Back in the Sea of Cortez – during hurricane season…

I love the familiarity with the sea, the anchorages, the wildlife and impending challenges we will no doubt encounter while sailing. The big difference for this 2 weeks, is that we don’t have internet, and I feel that I need it for work, which has created a new set of problems or anxiety – needing to be in a specific place for a phone call or meeting isn’t exactly the safest way to sail/travel, as it forces you to make potentially compromised decisions on weather that you might not have otherwise.

Sunset in Caleta Partida

We started this trip with a few days in Caleta Partida – an anchorage that divides two islands, and which has a narrow channel that we can take our dinghy through to get from one side of the island to the other. It’s one of our favorite places because it’s sheltered and protected but also because it’s the home to dozens of turtles.

Kirby cleaning the hull
Jodi snorkeling with sea lions

On our way to our next anchorage at San Francisco Island, we made a quick stop at a couple small islands that are home to hundreds of sea lions. The pup season ends in July. Kirby anchored the boat in a deep rocky islet while I jumped off and swam with them. They warned me to not get too close by barking at me – they were adorable and fun to see up close, and of course swimming with sea lions is pretty special.

Heading north to Isla San Francisco, we happened upon a group of 5-7 giant manta rays feeding at the surface. We stopped the boat to watch them eat, and then saw them soar under the boat with wingspans of more than 10 feet, mouths open, breathtaking….

After arriving in Isla SF, we stayed at two separate anchorages – we found some fantastic dive/snorkeling sites and appreciated the rich variety and diversity of the fish – so many we’d never seen before and that are indigenous to the Sea: Golden phase puffer fish, Cortez round ray, Cortez angel fish, and dozens of others – including 4 types of parrot fish.

Bahia Agua Verde

Our next stop was one of our favorites – at Bahia Agua Verde – but we had to scoot up to Puerto Escondido (where we are now on a mooring ball) as our refrigeration is on the fritz, we need to do laundry and dump our trash 🙂 We’ll be here for a bit while we catch up on work and projects, and I plan for my next trip to the USA for work.

And, it’s hot. So hot. ~100 degrees and nearly the same in humidity. We are having trouble keeping the fridge and freezer working properly it’s so hot….but, we are swimming and relaxing and doing our best to breath our way through it as the benefits outweigh the annoyances.

Enjoying La Paz

Recently, we had some friends visit us from Michigan, and their lovely photos from our trip together reminded us how beautiful the beaches are, how great the restaurants, and how wonderfully laid back the town. Here are a few of our favorites (all photos courtesy of Seth & Daniela)

Kayaking at Balandra Beach

Balandra Beach, which is north, nearly at the end of the peninsula from La Paz, is a picture-perfect place to spend the day, drink coconut water, kayak, swim and enjoy the crystal clear waters. We were there early during mid week, and we had the place almost entirely to ourselves.

Come back soon!

Back in La Paz

After crossing the Sea of Cortez and making a near record beat south, we are happy to have settled back at Marina de la Paz, where we spent a few happy weeks last year and vowed to return in 2019.

Lunch at The Dock overlooking our marina

La Paz is the quiet, authentic, hippy-sister to Cabo, without the Spring Break party scene and huge resorts. Incredible beaches are nearby as is extreme wildlife and protected underwater parks while also close to two international airports,

Sunset over La Paz bay

We welcomed our first visitors! Seth & Daniela came all the way from Michigan; it was the perfect way to enjoy re-entry back into the city we fondly remembered. We ate great food, enjoyed beautiful beaches, and each other’s company.

Seth, Daniela & Kirby in their natural habitats
Seth getting a shot of Saguaro cactuses, mangroves & torquoise waters

The sailing club we belong to here is putting on their Bayfest festival this week, and we just finished watching the Tour de France race that was in town this weekend. Next weekend is the La Paz Jazz Fest which supports Mar Libre – a local marine conservation organization, so there is no shortage of things to keep us busy and entertained!

The remote “Office”
Lodos sitting pretty on B Dock

However, with lots of real work to do in the coming months, it will also be fun to be dock potatoes for awhile as we make trips back and forth to the US for work and enjoy being “residents” of Mexico again.

We hope to see you here sometime!

ROAD TRIPPIN’ DOWN THE BAJA IN MEXICO

The Pacific Ocean – as seen from the van vs. a sailboat

We have a van and a boat, and it’s impossible to get them to the same place at the same time, so we left Lodos safely floating in San Carlos while we made our way back to San Diego and then started our road trip down the Baja.

Traveling is humbling. You meet adversity, stay in dodgy places (Baja Cactus) and always experience something new and foreign. I continue to be in awe of meeting the kind and generous people of Mexico  – they are patient with our poor Spanish, honest and almost always welcoming.

We traveled nearly 1,000 miles vertically down the Baja, stopping in Ensenada (at the Marea Vista) for a first short day, then two longer days, stopping in El Rosario, the infamous resting stop for the Baja 500 and Baja 1000 – an international desert road race that goes roundtrip from Ensenada to La Paz, traveling over the rough and tumble landscape of the desert sometimes at speeds in excess of 100 MPH and Santa Rosalia – an old Copper mining town with a French influence (and an outstanding historic bakery).

Kirby drove the entire way – all 944 miles of it. We were stopped 9 times by Federales and Military police wanting to know what we were doing on these quiet roads and why we were there, always waving us through with a smile and often well wishes. I think the new president is making good on his anti-corruption promises, which is why we encountered so many of these roadblocks.

Sometimes we slowed to give the charities a few coins at the toll booths that are often vacant and not taking tolls; the locals take the opportunity to gather money that goes directly to their communities instead of snaking its way inefficiently through the government first.

Inoperable tollbooth taking makeshift charitable donations

We listened to Michelle Obama read us her book Becoming, and I felt like I was changing listening to her story and voice, seeing the serene nothingness of endless miles of cactus, saguaros as old as the redwoods and millions of desert flowers blooming. We even spotted a few notable birds (tanagers, hummingbirds, hawks, orioles, ospreys, herons, vultures and shrikes), no doubt migrating this landscape for cooler weather north.

Mardi Gras Queen & King in Santa Rosalia

We visited towns by road that we’d only seen by sea and on foot – participating in a glorious small town Mardi Gras parade in Santa Rosalia showcasing their finest dancers, princesses and princes on top of handmade floats while friendly Federales cleared the roads and parents cheered their support, trying to catch candy and prizes tossed to cheering children lining the roads.

We finally arrived in La Paz today (Sunday), where we will drop the van, get some sleep, see some friends at the marina and then catch a flight back to San Carlos on Tuesday to begin our slow sail back south again.

We’re Baaacckkk!

A blog is nothing more than a vanity project. I know, I know – some of us might say it’s a way to inform, educate and entertain, but at the heart of it, it’s a way for the author to broadcast personal and/or narcissistic thoughts or ideas. 🙂

When I started this blog, I always envisioned it would be singularly focused re: living on a boat/sailing our boat, but I realized that as time has passed, it took on more meaning and intention; I wanted it to reflect our lives and everyday activities, as well as act as part diary, part notification for family.

It is with this spirit that I get back in the saddle and start to write again. It’s been a long time since we posted anything – maybe you’ve been following along on Instagram (living_on_a_boat) – but if you haven’t, then let me explain what we’ve been up to. 

As some of you may remember, our last post was from Turkey, where we were spending 3 months escaping hurricane season in Mexico. Our visa allowed us to be in the country for 90 days, and we left by ferry on Day 89. As the Turkish immigration guy reminded me: “You cannot come back!!”

Since leaving Lodos in June, we traveled from San Carlos, Mexico to Dallas then to: London, Paris, Amsterdam, Datca (Turkey), Kos, Symi, Rhodes, Santorini, Naxos, Athens, then back to the States for 2 months with a trip to Canada, the Copper Canyon and Russia somewhere in between. We recently landed back in Mexico where we have been getting Lodos ready to sail again. And, now, I write this on a plane to the Dominican Republic where I’ll be working for a week. 

Lodos is back in the water in San Carlos, Mexico

In each place we traveled this year, we tried to act as if we lived there: not as tourists, but as residents. Yes, we did some touristy things, but mostly, we did very little or we focused on the mundane and pedestrian aspects of everyday life (e.g. taking a walk, sitting in a park, riding a bus, eating like locals, going to a laundromat, grocery shopping, binge watching 7 seasons of The Good Wife….). We love traveling like this as we get to see the world in a more personal and vulnerable way. 

When we left Mexico in June 2018, we bought two wheeled suitcases at Walmart for ~$11 each. Somewhere in Paris, the blue one lost its wheels, and we drug it unwillingly the rest of the way to Turkey where it died a quick death; however, the red one is going strong, and I’m still using it. 

Truth be told, I quite hate this suitcase. I have been living out of it for 6 months. Aside from a small shopping spree at Kate Spade and Nordstrom in order to have something to wear for work trips, I’ve been wearing the same clothes for 5+ months (although some of them I did have to throw away because I have literally worn them out). 

Big Red – on its last legs

For me, the glamour of traveling and living out of an $11 red rolling Walmart suitcase (Big Red) got old around month 3 1/2. But, we are lucky to have good friends and family who have put us up and let us stay at their glorious homes resplendant with real beds, soft linens, endless hot water, steady electricity and wifi. We tried to follow the rule that visitors are like fish: both start to stink after 3+ days, but I’m sure we overstayed our welcome many many times, and for that, we’d like to especially thank: 

Karin – who’s flat in London was the perfect resting and jumping off point for our adventures

Dick – proving that a 30 year friendship is just as fresh and fun today as it was back then

Mar & Shar – letting us takeover half your houses (in two states!), multiple times, demonstrating that only family can tolerate you as a long term guest

Dilan & Sam – getting to meet Asa was a top highlight of our year, and we can’t wait to watch that gorgeous little baby grow up

Adam & Aleta – for being such great sports by hosting us so soon after that very long and adventurous trip to Sinaloa cartel country in Mexico (we’ll remember it always, I’m sure!)

John, Elizabeth, Leo & Lucca – it was a special treat spending time with your beautiful family and playing Catan with you!

Jeff & Cindy – our peaceful Christmas palette cleanser

Vince, Adrienne, Mia & Vincent – making us feel so welcome, at home and ringing in the New Year together 

I look forward to getting back to a regular schedule that chronicles the joys, triumphs, and frustrations of living this nomadic life, and in the meantime, we’d love to hear from you!

Jodi & Kirby