Saturday, May 17, 2014

Adios Bahia Concepcion!!

We have been in Bahia Concepcion so long that people are accusing us of "parking", not cruising. It will be interesting to see what our anchor looks like tomorrow morning, or what might be living on it, when we finally hoist it to leave one of our favorite places.

Just one of the many reasons why we love Bahia Concepcion - world class sunsets and sunrises...

Sunrise in the La Posada anchorage.

We have spent the past couple of weeks relaxing, getting to know some of the local characters, and helping out with a few tasks...

Doing a few final tasks before we leave.

We heard our friends on Shindig were in Punto Chivato so we call Rob on the VHF radio. Tom had to climb the hill on the Mulege lighthouse to reach him.
A lesson in VHF radio propagation
A couple of days later Shindig arrived in the Concepcion anchorage.
Shindig arrives on a very windy day.

That night Shindig joined us at Casa de los Suenos for some BBQ Cabrilla (grouper fish).
Tom, Nancy and Sylvia. It's great to see our friends again!
Turns out it was Rob's birthday...or would be in a few days.
Happy Birthday Rob, day #1, the Tequila Tutorial

Tom and Rob went kiteboarding! 

Happy Birthday Rob, day #2 - kiteboarding back to the boats

Tom and Rob had a great day! Boats in the background.

Next day Tom and Rob attacked one of Mike's Top Secret projects...

Mystery Mission Accomplished.
There is more to tell, but we are getting ready for Rob's big birthday bash on the beach tonight. Yes it finally really IS his birthday. Tomorrow we are heading back to La Paz via a few beautiful anchorages and (hopefully) pleasant nights on the hook. More news and pictures will follow in a few days...

Friday, May 9, 2014

Bahia Concepcion Update Weeks #4 and #5 - Telitha Drops Anchor and the Bomberos Blast Into the Bay

Our first 3 weeks in Concepcion were all about friends and family visiting from north of the border. Things got a little lonely after Mati left, then our hostess Stephanie also had to leave for a week, then with Sonja and Erik leaving it felt like our "family" was doomed to shrink and things might become gloomy.

No Eagle Scout Kelston kept things exciting by shooting this rare big game Roosterfish. They are known as huge fighters. Nice job!

Luckily our cruiser friends Kitty and Joe aboard the sailing vessel (sv) Telitha would soon arrive to liven things up. Kitty and Joe are from Taos, NM and have been coming down to the Sea of Cortez every year for the past 12 years or so.

We met Kitty and Joe from sv Telitha in this very bay last year, had a stupendous time hanging out with them and sv Iolanthe last year, and they even came to visit us in San Francisco last summer, pictures  HERE. 
Joe, Tom, Sylvia and Kitty watch the America's Cup/Louis Vuitton cup and bicycle from SF to Tiburon

The day that Tom and I drove Sonja and Erik to the airport, Mike and the kids went for a dive, got some more fish and scallops...

Savanah and scallops

Kelston cleans the scallops

Mike and Dogtooth Snapper - Can you see why we ate so well?

...and the kids even used up their tanks cleaning Cinnabar’s bottom! Hooray for Kelston and Savanah!
Bottom cleaning crew reporting for duty!

We had been expecting Telitha, so I kept a pair of binoculars handy. That afternoon Kitty and Joe sailed into the bay and dropped anchor in time for dinner. They were blown away by the selection of fresh seafood and immediately hit it off with Mike, Kelston and Savanah.
Lots of fish prepared lots of ways (Kelston, Tom, Savanah, Sylvia, Joe, Kitty)

But would they pass the famous (or infamous) McGuire tests? The next morning we all piled into Mike’s panga to see if Kitty and Joe were Jump-Off Rock worthy.
Kitty goes first!

Then Joe!
No problem with jumping off rocks! So were they part of the McGuire clan? Well…almost. The ULTIMATE test would come the morning Mike zoomed over to Telitha in his panga, dragging a SUP, and challenging K&J to a morning “surf” tow. Minutes later Kitty and Joe were zooming around Cinnabar performing all kinds of stunts for their adoring spectators. Talk about hams!!

Kitty and Joe - both up for the challenge

These guys are good!
In addition to jumping, snorkeling, and surf towing, we also enjoyed a night at JC’s restaurant at Burro Cove where Savanah and Kitty took a supply of clothespins and “pinned” numerous unsuspecting victims at the restaurant.
Savanah gives us our tutorial

That night we had a surprise when we ran into cruisers Leif and Lisa of sv Finisterra. We met them in 2011 while racing aboard Tivoli in the Banderas Bay Regatta. Imagine our shock to re-meet these fun folks 3 years later in a completely different location.
What a surprise to run into Leif and Lisa after 3 years.

In the next day or so we would also connect with our friends Ben and Lucie from sv Georgia, whom we know quite well from the SF Bay Area, and Dave and Merry from sv AirOps, whom we met in the Sea of Cortez last year.

Week #5 promised to be extremely interesting as Mike had booked a spearfishing charter with 5 bomberos* (*Spanish for firemen)/spearfishers, aka The Spearos (well, 4 bomberos and 1 bean counter with cojones) from the US (Sacramento and SF Bay Area) who were coming to perfect their blue water free-diving and spearfishing techniques. 
Phil, Mike Curtis, Will and Ethan

Tom and Mike’s son Kelston would assist with guiding the dives, and Stephanie, Savanah and I would be the chefs with Joe and Kitty providing backup. Luckily the Spearos were VERY competent and comfortable in the water, which made the spearfishing days fun for guides Mike, Kelston and Tom.

Guides Kelston and Tom (left) with The Spearos and Captain Mike (right)

The week was jam-packed with the guys leaving in the early a.m. to drive out to the fishing pangas, diving their brains out all day in both Victory at Sea and Lake Placid conditions, then coming home to clean their fish and gear before dinner.

Trip leader Will demonstrates that hunters eat EVERYTHING they shoot.

Phil and Ethan with dinner!

Looks like Mike will be taking home some fish

Curtis shot this monster 48# amberjack on the last day
Meanwhile the kitchen crew did our best to cook up a variety of tasty seafood dishes.  

Pasilla Pepper Princesses Sylvia and Stephanie

Tataki Tutoresses Kitty and Savanah
That week we prepared wahoo, cabrilla, yellowtail, snapper, pargo, grouper, roosterfish, rainbow runner, amberjack, clams, scallops, cockles, octopus, and lobster. We steamed seafood, boiled seafood, served sashimi, sushi,  tataki (where Savanah almost caught fire!), tiradito and crudo, ceviche, Hawaiian poke, on the half-shell, seafood stew, marinated and grilled fish, salted and grilled fish, al mojo de ajo (lots of garlic), fish cheeks, fish teriyaki, ranchero-style, fish tacos, grilled fish on pasta,  pibil-style, and Chilaquiles! 
Breakfast is served!

And that’s not even counting Stephanie’s amazing smoothies and desserts such as banana bars, chocolate decadence, strawberry-balsamic cheesecake, chocolate chip bars, puddings and fresh fruit. Whew!!

Galley staff loving their work. Literally.

The utter irony of the Spearos trip, however, is that they came down to shoot yellowtail, and the entire week they were here the guys didn't even SEE one yellowtail. Hey Spearos, were you making those heinous faces underwater? Is that what scared off the yellowtail?
Tom surprises the guys with local microbrewed beer. Note that Kelston is not excited.
As we approached the end of week #5 it seemed that everyone (except Tom and I) was busy making their preparations for departure.  On Friday May 2nd Tom and I drove the Spearos to Loreto with all their fish frozen and packed on ice for the trip home.  When we got back to Concepcion both Telitha and Finisterra had left the bay. That afternoon as we helped the McGuires  pack up their beach toys Georgia raised her anchor and also sailed out of the bay, planning an overnight crossing to San Carlos on the Mexican mainland. We had a final dinner with the McGuires at Armando’s restaurant in Santispac, and very early the next morning they left for their long drive back to the states.

Things were a little lonely for the next couple of days, but on Sunday we discovered that someone left a bag of lobster tails, so at least we had a great lobster dinner (2 in fact) to console ourselves. 

Classic retro meal of steamed lobster with garlic butter and wedge salad with avocado green goddess dressing. 

(Our noses also discovered that one of the Spearos had left a single pack of fish in an unplugged freezer…pew!!)

At night we have been enjoying the vast sky filled with stars, waiting for the satellites and space station to cross the sky, and enjoying the occasional satellite flare. Early Tuesday morning I rose at 4:00 a.m., looked outside, and was treated to a meteor shower. Stars were shooting in the sky, and the bio-luminescence was sparkling in the sea from the numerous fish swimming under our boat. Both sky and water were equally brilliant, a magic moment indeed!

What’s next? I guess we wait for a suitable weather window and then start our journey back south, final destination La Paz where Cinnabar will live for the summer.  At the moment we are “recovering” from our non-stop excitement visit with Los McGuire, marveling at the million dollar view from their VRBO Casa de los Suenos, and counting ourselves extremely fortunate indeed to be blessed with such wonderful friends who generously share their home in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

More pictures of weeks #4 and #5 can be found HERE.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Bahia Concepcion Update weeks #2 and #3 - Sister visit, Horses, Clams, Eclipse, Bonfires, and More!

Bahia Concepcion, BCS 4 May, 2014

Whew! It has been a crazy five weeks here in Bahia Concepcion.  Anchored under Casa de los Suenos we have enjoyed whale watching, whale sharks, surfin’ safaris, friends arriving then leaving, then more friends and family arriving, then meeting up with old cruising friends, all while being hosted and entertained by the McGuires at a breakneck speed.

Today, however, Cinnabar sits alone in the bay... 

Cinnabar at anchor in front of Casa de los Suenos
...all the boats having left the anchorage to head to their next destinations after being holed up here by heavy winds for the past few days. Early this morning the McGuires also left for their long drive back to the states. Tom is reading and relaxing, and I am going through my photos of all the activities we have enjoyed here during the past few weeks.

In our last update Tom talked about the terrific surfing trip some of them took to Scorpion Bay on the Baja’s Pacific side. On their way home the surfers picked up our friend Mati at the airport, and the next day my sister and Erik joined the group so Casa de los Suenos felt like a full house once again.

Our host Mike, ever on the lookout for new activities, arranged for a local caballero to stop by to see if we might be interested in a horseback ride. Sure…why not? We even convinced Erik to go, perhaps against his better judgement. 
Caballero Marcelo (left) and his assistants (far right) lead the group on a ride.
We mostly had a fun afternoon, but as luck would have it Erik got thrown, his fall broken by a, you guessed it, CACTUS. Thank goodness he wasn't seriously hurt, and kudos to Erik for his great attitude and for never once complaining. He claims the healing waters of the hot springs on the beach helped soothe and heal his scratches and bruises.

One day mike arranged for Juan Carlos, a local restaurant owner, to take us out on his pontoon boat for a day of snorkeling, clamming and spearfishing. Juan Carlos's restaurant is just across the highway from El Burro Cove.
We leave Playa el Burro for a day on the water.

JC was an impressive clammer, diving down, spotting the tell-tale clam siphon holes, then digging like a mad man to uncover the prized Arenas clams. They are like the famous Chocolate Clams but bigger. After diving we headed over to a pleasant island beach where we ate Arenas Clams on the half shell...
Erik claimed he "didn't like" raw clams. Hmmm...
Mati prepares his clams with lime and hot sauce.

...while Juan Carlos cooked up a big pan of Trigger Fish Rancheros over an open fire which we scooped up using the clam shells as bowls.
Savanah watches JC cook over an open fire.
Sonja enjoys her shell full of Pescado Rancheros

In addition to all these outdoor activities we have also enjoyed bonfires... 
Savanah and Kelston roast marshmallows on the beach
lunar eclipses...
I stayed up all night to watch this full moon get eclipsed.
...traveling musicians, more whale sharks and exploring the bay for the best snorkeling and fishing spots. 

Sylvia and Sonja search for Mulege's best Margaritas. These at El Equipage were pretty darn good!!

As for the spearfishing, well a picture speaks a thousand words...

14 yr old Kelston shoots an 80 lb Grouper! (outside the bay)
Tom shoots a 50+ lb Yellowtail (outside the bay)

Mati shows off the huge Yellow Jack that Mike shot inside Bahia Concepcion.

More pictures of weeks #2 and #3 can be found HERE.

Weeks #4 and #5 coming soon...
Our friends Kitty and Joe aboard sv Telitha make it to Bahia Concepcion!
People jump off big rocks!
Fish heads on the BBQ!
And more!!!