Aboard Astraea

Invest in experiences, not things

MeMe visits Baja

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We were underway on December 3rd headed south for La Paz. We needed to be in Cabo by the 8th to pick up Vicky, (aka Sully’s MeMe) at the airport. Along the way we anchored in Los Gatos and Bahía San Gabriel, places we visited last season. On December 5th we were underway at 0900 heading into La Paz. We anchored outside Marina De La Paz and visited with our friends on Namaste and Worth Waiting 4.

On December 6th we navigated down the long channel from La Paz’s central anchorage to Marina Fidepaz, the Fonatur marina. Once past the anchored boats, we saw S/V Georgia aground on a sand bar during a quickly falling tide. They were navigating using their electronic charts that showed enough depth, but the sand bar had shifted. We tried to push and pull their boat off the bar but were unsuccessful and they resigned to waiting for a rising tide early the next morning.

We docked at Marina Fidepaz, but since it was Sunday couldn’t take a slip with power and water. We took the bus downtown went to the playground on the malécon. We noticed that the main road was closed off and then all of a sudden people started clapping and cheering. There was a bicycle race! We got the camera out just in time to catch hundreds of bicycles speeding by.

Hundreds of cyclists racing down the street

Hundreds of cyclists racing down the street

We walked down the malecón and found the race starting line and a band.

The bandstand for the race

The bandstand for the race

Sully thought the music was too loud

Sully thought the music was too loud

The next day we picked up a rental car and went on a mission to find a part we needed for the refrigerator. We spent an entire afternoon trying to track down a thermal expansion valve for our Technautics fridge. If we were in America it would have been easy to order one online and have it arrive in two days. Since we’re in Mexico it took an entire afternoon following leads from any store or service in town with refrigeration in the title. Without a car to traverse the city it would have taken a week of walking. I finally found a new Danfoss T2 thermal expansion valve, installed it, evacuated the system, recharged and the fridge got colder faster than it ever had before!

Once the fridge was cold we went out shopping for groceries and made final preparations for MeMe’s arrival.

Sully listening in

Sully listening in

We left early on the 8th for the drive to the airport in Cabo. We arrived early and went out looking for somewhere Sully could play. We didn’t find a playground and ended up going to the Soriana supermarket for snacks. Inside we found the deal of the year.

Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer for only 38 Pesos a six pack! That's about $2.50 US. Most beer in Mexico is much more expensive.

Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer for only 38 Pesos a six pack! That’s about $2.50 US. Most beer in Mexico is much more expensive.

With our trunk full of beer and some snacks we went back to the airport to pick up Vicky.

Our first order of business in Mexico was lunch. Last year we found our favorite taco place in Cabo. It’s called Tacos Guss. They have delicious tacos al pastor and all the toppings you can stuff on.

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Salut! Welcome to Mexico

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Our next stop was a hotel we booked for the night. We dropped off our stuff from the rental car and walked down to the marina area where we hired a panga to take us out to Lover’s beach to do some swimming and see Los Arcos, the famous arch.

Panga riding out to the arch

Panga riding out to the arch

Sully and MeMe are ready for fun

Sully and MeMe are ready for fun

At the arch

At the arch

Seals sunning on the rocky ledge

Seals sunning on the rocky ledge

We spent the afternoon sunning on the beach, swimming and playing in the sand. The water was beautiful and crystal clear. As the sun was getting ready to set our panga returned. Usually at the beach there are guys helping tourists on and off the boats, but we were leaving after they left. Our panga returned and the surf was bouncing the boat on the beach. After helping Natalie and Vicky clamber on the boat I passed them our stuff and Sully. On the ride back our boat had a glass bottom and we went by Pelican Rock where thousands of fish were swimming in schools. It was an excellent end to our time on the beach and a great start of vacation.

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That night we went out for dinner at The Crazy Lobster.

The next morning we packed the car up and headed to see the Hotel California in Todos Santos. We had to get the rental car back that afternoon by 1pm so our stop was short and didn’t get to see much of the town.

Natalie and Vicky at the Hotel California. We didn't check in so we got to leave quickly.

Natalie and Vicky at the Hotel California. We didn’t check in so we got to leave quickly.

We drove back to Astraea in the marina, dropped off our luggage and returned the rental car downtown. After strolling the malecón we rode a collectivo bus back to the marina to get Astraea underway. We navigated the narrow channel and picked out a spot to anchor for the night. Natalie made arrangements for us to swim with the whale sharks the next day.

After a quick breakfast, we dinghy’d ashore with our swim stuff and walked down the malecón to meet our boat and captain. We rode out quickly on a powerful little fishing boat to find some whale sharks.

Riding out to see the whale sharks

Riding out to see the whale sharks

I was the first one in the water

I was the first one in the water

Whale sharks are filter feeders and like murky water full of plankton

Whale sharks are filter feeders and like murky water full of plankton

Natalie swimming after a whale shark

Natalie swimming after a whale shark

Natalie and Vicky with a huge whale shark

Natalie and Vicky with a huge whale shark

Sully watched from on the boat and then said he wanted to swim too!

Sully watched from on the boat and then said he wanted to swim too!

Sully and I swam near the path of a whale shark

Sully and I swam near the path of two whale sharks

The gentle, quickly moving giant swam past. It was our National Geographic moment.

The gentle, quickly moving giant swam past. It was our National Geographic moment.

Natalie, me and Sully swimming with a whale shark

Natalie, me and Sully swimming with a whale shark

Whale sharks are filter feeders. So long as we stayed three feet away from the body and six feet from the tail we were safe.

Whale sharks are filter feeders. So long as we stayed three feet away from the body and six feet from the tail we were safe.

Like the fish under the whale sharks I got a confused little fish friend

Like the fish under the whale sharks, I got a confused little fish friend

Sully riding back enjoying the fast panga

Sully riding back enjoying the fast panga

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After our National Geographic experience, we met up with Sylvia and the boys from s/v Sangvind. Sully was so excited to see Jayden and Dillon again.

Boys and video games

Boys and video games

Jayden came over to play in the afternoon. Two boys sure know how to make a mess, but also have fun!

Jayden came over to play in the afternoon. Two boys sure know how to make a mess, but also have fun!

After three busy days it was time to get away! The next day we left La Paz and headed north to the islands. We stopped in a small cove on Isla Espiritu Santo called Ensenada de La Ballena. We had lunch and then enjoyed a quick swim before Nate saw a few tiny jelly fish.

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We made it to Ensenada Grande on Isla Partida late in the afternoon and Vicky broke out the fishing pole. She wanted to catch dinner, but was unsuccessful.

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Her first catch was a puffer fish. Not a keeper. It went right back in the sea.

Astraea at anchor in Ensenada Grande

Astraea at anchor in Ensenada Grande

Fish bones

Fish bones

Vicky and I took a dinghy fishing expedition and caught a trigger fish. I filleted the fish and Natalie made it in to tasty ceviche.

Vicky and I took a dinghy fishing expedition and caught a trigger fish. I filleted the fish and Natalie made it in to tasty ceviche.

The anchorage was really rolly when the winds shifted from the north to the west-northwest. We spent our time moving the boat around and exploring ashore to get away from the rolling. In the afternoon the wind shifted to the south so we went back to our original anchorage.

We scrambled up the steep slope to the lower fisherman's cross in Ensenada Grande

We scrambled up the steep slope to the lower fisherman’s cross in Ensenada Grande

Sully spotted Astraea

Sully spotted Astraea

Vicky at the top of the fisherman's cross

Vicky at the top of the fisherman’s cross

At the top with Astraea anchored behind us

At the top with Astraea anchored behind us

Playing on the beach at sunset

Playing on the beach at sunset

On December 14th we hauled the anchor up and cruised down to Bahía San Gabriel. We anchored out away from the long sand shallows and got in the dinghy to explore.

We cruised by the southern portion of the bay where hundreds of frigate birds were resting on a rock jetty

We cruised by the southern portion of the bay where hundreds of frigate birds were resting on a rock jetty

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They were everywhere

They were everywhere

We motored up to the shallows as close as possible, but were still really far from the shore. I hopped out to pull the dinghy and Sully wanted to help! He’s much more comfortable and adventurous around the water lately.

Hopping out in to the waist deep (on Sully) water

Hopping out in to the waist deep (on Sully) water

Shuffling and pulling the dinghy. You have to shuffle in the shallow water to frighten stingrays away so you don't get stung.

Shuffling and pulling the dinghy. You have to shuffle in the shallow water to frighten stingrays away so you don’t get stung.

Beachcombing

Beachcombing

Sully and his MeMe enjoying the warm shallow water

Sully and his MeMe enjoying the warm shallow water

The next day was December 15th and we cruised back in to the anchorage in La Paz. We rented a car for the trip back to the airport the next day. The road to the airport in Cabo is twisty windy and you have to be careful not to hit any cows or goats that graze along the way.

Mooove out of the way cows!

Mooove out of the way cows!

We were so happy to have Sully’s MeMe Aboard Astraea and were sad to send her back home, but we’ll always remember swimming with whale sharks and fun times in the islands.

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