Wednesday, May 13, 2009


While we were in La Paz we spent some time with Dave and MaryAnn Plumb, also Outbound owners from the Berkeley Yacht Club. They spoke highly of Mazatlan and are a significant part of the reason that we changed plans in postponing our trip south and decided to stay at Mazatlan for the summmer season.

Plan X and weather 101

we've had a change of plans. the short story is we've taken a slip in mazatlan until november. the long story is it's not just the hurricanes we have to worry about but the lightening storms which start in this area around may 15 or so! we've been advised by many that's it's not a good time to head far south of here and more prudent to wait until november. this area probably has the best weather for the summer but it's still hot and humid.

so here's your weather lesson for the day:
one of the cruisers gave the following explanation about storm formation in this part of the world. "Lightening comes in the ITCZ band. All of the weather you will experience is due to the earth changing its tip due to the season. The ITCZ will be moving up north from the equator... when it gets to southern Mexico it will allow the stored energy to form hurricanes. When this band goes over wherever you are there will be massive rain and lightening."
and from wikipedia here's the explanation about ITCZ or Intertropical Convergence Zone:
"The Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), also known as the Intertropical Front, Monsoon trough, or the Equatorial Convergence Zone, is a belt of low pressure girdling Earth at the equator. It is formed by the vertical ascent of warm, moist air from the latitudes north and south of the equator. The air is drawn into the intertropical convergence zone by the action of the Hadley cell, a macroscale atmospheric feature which is part of Earth's heat and moisture distribution system. It is transported aloft by the convective activity of thunderstorms; regions in the intertropical convergence zone receive precipitation over 200 days in a year."

the problem with lightening, aside from it being scary, is that all kinds of nasty things can happen to the boat and our electronics, not to mention us. here's a good website about lightening precaution

and that's the really really long story why we're keeping the boat in mazatlan until november. we just made the decision yesterday and we're still grappling with our new Plan X--like, what a great opportunity to go back home for a bit, see other parts of mexico in cooler mountain areas. oh and all those projects we've been putting off, well we'll have plenty of time to get them done. good thing we have a lot of books on board. so we're trapped in paradise with swimming pools, a gym, great wifi and iguanas.
as for the image, from wikipedia, it shows the band of thunderstorms in the ITCZ across the eastern Pacific Ocean right where we were going. now it's on to Plan X.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

ready to leave, next stop mazatlan

it's been a whirlwind couple of weeks for us. we flew home april 21 to tackle taxes, doctor visits, and other commitments. we had a grand time visiting friends and talking on the phone and emailing. all the luxuries you don't get when you're on the hook. we flew back to la paz may 7. we were upgraded to a direct flight instead of our change-planes reservations, and then a 3 hour bus ride putting us on the boat about 5pm in 100 degree heat. we had 7, yes 7, bags to bring onboard and unpack and stow away. it's taken us 3 days to accomplish that, along with trips to the big box stores and little tiendas. imagine sitting in a taxi with the trunk full of bags of groceries (no air conditioning mind you) while jim darts in and out of various carnitas tiendas. we treated ourselves to a brief swim yesterday evening before sunstroke hit. this morning he's sorting and packing nuts and bolts while i'm downloading information about panama and ecuador. i can feel the heat begin to build. the plan is to leave here by noon (oh sure) and head over to mazatlan to check out a marina we've been encouraged to stay in rather than sprint down to central america. so many decisions. summer over and deal with the heat and relax in a resort or blow past mexico and some of central america to get out of the hurricane zone. it comes down to do we want to deal with heat & humidity in mazatlan or lightening storms in central america. hmmm not sure i like either choice. more will be revealed in a few days after we get out of here (it's so hard to leave no matter where we are) and get back on the water sailing or motoring.

happy mother's day to all those moms we know and good health and happiness to everyone.
photos are random from our baja journey.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

isla carmen and danzante

entry from my journal on april 13 says....we left puerto escondido and motored over to Danzante into honeymoon cove. we lucked out and had the whole place to ourselves for several hours. i kayaked the whole bay and a flock of kayakers were beached on the north shore. later jim and i took the dinghy into shore for a long hike to capture the aerial views. sunset was particularly beautiful when the hills lit up with the golden colors you see above. the starfish is called a gulf star and is covered with lots of dots.
april 14 we left honeymoon cove and headed over to ensenada del ballena on isla carmen. the water was glass smooth, flat silky seas. we arrived in ballena and saw the boat warren peace again. i kayaked a little bit but the winds were too strong. winds picked up at night and we stood anchor watch, both of us unable to sleep. when we felt the keel hit the bottom it was time to go. so at 12:30am with the kayaks and dinghy dragging behind we motored out into the sea toward la lancha and circled around until sunrise. we went in and dropped anchor, exhausted.

v cove is kayaking heaven on april 15 2009

slight correction, we stopped at la lancha on april 14 but motored over to v cove after our long night of fleeing the high winds. so. i slept about 4 hours and was just too excited to stay below deck. i had to get into the kayak. what a amazing place this v cove is. lots of caves large and small, flat water, landscape soaked in brilliant colors and a beach leading to sand dunes. i kayaked around the bend and into all the caves, even got to watch the fishermen tossing their nets. later in the day jim and i did some hiking. he took the crest trail and i wandered through the sand dunes. winds started to build late in the day so we deflated the kayaks and were ready to leave in a moment if we had to.

and we had to. april 16, journal entry...v cove to timbabichi. north winds and swells forced us out at dawn. by 7am sunrise we were sailing. kept checking places to anchor but all the coves had swells and whitecaps. very stressful watching the dinghy surf and plane. blew the vang shackle doing a gybe. finally anchored about 6:30 at timbabichi. i made an experimental gratin.

friday april 17. timbibichi to isla san francisco. not much sleep. big power boat Searcher came in at 1am. winds high and swells but okay anchorage. met 2 touring kayakers from new zealand. saw manuel again. left at 9am sailing downwind. big swells. genset won't start. downwind to isla san francisco in 25-30 knots wind. once anchored with all the other boats hiding from the wind we packed the dinghy away and prepared to leave early tomorrow morning.

saturday april 18. left at 7:30am. fewer white caps. smooth downwind sailing. arrived in la paz at 3pm. totally cleaned the boat jim doing the outside me the inside. both of us exhausted. don't like the marina. inconvenient and too far from town. feels like a prison out here.

sunday april 19. took shuttle into town to all the big box stores. found out they have most of the items we want for provisioning when we return from home. back into town for dinner at Pazta. the whole main street was celebrating over the soccer game that chiva won.