Tuesday, December 29, 2015


A little street dog sort of adopted us this week and stole our heart. 

The first day we saw her while we were walking around the shipyard.  She picked up and just followed us into town.  The next day she followed us back to our hotel at night (Mike and I are staying at the lovely Villla Amor del Mar in La Cruz while our boat is in the yard on the hard).  That night she played on the beach and in the surf with me.  She seemed a little unsure of the water.  We didn't really want her to come up to the hotel as no pets are allowed, but she did.  When we closed the door she cried. We saw her walking around the property and then must have gone back to the marina.    "How sweet", I thought.  Dulce....sweet.  So, it was her new name.

The next day we saw her near the yard and around town.  There was a party for Blanca from the marina office at the deli and Dulce followed us there.

After getting tacos with a few fellow sailors we headed back to the marina and Dulce was there to escort us home.  This time she slept on the back steps and was there in the morning when we got up.  

We decided that we would take her to the vet and try to fin.  So, we walked to the vet with Dulce in tow.  At one point I called her name and motioned for her to come.  She stopped, turned back towards us and howled the cutest little high pitch "Aooooo!"

The vet examined her, told us she had an eye infection and injury (probably was hit by a rock), had a skin irritation from sleeping on concrete, was likely in heat for the first time and needed a good meal. We started her eye drops and gave her food and water and some treats.

When we returned our hosts at the hotel talked to us about 'our dog' and we explained the situation. They were kind and understanding and the grounds keeper, Juan Carlos, seemed interested in adopting her.

That night she followed us to town for tacos but stayed in town while we went to a movie at the marina.  (The latest Mission Impossible).  On our way home we walked back to the taco place and there she was! She seemed happy to see us and joined us for our walk home.  That night she was allowed to sleep on our terrace.

The next day she was scheduled to be spayed.  I had a women's event so Mike took her to the vet's.

Cindy and Chris (hosts) offered us their car to go pick her up and gave us old towels for her to be more comfortable sleeping.  Very nice!

Dulce did very well and seemed ok to walk around the next morning.  She even chased Cindy's cat, much to everyone's chagrin.  

Juan Carlos planned to take her home in the afternoon so we took her back to the vet (with the help of our friends Ken and Cari on Bula) do she could get another shot for pain.

When we returned to the hotel, Juan Carlos was waiting for us with his wife to take Dulce home.

Here we are with Dulce and her new family:

First Mate Kate

Friday, December 11, 2015

What a drag!

It is Al's last day with us.  It has been such a fun trip together.  So many firsts, so many beautful sightings of marine life, good laughs, a bucket list item complete.  I feel like we are at the end of camp and I don't want it to end.

Al's old business partner Chuck and his wife JoAnn happen to be at their condo in PV, and we decided to meet them for dinner.  We took a taxi to Home Depot to check out some chairs for Chuck and then made our way to Old Town.  Chuck and JoAnn are so nice and their condo is lovely.

We walked down to the malecon and ate at one of Chuck's favorite shrimp places. We had a nice, early dinner and then walked down to another place for live music.  As we were walking, a storm came up and we could see it was dark down by the anchorage.  Mike and I were worried but we had decided to move Pangaea before we left so we were not too close to anyone anymore.  That and we just purchased a new Rocna anchor, supposedly the best holding anchor. 

One margarita in, I thought I felt my phone vibrate.  It had.  It was an incoming message from Kathryn saying that a boat that sounded like Pangaea was dragging in the anchorage.  Were we on it?

As quickly as we could hail a taxi, give Chuck and JoAnn hugs and some money, we were off to the anchorage.  We were trying to imagine how she could be dragging, and the only boat close to us was a big tug boat.  That wouldn't end well for Pangaea.  Panic was getting the best of our imaginations.  The weather forecasted potential weather coming in that night, but not until after midnight. We went for an early dinner thinking we were ok.  Normally we don't go that far away from Pangaea in an anchorage. Shit. Shit. Shit!

By the time we got to the anchorage, the storm was over.  The drama was over.  It was dark and we couldn't see anything except I was down one Lucy light.  We would have to wait until morning to find out what happened.

We awoke and saw our neighbor wave.  We jumped on our paddle boards in the light rain and paddled over for some answers.

Our nieghbor, Nancy and her husband Steven saw Pangaea start to drag as a squall came up suddenly.  Mike on Avatar and Steven boarded Pangaea and let out rode until her anchor grabbed again.  Apparently the wind had come up to 50-60 knots suddenly and whipped everyone in a different direction.  Our boat and another boat dragged.  Somehow, either as we were dragging or as they let rode out, Pangaea got hung up on another boat's anchor chain in a t-bone, our starboard side to their bow.  In that moment, our stainless rail and solar panel were bent/smashed.  In some miracle of miracles, the other boat had minimal scratches.  We offered to fix their scratches and they said they had some gel coat and would do it.  No problem. We gave them the best bottle of wine we had to apologize to them for the incident and thanked them for being so nice! 

We learned many lessons today.  One, we live in a community of lovely, generous people who came to our rescue selflessly.  We are so fortunate.  Two, we need to make it a rule to never be more than a short dinghy ride away when anchored anywhere. Three, even the best new anchor with 5:1 rode to depth ratio isn't fallable. Four, bad shit happens to good people.  Don't judge.

With my tail between my legs,

First Mate Kate

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Chacala to La Cruz

We decided to sail alll the way back to La Cruz, as we found out it was Kathryn's birthday on Agave Azul.  We emailed her to say we are on our way and made a beeline for La Cruz.  It was a motorboat ride, so uneventful.

The anchorage was pretty full when we arrived and we ended up anchoring a liittle closer to one of our neighbors than we liked.  We tested our anchor, though, as she was holding.

We met Kathryn and Robin along with Jean and Jim on Kanga to celebrate Kathryn's birthday in style at Masala.  We were all in heaven.  

Happy Birthday, Kathryn!

First Mate Kate

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Chacala Day 2

We dinghied into shore for breakfast and had yummy food once again at Las Brisas.  We all caught up a bit on wifi and tried to figure out our day.  It was a bit rolly in the anchorage, but we decided to stay anyway and thought setting our stern anchor would be a good idea.  That is when the fun began.

Al and I stayed in the cockpit while Mike took the stern anchor in the dinghy.  We let out rode as he set the anchor and then Al pulled up the slack.  That is, until the line went slack.  The big ol knot tied to the nylon part of the rode pulled out and our stern anchor was now sitting on the bottom of the anchorage dancing in the surf and attached to nothing.

Mike had a great idea of taking the remaining rode out in an arc to find the anchor within the radius of the chain.  I liked that idea, and offered to help.  Mike had Al get in the dinghy and hold onto the rode while he free dove for the anchor.  The surf was picking up and it was really murky in the water, so Mike had a hard time seeing.  Al damn near got pulled out of the boat holding onto the rode, as Pangaea was bucking in the surf. Turning on a video would have been a really good thing to do at this point.  Instead, I offered to spot Mike and be there on my paddleboard where he came up for air and give him a much needed rest.

After a while of unsuccessful dives, Mike decides to use the tank on the boat with a hooka hose so he can breathe underwater.  Kevin and crew apparently had been watching for some time from their rooftop deck and came for a closer look, with beers in hand.  They asked, "What the HELL are you guys doing?!"  I told them that we were teaching Mike how to scuba dive....trial by fire approach (Kevin is a retired fire chief). They laugh and dinghy off to a more interesting spot.

At this point I remind Mike of his brilliant "arc with the remaining rode" idea.  He took the end of the rode in his hand, dove, and it one attempt of his own design, found the stern anchor.

All that teamwork paid off, and we decided to celebrate the recovery and now successful setting of the stern anchor with beer and totopos on the beach.

Al and I got some great sunset shots and then we stayed for dinner.  I had the best coconut shrimp of my life (no lie) at Las Brisas for dinner.  They served them on skewers with a pineapple salsa/dipping sauce. Oh.My.God!!

Another big adventure day!

First Mate Kate (and her date)

Monday, December 7, 2015

Isla Isabel to La Cruz

It is always hard to leave Isla Isabel.  I love it here.  Although today it was literally hard to leave.  Our anchor, which was so nicely dived by Kevin on Andante, got itself wrapped around a large rock in the surf and Mike and I had to do a little boat tango to get it freed.  We got it! No problema.

Because Al was on board, we saw whales all around us as we left our anchorage.  We had a nice day sail from Isla Isabel to Chacala complete with successful fishing.  A bunch of skipjack or "Skippies" decided to "bite" and it gave our sail a little added adventure.  I had to laugh afterwards, as I noticed while sitting on the side of the boat that the skipjack must have been conducting some kind of hazing for the young fish.  For what had to be at least an hour, there was a school of skippies swimming by the boat.  Thousands of little throw-back tuna just swimming right by our lures.  I tried to get a video of it but it didn't turn out.  Catching five didn't seem like such a big deal after seeing how many we didn't catch.  

We arrived in the afternoon and took brownies to the port captain for check in.  No, not Colorado brownies.  The Ghiradelli kind.  Our friend Nancy on Shindig turned me on to this tradition.  She bakes something homemade and treats the Port Captain.  I think it is very thoughtful.  Thank you, Nancy, for the great idea. I am paying it forward, in a way.

Chacala has a reputation of being rolly, so we weren't sure how long we would stay.  It was a beautiful sunset and we had a nice dinner on the boat. 

Another great day with Al!

First Mate Kate

Saturday, December 5, 2015

La Paz to Isla Isabel with Al

Al at the helm

When we heard that doing a crossing was on our friend Al's bucket list, we were quick to encourage him to join us on our passage from La Paz to Isla Isabel, a 50+ hour journey.  We were delighted when he booked his flight.

After a travel delay of a day, Al arrived on December 3rd in La Paz.  As promised, we took him out to Rancho Viejo for arrachera that night with friends of ours.

We got to bed pretty early and awoke by 6:30 to leave before 8.  We planned to head to Muertos which is about a 10-11 hour journey.


Time of Departure: 8:00 a.m.
Crew: Katie and Mike Gordon and Al Lynch
Weather:  sunny and calm with light breezes
La Paz- Isla Isabel
Engine hrs:  510

We had a beautiful send off from our friends!  Rob and Nancy brought us goodies for the passage and Sylvia and Tom from Cinnabar helped to cast off the lines.  Rhonda and Dave from Swan stopped by, as well as Ron and Gail, from Loko kalaiki.  Jim and Dianne waved from the dock and shouted words of encouragement for Al, "Be reckless and take chances!" and "Don't let them work you too hard!"

We were barely into the channel when we had our first sea lion sighting.  He was lying on his back in the water with his fins in the air, as if to point us in the right direction, his head bobbing in and out of the water.  Sweet!

Minutes later we saw two humpbacks in the distance; one was breaching and one gave us a little tail shot.  Hurray!  Al hadn't ever seen a humpback while sailing with us before.

We put up the sails and were off, already filled with hope and excitement from the fruitful beginning of our voyage.

Right as we were heading into the Cerralvo Channel, I thought I saw a humpback blow.  Sure enough!  Soon, two dorsal fins glided past us with such grace. Then, quickly they were off our stern, and only about 20 feet from the boat.  Amazing!

We had really decent wind most of the way down the coast and decided to just keep going to Isabel instead of going to Muertos as we had planned.  Sunday's forecast is supposed to be winds 25+ and waves to match, so we thought it best to just  get there before that weather arrives.

After a nice dinner of eggplant parmesan and arugula salad, we started our night watch.  I went to bed from 7-1 while Mike and Al stayed up.  It is now my watch time, and I am enjoying 14 knots of wind on our beam and lite sparkles of bioluminescence.  I just saw something brightly lit up on the horizon in my peripheral vision as I was writing, and got up to look and see if it was a freighter.  It was the moon shining a bright orange smile back at me.  I smiled back.  The sky is clear and every star is vying for attention. I can't settle on one; I just scan the dome above me, picking out familiar constellations. I love my night watches.

First Mate Kate


Today was a banner day for wind.  We were able to sail all day and all night, and made pretty good time.  Things got a little interesting, however, just as the sun set.  The waves built pretty steadily throughout the day and by the time I went to bed, we were getting gusts of 20 knots.  It was all pretty comfortable.  I woke up at midnight to relieve Mike of his watch so he could check in with Andante, a m/v we saw on our first day who contacted us about forming a little net.

I was back in bed for a few minutes when I heard Mike yell for both Al and me.  The winds had picked up and gusting to 26 and he wanted to put in a reef or two.  We had put in a reef before I went to bed, but apparently Al and Mike had taken it out.  Our new SailTrack proved worthy of its asking price when we were able to reef without heading up wind or changing course at all! 

I remained up, as my watch was to begin in less than 30 minutes, and sent both Mike and Al back to sleep.

I am not going to kid you, the sea conditions were scary.  The wave heights were somewhere between 8-10 feet and the power behind them rounded the boat up wind so hard that it would have been easy to broach.  I squealed a few times during my watch when the winds got a little wild (26 knots!) and the seas unruly and I took on some water in the cockpit.  The wailing helped me feel better but I soon morphed into song, a more soothing vocalization.  I went through old rep, new songs and hummed a few arias. It helped me forget how outside of my comfort zone I really was.

I love Al, but I was particularly happy to see him join me in the cockpit at 4 am, when seas and winds were starting to calm.

Apparently I forgot to close the lid of the toilet in the head during all the craziness.  Al walked back to clean up and found our bottle of ProHealth mouth rinse top-down in the toilet in water that was "dark".  It seems that the holding tank or had hoses got a bit stirred up in the wild waves and back filled into the toilet.  Poor Al!  No matter how hard we try to protect him, he still ends up getting shit upon.

We awoke to find a few new passengers on board.

All shook up,

First Mate Kate


We are a few hours from our destination as I write.  Al and Mike are both napping. 

I checked in on the sonrisa net this morning and made the last of our frittatas for breakfast.  We were sitting in the cockpit chatting when Al notices a fin or something.  We stood up and realized it was a dolphin and we had several now swimming at our bow (at least 10).  They stayed there for quite a while; we were all able to walk up to the bow and enjoy them.

Now the only marine life we haven't seen is an Orca.  I joked with Al that we may have to add on extra tips/charges for delivering such an awesome array of marine life.

Fishing was merely for entertainment today.

We arrived at Isla Isabel around 3:30 and found Andante waiting for us; her crew all on the top deck enjoying an anchor down or two.  Kevin jumped in his dinghy with snorkel gear and dove us a sandy bottom- a good place to anchor.  Very cool of him.  He said they had really great luck fishing and invited us over for dinner.  Our entrance fee was 2 sides.  I made a big arugula salad and Mike made some quinoa.  He even came and picked us up!

Kevin's boat is a TransWorld 50 foot motor yacht,  1 of 9 in the world.  It was gorgeous inside; the finish was all teak, the salon and galley were huge, there were two state rooms, a pull out couch bed and another bed off the back deck.  He served us dorado and tuna, both grilled to perfection, and bottomless glasses of red wine.  After dinner we went up to the roof-top deck and chatted while star gazing in a perfectly clear night sky. We all saw a falling star or two.  It was, pardon the pun, heavenly.

Kevin escorted us back to the boat around 9:30, although I think we all expected it to be after midnight.  Not more than a few minutes passed by and we were all sound asleep.

Happy to be at Isla Isabel again!

First Mate Kate