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June 2009

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For the first part of June, we were still in Mazatlan working hard to finish up the boat projects, clean the boat from all of the dust and dirt of the boatyard, finish up loose ends back in the states, provision for the Sea of Cortez, and completing final activities in Mazatlan.  The final week in the boat yard was very frustrating to say the least.  The work was progressing much slower than estimated, costing more than estimated, and there was no supervision of the workers, so the quality was definitely not what we had hoped for.  In the midst of all this, we were still powering through school, and getting in some culture.  We stayed pretty much on track with school, finishing our second to last testing period before the end of 7th grade.  Fletcher (now 5' 9" tall!) got to go surfing a couple of times with some other boaters.  Dana (now 5' 6" tall!) and Nancy went to see the Russian National Ballet for an amazing performance at the beautiful Peralta theater.   Mike and Nancy also got a very interesting business proposition (for the Puerto Vallarta area) presented to them at the last minute.  We will keep you posted as things pan out!  After a very frustrating and exhausting week of hard work, we finally untied the dock lines and began our trek across the Sea towards Baja. 

It only took us thirty-nine hours to cross from the mainland to Baja, it was pretty smooth as we motor-sailed across, and gave us all a chance to relax and rest up from all of our hard work of the prior week.  This time of year it is bit risky to be in this area because of possible hurricanes, so we were checking the weather a couple of times a day and keeping track of any disturbances.  Our first landfall was a spot that we had never been.  It was very pretty and just around the corner from the northern most coral reef in North America.  The first day we played in the dunes and hiked up the mountain to look over into the next bay and look over the reef.  The next day, we packed up a picnic lunch, and spent all day exploring and snorkeling the whole reef system.  It was quite extensive and really pretty.  One outlying rock pinnacle was our favorite, with lots of multi colored soft corals. If we return to this spot, we will try to do a SCUBA dive there.  We also started our last segment of school and are starting the countdown.  Our plan is to slowly make our way north as far as the Loreto area while we finish up school and enjoy all that the Sea has to offer.  We stopped at a couple of other anchorages on our way up to La Paz.  There are some beautiful bays to pull into and we really enjoyed some of the spots that we had not been to before.  On the way we caught a beautiful Mahi Mahi.  It was very delicious sushi the first night, ceviche the next day for lunch, and then cooked in garlic butter for dinner.  Yum, fresh fish is so good!  We pulled into La Paz for just a  couple of days to do laundry, fill propane, shop (again), and take care of some business.  It was fun to enjoy some of our favorite restaurants and ice cream while we were there.  We were very quick and efficient and got out very quickly, much to Mike's delight.  From there we headed out to Isla Partida.  We were hoping to get to a dive spot there that we really enjoyed five years ago, but the winds were very strong, there was a possible hurricane to the south, and we just skidaddled out of there.  It was a rollicking, crazy sail away from that island and towards some more protected anchorages farther north.  Nancy and Dana were not very happy with the conditions, but the boys were whopping it up.   We have very high freeboard (sides) on the boat, but we still had a rail buried and water up to the windows.  It was something.  It is one thing to be out sailing on a small boat for fun and heeling way over, but, it is altogether another thing when it is a big boat and is your home and things are flying around!  Since there was good wind, we did make it quickly to the next spot.  This was another island anchorage and we had a nice hike and swim.  That night we had a marathon dinner for Mike and Nancy's anniversary.  It was course after course of food, topped off by freshly rolled truffles whipped up by Nancy and Dana.  We were so full, but we still found the energy to watch a movie.  We also have been trying to study our Spanish a couple of days a week.  Now that we are going to be actually living here, we figure that we had better start taking it a bit more seriously.  So, some evenings, after school is corrected and dinner is done, this is what we are doing.  We watch way too many movies in the evenings anyway.   We continued up the coast to an anchorage called Agua Verde.  This is a beautiful bay with several different spots to anchor.  We found a choice spot and went in to collect firewood for a bonfire s'more session that evening.  Some other boaters joined us and we had fun all around.  In the middle of the night we actually got a light rain from all of the southern weather systems that are brewing.  Nancy could smell the fresh rain coming hours before it actually started to fall.  The next day we took off for a snorkeling adventure.  We saw a huge pod of pilot whales going by, and took off to see if we could get closer.  Since we had our snorkel gear with us, we jumped into the water and had them swim right under us.  One pooped as he went by, I guess that we know what he thought of us!  Now, how many people do you know that have gotten to swim in pilot whale poo?  The next day we took off for yet another anchorage that we had not been to before.  I think that this will end up being our favorite anchorage of the whole trip.  It is a beautiful, scenic, small cove, very well protected, deep water, good snorkeling on the points, scallops and clams on the bottom, lobster in the rocks, and fish swimming all around.  Hum, what more could you want?  We spent two great days here before we got an email about Nancy's dad (whose health has been going downhill for the past eight months).  We left the next morning to get to a spot that we could make a phone call back to the states.  It is still touch and go, and it is a very difficult situation for us to be in.  If we needed to fly anywhere, it would take us at least a week, if not two, to get the boat back to Banderas Bay, get all of the sails down (in case a hurricane came while we were gone), find someone to watch the animals, and get a flight out.  That is if the weather cooperated and we could even do a crossing back to the mainland side.  Oh, this life is wonderful, but it does add many complications to things.  We had just gotten back to the Sea where we had originally planned on spending a couple of months.  After several delays, we wanted to have at least a couple of weeks after we finished school (we still have about a week left) to just relax a bit, study Spanish and enjoy life before we got all caught up in our new life, school, and jobs in Mexico.  We are now realizing that we need to cut it short and head back across soon so that we can be ready to fly back to the states quickly.  Stay tuned to see where we end up in July!


Please click to enlarge!


Finishing up the boat in Mazatlan; Fletcher surfing with some other boaters.


Our first landfall on the Baja side of the Sea, Frailes;  fun playing in the dunes, Dana relaxing after a long day of fun in the sun.


On our way to La Paz; a beautiful, delicious Mahi; exploring Balandra Bay; animal nap time.


Our favorite anchorage of this trip.  We had it all to ourselves, it was deep in the middle, lots of fresh seafood, nice beaches for exploring and playing, and beautiful vistas!

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