Jan 22, 2012

Leaving Puerto Los Cabos or When Espresso and Electrical Boats Don’t Mix

Society is like a stew.  If you don't stir it up once in a while 
Then a layer of scum floats to the top.
Edward Abbey 

Puerto Los Cabos from the air
It seems much easier not to be as distracted and thus able to take time to write while at sea especially during easy sails (one tack all the way here) so I am at last taking the time to update the blog…

We left Puerto Los Cabos Thursday 1/19 around 12:30pm when the winds finally picked up enough to move us safely offshore and towards Mazatlan (decided to go to La Paz later when friendlier winds lead us that way).

Leaving never seems to be on time since many come by to say their goodbyes, some take time to give you last minute advice, and others deliver delicious espresso to get you going.

We left with an electrical problem, which, for an electric boat could be a bit of a disaster but we’ll deal with that once on the mainland. We have back-up systems we can use in a pinch. While not as efficient, easy or quick to use, they will work for now. Too much espresso and we forgot to change a very important switch off and fried our Xantrex inverter/charger, a very expensive mistake.

On the way out, Shelly and Drew from sailing vessel Born Free, in farewell, zipped around Déjàlà a couple of times once outside the harbor. They hadn’t had a chance to say their goodbyes at dock. We met these two sailors due to the inclement weather combined with motor problems they encountered on the way up to Los Frailes around the corner from Puerto Los Cabos. They had to be towed into the marina rather than reaching their intended destination. The sailing community was there to help them dock safely. Despite these problems, they are in great spirit and their joie de vivre is an inspiration to me and hopefully many others.

We had been looking at purchasing an asymmetrical spinnaker for light wind conditions, some sorely missing piece of equipment on Déjàlà. Brand new they are quite pricy (in the thousands $$$) but Born Free’s crew happened to have a very slightly used one too small for their newly acquired larger sailboat. We were able to purchase it for a fraction of the cost directly from them – We would rather buy from owners rather than impersonal clerks behind desks working for large corporations. This deal seemed to help both parties. They also graciously shared some of their catch of the day – a dorado – good for two great dinners. Thank YOU!

The day before leaving, we had another freshly baked homemade sourdough bread ‘party’. It seems everyone goes crazy or yearns for warm bread just out of the oven – with lots of butter of course! People dropped by with other items to go with the bread (jams, coffee, and wine – yes wine at 2pm!) and it instantly became an excuse for an uncoordinated neighborly fun gathering. Mike makes great sourdough bread although since being in Southern Baja, we have been eating a lot less of it with tortillas being aplenty, cheap, and always fresh and delicious. Mike had to experiment with Mexican whole wheat flour which, it turns out, has a lot more bran in it than its US version so it can get trickier to work with (bran cuts the gluten up). The bread was delicious and just as in life and in sailing; we keep trying/testing out new ways of doing things.

Beautiful bloom
Mike took out the knife sharpener to sharpen our own collection as well as those of sailors on our dock. We hadn’t realized that larger charter boats would be interested and willing to pay for this service. We ended up making a little unplanned money on the side. Too bad we took the sharpener out only on our last full day at dock. We could’ve probably had a little more business (although this sailing trip isn’t about work, it’s nice to have a little boost here and there). It’s also a great way to meet people you probably normally wouldn’t meet.

With others, Mike helped one of the larger luxury charter yacht (156’) dock and undock since they were shorthanded. In exchange we each (even though I didn’t do any of the work) received a nice yacht T-shirt (Piano Bar). The captain was also kind enough to provide us with a customized weather report for our way over to Mazatlan. For weather reports, we normally depend on websites (if internet is available) such as NOAA, Passage Weather, etc., or use our Single Side Band Radio to listen to the various localized weather nets. You then have to make up your own mind and use your own judgment to see if this feels like the right time for you (never forget to just look out the porthole too for actual weather!) Sometimes we get too caught up on what the computers are telling us and forget the obvious.

Larger boats or people with more to spend than we do often rely on special customized reports that can be purchased. This is the type of report the captain of Piano Bar shared with us. It was a very kind and friendly gesture as most often people on larger vessels like these do not often communicate with small sailboats (by design or by request from the charter company/owners – who knows) and vice versa (although not from lack of trying). The sailing community often refers to them as ‘Stinkpots’. I don’t know if sailboats have nicknames from the motoring community. In all fairness, nearly all sailboats use their motors 50-65% (although most won’t admit this…) of the time so I’m not sure why the nickname and perceived antagonism. I only understand this as it pertains to motor vessels not following the rules of the sea (navigational rules) and threatening the security of sailors on much less powerful and maneuverable boats.

There are many who help make our stays at marinas safer, friendlier, and relaxing. The marina ‘attendants’, somewhat a mixture between a bell-boy or a concierge are there to welcome you, keep track of needs (water, propane, gas, haircut), help you find things or ways around town (best restaurant, store, etc) and at times give you rides on their golf carts to the office or showers… As for most of jobs in Mexico, these people are not paid very well and it is custom to give them a tip at the end of your stay. I am always wrestling with tipping with money as I do not like the impersonality of just giving money so when we left the US for our trip; I decided to take with me all the jewelry I had accumulated over half a century. It doesn’t take a lot of room, isn’t that heavy and can be easily given. One of the attendants had been really helpful in Puerto Los Cabos so I gave him some jewelry for his young daughter who lives far away from him. It seemed as though we hit the right key as he was speechless (not natural for him) and later called us to say thank you (received the message once we reached Mazatlan). Just a simple idea for other cruiser out there: think a little outside the box when giving/tipping it is highly appreciated. Heard also that the same attendant told many others about the great gift he received.

Cactus farm - from the marina's website
We owe Nikki a lot for “breaking the ice”. So many people stop to play/talk with or pet her. It has been very nice. Going back to the large luxury yacht, this is usually how we end up speaking with some of them. They inquire about Nikki, the barriers go down, and the conversation begins.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We are always happy to hear from you but at times it may take a while to get a reply - all depends if we have access to the internet.