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Old 08-15-2009, 04:03 PM   #15
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 143


We sailed the Sea of Cortez back in 2004 in Sea Venture, and I had cruised here with a friend back in 2000, Yes, we love it, love Mexico in general, and the snorkeling in particular. We do not particularly like the fact that the storms are so unpredictable -- except that they predictably come when the forecast is for an easy sail, clear skies, and flat seas. We've had more than our share of the lumpies and bumpies (including the corumuel we hit en route to La Paz that consigned our bow planking to Nepture). Still, if one wants experience with uncomfortable nights and confused seas, this is the place to get it. The key seems to be to go when the forecasters (and we never rely on merely one) say light air expected, moderate corumuels only, little chance of a chubasco, or flat seas. So far, on every crossing, they've undershot the mark by at least 20 knots, usually by more. Sea Venture is a good old girl and takes those winds and seas right in her stride. I'm the one who feels too old some nights!

All that aside, we are having a grand time. We are now tucked into Marina Singlar in Guaymas because the chubascos are so unpredictable and can be quite fierce. We loved our anchoring spot in Bahia San Carlos -- the breeze was glorious, and one chubasco we experienced was short-lived and only moderate -- but Jesus from Marina Seca came out to discuss work on our boat and mentioned that we were right smack in the path of the swell and wind if a big one came unexpectedly, with winds that can go to 80 knots in a matter of minutes. We would have moved, but the bay was chock full of moored boats -- no room at the inn for this fat lady. On the Baja side, we went through a lot of storms, but we tried to pick our anchorage with this in mind. Our anchor is big and we put out a lot of chain, but -- as Jesus said -- it's those other boats you have to worry about, most of which are untenanted.

We use Banda Ancha from Telcel for our internet. As long as we're within cell phone range, we can get internet. It worked well on the Magote in La Paz and up to Isla Espiritu Santo. It worked off Loreto, at Santa Rosalia, off Isla San Marco, in Bahia San Carlos, and now here in Guaymas, which is fortunate as the marina only has wifi in the lounge area, and Michael says it's very slow. We buy the prepaid phone cards to use it, so it can be inactive during the months we're cruising the islands and away from cell service.

San Carlos has grown substantially since 2004, but Guaymas remains a very Mexican city (as opposed to Mazatlan, which is overgrown with tourists). We find that the more Mexican the town, the friendlier the natives. Everyone here and in Santa Rosalia smiled at us and spoke. They're more suspicious in La Paz and Mazatlan. Mulege seemed one of the more unspoiled places -- and one of the cleaner.

So, come on down. Michael just put in an order that cost as much as the Panama Canal crossing, so I guess we'll be here a while! When will Mahdee be ready?


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Old 08-15-2009, 08:44 PM   #16
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Home Port: Washington DC
Vessel Name: SV Mahdee
Posts: 3,236

Hi, Normandie,

I'm glad that you're enjoying the Sea of Cortez so much. I think it may be quite a while before our paths cross as our plans take us to Alaska, BC, the Pacific Northwest for quite a while before coming back down the coast. At this time, we're looking at heading north in the spring. Depending on whether we go offshore and up or simply hop up the coast (prefer to go offshore as we've had several friends with good experience making it north quickly this way) we'll be talking about late spring or early summer.

Mahdee is doing well but it seems that everything we install (in terms of electronics) doesn't work at first so this is getting to be a bit frustrating. Today, for example, David goes back up the mast to troubleshoot the Airmar weather station. We're planning on removing it and sending it back to the vendor but there is a very slight chance that it is the wiring harness which is the problem so I keep my fingers crossed. While he's doing that, I get to play with the CruzPro MaxVu NMEA repeater/display to figure out why it doesn't like the USB interface to the computer so we cannot program the display to show us all the nice things that its capable of showing us like engine monitoring, battery monitoring, depth, temperature, etc. I've got to dig out a serial cable for that project (oh, where oh where would we have a serial cable, I wonder?).

We remain in San Diego where we have access to a fully equipped woodworking and auto hobby shop at NAS North Island. We were committed as part of a race committee from late spring until September so we've been not too keen to go places but expect to sail up to the Channel Islands for a few weeks in October and bumble around So. Cal through the winter months with ability to get back into San Diego if we have major projects to complete. We're "recovering" from the intense work we did for 2-1/2 years to get Mahdee rebuilt and back in the water! Somehow, that really took a lot out of us and we're just so happy to do little-bit by little-bit rather than a dozen projects at once. Further, our budget is in much better shape when we take things slowly rather than doing so many things all at once...

Keep us up-to-date on your location and what you all are doing.

Fair winds,

"Do or do not. There is no try." - Yoda

What we're doing - The sailing life aboard and the Schooner Chandlery.

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canal, panama

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