January 20, 2017, Inauguration Day, Dois, Ginger and I ride out a gale force storm aboard our Fuji45; sv Ashika, at anchor in San Diego Bay. This isn''t a veiled political statement about the Trump inauguration. When I blast Trump it's never veiled.
The screen capture of Windyty.com below is today, January 22, 2017. We are just under and to the left of the arrow. This was the 4th storm in the series and today was a tad worse in some ways than the storm in the video on Inauguration day. A little more wind for a longer time to build more wavage. There was less rain though. Our anchor is steady as a rock... or a volkswagon bus. It is a MANTUS, not a manson as I mentioned in the video. Buy a Mantus!
Ashika and crew are still in Ensenada. Thats the Lun II leaving port a couple of months ago. She's a 100 year old boat that had been left here to die and a few folks with vision fixed her up and they are sailing her to where she was built in Europe for her birthday. Pretty cool. They have gone through the Panama Canal and apparently the first mate went ashore and cut his foot (perhaps broken glass?) on the beach while in the Carribean. It was serious and he couldn't sail. But Lun II couldn't leave without him (immigration issues). So the Lun is late getting to the Azores. Hope the hurricanes go around her.
My next update will include some before-and-after photos of Ashika's "manny/peddy". Her paint and varnish was really showing her age. I'm just a bit overwhelmed by how much we've taken on. Dois took on the outside and me, I thought I was getting the good end the deal by taking on the inside. Hmm... Dois may have noticed there are miles and miles of teak down here and tiny little holes in the walls for ventilation (also called port holes). He's so smart that way.
Speaking of smart; dog poo. What "dog poo"? Because when you look at this photo, with all it's gorgeous flowers, isn't your first question "what is Dois hiding behind his back?" Now you know.
We found a huge swap meet in Ensenada. It wasn't that hard to find really, I think it's the size of Garden Grove. It's right next to the equally huge Farmer's market every weekend. I can fill my backpack with all kinds of fresh fruit and vegetables and have spent 200 pesos. Thats a smidge more than 10 dollars. The swap meet stalls are filled with every American product ever consumed. I have seen several things from my past there. We are the only gringo's wandering around and I like it because no one is trying to sell me anything, not one thing. I think they know I've owned most of this stuff. It's a great place to find tools though and I found a great old soldering gun. It looks like it's from the sixty's and the tip gets red hot in 3 seconds. Great for working acrylic canvas. What? You thought I was going to solder something electronic? I'll let Dois borrow it.
You know you are in a great place when they eat flowers there. They fry up the squash blossoms and stuff them into a quesadilla with cheese. I haven't tried them yet. Have you?
Then there is the fish market within easy walking distance from our slip on the harbor's malecon. It's really just a half a block of of dark stalls that smell like the ocean. We are talking fresh. Fresh and inexpensive fish. What more could you ask for in life?
And that brings me to these two. They live at the marina and they are devoted to each other. The pretty male refuses any offer of food and makes a big fuss so the female will come get it. She's been ill and seems to be on the mend if her appetite is any indication. I don't know their names but call them Frick and Frack. Or Mr. Frick and Mrs. Frack.
Should I apologize?! Well, maybe yes, maybe no. Yes, it’s almost been a year since my last blog update, so perhaps I do owe an apology to my faithful band of Ashikalites. But hanging out in a slip does not an adventure blog make. I mean, I really do not think you want to hear about our mundane dockside existence, even I find it too boring. That is unless you want to hear me gush on (and on) about the cutest and smartest grandchildren on the planet. Just drop me a note if you do and I will oblige. So let me be brief on the missing year:
We arrived in California at the end of June 2015 after dodging the wrath of not one but two hurricanes. Having a schedule when sailing a boat is completely insane, but we had a date with my daughter who I hadn't seen in something near four years, so we pushed through and were lucky. The fourth of July brought my girl to me from Denver and it was a sweet, but way too short re-union.
For some bizarre reason, I took in two baby turtles, Lightening and Thunder. The summer was spent between Long Beach; my son Scott and his wife Sara’s home to get in as much time with my grandson Sawyer and our old stomping grounds; the San Pedro Marina, where Dois and I took on side jobs to earn a few boat bucks (Ashika needs a little manny-peddy and an adjustment here and there).
Holidays with family and friends for the first time in a very long time was fantastic. We spent the next few months working on Ashika until the Marina gave us notice to leave. We found a new home for my water bound shell backs and spent a month or so meandering down the California coast headed generally towards Mexico. Ensenada to continue working on the boat and sewing on the side. Whew. Long sentence, but that just about sum’s it all up.
So, what has prompted this update from the Admiral of Ashika? The big sail people. I thought now would be a good time to spill the beans on our next adventure. It’s the reason the Captain and crew are scurrying around rubbing, scraping and generally wrenching on our fiberglass home. We are readying Ashika for a grand sail across the Pacific to OCEANA also known as the South Pacific! The starting line for our adventure is 9 months, 40 days and about 20 hours away. And there’s a little more southern California sailing to be had between now and then.
We will sail north from Ensenada in August to spend time with family and friends, then head for some fun in the sun and an old favorite stomp; Catalina. Having always wanted to sail the Channel Islands, we put that trip on the calendar for September/October. If we can’t find a place to stay in Long Beach on our return, we’ll head south to San Diego, slowly (we love staying in Newport and Dana Point and stay as long as we can) and then homestead a few square meters in the A9 anchorage there in the San Diego Harbor until March. If we can leave from the States for the So. Pacific, Ginger will be better received in French Polynesia. We’ll see, as my Dad used to say. Any cruiser will tell you; sailing plans are written in wet sand at low tide.
The morning breeze was from the north, as usual right on the nose, but nice and light. Unfortunately for us, It did not last very long... it got bigger and steep waves converged to create the old washing machine effect. We changed course from Isla San Benito on the outside of Cedros Island to going inside that Cedros for the protection it offered. Just when we started to feel the calming effects of our late decision, we spot a Mexican Navy ship speeding towards us. Great. I have a fishing line out but my license to do such activity had recently expired, but that wasn't all.
Turtle Bay; where all roads are dirt and lead to more dirt. The surrounding hills and mountains are quite barren, hardly a cactus growing there. The winds blow ceaselessly through this dusty town, leaving cinder block shacks with a layer of soft dirt. It's the largest natural bay in Baja and the only thing probably stopping it from becoming a very busy port is water. There isn't any fresh water for hundreds of miles away, it must be trucked in. The thing is, I can’t figure out why this town appears to be in the middle of a financial boom.
It was beautifully sunny though, helping to warm our tropical bones from the chilly Pacific breeze we were no longer accustomed to. Ginger was treated to a huge school of dolphin who joined us during our second morning at sea during a welcome lull in the weather.
We think our fate will be somewhat less dramatic. The forecast is calling for Blanca to dissipate before reaching our neighborhood and so those are the laurels we are resting on. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; there has never been a hurricane to hit the Baja Peninsula the first part of June in recorded history. Ever. Dois says that it’s like waiting for a bus that’s coming right at you, full speed and the driver is supposed to slam on the brakes just before he hits the bus stop. It may be dumb blonde, but I have faith in the bus's brakes.
We spent a few days at a bay called Los Lobos. It gets it's name from a large rock island just outside of the bay where a large colony of sealions or lobos del mar (wolves of the sea) seem to have set up a base camp. Just inside the bay is another small island that apparently grows birds. A lot of birds. The chicks that were hatching on our visit were seagulls and they were all around the base of the island. The larger and more exotic birds had thier nests on top of the island and I am hoping we can go back to capture photos of baby herons or egrets or pelicans. Maybe we will get the chance while waiting out weather.
The pelicans didn't seem to mind me walking right up to their chicks, but Ginger was a different story. They swooped down on her continuously in an effort to get her to leave. Ginger loved it, big birds swooping down on her was just tons of fun. The rock is surrounded by a coral reef and as we floated over the large coral heads, hundreds of brightly colored tropical fish dashed about. The water was still a little chilly and it was gloomy out so we plan on snorkeling this reef when we return.
We are still in La Paz. Probably should have run before the hurricane, but hindsight is freakin' perfect. Instead we are munching through our provisions and will probably have to do it all over again by the time we can think about leaving here. The main problem isn't the hurricane anymore really, it's what it is doing to our pathway. Estimates of the waves are just ugly, so we will wait until everything calms down a bit. Hopefully we will be on our way in a week or so.
And there were plenty of these too, Sally Lightfoot crabs or technically; Grapsus grapsus as in "don't grapsus me".
See you on the other side.
We were all ready to go, decided to check the weather this morning one last time.
If the forecasters are right, this will be the first ever hurricane to hit Baja in the first week of June. Back in the 50's there was one that hit in the last week of June. The worst news is that we don't think we will be able to actually leave La Paz again until June 5th or 6th. Hopefully the above forecast is just wrong. Hopefully it doesn't make a right hand turn and visit La Paz.
UPDATE: The website for this forecast is WindyTY and if you click on the reddish button below it will open a new window with the same forecast page I use.
This is Ballandra. You can actually drive to this beach so it's not exactly desolate, but I don't mind sharing a place this gorgeous. We climbed a sand dune and found a lagoon on the other side with a deep blue hole. What an amazing surprise.
This kind of beach is Ginger's paradise. She ran to the end, jumped in the water for a swim, then ran to the other end, repeat.
We are getting ready for our Baja Bash. It's 950 miles up the wild and desolate Baja peninsula, It almost always blows from the north and the challenge is to find those brief moments when its only blowing lightly from the north. Oh, and avoid hurricanes while you're at it. We have to stage up at Cabo and that makes me nervous, seems like thats ground zero for a lot of gales. I have done the research though, and I don't think a hurricane has ever hit Cabo in early June. Even without bad weather though, it's still uphill and I'm a little nervous.
We're provisioned and will leave in the morning. We have an internet dongle (until it expires) so I will try to add updates to the blog as I can. See you on the other side.
Where is Ashika?
Captain Dois and Lauri the Admiral contribute to this sailblog (slog)
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