Communications Abroad Part 2

In Part 1, we shared the telephone side of our communications.  There are a few more interesting tidbits I would like to share.

Satellite communication – We have an IridiumGo device which enables our phones to make calls directly to people. Wonderful for one on one communication. We can also use the IridiumGO for weather updates as they have a connection option within Predict Wind.

Single Side Band (SSB) –  SSB is a great option for communications.  Many people think it is old school, but it makes for a great backup in case you cant get to the internet or don’t want to spend the money on satellite communication.

It enables you to do one to many communications like listening to ‘the nets’ for updates on weather, routing, etc. The Icom M802 was just recently brought back to the market after a hiatus brought on by some silly FCC rulings.  This radio is the top of the line and I highly recommend it.

I successfully send and receive email on it as well.  You can install a Pactor modem (they have a bunch of varieties) and connect to the listening stations.  You will need a sailmail account too.  Just turn on the shadow mail functionality to link all your other accounts.  This method is a bit slow, but works around the world and costs nothing other than the equipment, install and annual sailmail dues.

Internet….oh boy this one is fun.  We have a great little device called the WiriePro.  This little bad boy is fantastic.  Here is what it does:

  • Local WiFi access point – just like a WiFi access point in your house.  This enables all our devices to be connected to each other and offers a unified WiFi connection.
  • Remote xG connections – this allows me to connect the WiriePro directly to the local cell network for internet access.  Get the upgraded xG antenna as it will give you the range you need when at anchor and the towers are a ways away.
  • Remote WiFi – I can connect to a shore based WiFi system, assuming I have the credentials, up to about 3 miles away.
  • GPS Locator – The WiriePro has a GPS on it and automatically sends our location to Spotwalla so our web site can report our location.

Would love to get feedback on what others are using!  Just reply in the comments.  I am also happy to answer any questions – just drop me a line!

WANDERLUST, WEATHER, WHALES & RAYS

By Jodi

For anyone with a serious case of wanderlust, I can highly recommend the cruising lifestyle. Each day and bay can change your outlook and each passage can be a surprising new beginning.

I have also never been more obsessed about the weather. Not just weather, but specifically: wind, its direction, waves, their size and direction, tides and swells. I’m

Docking at an abandoned pier

thinking our friend, Matt Elvin would love this part of cruising 🙂

We arrived in Ensenada de los Muertos (or Suenos) yesterday and will likely leave tomorrow. Although a lovely little bay with a primitive restaurant (serving very cold drinks and wifi!), the wind and waves are not coming from a favorable direction. While I imagine cruisers before having calm waters and glassy surfaces, we are facing a lot of bobbing and wave punching. I don’t mind the movement, but the dingy bangs around and makes considerable noise that becomes annoying to sleep in, and with rougher waters, we sleep with one eye open ensuring our anchor holds. For those traveling here, the restaurant is called 1535, and the old crumbling pier to its west offers an easier on/off of your dingy vs. landing on a surf/surging beach (and the risks of flipping over if not timed correctly). It has wifi, an extensive menu of decent food, ice, bathrooms, showers, but no laundry. We also think they change their wifi password daily, so for those of you using a repeater/extender, it won’t work for long.

Lodos from 1535 Restaurant in Muertos Bay

We had a pleasant sail up here and encountered so many whales and their babies. A Humpback pair surfaced right at the boat. The baby rolled over to get a good look at us while the mom seemed to push him/her away and put her body directly between us and her little one. We know they can hear us coming, so the only explanation we can fathom for their reason to come so close is curiosity. Another pair came close but then dove down when we got closer – I got a good look at their color, dorsal fin and tail and determined they were Byrd’s whales! We could have seen more if we stopped the boat or circled around, but we don’t want to pursue them or bother them in any way. There are so many whales here that it seems my fear of hitting them is increasingly rational. We think we may have already hit one (likely a Gray) in the Pacific which made a terrible thudding noise and long scrape along the hull that we have yet to buff out (this is also when it knocked our rudder and steering). Some new friends of ours reported colliding with a Gray whale a few days ago – it literally ran into them and lifted the hull of their boat. Neither boat nor whale seems to have sustained any damage, thankfully.

The most amazing part of being here, though, is the jumping Rays. They are literally everywhere. They jump in about 20-30 feet of water; we have yet to understand why – some say it’s to evade predators, mating, hunting/eating – we’re not sure which but eating and mating seems probable. Some of them can sail an impressive distance and can do flips and spins. They jump up to 4 feet in the air, and their wings make a belly-flop sound on the water. For an animal that is about 3-4 feet across, it creates quite the noise. Last night, at 3am, Kirby and I woke at the same time because we heard them just outside of the boat.  We got up and went outside in the still and quiet moonlit night to watch them jump all around us….What a show, what a gift. These moments are the ones that make this life so irresistible. We recently discovered that these lovely rays are called Mobula Rays (Devil Rays).  Thanks Tadzio Bervoets for the knowledge!

Los Frailes

What a beautiful spot!  We pulled into Los Frailes after a 5 hour motor from San Jose Del Cabo at around 4pm on the 3rd of April. We haven’t had internet until today so our posts have been a bit spotty!

Navionics chart showing route from San Jose Del Cabo to Los Frailes

Los Frailes is a beautiful bay about 1/3 of the way north between San Jose Del Cabo and La Paz.  It was a super smooth trip.  We planned on making water on the way up, but ran into problems with our water maker.  Turned around about an hour out of SJDC and filled up with water so we could spend a couple weeks making our way to La Paz.

Los Frailes at sunset

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kirby changing zincs

I got to dive on our boat for the first time!Hard to believe we have had LODOS for almost 3 years and I haven’t dove on her yet.  Needed new zincs on the main propeller and the bow thruster.

 

 

 

On the 4th, our new friends Larry and Susan Twomey joined us for lunch.  We had some lovely vegan tacos thanks to Jodi.  The Twomey’s invited us for dinner on their lovely yacht Midnight Voyage where we dined on a Leopard Grouper that their son caught on a fishing trip in Cabo.

We saw some really cool little ray’s leaping from the water and belly flopping.  We couldn’t identify them.  They were small like a sting ray but had a nose like a spotted eagle ray.  Any ideas?  We will post the video on our Facebook page.

Jodi made her famous Chilaquiles this morning…Holy cow.  She made them a little extra spicey!  Don’t they look yummy!

Jodi’s Chiliquiles – extra spicey!

 

 

 

 

 

 

We hope to have internet again at our next stop in Los Muertos!  We leave here tomorrow.

We have firmed up our plans for the summer and fall too.  Check out the Itinerary page for an update!

SAILING SOUTH, FLYING NORTH, MOVING FORWARD

by Jodi

There is an expression of time that I love: The days are slow, but the years are fast.

Looking back at the last month it’s easy to see how the days of this new lifestyle just pass – memorable or not – it’s been a little over 6 months since I was at my last corporate job. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about it, yet there isn’t a day that goes by that I have any regrets.

Ensenada from the air

So much has happened in these months that have changed the course of our path and future; it’s reassuring and unsettling at the same time to know that if things are great, we mustn’t hold our breath for them to stay great – life is too fleeting for that. But, and probably more importantly to me, if things are bad (really bad), that too will pass. You just have to wait it out another day….or week…or month.

Today, I’m flying from our new home in Mexico aboard our sailboat Lodos to Las Vegas for a work gig. It feels strange to be among the holiday revelers who are looking sad at the prospect of having to go home/back to reality, when I know I’m going to be back in a few short days. It makes me look at a holiday destination airport differently.

It took us about 2 weeks of sailing to get to the end of the Baja peninsula, leaving San Diego at 4am on Sunday, March 4th. Sailing at night is not for the faint hearted, and dealing with the challenges and problems we had on our boat added to the anxiety and questioning of whether I was cut out to do this or not. Although we don’t have kids, I joked with Kirby that long term passage-making must be a little like childbirth. While you’re going through it, you swear you will never do it again – too hard, too painful, too scary, too exhausting. But then, once past it, you sort of forget all of that and think wistfully enough about it to consider it again – maybe even look forward to it and consider what might be different.

Turtle Bay from the air

It is with these thoughts that I’m sitting on the ocean side of the plane, looking out my small window at the clear blue sky and deep blue water watching the places we stopped or sailed past in the month of March with fondness and gratefulness. Seeing a place from a plane window is so very different than seeing it from the swells of the ocean. The plane took off over the marina we are staying (Puerto Los Cabos, where we had to sail in with an emergency tiller), past Santa Magdalena (where we had no engine and had to sail into a rough anchorage at sunset), past Cedrus Island, where we would have stopped had it not been nightfall, past Turtle Bay (where we had such fun and restful days after arriving in the dead of night not sure if our eyes were playing tricks on us), past the lovely town of Ensenada (where we barreled in topping speeds of 12 knots), and finally over Shelter Island in San Diego, where it all started.

How odd and yet inspiring that in the space of 2 hours in reverse, I can encapsulate memories and motivations of the past 2 years. It sort of feels like time travel.

Life takes us on paths we don’t expect but maybe only dare to dream. Few of us answer the call for adventure, but all of us recognize it when it’s over or has passed. I hope that I have the courage to keep moving forward and never lose sight that life is precious and short and worth pursuing with a passion.

Which will you regret more? The things you DID or DIDN’T do….? That is what drives me forward.

CABO SAN LUCAS OR SAN JOSE DEL CABO*?

It depends on what you’re into.

Cabo San Lucas and San Jose Del Cabo

Do you prefer the energy of a busy city abounding with nightlife, bars and restaurants buzzing of tourists on parasails and jet skis? Or, do you prefer a quieter, sleepier, more authentic Mexican town? Cabo San Lucas for the former, San Jose Del Cabo for the latter.

Both places have marinas. Cabo San Lucas marina is a little cheaper but older, and there are options to anchor there in the bay (for free) that don’t exist further north until you hit Los Frailes. The problem with the anchorage is that it’s fairly chaotic during the day.

We pulled into Cabo San Lucas for our first night of anchorage, knowing that we were headed north to San Jose del Cabo the next day. Our night in anchor was quiet and restful, although we could hear some peals of laughter coming from a nearby bar on the beach. By 9am the next morning, the Beach Boys were blaring from a morning booze cruise already in full swing, and there were no less than 6 parasailors in the bay along with dozens of jet skis zooming around us. It confirmed our commitment to head north!

On our way further north, we were greeted by several sea turtles floating on the surface and a Humpback whale who breached 5 times near our boat – a magnificent welcome to San Jose del Cabo! We can’t wait to go diving!

We are staying at the relatively new Puerto Los Cabo marina, which is a little rich for our normal sailing budget, but we needed a marina with a boat yard to do our repairs. There are several hotels here (JW Marriott among them) and a few different restaurants along with jogging paths, a sculpture garden and a botanical garden. The cruisers staying at this marina are “our people”, too. Laid back,

Our new friend Marty!

friendly, and experienced sailors who make friends easily and want to share their knowledge and encouragement. We were in awe of their experiences and nautical miles. The boat yard is part of the San Diego Marine Group, and Peter (the GM) is efficient and experienced. http://marinegroupcabo.com/

The bus is the best bargain here in town – they are generally old American converted Bluebird school buses, and the cost to get into town or across town is 11 pesos (~$0.60). Taxis are extremely expensive here, and if you’re planning to make a trip that requires one, it might be cheaper to rent a car. We went all over town looking for parts and equipment for about $3.

Don’t miss the municipal market where you can buy local gifts, fresh veggies and fruits as well as the common cafeteria – this is where the locals eat, and the food was the best we’ve had while in Mexico. Huge plates of enchiladas and quesadillas smothered in refried beans and rice dotted with fresh avocados, onions and tomatoes – with your choice of salsas and hot sauces. You eat community style on the benches with everyone else, and they bring you your order. (The coca-colas were almost as much as our food.) A huge meal for two of us came to less than $10. I saw many locals eating the posole soup with a big dish of tortillas. We chose Loncheria Sonia, but there are about 6 places inside to choose from.  https://www.facebook.com/Loncheria.sonia/

We found a couple great coffee shops – Teacher’s Coffee and Coffee Lab. Coffee Lab serves single origin Mexican sourced coffees, and they are one of the few coffee

Loving Coffee Lab!

shops we have found in Mexico so far that also sells whole beans with the roast date printed on the bag! http://www.coffeelab.mx/

The little church in the town square is worth seeing, and we are looking forward to the organic farmer’s market which occurs every Saturday. http://www.sanjomo.com/

THE HIGHLIGHT so far has been a trip to Flora Farms; it’s just 10 minutes from our marina and is a farm-to-table restaurant experience that isn’t to be missed if you’re in the area. Their reservations sell out quickly, and we could only find something for lunch – we hear their brunch is outstanding – and they have cooking classes that look great, too. http://www.flora-farms.com/ We started with their freshly made burrata smothered in farm fresh cherry tomatoes and rocket (arugula) on top of their thick rustic bread baked in their brick pizza ovens. We toured the farm and visited their model home, which are available for fractional ownership. The owners hail from Sonoma and are architects; the farm reminded me of The Carneros Inn – little luxury homes dotting the hillside among the

The kitchen at Flora Farms serves fabio eats!

meandering farm. Just lovely.

We’ll be here until next week, when (fingers crossed) all of our repairs are complete. Next stop: Bahia los Frailes and Cape Pulmo (underwater reserve park).

*SIDE NOTE: The only thing I despise about this place is its Dolphin Discovery building and pool with their “swim with dolphin” program. I’m currently scheming on how I might be able to free them…..please don’t buy a ticket. Ever.

https://bit.ly/2pEyXxe