¡Viva Las Tortugas!

Kyber’s board sport of the day: Hydrofoiling

We bid our farewells to Bahía Santa Maria with one more kite foil and yoga session, picked up the anchor, unfurled the jib, and headed downwind to Bahía  Magdalena, known by many cruisers as “Mag Bay.” Bahía is pronounced (b AA – ee – uh) for all you gringos.

trimming the jib

It was a short sail but we were still able to catch a small yellowtail while trolling.

fish on
yellowtail!

Everywhere you looked were whale spouts and because we didn’t have a motor on, I was constantly worrying they wouldn’t hear us coming! After a few hours, we arrived inside the bay and dropped the hook. Home sweet home, for the next few days.

mama and baby whale spouts, direct collision course
Natural Mystic anchored off Punta Belcher inside Mag Bay
amazing yellowtail sashimi with ponzu and wasabi
I held my cup of dice up to Disco and asked for some black cat magic. He sniffed the cup, and then I rolled a Yahtzee… and then another Yahtzee! LITERALLY!
Nothing like almond oatmeal chocolate chip cookies to make any anchorage feel like home.

We landed the dingy on the beach right away and saw at one end of the point there was a fisherman village. I was determined to check it out but as I walked that way, we heard gunshots. Needless to say, I turned around. Best case scenario going through my mind, they are just trying to scare the birds away from their hard day’s work of fishing. Worst case scenario, they were doing some illegal drug smuggling and they didn’t want any visitors. Whether they were trying to scare the birds or me, I decided lets look around this beautiful beach and Baja desert instead. I found all kinds of tracks that I hope someone can identify for me! I’m thinking some kind of lizard?

remains of the whaling pier
any tracking experts?

Eventually I was just relaxing, communing with nature on the beach, enjoying the sunshine, and two fisherman with their white rubber boots walked by carrying a big bag of abalone they just harvested off the point. I said hello, and that I was interested in checking out the whaling pier remains and they said that as long as I stayed on the beach area, it was totally fine for me to go over there!

seaglass searching

The next day, Kyber and I explored our way down to the point, found very little sea glass, but did end up finding a kind group of fisherman, pulling their pangas up the beach. They had, of course, lots of sharks in their pangas. We talked and they said that they were happy to show me around the village. We also, of course, stoked them out with LighterBros.

Yikes

They showed me where the guy takes the shark heads and turns the row of teeth into the things you see in gift shops. It was interesting to see how he props it open and dries it out. I didn’t really like to see it. But I’m happy that they are using every little bit of the shark if they are going to be killing them.

seeing his work station in the fisherman’s village for making these shark jaws

I was impressed by their solar panels and rain water catchment systems. It was interesting to see how many villages, with barely any modern day technology, still lived off of solar! Honestly from my uneducated impressions, it was probably so that the lonely fisherman could charge their phones to call their girlfriends and families back home.

This was from the Manowar Cove Village, much more sophisticated solar and rain catchment than the fisherman camps

Manowar Cove Village

I set out on this journey, not just to enjoy the surf, sun, and sea, but more to do the Heartwood Path personal growth activities and to help spread environmental awareness. To go out of my way, to help the earth, and to depict the environmental stressors, from true first hand stories. This is not an article saying, climate change is happening, here are the facts. This is not an article saying, the water temperature is rising, here is the proof. This is an article, that hopes to put some perspective on the issues we face. That hopes to share what is actually happening to actual people. This is also a success story. Something I hope will inspire you to get out there and make a difference.

Old whale bones were all over this village

This is the story of Jose Banderos Romero, a local restaurant owner in a very small fisherman village in Bahía Magdelena. And by local restaurant owner, I mean… the ONLY local restaurant owner. Literally there was one restaurant.

Jolly Jose

As we charged it in the dingy in the rain and landed on the beach, it was clear that the livelihood of this town was the Fisherman Co-op. Many fisherman were unloading their catches, as someone manages the scale, and as someone keeps tally at a desk with an old school calculator. The main catch I was seeing was lobster. They were all so friendly and everyone was smiling and laughing.

We sought fresh produce for our next voyage and I asked where the fruiteria was. Literally the gentleman pointed to a man standing at the end of the road, who waved back, and they told me to go talk to this man. So I walked down the dirt road to the man and asked if there was a fruiteria and he said no. Slightly confused, I said, what about tomatoes? He shook his head yes, and lead me into what looked like a house. Inside were bins of, (standard fare) tomato, onion, jalapeños, and potatoes. Then there were about two shelves full of galletas (cookies), masa, and various canned goods. We collected as many tomatoes as we needed and went on our way, feeling very grateful to have found fresh produce, amongst a land of seafood.

This grocery store was actually shut down. The one I went into looked much less official.
The only restaurant in town, notice the whale bones.

On our way back to the boat, I saw a jolly man who had such a friendly welcoming vibe. I knew that the big town, Puerto San Carlos in Bahia Magdalena was a mecca of environmental organizations in Baja and it was our last chance to find someone to interview about their local efforts. I asked him if he knew of anyone who knew anything about the sea turtles. He then told me that he had been working for the sea turtle group for 15 years. So I began to interview him. THANKS to Dani Jobe for helping me translate and Nikki Cordero for helping connect us!

I wasn’t sure really if I was understanding what he was saying but I did know that he seemed to have a lot of information. He went on to describe that 15-20 years ago, there were many people eating and selling sea turtles, even right there in that town. (I’m wondering if he used to serve them at his restaurant I was standing in). He said that eventually a group named Tortugueros of California came to Mexico to help save the sea turtles. I know other groups in Mexico are specifically working to save the Critically Endangered Pacific Leatherback population which is on the verge of extinction.

Jose traveled to Cabo for a week-long seminar with the Tortugeuros de California and eventually the seminar participants started to inform the public about the issues with the turtles and the public  “started to help them.” He said that the turtle population went from 5% [of the original population] to 100%, up from what it was 15 to 20 years ago. He said that informing the public was amazingly influential. He said that now the turtles are abundant! He did say that they still get caught in the fishing lines which is a problem but that the population is back to 100% of what it was 15-20 years ago. 

The sand dunes at Manowar Cove

He said that very infrequently people will still take one turtle, and that it will feed the whole town, but that they are no longer selling the turtles. I am so inspired to hear that once people like Jose, found out what was happening to the sea turtle population, they stopped eating them! Then there was no one to sell them to, even if they tried! There are many different groups who have incubators for turtles and help set them free into the wild. But this was interesting that he said simply informing the public made a huge difference. The fact that people stopped eating them so frequently is a major success.

However the sea turtles still need your help. NOAA’s current threats to the sea turtles say they are: “destruction and alteration of nesting and feeding habitats, incidental capture (bycatch) in commercial and recreational fisheries, entanglement in marine debris, and vessel strikes.” WWF list of current threats to Leatherback Sea Turtles are: Habitat loss and degradation, Wildlife trade, Collection of eggs and meat for consumption, Incidental capture (bycatch), Climate change, and Pollution. Stay tuned on Livin.LighterBro.com for more sea turtle conservation efforts.

Pristine, untouched, wild

As for the whales. It was also interesting to hear that the past three years, they hadn’t seen very many whales in Bahia Magdalena. Something you should know is that “eco-tours,” which just means whale-watching tours in this case, is one of their main industries in Bahia Magdalena. When there are no whales for the tours, there are many people out of work. When he said that the past three years there were not many whales, that does not mean that they didn’t get to enjoy seeing them breach, that also means many people were unable to support themselves and their family, and had to find a different job.

Feeling so grateful to have such an wild place to do Heartwood Path Activities

His theory on why the whales didn’t come around was because of climate change. Now we can sit here and argue over if the temperature increase of the water for the past 3 years was due to El Niño or global warming, but that is not what I am here to do. I just want people to understand how JOSE and his community perceives climate change. No matter what, hypothetically, say that the sea temperatures do increase, that is obviously going to result in migration patterns changing. I just hope that this helps you put to perspective how rapid environmental changes effect a person like Jose. He has a small restaurant in a small town that is centered around fishing, and eco tours. Both of those industries rely on healthy ecosystems. Without those two industries bringing people to that town, people would not be eating at his restaurants.

Restaurante Miramar

While the whaling industry in Mexico stopped in the 1980’s, the issues they were facing, was more indirect. So what does that mean? When I’m driving my car? I’m indirectly causing the whales to change their migration pattern? If you believe in climate change, and that we are contributing to it. Then your answer is yes. We are all connected. But one thing is certain that without awareness and facts, it is hard to make people change their behaviors.

Exploring the Mangroves by dingy

Another topic we talked about with Jose was the Mangrove trees. I had heard that they were an eco-system in trouble. However, we took Red Rocket through one and it looked like it was not only healthy but it was thriving. That is why I asked him about the Mangrove population. Turns out that they were in trouble 30 years ago because people were using them for firewood. Once they saw that it was so detrimental, they informed people, and they changed their behaviors. This is another success story!

Thriving mangrove ecosystem

So what’s the moral of the story for the turtles, whales, and mangroves? Education can go a long way. And I hope that seeing conservation efforts  through Jose’s eyes, helps you to understand how to help inform others and helps you feel inspired. That helps you hear, not just a doom and gloom environmental story, but a story of progress, success, and hope.

el amor de mi vida

Cruising for a cause

After capturing this video, I truly felt like we were cruising for a cause. Sure, we were always living off solar and wind, traveling by the energy of mother nature, eating locally caught seafood, and making our own water, but to me, that’s not enough. To me, you can’t just live sustainably yourself, and you can’t just do environmental activism when it gets handed to you. You have to go out and seek it, fight for it, sacrifice for it. But I realized that, that’s just, to me. That’s part of who I am. I want to go out of my way, to make the world a better place for all beings, both human and non-human. I feel a deep void if I do not. A void that eats me alive.

But that mentality is not for everyone. And it doesn’t need to be. This video showed me that as long as you have an open heart and a true desire to do good in this world, opportunities will present themselves, that actually you don’t always have to go out of your way to be an environmental activist. That there are millions and zillions of ways to make a difference.

Whether you are a “Jose,” attending the seminar to learn how to spread awareness, or “la gente” (the people), who listen, learn, and act sustainably, when we all acknowledge the issues at hand and work together, we can in fact, “poco a poco” (little by little), save the turtles, save the whales, save the mangroves, and even save the earth.

🎶 Soundtrack:

“Who Knows” – Protoje

Next Stop Bahía Magdalena

Waking up early, but not too early, in a calmish Bahia Santa Maria, as we don’t want calm conditions if we are to be sailing south, further down the typically winy Baja California coast and wind power is a kind of free, unlike diesel.  So, well rested as can be, we rig the boat back up for sailing after spending some wonderful days enjoying the natural beauty of a splendid anchorage.

Disco cat inspecting the foredeck while sailing to Mag Bay.

By 9 AM the wind has already built to a solid 15 knot breeze and we raise the mainsail and jib in the semi-lee created by the craggy and desolate mountains which rise from the north shore of Bahia Santa Maria. With full sails up, the LighterBro Boat quickly takes off when her sails fill, and instantly we are cruising on a perfect angle out of the six mile wide bay, with a course set to clear the southern headland of the bay quite closely. Aiming to better investigate the windy side of the bay and what secrets its ruggedness might conceal.

Disco ready to get some of that Yellow Tail, I’m bleeding out in the bucket.

That secret sure wasn’t the surf, I couldn’t see any traces of rideable waves and the wind direction was straight onshore, shredding what ever swell there was into messy pieces. But, we did find the bay’s secret stash of tasty yellow tail and just as we cleared the head land of the bay we hook up, with the reel spinning off at a not too serious pace. By the sound of the reel alone, I know its no monster tuna, but still Paul and I quickly set a course to depower the boat and slow her down, giving us a much better chance of landing the fish under sail. When you’re sailing fast and hook up on a “trophy fish,” unlike a power boat which can quickly stop, throw it in reverse, making the anglers life easy to land that fish, there is no such luck on a powered up sail boat. We have to work hard on slowing the boat down from 9 or 10 knots, to 3 or 4 knots, to give us a fighting chance, assuming the fish isn’t too big.  So, we furl in the jib, bear away and get the boat slowed down, best we can in the fresh breeze. This slower speed, results in me rapidly horsing in a nice young sashimi sized yellow tail, on our boats relatively heavy tackle and we never even dropped below 6 knots of boat speed.

Fishing fever grips me and we head out to sea, once again on a starboard tack broad reach, aiming for what look to be the most favorable depth contours on charts. We never do hook up again, but time flies by when its great sunny downwind sailing and before we know it we need to tack, as the angle now looks perfect to sail into Mag Bay on port tack. However, for Courtney, the festive sea state has got her feeling a bit green and the tack couldn’t have come soon enough. We bang her over and the more favorable swell angle is instantly noticeable, not only has the ride become much smoother, we start to surf just a wee bit, hitting boat speeds in the low teens, and Courtney quickly rebounds into her gregarious self.

Heading towards the entrance of Bahía Magdalena with one of the fishing trawlers that constantly ply the Baja waters up ahead.

From 20 miles out we quickly approach the 2.5 mile wide entrance into Magdalena Bay, which might seem quite wide, however in reality, Mag Bay is near the size of San Francisco bay on the inside, meaning it is giant, so currents and sea states can be vicious in and around its entrance. But, as we approach the entrance we see pangas zooming by on the inside and multiple pods of California gray whales blowing their spouts, as well as a couple of treacherous wash rocks that extend into the sea a bit off the northern point of the bay entrance, but are well illuminated by the bright midday Baja sun.

No problem entering this large bay when the tide is flooding (going in).

We sail right through the calm entrance, on a perfect beam reach, the tide is obviously flooding at just a knot or two, nothing extreme. Rounding the northern point of the bay, we crank in the sails and head close to true north as possible. We get a little way up the long bay under sail, towards our destination of Punta Belcher, which lies around 3 miles up the bay, but the tall mountains which hold back the sea start to block the wind as well, creating intermittent calms, then overly strong gusts, so we drop the sails and motor for the last few miles to avoid any unnecessary sailing breakage, and since we are going to be firing up the engines to anchor soon enough, might as well warm them up.

In Blue Water sailing, offshore passage making and remote cruising, it is this essential ability to know the capabilities of the systems on your boat and employ them most effectively to get you and your boat to your destination in one piece. There is no prize for being the fastest, using the least amount of fuel, or claiming you sailed the whole way. The most efficient use of your systems will win you the prize of not breaking anything on the passage. Which is the best prize of all! Because, now there is no necessary boat work in an exotic place, no FedEx-ing parts to some remote outpost, only the typical preventative boat maintenance that never ends and you get to enjoy the fruits of your new surroundings to the fullest.

In the vicinity of Punta Belcher, our charts show unknown shoaling is common. The anchorage is a big sand point, with sands that shift around, but the sun is still overhead and the shallows easily seen and as the protecting land has lowered in elevation a bit, the wind is back. Scanning the shoreline with binoculars, it looks like the modest sized point offers some decent protection from the prevailing wind and swell in the bay, because just behind the point the swell is flat.

The turquoise waters in the lee of  Punta Belcher are indicative of a sandy bottom.

Down goes the anchor in 25 ft. of water. I drop the hook a bit on the outside of the lee of the point, because downwind of the point there is a lee shore of dangerous rocks and if Natty M were to drag anchor, I would have a good 500 meters more of sea room, than if I had thrown the hook just off the shore. I constantly try to plan ahead for the worst case situation with our boat and never take anything for granted. Especially in a new spot, you have never visited before, with unknown dangers.

The rocky shoreline below Punta Belcher is what awaits a boat dragging anchor.

Usually, turquoise colored water is a dead giveaway for a sandy bottom, and this time is no exception, as the anchor holds firm even under hard reverse in the strong breeze. I learned my lesson the hard way with dragging anchor, sailing Natty M a decade ago in the BVI and now I always set my anchor hard no matter how calm or windy of an anchorage. I want to know if the anchor is going to hold, but I will admit that sometimes you know a certain bottom is quite foul and then it might not be prudent to set hard, or even at all, forcing a dive to retrieve situation, that needn’t occurred. As they say, there is always the exception to the rule and its the experienced captain which knows when those are.

Over the brush and mountains is lies the Pacific Ocean

Upon gazing at the land my initial reaction is, wow!  This place looks to be really interesting in terms of learning some the history of our seas. This actual point, Punta Belcher, was the last whaling station that was actively functioning in Californian waters, only being shut down in 1982 by the IWC’s (International Whaling Commission) outright ban on commercial whaling.

Rotting remains of the whaling station at Punta Belcher remind us of the ignorance of our past.

Massive rotting remains of humongous concrete and steel piers, of which I can’t discern how they once functioned, now crumble into the ocean and provide a poignant reminder of just how giant these animals were they once slaughtered and how the time of people thinking, the supply of creatures in our oceans was endlessly exploitable is not that distant of a memory. And while whales might have transcended humanities industrial and economic necessity before it was too late for them and for us, as now we know the health of whale populations,  directly leads to a healthy ocean ecosystem. However, it seems the lessons humanity learns are selective, as I spy another panga, full of sharks of all kinds and sizes, go zooming by us, destined to be processed by the current, ignorant industry which now makes the point its base.

How long can this environmentally degrading practice of shark fishing, with no limits or quotas go on? The ignorance of today!

I cherish these sailing voyages, as opportunities to actually learn what is really happening in our world, unfiltered by TV editors, or biased “journalists” and I can’t wait to learn more and explore on shore and talk with the fishermen of the “campa” which now inhabits the point, 200 meters away, at the top of our new bay inside a bay.

Plenty to discover exploring the nice sandy beach of Punta Belcher.

Our boat is secure at anchor, so we set off for the land, which is covered in scrappy semi-green brush just beyond a nice sandy beach. We walk down to the rocks with mark the end of the nice sand of our little bay and scour the whole way for sea glass and other shelly treasures. We comb the sands in our bare feet and avoid exploring deep into the land with its deadly thorns being no match for our tinder gringo feet.

Most all of the plants of Baja California sport spikes and thorns aplenty.

We find just a bit of decent sea glass and are excited by the continuing new colors that are distinctly different from American Glass, but as we make our way towards the Campa, with the orange sun now getting low in the sky, gun shots ring out, then more shots again and I decide it might just be best to head back to the boat and sashimi up that yellow tail we caught earlier. No need to press our luck anymore on what has been a truly great day. Plenty of time to see the ruins and fishing village under an honest, bright sun tomorrow.

Nothing make a sailing adventure worth it like the enjoyment of truly good food. As well as being the captain I also enjoy being the cook and I try my best to treat the entire crew to the finest dinner every night. This is made possible by the LighterBro Boat, having a most capable kitchen, with even a KitchenAid stand mixer, Vitamix blender and also carrying all the specific stores and provisions you need to make scrumptious dinners. On this evening, specifically sushi themed, so sushi rice, rice vinegar, ginger, wasabi, nori paper, sesame seeds, a sushi roll roller, for sure sake, beer too, and we revel into the night enjoying the fruits of another tremendous day, which mother nature and our miraculous blue planet, absoutly smashed out of the park.

Alwas nice to enjoy the sunset in a new location, as the wind starts to die off for the night.

To top off a great day, the wind dies to nothing and the nearly full moon rises overhead, completely surrounded by a massive foretelling ring, together casting a most magnificent, magical ocean light over the rest of our evening and the entire gargantuan Mag Bay.

Ring around the moon foretells the weather is changing!

Livin’s EZ

Bahía Santa Maria

I love arriving in an anchorage at night, then waking up to see where in the world you are.

Stretching in the sun after his first 3-day voyage
Breakfast of the tasty fruit from the Ensenada Farmer’s Market

I looked out and saw how beautiful Bahia Santa Maria truly was. The mountains surrounding the Bahía Santa Maria. The topography, creating all the peaks and valleys. The texture that looks like a beige velvet, rolling hills and valleys reaching down to sandy beaches, welcoming sea-goers, with open arms. The shadows in the valleys and sunshine on the barren desert-like landscape. Powerful and majestic. The warm mountain colors contrasting the cool ocean colors. They taught me that a balance of fluidity/strength is crucial to a healthy life, remain spontaneous but do not get pushed around. Stand strong to what you believe in.

Taking a moment to commune with nature

I decided to celebrate the milestone along the Heartwood Path of finishing the Introductory Experience and to wander in nature, with no itinerary.

Kyber far off in the distance, I am always hurrying to keep up!

We kayaked into the beach and explored the canyon, I was attracted to the pretty pink flowers, standing out in the crowd of cactus. After exploring the canyon, we went up the trail to the cliffs. I was in a bikini and it felt great, specially since it is the middle of winter. The cactus lined the trail and I regretted wearing flip flops made out of recycled rubber, because the spines would go straight through the soles (confirmed). Even the bushes had spikes hidden behind every leaf. None of the spiked scene attracted me. Made me wonder, who would be attracted to cactus.

Cactus obstacle course

Ironically, later that night I read this passage in the book I was reading called, “The Power Of One.” “The Almighty conceived the cactus plant.  If God would choose a plant to represent him, I think he would choose of all plants the cactus.  The cactus has all the blessings he tried, but mostly failed, to give to man.  Let me tell you how.  It has humility, but it is not submissive.  It grows where no other plant will grow.  It does not complain when the sun bakes it back or the wind tears it from the cliff or drowns it in the dry sand of the desert or when it is thirsty.  When the rains come it stores water for the hard times to come.  In good times and in bad it will still flower.  It protects itself against danger, but it harms no other plant.  It adapts perfectly to almost any environment.  It has patience and enjoys solitude.  In Mexico there is a cactus that flowers only once every hundred years and at night.  This is saintliness of an extraordinary kind, would you not agree?  The cactus has properties that heal the wounds of men and from it come potions that can make man touch the face of God or stare into the mouth of hell.  It is the plant of patience and solitude, love and madness, ugliness and beauty, toughness and gentleness.  Of all plants, surely God made the cactus to his own liking.  It has my enduring respect and is my passion.” I found a new respect for cactus and deeply appreciated it the rest of our times wandering in the desert.

After about 10 feet from the coast it was hot- like really hot. Baja California desert hot. We kept wandering the desert terrain and came across piles of glass where someone had burned a bunch of trash.

Signs of possible sea glass below

Below that cliff we saw a cobblestone covered beach. We both thought oh, wow! Sea glass central! We scoured down the cliff and checked out the beach. I found three round gem-like sea glass pieces. I was shocked that that was all. Kyber didn’t see one until right before we left.

Success!

We decided to move on and continue our exploration. Back up to the cliffs, back up to the heat, back to a beach, back to the cool ocean air, and so on. Eventually I got so hot up on the cliffs that the next beach, had no choice but to jump in. It was a giant sandy beach with rocky tide pools on each end. Very flat and welcoming.

Not a (human) soul in sight

We went skinny dipping and cooled down our core temperatures. After drying off in the ocean breeze, we continued back to the boat.

Feeling refreshed and renewed

What a serene surreal secluded beach. Perfect. Once back on the cliffs (about 20ft above sea level) we were instantly back to being warm. Kyber stopped to watch a panga boat cross the bay and enter the mangrove swamp channels, taking notes. While standing still, I realized how hot I was, so I walked to the edge of the cliff, there it was again, that refreshing, reviltalizing, rejuvenating, cool, ocean breeze. You could stand 10 feet back in the desert and then back to the cliff… and wow what drastic vibes. Just then Nature had presented the natural attraction of the day. Crisp seaside air. The ocean was like a magical natural air conditioner for the Baja desert. Oh how grateful I was to find refuge from the desert heat, down by the sea.

Dolla Dolla Bill Ya’ll

One day we decided to go exploring in the sand dunes. We rode the dinghy to the beach. It was basically a large sand spit that extended out with the ocean on both sides and a little green folliage in the middle, but no land.

Interesting merging of many different eco-systems

On the way in we saw stingrays lining the bottom of the sandy sea floor… EEk. As we would cruise along they would spook and dart around like floating gliding hockey pucks. After we all three pulled Red Rocket up past the tide line all the sudden it was Kyber, Paul and I, no plans. And the words, “Ready Set Go” played in my mind. Go do whatever your heart desires on this vast deserted sandspit.

Vast and expansive, enjoying the foot massage while walking along the sand ripples

We all instantly started to beach comb and soon realized we had hit a landmine of every shell imaginable. More sand dollars that I had ever seen and the kind you see in the stores for sale, with the holes in them. I spent the next couple hours wandering alone looking for treasures.

Looks like someone is overdue for a wax

I found many shells that you could not see in Santa Barbara. I found so many interesting things I had to set up a bank for my sand dollars so I could make deposits once my hands got full. I did not plan to take all of these shells home with me. I just wanted to see them as a collection and create a little shrine. Also I wanted to show Kyber all of the treasures I found! At the end I would pick a couple that I could not live without. I really felt as tho I was depositing money into my mermaid bank. And let me tell you I was thinking, “I’m rich b****!” the whole time. Cash Rules Everything Around Me C.R.E.A.M. get the money, dolla dolla bill ya’ll.

My Mermaid Safety Deposit Box

I also started to collect a lot of trash as well. I started using an old soda liter bottle to carry my sand dollars to my bank.

I then realized how useful some of the trash I found on the beach could be. And that I would not just bring it back to the boat to throw it away or recycle it, I could actually repurpose the liter on the beach. It got me thinking about how there are so many treasures you could find on the beach, not just pretty sea shells.

Took three for the sea!

The biggest natural attraction of many was the soft dry sand that made it feel like you were floating as you walked. the warmest, fluffiest, softest, sand I had ever walked on.

Light and Fluffy

Later we went for a dinghy ride in the mangrove swamps. Very cool maze in 0-3-6ft of water with beautiful peelers at the river mouth. As we entered into the mangroves we saw a fisherman camp along the banks.

Mangroves bound

We stopped to give them some LighterBros. The men were unloading their catches of the day. As I peer into their panga I was very surprised to see it was all sharks. About 3-4ft long. Then… get this, he takes the shark out of the panga and just in the blink of an eye, slices the fin right off and places it into a special box that helps preserve it correctly so they could sell it. Unlike many of the fisherman in the world, he continued to fillet the shark and save it to sell the meat. He would toss the waste back into the water, explaining the swarming birds circling above, now fighting over the scraps. He had the biggest smile on his face.

Shocking.

It was in that moment that I realized he is not the issue. The fishermen who are catching the sharks for the fins are not the issue. The issue is the people who are buying them. And the biggest issue is the people who are then eating them. Surrounding the panga was an entire village of people. Many of the men dressed in their waterproof white boots and waterproof overalls, clearly “pescaderos.” The children all run around playing. The women sit chatting and some cooking in the kitchen. These men are just trying to feed their families. It was an important lesson that if there is a market to buy things, people are going to provide it. The providers are not the real issue. It is the people who are supporting that economy.

As an environmentalist it would be easy to do a story on how horrible these fisherman are… “look and what they just did to the shark!” But standing there as he over and over sliced the sharks fin off, I did not have those feelings. Not one single bit. You read about the die-hard environmentalists doing sit-ins and protesting but I now have a new take on that sort of activism. There is more than what meets the eye. You have to think about the big picture, the grand scheme of things, and address the root of the problem.

Always the first place I look for him after returning to the boat

The rest of the days we were simply spent EZ livin… LighterBro.

Yoga mat with a view
Kyber doing his daily board sport and earning brownie points 😍
Looking like a true ship cat, Discs
🎶 Soundtrack:

Hawaiian Tribute to Sublime -Livin’s Ez

 

Bahía Santa María

The 6 mile wide entrance to Bahia Santa Maria makes entering even at night quite easy.

Well, we didn’t quite sail to summer on our first shot, but 600 sea miles and 2/3 of the way down the windy Baja California Peninsula we “felt” our way in and dropped anchor in the dead of a pitch black night, in Bahia Santa Maria, in 30ft of 68-degree water. It might not be tropical water, but at least we’re doing better than the 58-degree water temps we left back home. It was my first time to this remote yet semi-famous bay, as the 100+ boats of the annual Baha Haha cruising rally stop here each year to party in the desolation, on their way down, filling its vast emptiness, just a wee bit, for a short time. It is always an intense and heightened experience coming into an unknown bay or anchorage for the first time at night, especially with no moon shining. Even with modern electronics, which put a radar overlay on the GPS chart plotter, it can be harrowing, however this bay seemed to have plenty of room for us and with our anchor holding solid on our first set, in what seemed to be sand, with no other boats close to us at all, I knew I could rest easy for the first time in five long days. The LighterBro Boat was secure and after a brief time decompressing, enjoying our new found stillness, sitting alone in the cockpit, marveling at the billions of stars, visible both above and below, as they twinkled, reflecting off the mirrored still waters of bay, I joined Courtney sound asleep in bed below and slept well, but mostly finally longer than four hours in a row, in a truly placid, sheet glass anchorage.

Disco cat sleeping in the bright sun of Bahia Santa Maria
Disco cat sleeping in the bright sun of Bahia Santa Maria after the windy trip down.

Arising late, awakened by the glare of the fierce Baja desert sun and the heat of even a winter’s Baja day, I shake off the weariness of coming back form a sleep deprived state of being. Coffee is in my hand and caffeine quickly invades my arteries, as I admire the overly spacious Bahia Santa Maria and its still glassy conditions. I see where the row of pongas (narrow, but long, small Mexican fishing boats with outboard motors) were anchored last night and spy another cruising power boat at anchor, which turns out to be just one of our many encounters with Boppy’s Star along this watery road. We had bid farewell to them, when they departed Ensenada a few days before us on New Year’s Eve and now we had caught up. For exactly the opposite of us, they had been waiting for the wind and sea to calm down before heading further south, reducing the roll and increasing the comfort of their down hill ride.

Plenty of room between the LighterBro Boat and Boppy's Star in spacious Bahia Santa Maria.
Plenty of room between the LighterBro Boat and Boppy’s Star in spacious Bahia Santa Maria.

When boating at night, everything looks much closer than it really is and from experience, I knew I wasn’t that close to the other boats anchored in the bay, but now, illuminated by daylight, I was truly way far away from them, because Bahia Santa Maria is huge! It is shaped like a perfect small bay, but on steroids, 9 NM across to the exposed side, 4 NM deep and truly vast. We picked an ok spot to anchor in the middle of the night, but it was probably not the best spot should the wind decide to blow again, which you know it will soon again in Baja and we were far away from what looked like some cool land, hills and mountains to explore on shore.

Looking across the vast Bahia Santa Maria to the other side, with Natty M and a local ponga
Now anchored closer to the north shore and looking across vast Bahia Santa Maria to the other side, with Natty M and a local ponga zooming by.

Weighing anchor and moving closer to the land on the north side of the bay for exploring and hopefully a bit more shelter should a good blow put in. Our twin yellow kayaks are launched and Courtney and I set off to explore the land.

The dry Baja desert is punctuated with areas of bright colorful plants and flowerrs. However most all have deadly spikes and thorns!
The dry Baja desert is punctuated with areas of bright colorful plants and flowerrs. However most all have deadly spikes and thorns!

The stark beauty of Baja never ceases to amaze me, thorny, spiky plants, but beautiful, colorful flowers top many of them, with historically old trash from ancient camp sites scattered here and there and I’m in love with the rawness of it all!

I always hike in the Baja Desert with my LighterBro MultiTool for saftey & survival, with a knife & fire in one compact tool, I'm prepared for any emergency.
I always hike in the Baja Desert with my LighterBro MultiTool for saftey & survival, with a knife & fire in one compact tool, I’m prepared for any emergency.

Combing the beach, below an old trash pile, we discover our first sea glass of the trip and are thrilled at the find. For, we enjoy collecting the manmade, but nature polished jewels and something about the idea of the nostalgia of a time, when the trash of society was beyond benign, actually transforming into shimmering, frosted points of nontoxic colorful beauty for our world over time. How do we go back from the polluting plastic of today which is exactly the opposite?

Discovered sea glass jewels offer the perfect backdrop for a LighterBro MultTool photo shoot.
Discovered sea glass jewels offer the perfect backdrop for a LighterBro MultTool photo shoot.

We also encounter our first perfect deserted beaches of the trip, which are ideal for cooling down after a dry and dusty Baja hike. We meet just one friendly local fisherman along the way, who is collecting whelks, a type of sea snails used for lobster bait. He probes the nooks and crannies of the tide pools, using a long metal stick with a hook for an end, which appears to be hammered and formed out of rusty rebar. Probing the cobble rocks, he deftly hooks them, then flicks them into his hand crafted bicycle rim ringed, mesh basket, quickly filling it. He informs us there is a fishing collective or “campa” up the mangrove estuary, who’s entrance through the surf at the head of the bay is still a mystery to us, yet exists, as we have now seen multiple pongas go slowly through the small waves, only to speed off again, vanishing into the dense mangrove swamp.

An areal view of the entrance to the green mangrove swamp of Bahia Santa Maria.
An areal view of the entrance to the green mangrove swamp of Bahia Santa Maria and its winding waterways.

We decide to investigate, for amazingly this mangrove estuary at the north of the bay, is the furthest north in the entire Pacific Ocean strand of mangroves that exists in our world and is a critically threatened habitat that is disappearing. Awareness needs to be made that pollution and population expansion need to be more effectively combated by whatever means available, to protect these sensitive areas, which contain so much unique biodiversity and are a protective nursery for many spices of infant marine life.

Nothing exemplfies Baja California's wildness, like the silhouette of a lone coyote searching the Bahia Santa Maria sand dunes for dinner.
Nothing exemplfies Baja California’s wildness, like the silhouette of a lone coyote searching the Bahia Santa Maria sand dunes for dinner.

Thankfully Baja’s vast distances, wide open spaces and inhospitable terrain help to geographically isolate many of these sensitive areas and keep wildness within the land.

After a day of tranquil calm, the great windy Baja blow did come, but a solid 20-25 knots of wind is only going to want to make me go kiteboarding since the surf and swell are all flat and even surf exploring is out of the question, with only ankle high waves rolling through on the outside of the bay. I grabbed the hydrofoil that I kite race on in Santa Barbara, rigged my smallest 7-meter kite that I haven’t used in way too long and proceeded to try to launch it and myself off the back of the LighterBro Boat in very windy, gusty conditions. Our catamaran is 25’ wide and it allows me to string my kite lines around her parameter to launch the kite, as I pay it out downwind. With everyone’s help to make sure the lines don’t snag on anything, as we payed out the kite on the water, downwind of the boat. It goes out ok, but one of the five lines is hooked up incorrectly, so I swim out, retie it, swim back and its all good to go. I launch the kite, quickly get my foilboard under me and soon I’m silently gliding across the bay, with my board a full meter above the choppy water, in the gusty, dry wind, with my 7m kite bobbing all over the place like a jelly fish in the strong gusts. But its fucking great! The feeling of hover-boarding exits today and its epic! Only, it is just on water, with a hydrofoil and I cruise around the bay and past a few of the other cruising boats that have now shown up, seeking shelter from the blow. One cruising sailboat in particular, has launched their dingy and a man is rowing into the wind, making no headway whatsoever, apparently for no reason whatsoever, other than to get some exercise and probably enjoying being off his boat for a little bit, even if it is in, a smaller boat.

I also began my quest to learn how to ride a foil surfboard in Bahia Santa Maria. Easy at first when you are towed behind a boat.
I also began my quest to learn how to ride a foil surfboard in Bahia Santa Maria. Easy at first when you are towed behind a boat, but that is not reality, its extremely hard.

The kite session lasts for a good two hours of zooming for miles, nearly across the entire bay, all by myself and I absolutely love it. Upwind, downwind, sidewind, whatever wind, on a foilboard its just no problem. You can go wherever you want, silently, at 25 knots easy, powered only by Mother Nature. By foil, I was able to see yellow sand dunes that stretch for miles along the rugged shoreline of the far side of the bay and spied possibly even it’s fabled left point break, all blown out with the normal Baja wind direction. Too much fun on the water, back on the boat, still cold Pacificos and a smiling, warm girlfriend to celebrate the sunset with after a great day in Bahia Santa Maria! This is what life is about, this is why I love to do this, it is the days like these, and there can never be enough of them to remember at the end.

Beach combing the gigantic beach at low tide in Bahia Santa Maria, as one of the deep channels which drains the estuary is exposed.
Beach combing the gigantic beach at low tide in Bahia Santa Maria, as one of the deep channels which drains the estuary is exposed.

Gradually we get into the groove of Bahia Santa Maria, we enjoy the strong wind, it powers our boat after all through our spinning wind generator, we learn the tricky entrance into the mangrove swamp, through the breaking waves in Red Rocket dingy, with her engine kicked up a bit to avoid the shoals.

Disco is through the surf line and ready to explore the beach fishing shacks before we enter the mangrove swamp.
Disco is through the surf line and ready to explore the beach fishing shacks before we enter the mangrove swamp.

Which leads us to start exploring the huge beach, with its unbelievable assortment of colorful sea shells, wild animals and eventually into the scary mangrove swamp.

Some of the beautiful sea shells and sand dollars found on the beach of Bahia Santa Maria.
Some of the beautiful sea shells and sand dollars found on the beach.

As we penetrated the tricky surf line, aided by the clear water and encouraged by the sandy bottom, so if we did strike ground the propeller should still be ok, we discovered it wasn’t too hard to stick to the deeper channel we could just descern.

Cruising the wide main channel of the mangrove swamp in Bahia Santa Maria.
Cruising the wide main channel of the mangrove swamp in Bahia Santa Maria.

Soon past the beach fishing huts, we’re into the wide main channel of the swamp, where it’s deep and we roared though, or maybe rather cruised through, while the pongas who know these narrow waterways, loaded with shallow spots and dangerous submerged tree branches absolutely roared through at full speed, often kicking up a hefty rooster tail, which exceeded the height of the mangroves themselves.

Frigate birds diving for the discarded shark entrails.
Frigate birds diving for the discarded shark entrails.

Stopping first at the fishing huts we saw mostly sharks that had been the day’s catch being gutted and prepared for market. As frigate birds soared above, watching keenly for scraps to eat, diving bravely for them just over our heads, the fishermen meticulously sharpened their knifes until they could effortlessly slice the fins off hammer heads, makos, blue sharks, both big and puny, in one swift stoke of their fillet knife. They told us the sharks will all be eaten, not just the fins, and the birds get the guts, which is the only waste.

A proud fisherman of Baha Santa Maria displays just one of the many sharks he caught, while taking a break from sharpining his fillet knife.
A proud fisherman of Baha Santa Maria displays just one of the many sharks he caught, while taking a break from sharpining his fillet knife.

There is no way a person like myself, a privileged first world citizen, can complain to these fisher people, living in beach huts and swamp shacks, with no electricity, that shark fishing is bad and they should stop. They are only just getting by, in poverty conditions, trying to feed their shoeless kids and doing what mankind has always done, harvesting from the sea. It is not telling these people to stop shark fishing, that is going to end the environmentally damaging problem of shark fishing which is throwing ecosystems off balance world wide. Only by removing their markets and access to both the legal and black markets which exist to fund their operations, while offering them a new opportunity to earn a living, like eco tourism, such as whale watching to replace their lost income that will help solve the shark fishing problem. But in a place like Bahia Santa Maria where there is no tourism, then what? It is a question, I wish, I could find an answer for.

Exiting through the surf on the bar to the entrance of the mangrove swamp is kind of tricky in Bahia Santa Maria.
Exiting through the surf on the bar to the entrance of the mangrove swamp is kind of tricky in Bahia Santa Maria.

But, lobster is sustainable and even in Mexico there is a season, with minimum size limits and we meet some of the lobster trap fishermen who live way up the mangrove swamp in their “campa” and they stop by our boat in the morning by ponga and we trade them some batteries and LighterBro® Multitools in exchange for a scrumptious live lobster dinner. Perfect, as the Ahi tuna we hooked upon arrival is just about out, so time to switch to lobster. Sometimes the ocean throws storms at you and sometimes it throws seafood. I’m always shooting for more of the latter.

All in all, Bahia Santa Maria is an exemplary anchorage! Calm, sheltered water in strong winds, good holding, friendly inhabitants, yet mostly deserted, great hiking, beach combing, sea shelling, and mangrove swamp running. But, sadly our time was up, it was looking like our next stop was just a short day sail away to Bahia da Magdalena, so on another beautiful Baja morning, with a steady northwest wind blowing, we departed in search of new adventure, having learned new lessons in the ways of our world, in our too short four days anchored in Bahia Santa Maria and for sure on our way out, I’m going to sail by the south point of the bay to look for that mysto left point break again.

Starry Nights

Driving out of the Ensenada Cruiseport Village

We set out from Ensenada. All we knew was south, sail south. I heard talks about stopping in San Quentin and various islands, etc. but we had no agenda, no itinerary. Days went by and we are still sailing. Sailing fast. We were making excellent progress down the Baja California coast. Paul and Kyber were switching off, 4 hour shifts.

Under sail full speed ahead

It was exhilarating when we would go past 10 knots, which we did quite a bit, fun between 7-10 knots and serene between 3-7. My favorite time at sea was the nighttime. All you saw was blue, 50 shades of blue. The moon, stars, and occasional white caps were white but other than that, the most amount of variation of one color you could ever imagine. The clouds were even a shade of blue. Midnight blue was the ocean.

The thing that kept catching my eye every single night was Mars and Venus, shining ever so bright, steady, solid, powerful. We talked about how those are our neighbors and how we fit right in between the those two planets. Just at that moment, we got a puff and Natural Mystic was surfing the swell. I felt like we were being carried very fast through outer space and headed directly  between those two planets. Then it hit me, we are. We just don’t notice that we are all on this planet swirling and twirling throughout our galaxy, the Milky Way.

Yellowfin Tuna we caught trolling

When I did the Heartwood Path Activity about the 54 Natural Senses, some of the senses at the time might as well have been locked. I could not even imagine what they felt like. So I began looking at the natural sense list and I realized, here, out at sea, just me, my love, and my cat, I was able to activate incredible amounts of those natural senses that now I see were not locked, they were just dormant. I now understand that is one of the most important goals of the Heartwood Path. Far too many of us, have far too many of our natural senses dormant, to the point they feel locked. We must, cliché I know, awaken to the nature of happiness. Quick… like, yesterday. But there is no going back, only forward and boy am I feeling grateful to live life so much more aware. Nothing like sailing at night to heighten your natural senses.

Insane poké that we made into nori wraps with sushi rice and sashimi sauce

Sigh. The stars (at this point, Mars and Venus). Each night just after sunset Mars and Venus were the first on the scene. Perfectly lined up with the moon. Reminding me of our place in the universe. Each night the stars mesmerized me. Kyber’s shift was usually 4pm-8pm. By 8pm it was pitch black. I loved seeing the transformation in the sky.

Watching the stars come out

One night, there was one star that was so so bright. I wondered if it was a planet. But after appreciating it for long enough, I noticed it twinkled, not just faintly, but almost flickered, multi-colors sparking out like lazers… contrasting the deep blue sky. Then I looked around, all the stars twinkled but not quite as bright as my favorite.

I thought about getting the star guide and seeing if I could learn it’s name. Then I thought, “What’s in a name?” I decided not to look it up but for the rest of the night it could be my star, my star that gave me consent to use it as guidance and healing. What exactly did I learn from this star? Well, I learned I don’t know why they twinkle and planets shine brightly. I was inspired by the masculinity of planets to shine bright and strong and the femininity of stars to dance and radiate light. I saw why they came up with stories about all the constellations. Out at sea with no view of land in any direction, in the dark of night, the stars remind me of mystery and the unknown. And how that can get your imagination infinitely imaginable and it reminds me to always reach for the stars. I learned that the stars tell a story, if you have the luxury to slow down and listen. 

Still doesn’t do it justice.

Then after 4 days/nights sailing, 600+ miles later, the wind stopped, our wandering was over and we motored the last 14 miles to the closest anchorage, Bahia Santa Maria. I was ever so grateful that we were able to sail that far, using no diesel or gasoline, and living off of solar and wind power.

🎶 Soundtrack:

“Moonlight Drive” -The Doors

“Moondance” -Van Morrison

New Years Eve Fire

Beautiful natural attraction in the midst of the bustling marina

New Years vibes! I am on a journey of self-discovery so the whole New Years resolutions resonated heavily with me. The edge of the Cruiseport village is surrounded by palm trees. The love way the palm fronds radiate out from one central point, reach up to the sky with solid, strong, sturdy strength, inspiring, reaching. They sway in the wind but remain straight at the same time. These palm trees inspired me to set my 2017 New Years Resolution to be solid, strong, sturdy and to reach and shoot for the stars. I want to remain determined to stay on my path and journey, with strength, however have the capacity to go with the flow and sway in the world that is life. Each leaf resembled a New Years Resolution, starting at the middle (core) and shooting for the stars!

Riding on Kyber’s handlebars while Disco rides in the milk crate on the back

New Years Eve. Classic! Our close friends Tina and Tracey are also in the Cruiseport Village so we are able to all get together to enjoy the holiday. I get dressed in my gold sequence top and hop on the handlebars of Kyber’s bike, Disco in his cat carrier in the milk crate, and we all three ride around the marina to their finger. I was feeling very grateful that a good friend Liz Clark had donated her old Patagonia rain jacket to the boat because it was pouring down rain. We climb onto their boat and I climb down the ladder into the cabin and to my surprise it was warm and cozy. They have a fireplace in their boat, something I keep telling Kyber we need but he always says we hope to head back to the tropics where you wont need that.

Absolute down pour as we venture out for a night on the town

After a few Flor De Caña drinks we all get motivated to head out to Hussongs the famous classic bar in Ensenada. We stop back by the boat to drop off Disco and I give him a NYE kiss goodbye (literally he is trained to give kisses). We set out a group of 10 in the extreme down-pour of rain. Finally we realize that we should take shelter until the rain let up a bit before we get absolutely soaking wet. We enter into a hotel lobby and then into their bar. It was dark and surprisingly happening, being a holiday and all. There is a mexican man doing kareoke, singing in English (clearly his second language), so the Flor De Caña starts to get my mind going. It’s New Years Eve. I know no one in the entire town. I have a group of 10 people. LETS DO KARAOKE! I talk to the DJ and tell him to put “Kyber” on the list, grab the list of songs, and head back to the bar, to find my Margarita waiting. I go around asking all 10 people if they would do karaoke, thinking these are cruisers, kinda wild and free, I’m sure they will join. To my surprise, Kyber says yes, (I think he didn’t think I would actually do it) and then our friend CF says yes too! Everyone else refuses the plea. Finally we decide on “Super Freak” by Rick James.

….¿You had to be there? Me, Kyber, and CF doing Karaoke to Rick James

Next thing I know, the DJ says it’s Kyber’s turn and we take the stage. I take off my blue rain jacket and could feel the eyes on my sparkle sequence top. The music has got me going and I am dancing as if we are performing alone in a bar in Mexico on NYE with no one we know around. All the sudden I try and sing into the mic and Kyber has completely taken over. CF and I could barely get the background vocals in as he sings every word with extreme Kyber entuhusiasm. After a few attempts at the mic, I realize I have been demoted to backup dancer and girl background singer. Leaving CF standing next to Kyber, probably wondering why he agreed to do this. Next thing I know Kyber is really into it. He is adding his own twists and variations on the tune and dancing like crazy. I’m sure the experience in our minds was absolutely 180 degrees different from the crowd’s perspective. All I know is at the end we got a big cheer and Tracey told me his jaw hurt from laughing the entire time. At least, if nothing else, it was a night to remember.

Cruising the vibrant streets in Ensenada to the music of continuous fire crackers

We leave the hotel bar and venture out into the streets. Everyone’s beautiful festive outfits covered up by their rain jackets. The whole town was one giant fiesta and fireworks were exploding everywhere non-stop. Then we get to Hussongs and you can’t even get a tequila shot it was so busy, only beers. After getting our beers we wander away from the crowded bar and check out the mariachi band. They were dressed in their New Years finest and playing Mexican classics as everyone around sings along. I then realize that there are actually 3 mariachi bands so we wander into another room where they are playing Oye Como Va by Santana. Music to my ears. I took a little video of them playing that song and these locals next to me started holding up their beers saying MEXICOOOO. I guess I had tourist written all over me. I responded back “TACOS!” Then we all held up our beers and screamed “tacos!” at the top of our lungs and cheersed. I started hysterically laughing that that just happened. We check out the other room and the band was much bigger. They had a guitar, stand up bass, saxophone, and accordian. At one point I looked around and realized I was the only one dancing. I was very confused and eventually got the pretty chicas next to me to join in.

Mariachi Band at Hussongs

Then we start to walk back to the Ensenada Cruiseport Village. The streets have gotten a little bit crazier and Kyber lights off a firework right in the middle of the strip. All of the car alarms start going off so we all take off running. (Mind you, this was happening everywhere) Then Kyber is walking down the street and quickly decides to go the other way, cuts to the left and crosses the street. As I change directions to follow him, my legs slip out from underneath me, and I lay completely flat on my back in a puddle of rain in the dirty streets of Mexico. Then two heads pop into my view of the sky, Paul and Tracey. Oh how I will never forget their faces showing up to my rescue. They reach out their arms and help me up. Kyber is on the other side of the street, and had no idea. I start hysterically laughing about how silly that was and continue on my way. Note to self, rubber flip flops in the rainy streets have no traction. We wander back to the marina in the pouring down rain and I realize that it is not just me that is soaking wet from my fall and I take off my rain jacket and begin to dance in the rain, feeling ever so grateful to wash off the streets of Mexico.

Kid in a candy store, a.k.a. Kyber buying Fireworks

We arrive in the marina and Kyber runs to the boat to get his fireworks he had purchased a few days before. The songs “Fire” by the Ohio Players, “I’m On Fire” by Cheryl Lynn, “Love is Like Fire” by Delegation are all ironically coming out of my little Bose Speaker as we dance around the parking lot. With every BOOM of the fireworks I can’t help but scream. I even see the fuze slowly disintegrating and leading to the firework but still, it shocks me every time.

Fireworks en la marina
BOOM… snap crackle pop. Reflecting over the water.

Kyber is having way too much fun. When the fireworks light up so does his face. I have never seen so much wildness in his eyes. His face is lit up brighter than the brightest firework. Then all the sudden everyone is gone. I look down the E finger and everyone is running, so I run too. BUSTED. I didn’t turn off the Bose speaker and they followed us right to the boat. I decided the chances of getting in trouble, if it was a young girl they were talking to, were much slimmer so I just started using my (still quite rusty Spanish) saying the mantra, “chico es loco” over and over. But they demand to receive the name of the Captain. So Tracey says, “ok, here is my name but I didn’t shoot off any fireworks.” As they walk away, and turn down the docks I see at the end of Tracey and Tina’s boat the giant package from the bottle rockets sticking out of the trash can. Maybe it wasn’t just the music that gave us away.

Kyber’s smile, bright as a firework

We do our provisioning at Smart and Final and also head to an epic fruiteria with everything you could ask for. Lots of different peppers, chilis, papaya, eggs (feathers still stuck to the shells), local honey (sold in recycled plastic containers), fresh cheeses with samples, local extra virgin infused olive oils and olives, dulceria stands (candy for the kids), bulk rice and jamaica (hibiscus tea), tamarind, and limón (lime) and lima (lemon). Oh and husks from corn for the tamales. Bustling and almost felt like we were ripping them off because it was so cheap.

We found a farmer’s market style produce street that is open daily
One of many of the fruit stands all in a row

Then it was time to start the real journey. I had been to Ensenada the year before but now it was time to head to uncharted waters, the wilds of Baja.

Thank god we are on a Catamaran, mono-hull cruisers are always so surprised that we are able to sail full speed ahead with all of our stuff stored this way
Natural Mystic looking well-stocked for a sail down Baja

🎶 Soundtrack: 

“I’m On Fire” -Cheryl Lynn

“Love Is Like Fire” -Delegation

“Super Freak” -Rick James

“Oye Como Va” -Santana

Taste of Ensenada

Entering into the Bahia Todos Los Santos

After 36 hours at sea, we finally arrive in Ensenada, Baja California. As we enter into the bay I am flooded with memories from the year before when we sailed to Mexico during my Spring Break. It was comforting to be back in a place I had enjoyed so much. I went out onto the trampoline and did one of my Heartwood Path activities, knowing it was one of the last moments of peace and quiet at sea before arriving in the bustling down of Ensenada.

Doing a Heartwood Path Activity

I sat on the bow and appreciated the sunlight dancing on the ripples of the glassy ocean. I was mesmerized as it sparkled in such a spontaneous and fluid motion. It reminded me to not just live, but to dance, in the present moment. That was what I decided I would do along this journey of self-discovery.

Entering the Marina in Ensenada, which acts as a Cruise ship destination, the largest commercial fishing port in Baja, and many Cruiser’s first stop in Mexico
Checking Natural Mystic and crew into Mexico

When we arrive, first things first, we head to the seafood cocktales followed by heading back to my favorite fruit stand for a piña colada. Basically it was a mad dash to enjoy the tastiest array of food in all of Mexico. Yes, we had to go to the port captain office and do lots of paper work with visas and brush up on our spanglish. Sign all kinds of documents and receive papers I was told not to loose. Luckily Kyber is a pro at this and I just kinda signed random dotted lines on documents written in Spanish.

Seafood Cocktails – shrimp, clams, oysters, fish ceviche, octopus, scallops, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, ketchup, avocado, hot salsa, and lots of fresh lime
Super fresh piña colada from my favorite stand

Seafood cockatles, ceviche tostadas, pina coladas, tamales, fish tacos, churros, pacificos, repeat. And I mean, literally we would eat that everyday and just sit there savoring every single bite thinking how happy we are to be back in Ensenada and eat the food we have missed oh too very much.

Baja-Style Fish Tacos in the making
Tacos Fenix – the best in Ensenada

Finally, thank god, it is time to get my stuff organized on the boat. Kyber clears about 3/4 of a twin sized bed for my belongings. I struggled to figure out how I was going to keep all of my dresses (which is 90% of what I wear) wrinkle free. This was a girl’s nightmare. No closet, no bookshevles. I was in fact brought to tears realizing I had no idea how I was going to make this work without simply piling all of my stuff on top of each other and then having to refold it all everytime I got dressed.

This is what I was working with on our voyage

Eventually, we found some stick-on hooks and I hung my dresses behind the door. I was proud of my handy-woman work and pulled off hanging my dresses. Then a few minutes later, Kyber comes down with two giant storage containers and says that they have to go in that spot too. I had just gotten my stuff perfectly organized in the space he gave me and now he was taking 1/3 of the space back. He told me my clothes needed to be piled up higher on top of each other.

The storage containers that Kyber informed me needed to also fit in my space… after I had already organized it all.

Yes, I ended up crying. “Boo hoo, get over it your clothes are wrinkled,” I could hear the boys thinking. But it was a mixture of the fear of, when a fancy date night comes along and I have nothing worthy to wear, as well as the fear of, how am I going to survive living in such awkward corridors with all of my belongings shoved in hard to get it out places. It hit me, I brought too much stuff. Now I was going to have to deal with it.

Jam packed but making it work
My “closet”

I got the dresses hung on stick-on hooks behind a door. I was able to stack all of my clothes in neat piles. All of the little things like jewelry, toiletries, essential oils, camera supplies, and (yes I’m a hippy) crystals, I had organized into many little pretty bags that all went into one bigger bag. Made it possible to access each item individually without having to sort through it all. I am writing this part for both girls to relate and understand how to make it work, as well as for the boys to understand what girls are going through on your boat. And maybe it will help both boys and girls make this transition smoother than I did. Eventually I got all of my belongs perfectly organized and easy to access and finally felt at ease. Kyber let me hang 4 dresses (on 2 hangers) in his closet for date night and then it was smiles all around.

Green Pepper and Cheese Tamales “Reyes con relleno de queso”
Tasty churro dessert on our way back to the marina

We quickly get to work on preparing the boat for being out at sea. I hate that so many of the jobs I am unable to help with. It would take longer to explain to me how to do it than to just do it himself. However I was relieved when I heard we had many loads of laundry to do! Yay! A woman’s job (sorry feminism movement) but really, honestly. Dishes, vacuuming, and laundry. I decided I could easily be given those jobs on the boat.

Sigh… Laundry Day.

I’m sitting in Ensenada Cruiseport Village doing all of the laundry for the boat and it’s crew.  Feeling very grateful to have access to a clean laundry room! If only you could smell the detergent and hear the steady click clack of the rotating machines. I am also feeling grateful to have such an inspiring, uplifting, way to pass the time by doing my next Heartwood Path activity.

Reading the printed version of the Heartwood Path and filling out my journal

I sat outside the laundry room with my eyes on the machines. After appreciating the  storm clouds with the sun shining on them, the activity talked about what you want to see occur in the world and how you will have to be to evoke your improved image of a better world. Click “Continue Reading” below to hear what I came up with as the laundry machines spun round and round, helping us cross items off the to do list.

After doing this activity I saw many ways I could improve but did not feel overwhelmed. Each day, the Heartwood Path text and my impressions from the activities have lingered in my mind. I feel in tune with my emotions and wellness. I feel like my true self is unfolding, like it is there within and slowly, diligently, I am bringing it to the surface to share with the world.

Admiring the clouds as I do our laundry

I finished folding the laundry and pushed it in the dock cart all the way back to the boat. I was so grateful to have found a way to contribute to the work done on the boat. I am always searching for ways to help out and yes!!!! I found one! Clean clothes and towels for everyone!

🎶 Soundtrack:

“Upside Down” – Jack Johnson

Continue reading “Taste of Ensenada”

Sunset Sensations and Salutations

After taking my last finals, ever, at UCSB I was in a mad dash to get ready for three months at sea. A nice couple was sub-leasing my apartment (furnished) for the months we would be away, which meant I had to clear all of my personal belongs out of my little one bedroom apartment and determine what made the cut to come along on the trip.

All of my “things” getting ready to be moved into a storage shed

It is amazing how heading out on a voyage of this type forces you to think, What do I really need? What is a luxury? How can I live sustainably? I found myself saying “Adios amigos” to many of my belongings. The boat life had begun. A mixture of gather what you need to survive as well as get rid of everything you possibly can!

Never leave home without my journal, old photo albums, and Magical Mermaid and Dolphins Oracle Cards..or my hand knit wash cloth from my Grandma

I knew after returning on this voyage, things would never be the same for me. I was no longer a student going to University of California, Santa Barbara. I knew that it was time to ask myself, “Who am I?” “What do I want to do?” and “Who do I want to do it with?” I knew that once I returned home to Santa Barbara, if that is in fact what we decide to do, my identity as a student would be long forgotten. The journey of self-discovery has begun.

A final sunset as a student at UCSB’s Campus Point

Luckily for me, I am actually developing a fun and transformative personal growth online course that my Father had written into a series of books. What better way to work on my career and learn about who I am and who I want to be, than to try out the personal growth course for myself. So that is what my intention is on this sailing journey. To try out the Heartwood Path step-by-step and understand the full experience so I can better support the future participants. I will also continue working day and night on my computer designing the next course and directly applying all of the entrepreneurship concepts taught in my Technology Management Program at UCSB.

Before heading home to St. Louis to visit my beloved family for Christmas, I had dropped everything off on Natural Mystic for the trip. That way I was ready to leave soon as I arrived in Santa Barbara. We had no minutes to spare. I arrived in LAX to find my flight to Santa Barbara cancelled. I went from a flight from Chicago > LAX, followed by a bus to Santa Barbara, followed by an Uber to get on a boat to sail to Mexico. After the quickest shower I could possibly manage in the Marina 3 bathrooms, I literally ran all the way down the docks to the end-tie, happy as can be, ready to see what’s to come.

Me and my beloved sister Jennifer, just a few Christmas’s ago

Within 10 minutes of me stepping on the boat, the engine was running. While I was back in St. Louis, Kyber had told me how he was getting everything organized for our trip, and me being quite naive thought that meant clearing room for my belongings. I was rudely awakened when I found out there was no place for my clothes much less my backpack. He said that when we arrived in Ensenada we would clear some space for my stuff. Here we go again, welcome to the boat life.

12/22/16 iMessage from Kyber.. 12/27/16 upon arrival, rudely awakened.

It was pitch black as we departed from the Santa Barbara Harbor and I was on the bow making sure we didn’t hit the lobster and crab trap buoys. I was using a giant flashlight that began to get heavy and found myself having to switch hands to hold it straight ahead. I was genuinely relieved when our fellow crew member Paul, took over the flashlight. Eventually I went down below to get some sleep. There is nothing I love more than to sleep out at sea in a warm fuzzy bed with too many pillows. I slept all night long.

Passing Catalina on our way to Ensenada
View From Descanso Beach Club in Avalon on Catalina Last Summer

I woke up to sunny blue skies which after a week in dreary rainy Midwest winter weather, this was exciting. The sun was warm and cheerful. We were passing Catalina and I thought back on this summer when we spent an amazingly relaxing 3 weeks there. I could not seem to get enough sleep and ended up taking a nap during the middle of the day. Later on the pink hues of the sunset shined through the cabin window. I felt a deep desire to get up from my nap and to see tonight’s show. Disco arrived in bed purring. By the time I was finished appreciating his loving affection, the pink hues were gone. Sunset Over. Or so I thought.

Disco enjoying the sunset with me after our long cuddle fest at sea

I went outside and to my surprise the other side of the boat, the starboard side, was shining bright as ever. Dramatic orange skies contrasting royal blue water. I sat there and just absorbed the rhythms of nature. I noticed that the sun was illuminating the rolling swells of the sea, something time of day would have remained unnoticed. These reflections on the rolling sea have soothed me. They encourage me to slow down and go with the flow. The swells building, providing a solid sense of exhilaration/anticipation for what is to come on this sailing journey.

Passing San Clemente Island on the way to Ensenada

I’m sure you know that feeling after watching a sunset where all is calm, all is appreciative. Gratitude fills the air. You have reflected upon your day and now feel refreshed to welcome in the night. A sense of closure, but of the good sort. You feel satisfied and happy. You also feel even closer to those you watched it with. I found myself daydreaming back on the many sunsets I shared with so many friends and family, and felt extremely grateful that everyday we have the opportunity to share something so romantic with the ones we love.

🎶 Soundtrack:

“Ain’t No Stopping Us Now” -McFadden & Whitehead

Ensenada with a Bang

Arriving in Ensenada, we find, the food is excellent, weather a perfect sunny n’ 75, and mucho fun is to be had.! Yet, even in modern 2017 you still can’t drink the water or put it in your boat’s water tanks, unless you want to risk amoebaonic contamination. Transforming your boat’s fresh water system into a fountain dispensing endless bouts of Montezuma’s Revenge but, such inconveniences are easily overlooked. Especially with the current street exchange rate of 20 pesos to $1 US Dollar! Our greenbacks are going a very long way down here. The best fish tacos in all of Mexico are at the Fenix street taco stand, currently costing the equivalent of 50 cents! Might as well order 8 tasty tacos then and while you can get fish tacos most anywhere in Mexico, Ensenada wins hands down for the best Baja style (battered and fried) for sure!

Most times I’ve been to Ensenada with The LighterBro Boat, Isla Todos Santos is breaking, so we’re out there all day long surfing big waves and then sailing nine miles back to the harbor in the evening, to gorge on cheap street tacos n’ beers. But this year, in the dead of winter, when Killers should be killer! Its flat…

Killers on Isla Todos Santos from the air

Instead we all embrace the boat work I didn’t have time to finish before we shoved off from Santa Barbara and gang up to get her clean, organized and ship shape. Which is honestly a bit hard with all the crap you accumulate living on one boat for 10 years. Combined with having a girlfriend who needs to keep a decent, respectable wardrobe mind you, one bike per person and a Disco cat, with all his litter box accoutrements and it all has to be stowed securely somewhere, in not that large of a space which is our boat. At least Natty M is a catamaran, so we can leave lots of stuff on tables and counters under sail, unlike a monohull, which would just vomit anything you left laying out, directly onto the cabin sole in even a moderate sea state. We pull it of splendidly, all pitching in and Natty M is now as organized as is humanly possible for the amount of crap onboard and ready to voyage on.

Ensenada might be a dusty comerical port city, but the sunsets are still beautiful!

Since the surf is flat, and Ensenada is a dusty, container unloading port city, with cruise ships spewing nonstop sooty fumes when in port, covering your boat in a daily coating of brown dust at the minimum or actual oily carbon particles at the filthy max. Myself, the captain makes the call. We’re hanging out through New Years, reveling like only drunken sailors can, provisioning at the local fruit market, when businesses reopen the day after the holiday, hitting the ultra convenient to the marina, gringo Smart & Final supermarket on our team of bikes to easily stock up on supplies. Then fuel up and split the next day.

Courtney enjoying the new bridge over the trash filled slough leading to the Malecon

We purvey the Malecon which now, finally, connects directly to the Cruise Port Marina Village over the trash strewn slough by a brand new bridge, that only took five short years to build down here. But, the bridge is finished and it’s sensational, as every time you desire a fish taco or churro you no longer have to walk by sad eyed young children, who’s parents put them out to beg for change or sell Chiclets gum to throngs of cruise ship tourists on their way into town. All while the parent sits pathetically further ahead on the filthy broken sidewalk, clutching their infants, while looking hopeless as possible and when the tourists pass, they excitedly regroup to splurge on junk food and soda at the corner liquor store.

Who want chili on their coco and mango at a Malecon fruit stand?

The new bridge leads you straight into a semi-authentic Mexican marina/fishing town that has mostly not sold it’s soul to gringo tourism.

Just erect some fancy walls infront of the local flea market to spruce it up

Yet, still makes sure to have ubiquitous Mexican tchotchke markets, unique Mexican architecture and novelty products.

Spoom Boom is what all the kids are into these days!

Such as Spoom Boom, that probably would not be marketed to children under 13 using that name in the United States, for fear of protests from the Christian right.

I just Spoom Boomed all over the sidewalk!

Ensenada’s fish market is filled to the brim with all the freshest local catches from up and down Baja on both side of the Baja peninsula and even without the beneficial exchange rate, everything is priced extremely affordably.

Lots of tasty choices at the Ensenada Fish Market!

Exactly the opposite of an American fish market, where the King Salmon is supposedly on special for $29.99 a pound, normally $34.99/lb. and so you go buy the other heart healthy option of chicken.

The shrimp display, where jumbo shrimp cost an afforadable $6 per pound

Ensenada, benefits from its geographical location, as the city with the best access to the largest variety of fresh seafood produced by Mexico and her bountiful waters of both, the Pacific Ocean and Sea of Cortez on the other side of the Baja Peninsula and the wide variety of seafood is sight to behold.

Chocolate Clams, Tasty Muscles, and Baja Oysters are just a few of the tasty shell fish sold at the market

New Years is my favorite time of year in Ensenada! Starting about three days before New Year’s eve Mexicans will just start throwing firecrackers into the streets at random, scaring the shit out of the uninitiated. “Firecrackers” is really a huge understatement, as most MEDs (Mexican Explosive Device) are more akin to hand grenades and much larger then the M-80’s of your childhood troublemaking. You will be sitting having the most delicious dinner at a street corner taco stand, just about to take your first tasty bite when, BOOOOM! And instantly your face, lap and the side of your neighbor is now covered in salsa coated shrapnel of your Baja fish taco, that you just couldn’t maintain control of during the blast.

A LighterBro MultiTool always helps to light the M-500 waterproof firecrackers

This isn’t my first New Years’ rodeo in Ensenada, and so I’m mostly immune from these random explosions, unlike Courtney who has been transformed into a blonde Mexican jumping bean, startled and screaming with every unexpected detonation, which only encourages the Mexicans to increase their rate of fire. Conveniently enough, a giant fireworks stand is located right at the entrance to the Marina every New Year’s and I always take advantage, buying a few bags of the waterproof M-500s to celebrate the annual occasion and maybe a couple of bottle rockets too.

What other marina has it’s own firework stand?

But speaking of Rodeos, Ensenada has some cool attractions at this festive time of year for all to enjoy and I highly recommend attending the dangerous electric animal rodeo. Where you can actually ride lions, tigers, jaguars and bears along with all the local kids, as you zoom around the circular arena vibing to Christmas tunes interspersed with ten-year-old rap music. But you need to stay sharp on these wild animals or the innocent smiling young girl will cut you off, sending you careening slow-motion into the boards, while their parents look at you with disdain, like we’re the animals.

Taming my rhino & passing on the inside

A very stormy and rainy New Years’ Eve is upon us and its the kind of bad weather that makes you thankful, as a penny pinching vagabond sailor that you are tied up safe and secure in an expensive marina. Our good friends Tina and Tracy of the wooden masterpiece of a boat Marjorie have just sailed in, with their good friend CF on board and we all toast warming cocktails by the heat of their coveted below decks diesel fireplace, while we wait for the rain to let up, hopefully heading into Ensenada’s tourist street with bars a plenty for some merriment. Shortly the downpour abates and we make a break for it. Mindlessly without any rain or foul weather gear at all, something only drunk sailors would do and of course, soon as we are too far from the boat to retreat, it starts coming down in torrents. Dusty streets, are now running muddy rivers and without choice we duck into the first hotel bar we happen upon.

Even Disco visited Marjorie & enjoyed the warm disel fireplace, visable in the back right

Lucky for us it happens to be a Karaoke New Years’ Eve and somehow after a drink or two I’m talked into singing “Super Freak” by Rick James in front of the all Mexican audience. I take the mic, as a gold sequined Courtney and CF join me onstage and we try our best. CF must not have drunk enough and is frozen by the limelight only swaying side to side, while Courtney and I can’t seem to share the one mic. When all of a sudden a crack pipe smoky orange haze drifts across the stage and I feel Rick’s spirt invade me, as I start getting super freaky hitting the high notes, while Courtney gyrates next to me in her gold sequined dress, singing the backup vocals in perfect key (ok maybe not exactly perfect). I depart the stage to an enthusiastic round of applause, whistles and much laughter (at me not with me) and with the feeling of not totally bombing, adrenaline now coursing through my body and Rick James’s forever party vibes still invading my soul, I motivate the troops to hit the flooding streets for the next hot spot.

Lighting firecrackers on the stree is totally acceptabe behavior on New Years’ Eve in Mexico

Light rain is now falling as we head for the world famous, original Hussongs Cantina and as luck would have it all the MEDs I brought along happen to be waterproof. Lighting them with my trusty LighterBro Multitool, I toss them into the street to be swept away by the rivers of gutter water, exploding somewhere down stream and hopefully not under a car’s gas tank. Mexicans all give me approving looks, as the tourist street is rocked by explosions. Its like I’m the only gringo who understands this is the kind of shit you do in Mexico on New Years’ Eve and why I will want to keep coming back to Mexico on New Years’ forever. While lawyers and the many, catering to the finger blowing off stupidity of the few, have robbed the USA of such good old fashioned fun, the Mexicans have yet to give into this hysteria and still revel today like only generations of older Americans remember. All while they drink beer legally walking down the street, with only smiles, friendly greetings and well wishes for the Añuo Nuevo to everyone they pass. I conclude the average Mexican walking down the street really is happier and friendlier than the average gringo back home and I believe its because their lives are still a bit older fashioned then ours and they haven’t caved to the lowest common denominator of society and let their stupidity ruin a good time for everyone else. Its as simple as, not everyone is meant to go through life with all their fingers and that is just the way it is. So get over it, smile and stop worrying about other stooped people and live your life. More Americans need to come visit Mexico to see what we have lost in our “safe” society of the twenty teens.

Cheersing at Hussongs!

Hussongs Cantina on New Year’s eve is revelment at its best! Patrons are packed in shoulder to shoulder, at what I’m sure is well over official maximum capacity, all enthusiastically singing along together with the multiple mariachi bands in the various rooms. Everyone is beyond happy, cheersing drinks nonstop and you can’t help but be overcome by the sheer joy and warmth you feel surrounded by and it makes absolutely no difference that we are the only gringos in the entire cantina. I couldn’t imagine a better place to spend New Years’ Eve, than with the girl I love, in this sea of celebration. Except you can’t light giant bottle rockets inside Hussongs, so we make a beeline for the boats just before midnight, where we shoot four-foot-tall, high explosive rockets off at the stoke of midnight and blow ourselves silly into 2017.

A bottle rocket shoots into the New Years’ night

Lighting M-80 after M-80 until I feel I’ve regressed to well below the 6th grade level of amusement. The port security guards chase us down after a bit, as we are in a secure cruise ship port after all, but we are easily found, as Courtney forgot to turn off our mobile music player belting out the dance hits, at it’s distorted top volume when we made our escape. As security surrounds Marjorie, captain Tracy does his best it wasn’t me, while I hide inside with our few remaining fireworks and let the heat blow over. Afterwards we all laugh heartedly, as dealing with the Mexican security felt more like getting caught by our parents than the police and I just get that feeling. 2017 is going to be a great year!

Ensenada’s farmers market streeet has everyting you can imagine!

When voyaging by sea fresh produce is hard to come by the longer you’re away from land and one of the best ways to ensure fresh veggies for a long time is to not buy them at a grocery store. In modern supermarkets fruits and veggies are nearly all refrigerated and when brought onboard, need to be kept refrigerated to stay fresh (on a boat there is not enough refrigeration space to do this) or they will rapidly spoil. Instead head for the local farmer’s market or fruit market street, where noting is refrigerated and for example. Cabbage is sold with all it’s floppy outer leaves intact and that natural, whole cabbage will last nearly a month when left unrefrigerated and stored in a cool dark corner of the boat.

A tasty truck full of honey!

Ensenada’s farmer’s market street is unbelievably great! With any fruit, vegetable, egg, meat, cheese, dairy, bee product available and all dirt cheap. We stock up on heavy bag after bag of fresh produce and in the end spend amazingly only $30 on all the fresh deliciousness, which in the states would have been the cost of just the avocados alone.

Delicious Mexican cheeses at the Ensenada farmers market

The trip to the market is made easy by the comradery of cruisers. Bill, a fellow friendly cruiser who as been based in Ensenada for way too long now as evidenced by his car, is more than happy to give us a ride with his dog Shotsy who sits on my lap both ways, since I stole his seat after all. And once again, this more old fashioned cursing lifestyle, where people love to help people, has made me smile at the pure generosity of the characters who live it and I just want this lifestyle to continue on forever.

Riding shotgun with Shotsy

With the LighterBro Boat now well provisioned with both fresh and dry stores, and fuel tanks topped up at the last gas dock we will see until Cabo San Lucas 800 miles south. We say goodbyes to our friends both new and old in Ensenada and late in the afternoon of Jan 3, under an ideal 12 knot sea breeze, we hoist full main and genoa sails, instantly making a good 8 knots. Once outside of Ensenada Bay, actually called Bahia Todos Santos and clear of the dangerous rocky headland of Punta Banda, which marks the southern end of the bay, we set our course close to dead South as possible with the straight N wind that’s blowing and sail silently, on a deep broad reach. The weather is overcast grey, the fresh breeze cold and I vow, we will keep sailing south in search of summer.

Sailing from Ensenad in search of summer with the deadly rocks of Punta Banda in the background