Welcome to our mid-life crisis! These are the chronicles of Laura and Patrick, their young son Jack, and their goofball Labrador Retriever named Evinrude (Rudy), as they travelled the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific coast of mainland Mexico in their catamaran. We went cruising in search of a change of pace, a closer knit family, and peace of mind. We found all three and more. The fun all started in October, 2008 and nearly four years later the Mexican adventure came to an end August 3rd, 2012. With our mid-life crisis cured in Mexico, we are excited to start a new adventure - life back in America.

Patrick has since joined the Sales Team of Marine Servicenter as a boat broker. Whether you are looking to make your dream of sailing away come true, or ready to sell your boat he can help. He can be reached at http://marinesc.com/about/crew/patrick-harrigan

Candeleros Chico

Candeleros Chico
Just another beautiful day at anchor on the Baja. 2010

Dolphins at play in the bow wake 2011

Dolphins at play in the bow wake  2011

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Santa Rosalia, again

The second time around, Santa Rosalia is much improved. My memory of our time here in July is mostly of unbearable heat, but now it is down-right cool. The days are in the 70's with the early morning dipping down to the high 60's. People are walking around in jackets! The Norther wind storm that we were running from is still blowing outside, but being tied to a dock makes it a non-event. No worries about anchors dragging! Today is Day 5 of the storm and it is hoped that it will be easing tomorrow. The winds have been blowing 20-30 even 35 knots at times. Third Day and Windfall are still pinned down in the San Francisquito anchorage, but hope to be moving to Santa Rosalia tomorrow.

Our time at the dock has been well spent. We were very happy when we first got here to see s/v Juniata tied to the dock. Dave and Marcia, Juniata's crew, are knowledgeable cruisers and friends of ours. Dave is one of those mechanical geniuses who just knows how to fix things. We knew he was just the person to help us figure out what was wrong with our engine that had conked out on the trip down. Sure enough, the next day Dave spent hours diagnosing the problem with Patrick and then showing Jack and Patrick how to fix it. Jack's school that day consisted of a guest speaker on diesel engines! And boy did he learn a lot - Dave is a very good teacher. By the end of the day, the engine was fixed and purring again. Yesterday, Patrick and Jack made the same repairs to the other engine - just to be proactive. Now we just have the engine water leak, the water maker leak and the propane system to figure out. But that is life on a boat. Every system is being used a lot in a very harsh environment of sun and salt water. Repairs and breakdowns are par for the course. Hopefully we have had our share for a while.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Best laid plans.....

Well, we meant to take a long leisurely sail down the coast, stopping at all the places we missed on our return to Santa Rosalia, and then the weather and breakdowns interrupted our plans. After spending two nights at Alacran together, the three kid boats were all planning to enjoy at least three more anchorages before returning to Santa Rosalia. Then on the second morning in Alacran, our first stop, we woke to mounting winds and blustery conditions. The weather on the Amigo net called for 25 to 30 knots in our location, increasing the following two days to up to 45 knots. It is really hard to enjoy an anchorage with 30 knots blowing past. so we all decided to move farther south to get out of the wind storm's way.

Our next stop was San Francisquito. It was a bumpy, long ride to get that far, but finally around 5:00 pm we made it to that anchorage. The weather update on the Southbound Net at 6:00 pm indicated that several more days of high winds were forecast for the area. When we heard that report, the JaM crew decided to just keep going. We had been nursing a leaking water intake pump on our starboard engine for the last two months, and in the last few days, the leak was increasing significantly. It didtn't seem like a good idea to get pinned down by a wind storm with a significantly increasing engine problem. Add to that, our propane system for cooking was acting up and working very sporadically for the last few weeks. Add to that, our water maker had begun leaking and requiring a lot of attention to continue working. With all that put together, the decision to keep moving was easy.

We had already been traveling since 9 am that morning and had put in about 8 hours in seas with 5-6 foot waves and gusts up to 30 knots on our port hind quarter. A very bumpy ride, and I was not feeling well. So we pulled over at a beach with north wind protection and cooked up some dinner, watched a movie, and caught a three hour nap before waking at midnight to continue the trip to Santa Rosalia, another 70 miles further south. At about the halfway point in our journey, our one good engine suddenly began acting oddly and so we shut it off. That left us with 1/2 a working engine and no wind! A new problem! It was excruciating to creep along at 3 to 4 knots, but about fourteen miles out of Santa Rosalia, the forecasted winds started up and we caught a fast and furious ride on 25 knots of wind. It was fun to scream along on a reefed in main and jib, after hours of bobbing around listlessly. We made it into Santa Rosalia around 2 pm, about 29 hours after we had left Alacran.

So here we sit at Santa Rosalia, with a few boat projects to occupy our time and decisions to make about where to haul out and get repairs made. The wind storms will be blowing through here until this weekend, but we will probably be here longer than that. The mound of laundry alone should take days to work through!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Time to Go....

We are back in La Bay village for the last day. As you know, Hurricane Rick came no where near us. After building quickly, it also started petering out quickly. Windfall and Third Day did not even leave the LA Bay area, and we took advantage of the southerly winds to head to Refugio for one last visit.

Our time in Refugio was well worth the effort of getting there. Patrick and Jack went snorkeling with the sea lion pups at the colony up there. Patrick speared his first fish there, and we enjoyed days of beautiful weather. Also up at Refugio with us were three boats with fine musicians on board and we enjoyed a fantastic live concert on the beach one night with a mandolin, banjo and harmonica. It was a very memorable evening.

Now we are back in LA Bay for the last time this summer and looking to do a small sail slightly south today. We are planning to be on a slow boat to Santa Rosalia, which will be our first stop with Internet. so look for more posts in about two weeks. Windfall and Third Day are leaving with us and I believe we are the last three who are left in the area, so we will be turning out the lights and locking the door. I am sad to leave but what a summer we had!


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Here We go Again!

It may have seemed like the close of the summer cruising season, but the hurricane season is still on in full strength! The news came in Thursday night on the Southbound Net that there was another tropical storm forming quickly off the Riviera coast of Mexico (where they all tend to start.) By the end of the Amigo Net Friday morning, it had reached Hurricane 1 status and was named Rick. By the Southbound net Friday night, the boats that had started south either decided to run for the closest cover down south (Puerto Escondido) or to sit tight and see what happened next. By the Amigo Net this morning, Rick had reached Hurricane 3 category and was definitely heading for a crash with the Baja Peninsula. Boats as far south as Conception Bay, who had been up here only two weeks ago are now heading back to the Bahia de los Angeles area for the safety of nearby Puerto Don Juan. Any guesses on where Windfall, Just a Minute and Third Day are headed? Yep, we head out for Willard Bay tonight for an overnight passage to take advantage of the tides. We want to get up there as fast as possible.

The reports of Rick are frightening. The US Navy predicts that it will hit landfall Wednesday night at Cabo San Lucas as a Hurricane 1 storm, with the eye right over the city. If that happens, the entire Sea will get hammered, especially if it comes up the coast towards L Paz, as the prediction suggests. Other predictions put landfall on Thursday between Cabo and Magdalena Bay on the outside of the peninsula, just like Hurricane Jimena. As a matter of fact, Don Anderson, the weather man on the Amigo net says that this storm is identical to Jimena so far in its intensity and path. It covers 600 miles of area and is packing 135 knots of wind right now, and is expected to reach category 5 status later tonight or tomorrow morning. Some reports have it traveling at 10 knots, some as high as 20 knots, so it is covering ground quickly.

So you guys know the drill - we will soon be even further out in the boondocks and out of contact for probably two weeks. Wish us luck and keep us in your thoughts. We will get back to you as soon as we can.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Summer in the Sea is coming to a Close

The change in the weather in the last few weeks has been remarkable. Within a one week period, we went from summer to fall. The water does not have the clarity it did, it is cooler all day long, mornings in B of LA start out at 66 degrees! We even had a rain storm one day that started at night and went on for hours. As Pacific North westerners, I can't tell you how happy we were to wake up that cloudy Saturday! It felt and looked like home, just for a few hours.

With the weather change, the cruiser boats that had congregated in the North Sea of Cortez have begun their migration south. Suddenly one day about a week ago, seven boats left to head south. Since that day, a few more have trickled out every day or so. Right now we are anchored at the village at B of LA with 12 other boats. I believe that is the majority of boats left. All have their plans to migrate, each in our own schedule. By another two weeks, few will be left, if any.

It's been really difficult to be out of internet range for such a long time. We have had so many amazing experiences, great times, and stories we want to share and it is impossible to fit them all in now. So I will give some highlights and a quick recap.

After leaving Third Day at Isla San Luis, we joined Windfall at Refugio. From that time until today, we have been boating in Windfall's company, sharing great times and beautiful anchorages. Third Day suffered a broken windlass (the device that raises the anchor) that needed to be replaced. They went to Puerto Penasco in the far, far north and only returned from there last night. We have not seen them for nearly five weeks, so our reunion last night was very fun.

Highlights of our last few weeks include Jack's birthday which was celebrated with 3 other kid boats and most of the fleet who had coincidentally congregated for a cruiser's party called a Full Moon Party the day before. We had cake and brownies on the beach with about 2o people crowded around singing "Happy Birthday" to Jack. Later that night, Jack told me it was the best birthday he has ever had. And his only present from us was a homemade birthday card that told him I would make him a cherry pie and he didn't have to do homeschooling that day! Being out in the middle of nowhere without TV takes the "Gimmees" out of kids evidently.

One of the changes with the weather has been a great increase in the number and intensity of wind storms The Northers have started (they are the same .winds as the Santa Anas in CA) and can blow at strong rates for days. Elefantes have become common in the last few weeks also. These are very strong winds that start during the day and can last through the night, always from the West. They are named after elephants because many times there will be clouds above the mountains that get caught in this wind and twist around like elephant trunks. We have been caught in Elefantes several times now and have learned to anchor in 30+ knot wind - not a small feat in a catamaran with lots of windage. We also had the fun of experiencing 50 knots of winds while anchored in B of LA during a different Elefante. It was cool to experience that much wind! And we were very comfortable since we were parked close to a cheltering shore, with no chance for waves to build up.

Our first year anniversary of the day that Just a Minute left the dock in San Francisco is rapidly approaching on October 25th. It is so amazing to look back on this last year. We have learned so much about so many different things. Though it seemed like such a pie in the sky dream back in March 2008, we are happeir than we ever could have imagined one year ago.