome and it is pretty cool to think that Marne and I could travel from Mazatlan to Baja, over 165 miles, by the power of the wind.  Meanwhile the systems on the boat, like radios, refrigeration, navigation aids and others were being powered by the batteries that had stored the sun's power from the energy collected by our solar panels aboard from the day before.  Not gonna lie...that's pretty cool.  Loving the life.  Loving the freedom. Loving the simplicity. Loving the adventure.  Loving Marne.  Life is good.

Bret and Marne
SV Liahona

Tarren - I did get your email. Thanks!  Would love to know more about your schedule, I def want to have you and Natan on the boat for as long as you can be here. You mentioned leaving your car in SC.  Not sure how that helps anything as that is my end game at the end of May.  Better to have your car in BV, maybe bus down to me wherever then crew with me back to BV where your car is.   Love you mucho!

Clint - No need to bring towels as I have plenty aboard.  As for needed items, nothing that is necessary. However, if you would like some famous Liahona Kahlua Brownies bring a box or two of brownie mix.  Favorite Girl Scout cookies...Samoas! DUH!  So pumped to having you guys aboard and now I am in place to pick you up as I am just a mere 28 miles north of San Jose del Cabo.  

Dr. Layer - Marne is still anxiously awaiting your email with her "instructions". haha

Tanner and Tallen - So missing my boys!  Can't wait to spend the summer home with the 112 crew!

April 13, Passage Update

It is about 10am and the passage has gone great with 10-15 knot winds off the starboard beam almost the whole trip.  We are currently 20 miles due east of Bahia Frailes on the Baja penninsula doing about 7.5 knots and have land in sight. We should be at anchor around 1-2pm.  We have sailed almost the entire time and if my calculations are right we have only burned about 2 gallons of diesel over the 30 hour passage, about $9.00. Not bad.  I LOVE the way the Liahona sails!  She is one slippery, fast bee-atch!  I think we are setting some kind of pure sail speed record from Mazatlan to Baja. lol.  Anyway, all is well aboard and we should be at anchor soon. More later in the afternoon report.

Bret and Marne
SV Liahona

PS.  Sorry I didn't get yesterday's check in sent until now but I tried and it was super rough and I couldn't find a quiet frequency so I gave up.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

April 12, Crossing

We left Mazatlan at 8am this morning, under cloudy skies with rain and about 15 knots of wind. It is 7pm and we are about 60 miles out from Mazatlan. Winds are good, but seas are lumpy. We have only had to motor 2 hours while the wind changed direction,and are currently sailing under main and genoa at 5 knots. 
Have had 2 sea turtle sightings, the water is amazingly blue, and we are about to watch the sun go down over the western horizon. 
We are barely within visual sight of 5 other boats making the crossing at the same time. All is well aboard, expected to arrive in Vahia Frailes at appx. 2pm.
See you on the other side.

Bret and Marne
SV Liahona

PS. Todays edition was written by the first mate as the Captian is resting up for the evening watch. Enjoying my time aboard the Liahona. She is so beautiful and already she makes me feel like I'm home.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

April 11, Isla Venado, Mazatlan

It looks like we have a good weather window starting tomorrow morning for the crossing over to Cabo and the Baja peninsula.  Before heading across we decided to head into Marina El Cid in Mazatlan to top off the tanks and give the boat a fresh water bath.  From where we are anchored it is only about 3 miles away to the breakwater and into the harbor.  When we got to the very narrow breakwater there was a pretty good swell rolling in, about 4-6 foot, and breaking along the rocks that protected the entrance to the harbor.  It shows in the cruising guide and on my charts that the minimum depth going through the breakwater is 10' at low tide. Unfortunately, we were at low tide.  The Liahona draws 7' but that does not leave much wiggles room. As we slowly inched toward the narrow entrance the depth continued to get shallower.  My concern was the swell which could easily skew the actual depth by several feet at the low part of the swell.  As we got just between the two rock walls, we were almost there, the depth gauge showed we had 4' under the keel. Not exactly enough for me to feel very comfortable in that situation so I quickly threw it in reverse, pivoted the boat around in the narrow channel, and then back into forward and motored back out.  We sat outside trying to decide what to do and tried to call the port captain or other boats that would have local knowledge, all to no avail.  After studying it for about 20 minutes we decided that we didn't need fuel that badly and headed back to the anchorage.  

After talking to some friends about the entrance he said that a few years back he was in a boat that drew 8' and actually struck the bottom in similar conditions with a big swell.  So we sat in the anchorage until about 2:30pm when the tide was a bit higher and then headed back over.  This time we punched through and the least water I saw was 5 under the keel.  Not optimal but not too bad.  We fueled and then headed back out to Isla Venado.  

At the docks we had washed the boat down with fresh water then filled every bucket we had in order to wash and soften the various lines on the boat that are constantly exposed to salt water and over time stiffen due to calcification.  Those chores done we are now just sitting in the very rolly anchorage and I think we are set leave tomorrow morning sometime for our crossing that should take us about 30 hours.  Winds on this side tomorrow are predicted to be 10 knots and less and then on the Baja side maybe 10-15 knots when we get over there.  My confidence in the  weather gurus these days is not super high but if we run into anything uncomfortable in the first few hours we will turn back.  We have plenty of time before Marne has to be in Cabo for her flight back to Oregon.  Will update you later as to the passage.  If we are indeed underway the report may be extremely brief, just to let you know that all is well, or possibly non existent until we arrive.  Will have to see how things go.  Please no worry warts until you don't hear anything passing into Wednesday morning.

Bret and the Amazing Marne,
SV Liahona

Catherine - Can you please pass on Todd's email to us as we think he would really enjoy the updates. Marne says she is really missing poodle and hopes he is well.

Friday, April 10, 2015

April 10, Isla Venado, Mazatlan

A very casual day here anchored in the lee of Isla Venado (Deer Island) just a mile off the coast from Mazatlan.  For a little exercise we took a hike up to the top of the island where we enjoyed beautiful views of the shores of Mazatlan and the Liahona anchored some 600' below us just off of the beach.  The island draws a fair amount of tourists that come out via pangas or catamaran tours.  As we sat down to enjoy a fresh mango sprinkled with spicy Tajin and drenched in fresh lime juice we began talking with a very nice family seated at a table next to us.  The had 5 children who were very polite as were the parents.  When someone asked what time it was the dad turned to a local behind him as asked for the spanish that he obviously did not learn in school.  I asked him how it was that he spoke the language so well and he replied "I lived in Argentina for a couple of years".  Oh really!  Like maybe were you serving a mission for the Mormon church? haha. "Um, ya" came the reply, "how did you know"?  My reply was "Buenos Aires Norte Mission, 1981".  That started up a bit of a conversation.  He served in the Bahia Blanca Argentina Mission in 1993.  Their oldest son is currently serving a mission in Thailand.  Small world.  We invited them on the boat tomorrow afternoon for a little sail but they politely declined because their two smaller children don't do well rolling around in boats.  We gave them a boat card which they thought was cool and then made comment on the name of the boat, "Mormons, go figure, naming their boat the Liahona".  haha

After the nice visit we came back to the boat where Marne decided that she wanted to go to the top of the mast to take some GoPro pics.  The anchorage is pretty rolly and even after my warning that the top of the mast moves A LOT, she still wanted to go up.  Up she went in the bosun's chair with me on the winch, 60' off the decks. I got some pics of her from down below and she was wrapped around the top of the mast hanging on like a koala bear in a typhoon. lol.  After some pics from both ends she came down and then lazily swung along the side of the hull still in the chair dangling from the spinnaker halyard that is attached at the top of the mast.

Post bosun's chair experience we lit the bbq and grilled that marinated rib eye steak that we were bragging about yesterday.  It did not disappoint.  Probably one of the best rib eye steaks I have ever sunk my teeth into.  For reals.  Tomorrow we will probably make the short run into the marina to top off with fuel and wash the decks down with fresh water, making us ready to cross over to Cabo whenever the right weather forecast presents itself, which look like might be Monday...ish.  Life is good.  Breathe in deep, exhale slowly and examine all that you have to be grateful for.  Whoever you are and wherever you may be, the list is long if you take the time to recognize it.

Bret and Marne
SV Liahona

PS.  Marne says she loves and misses everyone in Oregon and although she will return there in a week she is already wishing that "notice" was given at work. (Don't be upset Dr. Duck, haha)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

April 9, Isla Venado, Mazatlan

This morning we got up around 7:30am, checked into the Sonrisa net on the ham radio then started in on some chores.  The first item of business was to defrost the freezer.  I have noticed over the last couple of weeks that the fridge and freezer were drawing more amps per day than what it usually does or what I think it should. After thinking through the problem my feeble brain came up with the thought that frost in the freezer might be the culprit as frost actually insulates the cooling plates. So the thermostat hits the set temperature where it tells the unit to kick on and because the cooling plate is frozen it is trying to put out cold into the box to satisfy the thermostat but it can't because it is somewhat insulated due to all of the frost buildup.  Ok...that was probably a little detailed. haha.  Long story short, we defrosted the freezer/fridge, cleaned it and turned it back on. Viola!  Things are working as they should and pulling a reasonable amount of power to do the job. The captain is happy. lol

While the freezer was defrosting we jumped on a local bus and went into old downtown Mazatlan for a stoll through the park, the Cathedral Basilica de la Inmaculada Concepcion and then back to the Mercado Municipal for a few more items.  The cathedral, which was completed in 1890, was amazingly beautiful.  The architecture with the amazing concrete work, spires, stained glass, statues of saints and ornate ceilings is something to behold.  After a stroll through there and a quick stop in the confessional to shed some extra weight of sin I have been packing around, lol, we were off to the Mercado Municipal.  We went to a ceramic shop and bought some cabinet pulls for the boat, took a bunch of pictures and then grabbed a fresh cut of rib eye steak that Luis personally marinated with some special black sauce, garlic and other spices mixed with salt and fresh squeezed orange juice.  It is currently marinating in our newly more economically running fridge (haha) and we plan to savor that flavor tomorrow night for dinner.

After taking the local bus back to the harbor we began replacing cabinet knobs and rearranging and organizing various things in the boat, mostly in the galley.  Karla, you would really like the new touches to the boat with the colorful Mexican painted ceramic knobs.  They look pretty good actually.  Marne is really jumping in and treating the boat like her home.  Once again...the captain is happy.  :).  

After the chores we pulled anchor in an attempt to get out of the busy Mazatlan harbor with giant cruise ships, small tour boats filled to the gunwhales with Mexican tourists and the tour guide announcing over the loud speaker to entertain them and the general smells of the big city.  We didn't go far, only about 4 miles up to Isla Venado, just a mile off of the coast of new Mazatlan.  It is a bit breezy here but we are anchored off an uninhabited island with a nice little sand beach that we will probably visit tomorrow.  That pretty much wraps up another day in the life of the crew aboard the SV Liahona. Ciao for now!

Bret and Marne
SV Liahona

Mom - did you get checks from Scott and the renters yet and are they deposited?

Tarren - no word from you yet dawg...would love to hear from you.

Tanner and Tallen - Love my boys!  Miss you guys and hope all is well.

Karla and Chubbs - Missing you guys down here!

Syd - Mucho grande hugs from your mom!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

April 8, Mazatlan

Welcome to Mazatlan! Marne and I arrived in Mazatlan this afternoon around 1pm after a very nice 93 mile, overnight passage from Isla Isabela.  I know that I already mentioned it plenty but Isla Isabela is such an amazing place with things you just don't get to see every day.  So grateful.  After our short stay on Isabela, followed by a fantastic steak and lobster dinner we picked up anchor around 8pm and headed northbound into the night toward Mazatlan.  My track record, with or without weather reports, is not that good for the last 2 or 3 passages and as we headed out of the anchorage I was seriously concerned that history might be repeating itself as we instantly were in 15-17 knots of wind.  15 knots is no big deal but if it built or even continued for many hours through the night the sea state would become very uncomfortable. That added to the fact that it is pitch black and you can't see anything which makes everything you do more difficult.  However, once we pulled anchor we were committed because getting back into that small anchorage surrounded by volcanic rock and a bottom that was very unpredictable, at night, to drop anchor again for the night was simply not an option. Fortunately the winds abated within about an hour and a half and soon the motor was off and we were comfortably and cheaply (ha) sailing toward Mazatlan.  We wound up sailing for 3-4 hours before the winds headed us and died off considerably.  However, I was happy to spend some pesos on diesel and motor over calm seas up to our destination. Whew...actually an enjoyable overnight passage. lol.  

Today we took the bus into old town Mazatlan to the Mercado Municipal to get some fresh fruits, veggies, shrimp and cheese.  The market is amazing.  It is a two story public market overflowing with sights, smells and sounds.  Farm fresh produce, locally made cheeses, fresh caught seafood, spices, and painted pottery are among the items that tantilize your eyes, ears, nose and taste buds.  Tomorrow we will go back to old town to explore the parks, cathedrals and other sights.

Fishing report...ZIP!  We got skunked.  18 hours in crystal clear aqua water and there was not a singe fish that wanted what we were offering.  What's up with that? We did, however, see two sea turtles pass by the side of the boat so closely that we could have jumped off the side and landed on them.  The first one that I spotted had a bird standing on it's back and that is actually what initially drew my attention. I thought it was an old plastic jug or a log or something.  Nope, just a large green turtle enjoying the sun on the surface with his little pal Senor Pajaro. ha.  And that's a wrap for today mis amigos.

Bret and Marne
SV Liahona

Clint - I am comfortably in position to be Johnnie on schedule to pick you up in Cabo.  Marne and I plan to spend 3 or 4 days here before finding a good time to make the crossing which will take us 2 and a half days.  

Syd - More love and hugs from you mom. lol

Karla - Any progress on the personal property list from Scott for the insurance company?  I got your message about Leonard and I would like him to bid without the pipe room or shipping room but keeping the balcony above the shipping room for storage with a hand rail around it.  If you have Lenny's email, that would be helpful Thanks.  Love you.  

Gregg - Yo! Sup pal?  You said to email you that night...about a week ago...which I did and I haven't heard back from you! Hope all is well and hope to hear from you soon.