Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Aaah the winds of change...

Change of plans that is :-). Just a quick update to let you know we took advantage of our "one day window" and returned to La Paz. It was a good decision as we are now safely tucked in to our slip at Marina Palmira and the winds are building from the north as I write. Aah, no more anchor watch for a little while. Now we will spend our time relaxing, reading, walking, visiting with friends,and chipping away on the TUDU list.

Hope all is well with all of you and that your winter weather is softening it's hold.... Adios for now. CJ

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Friday, January 20, 2017

Jan. 20, 2017: A little wind... To keep you young :-). Ensenada Grande

It's 2230 hrs (1030PM) and the swells have finally calmed down enough I can hold my old IPad on my lap... What an evening we've had. We woke (at Ensenada Raza) to a beautiful, sunny, calm day. Left right after breakfast so we could to get to our next stop early enough to have some fun exploring a bit. We were heading to Ensenada Grande as it is the closest anchorage to Los Islotes (the small rocky bits, housing a sea lion colony) about 4 nautical miles north of Isla Espiritu Santo. Swimming with sea lions is very cool and Kathy managed two dives with them when we were here last in 2012. Our goal is for the both of us to dive with them this time...

Anyway, first things first... we really enjoyed our afternoon anchorage at Ensenanda Grande. Even though the water was a wee bit cool by Mexican standards, we hardy BC types (well most of us :-) jumped in for a swim after lunch. Then Kathy took the kayak and John, Sue and I fired up Dobby the dinghy to explore our anchorage. This place is beautiful, complete with water as green as our lime green kayak (I kid you not) and beautiful geological formations all along the shore... really amazing architecture created by mother nature and her forces. Back on board it was siesta and book reading time... for a bit, and then it was happy hour which, of course, led into dinner time.

Now we're back to where my story began. When we first arrived we chose our anchoring spot very carefully. After all we'd studied numerous weather forecasts (none of which agreed) and selected a spot that would be, hopefully, fairly protected from whatever might come our way. Well, you guessed it, just as I was firing up the BBQ for the chicken portion of our meal, the wind piped up.... followed closely by an increase of swell size. Oh, I should have mentioned it was dark by then and the direction the wind came in was neither forecast nor pleasant as it put us on a lee shore. Not to be starved to death, we continued with the cooking, at one point using the ships umbrella to divert the wind away from the BBQ so it would stay lit (which it did :-). Unfortunately, by the time the chuck was cooked, the wind and waves were so strong dinner at the table was nigh impossible and folks ate as they could and where they could.

By now (about 1930 hrs) we were all thanking Kathy heartily for her prowess on the foredeck (she's in charge of discharging the anchor from where it lives, sending it to the bottom of the sea, to a precise location selected by the crew in advance and then amended by wind and current at will), and for her diligent 'setting' of the anchor, a process that requires experience and patience. As we watched two catamarans not far from us, climbing up and down the seas and worrying about their anchors, we patted Kathy on the back for 'sticking the hook' well, at the same time as we discussed the need for an anchor watch until things died down. Just to give you a sense of how it felt... on several occasions I went forward to check the anchor chain and snubber and had to crouch on the foredeck, hanging on to the pulpit with both hands as the nose of the boat..... almost...... buried itself in the each swell... Yup we were doing a pretty good imitation of a rocking horse! It wasn't too unlike parts of our journey down the coast in '11. And so it continued....

It's now 2330 hrs. I drew the first watch (2100-0000) and I'm happy to report the wind and seas have started to calm down. If they stay calm we'll be able to call off the formal anchor watches and all get some sleep. I gotta say though, there's nothing like a little unplanned chaos to draw a crew together. Hurray for good friends and sailors to boot!

Wind's down, seas quieting.... Time for bed. G'night. Zzzzzzzzzzz

Good morning... 0700 and all's well. Wind is gone, swell is comfortable, and everyone had some sleep (some still snoozing :-). Kathy and I have decided that as we both still have the tail end of our colds, and given the unsettled weather conditions, we will forgo our trip with the sea lions and save it for the next time we're by this way. Instead, once everyone's up and ready, we'll press on... either to Isla San Francisco (our personal favourite and place we really want to show Sue and John) or the fishing village (with a safe anchorage in strong winds) of San Evaristo... 9 miles further. The village also has a small restaurant so we can treat ourselves for dinner one night.

For now... We collect ourselves, tidy up the cabin and decks and have breakfast (all very civilized isn't it?). We'll slip when we're ready.....

By the way... Two things. First, I don't know when this post will actually be published as we're not in contact range for the Internet. I may try sending it over the SSB. We shall see.

Second: If any of you are interested, we are posting the ship's position as we travel (via SSB and as we change position and have radio contact) and you can check to see where we are by clicking on the "Where is Shannon's Spirit" link on the front page of the Blog.

So, that's it for now... Hope you enjoyed the story. Mañana ... CJ

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Jan. 18, 2017: SSpirit is on the move.... Ensenada Raza

Yup, we actually slipped the lines and left the big city (of La Paz:-) We've had a terrific visit with friends old and new and re-acquainted ourselves with the best restaurants in the vicinity... even enjoyed some wonderful walks. It took us five years to get back here and it's hard to believe it's time to leave already... But leave we did. At 1030 hrs this morning we headed north, took a peek into Caleta Lobos (sadly closed to cruisers now... for a good cause; protection of the coral beds and mangroves) and carried on to Ensenada Raza (hook down by 1530 hrs.) We had a lovely wee sail, a not-too-long motor sail and then a short motor to our destination. Beautiful scenery, good friends, blue sky and sunshine. What could be better?

It's just after 2200 hrs. and we're not on Internet but I'm writing this for the blog anyway. At some point the stars will align and the post will go out. It's calm so far and tomorrow may be even calmer. Tomorrow we head to Ensenada Grande which is very close to Los Islotes (where we intend to swim with the sea lions early Friday morning. Oh, that reminds me. Kathy finally got her swim with the awhile sharks (I had mine back in 2012). She went out with a small group on a tour arranged by the Whale Museum... and was in the water snorkeling with these huge, calm fish at least five times. She had a blast and came back with a big grin on her face.... another tick for the bucket list.

There's a blow predicted to start on Saturday so we will continue north and position ourselves safely for the incoming weather. This post is short... Just wanted to let you know we are well and enjoying the Sea. Hope all is well with each of you.... TTFN (tatafornow) CJ

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Fresh crew, safely arrived....

Right on time! Or maybe a little early... Sue and John have arrived in La Paz safe and sound.... in good cheer even. :-). We are also happy to report SSpirit was ready to receive them. Most projects are either finished or at a point where they could be put to rest. The lights were on, carpets in place, beds made and tapas at the ready.

We've had a lovely first evening... complete with tots and snacks...and now all hands are not on deck, but heading for their pillows. Tomorrow is a new day and we'll sort out the loose 'plan' after a good cup of coffee.

So much to see and do, right here in La Paz... And then there's sailing and visiting beautiful anchorages... Very exciting!

Hope all is well with all of you... Will keep you posted.... CJ

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Sunday, January 1, 2017

Feliz ano nuevo... all the way from La Paz

It's January 1st, 2017.

Yikes this day has arrived quickly! Hola to our friends... from La Paz, BCS. We have just survived a week of festivities including, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, a 65th birthday, New Years Eve, and today - New Year's Day. Phew. I think you can understand why there was little time for writing ๐Ÿ˜‡ We are well and hope you are too. Christmas is a very busy time for most of us. Unfortunately we have no sailing adventures to write about... the winds have been blowing quite steadily into the high 20's and so we, and others, have been enjoying life at the dock... and a busy one at that.

The winds have finally calmed down. Started abating yesterday and this morning Kathy and Jeanne actually went for a kayak paddle. We are finishing off some projects and looking forward to the arrival of sailing friends, Sue and John, who will be arriving on the 10th. They'll be with us for a few weeks and we are really looking forward to showing them some of our favourite anchorages north of La Paz, as well as the Sea itself (while we cross to the mainland towards the end of January). For now... we just enjoy being here and being part of the cruising community... many old friends and some new. Must go now. The Bloody Mary's ๐Ÿทare being served on the dock, in honour of the first day of what promises to be a memorable year in many ways.
>>>>>> We wish you and your family all the best in 2017.
>>>>>> Kathy and Carolyn
>>>>>> SV Shannon's Spirit
>>>>>> ⛵️⚓️⛵️⚓️⛵️⚓️⛵️