Saturday, December 17, 2011

Barrancas de Cobre: Copper Canyon

Painting of Tarahumara Indian in the Hotel del Mirador (Viewpoint Hotel into the canyon!)
Home of the Tarahumara Indians, a fleet-footed tribe that lives in and famously run along the canyons. Women wear traditional colorful dresses and augment their subsistence living by sale of their beautiful crafts - baskets, jewelry, clothing. This is also the area where the Menonites settled in 1922, and they sell their cheese locally.
Chepe Train ride was pleasant, long and safe. The tracks through the mountains give your heart pause.
We enjoyed several days here staying at Cabinas Senor Diaz, and touring with his son, Jose, to see the area. Horseback riding highlighted our final morning before the 9 hour train ride back to "Topo".

Topolobampo - gateway to Copper Canyon

Shrimpers abound as you enter the long and shallow harbor into this small village. The shrimp boats are tracked closely by pelicans hoping for a treat, and head out early in the AM for their catch. We scored 1/2 kilo of fresh prawns for dinner!
Any place with 5 vowels like my home town Oconomowoc, well, I just had to visit.
We spent a couple of nice days here before heading to Copper Canyon, first cleaning the boat (it's the first thing we do after sailing, esp across the choppy Sea of Cortez where Mike was soaked by a rogue wave), then reprovisioning, showering and trying to stay warm. It's "cold" here in Sinaloa, and even colder as we headed to 7,000 ft in Chihuahua.
Simple services, friendly staff and I am sitting at a plastic Coca-Cola table outside the marina office for internet. The staff are all excited about today's Christmas party, which they invited us to. They will have 2 pinatas (a huge Christmas thing) and as the cute office girl told me "y cantamos Karoake" - sing, and no doubt eat great food. Sorry to miss it! Karaoke machine being installed by 3 guys and the requisite dog (they are everywhere!)
We head today at noon for 48 est. hours to Mazatlan.

Home of Zorro: Posada del Hidalgo in El Fuerte, Sinaloa

Zorro was born in El Fuerte - who knew? His home is now heralded in the Posada del Hidalgo, and we really enjoyed our days here. El Fuerte was 2 bus rides from Topolobampo, on the way to the Copper Canyon. Spent 2 days in El Fuerte, celebrated the national holiday of Virgen de Guadalupe, then 6-7 hours by Chepe (Chihuahua Pacifico) train up into beautiful mountains and copper-colored canyons filled with desert foliage and incredible vistas!

Bill, captain of Tahnoo, jesting with Zorro, who appeared during happy hour!

Check out our Picasa photos of this very cool hotel, where we bargained for 1/2 price rooms - the power of booking 3 rooms. We traveled with new friends from Canada - from the Baja Haha we met in La Paz: sailing vessels Tahnoo and Borboleta, both hailing from Vancouver. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Discovering BCS (Baja California Sur, MX)

Greetings from La Paz: truly the city of peace and beautiful destination (although when the winds howl at us at 30 knots like the Northerlies hitting us right now, it's darn windy here...).

As we moor in cozy Marina Costa Baja in La Paz, away from the big winds and in a deluxe moorage (with the exchange rate, it's inexpensive for us cruisers), we are enjoying a dinner of radish greens (really, good - just purchased today at Farmer's Market), with the last of our "stock of goodies" - bratwurst from San Diego and chocolate from Trader Joe's. Vestiges of US life.

I know we have been remiss in updating our blog, however we are living and learning at 120 MPH. Life is fast, rich and full - "muy rico". Catching on to local customs, language, VHF communications (the "net"), shopping (50 stories right there!!!), moorage and marina life and so much more takes a lot of time, energy and concentration. My Spanish improves daily - I now have taxi drivers helping my Spanish grammar... And it's truly as Steve Martin said when in France: "it's like they have a different word for everything".

The weather controls our lives now so you deal with whatever comes. Travel changes to meet the demands of the sea, winds and tides.
Nov 4: safe arrival in Cabo San Lucas!! What a venture south.

Spent 4 nights on the hook (at anchor in the bay outside the city) and finally scored a slip in the marina for a few days to wash the boat, wash ourselves, take on water in our tank, have electricity (!) to charge toothebrushes and have more lights, and walk the docks. When we anchor out, we "dinghy in" for land excursions.

We moved north into Sea of Cortez from Cabo (which has changed drastically since our last dive trip there in '03!):
- Bahia los Frailes (Bay of the Monks) 4 days, many stories
- Ensenada de lost Muertos (Cove of the Dead) - 2 nights, many stories
- Caleta Lobos - outside of San Lorenzo Harbor - 1 night
- Marina de La Paz - 7 nights
- Isla Espiritu Santo (with Teresa and Dan from Portland) - 3 nights
- Marina Costa Baja - back in La Paz
One of the pools at Marina Costa Baja - hot tub in the background. Great place to catch a margarita and the sunset!

Next destination 12/8 (my mom's  BD): we head north across the Sea of Cortez to Topolobampo with new found friends from Canada (they did the Baja Haha with us but only recently met). We plan to explore the famous Copper Canyon inland via train and bus for a few days.

Then we proceed south along the mainland coast to Mazatlan which we understand is rich in history.
Colorful marzipan candies and all things Christmas on an open cart along the city streets of La Paz.
Then, we cruise for 2 more days to Puerto Vallarta where we will spend Christmas (!) with Lisa and John from Orcinius, new friends we met in Vancouver in June (thanks to Ilene)


I am not able to just provide a photo link for our google web albums on picasa. Irritating. So, if you go to this album, then select home you will see all of the albums we've uploaded. Lots more photos, not enough time to upload yet.

Boat Notes: Pura Vida Specifications

For those who may be interested in the details of our boat and her many features, we've compiled an overview of her specifications:

Vessel description: Islander Freeport 41
V-berth forward stateroom with adjoining head.
Next aft is the salon with settee and navigation station to starboard and galley to port.
4 steps lead to the center cockpit with canvas dodger.
Captain’s stateroom is aft with adjoining head and shower.

Hull: Fiberglass
LOA (length overall): 41'
Beam: 13'
Draft: 6’
Tonnage: 30 tons gross

Engine: 65 hp Perkins 4154
Cruising speed: 6 knots

Fuel: Diesel ~88 gallons
Water: ~88 gallons
Waste: 28 gallons with macerator

Ground Tackle:
Anchors: Mason 50 lb with 280 feet HT 3/8” chain
40 lb CQR, 280 feet of rope
22 lb Fortress auxiliary stern anchor with rode and chain
Windlass: 12 vdc

Mast: aluminum
Rig type: ketch
Rigging: 1x19 stainless steel with machine swage heavy-duty fittings and Amsteel running backstays
Furling gear: Pro Furlers for jib and staysail
Winches: Lewmar 2 speed self-tailing and 2 additional winches

Headsail with whisker pole

2 135 watt Kyocera Solar Panels
Batteries: 12 vdc system
Inverter/charger: 2 inverters with 85 amp, high-output alternator
Potable water: holding tank and 12 vdc pressure system
6 gallon water heater
Sanitation: Raritan electric and manual heads

Electrical: 110 VAC; 12 VDC

Electronics / Navigation:
Auto pilot: Raymarine SmartPilot
RayMarine Wind Indicator
JRC Radar
GPS Systems:
Lowrance Color Chart Plotter with Radar LMS-527 CDFGPS
Zenstar GPS
ProGin GPS
Garmin GPS 12 handheld
Nobeltec Navigation Software
Fugawi Navigation Software
Compass: E.S. Ritchie & Sons
VHF Radios: Standard Horizon GX2150 with AIS/RAM; ICOM handheld
SSB (Single Side Band HF Radio): ICOM M700 Pro

Range / oven: Force Ten marine 3-burner Propane with broiler
2 galley refrigeration systems : Vitifrigo refrigerator/freezer; top access freezer
Microwave: Magic Chef 110VAC

Given Buoy Liferaft, 6 person
Ditch bag with EPIRB, ICOM handheld VHF radio

Transportation / Sports:
AquaPro RIB 10’ Dinghy with 9.8 Tohatsu 2-stroke outboard and backup 5 Tohatsu outboard
2 Equinox 10.4 sea kayaks
2 Schwinn Montague folding bikes
2 SCUBA tanks and full gear