Saturday, December 5, 2015

Playing in the Sea of Cortez

This post is being written during a calm day at Puerto Escondido (Hidden Port).  We are about 115 miles north of La Paz, and have been away from the Marina since November 3rd.  It's been an unusual weather season so far, with many more cycles of Northerly winds, sometimes up to 35 mph gusts.  It has made our progress north a bit slower, but we didn't really have an itinerary anyway. Our only guideline was to be off the docks for about a month.  With good access to weather updates several times a day, and the cruising community updates, there's plenty of notice of wind patterns, some accurate, other times not so much.

And when it's calm, we get out and play.  Here are some photos of several anchorages and gatherings enjoyed with new friends. 

Escape from Shindig!  Nancy on the paddleboard

Freshly caught and grilled Marlin fish tacos
Thanks for sharing, Brett and Marna from SV Liahona! 

Group Hike in Agua Verde
Greg, Nancy, and Donna & Cliff, SV Aesclepius

Greg, SV Dreamchaser, F27
Homeport Nanaimo, British Columbia

Good wind protection in Agua Verde
We stopped here going north and south on this trip.

Roughing it on the sea:
Grilled shrimps with pesto sauce

Hiking on Isla Coronado, near the town of Loreto

Hiking up Steinback Canyon near Puerto Escondido
Pamela and Jeff from SV China Cloud

Gourmet Dinner at Puerto Escondido's restaurant
Grilled Octopus

Rob on kitesurfer in Puerto Escondido
First time launch from aboard Shindig

Friday, November 20, 2015

Ranch day with the kids from Mama Benito's Shelter

Had a fun-filled day playing with the kids from Mama Benito's Shelter in La Paz.  Jeanne had organized this outing around the youngest girl's Esther, 4th birthday.  If you don't know about Mama Benito and Jeanne's efforts to help them including cruiser and community support, please check out this link.   (

My job was easy, pick up 144 fresh made hot dog buns from Chedraui and get to the shelter by 9:50am. There we loaded up kids, adults and caravaned with about 5 other vehicles out to the ranch. No one got lost! Pumpkin painting, face painting, bobbing for apples, horseback rides, no-hands donut eating, gunny sack races, three legged races, lunch, cake, pin the tail on the donkey on a homemade board, more cake.  The only thing missing was siesta time for the adults!
Everything had to be brought in for the day.  Water, water filters, bbqs, tents, tables, chairs, tablecloths, paper goods, silverware and cooking utensils, food, drinks, and constant engaging activities for the kids. The ranch provided one goat and horse and an authentic ranch house with bathroom and covered porch.  It was a day to remember! Kudos to Jeanne, Cricket, Kim, supporting husbands, the owner of the ranch, John, and many other cruisers that helped. John is hoping this type of ranch outing can be offered for other community groups in the area.  The smiles and hugs from all the kids were priceless.  
Entering the ranch site

Cowboy Days

Brenda and Estrella

Esther, the birthday girl

One Horse ready to ride

Painting mini pumpkins 

Hands Free Donut Eating

Gunny Sack Races

Face Painting. Used the camera to take a photo of each design so the kids could see their faces. 

A great day of outdoor fun at the ranch

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Celebrating the Dead, Dia de los Muertos

In Mexico, there is a festive time to honor the dead, which occurs right after our Halloween. Mexico's Dia de los Muertos, November 1-2nd, is a time of reflection, honor, family and celebrations for the departed.  La Paz's public event, over two nights, is in the Centro area by the City Theater.  There is a large open area filled with public altars, called oferas, displaying photos, marigolds, favorite foods and belongings of the honored one.  In addition to lots of food booths offering tamales, tacos, sweets, hot chocolate drinks, there are hundreds of chairs, usually occupied, to take a rest. Up on the stage, groups of dancers, performers and bands provide continuous entertainment. The highlight of this special event are the Catrinas, which are girls, some as young as 4, and now a few men, dressed up in wildly colorful costumes and full makeup.  Their portrayal of death and beauty at the same time is something to see.  The last night there is a voting contest for the best Catrina.

We have enjoyed the past two Dia de los Muertos events in La Paz.  This year, we did a little planning ahead,; the girls decided to dress in our lbds (little black dresses) and paint our faces. Half the fun was getting ready for the event.  Then we enjoyed mingling with the rest of the crowds, posing with the real Catrinas and contemplating our costumes for next year!

 Getting design ideas 

Katie, superb make up artist

Robin and Kathryn

Katie and Mike

Spooky!  Kathryn, Katie and Nancy

Pretty in Pink

Fantastic Head Dress - like SF's Beach Blanket Babylon

Kate and Nancy pose with Catrina (male)

A pretty bride
Young Catrina

Sunday, November 1, 2015

36 Hours in Ensenada

After two days in the Valle de Guadalupe, we were off to Ensenada.  I was excited to stop there as I had only driven past quickly last year at this time on the way to La Paz.  Rob had stayed over a few nights last year with his parent's powerboat.  Tales of fish tacos, sandy beaches, south of the border nightlife, and a nice marina enticed us.  We were welcome guests with our friends Mark and Layla, who are temporarily on their sailboat at Hotel Coral and Marina. They were great hosts and helped us make the most of our 36 Hours in Ensenada.

If you look way back in our posts during the Spring 2013, Mark was one of our two crew that raced with us at  the Banderas Bay Regatta.  Two and a half years has been very good for him. He's been across the Pacific Puddle Jump to South Pacific, hired as professional captain on another sailboat going back and forth between the South Pacific island chain and Australia, and signed on as engineer on a mega yacht.  And he has met his girlfriend Layla along the way.  Enough bragging about this impressive young man and friend. They have many adventures ahead of them!

Hotel Coral and Marina, Ensenada

Live Sea Urchins on the Docks

Mercado de Marisco : Artfully arranged Camarones (shrimp)

Walking Ensenada's El Malecon: Layla, Rob and Mark 

Little Boy safe in his crate
Mexican Sweets 
Churro Time

Hussong's Cantina: Ensenada's oldest and most famous bar

Benito Juarez,1 of 3 large hero's busts at the Civic Center 
Rob marvels over gigantic Mexican flag with over 350 ft pole

Papas &  Beer provided unlikely afternoon entertainment as the cruise ships descended on "Gringo Gulch"

Views of Ensenada from lookout point

"K + G":  This couple had just finished making their rock heart  

Ensenada Girls
I could get used to this!