RANDOM THOUGHTS ABOUT LIVING NOMADICALLY

I sat next to a young man on the flight going to Mexico City recently. He was in La Paz for a week learning how to be a kayak guide and spent a week paddling around Espirito Santo Island (not far from La Paz and a national park/nature preserve). He was from Canada and had never been outside of the US/Canada before – his first trip. He was so excited and enthusiastic about everything; it was fun to hear about his Mexican adventure from a new perspective.

This reminds me, while also fresh in my mind, to capture what is new (or new again), exciting, and interesting in this nomadic life we’re living. So, here are some random thoughts about what I still find fascinating – or maybe even banal – and joyful about travel.

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Sunset at Marina de La Paz

I keep seeing great blue herons – I like the idea that they might be my “spirit animal” because their appearance is so apropos to what we’re experiencing in these days: seeking innate wisdom, self reliance, personal exploration and adaptability. Also, they are supposed to signify peace – how perfectly appropriate in a place named La Paz (peace)! https://www.spirit-animals.com/heron/

A dark sky is wholly under-rated

Dolphins in the pacific are much more social and friendly than dolphins in the Sea of Cortez – but both make me happy

I love the sound of shrimp under the boat at night when we go to bed – have you ever heard them? It’s the most amazing thing! The sound they make is produced from the air snapping rapidly between their wee claws

Work is so much better when you can do it remotely and on your own terms

I missed reading novels in the past 5 years (too many business books and too much work); I just started on my 6th one this year

The sail from San Diego to Cabo was so hard, but I miss the open ocean

The people of Mexico have to be some of the kindest in the world

Work on the boat is never (ever) done

I haven’t found Churros since leaving Ensenada 🙁

My irrational fear of hitting a whale isn’t so irrational

Getting ready for hurricane season seems to occupy an inordinate amount of energy and space in my brain – as one guy recently put it, “It’s so daunting a task with so much to fear that I might just go back to San Diego!”

I’m going to be a great aunt (!!!)

I enjoy planning travel almost as much as living it

Onions and potatoes will last for months unrefrigerated as long as they have air and don’t sit next to each other

A strong wifi signal is a something I used to take for granted

Peeling a ripe mango is so much harder than it looks

Life seems infinitely simpler when you limit your wardrobe to a few pair of shorts and a couple of T-shirt’s to choose from everyday

I never tire of: the sun, sunsets, guacamole, dolphins, or tacos

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Tacos with soyrizo, onion, garlic & avos – yum!

Wherever you go, there you are – you cannot escape the things that make you unhappy, but it’s easier to be happier when you choose less

HANGING IN LA PAZ: LODOS = COROMUELS

We planned to spend time in and around some islands outside of La Paz, but the Coromuels were starting to get a bit heavy, so we decided to duck into La Paz earlier to be safe and comfortable.

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J & K on the Malecon in La Paz

*Coromuels are a SW wind that blow in late spring/early summer. It’s a condition that happens around La Paz when the Pacific Ocean and land and sea temperatures are at odds with each other, creating a whipping and gusty SW wind that comes up around 11pm and lasts until sunrise. It’s usually blowing in the opposite direction as the day winds, and they can come up suddenly, without much warning. When they blow, they can also gust at 30-45 MPH, making for a dodgy anchorage or a very uncomfortable night on the boat.

Because we needed to get into a marina relatively fast, we opted for a marina that several of our friends were staying at: Costa Baja. http://www.marinacostabaja.com/ A beautiful marina, relatively new, fancy with hotels, pools, spa, lots of services, but with bad wifi, etc…..and, as we learned quickly and a long time ago – marinas with:

Mega Yachts + Mostly Powerboats ≠ Not Our People

SO, we moved down to Marina de la Paz (which we arrived at on the first day of Bayfest http://www.clubcruceros.net/TheClub/2018BayFest.html) and already love. It’s very laid back, low-key, right downtown, filled with sailors/cruisers who just want to work on their boats, talk sailing and share experiences. No fancy clothes, no dripping in diamonds, no sitting on a boat that never gets used…..http://www.marinadelapaz.com/ We thought of my mom, who has coffee with her friends every day in the early afternoon. Here too, there is a coffee hour – where people gather, share referrals, stories and tall tales. Every morning, on VHF Channel 22, there is a radio broadcast of sorts that covers everything from weather to requests for swapping or bartering. It’s very helpful and highly entertaining.

The winds are expected to get worse in the next few days, gusting up to 40 mph on Saturday, so we are pleased with our decision, as there aren’t really any anchorages around here that can protect us from this crazy wind phenom.

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One of dozens of bronze sculptures along the Malecon in La Paz

As Jodi leaves for a work trip to NYC in about 10 days, we decided to make this our home base for the next month before we head north to Espirito Santo, Isla San Francisco, Loreto and beyond. (see www.SVLodos.com for our tentative itinerary).   

For those of you considering a visit, there are several options:

  • Come NOW and hang with us in La Paz – we can do some fun day sails, swim with whale sharks, sea lions, cook, picnic and relax together
  • Meet us mid-May north of La Paz or in Loreto (Alaska Airlines flies there) – we can explore this beautiful region together for the first time
  • Join us in San Carlos in early June & help us prep the boat for hurricane season (mainland Mexico) & maybe join us as crew to cross the Sea of Cortez
  • Come to Turkey and stay with us at our house there – anytime late July until early October
  • Island hitchhike (literally) with us back from Turkey to Greece in early/mid October

*FUN FACT: Lodos means SW wind in Turkish, so Coromuel is the Baja version of Lodos! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CoromuelIMG_2383

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.