S/V INTREPID II - Cape Dory Intrepid 40

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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.

February 24, 2010

Carnaval in La Paz!

Carnaval in La Paz is a much anticipated event, a prelude leading up to "Fat Tuesday" or Mardi Gras as it is known in New Orleans - the prelude to the season of Lent.  It was underway by the time we returned to La Paz on February 14th and the Malecon was already filled with rides, street vendors, blanket sellers and at least 5 locations for highly amplified bands, which only started at 10 pm or midnight.  We took in the sites and sounds on Monday afternoon (February 15th) and found a vantage point with friends from which to view the parade.  Then we could continue to enjoy the festivities from 3 miles away on INTREPID II, as the sound reverberates for miles!

Kelly with Linde and Ken of SV Rosebud
Balloon seller
Drinks of all kinds on offer
Three beer companies sponsor Carnaval - so three parades
Blanket sellers - see anything you like?
Floats by daylight


San Evaristo - Feb. 8-13th

Sorry for the delay between postings of our last outing....many projects, day to day living and a few computer glitches got in the way.  We are close to leaving La Paz this weekend, if all goes well, so it is time to finish getting caught up. Internet connections are likely to be scarce, possibly not until we reach Loreto.

San Evaristo  (24.54.626 N; 110.42.291 W)  is a welcome anchorage when northers or corumuels blow and we looked forward to getting a good night's rest after the previous two nights' experience at anchor.  This a a small fishing village in a quiet bay opening out to the Canel de San Jose. It includes a school, tienda (store) in the owner's home, a desalination plant, open air cantina and many fishing huts, a small curved white sand beach, and most of all, good holding ground when the winds blow.  The most impressive part of the scenery is the backdrop of the high mountains, the Sierra de la Giganta.
Fishing village of San Evaristo
INTREPID II anchored in 30 feet with lots of chain out and stayed put from Monday afternoon through Sunday morning, February 14th - Valentine's Day.  The water temperature was 72.6 degrees F. when we arrived, but we never did snorkel.  No cold feet when we landed the dinghy ashore, however.  We did indeed have a restful sleep that night, although the fishing pangas headed out early around 5:30 am, a small price to pay for a calm night.

INTREPID II at anchor in San Evaristo
On Tuesday we explored the village and took the dirt road up to the elementary school.  We were pleased that we could leave a small amount of school supplies for the five children currently attending.  The teacher, who introduced himself as Ranier, welcomed us and the children greeted us with "hello, how are you?" in English as we practiced our Spanish with them.

Escuela at San Evaristo
Road towards the school
Further north the road ends at the salt evaporation ponds, where there are several homes surrounded by date palms, and cows and burros were resting in the shade. 
Oasis near salt evaporation ponds
On the way back to our dinghy, we spotted a roadside shrine, and admired the various cactus plants. 
Roadside shrine

Examples of native cactus plants
Our last stop was at the local tienda, which was well stocked with canned goods, eggs, some produce and various household items.  Fresh produce and sometimes chicken or meat arrives periodically, driven over mountain roads from La Paz.
Tienda - San Evaristo
In the next few days we met many new cruising friends and have since seen some of them again in La Paz.  By Wednesday the northers were starting to blow, and although it made for some choppy water, we did go ashore for exercise and to visit the tienda and the cantina. 
Kelly seems to find the wind refreshing!
The remaining nights were not quite as restful, as the winds were shifting around at times from the southwest and west, as well as the north, but everyone stayed secure.  There was a humpback whale playing out in the channel, we were adopted by a very hard working sea lion who fished around our boat on a regular basis and the pelicans, scoters, turkey vultures and other wildlife kept us entertained.  Finally the welcome sight of a pod of dolphins came into the anchorage  - we had missed seeing any on our way north.
Sea Lion at play
Turkey vulture in flight
Pelicans in formation
These northers blew Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and into Saturday.  We made plans to head out on Sunday (14th).  Although the channel still had whitecaps and "bufaloes" heading downwind, we headed out at 08:30 that morning, intending to make the 50 nm run back to La Paz.  It was a sunny, "sparkly water" day, with the wind on our stern at 18 knots and the seas ran with us initially, so all was well.  We had a few hours of rolly seas as the winds turned NE and the swells went from 2 - 3 feet to 4 - 5 feet with the occasional 6 footer just to keep us on our toes.  We motor sailed with the jib out with lots of wind but not enough time to settle down to sail only.  It took us 8 hours, until 17:00 and we were pleased to see slip 428 waiting for us at Marina Palmira "home away from home".

Our plans are to head out again soon to hopefully spend time in those anchorages we missed on the way up, but as of today (February 24th) the northers have been blowing for 2 days and westerlies are forecast once those die down.  Stay tuned.

February 18, 2010

"The Islands" - Espiritu Santo and Partida

Isla Partida (top) and Isla Espiritu Santo
INTREPID II and her crew enjoyed sunshine and sparkling waters as she headed towards "the islands" and Espiritu Santo Natural Marine Park on Sunday morning.  In 2003 the Mexican government purchased the island the island chain to protect and preserve its very special ecosystem.

One of our cruising guides advised that "the Sea of Cortez is home to 31 species of whales and dolphins - one third of the world's total....is a breeding ground for sea lions and marine turtles and is a migratory corridor for 210 bird species....some 500 fish species, 4800 plus known species of marine macro-invertebrates".  This is why we are so keen to go diving, and so disappointed we haven't done so yet.  (Image is courtesy of 'kayaking Baja')

There is now a requirement to purchase an park permit, which we've done, although we have only an official receipt at this time.  That is pending the government producing the actual "credit card" size permit and brochure and commemorative coin.  We're fine with supporting the conservation efforts and the cost was around $25 US each.

As we motored sailed in towards the land to take a peek and pictures of the various coves and beaches, we observed they were almost all open to the west.  This means they are better day anchorages than overnights, especially during corumuel winds which blow at night, usually from the southwest. The islands are comprised of striated rock layers of various colours - reds, pinks, sand, black.  The bays (bahias) are indented into the hills, with white sand beaches and sometimes mangroves in bright greens.  In the sunshine the water in the coves was a beautiful turquoise.
Looking north from our anchorage Caleta Partida
We were anchored in Caleta Partida by 13:30, on the southeast side, as the north cove was occupied by 4 boats and we hoped we'd gain some protection from the curve of the hillside.  It was an enjoyable afternoon, as we took pictures, tidied the boat, and had a bbq dinner.  Fish jumped, the wind was calm and we had another great sunset.
Sunset over Baja California Sur
All went well until 23:30 when the winds began to blow and to make a long story short, we were hit with strong westerlies, which blew right into the anchorage. It became a pitching, rolling night, although our anchor held tight.  Next morning we reluctantly made the decision to leave for a more sheltered anchorage, and hoped for a chance to return and do some land exploration as well as some snorkeling.

The seas were still choppy when we motored out at 09:30 and headed north towards Isla San Francisco and the Canel de San Jose, with San Evaristo anchorage as our destination.  We managed to motor sail on a port tack for a few hours enjoying the warmth and sun.  Here we are showing off the latest in cruising head gear.  
Happy Captain - sailing and sunshine

Smiley Admiral - smooth seas at the moment 
After a short detour at the lovely anchorage at Isla San Francisco, where boaters advised they had had no southerly or westerly winds, we moved onward for another two hours of motor sailing across the Canel de San Jose into the protected anchorage afforded by San Evaristo.

February 17, 2010

Caleta Lobos - Feb. 6

Once we had fueled up at the marina docks just before noon on Saturday, we motored out of the breakwater and up the La Paz harbour channel - congratulating ourselves and INTREPID II that we'd actually untied the dock lines.  We had a nearby destination in mind.  Caleta Lobos  (24 17.912 N; 110 19.916 W) is under 10 nm from our marina and reasonably sheltered except from westerly winds, being open to the southwest.
Caleta Lobos with surrounding hillside
As we nosed our way in we spotted SV Waterdog anchored near the entrance and chatted with its captian, Jack. He stated he had picked that particular spot to anchor as the actual anchorage had been filled with over a dozen boats the night before.  We motored in between the sail boat and power boat remaining behind and decided to give the spot a try.   Once we had set the anchor (it took a second try - the first time that has ever happened!), we settled in to admire the view.  A beach lay to the north, with mangroves to the side, high hills and boats passing by outside in the channel.  Pelicans and turkey vultures kept us entertained, as did the chorus from the sea lions taking a rest on Roca Lobos not too far away.  There was a group camping on the beach, which can be reached by road. Later we were joined by a power boat, a small sail boat and a charter sailboat, which arrived just at sunset.  
Looking across the deck
The cruising guide is correct. Due to the mangroves at the head of the cove, this anchorage was indeed "affected by the pesky, although non-biting" little flies known as "bobos".  Their presence made it easy to decide to eat dinner inside the cabin, but we ensured we had time for sunset pictures.
Love the sunsets
The winds picked up just before 9 pm, shifting to the southwest and then west. Before long the last sailboat to anchor was directly upwind of us.  It was a less than restful night due to the slapping, choppy waves funneling in from the west.

Next morning, we listened to Don Anderson of SV Summer Passage, who provides weather forecasts on the Amigo net at 07:15; and to Geary on the Sonrisa ham net, who provides a slightly different approach to his weather information.  Being away from the marina, with all the interference from masts, we were able to at last check in to the Sonrisa net.  This is something we try for whenever we are away from Internet access, to ensure that we could be contacted via the ham nets, if necessary.  Propagation isn't always great, but we are frequently successful.  
Kelly snorkeling back after retrieving a runaway fender
To make the day interesting, one of our fenders went for a swim to check out the shore.  Of course our dinghy was on deck. The Captain decided he would don his wetsuit and fins to check out the water temperature, as no one else seemed to be volunteering nor were the sea lions or pelicans stepping up to the plate.  He used to opportunity to check out the propeller and new zinc and found that the second zinc had now disappeared! 

By 10:30 am we were ready to head out.  A curious sea lion checked us out as we motored into the bay with light northwest winds.   INTREPID II was making just over 6 knots over the ground, the sun was shining and we were off to Isla Partida - 16 nm away.

There and back again! A few new anchorages

INTREPID II at anchor in San Evaristo

Popular for sailing, diving, kayaking
INTREPID II actually left the dock on Saturday, February 6th to spend nine days at various anchorages - some more rolly than others!  Our voyage took us to Caleta Lobos, a short two hour hop north for one choppy night, then a motor sail to Caleta Partida on Isla Partida (four hours) for a lovely afternoon and really blustery, rocking night.

After these two nights of sleep deprivation  we moved north up the Canel de San Jose to the fishing village of San Evaristo (six hours).  This was a welcomed safe haven - although the winds continue to blow, there was little chop or waves and we enjoyed our time exploring and meeting some of the villagers as well as our cruising neighbours.  We arrived there Monday (February 8th) and due to stronger and longer lasting "northers", we stayed safe and secure at anchor until last Sunday, February 14th - Valentine's Day.

San Evaristo looking northwest
The forecasts were for winds dropping to the 15 - 20 knot range, with seas calming down some, so we decided on an all day trip back to Marina Palmira where we'd reserved our slip on dock four.  It is good to be "home" for a short time while we make definite arrangements for leaving INTREPID II in Mexico for the summer and fall and follow that with our own travel plans to return home.  So we are here once again in La Paz until Friday, February 26th, if all goes well.  We will post individual updates on each of our anchorages as well as the festivities we took in at Carnival on Monday, so stay tuned for more details and pictures.

Internet access has been iffy once again, so we are quite uninformed about news, events and the Olympics - need to do some catching up on that aspect soon, as well as reading the cruising blogs of many of our friends.  Hope this posting finds you all well and looking forward to an early Spring!