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Gunkholing in the Sea of Cortez

It’s been a long time since we posted on the blog.  We’ve been here in Mexico since the first week of February.  We spent almost an entire month in the work yard.  Not necessarily because we had a lot of work to do on the boat.  It was so cold and windy!  We built the trailer last minute last year for the boat and the yard fees on a trailer are a whopping $3.74 per day more than the dry storage fees ($99 per month).  A mooring costs $3.33 per day.  Why not stay on the hard with hot showers, electricity and a little ceramic heater instead of freezing in 40kn winds?

After we launched we spent a little more than a week on a friends mooring before crossing to the Bay of Conception with Barb and Trent who own “Luna C”.  We stayed into the Easter celebration there and caught a weather window back to San Carlos by the first week of April.

One exciting experience while in Santispac- Our boat was hit!  Another boat dragged anchor and dragged down the side of our boat.  The owners were away in Mulege, tow other boats and re-anchored the dragging boat and I brought out my secondary anchor to add a little insurance since the boat was now in 60 feet of water.  The damage to our boat wasn’t life threatening. We had multiple gel coat impact cracks down the port hull and scratches all the way down.  The owner said they would take care of the damage.  He didn’t want to file an insurance claim.  I agreed to work out a deal with him instead of filing a claim- that was a mistake I will never repeat.  After an estimate of repair, we agreed to what I considered was more than a fair price for me to do the work.  The gentleman agreed.  He paid half in pesos and said he would transfer the balance once in the states next week.  Three weeks later I was still trying to collect the balance of the payment.  Finally it got a little uncomfortable when I had to threaten filing a claim with the Port Captain for a lien on the boat.

So my advice in the future- Always have liability insurance (cheap here in Mexico) and always let the insurance take care of the claim.

We’ve been anchoring in spots in the lee of the prevailing winds since coming back to San Carlos.  We may stay a couple days before winds change and we relocate to a calmer anchorage.  This year has been a VERY unusual year weather wise.  The long timers here say this is the coldest winter they can remember going back 20 years.  The winds have been fierce as well.  In the bay, there have been several occasions with the winds topping 50kn!  Today they are expecting winds to hot 40kn!  The water is still to cold for swimming.  We would normally be spending all our time in the water this time of year but the water temp is just barely touching 70 degree celsius.

I’ve been fishing a bunch this season.  I bottom fish with bait out of the dink.  I use squid that we buy and freeze as bait and it really works great down here.  I fish to eat not for trophies.  I don’t trawl around in the drink dragging lures.  I don’t want to spend that much on gas.  I don’t go way out to bottom fish in 200 feet.  I go outside of the bay to some reefs and drop my 12lb test spin casting rod off the rocks with a small hook and a 1 oz weight.  This year I have caught mostly Triggerfish.  Triggerfish makes excellent firm white meat fillets.  Pinto bass, croakers, and perch are abundant as well. I can scale and clean the smaller (around 8″) fish and pan fry them. Everything bigger we can fillet.  We’ve fed 19 adults this season off the fishing.

Captain Bob gave me a spear gun this season.  Captain Bob a wealth of sailing experience.  He still lives on his blister boat Valiant 40 and rows everyday in from his mooring at the young age of 78 regardless of winds.  He recently spent a few months working everyday in the yard helping another Valiant (Texas Valiant) owner refit their boat.  He has been having a little trouble lately- dealing with the untimely arrival of two girlfriends in San Carlos at once.  But the man can still dance!

I cleaned up the Spear gun and it looks ready for the big fish but I admit I’m not ready!  The water is just too cold.  My boat needs the bottom wiped down and I’m too much of a wimp to get out and spend an hour or two in the 68 degree water.

The south swell was getting pretty ugly outside the bay and we finally caved and decided to spent the last few weeks on a mooring in the bay.  We have several friends  on shore and it’s always worrying leaving your boat on anchor and spending too much time on land.  Our friends, Denny and Carla are letting us use one of their mooring balls.  It makes it very easy to get in and out to spend time ashore.

Hilary and I have been playing a TON of guitar this season.  We met another cruiser with a house here that plays a bunch.  He had a party and introduced us to a group that plays weekly.  We’ve been joining them and now we jam at the Captain’s Club on Thursday around 1pm for a few hours on the outdoor stage.  We bring the guitars to dinner invitations or parties “just in case” and always end up playing a little bit.  I pretty much have permanent grooves cut into my finger tips now.

This year we have seen more kid boats in San Carlos than the past 3 combined!  Our kids pretty much drive the social calendar now.  Play date in the morning, dinner at another boat in the evening, pool party the next day…I thought we went cruising to get away from it all?  Oh well.

We only have a few more weeks left before we head north across the border to prepare for a very busy work summer.  Hil and I have short timers syndrome and have indulged more frequently that we would normally.  That’s ok, we straighten up and act right once we cross the border (mostly).

You know an ICE COLD draft beer in Mexico is a very affordable price of approximately $1.25! Click Here to Buy Us a Beer.

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