In and About Bahia de los Angeles

*****Pictures have been added to the previous entry. Enjoy!*****


Monday morning found us ready to make our way back to civilization and see if we could fix our fridge problem.   As we approached BLA I was surprised to see it was quite a bit larger than I expected. We’d been hearing stories for so long about how little there is here and how much we need to do without. We were not expecting very much. Only Dazzler and Linger Longer were in the bay. We were happy to catch up with those guys again. As it turned out, Dazzler Dan had the same fridge as us (but six years old) and was also experiencing problems – albeit of a different sort. He had bought what we assumed were the last 2 cans of refrigerant in town and he had a hose that fit the cans. Unfortunately the other end of the hose did not fit our refrigeration systems and he wasn’t sure lack of refrigerant was his problem anyway – so he didn’t bother using any of it. He sold us (at cost) one can of refrigerant and the halfway useful hose. We figured maybe we could find either the proper hose with both fittings or at least part of a hose with the fitting for our compressor and splice it to the other.

We got a bit of local knowledge about places to check and we headed ashore, determined to get this thing sorted out. The first store we went to was sort of a strange mix of things – dry foodstuffs, some fresh vegetables, bicycle parts, gay porn magazines, automotive, mechanical parts and a mix of dusty, random parts in a dimly lit building. We looked around a bit and tried to explain what we were looking for. The woman turned on some lights for us and didn’t think she had what we needed. On a dusty plexiglass shelving unit, under some other things, Jonny spied some sort of hose in a package. We pulled it out and it appeared to have the correct fitting for our compressor! It was not cheap and, we assumed, not returnable, so we wanted to be sure before we bought it. We trudged back across the salt flat/basura strewn, abandoned campground area to the beach where we landed the dingy and went back to get calipers to measure. When we returned to the store, a man was working there and he helped us to measure and be sure the hose was going to fit our needs. We were also able to get a brass fitting to attach the 2 different sized hoses together and a couple of tiny hose clamps. Jonny went to work cutting our 2 brand new hoses and fitting them together. He then attempted to fill up the compressor with refrigerant. The compressor took an entire can of refrigerant (which is half the total volume it needs!). All we could do now was to wait and see if it got colder in the ice box and then turned itself off. Amazingly enough, it did! We were cautiously relieved (afterall, we did not actually find or fix any obvious leaks).

Jonny tightened the suspect fittings a little bit (they would not go far) and we are just continuing to check on that and see what happens. At least now we have some extra cans of refrigerant and a hose that works like a charm if we need to do this again! We loaned the hose to Dan, as he was still struggling with his system and wanted to give the refrigerant a try now that it was possible. He offered to split the cost of the entire fix (which, btw, was about 25% of our budget for the month!), but that didn’t make a whole lot of sense to us, since we were keeping the hose – so instead he gave Jonny an 8 pack of Pacifico when he returned the hose (he knew that would not be turned down!).   So, we don’t know what’s going to happen to us with this, we remain vigilant and for now the beer. Poor Dan had to go back to Santa Rosalia for parts, and we heard on the radio that he actually ended up taking a bomber mission up to San Diego to get what he needed. What a bummer for him, and made us feel even more grateful we still have cold drinks, frozen food and didn’t have to take a very expensive trip anywhere!

Refer hose

Now that we could breathe a little easier, we began reconnaissance of Bahia de los Angeles. I was pretty blown away at how much was available in the markets – I really was not expecting so much. No, it’s nothing like Santa Rosalia, but quite a lot more than expected. I even found my “sin azucar” yogurt! And Challenge butter. I was starting to feel pretty good about having this place as our ‘home base’ for a few months. The biggest market in town had recently burned down, but they were in the process of getting it back up and running. We managed to find the house where they can refill our propane tanks and even do our laundry. Given that there is no free water here, we have to pay around $1/5 gallons ($20 to fill our tanks, which lasts up to 3 weeks) – we decided that using that water to wash clothes by hand didn’t make a lot of sense. For just a bit more, we can have our clothes properly laundered and folded for us. Yolanda took our huge bag of laundry (mostly towels and sheets – we really haven’t been wearing clothes much to speak of!) and said it would be ready the next afternoon.

BLA Sailsculpt
The roundabout in BLA Village – makes for a good landmark to site on when sailing in!

In the midst of ‘fixing our boat in paradise’ we could not avoid noticing the whale sharks in the bay. In fact, two of them greeted us as we were anchoring. What huge and amazing creatures! I had not yet gotten to see one and was VERY anxious to jump in and swim with them – GoPro in hand of course!

Two mornings in a row I was able to do just that. At first I was quite scared – even though I KNOW they are completely docile, non-flesh eating creatures. I’ve just never been so close, in a bikini, to something that huge…coming at me with its mouth open. The first time in, I had Jonny bring me out in the dingy and we got close to them. You can see their telltale fins (mid and tail) sticking up in the water as they lazily zoom around with their mouths open, hoovering tiny bits of plankton. When we were close, I jumped in and started paddling towards one. The water was quite murky and not as clear as I’d hoped. I knew I was close as I could see the fin on the surface, but still no whale shark in view under water. I kept swimming and suddenly I was right on top of it! It was maybe about 15 feet long and I was over its middle fin and tail area, which moved powerfully and slowly around as they swam. I was a bit hesitant to get up near its mouth still.

Seeing them from the dinghy is also quite impressive. Every time we went ashore we saw at least 3 of them! Once, one was swimming right towards us and its mouth was as wide as the dinghy! It was probably close to 30 feet long. They often have little fish attached to them, going along for the ride. Seeing them never gets old.

On my second day of swimming with the sharks, Jonny was again running the dinghy for me (why didn’t he jump in too? No, I’m sure he wasn’t scared of them…or WAS he?!) and I jumped in and was getting courageous enough to swim up and try to get video of the mouth/head. I heard Jonny saying something about another one, but I had a nice big one and I was swimming with it, so I didn’t pay too much attention. Next thing I know, I look over my shoulder and there’s a whale shark about twice the size of my big one, and it’s got it’s ginormous mouth open a couple feet from me. As you can see, I thrashed around for a bit and finally got hold of myself and tried to get video.   What an amazing experience! We enjoyed seeing them for several days, and then the bay filled up with a bunch more of our floating friends and we didn’t see so many of them anymore. I’m sure we’ll find them again one of these days.

There is no cell service anywhere around here, which makes the rumor that Carlos Slim has a house in BLA seem ridiculous (he is one of the richest men in the world and owns Telcel). Would he really have a house somewhere he couldn’t use his cell phone? And if so, does he know something we don’t know? Hmmm Anyway there are lots of rumors about Mr. Slim floating around – this mega yacht or that resort belong to him, etc etc.   There are several phone services in town, and calls to the US range from 6 pesos per minute to 12 pesos per minute (around 40 cents – 75 cents) NOT cheap! Unfortunately before I found the 6 peso place, I had a brief chat with my parents at the 12 peso place. Oops. And I have serious doubts about the possibility of uploading a blog entry in BLA, but maybe one day I will give it a try. Until then, I just keep on writing– downloading my brain as it gets too full.

When we went get our laundry, Yolanda was not there, but her husband Andres was. We got our huge bag of laundry and asked him if he also ran the raspados stand down by the road in front of their house. He did and we finally got to try our first raspados (deliciously icy fruit slushies). We both ordered mango and enjoyed them in the shade and chatted for quite a while with Andres. He doesn’t speak much English so it was a great opportunity for us to work on our Spanish. We really hit it off and by the end we had invited he and Yolanda to come out to Summer. He admitted he’d never been out on the water or seen the whale sharks and that he can’t swim. He said he would check with Yolanda to see if she was interested in visiting with us and maybe even sailing.

BLA Raspados

The next day we went to get our fuel supplies topped off. Jonny had 2 five gallon diesel jugs and I had the 5 gallon gas container. There are 2 Pemexes in town, one just sells gas and the other sells gas and diesel. You can see the diesel one just up the road from the gas one. Both are a good walk from where the dinghy lands. It was quite hot and I was not looking forward to lugging a heavy gas container all that way, but there are no other options. I opted to stop at the first Pemex and get the gas rather than go the extra distance to the diesel station and have to lug it that much farther and let the big, strong man forge ahead without me to the diesel station. Well, I didn’t get but 20 feet down the road from the Pemex and Andres drives up in his truck and takes the gas out of my hands and puts it in the back and ushers me into the front seat. Donde Juan?? He asks. I pointed to the diesel station and Andres drove on and picked Jonny up, who was still walking to the station. We filled the diesel cans and Andres drove us all the way back to the dinghy. What a lucky break! He also confirmed that Yolanda was interested in coming out on the boat and that Tuesday might be the day. We figured we’d confirm for sure again on Saturday when we went over to their snack stand to get a pollo asada (BBQ chicken) – which Yolanda cooks up every Saturday (she was off buying 28 chickens for the occasion).

BLA Andres Armor
Andres makes amazing art out of large food cans! This is a knight in progress.

Sunday was the Full Moon Party at La Gringa – an anchorage just up from BLA. There is an estuary there where the tides flow in and out in a big curving, riverlike fashion. At the full moon, the tides are strongest/biggest and the water really rips out of the estuary as the tide goes down. You can ride swiftly along on floaties and then swim ashore, climb over, and do it again.


The above was written on time, as we were about to enjoy our first full moon party. As I am writing this current sentence, it is the day after our SECOND full moon party. It appears I have let an entire month lapse without doing any writing. We’ve just been so…busy. And uh, it’s been HOT. And we’ve had power issues so I can’t always run the computer for a long time. And…and…and… Well, I think ultimately knowing I have no way to actually POST a blog entry has kind of taken the wind out of my sails, so to speak.

I actually had to go to our ship’s log to remember where-all we’ve been in the past 29 days. As it turns out, we HAVE been busy!

So that first full moon party was loads of fun. Everyone that is in the northern sea on their sailboat converged on La Gringa. At that time it was 9 boats – 17 people total. There is one other boat – a trimaran, also up here, but it is a solo guy and he is apparently not interested in making friends (I’ve gotten him to wave a few times). We arrived a day early, along with Lunasea, and had the pleasure of checking out the estuary by ourselves, along with a few locals. When the tide is ripping out around the u-turn, it’s like a river and just gets faster and faster until it’s just too shallow to ride it any longer (when you scrape your butt on a rock, it’s all over!). The next day the whole gang was there. We finally got to meet Jay and Janice (and their puffball dog Buster) from Ceilidh (pronounced KayLee – must be Gaelic?). Jay and Janice are the net managers and run the SSB Ham net that we listen to every morning at 6:30am to get our weather and find out where all our friends are and what they’ve been up to. Fun to meet them finally- they have a palapa house in southern BLA and have been around here for years and years.

We all had a variety of flotation devices, hats, sunglasses, beverages, etc. You ride a few times, stop to chat on the rocky spit and watch others go zooming by.   It was a fun and relaxing day and as the tide dropped, so did we, dinghy by dinghy back to our boats to regroup. We all met up onshore for a pizza/potluck dinner. Jay and Janice had arranged for a local pizza place to drive all the way out there to deliver some pizzas! They were actually quite good! It was a rather mellow evening as we ate, chatted and admired the moon.

Gringa pizza party

Banana Muffins
My first ever banana nut muffins for the full moon party. I usually don’t like these, but they were pretty good!

I think we spent one more day in La Gringa and then went back to Village. Being in the village pretty much means the same thing every time, and I’m sure you don’t need to hear over and over again how we trudge through the heat to find groceries, struggle to use inconsistent and frustrating wifi, and suffer through the extreme tide dinghy landings (which usually means getting wet and sandy/muddy when you get there and having to drag the dinghy quite far to get away) and lug jug after jug of water out to fill up our tanks. We found the village to always be hotter than anywhere else, and the water temperature is also warmer than other places. We ended up making trips to the village on Saturdays, as that is just after all the fresh fruits and veggies are delivered, and staying as briefly as possible- just long enough to get all our chores done, before heading out to a better locale.

Coronado volcano bow
The volcano on Isla Coronado

There are a string of islands just east and north of the Bahia village. We decided to sail around the outside of them and head up to an area called Alcatraz, to catch up with Lunasea and others. We sailed off anchor for the first time. Not starting the motor not only saves on fuel of course, but it also keeps the main cabin much cooler. It heats up quite a bit and takes forever to cool down after we motor for any length of time. Also, the motor is right next to our refrigerator, which can’t be good for the efficiency factor there, so, lots of incentive not to crank up that motor! It was a calm and simple process and before we knew it we were lazily sailing out of the bahia. To make it outside the islands, we had to cut through a narrow-ish passage way, and with the wind not being in our favor, we had to tack back and forth many times to get through. Our track on the ipad looks like a bunch of zig zags. The wind was quite light and before long we realized at that rate we were going to take forever to get to our destination. Easy solution – change your destination! We ended up stopping at a little anchorage between Isla Coronado/Smith and Mitlan. It was a windy little slot with nice cool water. We did some fishing, spotted a large shark (suddenly swimming lost it’s appeal), took a ride around Isla Mitlan (which is nothing but rocks, but somehow seems to put off a surprising number of jejenes) and we went ashore on the nice beach below the volcano on Isla Coronado. Jonny has a strong urge to hike up to the top of that 1500 foot volcano – so a return is imminent. We couldn’t stand the bugs for long, though and we headed on up to Alcatraz after just 2 nights.

Alcatraz is just beautiful. A huge sweeping white sand beach, with a white sandy ‘dune’ over the mountain, there’s also a little island that shows great promise for snorkeling. We were happy to see Lunasea and Azul as we were anchoring. We had a fun potluck evening with those guys – Naomi made inspiring fish cakes and an amazing cheesecake. We hung out for a few days after everyone left. We hiked up to the top of the sand dune and got a great view of Lunasea sailing south. We snorkeled and enjoyed the beach for a bit. The wind died and the jejenes started to get bad. But we got good at putting our screens up and burning a toxic coil of death (Fumakila) disguised at incense, outside the boat before sundown.

Alcatraz beach J&j

Alca sail repair
Working on your boat in paradise…and with shade. Our jib canvas ripped off the sail and needed some strong man sewing.

Alca Sand dune top Alca dune top

We stayed perhaps a day too long…the weather got a bit rough and we ended up sailing south with 20-30 knot winds on the nose. It was not the most pleasant of sails, and our plan to sail only, around the outside of the islands down to the Don Juan hurricane hole, was quickly changed. We realized it was just going to get rougher, and given the wind direction we might end up sailing twice as far as we had to to get down there. We changed direction just in time to skirt behind Isla Coronados and go down between the island and the Baja.   It was supposedly not as rough (and if that was the case, I’m sure glad we weren’t on the outside). Summer got extremely clean! All the waves we took over the bow washed everything down nicely. I got pretty salty myself. We were really hoping rains were coming to complete the cleaning by washing away all the salt!   Later on, when people discovered it was us sailing that day, we heard “aaah, we were wondering who was crazy enough to be out in that!”. Yep, that’s us.   Sneaking around the corner into Don Juan was wonderful. There’s just a narrow entryway and you are inside a huge bay of tranquility. There is still quite a bit of wind, but there is no fetch at all inside, so it’s almost like being on a lake.   Manta, Azul and Lunasea were already hunkered down in there. To insure we would get rain, I took a spray bottle and washed off much of Summer’s stainless. Worked like a charm! We had some nice rains that night.

We managed to get over to Manta to celebrate Nia’s birthday with everyone, in between rains. Nia’s parents were visiting from Colorado, so it was fun to meet them as well. I asked Nia’s Mom if she worried about those guys a lot – and she said “Oh! You have NO idea! And thank you so much for acknowledging that!”. She’s just like my mom – even though Mike and Nia have been cruising for four years already (sorry Mom, I guess it doesn’t get any easier!). We had delicious cake that Dawn made and had a nice visit until the rain drove us all back to our boats to close the hatches.

DJ Cat tie
Manta’s cat Tigger – dressed up for the party
DJ Nia bday cake
Oh to be 26 again!

There are apparently a lot of little fish called golbies in this area. How do we know this? Because these little fish like to hang out near rocks, where there’s growth, or near the through hulls of boats whose bottoms haven’t been cleaned in a while… When tiny little fish hang out near the hole in the bottom of the boat where sea water is sucked in for the toilet flush, they get sucked right up in there! And when they get to the valve that opens and closes the seawater inlet, they get stuck. On the inside of the boat, this means you are happily flushing the toilet one second and then suddenly the handle won’t pump anymore. It is then necessary to remove everything from under the sink in the head, take up the floor board, shut off the through hull, dismantle the dry/flush knob on the toilet, remove the spring and ball and pull the little fishy out with a pair of tweezers. Usually the fishy loses it’s life as it’s squished in the valve, or happens to sit there overnight because you don’t feel like doing that whole process just before bedtime. Miraculously, we had never gotten any fish stuck in our toilet, since the beginning of boat ownership. And, somehow in span of 4 days we got FIVE fish. One of them actually made it out alive. We had just gotten finished clearing one out, put everything back together and away, and pumped the head to test it out and IMMEDIATELY got another fish. We took everything out again and managed to get the little guy out from the hose before he got stuck in the valve. I had him swimming around in a container, and planned to release him as far from the boat as I could.

Head fishie

As I was rowing the dinghy away to dump the toilet fish, I see Naomi riding a surfboard like a wakeboard, being towed behind Manta’s dinghy (they have a huge dinghy motor). She dropped into the water just near me and said “Hey Jenn!! You wanna try?!?!”   Ummmm. YES! Of course I did! So I give Naomi the dinghy and she gives me a life vest, and next thing I know I’m on my knees on a surfboard, holding a tow bar and trying to stand up behind a pretty fast dinghy. It was SO much fun! I got a few tries in, and wiped out every time I tried to stand up. I was exhausted, and so I gave Alex a turn – and took his place as spotter in Manta’s dinghy with Terry. Soon Jonny and Naomi are coming out in our dinghy and Nia and Mike are chomping at the bit for their turns. The day became known as “The International Dorkboarding Competition”. At one point, Alex, Naomi and Mike were all three standing up on a longboard. Jonny was quietly enjoying the show, laughing and hooting with the rest of us. I finally yelled out “Jonny needs a turn!!!!” and we eventually got him out there. He surprised the hell out of everyone (except me). He biffed it on his first try, but he was on his feet in no time and surfing like a pro. Funny thing is, surfing is quite different from wakeboarding – which he has never done. But he was definitely surfing. At one point Naomi said “Wait! You can’t DO that on a wakeboard…but he IS!”. I think the fact that the dinghy wasn’t as powerful as a wakeboard boat, and Jonny is more powerful than a mere human, meant that he could lean forward and still hold on without falling on his face (when wakeboarding, you lean back, not forward). I don’t think anyone had seen him smile that much. That boy sure misses surfing (he just has to hang on a few more months and we’ll be back in Chacala!). He did a 10 point dismount right in front of everyone at the end.

DJ Jenn pre board

We headed back to the village to refill our water and the other usual chores. Everyone was there and had gotten to the easiest water before us. The store was fresh out. They claimed they would be getting more in 2 days. Water comes from Mulege and is kept in a big cistern for this one place closest to the beach. We figured we could go a few more days without, rather than having to lug heavy 5 gallon jerry cans repeatedly over long distances. A group of people were heading north to Refugio – which I was really hoping to join. Supposed to be really clear water and great snorkeling up there at the northern tip of Isla Angel de la Guarda. But instead we headed just a short way south in BLA to La Mona, to check it out for a few days and wait for water.

La Mona turned out to be a beautiful stop. It had a lovely white sand beach with estuary behind and a sweeping mountain view across the bay. Scott and his dog Trox aboard Angry Seagull were anchored there. We had met Scott at the Full Moon Party and were happy to see him again. He came over with Trox and had dinner with us. Fun to have a big black dog on board!! We stayed for 5 or 6 days in La Mona. We enjoyed the beach, hiking up rocks, snorkeling with silly bullseye trigger fish (they are super curious but like to pretend they aren’t looking at you and when you look away they follow you).


Mona Summer Seagull

But the ultimate highlight was my first day going ashore. I rowed the dinghy in by myself to have a look around. As I was leaving, I noticed some movement down the beach – it looked like a seal rolling around, but it was way too far up the sand. I rowed over for a closer look and realized it was a giant Sea turtle mama laying eggs! I watched from the water and even up on the beach a bit. She didn’t notice me at all. She was working hard, bearing down in the hole she’d dug and then flipping out sand with her hind flippers. I probably could’ve gotten right up close, but I kept a distance of about 20 feet and tried to zoom in with my camera. I was kind of frying in the sun as I watched her, but I couldn’t tear myself away. She finally seemed to finish and was just laying there, exhausted. I was hoping to watch her cover up the hole and make her way back to the water. But she seemed to have fallen asleep. I wasn’t sure how long she’d be there and I was getting awfully hot. I decided to row back to the boat and see if I could get Jonny and bring him back to see her. As I was halfway back to the boat I saw her moving again and eventually slip back down the sand into the water. I felt VERY lucky to have witnessed all that. I’m trying to figure out how long it takes for them to hatch, maybe we can be back there to watch all the baby turtles come along?

Sea Turtle Mama Mona

Back in the Village, after six days, still no water! At this point we were pretty much out of water and couldn’t wait for what may or may not appear. Jonny rose to the occasion and made 7 trips with heavy jerry cans to nearly fill us up with 70 gallons. I did all the other usual running around. We had another rough weather patch coming. Unfortunately we were a little behind on this one as well. Our final trip back to the boat was a wild and wet dinghy ride. Summer was hobby-horsing wildly and getting the dinghy motor hoisted was a special treat. I knew it was going to be a wet ride back out to Don Juan, so I just changed into a bikini. I had a moment to stop and appreciate that – thinking how rough weather used to mean putting on MORE clothing. As we were getting ready to go, we got a call on the radio from Linger Longer, who had left much earlier than us. They were already in Don Juan and experiencing high winds (and tranquil seas) and were wondering if we were (stupid enough to be) still at the village. I assured them we were on our way over! Of course the wind was exactly on our nose and even motoring full throttle we could make very little headway. It was going to take us about 6 hours to go 9 miles, in horribly uncomfortable conditions. We ended up pulling out the jib and tacking off wind, which calmed the boat down and more than doubled our speed (still motoring, too). After just a couple tacks we were safely tucked into Don Juan again. This storm promised to be much more eventful than the last. Even the 85 foot mega yacht that is always moored at the village scooted into Don Juan (there seems to be a full time crew looking after that yacht, but never any owners visiting).   After another salty ride, Summer got another freshwater bath for a couple days! I took advantage of the indoor time to finally take care of organizing our boat manuals and our personal files. It was fun – I got to use my label maker again! Apparently, you can take the girl out of organizing., but you can’t take organizing out of the girl.

Organizing Jenn

When the storm passed, we decided to go and check out El Pescador – a couple anchorages to the south. There is a nice island there and a mysteriously deserted resort looking place on shore. Linger Longer departed Don Juan just before us and said they were also planning to go there. Anchoring between the island and shore was just a beautiful spot. Linger Longer called to say the winds seemed wrong and they were heading to Quemado (on the other side of the land), which is also a great spot. We said we were going to give it a go at Pescador and see if the wind switches or not and if not, then maybe go to Quemado. In the end. Linger Longer came in and we all stayed at Pescador.

Pescador view Jonny

We went ashore to explore this mysterious collection of building and palapas. We’d heard a lot of rumors about it (including that Carlos Slim owns it now…) – nothing is locked up and it’s full of expensive furniture and appliances. We wandered through all the buildings, at first full of awe and wonder, which slowly turned to confusion and sadness. Who on earth would spend SO much money to build this place (and clearly it wasn’t even completed) and simply desert it and leave it unlocked!? Two of the smaller buildings looked like people were living there, and had left expecting to return, but never did. There was a calendar showing Sept/Oct 2014. We wondered what impact Hurricane Odile had at that time last year. When we had our fill exploring the mysteries, we rested in an unfinished palapa and waited for the sun to stop shining directly in the cockpit of our boat.


We celebrated the first day of Fall with Kris and Kirk – having a “We survived Summer in BLA” party on board Summer. Kris and Kirk brought amazing margaritas complete with ICE, and Kris let me borrow her heirloom antique meat grinder to make fish cakes.

Fish Grinder
Grinding up fish in the antique fish grinder. I want one now!

I also made a cheese cake (Naomi inspired me). I now desperately want an antique food grinder!! Oh the things I could do with that! And it’s so simple and uses no power, save for my muscles (which could use more to do).  The next day we went over to Linger Longer and had a ‘media swap’ – which seems to be a common things cruisers do – sharing movies, music and books whenever we can.

The day before we were planning to leave Pescador, we spotted a sailboat on the horizon coming from the south. The south? Who could possibly be coming from the south?? I wondered if it could be our friends on Resolute. Meaghan had emailed me a few weeks before saying they were considering coming to BLA in a week, but then nothing. As they got closer, we spied the telltale orange dinghy on the deck, sure enough! It was Resolute! I called them on the radio to welcome them in. They were surprised to learn they had randomly chosen the anchorage we happened to be in. It was a fun reunion. They had just sailed for 3 days straight over from Guaymas. We had plenty of fish, so I invited them to come and have dinner with us. It was great to catch up and hear about their summer adventures and get a lot of info about Guaymas, which is where we are headed in a few weeks. We made sure to tell them about the upcoming Full Moon Party in La Gringa and left them to catch up on their rest.

We headed to the village for the usual chores. We were hoping to catch a sierra on the way, but instead we ended up with a blue footed boobie! Poor thing got snagged through his webby blue foot and we had to drag him backwards through the water to reel him in. Luckily it was just a small hole through the webbing and Jonny was able to slip the hook out and he swam off and flew away, seemed to be just fine. He sure had a story for his friends, though!

Caught Boobie

We anchored in the village near Angry Seagull and Scott and Trox came out to say Hi. One of Trox’s friends from the village also swam out to the anchorage to visit everyone! I was afraid we were going to have to rescue him in the dinghy, but he just kept swimming and swimming and even went out to Angry Seagull after Scott had left. But he made it back to shore afterall.  Turns out he’s sort of the ‘top dog’ of the street dogs in town.

Scott Trox and friend

Back to La Gringa for Full Moon. Seems like the month went by fast, but it also took forever! Only 7 boats this time – Slipper had left the area, Scott’s motor wasn’t working and the wind was wrong for him to sail up here, and Scoots is exploring up north, but we gained Resolute. We had a fun afternoon riding the tide around and went back to our boats to have some dinner and prepare for the full moon and eclipse which came up just after sundown. There were a lot of hyjinx going on in the anchorage. Manta has a potato cannon and was shooting limes at Lunasea and Azul. Apparently those guys have been messing with each other quite a lot – there were stories about stealthy night boardings to shut off Manta’s generator and all kinds of crazy things going on between those guys. Funny stuff – sorry to have missed their last gathering in Don Juan, but I’m glad we aren’t lime targets, yet! People were howling as the moon came up and Manta got on the radio and invited everyone to byob and come hang out on their huge trimaran deck. Everyone went and we had a great time watching the moon turn red and then back to super bright again (14% brighter than usual). A few of us brought snacks so there were munchies and plenty of space to hang out (trimarans are pretty cool boats! Manta is wider than Summer is long I think!).

Just two days after the Full Moon Party, was the End of Summer party and Dart Tournement at “Duffy’s Tavern”, which is what Jay and Janice call their land base (it’s a couple of trailers with shady deck area and an outdoor shower and all kinds of useful land luxuries, including a great, shaded dart playing area!). Jay and Janice were cooking up bacon wrapped hot dogs for everyone (who knew I’d have another so soon?!) and we all brought dishes to share. It was our first time down in Gecko, or Southern BLA, or SO-BLA as they call it. It was not so blah afterall! Just across from La Mona, nice views and plenty of room for everyone. 19 people entered the dart tournament, so we played in rounds. I came in 2nd in my round, so did not make it to the finals. The finals round was a rousing game and fun to watch. Nia kicked the other 4 guys’ butts! She was awesome! J&J had prizes for the first 4 place winners – so everyone got a little something to remember the game. I had a great time hanging out with everyone – what a wonderful group of folks! I even got to use the shower there, which was a HUGE and luxurious treat! Jay and Janice had been offering it up to everyone, but only Nia and I took advantage. As we happily returned to Summer at sundown, we realized that had been our longest time on shore in many months. Nearly 8 hours on land, we were!

Duffy's Sign

Duffy's Dart Champs
Jonny in the running.
Jay at Duffy's
Jay, Proprietor of Duffy’s Tavern and mean bacon dog chef
Dawn Terry Eric take pix
Dawn, Terry and Eric
Naomi Hotdog proof
Yes, Naomi did eat a bacon wrapped hot dog!


Duffy's Dart Champs
The Dart Champs. Nia took first place!!!!!

The following day we intended to go to Puerto Refugio and see this place once and for all. Linger Longer also had the same plan, but as usual, they weighed anchor and were off long before we were. We still had to go to the village to get our laundry and some more supplies before an extended trip up into the remote and wild unknown.

Santa Rosalia to Bahia de los Angeles

It’s been over 2 months since I posted – and I got entries comin’ out my ears!!! But unfortunately the force of wifi is not with me down here.  Uploading pictures is not an option.  I debated whether to wait or post this without photos…I will go back and add them when I can – but for now here’s at least one long update.  I’ll send a message out to everyone when photos are added, in the event this is just too boring to read without photos (so many good photos!):

Our time in Santa Rosalia was fun and productive despite the extreme heat. We stocked Summer with all the provisions we could get our hands on. Even though there were quite a few stores plus the big Super Ley, there were still things we had trouble finding. We did get a hot tip that one smaller store stocked things from Costco, so we hunted that one down. I never shopped at Costco in the States, but now, finding things like a big block of cheddar cheese that actually has flavor, and Challenge butter, which is nothing but sweet cream and salt, and even canned tuna that contains nothing but tuna and water seems miraculous. It’s sad and scary how hard it is to find food products that don’t contain chemicals, fillers and other nasty, non-real-food-stuff. Mexico has already surpassed the US in obesity rates and I fear in another ten years, the sickness and diseases here will reach epidemic proportions. Unfortunately it isn’t simply a matter of poverty, either, since the ‘real’ food here (meats, chicken, fish, fruits and veggies) are far less expensive than the processed packaged foods and heavily marketed junk foods. People chug down coca cola in vast quantities (floating plastic bottles are evident in even the seemingly most remote locations) – but a bottle of coke cost at least twice as much as the same quantity of Jumex pineapple juice, which contains nothing but pineapple juice (and is ridiculously delicious).   Alas – I will refrain from making this a food blog! But for someone as obsessed with food and nutrition as I am, it’s hard not to notice these things and have troubling thoughts and feelings about them…

As will happen from time to time, or rather, frequently, when you’re at the docks, you succumb to what is known as “dock suck” – which can either be staying way longer than you’d planned at the marina, or getting sucked in to talking with folks for hours on end.   We were taking a breather after our day of laundry and we got invited over to Scoots for a drink. Eric and Vandy are from the Bay Area and we had fun getting to know them. Turns out they know how to turn vodka into gin (which basically makes them gods). I’m not kidding. Apparently there’s a kit and ingredients for this sort of thing. Seeing as gin is my favorite alcoholic beverage, and they offered me a sample, how could I say no? It was darn tasty!! They brought out snacks and Kris and Kirk from Linger Longer came over and it was a regular party. We had really just planned to be a little social and then get back to our shopping expedition and visit to the ice cream parlor.

It started getting kind of late and I waved off Jonny’s attempts to get me to leave a few times. Finally I realized we were in danger of missing the ice cream store (hey, I have my priorities!). We motivated and got up into town. The store we were told of that sold Costco stuff had just closed, but we managed to make it to Splash in time for a cone. That was a close one.SR Ice cream

OK just a little bit more on food…We heard from several people about this ice cream parlor we just ‘had’ to try. Splash was the name and whatever it was called, I’m always down for some ice cream. Turned out to be the best ice cream I’ve had in all of Mexico! Even better than the gelato place in La Paz. I think they made it all there and it was delicious. AND the shop was air-conditioned. Eating a huge waffle cone while sitting under an air conditioner is the ultimate indulgence when it’s 100 + degrees outside. I vowed I would get an ice cream the next day as well -since it was fairly certain I would never see ice cream again. Well, not for 3 or 4 months at any rate.SR bacon dogs

Unfortunately we had forgotten to have dinner. The ice cream was great, but I was still hungry and we really didn’t want to spend the money to eat out and cooking in this heat is so not going to happen. Right across the street from Splash was the cart selling bacon wrapped hot dogs. I know, gross, right? I NEVER eat hot dogs. Who KNOWS what is in them?!? But this cart is renowned all over town and we’d heard about it several times. And it DID smell good. And I WAS really, really hungry and these were really, really cheap. Yes, I did it. I ate a bacon wrapped hot dog with a variety of trimmings in a nice spongy bun from a street vendor. And I liked it. But I probably wouldn’t do it again. Well, not for 3 or 4 months, at any rate! My food standards continue to plummet.

On our second day at the marina, our water pump finally bit the dust. It has been giving us warnings for some time – the pump would run and run and eventually get enough suction going and start working again, but every time we turned it on it would have to start again. Finally the pump just wouldn’t quit running. It was done, it wasn’t holding suction anymore. Jonny had to tear everything apart and hope we had the parts needed to get the pump working again. That was a perfect day for me to leave the boat and work on blogs before I had to go up to my follow up appointment with the ear doctor.

SR Eiffel Church
The Eiffel Church. Yes, THAT Eiffel.
SR Odile boats
Souvenirs of Hurricane Odile. This is why we are going farther north!
SR Fonatur view
The Fonatur. Summer’s farthest right.

My doctor visit went well, he put the scope in my ear and the horror show from the last visit was gone. My ear was looking pretty normal. Very relieved about that. A few more days on meds and then I was clear to go under water again. There was no charge for the follow up visit, and Dr. Lopez had some silicone ear plugs I could use for swimming and he had gotten the anti-fungal pills I had wanted in case I had issues with the antibiotics. The pills cost less than $3.00.

I thought I would be clever on my way back and stop and say hi to the good folks at Splash. And maybe pick up a milkshake or something refreshing for midday.   They had Frappes on the menu, but unfortunately a frappe here is a coffee drink only (who knew?) and I couldn’t convince the woman to make me a vanilla ice cream one. I was too hot to be difficult, so I just got a lime popsicle instead. It was possibly the best popsicle I ever had. I picked up a sandwich for my hardworking boat mechanic and went to see if we would have running water again.

Luckily we had a kit of spare parts (thanks, Piff!) with just the diaphragm we needed to replace. There was still a bit of work to be done, and since my mechanic works so much better without my well-intentioned assistance, I made myself scarce and went back to the air conditioned office to finish blogging and take care of business ( managed to renew our USCG boat certification documentation online, that was handy, since we may not see wifi again before ours expires).

Our final shopping trip to Ley was in the heat of the day. We took our time walking there and wandered through the ruins of the old mining operation, which is partially turned into a park. All of the machinery and smelters and old structures were fascinating to me. Also the fact we could just wander around (much of it clearly dangerous to climb on or get too close to) with no restrictions was fun (such a non-US thing to be able to do – roam freely, at our will and leisure, responsible for our own safety…). SR MinePKbenches SR Mining rust SR MinePK Flowers SR Minebldg up SR Mine strap SR Mine stack SR Mine hook SR Mine bucket SR Mine doggieWe trudged the last hot few blocks along the dusty highway – and we very much appreciated the air conditioning in the big store. We efficiently loaded our cart with what seemed like a ridiculous amount of stuff (but of course we were following our list with pre-calculated amounts of what we’d need for the next three months). At check out we spent quite a bit more than I’d hoped. I had to pull out the credit card to cover a bit of it. There was some confusion, and the cashier took my wad of cash and immediately gave some it to someone else changing out some other cash drawer and it seemed to me we were being charged too much. But the cashier showed me the receipt with the cash amount and the charge amount. With my cash gone and the language barrier slowing me down, I just accepted what I saw. Later I realized we had lost 200 pesos (about $12) in the transaction – she had miscounted the cash I gave her and even had I pointed that out, it was all disbursed and unavailable to recount anyway! We were very sad about that. Also, after getting everything bagged up and distributed into our bags and back packs, I realized UH OH…I just spent ALL our cash…we have nothing left for the cab ride home!! There was far, far too much to carry. We got a cab anyway and had the guy bring us back to the marina. When we arrived, I ran (with a few bags of groceries) as fast as I could down to the boat to get our cab fare and gave the guy a little extra for having to wait. A jog in that heat was not the most fun I’ve ever had.

I spent considerable time distributing, stowing and preparing our food for storage. Somehow I managed to make (most) of what needed to be refrigerated fit into the refrigerator. This was by far the most packed I’ve had it though. We plugged away at preparing for our departure.   Given that we had about a 16 hour journey ahead of us, we planned to leave at midnight – thinking more of a convenient arrival time than anything. Jonny wanted to get in late in the next day so that we wouldn’t be anchoring and trying to sleep in the hottest part of the day. Seemed like a good enough plan. Linger Longer was also planning to depart, but they left in the early evening. We went out to wave them off along with Eric and Vandy. After they left, we got to chatting on the docks and somehow a couple hours went by (dock suck!). It was late and we were not ready to go! We had to cut short what almost turned into a fun party and got back to work.

We readied the boat – which involved getting the dinghy secured on deck, stowing everything safely, taking our shade down, canvas off, topping off the water tanks and giving Summer a final wash down and then giving ourselves a final wash down (goodbye free-wheeling water!). We were pulling out just before 1:00am, and I realized, having been up since 6:30am for a busy nonstop all day, I was actually quite exhausted. Hmmmm, whose idea WAS this??

It was a bit cooler and nice to be out on the water. It had been a very long time since we’d sailed at night. I had to get used to a lot of things again, remembering I couldn’t see the digital compass at night, and that the light in our pedestal compass doesn’t work and our chartplotter, which was bright and easy to ready, is completely inaccurate in Mexico (we mostly use it for speed and distance now, and for entertainment at how often it shows us sailing across land). I got a little panicky until we rigged a headlamp to shine on the pedestal compass and I was able to keep us on course as we got away from land. There wasn’t a lot of wind at first and we motor sailed along fairly comfortably for a few hours.

I was half comatose in the cockpit just before 4:30am, when Jonny put the motor in neutral and said “I think that’s a panga right next to us!” I peered out into the darkness and sure enough, less than 100 feet away was a big dark mass. All of a sudden, Summer slowed waaaaaay down, almost to a halt. Jonny blew the mainsail and we realized that we were caught up in a fishing net from the panga! We tried to free ourselves with the boat hook, and Jonny went up on deck and whistled and yelled to the panga. It was pitch dark, but soon a light came on and a guy woke up. I quickly learned how to say “net” and “rudder” in Spanish (neto y timon) and the panguero understood. He pulled on the net and that brought the nose of the panga right into Summer. Jonny fended off and I shined our bright spotlight down into the water so we could all see what was going on. We were not getting freed. Finally another guy woke up on the panga, annoyed by the lights, and then a third guy crawled out from under the bow (three guys sound asleep on a small, open boat, without a single nav light on…). I somehow made it clear that pulling it was not working and we needed to go backwards – which was dumb, and impossible…but he got the picture and they started up their motor and went forward and around us. The net came free and we popped the motor in gear and got the heck out of there. If Jonny hadn’t instinctively put the motor in neutral at the start, this could have been a much different story – one where we our propeller wound up the fishing net- possibly destroying it along with the fishermans’ livelihood. Also, had we been 60 feet to starboard on our course, we could have crashed right into their boat! All in all we felt very lucky for how it turned out.

After the adrenaline eased up a bit from that incident, the wind picked up and we were able to shut off the motor and have a bit of a nice sail. For a little while anyway. The waves and swell got pretty crazy, coming straight at us and we were bashing hard. The combination of darkness (no horizon in view), my still-healing inner ear trouble, exhaustion and iffy guts from antibiotics was “the perfect storm” as they say…yep, you guessed it – I got horribly seasick for the first time in 9 months. It was quite unpleasant. The boat was pitching around so much that I couldn’t keep going up and down to the head (even from inside the cabin), so I ended up just wedging myself and my water into the head. I spent about 5 hours in there. Jonny was not enjoying himself very much either. I heard him in the cockpit at one point, pleading with (Neptune?) “Pleeeaasseee! Stooooop!”. It was a most uncomfortable trip. He hove-to and was considering that maybe we should just turn around and go back to Santa Rosalia. It would have been a fast, easy sail in the right direction for the weather.   As sick as I was, I was horrified at that thought – wasting the progress (25 miles) we’d made, getting sick and still having to do it all over again? And go back to that dirty anchorage with no swimming? No…I was not at all for this plan. I did think maybe we should stay hove-to for a few hours so Jonny could get some sleep. While Jonny agreed we should continue on, he was not about to get any sleep and he went up to get the boat moving again. I went back to continuing to empty my long-since emptied stomach. Very soon afterwards, the swell calmed down a bit and we were able to have a more normal sail. I eventually turned the corner out of sickville and dozed off in the bathroom.   In the morning Jonny came to get me up and out of there, thinking I’d be more comfortable in the cockpit. I spent the rest of the day feeling like a large man in heavy boots had kicked me in the stomach all night. This trip was awarded the title of Second Worst Passage Ever (to be reminded of Worst Passage Ever, go back and read the Mag Bay to Cabo entry).

We arrived in San Francisquito Bay in the afternoon. We anchored not far from Linger Longer and did all our chores, got the boat situated and then snoozed. It seemed a bit cooler and the water temps were definitely more refreshing – down to about 86 degrees! It was heavenly. On the second day I went ashore with Kris and we discovered the pretty white sand beach was far prettier from the boats. It was windy, rough water, full of organic debris. We gave it a good try but concluded it was “meh”. We had all had a particularly rolly night and we decided to try the anchorage just south – it seemed to have more protection from the swell.   By the time we moved, all the swell had calmed down and Linger Longer decided to stay put. They departed the next day and we spent the rest of the week by ourselves in that anchorage and also moved up to Mujeres just a bit north (I think the whole area is considered Bahia San Francisquito though?).   Mujeres was a truly beautiful white sand beach with lovely water, plenty of rays and dolphins and invisible little underwater things that sting you.  We’ve gotten the little stings in various places, and I likened them to a bee sting. But, after getting stung twice in one day by bees, I can now safely say bee stings hurt a LOT worse. Bees were an ongoing battle in all three anchorages we had there. My thinking was if we shooed them out and made it a hostile environment, they’d tell their friends and not come back. But, spending an entire day shooing bees out of the cabin is not a sustainable life. They eventually start swarming on something – a wet bathing suit hung on a line, or they try to find the faucets. At first I was having romantic ideas of sharing water with the bees, and when some got on me as I was rinsing off on deck, I thought it would be wonderfully charitable of me to let them drink some water, afterall, what’s a few drops to me? And the poor bees, they are having an awfully hard time these days. The day before we left, my tune changed considerably. I got stung twice for no reason and my delicate fly-swatter turned shoo-er became a battle axe of death. Sorry bees. My patience apparently DOES have a limit.  I was very ready to leave SF bay – aside from the bees, I’d had a grasshopper on my pillow, a moth in my toilet and bed, and never-ending flies. I was getting pretty sick of feeling like I was camping and Jonny was having less and less patience for my screams and yells every time some critter surprised me.

On the day we decided to depart, we went ashore just after the morning net (6:30am-ish – where we get weather and hear where everyone else is and what they’re up to). We hiked up to the peak overlooking the anchorage. Jonny said he’d been looking up at it for days and determined the best path, but unfortunately once on shore he just couldn’t see it. I took that to mean he didn’t know where he was going, and when I protested that it didn’t look like a good direction, he suggested maybe I should go wherever I wanted.   That sounded like a fine idea, so I made my way up to the peak, in what seemed like a very direct and efficient route. Direct it was, but easy it was not. I was climbing up loose rocks and heaving myself up and over the steep parts. By the time I met up with Jonny at the top, I was red-faced, dripping sweat and not feeling my best. We did get some great views and rested a bit. Jonny informed me that I misinterpreted his words and should have followed him because he in fact had known where he was going all along. Hmmm. At any rate, I was too scared to go down the way I came up, so I followed him back. His route was at least twice as long as mine, and if you subtracted the long, easy parts, probably not much less work. But at least I had someone on the downside to catch me if I fell. All I wanted for the majority of the hike – up and down, was to be neck deep in the water down below. As soon as we got to the beach, I did just that.   I find more and more that I’m far happier in and on water than on land.

SF MujeresJHJC Summer
There’s Summer–just to the right of the top of Jonny’s hat.

The cooling off only lasts as long as you are in the water. I was dripping sweat again before we weighed anchor. At least sailing we get a nice breeze. Our trip was relatively painless. We did have a bit of a rough time going through Canal Salsipuedes (which translates to Leave if You Can Channel) – the tides and currents through this somewhat narrow passage can get really crazy in opposition to each other, making big standing waves and weird whirlpools, and then, the wind can just die on you. We made it out OK and avoided hitting the imaginary island that our iPad nav software created (very strange – it showed us crossing over a smooth, egg shaped island – all other islands were mostly in the right place and had detailed coastlines). Not sure what that was all about, but it may have caused a moment of panic in the captain, who assumed that now we could never again trust our one and only accurate navigation program.

We anchored at Isla Partida, which was mostly where it was supposed to be on our chart. A rugged, beach-less black and white sort of island with a nice crescent shaped bay. Dan on Dazzler was the only boat there and we tucked in nearer to the shore. Dan brought us a yellowtail he had just caught as a ‘welcome to the anchorage’ present. What a nice guy! He and Jonny had a lot of fishing to discuss, for sure.   We were finishing up a mahi mahi, so I saved the yellowtail to make sushi for lunch the next day.

Partida first sushi

Partida crabs Partida finger partida caves

We had a chubasco predicted for our first night there. It didn’t quite get to chubasco proportions (winds were only in the mid to high 20’s – people call them Chewbacas ), but we had a seriously windy and rainy and rocky night. I stood out in the rain for a bit and it was nice to get chilly. But I was SO tired that I missed most of the lightning show. I was barely functional for whatever it was we had to do at 3:00am.   The next day we tried to explore in the dinghy, there was a small sort of beach on the back side of the island, but not really a place you’d want to spend a lot of time. Jonny fished a bit and we were just too sleep-deprived to do much else.

We had an unpredicted chubasco/chewbaca the 2nd night, and got even less sleep. We had to start the motor to relieve the strain on our anchor, as we were being blown right back towards the rocks. Our anchor held like a champ, as it always has so far – but better safe than sorry! The wind and swell were whipping and at one point, during a flash of lightning, I noticed that poor Peugeot was upside down! She had flipped over and I was sure we’d lost the paddles and maybe even had the seat ripped out. After a bit more jostling, she flipped back upright again. After looking hard and waiting for flashes of lightning, I ascertained we did in fact still have both paddles! Miraculous! In the morning we discovered we also still had the t-shirt we keep over the fuel tank (which was strapped in and not lost either) and a nice strap of webbing we use to hang fish on. Amazing! The only loss was a nice stainless knife, and that was a bummer, but we still feel we got away pretty lucky on that whole deal. When you lose or break something here, if you can’t find or fix it, it’s just gone, you live without. Interesting thing to get used to. Instant gratification is such a distant, hazy memory.

When I got up at 2:00 am to batten down the hatches and whatnot, I thought I saw something fly into the cabin. I assumed it was one of the gigantic moths we often see (we call them Mothra) and I tried not to make a big deal of it because I get a lot of grief for being too girly about bugs and such. But when things calmed down a bit and Jonny suggested I could go back to bed if I wanted I said “No! Mothra is down there!”. I had a good look with the lights and didn’t see mothra, so I tried to go to sleep on the pitching and rolling bed. Not long after Jonny came down he yelled and turned on the lights. He thought Mothra was flitting around his head. Turns out we had an adorable black bird in our bed! Poor thing just sat there blinking on the sheets. Jonny carefully grabbed it and set it out in the cockpit. It had probably come in to avoid the storm (which was kind of ironic as we later discovered it was a “storm petrel”), and we didn’t want to throw it back out there, but I didn’t want it in our bed, either. So it had a nice cozy towel to sit on under the dodger. By morning it had flown the coop.PartidaBedBird

Two sleep deprived nights really diminishes your desire to do much. Luckily, after visiting Dan’s boat, Jonny had inspiration for how to hang my beloved Jungle Hammock in the cockpit. It’s hard to believe it’s taken this long to figure out how to use my hammock, given how much I adore that thing, but better late than never. It’s so comfortable! The day was cloudy and cool all day – it was a very nice change of pace. After a third sleepless night – due to a ‘wind event’ we decided to give up on Isla Partida for the time being.


We tried out a couple anchorages just south of Bahia de los Angeles and ended up spending five days in Quemado, which had a very long, beautiful white sand beach and red hills and mountains surrounding it. Coyotes would often come down and visit the beach and start howling and barking to each other. We were running quite low on fresh food and we knew Bay of LA was just around the corner, but somehow we were in no rush to get there. Bit by bit we kept hearing this and that about what you can get in BLA and it started to gain legendary proportions in my mind. I tried not to get my hopes up too much.

Somewhere in there we began to notice our refrigerator was running pretty much non-stop. In a home, this can be a minor annoyance, but on a boat, this was a critical situation – not just because something was clearly wrong with our fridge and we could lose all our frozen and long term supplies in there, but also because it was sucking our battery bank dry. We can only make so many amps with our solar panels running at full bore, and with the fridge running nonstop we could not keep up with the amps being consumed. We had to turn it off several times a day, which was not boding well for the goods inside. It seemed to get worse and worse. I used our SSB radio Ham email to contact the company we bought the compressor and cold plate from (it’s a Technautics Cool Blue – only installed 14 months ago and one of the most efficient (and expensive) systems out there. We had been pretty much enamored of the system to date. We got immediate response and helpful information. The system was dangerously low in refrigerant, which could only happen if it leaked out somewhere. We examined the system and discovered that a leak appeared to be happening in the connections near the compressor (which is housed under the aft portion of the boat and accessed through a panel at the end of our quarter berth). The leak was not very obvious and we were thinking maybe it had been leaking slowly ever since we installed it? Our new task was to go to BLA and try to find refrigerant and hoses to get it into our system. A few people told us we could probably find it in town. We were holding our breath. We figured we should get in there right away and try to fix this situation. But it was Friday and we realized the weekend might not be the best time to try to find things in town. And besides, Lunasea and Manta showed up at the anchorage and we were looking forward to hanging out with them. We were limping along, turning the fridge on and off and things seemed to be holding their own in there.

In parallel to the fridge issue, I also was suffering from thrush – which is basically a yeast infection in the mouth. Thanks to the antibiotics I took for my ear infection, I was now in excruciating pain inside my entire mouth. I had a bad taste in my mouth for days and white coating on my tongue, but I had assumed maybe I was just detoxing from the antibiotics. It soon became very apparent it was thrush. Thanks to information my Mom sent me via the ham radio email, I was able to identify for sure what was going on and also start taking the pills I had gotten ‘just in case’ I got a yeast infection (I had forgotten all about thrush, which I’ve only had once before). I really only had 2 or 3 days where it was hard to eat and I was in constant pain. Luckily the pills started to do their job and I did not end up with the side effect of liver failure. I was careful not to drink alcohol for the 10 day duration of the pills. I don’t drink much as it is, and often go far longer than 10 days without a drink, but when you CAN’T have a drink, it’s amazing just how badly you want one!

Jonny and Alex got to go fishing together and Naomi and I got to catch up on a lot of backlogged girl talk. We also got to share a great lunch of smoked sierra sandwiches on Naomi’s homemade bread (which I would have enjoyed far more if my mouth had been healed up). She ended up giving me some of her sourdough starter and instructions for making bread. Life will never be the same now – this is some seriously good bread and I have lots of plans to trick it out with all kinds of fancy ingredients (cinnamon raisin? Molasses/walnut? Garlic/onion? Pizza dough?). If I can just avoid killing the sourdough starter… (first day I accidentally spilled Jamaica water into it, but it appears to have survived). We finally got to meet Terry and Dawn on Manta – a huge tri-maran that’s been roaming the sea for many years. They take folks out for trips and are big into Scuba diving. They have lots of great stories (including how they just had a 17 year old kid on board who’d never been in a world without wifi, he was baffled and simply could not get his head around why his phone wouldn’t work).

We enjoyed our weekend, with the dark cloud of “what if we have no fridge for the rest of the summer??” looming over us. Come Monday morning we were ready to get on task and head in to civilization. Stay tuned to hear the tales!