Our last day at Los Frailes was December 3rd. It was a gorgeous, warm day with almost no wind, at least until late afternoon. We decided to take a little hike along the main road.
We decided that, at noon we would turn around and head back. As we neared the beach again, a little Datsun pickup drove by and the driver waved. A few minutes later, he came back by and stopped to talk. Neither of us could really make out what he was saying but I think it was something about selling fresh fruit and vegetables back at the campground. Couldn't tell for sure though. Then he said he was headed to the bar/restaurant (THAT we uderstood) and offered us a ride. It dawned on us then that we had seen him there yesterday afternoon. We gladly accepted the ride since that's where we were headed anyway. His name was Juan and we bought him a beer for his trouble. Very nice guy.
The restaurant/bar is a little palapa (open sides, palm thatch roof):
His other daughter, Maria is only 5 and was off at kindergarten when we were there today. There's no real menu that we know of, Cristal just tells you some of the stuff she cooks. The list is fairly long and all very delicious-sounding. After our first beer of the day we ordered lunch. Lulu had chilaquiles and I had fish tacos. It's interesting to be eating Mexican food in Mexico because some of the things we're served are somewhat surprising based on our gringo viewpoint. For instance, both of our meals included a small dollop of garlic mashed potatoes on the side (papas puré con ajo). One of the condiments for my fish tacos was a bowl of shredded carrots.
We had a good time whiling away the afternoon and visiting with Cristal as much as our language barrier allowed. She was interested to find out that Lulu had been a school cook and wanted to know if she had any secrets and whether or not she ever fixed the kids Mexican food (she didn't and she did).
When we returned to the anchorage, there were quite a few more boats than when we had left. We made an early night of it as we planned to get up at 0400 to be underway by sunrise (0530).
12/4/2010 - Saturday
Well, I know exactly what Lulu and I were doing 31 years ago today as this is Lucas' birthday. Happy Birthday, Luke.
We arose, as planned, at 0400. Had a little breakfast and got things ready to go. We planned to fire up the engine and start hoisting the anchor around 0500 so we'd definitely be on our way by sunup. Even at that, we were about the last boat to head out this morning. The anchor came up without a hitch and we were on our way on schedule.
Right off the bat we decided to try out our new spare autopilot. Plugged it in, set it on AUTO and sat back. And then watched as it turned us 90 degrees and right toward Los Frailes (the actual huge rock) before we disengaged it. Gathered ourselves and tried again. Same thing. It would hunt a little and then put the rudder hard over. Well, crap-o-rama! Looks like we maybe have a $95 spare parts unit. However, later on I got to thinking. I had checked to see what happened when the +10 button was pushed. On our main A/P, +10 causes the steering ram to retract. On the spare, just the opposite happens. I remember reading that these units are set up at the factory to be used on the port side of the boat but that there's a DIP switch or something inside that can switch it to starboard mounting. I assumed all this had to do with was whether a + 10 caused the ram to extend or retract but maybe it has more to do than that. Maybe the spare was doing just what it was supposed to. That is, trying to turn us 180 degrees to correspond with a portside mounting. As soon as we're stopped in La Paz so I can open the unit up without fear of losing the pieces over the side due to a big swell, I'm going to check this out. Makes sense, yes?
The day was absolutely gorgeous. Oh, there was no wind and/or wind from dead ahead, so it was a motorboat trip. But what a nice trip. Temperatures were in the 80s. We're talking shorts and NO shirt most of the day. Well, for me anyway. We tootled along, basking in the sun. Lulu did some crocheting and I finished reading Moby Dick and started on John Steinbeck's "Log From The Sea Of Cortez".
We arrived at the anchorage at Bahia de Los Muertos just before dark. By the time we had gotten anchored it was well past dark. Quite a few other boats here, some of which I recognized from Los Frailes. Had dinner and another early to bed because we'll be getting up at 0400 again tomorrow for the trip to, or at least near, La Paz.
Up bright and early again. Same routine as yesterday. Today we weren't the first boat out of the anchorage but we were far from the last. It's a motorboat trip again as expected. Right now we're about halfway up the Cerralvo Channel. Big swells coming in from the Sea but it's still in the 80s and there is virtually no wind other than a few knots on the nose.
Got a weak cell signal early today, enough to download some e-mail, but that's been it. No signal at all right now. Hopefully I'll have some sort of signal wherever we anchor tonight and I can send this out. We won't enter La Pz late in the day. The route in is too circuitous and there are too many shoals to try it in fading light. So, we'll anchor at a nearby anchorage. I have them all entered in to the GPS so it's just a matter of which one we reach when. E-mailed Marina de La Paz on Friday and Mary said there'd be no room at the inn through Sunday but to contact her again Monday morning. So, hopefuly I'll have a good cell signal in the morning and hopefully she'll have space. We want to tie up at a marina for a week to clean up the boat and ourselves and get groceries. While there, we'll check in with other cruisers to see what the consensus is on local yards. The transmission is leaking worse than ever and really needs to be fixed. Figure that would be a great time to remove the engine as well and clean up the scurvy engine compartment as well as work on the rusty engine mounts, etc. Might as well do it in the winter when the weather is "bad", right?
Later, that same day...
Currently anchored in Caleta Lobos, just north of Pichilingue and La Paz. Excellent cell coverage with a tower looming on the hill above us.
After we cleared Cerralvo Channel, it got really rough. Big swells rolling in directly off the Sea. And then it got REALLY rough. Stayed that way until we were about halfway through San Lorenzo Channel and well in the lee of Isla Espiritu Santo. Then things calmed down quite a bit and it was a pretty mellow ride the rest of the way here. No need to get up at the crack of dawn tomorrow. All we have to do is call Mary at Marina de La Paz about 0830. Other than that, our schedule is clear.
Okay, let's see if this will upoad...