Monday, December 29, 2014

Crossing Over to Isla Isabel

La Paz to Isla Isabel

We left at 9:00 as scheduled this am with all of our dock 3 friends there to give us hugs and send us off.  What a beautiful sendoff it was!

We motored most of the way through the channel and put the sails up to get to the San Lorenzo channel.  We ended up turning on the motor and motor sailing to get out of a shoal area and in between the channel markers.  However, once we made the turn, we had a beautiful downwind course.
First Mate Kate at the helm

Mike plotting our course to Isla Isabel

After a while we pulled in the head sail and just sailed with the main because we could run a little easier and be closer to our rhumb line.  Right after a gorgeous pink,  purple, blue, yellow and orange sunset the winds seemed to die.  We decided to take down the main and motor because the sail was just snapping back and forth, seemingly angry that we couldn't keep her sail full.

A beautiful sunset to launch our first overnight

Within the hour the winds picked up and we were raising and reefing the main.  The seas were really unruly and confused.  I felt like we were in a large, undulating  washing machine.  Did I mention it was completely dark now?  As we resumed a downwind point of sail (broad reach to run) Mike let out the main.  All of a sudden the main sheet was flying loose!  Somehow there was no knot keeping the line threaded.  So, I took the helm and Mike went forward to save the line and re-thread it. The auto pilot is a great invention and I am really thankful for how well it is working.  That being said, as we tried to get it set for the evening watch schedule we had a difficult time getting it to keep an ideal course because of the seas.  So, while I was down getting our salad course of dinner, Mike accidentally gybed.  Yep.  Broke off the hook for the preventer.  Thus, he had to repair that, too!

I write this at 2:13 am and all is well.  Mike is sleeping and the lovely auto pilot is still dutifully keeping us on course.  I watched the lovely, bright orange moon disguised as a large eye watching over us simply melt into the sea just as I had watched the sun set.  Now it is pitch black with only the light coming from the stars, our running lights and this iPad.  Suddenly, I feel alone.  I didn't realize how much comfort I felt from the moon and I was sad to see it to set.

I am wishing now that I had paid more attention in my weather and space class, as my familiar constellations include Ursa major and minor, Orion, and Cassiopeia.  There isn't a cloud in the sky tonight and I could have a hay day if I knew more! 


We awoke to calm seas and clear skies.  Mike inspected the boat and found a bunch of little squid that had a big adventure during the night and ended up on our deck.  We thought about keeping them for bait but then we both decided we didn't want anything to slow our progress. Even catching a dorado.

We had a lazy day with no wind.  I found myself cleaning up the boat just to have something to do.  

Mike and I started the Podcast "Serial" today.  We both had heard about it on NPR and wanted to check it out, so Mike had downloaded the series before we left. Essentially it is about a young Muslim boy who is accused and charged with murdering his ex-girlfriend.  The host is an ex-reporter for the Baltimore Times and is revisiting the details of the case because a family reached out to her. It is really interesting....riveting!

The night watches were uneventful except for some fog around the time I was heading to bed (4 am).  The stars were spectacular, once again, and I realized that i had an app on my iPad called Star Walk that shows you the stars, planets and major constellations as you point the iPad into the sky.  Pretty darn cool.  I now know Cetus (whale) and Draco (dragon) and remember knowing Andromeda and plan on learning a few new ones each night.

We awoke this morning to flat seas and a few dolphins as our welcome committee.  I always feel better when I see dolphins.  We also had a booby circle our boat.  I am really not a fan of diesel fumes or the noise of the engine.  I keep hoping for wind so we can sail but by the look of the calm seas, I think it's a pipe dream. Land is in sight on our navigation software.  Yay!  We should be there sometime today. Our overnight guest was a single little skipjack tuna.

The day was pretty quiet and generally light winds.  We did all of our boat chores and listened to more Serial, and before we knew it we could see land.  First it was a couple of prison islands and then Isla Isabel!!  Unfortunately it took us another 2+ hours to arrive, after sunset.  Luckily Mike had experience anchoring here with Shindig a few weeks ago.  Thus, anchoring went smoothly and we were able to settle down and enjoy a nice lasagna dinner with a fresh green salad courtesy of greens from the farmer's market. A bottle of Nebbiolo helped us bring in the New Year.  We tried to watch an episode of Homeland but I bonked and had to go to bed.  It has been a long three days.

Feliz Ano Nuevo!

First Mate Kate

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Feliz Navidad in La Paz, MX

Annie's Visit
It was a very Merry Christmas in La Paz.  Our friend Annie came down for a week starting on the 20th to spend some time in La Paz with Mike.  Mike and John from Time Piece took Annie out on Pangaea    for a day sail to Falsa.  There, Annie did her first ever paddleboarding while Mike initiated our watermaker and John caught up with old friends.

The three of them hung around together for the next few days, exploring La Paz and its fine eateries and, of course, watching the Bronco game at Tailhunters.

I arrived in the late afternoon on the 23rd with two duffle bags full of presents and treats from Trader Joes/Whole Foods.  Our friend Al dropped me off at the airport, thank goodness, so I didn't have far to schlep.  Once again, Al saved the day for me.  Thanks, Al!!

Anne and Ale helped me make these wonderful new fender covers for Pangaea in Denver, CO last night.  Until midnight!   The best Christmas gift!

I unpacked and Annie moved into a condo that John had reserved for a week for his friends.  It turned out they were going to be out sailing until the 27th, so we arranged for Annie to stay there and have her own space for the rest of her trip.

We walked over to Mc Fisher for dinner but they were closed, so we made our way to Calypso.  We shared grilled octopus and calamari and mistakenly (for me, at least) had 3 margaritas.  Mike was still hungry so we walked down to Harker for pizza and 2-for-1 beers.  Did I mention I hadn't been drinking much in Denver?  Let's just say that I don't remember walking home much except for some vague recollection that petting goats was involved.  La Paz has a very elaborate living cresh exhibit appropirately named Navidad.  It is made up of a well-lit manger scene, shepherds, goats and completed by a Santa's workshop, where Santa waits for you on his couch. (Details provided to me by Mike).

The rest of the night is a complete blur and I am now reminded why I need to stop at two drinks. 

Thankful for holding my cookies dispite my lack of judgment.

First Matey Katie

Today wasn't pretty, as you might have imagined.  I never did get sick but I am sure I would have benefitted from it if I had.  Instead, I was just dizzy and nauseated.  Rehydrating helped and by the afternoon I was busily practicing my piano accompaniments of favorite Christmas carols to play and sing later that night at our Dock 3 Christmas Party.

Time flew by and before I knew it it was time to shower and set up.  Mike and I carried the piano, microphone and amp over to "The Cave" where the party was happening.  I sat down to get levels and test the mic when Jim from Prairie Oyster pulled me aside to tell me that the music wasn't the only part of the show.  Apparently, because I was slightly above the
tables in the bar area, everyone could 'see London and France.'  Back to the boat I went to put on a long dress.  See honey...that's why I need so many dresses!

The evening was great!  We had a packed party and it all began with a White Elephant Exchange. Then we did a carol sing-along, although Mike said most people just wanted to listen to me sing them.  I included requests from other crusiers, "Feliz Navidad" (which was a hit with our bar staff) and closed with "O Holy Night".  

Merry Christmas!

First Mate Kate


We had a nice Christmas with Annie.  We exchanged little gifts amongst ourselves and the cruisers nearby.  The bloody Mary/Caesar's Christmas morning tradition continued but this time with potluck brunch.  We love our dock 3 family.

Heidi and Terry on Cetus
Dianne on Prairie Oyster

Kay and Rhonda

Rod and Jane on Beachcomber with Katie and Mike

Annie and I got a little paddleboarding in, which was great!  The winds finally died down enough to get out into the bay. However, they did pick up a little while we were out there which made for a harder workout heading home.

That night, Annie and I joined Rod and Jane from Beachcomber, Jim and Dianne from Prairie Oyster and Terry and Heidi from Cetus for a Christmas turkey dinner at the Dinghy Dock restaurant.  Mike stayed home and rested.

Feliz Navidad!


This was Annie's last day in La Paz.  She got ready to leave while Mike and I headed to the Farmer's Market to stock up on fresh bread, veggies, pasta and herbs before our trip.  

Annie and I were able to get a really long paddle in before getting ready for dinner while Mike organized the boat.

The evening commenced with a successful trip to McFisher, where we all enjoyed the grilled yellowtail special and a margarita.  We ended our night at Calypso for a real margrita and were able to get a ride home in the boat-mobile, now dressed up as Rudolph.

Unfortunately Annie did not have a graceful dismount from the boat and ended up on her arse. Argh!

First Mate Kate


Annie got onto her bus ok and we started our preparations for our crossing.  We walked to the supermercado to get last-minute items and stock up on pesos. 

We are heading out en la maƱana!!

First Mate Kate

First Mate Kate with Captain Mike

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Back in La Paz in time for Thanksgiving

Mike and Kate

Thanksgiving is always very special in La Paz.  I love the community gathering potluck that is a tradition at Marina Palmira.  While I miss seeing my parents and siblings and their families, there is something really awesome  about having Thanksgiving dinner with 220 sailors.  It's almost like the original Thanksgiving.  :-)

We ate dinner with our friends Rob and Nancy from Shindig and Kathy and Jim from Solar Flair.
Nancy and Rob

Jim and Kathy

It was also amazing to see John from Time Piece.  Here he is with his friend Debbie.

Debbie and John

Of course, no Thanksgiving is complete without a Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Race!  Last year our relay team was comprised of Rob from Shindig, Wendy on Willow and the two of us from Pangaea.  Team ShiWilloGea.  We did well, and Wendy actually won the women's sprint.  This year, Wendy couldn't be with us, so the four of us (Kate and Mike from Pangaea and Rob and Nancy from Shindig formed Team Pa-Shin for the race.  We were strong this year, too!  I like to think that we won (our age group)!

Kate, Mike, Nancy and Rob as Team Pa-Shin

We had a beautiful morning.  Just prior to the race, La Paz had a norther come through.  The timing of its departure was perfect for calm seas in which to paddle!  Our race was dedicated to Wendy who is back home in California.  No matter what time of day it is, her greeting is "Good Morning, Sunshine!"  We love her and miss her and hope that next year we can have our team ShinWiloGea back.

Mike is actually on Shindig right now helping Nancy and Rob cross over to the mainland.  I think they are having a blast.

I will be back down on Pangaea for Christmas.  My back and hip injury are getting more stable and I feel like I am ready to be back on the boat!

More updates to come!

First Mate Kate