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.

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

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

From Beauty King to Horror Movie Extra

What a time we have had since last writing in Loreto! There's been lots of different things happening, so this posting with be a smattering of this, and a tidbit of that.

The winds from the south have continued on for weeks now, making our passage northward, one long, fun sail. We have rarely needed the engines and have used only 12 gallons of deisel since leaving La Paz - 224 miles away! It's a major break-through for us power-boater people. We are continuing to work on our sailing skills and have pretty much perfected the "wing on wing" procedure for our boat. We still pull out our "Start Sailing Right!" book that we got 15 years ago from a lazer sailing class on a lake, and use it to figure out the best sail configurations for the wind. Thank God the Lagoon has a fairly simple sailing design with only two sails. I can't imagine knowing how to sail one of those "pirate" ships with multiple masts and sails.

North from Loreto, our first stop was San Juanico. As always, SJ is a beautiful anchorage, though it is not the most protected one you could find in a south wind. Despite that, we stayed through the swells since the anchorage was also home to Adios III and Iweld - both kid boats with "tweens and teens". For three days, it was teen heaven for Jack (and a nice break for Patrick and me). When Jack's busy with other kids, we get a little alone time - something that can be hard to come by in this lifestyle.

Finally the others departed and we moved around the corner to La Ramada. a tiny cove with superior south wind protection. Though nothing too beautiful to look at, La Ramada has become one of our top three favorite anchorages. It is not visited as often since it is so close to stunning San Juanico, and so the snorkeling is FANTASTIC. We snorkeled every day and saw things that we had not seen in two years of snorkeling - huge sea turtles, poisonous scorpionfish, big colorful eels and many beautiful, colored reef fish not seen before. The water is really warming up and even I can stay in swimming for hours.

One our third day in La Ramada, we spotted the beginning of trouble in paradise. I noticed a lump on Rudy's hip and a spot on his neck. The next day, the lumps had burst open and Rudy had oozing sores. Concerned, I washed them out and disinfected them, but they seemed to grow by the hour. By the next day he had more spots on his head, another on his leg. We realized we needed help and pulled anchor. The decision was to either back track 26 miles to the vet in Loreto, or head 77 miles up to Santa Rosalia. We decided to head for Santa Rosalia. That day we rocketed along and made 42 miles in 6 hours, but decided to pull over early to an anchorage we knew had good southwind protection, instead of continuing on to another anchorage that we had not visited before. Since the waves and wind were so strong that day we decided to be cautious. It was a good decision. Later that night we heard another couple on the radio who had a very bad day trying to make it into the anchorage we had been contemplating, before they turned around and beat it back to our location. They were seasick, scared and exhausted by the time the dropped anchor next to us at sunset.

The following day the winds were down to 10-15 knots, and we jumped off to an early start. Our speeds were down with the wind so we kept a motor on to make sure we would reach Santa Rosalia before the vet closed for the night. We made it in time. Some of the first words out of the vet's mouth after looking at Rudy were, "You need to take him to a cooler climate. He has hot spots." Easier said than done, doc. Then he asked if Rudy had experienced any "Tick problems" lately. When we affirmed that he had recently had anaplasmosis, the doctor went on to tell us that he often sees hot spots on dogs who had the "tick problems". Rudy doesn't just have hot spots though, he has nuclear hot spots. He looks like a zombie dog, with huge gaping, oozing wounds on his neck and head. He's so depressed and in pain. Though our plans were to quickly leave Santa Rosalia, we will be staying until Rudy starts to get better. His head and neck wounds are still getting worse, even under a doctor's care. Currently Rudy is sporting a new shaved look over his entire body, a "cone of shame" to keep him from ripping his neck open scratching, and the saddest look you could ever stand. It's heart breaking.

For anyone contemplating becoming a cruiser, I have some words of advice. Think long and hard about taking "Fluffy" with you. Medical care is hard to come by, and many things can go wrong out here.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Back in Loreto Again

We have had a fantastic sail up from La Paz! The wind was always on our stern quarter and we flew along "wing on wing" which means the mainsail is pushed out all the way to one side of the boat, and the jib is pushed off all the way to the other. It is a lovely, gentle way to sail. The waves and wind are both working together to push you along and even in 20 knots of wind, it feels like a fine day since you are running with the wind and not against it. We only had to run our engines a few hours the entire way from La Paz to Loreto.

Our plans now are simple. Having spent the last two months exploring the Loreto area islands, we feel it is time to move north, though I am sad to go. This area of the Sea has become my favorite area, hands down. There are so many beautiful anchorages spread thickly over a small area. Another reason it is so great is Loreto, itself. What a beautiful, convenient town, and very easily accessed by anchoring off.

Nothing exciting on the fishing report - though not from lack of trying. We have caught a four foot shark and numerous large (20-25 lb) Jack Crevalles, but nothing else. We have seen dorado (mahi mahi) all around the boat, jumping and feeding and swimming, but they never bite our lures! Frustrating!

We leave, headed north again, tomorrow and our next internet access should be in Santa Rosalia - about a week or two away. Talk to you then!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

North from La Paz

Jack and I had a great journey back to our boat. It could not have gone better - all connections were on time, and navigating the airports and customs was easy.

While we were gone, Patrick single-handed JaM from Escondido to La Paz. Our original plan had been to fly out and into Loreto, but we saved $1,000 dollars US by flying out of La Paz instead. The decision to change was easy. $1,000 is about what we spend total for one month in the Sea during the hurricane season!

When we got to La Paz, we were very happy to find our friends on Hotspur (formerly Windfall) and Adios III still there. Jack was thrilled to be reunited with some of his favorite boat kids and he spent a couple great days sailing around La Paz harbor on Adios III's sailing dinghy. Those boys were downright goofy.

We are just finishing up our business in La Paz (fueling and washing the boat are the last items on the list) and then we will be leaving today to start the migration north. Hurricane Season is a coming (actually, it is already here, but the hurricanes don't really become a threat to the Baja until August). Hotspur left yesterday, and Adios III is leaving today.

One last piece of news - Rudy had his final check up with the veterinarian here in La Paz yesterday. He is fully recovered. And he is a Birthday Boy! Yesterday, Rudy turned three years old. We were told a long time ago that he would develop a brain when he was 3. We are holding our breath to see if it happens!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Home on Lopez Island, WA

Jack and I are over half way through our visit home, and the time seems to be speeding up. The weather has been very cold and we even enjoyed a day of rain - typical W. Washington June weather. Unfortunately, I forgot how cold June was and did not pack well for our trip. Our visit home has given us a needed break from our life on the boat. Our goals for coming home were pretty simple. I wanted to take a bath, use a dishwasher, eat ethnic food I can't find in Mexico (Thai and Greek mostly) and spend time with my family. Jack's goals were to watch TV, eat Big Macs and go biking. We have both been successful in reaching our goals. Mostly I think we are just enjoying being in one place and not thinking about the weather. By early next week we will be back in Mexico.