S/V INTREPID II - Cape Dory Intrepid 40

My photo
Intrepid II is a Cape Dory Intrepid 40 sailboat, hull #2, designed by Chuck Paine and discovered by the Captain in Blue Hill Maine in 2006. The crew are Kelly (Captain) and Carol (Admiral and Blogger). In 2009 INTREPID II embarked on her West Coast journey from Victoria to San Francisco, the Baja Sur Peninsula and into the Sea of Cortez. In 2010/2011, we sailed ifrom Guaymas, south to Bahia Banderas and back. In 2011/2012 she left Guaymas, headed south to La Paz, spent three weeks at anchor on our northward journey and rested on the hard in San Carlos. Her 4th, 5th and 6th seasons were Boat Projects related. Season 7 - we are hoping to cruise again at long last.

December 27, 2009

San Juan de la Costa - a mining community

We were treated to a "drive in the country" with friends - Henry as driver and Lorraine as navigator -a welcome treat and a chance to see the Baja California Sur countryside by land. San Juan de la Costa is an active phosphate mining town north of La Paz about an hour or so.  Cactus plants abound, as do a variety of desert plants and scrub, along with fascinating rock variations as we headed into the more mountainous areas on one side and the Sea of Cortez on the other.

Cactus Sanctuary
Road north to San Juan de la Costa
Burros spotted along the way
Looking back south towards La Paz
Well defined striations in rock formations

Kelly, Henry, Lorraine - good friends catching up on years of conversation

Photos: Christmas scenes from La Paz

The cruising community has great musical talents to share 
A lovely sunset on our walk back to Marina Palmira
INTREPID II snug and secure on Dock 4 - ready for Santa

December 21, 2009


Merry Christmas from "the INTREPID II crew" in La Paz, "the Peace" - an apt name for this picturesque, welcoming city in Baja Caliornia Sur.

While the sunshine and temperature (mid 70's F. daytime; mid- 50's at night) are somewhat different than we are used to back home, seasonal celebrations and decorations are seen throughout the area - lights wrapped around palm tree trunks on the Malecon, Santa Claus and snowmen and wreaths decorating boats, storefronts and yards.

We have much to be thankful for - safe passages (now that we can relax and look back on them and the excitement and challenges at the time); good health (the bruises are healing nicely); friendship and advice from fellow cruisers (the outboard seems to work - thanks Russ!); and a friendly and welcoming environment wherever we've been so far.

We wish you the best of the season, however you chose to celebrate.  May it be joyful and meaningful and bring you peace and contentment.

December 17, 2009

Our First Week in La Paz

SV INTREPID II and her crew have now been in lovely La Paz for one week and we're learning to relax and enjoy ourselves.  The boat projects are moving along, some more slowly than others for lack of parts, others because the "northers" have started to blow at times and make it too windy to work on them (varnishing comes to mind).  INTREPID II has been given a thorough washing, Kelly is starting on the polishing of the stainless steel as I write this and we are keeping our fingers crossed that the carburetor checks out once we put the motor on the dinghy when the wind dies down.  The current and wind really require a well running outboard.  Rowing any distance in the harbour is not on the agenda.

Marina Palmira offers cruisers rides in a shuttle van which leaves at 9 am, 1:30 and 5 pm and goes into La Paz (3 miles or so) along a regular route and drops you off along the way.  Most often cruisers are headed in to the Club Cruceros at Marina de La Paz for coffee hour at 9:30 am; other times it is for provisions, boat parts, or meeting up with friends.

Club Cruceros clubhouse (courtesy of website - a better photo than ours)

We've walked back to our marina and Kelly has walked into town more frequently, but it is less pleasant when carrying groceries and perhaps a 6 pack of cervezas.  The Malecon is the best place to walk along as it is in the best repair - sidewalks here require constant attention due to much unevenness, missing bricks or concrete, holes and rebar sticking out here and there.  Infrastructure deficit for certain, my local government amigos!  We take our maps along - although very few streets have signs and our English-Spanish phrasebooks whenever we head out.

The local people are friendly, helpful and have much less English at their disposal than in Ensenada or Los Cabos, so we try hard to be understood in our basic Espanol.  Fellow cruisers are helpful as well and have a daily radio net at 8 am on VHF channel 22A for a half hour or so - emergencies (rarely), tide and weather info, general announcements, swaps and trades (for coconuts - can't sell things if you aren't licensed), as well as "where can I find...?" and throughout the day it is used as a hailing channel from boat to boat. 

We've met new people, caught up with others we met at anchorages or docks along the way and have had a chance to check out auto parts stores, chandlers, open air markets, the post office and some historical buildings under reconstruction.  Last night we enjoyed the weekly jam session at one restaurant where locals and cruisers entertained the rest of us - some excellent performers and good fun. 

One wave of cruisers was just leaving for the mainland when we arrived last week and then we had the strong northern winds blow in, so the next  batch is leaving today -- the seas should be down to 2 feet or so and the wind down to 10 knots - so a reasonable downwind crossing to Mazatlan or Puerto Vallarta.   Others keep their boats on the Baja side and just keep returning.

We'll wait a bit longer to consider a few days over to Isla Spiritu Santos where good snorkeling and diving are to be found.  Carol still needs a buoyancy compensator, but they are in short supply - we should have brought her leaky one along.  FYI for family and friends - thanks for the birthday wishes and messages. It is so different to be celebrating a December birthday by having dinner outside in a lovely courtyard.  We came a bit too late to purchase Christmas lights, but still hope to do a bit of decorating on INTREPID II.  There are a few gatherings planned that we know of for cruisers staying here - a potluck with appetizers and dessert gathering at the Cruceros clubhouse on December 24th; perhaps a gathering at this marina. 

We've received a quote for some canvas work although the fellow can't start until January, but we hope to get a new dodger and bimini made, and perhaps other canvas work as well.  In the meantime, it's good to have a home base and we are looking into Spanish classes.  Take care and we hope you are staying warm way up north!

Photos: December in La Paz

The Malecon - a wide boulevard extending along the harbour
 from city centre to Marina Palmira
Sculptures along the Malecon
Manta ray 

Environmental whimsey 
The Old Man and the sea -
 and yours truly looking out to sea as well
Fabulous carved doors abound
Think I'll start collecting door photos
Former municipal hall put to other uses - 5 de Mayo Ave

Cathedral Towers in city centre near markets
Church of the Virgin of Guadelupe -
 active and being restored through donations

Photos: Marina Palmira - our home for now

Nice wide fingers - a good home for INTREPID II after three months at sea
Dry desert landscape surrounds the marina - just north of La Paz
Cruisers meet by the Dolphin fountain for a shuttle ride into La Paz
Dolphin theme on gates o a private residence along the marina boulevard

Photos Recap: Cerralvo Channel & Puerto Balandra

Punta Coyate - northwest side of Cerralvo Channel - seas had finally calmed down
Isla Espiritu Santos - great diving - hope to get there soon
Punta Ballandra - anchorage for the night
Sandy beach for our front view
Captain photographing the sunset
Happy to be safely anchored at last 

Photos Recap: Ensenada de los Muertos

Sailing into Bahia Los Muertos
What a view!
Wish we could have stayed longer

Photos Recap: Bahia Los Frailes (The Friars)

Our first anchorage in the Sea of Cortez.
See The Friars climbing up the cliff?
Beach plants - hanging on just barely

Walking the beach - leaving footprints
Pelican at rest - drying wings
Los Frailes is a protected refuge for sea turtles
Red Sky at Night - Incredible
OK - guess it's my turn to be in a photo

Photos Recap: San Jose del Cabo

San Jose del Cabo offered a quieter pace than Cabo San Lucas.
City Hall  - evening in San Jose del Cabo
Town Square - honouring illustrious citizens
Catholic Church near Town Square

December - and beautiful flowers

December 11, 2009

Sailing at sunset - INTREPID II in profile

This picture was taken by our friends Pam and Dennis on SV Pamdemonium.  We were sailing overnight to Bahia Santa Maria from Bahia Asuncion, on the outside of the Baja Peninsula.  It was a treat to have a "buddy boat" nearby to share the experience.

La Paz at last! December!

SV INTREPID II has earned a well deserved rest at a marina (as does her crew).

We hope to give her lots of TLC in the next few days,with a thorough washing, cleaning inside and out and major reorganizing of the cabin and lockers.  We are currently in Marina Palmira, just a few miles north of La Paz city centre, on Dock (Muelle) 4, slip 428 - having arrived Wednesday, December 9th -- three full months since we left Sidney and in some ways so long ago.

Our plans are to rest up - mind, body and spirit - and enjoy the sights and sounds and cultural activities of this city, which has history, a beautiful setting and a genuine Mexican ambiance - along with lots of cruisers coming and going.  At the moment we aren't certain if we'll change marina locations or anchor out a bit - time will tell.  Our outboard needs some attention, so until that's in good repair we don't want to be having to row in the longer distances against fairly strong tidal currents in the channel near Marina de La Paz, which is cruiser central and has a good dinghy dock.

While at anchor at Los Muertos, Kelly found us a weather window, checking several weather sites, tide tables and consulting all the guides that advised us to leave early in the morning before the winds picked up in the Cerallvo Channel, between the Baja peninsula and Cerallvo Island.  There was to be 'not much wind' and less than 0.1 metre seas - Ha!  Once again the short, square waves common to this area hit us within the first hour and a half (by 8:30 am).  We faced another 8 hours or so of not making much headway, no matter what combination of sailing, motoring, motor-sailing we tried and be none too comfortable for all that time.  Long story short- we endured, the seas eased up a bit to allow us to have some lunch, then started in again. By the time we were nearing Isla Spiritu Santos they were easing up and we knew we would make our planned anchorage in time.

A highlight of this passage:  Kelly was checking for a powerboat coming up on our starboard side to see if he recognized them.  Just as he turned, directly behind our boat about 50 yards away, a shark came straight up and out of the water spinning as though trying to shake a hook. No boats were nearby.  He appeared to be at least 10 feet long and his head was 15 feet out of the water - quite an unexpected sight!  We haven't seen much else for sea life here compared to our sightings on the way down the west coast.  We believe it was a Mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus) and read that this species is often see leaping straight up out of the water - possibly to check for prey from above.

Our anchorage on Tuesday night, complete with a beautiful red sunset was at Puerto Balandra - INTREPID II and four other sailboats.  Not a  bad night - a bit rolly at 4 am, but a beautiful setting. Wednesday morning we motored south to La Paz through the well marked channel and managed to find dock space as we mentioned above by Wednesday noon.  Bluewater Cruising member John from Pender Harbour (SV Naida) helped take our lines and we've seen SV Marathon across the way (Hi Nello) and SV Kapuka  but not yet connected with the crews.  SV Tagish (Dorothy and Brian) shared the Balandra anchorage with us and we caught up with them today at the coffee hour at Club Cruceros.  It's great to see fellow cruisers and meet new people and find out where everyone is along the way.  SV Whiteshell II - nice to finally catch up with you again! Hopefully some new photos soon as this is such a colourful city at first impression.

Baja California Sur

December 7, 2009

Update From Ensenada de los Muertos - Dec. 7

Christmas music is playing in the background as we have a late desayuno (big breakfast) in "the club at the bay of dreams" in Ensenada de los Muertos.  We are catching up on weather and updating this blog -- while looking out at white sand, cacti and palm trees -- pretty strange in some ways.  We wish all our family and friends back in Alberta and BC a return to better weather as it sounds like winter has really settled in.  Perhaps our warm wishes will speed the really bad stuff on its way. 

We spent an extra day in Cabo San Lucas then had a very bouncy motor ride for 3.5 hours to San Jose del Cabo and into the marina.  In hindsight we were feeling the effects of the wide open east Pacific waters when we expected more of a calm, smooth jaunt.  We were even taking a few waves over the bow and into the hatch we'd casually left open.  INTREPID II arrived at this marina at dusk, settled in and took a taxi into the town as the marina is a separate real estate development to the east.  We chose to stay a second day to spend time in the much more tranquil setting of San Jose del Cabo in hopes of finding a way to put more $$ on our TelCel computer stick -- Mexican communications continue to be complicated at times.  The town was setting up its Christmas decorations and we enjoyed walking about.  Carol found a great straw hat in the market and we enjoyed the break.

Here is a map of the Los Cabos and East Cape area, showing the relative distances to Los Frailes and Bahia de los Muertos - rechristened by public relations folks to Bahia de los Suenos.  (I haven't spotted a copyright mark so hope this is indeed for public use.)

East Cape Resort Map
Los Muertos is to left and between W and S of compass rose
Los Frailes is south of Cabo Pulmo

The next morning (December 3rd) we headed out for Los Frailes (the Friars) approx. 30 nautical miles or 6 hours or so away.  INTREPID II enjoyed some actual sailing but mostly motor sailing with the jib out as we dodged all the sport fishing  boats and pangas which are here for the world class fishing.  We aren't quite set up for that yet and envy those who are.

Los Frailes was a somewhat rolly but very enjoyable anchorage for December 3, 4 and 5th . We practiced our surf landing in the dinghy, walked the beach, snorkeled with a friend (Jack of SV Waterdog) along the rocky drop off and did boat chores.  As we hadn't been in the water for years, this was a real treat.  It isn't really warm but still pleasant and Kelly took the chance to check the boat bottom and zincs, etc.

Sunday, December 6th, we left Los Frailes early (6:40 am) for this anchorage with had a good start, then experienced increasingly choppy conditions with wind on the nose from the north, north west.  Throughout the day we tacked, rolled up the jib, unrolled it, motor sailed, passing by Punta Pulmo - a great diving site, Los Barailles - a famous kite boarding mecca, and around the point and into the bay of dreams (or bay of the dead - take your pick).  Clouds are settling in as we finish up this note -- hmm - not in the forecasts we just reviewed.  Plans are to head north tomorrow towards La Paz, but likely stopping in one of the bays along the way after "turning a corner" south again.

We are unsure how successful we'll be at sending Christmas cards in time this year, so please know we're thinking of all our family and friends and wishing you well as the holiday season approaches.