Hello!

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

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Gracias Amigos!

We've reached a milestone folks, and it's all because of you. I just got a notice that my very first AdSense check for $100 USD is being sent to us. We get paid fractions of a penny for each person who visits our site and a few more if they click on an ad before leaving. Our site has about 60 to 100 people check it per day on average, and we've had the ads on the blog for about a year, so you can see that it is quite an achievement. Thanks a lot! We'll enjoy many great taco cart meals with our bounty.

We didn't get out of Santa Rosalia yesterday because another chubasco hit two nights ago and we got little sleep and were too tired to leave. It was pretty much a repeat of the last one but with slightly less wind, still lots of dust, thunder and lightning that reverberated through the boat, and the biggest rainfall we've seen in three years on the Baja. Of course, I had just washed the boat earlier that evening, so I have vowed not to wash it again while we are in Santa Rosalia.

We are leaving today in just an hour or so and beginning our summer in the sea. We have heard that the internet situation in the LA Bay area is still deplorable. Unfortunately our pactor modem has stopped working and we will not be able to send emails or blog posts through our SSB radio. This means that I'll only be updating the blog when we are in the LA Bay so there will be spotty postings for the next month or two. When we do have internet, I will post several entries at a time. It also means that we will be completely cut off from the outside world with no email or phone service for weeks at a time - it's heaven and hell at the same time.

So take care everyone, and we'll catch up in a few weeks.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Chubasco

Our first day back on the boat after our trip home dawned cool and cloudy, so Patrick and I jumped up early to get some work done. The first thing on the list was to wash five weeks of town dust off of our boat. Santa Rosalia's main employment is a copper mine and so the town has an inordinate amount of grime - even for a Mexican town.

We did a thorough washing job and finished up a few hours later. Then thirty minutes after we had finished washing, a 50+ knot Chubasco hit us. One minute we were looking up to see the brown haze to the south, with not a breath of wind in the air, and the next minute we were enveloped in an instantaneous 50 knot wind that was loaded with dust and grit. The wind had evidently traveled over the mine on its way to us. This Chubasco was masquerading as a Sahara dust storm and it did a really good job of it. Three hours later when the winds stopped our boat was dirtier than when we had started cleaning it.

A Chubasco is a type of wind storm created by the extreme convection in the Sea of Cortez, the cooler sea air and the hot air over land create extreme storm cells that travel quickly and can have winds over 60 knots. I've seen Chubascos more often at night since they are easy to spot with lots of lightning, but they can happen any time. They are very localized and you only experience the effect if it is near you. This type of storm is probably what caused the charter fishing boat to capsize and sink, causing the death of seven Americans, a few months ago up north in the Sea of Cortez.

When the Chubasco hit, suddenly the docks were filled with people checking their boats and the boats that were unattended. One unattended boat had all four of it's fenders pop from the impact of the wind and its bow sprit was getting raked on a piling. Several people worked to retie it and we donated a fender that we weren't using to help hold it off the piling. Another boat was pushed over at about 20 degrees against the dock - just enough to make their fenders useless and to scratch the heck out of their striping and port windows. Seven people pushed like Hercules to get enough space to raise the fenders up and retie them. Our boat was tied up all goofy because we had just repositioned the bow closer to the dock so we could do some work on the anchoring system. Of course, we hadn't retied it very well since we were planning to complete the work within an hour or two and then we would have retied correctly. No problem as long as the weather had cooperated. All of the weight of our boat ended up on one cleat. Not good. I kept expecting it to snap off at any minute. We spent quite a bit of time digging out more lines and even moved an unused cleat from another section of dock over to our side to help hold our boat to the dock.

It was quite a welcome home. Since then, we have continued to put the boat back together and provision up for the summer up north. We just got back from a few days anchored at a nearby island. We wanted to do a quick run-through to make sure everything was working correctly before we left for the wilds of the North Sea of Cortez. We put the headsail back on, re-commissioned the dinghy, un-pickled the water-maker, cleaned the boat bottom, unwrapped the main, and stored away our luggage. It was nicer to get that work done somewhere where you could jump in the water every couple hours to cool off. It takes a lot of work to put your boat back together in working order after an absence.

Our work is done now and this is our last day in Santa Rosalia where we are tying up the last few loose ends. Tomorrow we leave! I'm always excited when we leave dock, but I'm also anxious this time. It's easy to get lulled into a false sense of security. Day after day the weather is hot, it's windy but it nothing you can't handle. Then when you see a storm like the Chubasco hit without warning and with such ferociousness, your false sense of security gets ripped away. And that's a good thing. It's when you let your guard down that things can go very wrong.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Pickles, Cheese, Butter and Nuts

Our last stop in America was.......Costco. Where else? Sure there are Costcos in Mexico but they just do not carry all the same items, and the prices on the imported things are not quite as good. I love Mexican food, but there are some American foods that cannot be translated into Mexican food tastes, I guess. And there are some excellent Mexican foods that are far less good in America (our tortillas are a pale comparison to what you get in Mexico!) It's like the language barrier. There is a difference in the national food tastes. For example, in Mexico you can buy a Chile and Lime flavored Tootsie Pop sucker. (I am not kidding. They are revoltingly grainy from the chile powder.) And Cheetos here are not the Cheetos of your childhood.

Pickles are one of those things that just don't translate well. You can find pickles in Mexico but they tend to be limp and extremely salty. They remind me of salty, green slugs. So we loaded up in Costco on baby dills, bread and butter chips, and big dills. You know those giant Coscto jars? We have pounds and pounds of pickles that should last us a few months, since Jack and I can sit down and just devour pickles with nothing else. They are not a lowly side dish on our boat.

We also now have 8 lbs of sweet cream, salted butter on board. The only reason I didn't buy more is because I anticipate getting back to America in a couple months. Sure, butter is available everywhere in Mexico. The Mexican butter often has a funny vanilla taste and is very oily, and you can easily find imported butter on the shelves of major grocery storey. In this case it was the price that caught my eye. Four pounds of butter were packaged together for the price I pay for one pound of imported butter in Mexico. Score!

The Cheese Section was where I spent the most time. I reverently walked the aisles with lust in my eyes. I didn't buy half what I wanted, but I came away with the most important ones to me. There are lots of types of Mexican cheese, and some are pretty good. Some imported cheeses are available in many Mexican stores (like bleu or Monterey Jack) but again the price makes it painful to buy. God Bless the American Costco. Our freezer is now loaded with 3 lbs of bleu cheese, a 2 lb block of Romano that cost 5$!, and blocks of Gruyere, regular Swiss, fine aged Swiss, Parmesan, sharp Cheddar, and Monterey Jack. I think I am forgetting some but, you get the picture. Our Engel freezer is to the rim with butter and cheese.

Last but not least were some nuts. How could we leave without a huge container of cashews? You just don't see them down here and certainly not a huge container for 13$. I should have bought two. We'll be eating like kings in the next few months and seeking out secluded anchorages where we won't have to share!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Bryce Canyon, Utah




Our road trip continues to speed along. Today we decided to take in Bryce Canyon in Utah. Wow! It is just fantastic. This weekend is one of the last summer weekends for all those families with kids in schools so the parks are full and the hotels are, too. Since we are doing this on the fly without pre-planning (ie. no reservations) we decided to skip the Grand Canyon and hit a less traveled park. After three years without a lot of people around, large crowds are kind of overwhelming anyway!

















Red Canyon, Utah






Rudy continues to be a great road traveler. However, after sleeping all day he turns into a demon at night!





Friday, August 12, 2011

Montana Fly Fishing


We’re on our way back to the boat now, but we took a little detour east to Montana to visit a good friend in Helena. It’s also part of our grand plan to check out places we might like to settle down in when our time on the boat is done. Since we sold most of our possessions to get out on the water in a boat, it means that our options for where we want to land when we come back are pretty open. We each have our own ideas, but my criteria are simple - I would like to settle in/near a college town with lots of recreational opportunities close at hand. With that in mind, Montana has a lot of potential! What an amazingly beautiful area of America.

We’re headed south now and the hurricane season looks like it is cooperating with our plans - no storms are forming in the next 48 hours so we have time to keep touring America.

Jack and Mack fishing on the river. Mack's an old hand and was able to give lots of tips since this was Jack's first time fly fishing. Rudy and I were the only ones not to catch fish - I was too busy trying to keep Rudy from jumping in the water and trying to catch them on his own.



It was very sad to see the devestation of the pine beetle infestation that is covering large tracts of land through Montana and other Rocky Mountain states. In this picture you can see some of the dead trees that are liberally spread through the forests. Some stands are completely dead, this one just had a few trees affected - for now.






We stopped for the night in Idaho Falls, Idaho and took in the sights.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Seattle Field Trip



Jack, Patrick and Brett (owner) in front of the still at the Woodinville Whiskey Co. which specializes in creating hand-crafted, organic spirits.
We spent the day in Seattle, catching up with old friends, hitting a favorite eating spot and getting to the best boating supply store in Seattle. Our first stop was to catch up with Brett, a former co-worker of Patrick's who started up the Woodinville Whiskey Co. a year and a half ago. Brett and partner started the company after we had left the area for Mexico and this was our first glimpse. We were quite impressed when he showed us around the operation. Our trip home has had Patrick thinking about returning to work someday soon, and I think he was fantasizing about working for Brett! The company is growing quickly and already is sold in several states, and available online everywhere. You can find out more about them at http://woodinvillewhiskeyco.com/

The next stop was Pagliacci's for some of our favorite pizza. We have been talking about eating here for the last couple months. Yummm.






Enjoying the Capitol Hill Ambiance, Seattle











Fishery Supply Store - the Mecca for boaters. If they don't have it, it hasn't been invented. Before we left for Mexico the first time, we spent thousands of dollars here and hauled a truckload of items away. On this trip the bill was much less and it fit in one small bag - Progress!





















Ahhh, Seattle. No wonder we love boating.