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Friday, May 21, 2010

Mango Mango

On the walk home from the radiology laboratory on Wednesday, we stopped for un litro of ice cream for the skipper and one of mango for the lactose-intolerant crew. The lovely thing about La Fuente, besides the fact that they make the ice cream themselves, is that they pack up cones to take home with the purchase. Granted, they should. Ice cream here is like gold. But we have few expensive habits; this just happens to be the major one. And we did walk miles in the heat....  And I did get a good report from the doctor....

So, we have decided that the way to enjoy the luxury of fattening food is to eat it occasionally and in small servings. Which is what we did yesterday. A mere scoop, small, in a bowl. But today it was hot again -- at least 100 -- and the breeze hid at midday. What was one (or rather, what were two) to do?

I only filled those giant cones so the treat came even with the top. Honest Injun.

Michael told me to come look at the picture he took. He called it the Mango Monster. See if I talk to him tonight!

Magote Dolphins

They come every day to fish near Sea Venture. Michael took the picture below yesterday. Today they were closer and even more spectacular, but M was involved in a project and the camera remained below. By the time I got outside with it, I saw, but couldn't capture digitally, a glorious leaping tail and flip, and then they moved further afield.

For us it's not the fish that got away, but the photograph.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dolphins in the Magote

Dolphins must be my favorite creature. I wish I'd had the camera handy this evening when Michael hailed me, but I didn't want to stop watching long enough to go below to get it. I don't know how many swam here, how many were in the pod, but it was dinner time beneath the Magote waters off La Paz.

They arched and dove within feet of the boat, then slipped below to surface on the other side. Some danced out of the water, some surfaced in threes as if choreographed, their movements synchronized: rise, arch, dip again, flip the tail en route.

They've supped their way past us now. But, oh, the beauty they bring to an already beautiful spot.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

La Paz last night

The view off Sea Venture's stern last evening as the day closed down.

Monday, May 03, 2010

La Paz at last!

We tried sailing south from San Evaristo on Thursday, but the one-foot waves were camouflaged under white caps and their larger four to six foot brethren. We should have known better. Flat seas rarely mean flat and one foot happens only after a good long lull.

The weather guessers missed the cold front that slammed into us. The better part of valor seemed to be to turn tail. We did, heading around Isla San Francisco to its eastern side, which would be protected, supposedly, from a westerly corumuel. Well, yes, it was, sort of, but considering that this wasn't a corumuel but instead that cold front, we rolled a bit in the wrap-around swell. A beautiful place, but we don't sleep well when the boat rolls.

Mama has the mid-cabin, which, she assures us, is quite comfortable. And perhaps because it is in the middle of the boat, it experiences less movement. Michael and I woke slightly bleary-eyed. She, instead, greeted us with a chipper smile and spent the morning marveling at rock formations.

Not wanting to battle waves, we waited until they'd calmed on Friday before we slithered south, hoping to race daylight and drop the hook in La Paz. We set the mizzen and staysail for starters, but the blessing of no waves meant no wind as well. Mizzen and Ford Lehman it was, in cool temperatures and under clear skies.

A few dolphin cavorted in the distance. We passed old haunts. A couple of boats met us as they headed north. And then we got within range of La Paz and bam! The wind came up, the seas built, and we slowed...way...down, so that the last miles took much longer than the first. At seven PM we finally dropped anchor.

This wasn't our smoothest anchoring job, I'll admit. Our first attempt looked good, in a big open spot near the end of the Magote. I drove. Michael manned the windlass remote. The anchor lowered, lowered, and then, oh, goodness, look at that! Michael watched as the chain disappeared under the boat as the bow slipped and slid forward, propelled by the current in the direction of a poor unsuspecting sloop.

I was backing madly by now, but it wasn't working. Who'd have thought the current was that fierce? We'd anchored here many, many times last year and never had we seen anything like this.

It was up anchor and away. This time the spot looked good. We found a waypoint in the GPS that said we'd liked anchoring there last year. As Michael was about to hit the drop button on the remote, some fellow screamed "No!". He was shirtless -- we wore jackets -- and he was madly waving his arms.

Now, I'd have expected him to do the orderly thing: pick up his radio and talk to us instead of screaming over the winds. I hailed him on channel 16 -- twice. But he was too busy yelling to answer, so I waited for Captain Michael to come aft and motor us over to question the fellow before he had apoplexy.

"Can't anchor there! At low tide, it's only 3 feet!" he yelled from his boat to ours. I waved and thanked him, then returned to the cockpit. Michael and I agreed that low tide was at that moment and we had 19 feet under our 6.5 foot keel. If we dropped the hook where it had been last year, we probably wouldn't see anything much shallower. But, hey, who wanted to argue with someone on a neighboring (little) boat?  (And what if he'd been right?)

So, Michael motored us around the upper part of the Magote, past all the other boats, and handed over the helm. I tried to place us equidistant from boats, land, and the dividing shoal. M. dropped the hook while I pointed us into the wind -- or current or something -- and we waited until the boat settled in one direction or another: yep, there she went, bow over the anchor as if we were driving in forward gear. Finally, he was able to back her down enough to set the anchor well into the sand.

That was Friday night. Saturday, we walked to the CCC and restocked, especially with vanilla ice cream, which seems to be the favorite of the two who can eat cream. We also lunched at Rancho Viejo on shrimp, fish, beef, and pork tacos. Sunday, we rested. Today is Monday. We just returned from errands abroad, including a trip to La Fuente, our very favorite ice cream parlor. We're set.

We'd give you a La Fuente cone for dessert if you were here.