Friday, December 28, 2007

San Blas is a Blast

First, I have to add a comment about Isla Isabella. I forgot to mention we were amazed with the acrobatics of the Humpback whale for the first time. Some only got their heads out of the water, but many times just 100 yrds out we saw their entire underbellies as they would spin when they came completely, all 35+ feet of them, out of the water and make a huge splash. More were further out but all day we saw the whale acrobatics. As well as sang goodnight to by whale songs as we drifted off to sleep.

Today in anticipation for our poor perfomance thus far in the Emerald Bowl, I sported my OSU Beaver Football T-shirt (the luckiest one of the season). The information "God" here scared us to leave the dingy on shore as we would venture out for the day. He told us to leave it at this one Palapa, that was hard to see initially, but after realizing that is is just a string of palapa's together that people can park their cars under it is directly towards the shore from a big Blue building and the 3rd one from the left with the green poles is the guy who will watch your dingy for a fee. No Problem, but he wasn't there, so we found a sturdy tree and chained to it. Up a dirt road we walk, then at the blue beer distributors, we chose to walk rt (the wrong direction) for a mile to the crocodile rd. Only to be informed that the Jungle cruise center is about 100 yrds straight instead of rt. Oh well, we were on a boat and needed the exercies. For those who haven't been on the jungle cruise this boat ride was great. Mangroves, forming tunnels as we travel through, sometimes getting swatted in the face, dense ferns and other shrubbery around. We shared the boat (about the size of a pirates of the Caribbean, but with a 50 horsepower motor)with 8 other people from texas. We started the trip turning and banking getting water coming over the sides and a sudden stop to observe what looked like a plastic 18" crocodile, but as the trip continued we saw many different fish eating birds, lots of other crocodiles, one being over 6' in length on the shore (they were real0 Just basking in the sun teasing to you to put your hand out into their open mouths as our boats sat a very short distance away. At the end of the jungle cruise for 40 pesos per boat (4 us dollars), we went into the crocodile farm where they are reintroducing them into the lagoons. They also had javellinas, white tailed deer,and some funky marsupials thingies that climbed all over one of the texan ladies. It was funny to watch. They had many pens with crocs in them, some of them only had the small babies and others had huge 8-10 footers. I actually got a picture of Laura touching one's back legs. Then after the farm they took us to a fenced in and protected spring that had a cool restraunt on it too. Unfortunately I was the only one with a swim suit so I did not go in. The cruise back, we bobed and weaved threw other boats caring more tourists in, it was crazier than Mr. Toads Wild ride.

Next we walked 4 miles into San Blas. Upon entering this typical Mexican town were many open aired restaurants with cinderblock BBQs smoking fillet whole fish covered in hot sauce, or whole fish, or lobster. Oh it smelled so good and looked great, but we passed on them for another absolutely wonderful restaurant (La Familia). The town was ok, the plaza was cute centered around the catholic church can only imagine how great of a Christmas party we missed. Bht for those traveling this restaurant is definitely a can't miss! Best 4.50 margaritas my dad has ever had with fresh limes, stiff tequila, and ohhh so good after a 4 mile stroll. The seafood fillet was covered with clams, oysters (both not cooked), shrimp, and onions and butter cooked in a foil bag. Mom's dinner was great, it was the longest fillet of fish name, it was covered in lots of veggies, some bacon, ham, cheese, it was pretty good. I got a Laura's Fillet or something like that, it was in the middle of the names. it ended up being a bacon on the bottom with fillet of fish, layer of ham, then a layr of cheese wrapped, grilled, and smothered in a spicy cream sauce.......OMG SO GOOD!!!! Then laura got beef fajitas that were better than great with ham, shrimp, and cheese melted on top along with an assortment of veggies. The first taxi offered us a price of 40 pesos (4 bucks) to take us back to the dingy and we were all over that. Luckily we got back and it was there and our shoes and everything, making our view of San Blas and this bay that much better.

The jungle cruise and the palm trees alone are worth the stop. The bitting no se ems are not too bad, but bad on the shore during a full moon.

Sorry for the length and many spelling errors, but thanks for reading

Mike Peoples

PS GO Beavers time to get the 4th qtr update or end of the game......please oh god please have let us win!

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Passage to San Blas

The Next day after exploring the island we decided to stay and enjoy the beautiful tropical views. Its vacation, where do we have to be? We tried fishing in the morning with no success, so it was true fishing. Shortly after the morning coffee in the cockpit listening to the birds, we are joined by Pepe, a wonderful couple that is traveling with their adorable 18 month old daughter. They were very friendly and invited us to share some drinks in the early afternoon. I am jealous of these younger couples taking a year to 5 off. In the afternoon, a few beers down, we went snorkeling around the Dr. Seus rocks. The fish were amazing, so dense, so many varieties, even with 3-5'breakers going through there occasionally, we really enjoyed it. Not much coral, but the fish were worth every gulp of saltwater. The next morning we left to make our way to San Blas and anchor in the bay just south. Right off the bat, I hook into a little tuna, unfortunately he got off at the boat. We let the lines back out and get another bite within minutes. Then nothing the rest of the day. With nice rolling seas it was a beautiful trip across. We saw dolphins playing around us and at our bow, then there were these little ones that were so cute that loved to play even more! We saw a sea turtle that was floating VERY high out of the water, so we assume he was dead. Almost ran into a line of fishing nets only marked by a green pop bottle every 150 yrds. Luckily we didn't cross the set that was almost 2 miles long. Entering San Blas was pretty as we passed the river and decided to go to mantanchen bay. It is different down here, Reminds me of Cains with tall green peaks of a mountain ridge as steep as Hawaii but taler, tropical palm trees everywhere, the succulent smell of real grills going. Upon entering we all see our first shark in the water, over 8' it was and I thought I saw a couple times an elongated head poke out of the water like a hammer head. But it is beautiful here, no no-see em's yet tonight. No clue where to park the dingy, the resident and "certified" dictator of a greeter was helpful but is very intimidating and doesn't make the place sound pleasant. Almost scaring people to just stay on their boats. We will explore tomorrow. Laura and I are very excited to try a jungle cruise which we will fully update everyone with.

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Christmas Palm Trees

By Mike Peoples For the Peoples

Couldn't ask for a better Christmas present, we did an all night passage during Christmas eve to Isla Isabella. Off in the Horixon we saw a glowing red light that we swore was santa making his way down to South America about 2:50 in the morning. Mom and I's watch was from 12:00-5:00. Laura and Dad had the first watch, she did a great job of staying awake and keeping everyone awake. As it was too rocky and she didn't want to dare going gown stairs, the cockpit was the perfect place to snuggle up. Shortly after I took a nap in the morning I awake just in time to see the greatest present. Dawn awaking, the sky painted in the reds and pinks so familiar to the boaters here, a tropical island off the bow. As we enter two humpbacks clear the way for us and hundreds of birds float above this small island. We sneak behind a Dr. Seus island/rock and set anchor. Tuna jumping threw the air, whales off in the distance, and boobies everywhere (the birds) what more of a christmas morning could we ask for.

Later that day we tried jigging with NW jigs. Within minutes my orange worm wearing a dress was eaten up and snapped the 20 lb test as it got wrapped around the tip. We lost many plastic jibs to hookless nibbles, we tricked one opa to bite the hook and made an excellent dinner (firm flesh) After the success we had to go to shore and explore this "Lost" island. Reminding us of visions of jurassic park, we enter an abandoned fishing camp. There huge marine iguanas are sunning on the rocks around the shanties, off to the left is an abandoned cement complex slightly overgrown by the jungle that was a bird observatory. Up the cliffs we climb filing past nested blue and yellow footed boobies, their feathers as smooth as leather and dumbfounded smiles on each. At the top we looked over the "other" crater lake. Nested in the trees Frigets and other large birds were teasing the opposite sex with their large red throats blown like balloons. About 40 birds were floating overhead, then another 50+ came in and just floated there, arms reach away we were surrounded by these magnificent birds (and not one speck of poop on us). As we looked over the Southern anchorage, we noticed many rocks not marked on the maps and big 4-7' rollers going threw. It was the best Christmas day I could ask for!

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Isla Isabela Merry Christmas

We are currently anchored on the east side of Isla Isabela. Basically we are anchored in the open ocean protected by this small island. This is a first for us. No cove for any protection. The weather is calm and there is a slight swell coming around the island. The island itself is right out of Darwin and the Galapagos islands. Birds are everywhere there are marine iguanas and feral cats as well. We plan to go ashore this afternoon just in case the wind pops up tomorrow and we have to leave. Last night was amazing but we had to motor most of the way. When we get back to Mazatlan I will try to add some pictures.
Merry Christmas to all

Monday, December 24, 2007

Leaving Mazatlan and Merry Christmas

I just figured out that I actually didn't let everyone know that we made it to Mazatlan. We spent 6 wonderful days exploring this great city. It had so much to offer that we look forward to our return in a week. Our plan right now is to go to Isla Islabela for 3 or 4 days. Hopefully it will be nice enough to enjoy some swimming and snorkeling. If not we will head down to San Blas for a Day or two. Mike and Laura arrived on Saturday so we spent Sunday exploring the whole town. Probabaly our favorite part of town is the historical district. The Merchado which is the town square is very old world. Our friends on Hiatus said it reminded them of Argentina, I thought it was just like Spain or Italy. At night it was all lit up and people just milled around. I know it was a tourist hang out, but it was still great.
It is Christmas eve and it is getting dark. Our expected arrival at Islabela is 6:00 tomorrow morning. What a wonderful way to spend Christmas eve. Open ocean and clear skies. Unfortunately it is not warm at the moment, but we hope for improvement.
Life is good

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Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Warm Winds and Calm Seas...

It is the afternoon of Christmas Eve and we are on our own journey to a small island south of Mazatlan, Isla Isabella, for Christmas Day. Our thoughts are on all of you and we really appreciate the cards and e-mails sent to us. It makes home feel closer, and times shared with all of you more vivid in our minds. Michael arrived on Saturday with our "land" mail (yes, Larry and Tina it found us) and we have had a chance to read all the cards and notes...thank you for the kind words and messages. Dave's blog is our way of staying in touch and letting you know where we are. E-mail is our "phone" as our last cell phone bill was almost $900.00 when we were getting set to leave the states in October!

At any time if you want to join us let us know and we will get the guest room empty and ready for you. Our only guests in waiting are Kelsey and Jeromy at this point. So here is our tentative travel plans:
In February we will be south of PV and visiting with our Canadian friends, Gary and Sandy.
Late spring through fall we will be in the Sea of Cortez
August: we will put the boat on the hard to "dry out".
August: Helen will hopefully go to Washington, D.C. to vist Kelsey and Jeromy (who moved there in November) and then return to Oregon for the month of September to substitute.
Late September: Dave will come to Oregon and from there we will drive the mini motorhome to Texas and visit Michael (who will be starting his third year of his PhD program at Texas A&M).
October the boat returns to the water and so do we...
Come November 2008 we will leave the sea and explore PV and below as we head to Panama and later through the canal.

We aren't sure where our anchor will set next Christmas but we know we will have learned more Spanish, be feeling 10+ pounds lighter and 100 pound richer in shared times with old and new friends. Life is good and we are lucky to be living it to the fullest right now.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Half way across to Mazatlan

We are halfway across to Mazatlan. We left at 3:45 this morning with hopes of calmer wind and waters. Well they have been a little of each. The sailing has been great 7 to 8 knts most of the way, but the seas have not dropped down much at all. They are running 6 to 10 ft right on our beam, no fun. The wind has been also on our beam at about 20 + the whole way. It should drop down here in just a bit but it could remain lumpy most of the night. It is great to be able to sail though. They say by tomorrow there will be no wind for 3 days. Just a motorboat trip.
Will write more when we get to Mazatlan.

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

I Better Bring our Blog Up to Date

We are currently in Muertos waiting for a weather window to cross over to Mazatlan. Currently it is blowing 25 to 30 knots and there are 8 to 10ft seas in the crossing. We have 20 to 25 knts of wind at anchorage with small rollers coming in all the time. Not much sleep last night. This seems to be the normal winter weather pattern. A few good days. Then the wind blows from the north for 3 or 4 days, and The cycle continues over and over. Since leaving Agua Verde about a week ago we were in transient staying short periods of time at Evuristo and then La Paz. We had a great happy hour with the 4 other boats in the cove at Evuristo. Boats we already knew but it was fun to catch with 2 of them we hadn't seen for a couple of weeks. We stayed 3 and 1/2 days in La Paz. We took care of our temporary import permit. Because of the location of the office it took half a day. That's ok we are cruisers! The best part of our visit to La Paz this time was finding a new restaurant called La Costa. This is a sand floor right on the beach palapa style location. They have the best food we have had on our trip so far. Out of the time we were there we went there 3 times. Once for lunch. Two of the three times we had Grilled Garlic Crusted Crab. We got three crabs with fixings for $7.50. The flavor was amazing.
In a couple of days we should be in Mazatlan waiting for Michael and Laura to arrive for 10 days. It will be great to see them. We are hoping to take them out to Isla Isabela, an island 85 miles south of Mazatlan and about 30 offshore. It is suppose to be wonderful snorkeling and hiking around.
It is time to find warmer weather and maybe a little less wind. We can tell the water is warmer. I caught 2 Mahi Mahi yesterday. One was the biggest fish I had seen on the trip. Unfortunately I lost both before I could get them in the boat. They were flying high out of the water and just twisted out of the hook. Oh well. We ended up catching 6 or more fish. Keep one for dinner and released the others. Life is still good just lumpy

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Saturday, December 8, 2007

Ague Verde

WE made it to Agua Verde. This is as far north as we plan to go this year. It is getting cooler and the water temperature is actually too clod to snorkel. I went snorkeling today, and the fish were amazing. Probably the most variety I have seen yet this trip. We need to get a book so we can identify them. Bottom line though is I froze and only lasted 15 minutes in the water. We will leave tomorrow and start heading south back to La Paz. By next weekend we will be ready to cross to Mazatlan. This is all weather permitting of course. Wednesday and Thursday we are suppose to have another Northerner, but only 20 to 25 knts.

We are a little disappointed in Agua Verde. We have read so much about it's beauty and it is just not what we expected. We have seen much more pristine anchorages before this. The mountains in the background are actually green and rugged. The water is turquoise, but the water front area is very trashy and just not pretty. The pictures in the books make it look much nicer. So far Puerto el Gato is by far the most beautiful. We also scored 2 huge Lobsters from the local fisherman in Gato.
Life is good and now we are looking for warmer weather.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

We were able to move

Finally after 6 days we got to go to a new anchorage. We have had 25 to 30 knts of wind out of the south then two days later we had 30 to 35 out of the north. The northerly lasted 3 days. We had some shelter but not as good we had hoped. I had 200ft of chain out in 30 ft of water so I wasn't going anywhere, but the motion and the noise made for very little rest. We actually never left the boat. We heard stories of people waiting out 40 to 45 knts in less protected areas. The protected anchorages of the San Juans were sounding pretty good for awhile. We also heard Oregon got pounded by 125knt wind and tons of rain. We have no room to complain.
Now we have beautiful normal conditions. Calm mornings, afternoon breezes, and calm evenings. I think it is suppose to be about 78 today, but it was 63 this morning. We are anchored in Puerto el Gato. The hills around the bay have the color of the Grand Canyon. The colors at sunrise were amazing. Exploring the beach and surrounding area looks like fun. I think we will stay here one more night and move on to Aqua Verde.

Not much more from here, but we did order some lobster from a local fisherman. He is suppose to bring them around noon. This is our first attempt to buy or trade with a fisherman. Hope it works out. lobster sounds really good.

Life is good

Saturday, December 1, 2007

No problems

No problems with the wind last night. We only saw 15 to maybe 20 knots here. Very protected anchorage. We heard others around on the net talking about 30 to 35 and doing anchor watch all night. We moved over to the other side of our cove and are now protected from the forecasted north wind that is suppose to come on Sunday. We had a bunch of needed rain last night, but the sun is starting to come out as I write. The water is very clear and we can see colorful tropical fish down to about 20 ft. We plan on Snorkeling around today. We spent a great evening with some friends we had meet up in Alaska on Wandering Star. We just keep running into each other since then. It was good to catch up. They left to go north at sunrise. Tonight we are going over to Hiatus to work on a Magnum of wine they have saving. Us, Sans Clas, and Hiatus are all anchored in this little cove. Oh ya buy the way our electronic charts show us about 1/4 mile on shore right now. So much for charted navigation. Those who have radar overlay really see the difference. Anchor watch has taken on a new meaning, you can actually see your anchor on the bottom.
Life is good