Mexico 2013

Mexico 2013 Archive

Sea Of Cortez, Mexico

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SEA OF CORTEZ………..JULY/JUNE/MAY/APRIL/MARCH 2013


1st July  Santo Domingo, Bahia Concepcion

We motored ˝ and sailed ˝ way from Santa Rosalia.  We are now at anchor. We got hit with our first Chubasco (Squall) which comes over from the mainland (East). It is ofter accompanied by thunder and lightning. It lasted about 1 ˝ hours at up to 33knots and then an hour later we got a Chubasca from the South at 30 knots. I am sure the boat pointed in every direction. There were 11 boats in the anchorage so everyone was watching not only their own boat but those around them.

Next day everyone headed south into Concepcion Bay. Its nearly time to party!

Party time….get the flags out!

4th July!

Playa El Burro, Bahia Concepcion 1300Hrs....VHF Ch 16 “Attention Fleet, The Hotdogs Are Ready!”  So we jumped in our dinghy and headed towards the hotdogs. 3 Big Tents and a Pacifico Beer Tent. Geary and Sonia were cooking hotdogs for everyone. Everyone bought a plate so there were lots of salads.  Lots of standing/sitting/floating around talking and meeting other cruisers. Lots of beer drinking.  I should mention Geary is a legend around here and does the weather report every day on the Sonrisa Ham Net.  Every year, as cruisers head north he puts on a 4th July party.

This is Geary!  I love his hotdog hat.


About 30 yachts and some power boats were in attendance, all at anchor in front of the beach party.  Just after dark they let off fireworks 'Mexican' style. Some fireworks went up, then bang and....nothing.  Some fireworks didn't go up....they just went off.  Some fireworks made us wonder if they had blown themselves up.  But all in all there were enough successful ones and enough oohs and aahs to deem the fireworks a success.  Next show of the evening was Pit. Pit is an Australian who left home in 1994 and has travelled the world in 43 countries.   Along the way he learnt juggling and magic tricks and then combined it with fire to create a very entertaining show.

11th July

We hang around and visit some other anchorages in Concepcion Bay and then prepare for our across the Sea voyage to the mainland port of San Carlos/Guaymas.  We depart Domingo at 0400hrs and with calm seas and no wind, we motor the 75nm across the Sea.  With the fishing rod in its holder and lure trailing behind the boat we had  both success and failure. We caught 2 Dorado, and lost several. We caught and lost 1 Marlin. We lost 2 lures and 1 lure needs repairs. It was fun. 

 Then the dolphins joined us and once again we were having a totally awesome experience with them, as the boat steered itself on Autopilot and we hung out over the bow.  You can click here for Hyperlink to Movies  "Dolphins on the bow, San Carlos".

Dorado!

We left the boat at Marina San Carlos and caught a bus to Tucson, Arizona for a 3 night stay.   We need to renew our Mexican visas and will pick up some boat parts, nuts, lollies and other bits n pieces which are hard to get or very expensive in Mexico. It was a very successful trip and we get everything done that we needed to.

22nd July

Back in San Carlos and we are making the most of our Marina time catching up on some maintenance.  Craig is installing some cockpit lighting. I am committed to getting this website up and running.  Other jobs include fuel polishing, changing the coolant……getting some shade up, watching movies, drinking Margaritas….oh thats right they're not jobs are they?  We found the heat unbearable and we were unable to sleep at night until we went to Home Depot and bought a little window air conditioner that was on special.  Aaah I wish we did that 3 months ago.

LG - Life's a lot better with air conditioning in a Mexican summer.


JUNE 2013

Next stop Puerto Escondido Our sail north became an adventure as the NW breeze built to 25 knots and then kept going to 40 knots. We had too much sail out for 40 knots so had to keep pointing up into the wind. 7.5 knots sailing. Eventually it reduced until we only had 3 knots and had to motor. The Sea has lots of micro-climates so different areas do different things. It can be quite different to the forecast. You need to be prepared for anything.

Yesterday, Craig noticed a Maple Leaf 42 nearby. It was “Goldenheart”. They invited us over for dinner on their boat with Phyllis and Gary from AppleLima. I made a quiche to take. It was a good night. Phyllis was driving in to Loreto the next day so we all piled in with her. Yay....our first road trip. 14Miles. Loreto is a delightful Mexican town on the seaside. Baja, Sea of Cortez side. There are restaurants, cafes, arts and crafts, pottery. Craig bought a hammock so that he can hang off the boom and roll over into the water. LOL. He will have to put his beer down first.

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A day out in Loreto.

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8th June

Next stop Ballandra, Isla Carmen

A lovely anchorage. Banana pancakes for breakfast then off to catch fish. We came back with 4 Long Toms which are like a super sized garfish. They have a long beak with teeth. We tried eating them but too fiddly with too many bones. Anything that nobody wants to eat is abundant around here.

Goldenheart arrived and dropped anchor nearby. They are keen to go out fishing so we are taking 2 dinghys out tomorrow after Dorado or Bonito, preferable something to eat. It was fun. Got some strikes but Craig was the only one to bring a fish back. It was a Bonito. We had thrown a heap of these away but this one was going to be lunch for the 4 of us. Craig bled it out as soon as he caught it. Craig is cooking it 'Cajun style' on the BBQ. I made a green salad and Cynthia bought a rice/bean salad. It was a very nice lunch. I think there are nicer fish to eat but that was a fresh and healthy meal.

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Cynthia and Craig with lunch

Later that day, Craig wanted to go for a look around the rocks. We no sooner climbed into the dinghy when we saw dolphins disappearing around the point. So off we went, WooHoo! We caught up to them and then went ahead of them and let them pass us whilst we tagged along behind them. Some of them joined our dinghy – 6 at our bow just cruising along. Dolphins, dolphins, dolphins. They were quite large. I was watching them. I was leaning over the front of the dinghy, clapping. I was watching them rolling onto their side watching me watching them. We were dolphins...we were in the pack cruising along with them. It was the best ever experience. I was so glad to have my instamatic camera and Craig took a video on it as well. When we reached a rocky point we decided to wave goodbye and head back to the boat.

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We had the best fun with these dolphins.

11th June

Isla Coronados. 5 nights at anchor here. Lovely, calm nights. We awoke to a boat covered in dew which around here means “BEES”. We have not seen any rain since we arrived in Mexico and the bees around here can sniff out a tiny drop of fresh water miles away. We put all our screens in and wait for the day to heat up so the bees will disappear. We climb the hill but not all the way. It is an extinct volcano and the going gets tough. We left too late in the morning and it was too hot so we decided on a swim instead.

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Bluey loves to go hiking.

16th June

San Juanico Bay. 3 nights at anchor here. We went for a snorkel on the reef but visibility not good. We went for a dinghy ride around the beach, reef and rocks. We looked for Clams but we didn't find any. We went for a walk over to La Ramada Bay and went for a swim. Craig picked up a handful of Obsidian Stones, also known here as Apache Tears.

At the Cruiser's Shrine we hung my highly decorated shells painted “True/Blue/V" and on the other side painted “2013/Australia/Craig & Leanne."  The Tree Shrine was full of mementos from Cruisers. Engraved rocks, engraved/painted timbers, shells, a propeller, clothing, flags, bottles, driftwood etc. Not many cruisers carry paint on board so I would say I had a creative advantage.

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The Cruiser's Shrine

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Sunrise at San Juanico

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Kiwi Kevin and Sally on Entre Nous arrived to the anchorage and invited us over for dinner. I took a beef salad. Bill and Julie from Voyager were also there. It was an enjoyable evening.

19th June

Bahia Concepcion 55nm. Motored out/sailed/motored/sailed 1/3 way

We saw whales and 100's dolphins. I've never seen so many. It was a great day. I really enjoyed the sailing and dolphins. Now at anchor. A quick dip, a shower and enjoying my Lime, Gin & Tonic as Craig tries to log on to a flaky internet connection.

20th June

Santa Rosalia, Fonatur Marina 10 nights

We had a good nights sleep but decided to keep moving north to Santa Rosalia. We need better internet connection as there are thing we need to send, get done, download etc. We will be coming back to Bahia Concepcion for Geary's Annual 4th July party.

The town of Santa Rosalia is like a museum. In Australia ,we would put a fence around it and charge admission. This town's history is rich in copper mining commencing in the 1860's. With Mexican copper exports to Europe increasing The French company, Compagnie du Boleo arrived and purchased existing claims. They made deals with the Mexican government and purchased more land totalling 2317 sq miles. Wood for construction was shipped from Canada and Oregon, and plant equipment like rails, railcars, engines, vehicles, fuel etc was shipped from Europe. Breakwaters for a protected harbour were completed in 1922. An electrical plant was built to run the massive plant operations. The remains of which can all be seen walking along the waterfront. I saw one photograph which had 20 tall ships waiting outside of the Breakwater. Next time we are here we will visit the cemetery as the labourers paid dearly with poor and dangerous working conditions. 

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Its a very interesting town. A working town. Not a lot of repairs or maintenance going on.  In Australia, we would put a fence around this town and charge admission.

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We walked through town checking out the French influence of the architecture. 

The steel constructed church, Iglesia Santa Barbara was designed by Gustave Eiffel.

23rd June

Super Moon is tonight. The closest the moon has been to the earth in 20 years.

Not a lot of cruisers are here yet. We have met Bernard and Becky on powerboat Worth Waiting 4 and solo sailor Wendy on Willow. We all went out for dinner one night and stopped in for ice-creams on the way back. Meeting fellow cruisers is as easy as walking along the dock.

MAY 2013

La Paz again. Our cruiser friends Goldenheart and Reisender were at the dock to welcome us back.  They organised the first ever dock party at Marina Cortez. It was a roaring success based on the fact nobody was going home.

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Bluey at the dock party

I invited the Canadians Lee and Cynthia from Goldenheart and also the Americans Scott and Jerid from Reisender to an Australiana night. We served up crackers and vegemite, cooked up a Lamb Roast with roast vegetables and made a Pavlova covered in cream and fresh fruit. We found a bottle of Australian red wine and dug out the Australian flag. Craig put together enough music from Australian artists to last the entire evening. It was a great night.

Aussie night with 'Bluey',  Scott from Reisender & us!

Then the Americans did an American night. Fried green tomatoes, Devilled eggs, Pulled Pork & Jerrids home made BBQ sauce, finished with refreshing watermelon. It was all delicious! And lots of wine of course.

Jerid…cooking up a Southern Carolina menu!

The best thing for us was the Canadians then did a Canadian night – A Red & White theme of Salmon patties, Chicken and Red Pepper parcels, Rice salad with Cranberries, Strawberries cream and Chocolate + Baileys, Brandy and wine. Yum.. I so love it when someone else cooks.


OUTBOARD ART!

I decided to paint my outboard.  I wanted something Australian, us, True Blue V.  I wanted to have some fun with it. I figure I will be able to identify it if it gets stolen.

The Turtle is the Star of this Outboard!

Goldenheart and Reisender then put their hand up for a custom paint job.  Why not!

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Love the moose!

The Canadian outboard got a Moose and Canadian Flag.

Reisender wanted a Southern Carolina flag. They sail with 2 cats on board so they were painted on as well.

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The 'cats' are the Stars of this outboard motor

18th May

Finally departed La Paz. Anchored 2 nights at Carlita Pardida, Isla Espiritu Santo 21nm from La Paz. We went for a dinghy excursion through the winding passage between the 2 islands. We explored the sea caves. This $30m Wally power boat was also cruising the Sea of Cortez with a large White Boat. Both are owned by the McLaren Group (Formula One).

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Wally

20th May

We moved on to Isla San Francisco 44nm from La Paz, where we kayaked to the beach and hiked the trail up along the ridge line for a great view of the anchorage. We walked along the beach looking for Agates in amongst all the rocks. Then time to try out our snorkelling gear. We paddled over to the rocky point and saw a variety of fish. Water temp varied between warm, hot and cold. Visibility not very good.

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Isla San Francisco

We are moving north into the Sea of Cortez.

We stopped at Bahia Amortajada on San Jose Island. There are mangroves and a lagoon which we want to explore in the dinghy. Craig bought his fishing rod with a popper and we caught 2 x Mangrove Jack. It was great fun. We had fish whole and stuffed with rice and salad for dinner last night. Delicious.

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Having fun in the mangroves.

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Craig caught these 2 using a popper.

23rd May

Next stop was San Evarista anchorage. From here we did a day trip to Punta Salinas (San Ysidro) Isla San Jose. We had a great morning. We kayaked to the beach and spent the morning strolling through the ruins of an old salt mining business. There are a few old ruins of truck and heavy equipment rusting on the beach. Giant salt ponds are still evident – one which looks like a pink lagoon. We had fun taking photographs.

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Punta Salinas, San Ysidro, Isla San Jose - at the old salt mine

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Turkey Vulture

25th May

Next stop was Puerto los Gatos. We snorkelled the point before hiking up to the Fisherman's Cross that overlooks the bay. A highlight of this anchorage is the rounded sandstone boulders and pink sandstone cliffs. The views and sandstone colors were fabulous. Saw lots of dolphins – one or two were doing some great tail slapping. Just after lunch Craig looked out the port light to see a yacht passing close by. It was “True Companion” Darwin NT with Gravel and Nat on board, whom we had met previously in La Paz. Gravel did his Ham radio exam with us. Later, we paddled over to their boat in the kayak and played Grass and Farkle. Just before dark we paddled back and cooked up the 3 lobsters which the fisherman had sold to us earlier.

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Los Gatos

27 May

Next stop Agua Verde.  

True Blue V dropped anchor along the beach in front of the village. We watched the fishermen come and go, the kids splash in the water, the dogs play on the beach and the goat parade go past. We had sundowners on the side of the boat and ate delicious fish and chips for dinner. Nice.

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At anchor, Agua Verde

Up early. We kayaked to the beach and enjoyed walking around the rocky point weaving in and out of large boulders, like a maze. We went through caves, along ledges, through water, under and over boulders. It was great. And a unique experience. We kayaked back to the boat and watched episodes of Boston Legal.

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Mushroom Rocks

APRIL 2013

LA PAZ

According to Money Magazine La Paz is the No. 1 retirement destination in the world.  The marina is full of retirees living on their boats and enjoying a great lifestyle.  Club Cruceros is part of Marina de la Paz and they organise Ham Radio License exams, exercise classes, dinners, darts, pool competitions, learn spanish, sailing, charity events, yoga, arts, crafts and anything else they can think of.  At 10am cruisers meet for coffee and cake at the club house which is full of books and dvds to swap.  A morning call on VHF Ch22 covers arrivals & departures, lost & found, information & assistance, weather & tides, exchange rates as well as any interesting gossip happening around the place. Something for everyone!

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Along the Esplanade at La Paz

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Downtown La Paz

We want to get our Ham Radio Licences here. There is an Exam on the 10th April. If we have our licence we can log in, give our positions and participate. Without our licence we are only allowed to listen. Ham Nets are very useful for knowing where cruisers are, helping out in emergencies, providing information, weather, etc.   2 days before the exam we start to study. The exam consists of 35 multiple choice questions.  Craig gets 100%. I get....almost 100%.  

Time passes easily. What day is it? I re-program the ICOM710 HF radio -160 channels. At least half of the old channels were obsolete. Now they are up to date. I have Safety, Weather, Time, Fax, News, Ship to Ship, Ham Radio channels and we could travel the world with all these channels. 

Boat jobs are the norm as well as watching movies, TV series and reading books. And of course getting out and exploring La Paz. It takes us a day to organise our National Parks permit. 

27th April

Left La Paz today and motored about 5nm north to Bahia San Gabriel, Isla Espiritu Santo.

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Clean water, beautiful beaches, unpolluted bays… This is what we love about Baja, Sea of Cortez.

We anchored here at Bahia San Gabriel for 3 nights. Its great to be able to jump overboard for a swim in clean, clear water. Next day we get the dinghy in the water and go exploring. We check out a colony of Magnificent Frigatebirds. The male gets a big red chin/chest balloon when mating. It makes him look very attractive to the females.

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Bahia San Gabriel

This area is known for Coromuels which are a South Westerly wind that can arrive anytime late afternoon or during the night. Imagine being sound asleep and then a 25 knot SW wind blows up – that would be a Coromuel. On the last night the winds came in at 35 knots and the sea waves grew larger creating a rocking motion for the boat. We had our dinghy still with outboard mounted on the dinghy davits but at 2am there was an unusual noise as the stanchions gave way and the dinghy dropped. All hands on deck! With the wave action, the dinghy was now getting caught under the Monitor Windvane and would soon puncture. Craig cut it loose and we bought it around the side of the boat to haul it up on deck. Too much drama for that time of the morning. I was grateful that the anchor held.

We went back to bed....but had learnt some valuable lessons. We now take the outboard motor off before hauling the dinghy up on the dinghy davits. We also take the fuel tank out of the dinghy every night. All of this extra weight was a factor in causing the stanchions to collapse. We prepare the boat as though we may have to 'up anchor' and move quickly. In hindsight, when we looked at the dinghy davit setup, we realised this incident was always going to happen. There was not enough support there and a silly plastic fitting holding it together.

29th April

It was back to La Paz for us - to get the stanchions and davit support fixed. At least our dinghy and outboard survived.

MARCH 2013

1st March

Arrived Ensenada, Mexico! Its time to start being Cruisers. The Marina Office organised all our paperwork. A Tourist Visa and Import Vessel document. We stayed a couple of nights and then started our voyage south to Cabo San Lucas along the Baja Peninsula Pacific side. 787nm

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Marina Coral, Ensenada

7th March

San Carlos Anchorage, Pacific Baja Peninsula - The winds started to build and there were reports of a weather system coming down the coast so we decided to wait it out at a roadstead anchorage.

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We pulled into San Carlos Anchorage and had 3 nights at the open roadstead anchorage. We had NW winds gusting up to 45 knots. We put a stern anchor out which made the boat point nose into the swell – much more comfortable than being beam on and rolling.

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We are out of VHF range so I have been trying to use the HF radio on board. Its an ICOM710 and has been programmed with 160 channels. During the Survey the Surveyor turned it on and said 'Yeah, it works'. Now I was wondering what all the channels were and what time I was supposed to listen to them. We did manage to find a couple of Ham nets that we listened to for weather. Still its not meant to be a mystery – looks like I've got some work to do there.

12th March

Turtle Bay – 367nm south of Ensenada. As soon as the weather improved we moved south to Turtle Bay which was a lovely calm and protected anchorage. That means – a good nights sleep! A big Bay surrounded by desert. Not a green plant in sight. We fired up the generator for its first use – thanking ourselves for buying it as our batteries had been used heavily and must be very low. 4 hours on Bulk. Its great being able to top up – its like having Shore Power on board. Craig connected the Solar Panels so will now get a trickle feed from them. We have some big energy users including AutoPilot, AIS, Radar, Anchor Winch, Bow Thruster and Steaming Light. We run the Fridge/Freezer constantly. We suspect the alternator is not working efficiently.

We left Turtle Bay after a warm/sunny blue sky day. As soon as we got through the entrance we were surrounded by thick fog. We continued on, relying totally on our instruments. AIS, Radar and ChartPlotter. You really appreciate your electronics at times like these. The fog remained until well into the next morning.

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16th March

Magdalena Bay – 635nm south of Ensenada. Sailed/Motored 2 nights to arrive first thing in the morning at Magdalena Bay. There were California Grey Whales, seals, fish, pangas and fishermen, trawlers, pelicans and birds everywhere. We got through all of them and motored up to Man-O-War Cove and anchored out. A whale played nearby.

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Man-O-War Cove, Magdalena Bay

Craig ordered some diesel from the Port Captain who knew no English in the same way as Craig knew no Spanish. It was funny to watch but somehow they got their message across.

We untied the Kayak and went for our first paddle to shore. It is a little fishing village and the women and kids and dogs were going about their day as the fishermen went about their boats and nets. 

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This is the main street

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We sat down at WhaleBone Restaurant and had a Cerveza (beer) whilst waiting for some food to arrive. It was 10am. One of the fishermen who had come over for a chat called out to us “Amigo, Amigo” and waved for us to come and check out his catch of the day. Check the photo....he was happy. This fish was going to market.

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The fisherman's panga

17th March

Depart Magdalena Bay. 152nm to Cabo San Lucas. We pulled anchor and were under way by 0730.  We managed to get a weather report from the Sonrisa Ham Radio Net.  We are now heading south for Punta Tosca and once around that we straight line for Cape Cabo Falso. We do a big U-turn around the point into the Sea of Cortez and head north for La Paz .

We had around 20 knots of wind and sailed around Cape Falso, Cabo San Lucas. I saw a large humpback leap completely out of the water only a couple of hundred metres away. It was awesome. Boats everywhere, tourists, whale watching, fishing – it was all happening here. We decided to continue past Cabo and make it to Los Frailes anchorage (another 43nm) which would be protected in NW winds. There were whales galore, a couple of dolphins, seals lounging on their back with their flippers in the air, pelicans & fish galore. Sunlight was fading. We were motoring (with fishing line trolling behind us) to get to our anchorage before dark. We hooked a Spotty Mackerel and it was going to be fish n chips for dinner. WooHoo....welcome to the Sea of Cortez, Mexico!

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Dinner

18th March

Los Frailes at Anchor. This is where we start discussing the possibility of spending the summer in the Sea of Cortez. The idea is tempting......stop, relax, get to know the boat, get to know ourselves as 'cruisers', meet people, discover Mexico and then in November we could cruise south to Costa Rica and Panama....hmmm 'tis possible'!

La Paz, Sea of Cortez, Mexico Cabo to La Paz 142nm. 

Its a small world…...When we decided we were going to buy a boat and go sailing, Craig found a blog from BumFuzzle. It was an America couple, Pat & Ally from Chicago who had decided to sail around the world. They were in New Zealand. So he sent them an email and offered to take them out to dinner when they got to Brisbane. We picked them up and wined and dined them at Sitar Indian Restaurant, Albion. They hadn't eaten Indian food before. Fast forward 8 years and we are now in La Paz walking down the street when Pat and his young daughter Quest walked past. Craig and I looked at each other and said “Is that Pat?” Yes it was. BumFuzzle were in La Paz! It had been so long and they had met so many more cruisers they could hardly remember us but they did remember going out to the Indian Restaurant in Brisbane!

© True Blue V 2016