THE S/V SHANASHKAT ABBY GOES SOUTH travel blog

This is it, the Cape. Cabo San Lucas. Notice the arch rock...

3 vessels leaving Cabo San Lucas, L to R: Main Squeeze, Buena...

Mountain climbers at Frailes (on top of the big rock in the...

The Main Squeeze, Buena Vista & Elusive at anchor in Frailes anchorage.

Nui & Marcel take off on a kayak adventue.

Nui, the new gin & tonic barmaid aboard the Shanashkat Abby.

Approaching our anchorage at Espiritu Santo.

Mother nature carved this on, Espiritu Santo, Baja California del Sur, Mexico

Isla Gallina near where we anchored at Espiritu Santo.

The Buena Vista at anchor at Espiritu Santo looking over the foredeck...

Moonrise through the standing rigging of the Elusive, Espiritu Santo, Mexico

Squid mantle that Marcel found on the beach and brought to the...

Shanashkat Abby at anchor, Espiritu Santo

The boys and their boat. Elusive in the background

Rock balancing act on Espiritu Santo

Three boats at anchor at Espiritu Santo. L to R: Elusive, Shanashkat...

Shanashkat Abby & Buena Vista, Espiritu Santo


Dec. 10, 2006

We left the next morning for Frailes (the Friars) anchorage en route to La Paz. While at sea, we fished and then went looking for a location that Marcel had been to before. It is a white sandy mountaintop called Banco Gordo. It is about 100 feet below the water and is inhabited by many different kinds of sharks. We got close, but couldn't find it. Since we had broken away from the group to locate this site, we had to play catch up. But the weather and sea conditions suddenly changed. The winds got stronger and the seas got bigger. The other three vessels were about three miles ahead of us and they went further out into the Sea of Cortez to get a better wind angle into Frailes. We took a straight track to Frailes. We were trying to avoid a large rock that is mentioned in Charlie's Charts and also on the chart plotter. The problem was that the GPS coordinates from both sources were conflicting. So we had to give it a real bumpy wide berth. The seas were slamming into the boat at times. The boat stood up well but the big ones made the boat shudder. We had to reef the mainsail. Reefing the sail means lowering the sail to make it smaller and lashing the bottom of the sail to the boom. We finally made it into Frailes around 1600 hours. We anchored and settled in for a bumpy night.

Dec. 11, 2006

We woke up the following morning with the intention of leaving for Bahia de los Muertos. But, we got a report from a vessel that was coming into Frailes. They reported that the winds were 20 to 25 knots with very rough seas. So, we decided to stay another day. We ended up staying a total of 4 days because of the conditions at sea.

During the stay at Frailes, we went ashore and looked for the restaurant that someone had told us about. We walked along the beach and found abandoned residences. We located a caretaker, Juan. We asked Juan about the restaurant. He not only told us where it was, but he drove all 8 of us there in his pick-up truck. We arrived at the restaurant/- residence that had a large palm leaf-covered patio with tables, chairs, beer cooler and a mini kitchen. Juan spoke with a gentleman there named Alvino. Alvino invited us in and we all relaxed with ballenas of Pacifico. Ballena is the Spanish word for whale. Pacifico comes in 325 ml bottles and 946 ml (1 quart) bottles. The larger bottles are called ballenas or whales. We also bought a few beers for Juan.

After whetting our whistles, Juan drove us back down to the beach. We gave him a nice tip for his services and wished him well. Walking across the beach we came upon a fish camp. I asked the fishermen if they had any fish for sale. Dave and Donna ended up buying a large grouper-type fish and they invited everyone to their boat for dinner. We decided to move the boat closer to the cliffs for better protection from the winds and less fetch. During the move, the windlass broke. The windlass is the nice piece of machinery that pulls up the anchor chain along with the anchor. Without the windlass, this had to be done by hand. I think it was the following day that we went to the beach for a sausage barbecue. Marcel, Lee and Nancy also went for a hike up the mountain that protects Frailes from the north winds and heavy seas. My bad knees kept me from doing that. A report from our weatherman looked favorable for the following day, so we planned for an early morning departure.

Dec. 14, 2006

We had to weigh anchor by hand. Actually, Marcel had to weigh anchor by hand while I motored the boat in the direction that the chain was going. We got the anchor secured to the boat and were asea before daybreak. We fished all of the way to Bahia de los Muertos and still no bites. I'm beginning to believe that all of the fish have left the Sea of Cortez. We arrived at our destination before sunset and set anchor. No one wanted to go ashore. We had no refrigeration, which meant no fresh food. We had to throw away most of the meat that we had purchased at Costco. So we lowered the inflatable and motored ashore. The only building at the anchorage was a restaurant/bar called the Giggling Marlin. We found out why the marlin was giggling. Dinner and drinks cost around $80.00 U. S. We returned to the vessel and retired. Tomorrow would be the final leg to La Paz.

Dec 15, 2006

We again weigh anchor by hand and were en route before sunrise. It was very dark because the moon had set and the sun hadn't risen yet. We had to depend on the navigation instruments to get us out of the anchorage and into the passage that separated the Baja peninsula and Isla Cerralvo. By the time we got to the Cerralvo Channel, it was daylight and smooth sailing. We fished all the way and still no bites. One more very shallow passage to go through and we would be in Bahia La Paz. The chart plotter indicated that there were buoys marking the passable portion of Canal de San Lorenzo. We couldn't find them. But we safely passed through the channel (canal) and into the Bay of La Paz. We found Marina Costa Baja and got assigned a slip. We plan on staying here for a month.

Before pulling into the slip, I decided that I would back into the slip to make it easier to get onto and off the boat via the rear step. I didn't realize that the slight breeze would throw a monkey wrench into the plan. The breeze pushed me away from the dock. There was very little room to jockey the boat around and I drifted every so slowly into several other boats. One of the boats had a wind vane sticking out. My 30,000-pound vessel bent some parts of the wind vane. I eventually got the boat into the slip with the rear steps facing the harbor (not the way I wanted it!). I met the gentleman from the boat with the newly bent wind vane, Jerry Murphy. He was a very nice person. I told him it was my fault and that I would cover the cost of repairs. He said that he would do all of the work and wanted me to cover the cost of parts. The cost ended up being around $675.00.

Dec 18, 2006

After three days of exploring the town of La Paz, Nui arrived for a visit. It was good to see her after a month and a half away from home. That night we went to Steve and Windy's boat for welcome to La Paz drinks and also to celebrate our fourth anniversary. Everyone was anxious for a Thai meal, so the following day Nui prepared panang chicken and ginger pork. It was a hit. During the next couple of days Nui and I explored the town with Marcel and the group. We had several breakfasts at the La Fiesta hotel restaurant located in the marina. We made friends with the owner of another restaurant in the marina, Javier, the owner of Gula. Nui even went for several kayak excursions with Marcel. Sometime during Nui's stay, I was able to locate a replacement impeller for the generator. What a relief!! Now I can make my own electricity while at sea.

Dec 25, 2006

Wow! It's Christmas already and I haven't done anything to prepare for it! Dave and Donna have flown back to California to spend the holidays with family. Nancy and Windy prepared a special dinner for all of us. She took the time to make a vegetarian plate for Nui (Thank you, Windy.) Windy found a carnacería in town that provided her with a rib roast. She and Nancy put together all the fixins' and made a wonderful meal. Of course, Marcel and I provided the wine. We had dinner on board the s/v Elusive. A wonderful time was had by all. Merry Christmas!

Dec 28, 2008

Nui is leaving for home today. All of us met for breakfast at La Fiesta hotel restaurant. Nui and I made pigs of ourselves at the buffet. Goodbyes were said and we returned to the boat. Nui and I took a taxi to the airport, had one last drink together and she left. I forgot to tell you about the taxi conspiracy at the airport. It cost about 100 pesos (less than $10.00 U. S.) to take a taxi to the airport. But it cost 550 pesos (about $50.00 U. S.) to take a taxi from the airport. Only specially licensed taxis are allowed to transport people from the airport and you must purchase a ticket from a special airport agent to take the taxi to La Paz. I decided to walk to the main street fronting the airport and hitchhike back to La Paz. I caught a ride in less than 15 minutes and treated myself to a beer upon arriving in La Paz.

The following day, Marcel and I took a bus to a little city named Todo Santos. This is where the Hotel California of Eagles fame is located. We had a couple of beers and a snack at the bar and explored the city. We looked for a hotel/motel to stay at so we could visit and spend a day a San Jose de los Cabos the next day. Hotel California wanted an arm and a leg for one night. The other nice hotel was booked through March. Marcel found a fleabag for $35.00 per night. We decided to go forward to San Jose de los Cabos. The bus trip took us through Cabo San Lucas and dropped us at the station in SJ do los Cabos. We went to several hotels and all were booked. We couldn't find a room anywhere and we surely didn't want to sleep on the streets that night. We returned to the bus station and got a return ticket to La Paz. We arrived back at the boat around 2330 hours and retired for the evening.

Dec 31, 2006

Look out! New Year's Eve is upon us. We all decided to participate in a boat-to-boat "who makes the best margarita" contest. Well, Dave came back from the Christmas holidays with a bug and wasn't up to participating, so Donna came solo and Dave's boat was quarantined for the evening. It all started at the s/v Elusive with margaritas by Windy. She also had prepared a wonderful spread of hors d'oerves. After two (or more) margaritas, we moved on to the Buena Vista where Lee mixed up his version of the Mexican Margarita. Nancy made crab cakes as hors d'oerves and we all slowly slipped into a state of numbness. Marcel and I left to prepare for the next round of maggies. Tim and Marilyn, our neighbors on the Merrytime, joined us. We served cheeses and crackers along with our Cadillac Margaritas. I think this was the location where all shifted gears and became pleasantly wasted. Steve and Windy spent the night in the cockpit and were gone by 0700 the following morning. Fortunately, we had spare blankets to cover them. Everyone else went to their own boats and all were aboard and asleep before the new year arrived. We never did decide who made the best margaritas. All were good!

Jan 1, 2007

The next morning found Nancy with that ailment that all expectant mothers experience. The only problem is that Nancy isn't pregnant. Oh!! Maybe it was the combination of margaritas and champagne that got to her! Anyway, she made a remarkable recovery and prepared a wonderful New Year's Day meal of roast ham. Donna and Windy made side dishes and again, Marcel and I provided wine. I'm beginning to think that they think we can't cook! Steve and Windy's children had arrived from the states for the holidays and were there along with Dudley and Jean, Lee and Nancy's neighbors. A good time was had by all (again!).

Jan 2, 2007

On this morning, we left on a short trip to Isla Espiritu Santo. We were accompanied by the s/v Elusive and the s/v Buena Vista. Dave was still feeling sick. (In fact, he had a fever and Donna took him into town to be seen by a doctor.) We fished the entire length of the 2 ½ - 3-hour trip. No bites! We anchored in Bahia Puerto Ballena against a red rock cliff face. Marcel and I kayaked to the beach and explored the surroundings. The following day we snorkeled for four hours. I haven't done this for such a long time. I was completely enrapt with the underwater world again. Steve and Lee left that afternoon because Steve had to deliver some kids to the airport. Marcel and I stayed an extra night and were joined later by two other sailing vessels. The following day, we fished our way back to La Paz, returning to port on January 4, 2007. Steve and Windy left for Seattle so that Steve can finalize the retirement process and tie up some loose ends.

Jan 7, 2007

Dave and Donna had all of us over for a spaghetti and meatball dinner. Again, the two who have no idea how to cook were asked to provide the wine. Donna's a wonderful cook and we enjoyed a fine meal. Nancy provided a salad and I can't remember where the dessert came from.

Jan 11, 2007

Donna prepared a Chinese dinner in honor of Steve and Windy's return to La Paz. All attended except for Steve and Windy. They didn't return. We were asked to provide a dessert! Wow! We get to cook something. Marcel made brownies and I brought a bottle of wine. The meal was very tasty. Donna had taken Chinese cooking lessons several years ago... and it showed! Thanks for a great meal, Donna! After dinner we called Steve and Windy and found them still in Seattle. Steve said that they expect to be back home (in La Paz) on Saturday, Jan 12, 2007). Dave, Lee and I began telling old war stories about the fire service. We finally ended the evening around 2130 hours.

Jan 16, 2007

We were supposed to leave La Paz yesterday but the weather was not cooperating with us. Last night a decision was made to leave tomorrow, Wednesday, Jan 17 but now it looks like the weather will turn sour on Thursday. The crossing will take approximately 30 hours, so we want a comfortable weather window. Oh well, no one's in a hurry.

Jan 22, 2007

We are still in La Paz. The plan was to leave on Sunday, Jan 21 but now that has been changed to Wednesday, Jan 24, 2007. Someday we'll be in La Paz. I hope we make it there before Carnivál. Mazatlán is supposed to have the world's third largest Mardi Gras celebration, only eclipsed by Rio de Janeiro and New Orleans. So if we leave on Wednesday, we'll spend the night at Bahia de los Muertos and then the following morning, we'll leave early to make the 30 hour crossing.

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