Thursday, January 28, 2016

La Cruz, Bucerias and Punta de Mita

Chris at nearby Punta de Mita. Who needs the South Pacific? 

Well, we've been here at the La Cruz anchorage for 2 weeks now, 
and yes, it's starting to feel like home.

Our first few days in the anchorage were pretty rolly and maybe even scary, 
as waves and swells that had come thousands of miles from Cyclone 
Victor in the South Pacific made landfall beneath our keel.

Rolly anchorage

Breaking waves on the beach next to the anchorage

Fortunately the cyclone peetered out and we are now back to normal here.

We headed to nearby Bucerias to watch the famous "Blessing of the Fleet," where the fishing boats from La Cruz beach themselves at Bucerias where the priests bless them for the fishing season.

Beautiful, calm Bucerias 

Bucerias palapas 

Suddenly, perfect pipeline waves came out of nowhere. How could 
the fishing boats safely beach themselves under such conditions? 

The fleet arrived from La Cruz to near perfect pipeline waves (yikes)

Unfortunately the date for the event is chosen way ahead of time. Usually Bucerias beach is flat and calm. Cyclone Victor had other ideas, providing big, scary waves.

The La Cruz fishing fleet toys with the idea of "going for it" and 
risking capsize by surfing one of these growlers in

In the end, most of them made the smart decision, 
bagged it, and headed back to La Cruz. Ah, well. Better luck next year, boys!

In other news, here in Mexico you take the bus everywhere.
Random guys selling vitamins, candy, gum, whatever, might be strolling the aisle trying to sell their wares. Or other times, musicians will climb aboard and play for a few blocks, hoping for tips.

Local musicians play on the bus

I surprised them by grabbing the guitar (well, I was polite -- 
I asked if I could grab it!) and joining them in a rousing version of 
Cielito Lindo. The accordion players' giant toothless smile made my day. 

Our friends Richard and Lisa of Golden Skye invited us to sail over to 
nearby Punta de Mita for the day.  Lucky us! 

We anchored next to the Punta de Mita Four Seasons. Sweet! 

We love Richard's "Captain Awesome" t-shirt

Lisa was a socialite back in the OC, so it's no problem sailing 
AND catching up on the latest gossip at the same time

They let me drive their 62 foot ketch Golden Skye. What a thrill! 

That's all for now. 

Hasta luego!

XO Liz (and Chris) 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Cabo to La Cruz, Mexico

The lovely anchorage at La Cruz, Mexico

This map shows the giant 270 mile chunk of ocean we crossed when we sailed 
southeast from Cabo San Lucas to La Cruz, which is close to Puerto Vallarta

The 2 night passage was brisk, the sea enflamed -- thanks to 20 knot winds and big swells coming down from the Sea of Cortez.

The hills of Cabo San Lucas fade into the distance

On night two I was on my watch at 2AM. We had big wind and big seas, but the main was double reefed with the smaller jib/staysail. Suddenly we got sideswiped with two big waves in a row and heeled way, way over. Ocean water began flooding over the low side where I was sitting -- it poured over my legs, filling the cockpit with gallons and gallons of sea water in about 10 seconds.


A good shot of a typical sailboat "knockdown" 
where the keel and rudder pop to the surface

The good thing about sailboats is they have heavy keels that pull the boat immediately back upright after a knockdown, which is what happened in our case.

I was so stunned that I sort of sat there in shock for a couple of moments as the sea water sloshed around in the cockpit.  Weirdly, my first thought as the ocean washed over me was this:

The water is so warm...

I then snapped into action, called Chris up from his sleep, and prepared to start bailing.

Fortunately the bilge pump and scuppers did ther work and the water drained from the cockpit.

The knockdown was a fluke, pure and simple. The conditions were not that bad and the skipper had Espiritu well prepared for heavy seas. But sitting in the cockpit by myself at 2AM, miles offshore with ocean water pouring in over the side (and over ME!) is not a position I hope to ever be in again.

P.S. I was tethered to the boat in my lifejacket, in case you're wondering. :-) 

The anchorage of La Cruz was certainly a happy sight for my tired, sore eyes

I was so excited to drop the hook and settle in here. 

The next morning we heard on the news that there was a new hurricane brewing.


Fortunately, the rare January hurricane
 (named "Alex) was in the Atlantic, not the Pacific (it's since burned out)

In other news:

-- I've been using baby wipes to clean inside Espiritu, and weirdly, now her surfaces are as soft as a baby's butt.  

-- Of course I've been reading tons since heading south. Along with the typical female fare (we love you, Jennifer Weiner) I'm determined to challenge myself, use my brain and learn. Hence, I'm now reading Stephen Hawking's 2010 book "The Grand Design." 

While I admit there are entire sections of the book on quarks, photons etc. that I'm skimming (OK, it's more like skipping them altogether), but I AM learning some things. 

I've been trying to understand the theory of relativity for decades, and every once in awhile the planets align, the stars line up and I GET IT.

But my epiphany is always short lived. Before long I start overthinking it again, and the idea, like a mirage, dissolves into the ether. So, I'm still working on it.

One school of thought I'm learning about from Professor Hawking's book is the concept of different realities. 

I've always thought there is only ONE reality, with many perceptions. But according to Professor Hawking, the truth is that there are many different realities, with different natural laws -- infinite ones, in fact -- throughout the universe. 

For example, we're all familiar with Newton's Law's of Motion. We all see them and use them in our daily activities walking around planet Earth. They ARE reality, and we can make mathematical calculations to prove them.

Now, imagine a goldfish in a curved bowl. He lives his entire life inside that bowl. It is all he knows. All that he sees are the humans moving around him outside the bowl. The movements of the humans appear distorted because the curved bowl makes them that way.

If the goldfish were very intelligent -- and of course he is -- after all, he went to SCHOOL!!!!!! 

-- Please stop me. I hate puns. Forgive me. It will never happen again. --

Anyway, as I was saying, if the goldfish were smart enough he could write up mathematical laws of motion based upon his observation of the strange movements of the humans he sees outside of the glass.

Not only would these calculations be HIS reality, they would be real.

They would be REALITY. 

The goldfish and humans are not just perceiving different realities.

They are two, separate distinct realities.

Right next to each other. Each equally real. 

Another thing Professor Hawking touches on in the book is the nature of humanity, and the question of free will in the light of bending time and/or belief in a God that has predestined humanity and life on Earth.

While I've always believed in "free will," I can also say after reading Dr. Hawking that our behaviors as human beings can pretty much be pre-determined. This is because the laws of nature determine that for the most part, human beings (and other living things) are drawn to food, drinking water, sexual intercourse and all such physical pleasures. Likewise, we withdraw from pain. 

We are also drawn to beauty, mystery and spirituality, and will pursue those things.

These are the laws of nature, and with rare exceptions, we will behave according to these laws.

Therefore it could be argued in a general sense that we do NOT have free will.

(Interesting, huh? Thanks, Professor Hawking!)

Anyway, we're diving into life here in La Cruz. 

There's a new dinghy dock over by the marina office (the old free one is no more).  
$40 pesos daily. Ah, well. 

The new La Cruz dinghy dock

This gigantic huanacaxtle tree in the center of town is 120 years old

That's it for now. Hasta luego!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

CaboLand -- it's an E ticket ride!

The required "We're Here!" shot as we round Los Arcos

We had nearly completed our one night voyage from Mag Bay to Cabo. It was 5AM, Chris was on watch and I was curled up asleep, cradled in the leecloth. I dreamt that Chris and I had done the Newport to Cabo yacht race, and we won first prize! In the dream, Chris came down from the awards stage carrying several trophies, his face beaming.

I woke up and smiled lazily. What a silly, but appropriate, dream. 

Cabo. After all of our mechanical/electrical issues coming down Baja -- we made it. Finally.  

The huge rocky spires at the mouth of Cabo are a happy sight for any sailor

The last time we were here in 2011, they charged $7 a day to anchor off the main beach. Happily, we've been here 6 days now, and so far it's been FREE!!!!!!!!!!!  :-)

Well...almost free.

Chris at the Cabo dinghy dock -- $3 US a day. Ah, well...

My husband has the irritating gift of a deep pool of boundless energy and curiosity which he taps into  immediately each time we drop anchor at a new port. Most boats sleep for a whole day before coming ashore after an overnight passage. 

Not Chris.

He can't wait to jump ashore and explore -- even if he's gone 30 hours without sleep. He's manic that way. (smile)  Lil' old lazy, exhausted me does her best to keep up. I mean, he's so excited -- like a 12 year old boy. He inspires me to dig deep, find the energy and just do it!

Cabo has had a tough couple of years, having been directly hit by not one, but two major hurricanes.

These giant waves from Hurricane Odille are in just 
about the same spot Espiritu rests at anchor

Waves from Hurricane Odille pummel the gigantic Los Arcos.
These things are a couple of hundred feet tall! 

We weren't sure what to expect after such devastation. They've worked like crazy in the last few months to repair all of the damage.  To the untrained eye, Cabo is up and running as if nothing every happened.

But the signs are there, if you know where to look.

HOOTERS became -OO-ERS after the hurricane

Destroyed, sunken dock at the marina remains unrepaired

But for the most part, she's completely rebounded. 

There's ingenuity in this rebuilding plan. This and many other beachfront hotels now feature great protective walls, which they've built in a "Pirates of the Carribean" style

The only other sailboat in the anchorage was s/v Enchanter.
Rijnhard is from South Africa, and Lisa's Australian 

Impossibly spectacular Cabo sunrise

Cabo main beach

This resort has a Hawaii-like feel

Happy to be here. Behind us is Espiritu and a water jet rider

This resort has a pirate ship restaurant in the middle of the pool

Many sailors pass Cabo completely during their voyage south. Well. We simply don't get it.
 I mean -- it's CABO!!!!!!! 

Skip Cabo? Are you crazy?!?!?!?!? 

Of course, since we don't drink and like to be in bed by 8PM if possible, we steered clear of many of Cabo's more famous attractions.

But that doesn't mean we don't like to watch...

A stereotypical group of college students having 
good, clean fun. Right kids? Good clean fun? (Don't answer that)

A long line of tourists wait to board the "pirate ship." I wanted to warn 
them that they don't even raise the sails during their trip around the bay, 
but I guess most tourists don't even notice. 

I was confused by this Cabo advertising poster, which says:

"What happens in Cabo never happens."

??? Whaaaaaa???? 

My best guess is this is a bad translation/misinterpretation of the famous "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." 

Each morning at sunrise, we watched the tourist sportfisher boats parade out to the fishing grounds. One after another motored past -- dozens of them -- every day.

Lorenzillo's "girls" -- AKA, the lobsters waiting to be plucked for
 the pot. Am I the only one who has the urge to drop a Prozac 
tablet into the water whenever I see these poor guys? 

Chris actually bought -- and ate -- a $1 heart taco.

No, not "I heart tacos." I mean he really ate a taco made with cow heart.

Welcome to Mexico! 

Actually, I'm concerned. Does this mean he will turn into a vampire? 

Armando will give you a "shot" of Cuervo from 
his holster if you show him your breasts. Welcome to Cabo!

And yet, there's beauty and even moments of tranquility hidden just underneath her glossy surface.

beach and sky 

Early one morning we were awakened from a deep sleep by the squeaks and moans of humpback whales singing. We lay huddled in the v-berth, our ears pressed against the hull as the songs continued for more than an hour. What a gift.

A sea lion sleeps in the shadow of the Cabo resorts

And of course, Cabo is a working town. Thousands of locals live and work here, just inland from the waterfront.

Locals fish off the jetty on their one day off

There are little Catholic altars with candles nestled on street corners all over the city, including this one right in the middle of all of the crazy "Girls Gone Wild" madness. The locals stop and cross themselves as they pass on their way to work at what many of them certainly consider "dens of iniquity."

Out in the anchorage, there is a constant stream of Jet Skis, speedboaters and waterskiers circling and buzzing all around us, leaving the water in a near continuous fever chop. Party boats with tacky flashing lights putter by at night blasting "My girl wants to party all the time, party all the time, party all the time..." from blown out speakers.

But then last night Chris and I strolled around the marina waterfront. Music wafted out from the bars and restaurants, and a warm breeze brushed our cheeks. It felt like a completely fake "land" enclosed in Vegas or at Disneyland. And yet...I kinda loved it. 

The romantic waterfront of the Cabo marina casts it's spell

It really feels like CaboLand at Disneyland. I get why it's so popular.

Local color -- meet Chewie.

And speaking of Chewie, we saw the new Star Wars here at the Cabo theatre.

$3 US dollars!  

Spanish subtitles top the iconic Star Wars opening scene

It might seem strange to see Star Wars in Cabo, but to me, it makes perfect sense. After all, you know what Cabo San Lucas means in English, don't you?

Cape Saint Luke.

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