Feliz Navidad from Mazatlán!

New photos are up on our Picasa site! Click on the photo on the right side of the page, under the banner, to see them. (Some people like very specific directions. Mom.)




The other Cabo (is way cooler)

As with every beautiful place we’ve stopped on this trip, we said we’d stay one night and it turned into more! After we up-anchored last Friday the 16th in Cabo San Lucas, we had no goal but to get OUT of there. We ended up in San Jose del Cabo, about 15-20 miles to the NE. Planned on staying one night, turned into four. 🙂 That’s how it goes and we are fine with it! We thought we’d go to La Paz or Los Frailes but as we passed San Jose del Cabo (we were having a great sail- sunny, 15 knots increasing to 20-25) we hailed the marina to ask about a Farmer’s Market we’d heard about. A cruiser rumor worth following up on as organic produce has been hard to find. Another cruising boat, Reunion, hailed us back and the next thing we knew we had paid for multiple (affordable) nights in Puerto Los Cabos marina. One long linear dock, that will someday be a fuel dock, was lined with cheap cruisers who were willing to pay less to stay on a dock that had no power. We counted ourselves among them and had a wonderful weekend with all our new instant friends.

The Farmer’s Market or mercado organico was not a myth and we spent at least 3 hours the next day blissfully enjoying the fresh produce, artsy crafts and really great scene. So many people, young and old, speaking spanish and english, dressed up colorfully, and socializing more than shopping, just like our PT market back home. (Well, minus the spanish speaking.) Just when I thought it couldn’t get better, some guys started drumming and four women started dancing their hearts out! Rob and I were blown away. West African drumming is a huge love of Rob’s and West African dancing a major passion of mine. What the heck was it doing in Mexico? No matter, we were just pleased to have the good fortune of finding it. Turns out the Mexican dancers and musicians are traveling around and offer classes but sadly our schedule didn’t match up to let us take any. At least now we know to look for it.

Continuing with the theme of finding everything we love on the same day, we asked a young local guy, Arturo, working the artisan bread stand if he knew of any good music playing that evening. He told us about this incredible electronic music event happening walking distance from our boat, at a lighthouse venue with DJs from Tijuana and Mexico City. Of course we had to check that out! It didn’t start until midnight so we kept ourselves awake by chatting with some other young sailors, Tully and Heidi, and we ended up taking them to the show with us. It was unbelievable. Rob said he’s never seen so many speakers for a show that size (7 subwoofers he says). The event was put on by some young locals that call themselves Más Beats. The crowd was super hip, lots of bright t-shirts, leather jackets, black boots and tight jeans. Besides one other group of four, we were the only gringos there. We met some really awesome people and are so stoked Arturo told us about it! The last event here like this was in July so I guess you could say it was our lucky day. Farmer’s Market, African drumming and dancing all night to good electronica, with cool people. How will we top that?

Well, you could start with a dockside potluck followed by a chocolate cake birthday party and add in a couple margarita happy hours with some really friendly, great people. Oh yes and portable christmas lights. That was enough to keep us in San Jose del Cabo (the other Cabo) until Tuesday. We finally left because a good weather window opened up to jump across to the mainland where there is surf and free anchorages. Plus it’s warmer and our new friends on Reunion, Blue Fin, Audacious, Stella Blue, Deja La, Jean Marie, Desolina, Mwellu and Marionetto (I told you there were a lot of cheap cruisers on that dock!) promised us they’d be heading south soon too and we’d see them in Banderas Bay. Yay!

It took us two days and two nights of almost exclusively sailing (no motoring=save on fuel) to get here to the other side- Mazatlán! Again, thought we’d stay one night and then head on to Isla Isabel but a storm up in Sea of Cortez is sending plenty of wind and swell down this way. Might as well not push our luck. We decided to stay in our cozy anchorage just outside the main harbor for the weekend aka Christmas. Yesterday we explored Old Town and loved the colorful, colonial style buildings and plazas. Watched a dancing Santa (dressed in a blue suit incidentally, is that a Mexico thing?) and were inspired to make our first and perhaps only holiday purchase. Are you ready for this? We found, much to our amusement, a Santa Claus piñata. And we intend to fill it with delightful treats and then smash it to bits on Christmas day. Lovingly of course! We love Santa. Which is why we think this is a pretty hilarious way to celebrate Navidad. I think it might become our new holiday tradition.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday with friends and family. We miss you all and send lots of love! Happy Solstice and Hannukah too.

Love, Kai and Rob

P.S. Promise to post photos soon, especially of our dear Santa. (Before and after.)

Cabo Cabo Cabo

Oh  man. After nearly two weeks of long multi-day and overnight passages to remote bays along Baja, the solitude is over. Cabo has claimed us. Located just around the tip of Baja, (we’ve turned another corner!) I’d heard about Cabo San Lucas but never really gave it much thought. The high amount of tourist traffic makes it a town we probably would have skipped altogether but Rob’s grandma and her husband just happen to be passing through on their Carnival cruise ship. We were so close, we couldn’t miss the serendipitous opportunity to see family in a warm locale. After visiting with them, we’ll probably hightail it out of here. Even on anchor you can hear loud party music from every direction and DJs encouraging patrons to take a “shot! shot! shot!” because remember, “What happens in Cabo…”

When we arrived this morning at 5 am, after 2 days and 2 nights at sea, all was calm and quiet. By 10 am it was a circus of jet skis, water taxis, parasailers, sport fishing boats, and two massive cruise ships, filling this bay to the brim. Rob and I just gaped at it all for awhile. I mean, the last two places we anchored, Bahia Tortuga and Bahia Santa Maria (just north of Mag Bay) had just one small town in the first and only a camp of fishermen in the second. Very quiet, peaceful and dusty. Most of the entertainment was found in the ocean (surfing and snorkeling) and with the other cruisers. In Bahia Tortuga it blew around 40 knots for two days so we didn’t do much socializing. But in Santa Maria we happily caught up with friends Jim and Karen of Sockdolager, a Port Townsend couple who left a few weeks before we did to sail down the coast on a Dana 24. (That means their boat is 24 feet long on deck. And they love it! It’s a very sweet, well set-up ship.) They kindly invited us over for dinner along with another couple who are on a 68 foot ferrow cement ketch. So, if you throw our 38 foot Ingrid into the mix, we represented a nice cross section of cruising boat types and sizes. On the Dana we filled the cockpit close to capacity with six people. On the 68 footer, they just had their piano removed. But they still have their walk-in pantry. Our boat is somewhere in between.

I think boat tours are one of my favorite parts of this journey. I really love to see how a boat takes on the personality of their owners. Everyone we’ve met seem to have a boat that “fits” them just right, though it may not fit the next person. (For example, Rob literally doesn’t fit on some boats.) I’ve taken the liberty, with Rob’s blessing, to start personalizing Velella velella. Since we don’t have a fridge door to blanket with photos in my signature style (our cold stuff chills in aa compartment in our counter) I concocted a collage of photos from home on the bulkhead above our twin seat. Rob sweetly made me a plexiglass cover to keep them all clean, dry and in place. Awwww. The rest of the boat got a sprinkling of Makah art postcards and small Buddahs with one painting of Ganesh thrown in for good measure. Now our home Really feels like home. I wish you all could see it. 

Okay, the party boats headed out of earshot so I don’t have to listen to Party Rock Anthem for the tenth time (I used to really like that song) but now the Sand Bar is playing Lady Gaga and shouting “everybody scream!” repeatedly so I might have to abandon the cockpit where I’ve been enjoying the warm night air as I write this and head below for some respite. When do people go to sleep in Cabo? I think I can answer my own question: not until they pass out. 

I sound persnickety but we actually had a good time tripping out over the scene today as we walked around the marina with all the vacationers, cruiseshippers and locals whose livelihoods depend on them. Business is good this season. Every US state and many European countries appeared to be represented, as evidenced by varying accents and college football t-shirts. The light layer of grim covering us from a dire lack of a shower afforded us some invisibility but we were still invited to go fishing, buy silver bracelets and eat the “finest tacos in Cabo” by some very friendly entrepreneurs. Since there were so many other gringos to solicit, we were a secondary target therefore it wasn’t too overwhelming. For our budget’s sake, we tried to do free things like take pictures and talk with people. We also tried very hard to poach some showers at the marina but the security was tight. We finally found a gate ajar but it led to the cleaning supplies closet and two very cold showers that sprayed water all over. Out of discretion and politeness, we left those alone. Maybe we can sneak onto Rob’s grandma’s cruiseship? Then take a post-shower trip to the buffet? That sounds excellent… 

Estamos hablando Espanol cada dia y los gustamos mucho pero algunas veces tenemos problemas. Hoy Roberto le dice un hombre con una iguana “no come iguana, gracias” y el hombre no piense fue una chiste. Oops.

That’s enough for now. Hope all is well with you. Thanks for the comments on the blog! We love them. Hope you like the photos too. We take them purely for your enjoyment! At least the silly ones.

Buenas noches,
The sailors of Velella velella

Bienvenidos a Mexico

Es oficial. Estamos en Mexico! We sailed (motored) the 11 hours from San Diego across the border and into the busy industrial port of Ensenada, arriving around 10 am on Wednesday morning. Woo hoo! If we hadn’t been so tired from our restless, rolling night watches, we would have jumped for joy. We found a marina we could afford (Baja Naval) and called them on the VHF to get a slip. Rogelio in their office was super helpful and gave us some tips on how to get through the immigration/customs/port authority check-in process. Before we left the States I put together a packet of a million copies of every important document we have so we were pretty well prepared. It was still confusing in an entertaining sort of way but we got to use a bunch of Spanish and everyone was nice and friendly. One woman shared her ceviche recipe (in Spanish) with us as we waited for our forms to be stamped and approved. Now we’re legit to travel in Mexican waters. May we never get boarded by the Mexican Navy…but if we do, we’re ready.

Ensenada seems like a pleasant city, from the little bit of it we’ve seen. On Wednesday, after checking in, we walked down the Malecon (seaside walkway) and through a fish market next to a row of delicious looking seafood taco stands. We had to try one and we weren’t disappointed. Mmmmm, camarones y pescados con limón. By 6pm we could barely keep our eyes open so we passed out for about 16 hours in an attempt to catch up on the sleep we’d lost on our trip down. I think we succeeded. Thursday and today (Friday) we’ve been running errands and exploring a little more. We passed two lots selling Christmas trees, a bunch of colorful bars, tons of restaurants and multiple gift shops in various states of disarray clearly aimed at the cruise ship crowds. There are no cruise ships in right now which leaves the streets around the harbor feeling pretty empty. Even though we are often the only tourists in sight, we haven’t been hassled much to buy things which is wonderful! Clearly, this town has other industries besides tourism to keep it afloat.

My main goals right now are: Don’t get sick, remember to use the usted form not the tú form when talking to people I’ve just met, eat as many of the homegrown tangerines from the Sanderson’s as possible so they don’t go bad, call my mom to see how she’s healing from her total knee replacement surgery this week and prepare some meals for our next leg down the coast since we will be at sea for at least 2-3 days. Rob’s goals: Check the fuel, rig up the courtesy flags, fax forms to insurance company, call family and take a siesta before we cast off late tonight. Right now we have 13 lines tied to the boat since the marina is not very well protected from swell in the bay. Velella velella and the boats around her look like wild horses lunging and bucking against their tethers. We are thankful that Ensenada has been a safe, clean and friendly place to check-in and get adjusted but we’re ready to move on to quieter, calmer waters. Plus it’s cold! 64 degrees in the day, 38 at night. Not what you’d call tropical. Onto Bahia Tortuga, then Bahia Santa Maria (near Mag Bay) then Cabo and La Paz. Promise to post photos once we’re farther south!

Amor, chiclets y palm trees,
Kai y Roberto