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

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Second Trip to La Guarda

Jack skurfing at Refugio behind Eyoni's super fast dinghy with its new 15 hp engine. We had a lot of fun with Eyoni and when it was time to head south we realized that we might not be seeing them again. They are headed south on a faster track than us and plan to be leaving Mexico headed to Central America by the first of the year.

Yellow tail caught on a fishing pole. In fifteen minutes you could catch more fish than you could eat up in Refugio from your dinghy.

Patrick's "Fish of the Season" spearfishing, nabbed at Pulpito. The fishing this summer has been phenomenal in all venues - spearfising, and pole fishing from the dinghy and the big boat.

Pulpito, the east side of la Guarda. At the base of this cliff, we found some of the best snorkeling we've seen. It was a undersea garden with lots of soft corals, sea turtles, schools of BIG grouper, and even a sweet female sea lion and pup who swam circles around us. What a great experience!


So all the way back on October 12th, I was telling you that most of the boats had left to head south, but Eyoni and Just a Minute were headed north for one last trip to Refugio. The north winds finally subsided and the next day the two boats were pulling out of LA Bay village near dawn and headed north. It was a great motorboat ride with the spring tdes pulling us north on strong tidal currents. We were doing 7+ knots on one engine! Along the way we saw a pod of Orcas. Eyoni saw them much closer than we did and even had one "bump" into their boat - something I was glad not to experience. I know from all our dealings with Orcas in the Northwest that they are very aware of their surroundings, that bump wasn't an accident! Eyoni has fantastic pictures of the Orcas on their blog so check it out from my blog list.

I don't know how we got so lucky, but our second trip to La Guarda was also blessed with perfect weather. For days, we saw little wind from any direction. Our two boats enjoyed the deserted playground of Refugio for about a week and then moved around the east side to Pulpito for a couple more days of fun. Then the winds began to pick up and we started our move south, reluctantly

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Jack's 14th Birthday

Jack and his two birthday rapalas

Jack's just a half inch from 6 feet tall and he's growing into a fine young man. Now at the age of fourteen, he has the skills of a real crewman. Over the last three years he has learned most procedures on the boat and is a great help to Patrick and me in many ways. He's a great boat handler and docks our boat in marinas, takes watches on passages, drives the boat for raising and lowering the anchor, and many other duties. He is in charge of the small motors, taking full responsibility for oil changes, fueling, and maintenance of the dinghy motor and the Honda 2000 generator. He's Patrick's grease monkey for the big engines and has learned so much about their maintenance. And yet he is still a great big kid in so many ways. He's at times very responsible, very irresponsible, goofy, mature, emotional, unsure of himself, cocksure, and full of testoterone.

Jack's fourteenth birthday was celebrated several times this summer when we would meet up with different friends, but the real celebration took place at Islotes with Hotel California in attendance. It was a perfect day. We rose early and hit the beaches for a miles long beach combing session. Jack's passion is finding rapala fishing lures on the beach and he found two that day. Then later that afternoon Hotel California sent him on a treasure hunt with clues that took him from our boat, to the beach, to their boat, back to the beach and back to our boat again where he finally received a small present from them and a plate of cookies. It was very sweet of them and they really added to our fun that day. Then we all shared a birthday dinner of lasagna and a cream cheese cherry pie to follow. It was a very low key event but all the more special for being so simple - just a great day spent with loved ones. Patrick and I didn't have one present for Jack and he didn't even seem to notice the lack of one.

That day is one of my fondest memories from our time here. We came out on this adventure, in part, looking to help Jack grow and mature. I like the way our experiences have shaped him. Most notably, he has none of the "gimmees" that so many kids have - no need for new things, electronics or a material present. It's an unconventional childhood, but it's been a good one for Jack.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Back in Civilization

The Dirty Laundry. Over the hurricane season, we end up doing hand wash for two months. Nothing really gets clean, the smell is just knocked down a bit. By the time we get back to a self-serve laundromat, every article of clothing, every sheet, towel and slip cover is stiff from grit, sunscreen, sweat and sand. It's disgusting. Today begins the first of many loads, and this pile doesn't even include all the sheets.

We just dropped the hook in the harbor of Guaymas. Tomorrow we are set to pull into the Singlar marina here and tie up to the dock for a week. Oh, the joys that await us. A hose with running water! Internet on the boat! A self-serve laundromat! Large grocery stores just blocks away! Hot showers! Taco stands! Really, it is just too good to be true.

When you finish up a summer in the far north Sea of Cortez, you tend to need a few of the little luxuries, just to restore the balance. It's like coming home from the best camping trip ever - dirty, bug-bitten, out of food, and kind of tired. All you want is clean clothes, a hot shower and a nice take-out dinner eaten in front of the big screen TV. For the last one, we'll have to settle for a boot-legged movie on the laptop, but the rest we'll get.

We had the best summer yet and over the next few days, I''ll be posting pictures and telling stories.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Still Finding New Favorites

The beach near Islotes is about 2 to 3 miles long, with beautiful sand, and very shoal so at low tide the beach is enormous. It took us days to walk all the sections between the three estuaries.

Blue Crab caught in the Islotes estuary. No one seems to be harvesting these lovelies and so there were many, many large guys running around.

We've spent three years in the Sea of Cortez and some people might wonder if we are bored stiff from seeing the same old same old. I have to tell you that this summer proved to us once again that the Sea of Cortez is worth a long visit. We just returned from a week spent in a new (for us) anchorage that quickly vaulted to my second favorite place in all of the Sea of Cortez. It's amazing to think that even after three years, we are finding even better places to drop our hook.

Everyone's idea of an ideal anchorage is going to be different. The reasons why I loved Punta Islotes in the south end of Animas Bay are numerous. First there is about a two mile long stretch of perfect sand beach that is the lee shore for norther storms - which means that there are tons of interesting items to find on the beaches. Jack found nine rapalas, and we saw many turtle shells, turtle nests, great shells, dolphin skulls and bones, coyote skulls, bird bones and other interesting things. Second, there are three separate, extensive estuaries with lots of bird life, clams and fish. Third is that few people come here. Fourth is that there are just tons of big, blue crabs running around. Rudy became a great crab-catching fiend and it was fun to see him snorkel his head under the water and come back up with a big crab in his mouth. We spent six fun packed days in Islotes and celebrated Jack's birthday there along with our friends on Hotel California. I thought that our circumnavigation around La Guarda was as good as it was going to get this summer, but our time at Islotes will always be a treasured memory.

A seven day northern blow is just subsiding now and we are gearing up for one last trip in the far north SoC before heading south with everyone else. Most of the boats have left already and are miles south. The ten that are left in the area are mostly gearing up to leave today or tomorrow. I know of only two boats (Eyoni and us) that are planning another trip north. We plan to leave tomorrow or the next day and head up to Refugio for one last visit. Then we'll turn our bow south and head for Santa Rosalia without stopping again in LA Bay - which means that you won't be hearing from us again until we are in Santa Rosalia in a couple weeks. Take care everyone. I still can't get any pictures uploaded, so I will have a ton of pictures on the blog when I get to SR.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Summer is Over

Every day at 4 pm this summer, a Swim-In Party was held at any anchorage holding mulitple boats. We hosted the last one of the summer in Don Juan. 26 people swam over for an hour or so to cool down and chat with friends. It was a great group of cruisers up in the Sea this summer.

We had to careen once again to work on our sail drives. Trying to outpace the incoming tide, Patrick took advantage of every second the sail drives were out of the water. I made him wear the rubber boots since he was working with power tools standing in the water.

Today the first few boats in the northern cruising herd began their migration south for the winter season in Mexico. The hurricane season is still active, but coming to a close and these first few boats are starting the trek back down to civilization. It's always a sad day for me each year, but this year I am nearly in tears knowing that this is our last time in the far north Sea of Cortez. In a few weeks we will be joining the herd on the trek south. All of our favorite times over these last three years have been the months we spend north of LA Bay.

Until the day we turn our bow south, we are heading out to enjoy some of the best weeks of cruising in the far north Sea of C. The weather is cooling off, the anchorages are thinning out, and the fishing is still good. We plan another trip up to Refugio and are hoping the weather stays mild enough to round to the East side of La Guarda again. Sometime in the next couple weeks, the wind will switch and suddenly become strong northerlies. When that happens, our time here will be done.

Internet in LA Bay has been worse than usual, so I have not been able to post the great pictures from all our adventures so far. I will probably have to wait until we are back in Santa Rosalia. Not only do we have tons of great pics from our La Guarda adventures, but these last few days have been jam packed with fun. We attended one last party in Puerto Don Juan. We also careened while in Don Juan. Once we had completed our work and floated off again, we hosted a swim-in party for the entire anchorage and had about 26 people attend. So we have lots more great pictures from those adventures, too.

I won't be posting again for several weeks, so everyone take care and look for more posts (and maybe pictures) in another two weeks.