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Old 05-29-2010, 12:48 AM   #1
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Well, it's been a while since I've checked in to say hello. Last time, I asked about going through the Panama Canal. Thanks for all the replies to that.

We spent last winter in Bahia San Carlos after being stuck on the hard for two months -- supposed to be a week to ten days -- due to the destruction in the town from Hurricane Jimena. Once we set our anchor in the bay, we kept thinking, okay, we ought to leave. There are other places to visit yet. But it was so beautiful. We made new friends, worked on the boat, watched the dolphins, lit our Newport diesel heater a few times -- and let me tell you, after spending the summer needing either to be in the water or with the air conditioning on (after Michael got ill from the heat on his birthday in July), we thought a bit of cool very refreshing! So, we looked at each other and said, "Leave? Why?" and figured that our schedule was our own.

We brought my 82-year-old mother back after tax time in the States and sailed across the Sea on Easter Sunday. What a glorious day! We couldn't have asked for a better crossing for her. She remained with us for six weeks as we entered places she'd never visited, returned to other anchorages that she remembered, and finally made it to La Paz.

The thing we really like about La Paz is the wind/current combination that keeps you cool without making you rock all over the place. I know, a lot of folk complain about it. But where else in the Sea of Cortez during the summer can you experience hot days and under-the-blanket cool nights? We have a big anchor, lots of chain, and we regularly either move and re-anchor or back down on the anchor again. We also set the drag alarm. It's close enough to cruise to the islands to snorkel, to sail around the Bahia, to go fishing (if, unlike me, you can catch the things).

We still may go through the Canal -- if the oil spill doesn't preclude this next year. Or we may follow Trim50 across the Pacific. The one thing holding us back from doing that is the dementia that is creeping up on my mother. We couldn't go this spring as daughter is getting married in October. There's always something to change one's plan, but that's okay. What is a plan anyway when you're cruising?

By the way, we've been visiting doctors here. The cardiologist who gave Michael a very positive report also handed him us a very pleasant surprise: an hour of his time, an EKG, and $47 later we were out of there. The oncologist I saw last year and this hasn't raised his fee. For an hour with him, an ultrasound, his review of my mammograms and a translation into English, I paid another whopping $47.

I hope things don't change down here. They may. The whole world is on a slippery slope. Still, the sky is blue, the water clear, the breeze cooling, we're healthy, and God is good.

Blessings to all of you,

Normandie and Michael

s/v Sea Venture

presently anchored off La Paz, MX
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Old 05-29-2010, 09:40 PM   #2
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It is good to hear from you Normandie,

We are glad that you are finding your own pace and enjoying where you are right now. We hope to hear more details of you present position if you have time (and internet access!) to share info with us. How has your internet access been, by the way? Would love to know.

Best to you,
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Old 06-02-2010, 06:04 PM   #3
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Brenda,

Internet access with Telcel's Banda Ancha is occasionally spotty, but so much better than it was years ago! No more Internet cafes or having to get close to a wifi connection. In areas where we don't have any Internet, we just use our Sailmail to post on our blog or to email family.

We found that we could use Banda Ancha in Sweet Pea Cove on Isla San Marcos, which is a good eight miles east of Santa Rosalia; on Isla Carmen, which is about the same distance from Loreto; and also in Puerto Escondido when we moored near the open slot between the hills and caught the cellular signal from 13 miles north in Loreto. There, Banda Ancha worked much better than the Singlar Marina's wifi service. Of course, it works beautifully near any city in Mexico, but there are some places that don't have cell service: ergo, no Internet. Bahia Concepcion is one of those dead spots. Inside the cabin works decently, but Michael has built an antenna connection so it's on top of the pilothouse now -- huge improvement.

The great thing for us about Banda Ancha is that we can turn it off when we're out of the country or know we'll be out of range. We bought the USB card and SIM chip, installed it, got one free month with the purchase, and now can recharge at any time, either for daily use, weekly use, or monthly use, with Amigo cards that can be purchased at any little Oxxo or mini-supers. Then we just send an email telling Telcel how long we want to use it (a must, otherwise, the pesos of recharge will flit though at a rate that takes your breath away), and then they send us an email when we need to recharge. Very convenient.

Speaking of Bahia Concepcion: we loved it in early spring when we visited this year. A whale followed us into Posada Concepcion and swam within 100 feet of SV. It's a lovely bay. But we made the mistake of visiting Satispac -- the next anchorage over in Concepcion -- last summer on our way north and will not make a repeat stop this year. It was so hot that the water didn't even cool off enough to swim.

Our position right now is: 24.09.514 N 110.20.287 W

Lovely breezes at night (15-24) that really cool off the boat, dolphins cavorting daily. The only drawback to being this far from town is that sometimes the dinghy ride is bouncy and wet.
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