This fall as we transitioned from Restless and the Alaska adventure to Carmanah and continued cruising in Mexico, a whole lot of boat projects were tackled. The biggest, grinding down and refinishing the aluminum toe rail, we’d been putting off for several years. Doing jobs like that in the heat of San Carlos is not fun. We ended up spending 10 days in the boat yard—- often starting at 4:00 am to beat the heat. But it’s done and we’ve almost forgotten the whole affair. Once we were in the water, I fitted new 1” hand rails in place of the old lifelines. Pretty nice. However, our Tecnautics refrigeration system failed when we tried to start it (spent a ton on replacing the compressor last winter) so we opted to buy a whole new pre-charged (plug-n-play) system which we drove back up to Arizona to pick up. It installed easily and we were finally off to the Baja Nov. 10. After an easy, all sail, crossing we were surprised to find a very green desert on the other side. The Baja has been getting tremendous rain this fall. We got there in time to experience two tropical storm type events ourselves. Mostly involving a whole lot of rain, several inches at a time. Kind of cool because in 4 years cruising this area, we have experienced almost zero rain and very few clouds. We had a nice Thanksgiving in La Paz anchored off the town, turkey dinner with friends at the Dockside restaurant. Pretty cool and windy though. By December we were itching to cross to the mainland for some warmer weather. The trip from the Baja to Banderas Bay usually involves at least two nights at sea but this crossing we stopped at the beautiful Islas Marias (just 1 night). The chain of 4 islands is 60 miles off the coast. We’ve always been required to skirt them by a minimum of 12 miles because the largest island has been the site of a federal prison since 1905. The prison was closed last February. Things are in limbo as government agencies work out the logistics of transitioning from prison to a National Park. We’re hoping they move quickly because except where the prison was, the islands are pristine. The reefs are covered with a wide variety of marine life and the blue footed boobies dominate the shoreline. It would be a shame to see the reefs “harvested” the way so many others have been. We’ll keep our fingers crossed. We’re currently in La Cruz getting ready to head south around Cabo Corrientes to the Barra Navidad area for Christmas
We needed a new primary jib. Resurrecting this long ago retired #2 became the best option. I used contact cement to glue long strips of Pentex fabric cut from an old mainsail to reinforce the failing leach of the sail.
Bob and Donna helped me run the sail through the sewing machine to finish the reinforcement. It worked pretty good, we’re still using the sail almost exclusively when underway.
We finally got on the road to Mexico in mid October, opting for the diagonal across Nevada route. We love the miles of nothing. Kinda like crossing a sea.
Lucy loved our motel that was home during the haul out. Really good air conditioning topped the list of things to love.
Donna and Suzie (of White Raven) after a day of bottom work in the San Carlos boat yard. Ugly work. Mojitos that night never tasted so good they offered.
Thankless job grinding the aluminum toe rail down to clean, bare metal. Homemade scaffolding and Tommy Bahama shade helped a bit.
Carmanah finally heading back to the water. The boat yard is about a mile inland.
Carmanah looked so good with out stanchions or lifelines it was tempting to do without. But cooler heads prevailed. The do help keep people, dogs, and sail on board. Also great for drying wet towels.
Installing the new handrail. We brought everything down with us. the new stanchion bases are machined out of G-10, a corrosion proof composition material. The poor Honda van was riding low.
Our master canvas guy, Paulo and his wife helped me load our dinghy after he made brand new chaps to protect the top side. They’re even in Carmanah colors.
The anchor windlass didn’t work for the first few weeks because oil had leaked into the motor. New gear box, cleaned motor and it all works now and my back is almost recovered.
After the handrail project, Lucy was exhaused. Much deserved nap.
Carmanah finally out of the boat yard and cruising Baja. We had Agua Verde all to ourselves for a few hours.
We rode out the first storm in Puerto Ballandra. Shore leaves were wet affairs.
Leaving La Paz. The veggies are fully armed.
The Marias are on a direct path from La Pas to Banderas Bay. Our course is in yellow.
The crew of White Raven immediately dove in the 82 degree water and swam over upon arrival to the Marias (San Juanico) from the Baha. Only 34 hours. Underwater visibility was 40′ at times.
Puerto Balleto on Isla Maria Madre is the site of the former prison and the Navy base. We requested permission to come ashore and look around which was denied but they did give us permission to anchor off the town for the night. We decided to move on. We hope the transition to national park happens soon so we can apply for permits to visit this beautiful place. We’ve been told that it could be several years though.
Guard stations dotting the coast of Isla Maria Madre must have been a deterrent to unwanted visitors and departures from the island.
Carmanah and White Raven at anchor on the southern most Maria, Maria Cleofos. Only 60 miles to La Cruz.
The “Jail-break Posse”. We had a farewell happy hour with the 3 other boats who joined us in the former prison islands–the Marias. The 3 fingers pointed down is for M.
In La Cruz, it’s finally warm enough to warrant putting on the new sunshade Paulo constructed in October for us.
The second half of our Alaska cruise involved some surprisingly warm weather. Between Juneau and Sitka, we found our selves searching for shorts and flip flops as temps rose to the mid-80s. Forest fire smoke sometimes tainted the otherwise crystal-clear sky. In the more remote anchorages, horse flies (solar powered?) swarmed the boat and drove Lucy to hiding in the inner recesses. Luckily as we neared Sitka, they became scarce and we had very pleasant conditions to explore the area. Sitka was actually one of our favorite towns. Our friend Jolynn joined us in Sitka and cruised to Petersburg where my parents and sister Linda came aboard for the leg back to Ketchikan via the LeConte Glacier and Anan Creek bear observatory. We were able to take a more leisurely cruise down through British Columbia after cruising up and around the Misty Fjords National Monument with Tom & Luann on Liberty and Michael on Candor. We’re back on Bainbridge now getting things ready to drive down to San Carlos Mexico in October to rescue Carmanah from the sweltering boat storage yard. The summer cruise totaled just over 2,700 miles at 6.5 knots average. The trawler was a great way to do the trip because we could be warm and dry while having great view of the amazing scenery when it was sunny or raining hard. Even on 80-mile days, we never felt tired or burned out from traveling. We were definitely a little rushed though and would love to do the trip again, slower– possibly leaving the boat up there for the winter. Maybe make two seasons out of it
After leaving Juneau, we rounded the light house to head down Chatham Strait. Great view of the Mendenhall Glacier, just 12 miles from down town Juneau.
On the way from Juneau to Sitka, the native village of Angoon was a very pleasant stop. The locals were very helpful and friendly. When we arrived the harbor master drove me to the village store and proceeded to introduce me to just about every one in town.
A big black bass caught in Peril Strat (another reassuring name) near Sitka. These fish taste great!
The 4th of July parade is a big deal in Sitka.
Tommy Bahama was my best friend sometimes when exploring in the peddle kayak during frequent downpours in the Misty Fjords.
Tommy B also works great as a spinnaker when peddling down wind. Can be a bit of a wild ride sometimes.
Safely inside the fenced area at the Anan Creek bear observatory, Donna and Linda realize they just hiked the trail in the back ground now occupied by several bears.
This guy is looking for a free fishing hole. Most of the good spots are taken.
At Anan Creek falls, the black bear nick names “Crack” watches for salmon attempting the falls.
“Crack” scores another salmon and retreats inside her crack to eat in peach.
At Anan Creek, the Eagles often score leftovers from the bear fishing frenzy.
Donna getting the daily ration of crab ready for happy hour.
Mom and Dad & Linda heading to Creek Street for some shopping in Ketchikan. If you can work around the cruise ships, the town can be pretty fun.
These granite walls were sculpted by glaciers and can rise 2,000-3,000 feet seemingly straight out of the fjord.at Walker Inlet. Truly awe-inspiring.
There are so many waterfalls in Punchbowl Cove (Misty Fjords National Monument 40 Miles E of Ketchikan) the we thought we could nose Restless’ bow under one for some free water.
Tom & Luann of Liberty daredeviling amongst hundreds of salmon staging to scale the Verney Falls at Lowe inlet off the Grenville Canal. The fish stand their best chance of success at high tide but they stage there 24/7. I had some luck fishing just outside the fall area.
We stopped at Klemtu on the central BC coast, one of our favorite native villages. Population 350. Many sasquatch sightings have been reported here. We love the newly complete big house on the eastern peninsula.
Herb & Lena Carpenter in front of Lena’s gift shop. Ocean Falls is basically a ghost town since Crown Zellerbach pulled out in 1980. But many building from the once thriving community remain as wall as a marina for us visitors. Herb is the dockmaster.
Before rounding Cape Caution on our way down to Vancouver Island, we stopped at beautiful Fury Cove. (These names sound daunting at times) A little bocce ball game on the white shell beach with the crew of Liberty.
Restless moored in Shoal Bay, a former cannery town that was at one time the largest town on the BC coast. Not much of the original structures remain except for the 600′ pier that takes us to shore. Just a few hours and 3 tidal rapids north of Desolation Sound.
The infamous Devil’s Hole just forming as we motored past at near maximum flood in the Dent Rapids just north of Desolation Sound. At times the Devil’s hole swirl can be quite deep.
Mountaineer Donna climbing to the top of Flag Mountain at Tenedos Bay in Desolation Sound. Look at her go.
Good old Tenedos Bay in Desolation Sound. Not as warm as it sometimes is but pretty darn nice.
Restless’ flybridge is always a great place to gather for sundowners, here with the Witty family and Bob from Bainbridge all hanging out in Desolation.
Jolynn happily paddling outside our anchorage at Ruth Island in the shadow of the Patterson Glacier. Note the water is glacier run off. Visibility less that an inch and really really cold.
Almost home, Watmough Bay Preserve on Lopez Island in the San Juans. Restless is visible 439′ below after our climb of Mt. Chadwick. Beautiful panorama of the Juan de Fuca Strait and Islands from the top.
Our last stop before reaching home was in Port Townsend where our niece karrin (a student at WWU) is interning on the fabulous schooner Adventuress. What a gig!
Just a quick post as we leave Juneau and the internet behind–heading toward Sitka on the outer coast today. It’s hard to believe that we left Bainbridge Island only a month ago. So much has happened over so many miles. Recently we explored the fjords south of Juneau. The head of Tracy Arm with the Sawyer Glacier was especially spectacular. Getting there was absolutely beautiful but a little nerve racking as we dodged icebergs and “bergy bits”. Hitting even a little chunk of floating ice could have been very bad for Restless. Approaching the glaciers, we were the only boat around, it was pretty eerie— the south glacier was calving frequently which produced surprisingly big waves. They say that when a really big section breaks off you can get up to a 25’ wave. Yikes. We got nothing like that but it was still pretty cool to just drift and wait for pieces to drop into the ocean. Our GPS actually showed us to be 2 miles inland from the edge of the glacier even though we were right in front of it. Evidently it has receded that far since our charts were originally surveyed. Wow, that seems like a lot of recession in a relatively short time. Same was true in Endicott Arm just south of Tracy. We actually overnighted there in a little side arm call Ford’s Terror. With a name like that we just had to go in and see what scared Ford so much. It’s the tidal rapids at a narrow/shallow spot in the arm that makes passage impossible at all times except high slack water (exactly). We made it through unscathed and were rewarded by the most spectacular anchorage we’ve have ever been in. Anchored all alone surrounded by vertical snow-capped peaks and water falls that drop forever it felt almost unreal. Very hard to leave. Lots more to see though. Juneau actually turned out to be a great stop as well. Nice little town of 30,000 with mountains that go straight up from downtown. Mexico cruising friends John and Nicki live here in the summer and offered to show us around and lend us their car to run errands. A big thanks & yes to that offer for sure. We hate to be leaving so soon, it’s been a blast here but off to Sitka we go. Picking up Jolynn there and then cruising to Petersburg to drop her and pick up mom & dad & sister Linda. Lots to look forward to.
The US Post Office at Meyer’s Chuck, population……small. The post mistress will make fresh cinnamon rolls if you order the night before.
These brown bear liked to hang out on the beach next to where we were anchored in Tracy Cove.
Icy Falls near Ford’s Terror. The sea temperature in this area was hoving around 39 degrees. Major shrinkage for the guy who falls in.
Some bergs are really blue. They say that icebergs that have been formed from older glaciers have little internal air or reflective surfaces. When long wavelength light (i.e. red) from the sun hits the iceberg, it is absorbed, rather than reflected. The light transmitted or refracted through the ice returns as blue.
This eagle had staked out the tallest ice berg around for scoping the food prospects.
Ooops, got a little too close. Sorry dude.
Lucy wanted shore leave as we motored up Tracy Arm so we launched the dinghy and rowed over to the nearest berg.
Poor Lucy, shore leave on an ice berg just isn’t what she had in mind.
We tried not to disturb the many seals lounging on bergy bits as we picked our way toward the Sawyer Glacier.
Donna peddling our new hobie kayak at Ford’s Terror.
The south arm of the Sawyer Glacier in Tracy Inlet was calving extensively the day we approached. Chunks the size of buildings were breaking off and creating pretty big waves as they splashed down.
These spectacular falls are near the entrance to Ford’s Terror.
The beauty of the power boat is that when you’re cabin bound in foul weather, the view out the kitchen window is still there. Here the falls in the Ford’s Terror anchorage are keeping Donna captivated while making popcorn for this rainy, rainy day.
This was carved into a live tree on Mt Roberts in Juneau.
Juneau as seen from the top of the tram ride up Mt Roberts. Michael from Candor and I actually hiked the 4 miles up to the observatory then rode the tram down 1800 feet. (save the $35 fare)
Carmanah had her “Extreme Make Over” beginning in 2005— to coin the name of a popular TV show of the day. We went through and replaced or upgraded just about everything back then. Unfortunately, stuff doesn’t last forever, especially in the tropics. The replacement of worn or broken items has cut into our winter cruise a little bit this year. So far, the inverter/charger, the refrigeration, and the auto pilot all gave up. The aluminum toe rail is badly in need of replacing or refinishing as well. The good news is we haven’t let repairs slow us down too much. We made it down as far as Zihuantanejo and are now heading back up the Baja setting up for a slightly early haul-out—late April. We want to be back in Washington by the beginning of May to prepare the m/v Restless for a run to Alaska. In Mexico this year, we’ve focused on staying longer in favorite places like Tenacatita where we can swim from the boat, play beach bocce every day, dive the central rock, paddle board to the little town of La Manzanilla and hang out with a rotating contingent of our cruising friends. We’re still looking forward to visits from my sister Lisa in about a week as well as Greg & Jen just before our haul-out.
Despite a few challenges, a great season so far.
Guess we’re in La Paz.
My whole reason for coming to La Paz. The best ribs ever.
Our landfall on the Baja coming back from the mainland was Playa Bonanza. Just 20 miles from La Paz, Bonanza has a remote 2 mile beach that’s spectacular.
Our 33 year old auto pilot crapped in the middle of a very dark, very rough night coming up coast from Zihua. Bad timing. But, this little spare that we hook up to the windvane rudder with the main rudder locked works great as a temporary fix.
Sometimes Lucy just likes to climb inside of my hat and take a nap. Very strange.
Carmanah and crew at the Banderas Bay Regatta. Great, fun group. We were third in our class–the performance division. Nice close racing. Our spinnaker, Patches, had a tough 3rd day.
Bob showed up in La Cruz from Bainbridge Island looking pretty pale. After a week on the water doing the Banderas Bay Regatta, he looked a lot more acclimated.
Opening ceremonies of the Banderas Bay Regatta. These dancers were incredible.
After day 1 of the Banderas Bay Regatta, everyone piled into the cockpit for the ride back to La Cruz with plenty of cold beers. Someone observed that the transom was nearly underwater.
Last night in La Cruz with friends at Coqui’s. Special place for us.
Coqui is teaching Donna the cool way to make tortillas in the kitchen of her restaurant. It’s all in the wrist.
Our niece Ruby and her friend Hunter visited while we were in Barra de Navidad. Heading out to go snorkeling.
Nicki, Eliza & I paddled across to La Manzanilla which seemed like a big feat until we all swam across a few weeks later.
Bring on the bacon. A “guilt-free” breakfeast on the beach in La Manzanillo for the 10 nuts who swam across the bay from Tenacatita–2.25 miles–totally a blast. Both Donna and I were part of the group. The water was 82 degrees.
You can never have too many shoes. Our friend Virginia of the s/v Harmony shows off her platform shoes that allow her to see over the cabin top when helming.
The crew of Carmanah for the Tenacatita Race(?) celebrating the big win.
Beach bocce in Perula with Carmanah anchored in the background. Great stop over spot when heading north to Banderas Bay.
Our official badges
Barb and Gretchen, part of our Quincy Crew for the Sailfest race around the rock. They’ve signed up (and won) each of the 3 three times we’ve participated in the Zihuatanejo event.
At Sailfest we took folks out sailing in the evening to raise money for local schools. As luck would have it, on one night we all saw the “green flash” shortly after this photo was taken.
Donna spent the morning with some of the other cruisers at this infinity pool overlooking Zihua Harbor as kind of a break from the Sailfest festivities.
A Shot and A Shave is a Sailfest event that involves getting shaved with a straight razor and having tequilla poured down your throat. The guys let Donna perform the honors since she was walking by.
A New Year’s eave tradition. The paper balloons with a candle under rise up into the sky when they get hot enough. Here in Tenecatita off the transom of El Gato (a catamaran of course) we all made our wish and launched them. Some flew, some didn’t
My balloon didn’t immediately crash & burn this year. A good sign I hope. Luckily no cedar shake roofs around here.
It was pretty much pitch black when we finally pulled into Bahia Frailes. Our vow to motor as little as possible mostly adhered to today as we sailed down the Baja Coast from Bahia de Los Muertos with our biggest headsail, “Old Whitie”. Arriving after dark is the toll you sometimes pay for sailing more and motoring less. Lucy however was very concerned about her shore leave status once we got the anchor down. None of us could see the shore but we could hear the surf. Frailes is just close enough to the southern tip of the Baja peninsula to get swells wrapping around from the open Pacific. I launched the paddle board and she jumped right on with her doggie life jacket and glow stick so we figured she was game to give it a go. It didn’t take much paddling before a wave grabbed us and we were flying toward the beach. Ahh, the thrill of riding a wave in total darkness. We might have actually made ashore relatively unscathed had Lucy not decided to bail on the whole program– jumped overboard –I guess she figured that it was safer in the cauldron of churning white water than riding on the board with me. Actually, her reasoning probably isn’t far off the mark. Anyway, I was able to reach over and grab the handle on her doggie lifejacket and drag dog and paddleboard ashore. Lucy was really happy. It’s a sweet stretch of sandy beach there and she had a great romp but when it was time to head back out to the boat, Lucy was quite unwilling to get onboard the paddle board. Finally, she sprinted down the beach and leaped on the board just as we had a good lull in the wave pattern. It was the right call on her part, we made it back out through the invisible breakers with out mishap. Hot showers for us both and a good night’s sleep before our departure the next morning for San Blas on the mainland coast. More great sailing with up to 18 knots of wind on the beam. We made it in 42 hours, arriving at dawn after the 2nd night at sea. Not bad.
After tying up at the marina, we discovered that our refrigeration had crapped out. Not our first equipment challenge of the season. In October, up north in San Carlos, as we were recommissioning the boat for the season, we discovered a crapped-out battery charger/inverter. Luckily, we still had use of our van and were able to drive back to the US to pick up a new one we had shipped to Arizona. Not so lucky with the refrigeration repair since we’re much further from the border. We heard that shipping to Mexico is unpredictable, unreliable and very expensive. The expensive part proved to be quite true but we were able to ship parts down in about 4 days. First the parts we didn’t need (bad advice from factory tech). Then the right part after the local refrigeration guy in La Cruz checked it out. Hopefully he’ll reinstall the unit tomorrow and we’ll be able to head on down the coast. Barra de Navidad for Christmas is looking like a good possibility. Mechanical issues aside, we’ve had a great fall sailing down the Baja. We’ve been able to hit most of our favorite anchorages and cross paths with many of our sailing friends. It really is a tight knit community of cruisers here even though everyone is often spread over many hundreds of miles of coast. But we just keep crossing paths with various boats and enjoying the time together.
We got Carmanah all sanded, bottom painted and ready to launch in record time. We had to work with head lamps in the wee hours though as the October day time temperatures in the boat yard got hot as soon as the sun broke the horizon.. Once in the water all was good though.
We hunkered down in the small mining town of Santa Rosalia for almost a week as the strong north winds blew. There we even white caps in the harbor.
The local Rotary Club in Santa Rosalia is built out of fir from the NW as is the whole town. In the 1800s they shipped copper ore to Tacoma and the ships returned with logs for ballast.
A “two margarita lunch” in Mulege with Pat & Celine of Voila.
Isla San Francisco with another spectacular sunset.
Donna steering us down the Baja coast on a lazy spinnaker run.
Lucy is completely exhausted after working the spinnaker all day getting to San Juanico.
The moon rise from the anchorage in San Juanico–Baja.
The Agua Verde anchorage just south of Loreto, Baja Sur. Easy to get to by boat. Not so with a car.
If we ever car camp in Mexico, Aqua Verde would be a choice stop—roads are pretty good….except for the last 100 yards. What a cool spot though.
Carmanah’s call for an afternoon bocce ball game on the beach brought some boaters ashore at Aquaverde.
An inland hike from the Mengles de Solo anchorage on San Jose Island with friends. The trail is a 30′ wide super highway to the interior of the island.
Vanna our wind vane steered for two days and nights flawlessly (almost) when we crossed over from Bahia Frailes near the south cape of Baja to San Blas on the mainland. Look how smooth it is. Pretty sweet.
Dinner at Coquie’s in La Cruz with friends from Ahelani and White Raven. Rick & Suzie had guests Bob & Beth also from the Olympia Yacht Club as well as their son Jake aboard White Raven for the week. Another great meal in Mexico.
Merry Christmas everyone. The central plaza in San Blas just getting ready to gear up for Christmas. In two weeks it’ll be completely decked out
We had a great spring cruising the Baja before hauling Carmanah out of the water for the summer (in Guaymas). After driving back to Bainbridge we dove into several boat projects on Restless. Although we went further north, the summer cruise focused mainly on Desolation Sound as the weather was unusually warm this season. We swam most days and actually caught salmon to complement the plentiful clams and oysters. Currently we’re working our way back to Guaymas to get Carmanah ready for launching and another cruise.
Most of the nicer homes in Loreto have fences but this one was exceptionally well decorated.
Lucy stalks a longhorn on the beach at Aqua Verde. Of course she chickened out immediately.
The big Ship Wreck party at San Juanico was a blast.
Donna throwing the Bocce Ball on the beach at San Juanico. A number of boats spent the week here for the annual Ship Wreck party.
Carmanah heading to the travel lift for the summer haul out.
Dad & I wrestling the old holding tank from the front head. It had an unfortunate blow out last summer. Restless now has all new sanitation systems.
Linda & I putting the bimini up after adding a 60″ section to the middle. The extra protection was really nice.
My sister Lisa and niece Karrin went on a Restless mini cruise in June after Karrin finished the school year at Western.
Lucy really liked the remodel of the flybridge.
They don’t call him “Oyster Bob” for nothing. A whole lot of Oysters were consumed this summer.
Restless stern tied in Tenedos Bay with Windwalker and Inamorata rafted on.
Emily & Donna basking in the warm water of Desolation sound. Water temps were in the middle 70s until forest fire smoke in August caused a sudden drop into the 60s—Brrrr.
The new lay out for the fly bridge was great for gatherings.
Dad & I on the beach at Port Neville just off the Johnstone Strait.
On the road back to Mexico, first stop Newport Oregon. Dinner at the Rogue Brewery.