Thursday, 12 January 2017

Dolphin Pictures

In typical Minielly fashion, we brought our proper camera out a total of two times during our trip. One of those happened to be a day when we were visited by four different pods of dolphins. It was on our passage from Turtle Bay to Bahia Santa Maria. Each pod was at least ten dolphins in size and some of them seemed very eager for our attention. Here are just a few of the photos we got:

A little blurry, this photo was an instant reaction as the dophins behind us leapt 6 feet into the air

Dolphins next to the boat will often roll onto their sides in order to look up and the people watching them

It looks like this dolphin is smiling for the camera, but it is actually biting the one next to it in order to take its place

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Happy New Year!

Well we made it! I am writing this post from the beautiful Costa Baja Marina in La Paz Mexico.
It is hot and sunny:-)
Perhaps I should try to recap some of the journey to get here but I think this trip is a bit like child birth, once you have that adorable little bundle in your arms you forget how painful and challenging it was to get the little darling out.
The amount of rain we saw in this "Desert" surprised us all. Also the wind coming from everywhere or nowhere was not what the brochure had promised.
On December 27 we had an absolutely enchanting day surrounded by dolphins. We are talking hours of entertainment with dolphins coming to visit our bow and doing acrobatic leaps high into the air.
We arrived in Bahia Santa Maria at 2:30 am on Dec 28. This is a 10 mile wide horseshoe shaped bay with a completely deserted sandy beach covered in shells and sand dollars. There are so many sand dollars it has been nicknamed frisbee beach. Back from the beach there are sand dunes for as for as you can see and on the beach there is fun surf to play in. Bradley and Tavish had a great time diving through the surf and body surfing until a ray surprised them by giving them a bump!
We headed out the next morning to travel the 18 miles around and into Magdalena Bay. We put the fishing lines out as we passed out the mouth of the bay and had fish on the lines within the first hour. They were skipjack tuna or Bonito which we found previously to be very dark, gamey meat so we released them back. We continued to catch the same type of fish for the first 1/2 of the trip which added some entertainment.
Magdalena bay is famous for being a breeding ground for humpback whales. We saw several whale spouts off in the distance but that was all the whales would show us.
Once we rounded the corner into the bay we headed north up Magdalena Bay into the wind and waves. At this point there was talk of just heading back out and carrying on to Cabo but we needed more diesel fuel for the remainder of the trip.
We anchored off the little town at the North end of Mag Bay and it immediately began to pour rain. Seriously! This is supposed to be a desert!
We launched the dingy and headed in to find the Port Captain and hopefully diesel fuel. Fortunately the Port Captain happened to be on the beach when we arrived and delivered diesel fuel out to High Five within the hour. We had a quiet night at anchor with a few dolphins swimming close by.
We headed out at 7AM the next morning for the 24 hour run to Cabo. Again we were followed by the rain but the air temperature was getting warmer.
We rounded the Cape in time for the last sunrise of 2016.
The landmark Arches of Cabo were a most welcome sight!
It was amazing how many boats were already out taking tourist out fishing, whale watching and snorkelling.
We arrived at a slip in the marina under cloudy skies. The dock guy at the Marina assured us that it just looks like rain because it never rains in Cabo. Guess what? Yup, within 5 minutes it was pouring rain!
We all practically ran to the showers! What a wonderful feeling to rinse the salt and grime away.
This was New Years Eve! We rang in 2017 with our friends Chuck and Sarah who were in Cabo on vacation. We partied well past the fireworks at midnight which made for a very long 24 hours.
We had to say goodbye to Richard and Heather the next day as they were flying back to Vancouver. Unfortunately for them the sun had come out and was predicted to stay hot and sunny for the next week. They were heading back to freezing temperatures and snow.
We left Cabo on Jan. 2 with some additional crew. Sarah and Chuck joined us for the sail to San Jose del Cabo. What a glorious day! It was hot and sunny. The wind was behind us so we could hoist the spinnaker. Then to top it off there were whales! I'm really sorry Richard and Heather couldn't have been part of this. It was truly a day right out of the brochure!
We spent a fun night in San Jose del Cabo Marina with some other cruisers. Sarah and Chuck got a taste of the fun cruising life can offer, including a musical jam.
We sent Sarah and Chuck off on there own adventure to find their way back to Cabo, while we headed out around the corner and up into the Sea of Cortez.
for the next 2 days we BASHED straight into the wind and waves! It seems the ocean feels compelled to remind us that we should not try to have a schedule.
We stopped the first night in Los Frailes, arriving after dark and leaving, also in the dark at 0500 AM. The next day we saw more wind and big waves on the nose. We fortunately arrived at the anchorage in Ensenada de Los Muertes in daylight and were able to go for dinner in the restaurant ashore.
We again departed in the dark at 5 am. The first 2 hours Gary took the watch as we bashed into more wind and waves. As the sun came up at 7 am we ducked behind Isla Cerralvo. The seas were flat and the wind was blocked by the island. When we came out the North end of the island you would think we were in a different world the seas stayed glassy calm and the wind died completely. What a difference a day can make!
On our way into La Paz we anchored in Bahia Balandra for a lunch stop and snorkel. This stop confirmed why we had persevered on this trip. Hot, sunny skies, white sand beaches and gin clear blue water to snorkel in. Nicole got to try out the new mask and snorkel she had purchased in San Diego, finally!

Monday, 26 December 2016

Big eye tuna!

I am in Mexico
It is dark, and I am wearing my down jacket!

Bahia Tortuga

This is Janine's Blog

Ensenada to Bahia Tortuga
We were able get through all the official business of clearing into the country in a few hours. It was a gentle reminder that we are now in a Latin American country and have to slow down accordingly. We were told Enrique would be available to take us to the port captain and immigration in 10 to 20 minutes. After 50 minutes we asked at the marina office for directions and walked to the Port captains office along the malecon. It was a nice walk with churro to be had along the way. Enrique met us part way through our checking in procedure and made it all easier. We walked through town to find a restaurant Enrique had suggested for lunch, It was full of locals with very good food. Unfortunately while we were in the restaurant it started to pour rain so our walk back to the boat had us all soaked through to the skin. By noon we had refilled all our fuel jugs and tank and were ready to continue our journey South.
We have a weather service that we have subscribed to that advises us. There had been a low pressure system that was supposed to have passed by the afternoon on the 22nd. It seems it had stalled so the first 12 hours of this passage the conditions consisted of South Westerly winds causing horrible confused seas and pouring rain. It was pretty miserable on the boat with 5 of the 7 crew taking turns to feed the fish.
By midnight the seas had calmed and in the morning the sun came out making the misery of the first 12 hours a memory. The fishing lines went out and in under 2 hours we had a 20lb Ahi Tuna landed and filleted. Yum!!!! Half the Tuna fed all 7 of us until we were stuffed. The skies had cleared and we ate our delicious tuna under a blanket of stars.
We knew there was another low pressure system expected which is why we had timed our travels to reach Bahia Tortuga before it's arrival. The low pressure system arrived earlier than expected so the last 6 hours of the passage once again had us in less than ideal conditions with steep waves on our nose and pouring rain. Of course there was also the added challenge of avoiding the fishing floats set by the local fishermen. We even saw 3 of these intrepid/crazy local pangas out in these challenging conditions. The local Pangas (fishing boats) are 15 ft open skiffs with 2 guys in walmart rain gear blasting through big waves. So really by comparison we were in absolute luxury.
We saw a humpback whale doing very energetic tail and fin slaps in the last 1/4 of the passage. Gary and Bradley both saw flying fish and during the previous nights we had been visited by dolphins leaving trails of phosphorescence.
We were able to navigate the narrow entrance of Bahia Tortuga and were welcomed by the calm waters in the bay. The rain stopped, we set the anchor in 30 ft of water just off the pier. It was Christmas Eve!
The guys took the fuel jugs into town. It was a short walk up the road to the gas station. On the way back a friendly local with a Suburban offered them a ride.
Christmas morning we awoke to sun shining in the cockpit where we had pancakes and opened presents.
Merry Christmas to all of you.
We will be heading out again in the afternoon of the 26th. Our next planned stop will be Bahia Santa Marta and Bahia Magdalena 200 nautical miles to the South.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

From Ensenada Onward!

It is 9:30am the morning of December 22nd, and we're sitting in Marina Cruiseport in Ensenada. As soon as we refill our jerry cans of diesel and pack up our boat we'll be on our way south! It is still pouring rain here in the "desert" of Ensenada, but forecasted to hopefully stop soon. Our next passage is going to be 48 hours down to Turtle Bay. The weather forecast is for some squalls this afternoon, giving way to strong following breeze tonight, evolving into winds on the beam over the next two days. If all aligns in our favour we should be in Turtle Bay on Christmas Eve, hopefully staying there for our Christmas dinner of turkey and mashed potatoes. Excitement for Christmas has been building aboard, with the boys and Nicole opening their first present last night: a new waterproof bluetooth speaker! That should make the night watches a little bit faster!
We're not sure if we'll have internet before we get into Cabo, so this may be the last post for a while. We'll try to remember to take some pictures this trip and hopefully post them here ASAP.
Hasta luego,
The crew of S/V High Five

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Casting off

Somebody pinch me! Hard to believe but the hour has finally arrived to cast off the dock lines and continue this Southward journey. The hour is actually 1:30 Am on Dec. 21. Bradley, the last of our crew has arrived. The boat is loaded with food, water, and fuel. All the boxes on the to-do list have been checked. We will motor away from the very comfortable berth here at the San Diego Yacht Club  and likely continue motoring all the way to Ensenada as there isn't any significant wind in the forecast for tonight.
Our original plan of just a day stop in Ensenada has been modified to an overnight stop due to some squally weather from the South in the forecast. 
So away we go to Mexico!

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Relocation Part 2

The time is fast approaching when High Five will continue her journey South. She has been hanging out at the San Diego yacht club since August.
We kind of left the blog abruptly back in August. After we confirmed High Five could remain at the San Diego Yacht Club we had only a few days to get her property put away before we had to fly back to Vancouver and carry on with work and school commitments.

We were extremely fortunate and were able to get a temporary slip at this fantastic facility. This is a sailing club that is aspiring to be the best sailing club in the world and in our opinion they are doing tremendously well. All the staff are extremely helpful and friendly. The facilities are first rate, including a pool, tennis courts, excellent free showers, laundry machines. A beautiful club house with reasonably priced, excellent meals, a great selection of beers on tap for Gary and possibly the best Rum and Coke Janine has ever had. Rennie agreed.

On October 14th, Janine and Rennie Dennehy, accompanied by  their faithful dogs Theodore and Milo, braved driving through Typhoon Songda to deliver High Five a new anchor chain. The drive was epic with pounding rain and wind all the way from Vancouver to South LA. The reward of the warm sun in San Diego as well as the great facilities at the San Diego Yacht club quickly eased the tension from the challenging driving conditions.
Rennie and Janine had a list of boat chores to get through including:
Changing out 200 ft ( 500lbs) of anchor chain
Collecting the mainsail from the loft (it needed some love after the abuse it endured on the trip down)
Getting the broken boom replaced ( not sure we actually wrote about that, hmmm???)
And a bunch of other boat chores.
All this work was balanced by an equal amount of fun including a crash course in kayaking for the dogs. One evening there was a lot of excitement on the dock, turns out Jimmy Buffett had announced a last minute concert at Humphrey's Resort just across the channel from the San Diego yacht club. Well how often does an opportunity come up where you can just paddle your kayak over to a Jimmy Buffett concert? As it turns out the dogs were naturals at riding in the kayaks.
 The bay was absolutely packed with people on kayaks, dingys and SUPs. It was a very friendly well behaved crowd. Although we couldn't help but notice we were the only people wearing life jackets.
We had so much fun that when we heard Willie Nelson was playing the next night we paddled over for that concert as well. It was a much smaller crowd for the Willie concert which meant we were able to get in very close.
All too soon our time in San Diego was over and it was time to brave the drive North. Happily it was much drier.

So now the next leg of High Five's journey is quickly approaching, The crew will assemble in San Diego over the next week as their work and exam schedules allow. In addition to the 5 regular crew we will also have Nicole joining us again and her mom Heather. We are hoping for a warmer trip as we move south.
The plan is to leave San Diego on December 21 as soon as Bradley arrives. Probably between 1 and 2 Am. We hope to be in Cabo for New Year's Eve. This should allow for a couple layover days in some of the picturesque bays along the way. Of course as with all cruising plans these are written in jello and will be adjusted as circumstance and weather dictates.