February 10, 2014
Bill and I have been out of touch for 10 days, 10 days without cell or internet. We arrived in Puerto Escondido to be met by the Mexican Navy. Now what have we done? Sadly, I was informed that my mother had a massive heart attack and had passed away on Thursday, Feb. 6. My children had contacted the Coast Guard who contacted Mexico and they tracked us down. I am writing this paragraph as I am on the plane from Loreto to Salt Lake City to be with my family. My mother was an incredible, talented women who will be greatly missed but who supported me 100% in this crazy adventure. In fact, I received and email yesterday from her that she had sent a few days before she passed away, “Have fun! Take care. You are living every ones dream. Your dad would have been so jealous.” I will truly miss her!
(I am going to post what I had already written before I got the sad news and before I returned to Utah. I will rejoin Bill on February 20th to finish our adventure.)
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After fighting a cold, getting Pink Eye and a swollen face from that, and getting the flu, even though I had a flu shot, Bill and I hooked back up in La Paz. Way too many baby germs but worth every minute with them!!! However, it was great to be back to our little home and warm weather.
We jumped right back into our routine, listening to the cruisers net and walking everywhere we went. Bill immediately signed up for the cribbage tournament, being the master player he is. He lost 15 out of 17 hands and one of the winning hands, the player dropped out. But, it was a great way to meet great people! Next time the Card Gods will be in his favor, I am sure.
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Bill and I both wanted to spend the Christmas Holiday with our respective families, so we locked up the boat and flew north. What a rude awakening, it was freezing cold in Utah and Canada. I was one of the few planes to land in SLC on Dec. 19th, although very late. The rest of this may bore you if you are hoping to read about Bill and his Holiday Adventures, as this one relates to mine. If I can sit him down to write, you may hear about it at a later date. (Don’t hold your breath)
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They say you can’t change the name of your boat unless you have run it aground three times. Well, we don’t want to change the name, Just Dandy, but we are on the way to being able to. I should clarify, I ran her aground. I am claiming rookiehood!!! Let me explain…
We made it safely into La Paz and checked with the marinas but there were no slips available. That meant we needed to anchor or be on the hook in the bay for the night. The water around La Paz is very shallow so we headed to were other boats were anchored. When you anchor, you need to make sure that you are far enough from the other boats to swing with the wind and current. I saw a nice space in between several boats were no one was anchored so I headed over there. Bill started to drop the anchor which only dropped 4 feet and at the same time I felt the rudder hit sand. Oops, I hadn’t been checking the depth as boats were around us. I hurried and put her in reverse and was able to get her off the bottom, whew!!!!! First grounding!!!! Now we know why no one was anchored in this area.
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Many of you that have ridden in a car with me, know that I like to go fast. So, you can imagine my consternation when I discovered that our average cruising speed would be about 4 knots (1 knot = about 1.1 mile an hour)! With sails up, we can average about 5 knots and when we hit 6 knots, I am literally jumping for joy!!
Now, Bill on the other hand, drives like the 63 year man that he is, and is very happy at 4-5 knots. And as he points out, going at this speed allows us to really enjoy everything around us. He is right, of course. Yesterday, we pulled into Bonanza Bay, took a nap, as we had left anchor at 2:00 a.m., then swam in the beautiful water, ate dinner, and had quite a show of the sunset and of the diving birds, not to mention the beautiful coastline a long the way.
Going this slow, you would think that, not having to watch for traffic signals would be a relief. We do have to deal with a lot of other things, many unseen, that can raise the level of concern. Wind, tide, currents, ferries, and other boats, just to name a few. It is quite an art to plot our next course, taking all of this into consideration. Thank goodness for GPS, plot charters, good charts, and a couple of incredible books authored by sailors who have gone before us. I am much more laid back about all of this than Bill is so combined we are making a pretty good team.
Also, many of you may know, I am not a really late night person but I do like to stay up til about 10 watching my favorite TV shows. Well, we have no access to those shows so at dark there isn’t much to do but play cribbage and read. Bill continues to pretty much beat me at cribbage, as I am new to the game. I have read about 4 books and played the same video games over and over. So bedtime can be as early as 7-8 pm. unless we are sailing the next morning (usually rising around 2:00 a.m. so we can anchor in daylight the next day), then it can be around 6:00 p.m.
Another thing I am learning to enjoy, is not planning anything, even thougt I am, of course, the social chairman or Captain Kirk to some of you. If the weather is threatening (wind mostly) we just stay were we are until it improves, sometimes a couple of days. This allows us to get the dinghy out and go explore were we are.
While in Bahias de los Muertos, we wandered around the area. There were plans to make this a great resort area and rename it Bahias Suenos (Bay of Dreams instead of Bay of Death). We wandered into a resort hotel, GranSueno, that had about 10 infinity pools. It is really beautiful if you want a very relaxing quiet vacation. In the area were the bar is, a huge model train exhibit is on display. Although it is in a little disrepair, it is pretty cool. There was also a pool table, shuffle board, and pin ball machines. We had the whole place to ourselves and enjoyed a couple of beers and a fun afternoon.
We are sailing into La Paz at 5.2 knots, which should take us several hours and gives me time to write this. We are excited to be able to get a beer, a real shower, and wash some clothes as it has been awhile for most of that. So wish us luck as we approach the narrow channel!
On Friday, Nov. 22, we finally motored out of Cabo after two weeks. Our transmission is purring like a kitten, yea!!!!
4 hours later, after motoring all the way because of no wind, we pulled into a beautiful and QUIET marina. No party boats blaring techno music ( I know that makes us sound old) and no fisherman gasing up at 5:00 in the morning.
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160 boats sailed into Cabo San Lucas, of course, one backwards, and rejoiced in arriving safe and sound! We were rafted up, some 3 deep to be able to dock in the marina. Parties were thrown and awards were given for the most boat bites (bruises), sailing all the way, and a variety of other happenings. Then, slowly, the boats pulled out for La Paz and the Sea of Cortez, for Mazatlán and the mainland, and many going beyond.
And here we sit, almost two weeks later, in the unseasonable heat and humidity. You may be wondering what we have been doing all that time. Well…..first of all the marina has moved us into the high rent district. We look like the Beverly Hillbillies next to these incredible yachts.
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along with 120 other boats! Everyone is a winner. We did take 1st place coming into the dock in reverse as we were the only boat to do that. More of that to follow, but first, let me get you caught up with us!
My minions (Bill and Doug) and I boarded the “Just Dandy” and joined the Baja Ha-ha parade at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, October 28. (Costumes were a must as it was almost Halloween) This is the 20th anniversary of the Baja Ha-Ha and it is a well oiled machine! Once the gun was fired about 160 boats took off across the starting line and we were off……
It is the custom to fly the skipper’s flag as well as were the boat is registered, thus the Canadian and US flags, but one should also fly the flag of the country they are sailing in. By adding the Mexican flag, we now have North America covered. We also are flying a Baja Ha-Ha flag so that we will recognize others as we go from marina to marina.
Our first leg to Cabo was 3 1/2 days and 3 nights. This took us to Turtle Bay, what a beautiful site, many boats anchored but we are not the last to enter. Dropped our own anchor, blew up the dinghy and we were off to town! Town consists of a pier with a fuel dock, 3 restaurants, and a church. Went in search of lobster and beer. The second day in Turtle Bay was a potluck beach party, with all kinds of activities to get to know each other. Women won the tug of war and even the ice cream truck got into the action!
But it quickly turned windy and the seas were really choppy. It was like being in a washing machine on the agitate cycle. Thank goodness for the patch, seasickness never was an issue. But no one told me that sailing was a contact sport! I stopped counting bruises once I reached seventy-nine! My hip area, front, sides and back are a ring of bruises. My body is the color of a mermaid, blue and green. Both Bill and Doug, have shin bruises, too! I guess this has been one of the more brutal sails, even for the bigger boats. Everyone is beat up and sleep deprived. When I say sleep deprived, it feels like being a new mother, but a whole lot older! This section should be called Bad Hair and Bruises or it could be the name of a Nirvana or Country western song, but in reality, it is the crew of Just Dandy! When you are sailing for 3 days and 3 nights, you literally put on a cap for daytime, a beanie (tuk in Canadian speak) for nighttime and crawl into a berth to sleep. Never a comb through or wash! Yikes, we are pretty scary site.
After 2 1/2 days and 2 nights of this, we pulled into Mag Bay. Again, a very welcome site and we are very appreciative of these layovers. The first night we are easily in bed at sundown, 6:30, and sleep 12 -13 hours! Again, a beach party, with food supplied by the locals and a band that drove over from LaPaz. Mag Bay has no facilities but if anyone needed any assistance with their boat, everyone in the fleet was there to lend a hand. Incredible what a strong, generous community this is! Our last leg should have taken us 2 days and 1 night. But the winds died and that really slowed everyone down. Having a smaller boat, we are slower to begin with. It is not uncommon to motor sail if the winds get below 2 knots so we started her up. It wasn’t long, however, that we noticed she kept slipping out of gear if we tried increasing the speed. Pretty soon we could only rev her to go about 2.5 – 3 knots. Out forward transmission was shot. Bill had recently had her rebuilt and she only had about 200 hours on her, this should not have happened! Slowly, we fell way behind. We checked in on the radio and let the fleet know and within a few minutes, a boat (Moondance) nearby radioed back that they would stay with us to make sure we made it to Cabo. So what should have taken about 5 hours took us 10 hours. As we rounded the cape into Cabo, we lost all forward movement. Moondance tried towing us but wouldn’t you know, the wind picked up, and they weren’t strong enough to tow us. We put up a sail and sailed in, following Moondance, who found us a place to anchor! They are our heros!! The next morning, we started her up again, she would only do reverse, so Bill motored her into the docks in reverse, thus…1st place for backwards sailing!
10 Days and Counting! We sail on Monday, October 28. I am attaching the link to the day to day itinerary, if you are interested in following us. http://www.baja-haha.com/dates.html
For the last month and a half, Bill and I have been readying ourselves and the boat for our great Baja adventure! Bill has been taking great care in making sure the major safety issues and needs of the boat are ready while I have been focused on what costume to wear as we leave and how to sneak aboard more than my allotted clothing.
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After spending a month in Utah with Andy and Jana, I could not be prouder to watch them in their daily lives. They are happy, incredible people who are fantastic parents! What more could a mom hope for? Especially when they invited me back for next year, guess I didn’t wear out my welcome!
I was then lucky enough to share four fun filled days with Whitney in Boston this past September. I am so relieved to see how well she is adapting to her new life and how happy she seems. I am excited for her future with Jason and in Boston! (Although it is pretty far away)
I went to Boston to meet Jason’s family and to hopefully find a wedding gown for Whitney. Both were achieved. Check out Whitney’s blog about our upcoming 15 minutes of fame on TLC’s “I Found the Gown” http://massifornia.com/i-found-the-gown/. Jason’s mom, Janice, and grandmother, Josie were so welcoming and comfortable to be with! I see many great times ahead with them!
Check out my other photos in the Photo Gallery, just click on Boston 2013.
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