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

Saturday, June 30, 2012

More Discoveries

Light weather opens up marginal anchorages.  However, our spot offered some protection from the SW and West, which were the two sources of wind that 24 hour period.  Perfect.  We couldn't even find a name for this little indent in our guidebooks.  It's about two miles north of Punta Telmo on the Baja peninsula.
Just in the last few weeks, we've added five new anchorages to our list.  One of the anchorages  (Punta Colorado on Isla San Jose) quickly jumped to clain first place in "The Most Beautiful Anchorage" and is in the top five for "Best Snorkeling" for any anchorage we  have ever visited.

There are plenty of different categories in our personal little rating system for anchorages - Best Snorkeling, Best Town to Anchor In, Most Bullet-Proof, Best Beach-Combing, Earliest Sunset - you get the idea.  We visited two new anchorages in the last week that were spectacularly beautiful, rarely visited, and completely deserted.  Add to that the incredible rock formations, mounds of fossils, good beach combing and some of the best snorkeling we have seen.  I still can't believe there is more to see after four years of constantly covering this same area, but we are still anchoring in new places.  It's so fun to check out new places and be completely blown away by them.  How did we miss this earlier?  And more importantly, What have we missed??? 

Jack spotted these forssilized fern impressions on this huge boulder on the beach north of Telmo.  If it would have fit in my backpack.....  However, I did find a cool skull of a coyote/dog so I wasn't empty handed. 

Crazy colored rock layers add to the beauty at this anchorage north of Telmo..

Punta Colorado, Isla San Jose.  I couldn't capture the beauty of this spot in one picture. Take my word for it - it was remarkable.  The point is lined in tiny little beaches, with dramatic clffs of varying colors and excellent reefs for snorkeling.  Though this island is close fairly close to Loreto, few cruisers venture over to the east side for a visit, which means you get the place to yourself. 

Layers of creamy white rock, laden with fossilized shells grace Punta Colorado on the east side of  Isla San Jose.  This anchorage is the most beautiful I have ever visited.  It has amazing rock structures in white, yellow and red rock.  It offers pretty good protection from the SW and W.  It would not be very good protection in winds stronger than 15 knots.

Rock formations on one of many tiny pocket beaches that line the Punta Colorado anchorage.  The beaches all had mounds of fine white sand, but had very few shells.  However, the rock formations surrounding the beaches were breath-taking so I probably walked right over some amazing shells but didn't see them because I was too busy looking at the surrounding cliffs!  The snorkeling here was also very, very good.  Large boulders have calved off the cliffs in various places and created amazing reef structures for the fish.  Since it is seldom visited, the fish are not wary and we saw lots of big, beautiful fish.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Water games and more fun

After leaving San Marte with Hotel California, we moved up around the corner to Agua Verde in anticipation of the arrival of our friends on 3rd Day and Eyoni.  It was the largest congregation of cruising kids I've seen in some time.  Jack of course had a blast.   There were lots of other boats there too, and a large reunion ensued with 3rd Day, Eyoni, us, and many more.  After a few days in Agua Verde, we moved up to Candeleros which has a large new resort gracing the bay.   Even more boats were there, including s/v Eagle with two professional photographers (Jeannie and Tom) on board.  They were gracious enough to take several photos of Jack and his friends out and about in the bay.

Usually Jack skurfs on a regular old foam boogie board, not intended to be pulled behind a boat.  There are no straps and it does not have a smooth glass bottom and is not  rigid.  Jack has to stay on his knees while he slaloms around.   Jason on 3rd Day has an honest to goodness real knee board and a dinghy with powerful motor, so the action was better and faster.  Jack was having a great time.  Note the beautiful big new resort in Candeleros,behind Jack.   Photo by Eagle
Of course it didn't take long for Jack to stand on the knee board.  Still no straps to attach him to the board which makes jumping waves hard, but Jack managed just fine.  I'd love to have a bigger engine and a real board to see what Jack could do.  He obviously loves it.
Photo by Eagle

Jack and Rudy on our new paddle board.   We have a new toy to play with and it's a lot of fun.  Even Rudy likes it - hough I think he prefers to zoom around in the dinghy.  Photo by Eagle

Monday, June 4, 2012

More Photos of our "Vacation"

Visibility has been excellent allowing us to indulge Rudy in one of his favorite past times - driving over reefs in the dinghy and watching the fish.
Though we've been living the life for almost four years, this little trip does feel like a vacation.  We've had a lot of fun the last two weeks - spearfishing, snorkeling, hiking, exploring new places, reuniting with old friends, making new ones, and we even threw a party with 18 people on the boat.  All in all, I would say it's one of the best vacations we've ever had.

A pod of about fifty saddleback dolphins roiling the water.  We were underway and they came up for a quick visit but didn't stay long.

The sea cave at Ensenada La Ballena.  We went dinghy exploring with Hotel California and found one of the best snorkeling places I've ever enjoyed.   The sea cave was very large, the water was extremely calm and the visibility was excellent.  First we dinghied in, then after anchoring our dinghies outside, we snorkeled in.  It was amazing.  The walls of the cave were steep sided and lined with fan corals of all colors (purple, red, orange, yellow, white, and indigo blue) with lots of fish.  Outside of the cave, the snorkeling was also excellent with a steep sided underwater cliff to snorkel along and lots of huge boulders, interesting rock structures and lots of fish.  (Photo by Pam, sv Hotel California)
Approaching the cave.  (Photo by Pam)

Inside the cave.  (Photo by Pam)
On our dinghy trip we met up with some pangeros (the fishermen in the ubiquitous panga) and checked out their catch.  Like the vast majority of Mexicans we meet, they were very friendly and even offered to share some of their catch with us, for free.  (Photo by Pam)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

On the Lam

To say we are feeling ambivalent right now, would be understating the problem.  When we woke up on May 22nd and had three new emails from people who were interested in seeing our boat, we couldn't wait to get out of La Paz!  There was no way we were going to sell Just a Minute before we even had a chance for one last Sea of Cortez blast.  We fired off three emails, sending along the info they requested and told them we were leaving!  We've been up in the Sea without internet ever since.   It seems that selling our boat maybe isn't the priority it should be!  It felt illicit to be leaving - so irresponsible - so FUN.  Like everyone knows, there's no fruit like forbidden fruit and even though we own the boat, it still felt like we were hot-wiring her and taking her "for a ride!"

Being on the lam has been a lot of fun.  The weather is getting hotter (80 - 90's), the water is warming up (about 72 degrees), the visibility is about 20-25 feet.  Life is good.  We've added a couple new anchorages to our list of ones we visited.  It's amazing that after four years of seeking out new places, we still  haven't seen it all.  Shortly after heading out, we hooked up with friends Hotel California and Full Shell in Bahia Marte.  Then just days ago we rendezvous-ed with Third Day and Eyoni in Agua Verde.  Today we stopped in Candeleros to pick up Internet at the new resort here and tomorrow with business taken care of, we head out to Isla Montserrat.  Below are pictures of some of our adventures in the last couple weeks.

 Ancient Cave Paitings near Agua Verde
My little hooligan getting ready to add his hand prints to the ancient cave painting.- he loves to tease.

View from the cave
First fish of 2012 - Jack nailed a 10 pound barred pargo in Bahia San Marte on the first spear fishing expedition of the year  Patrick landed about the same size leopard grouper the following day.
Our very first, complete and perfect paper nautilus!  Jack's eagle eye spotted it on one of our beach combing walks.  These elusive "shells" are the very thin, fragile egg cases for a species of octopus. When the eggs hatch, the octopus releases the egg case.  Few make it to shore whole, since they are quicklybattered to pieces by the surf.