Here's a quick update. I spent the winter in Mexio and had a series of guests aboard through the season. I returned to SoCal a couple of months ago with the help of Isabela, a talented and competent sailor who I hired to help me. I am now living and working aboard the boat for the summer, with frequent trips to Catalina. I can now scratch long-range cruising off my bucket list and plan to settle down in Califonia and pursue other dreams. It's great to be home and I'm anxious to catch up with everyone here and find out what you've been doing over the last 6 years while I was gone!
CLICK ON THE CHART BELOW TO SEE MY CURRENT POSITION.
Once you click on the chart to the right, you will be redirected to the Winlink position reporting system. Once there, you can do some cool things, like zoom way in and click the HYBRID tab to see a satellite view of my location, indicated by the blue icon. The green icon(s) indicate previous positions. If you click on the icon(s) you will find detailed information about my position!
I'm happy to report that I graduated from the Spanish language school with a good understanding of the Spanish language. Now...to remember the vocabulary! They say it's good to learn a language to keep your brain cells active. Let me tell you, I surely exercised mine. The ball's now in my court to make myself speak Spanish with anyone and everyone who'll listen!
I have to say that studying Spanish was one of the highlights of the trip, so far. Of course, wherever you travel, it's the people that make the experience memorable. Bonni (left) and Andrea (right), were just two of my classmates. Bonni has been a professional captain and sailing instructor for her entire career and Andrea, together with her boyfriend, has traveled from Europe to discover the Americas in a motor home. I love meeting adventurous people with big dreams and the where-with-all to fulfill them!
And speaking of the friends you meet along the way, here's a picture of Harry and his girlfriend Becca. Harry is a young Brit who's traveling in the USA and Mexico. If he looks like royalty to you, you'll think so if you ever have the good fortune to meet him. Harry is the perfect prince to his princess, Becca, a wonderful woman who's temporarily dropped out of the corporate world to pursue her dreams, currently working at NOLS (the National Outdoor Leadership School....best known for their work with the NASA moon-landing astronauts), located in the northern Sea of Cortez.
I studied Spanish at "Se habla....La Paz," one of the best respected international immersion-type language schools in Mexico. The entire experience is one I will never forget, primarily due to the quality of the staff and faculty. Here I am on graduation day with my teachers, all anxiously awaiting the opportunity to gobble up some cake.
When I wasn't busy studying, I did manage to enjoy the scenery in La Paz and the marina. Here's a shot from my dock. Last Resort is tucked behind these other boats, so you can't really make her out, but suffice to say it was a wonderful place to "live" for a month.
You may recall, when I left you last, I was off to try my hand at swimming with the whale sharks that call Bahia de La Paz their home. BELIEVE IT OR NOT, this is one fish, and only a small juvenile at that. It was really a photographic challenge to get these behemoths in the frame. Just to help you visualize this, the head is to the left, the dorsal fin center frame and the tail fin to the far right. This young whaleshark was about 22' in length. Not a lot is known about these creatures, some of the largest on the planet. It is believed that the area around La Paz is a nursury of sorts, providing safe harbor and ample nutrients to support about a dozen young whale sharks. Beyone that, not much information is available. Attempts to tag and track these beautiful sharks have all failed because they dive so deep that the radio transmitters simply implode with the pressure.
It was virtually impossible, using a rented underwater camera in limited visibilty, to capture more than a small portion of this gigantic whale shark in a single frame. But you get the idea! Now there's a mouth that could easily have swallowed Captain Ahab, so while these animals are gentle, they are also huge. Fortunately, they swim in a predictable pattern as they feed, making the experience of swimming with them pretty non-threatening. My biggest fear was that something might spook this giant fish and that a sudden thrust of the tail could catch me off guard....not a great prospect given the massive power this 22' juvenile could deliver.
Because I elected to stay in La Paz to study Spanish, I was lucky enough to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with my old friends Joe and Sharon. They sailed to La Paz five or six years ago and never left. I guess that's a testimonial to the warm, comfortable life-style that Mexico affords.
Inspired by the experience of swimming and photographing...or trying to...the whale sharks, I couldn't resist the urge to buy an underwater camera. When in the tropics....one of the great pleasures is to swim along with the colorful reef fish in 70° - 80° water. Here are my first attempts at underwater photography. Certainly a new venue for me and a challenge...to say the least.
Okay, I'm gonna shut up now and just let you enjoy a few underwater pics. So here goes.
Here, a member of Last Resort's crew immerses herself in the waters off Isla Gallo in the Sea of Cortez.
In case you're wondering where all these spectacular pictures were taken, it was diving here, off Isla Gallo, a small islet just off the coast of Isla Espíritu Santo, not too far from La Paz. (Click on the chart above to access my position reports for more details.)
There is another islet not far from Isla Gallo, so after diving the reef and taking the pictures of the marine life, I decided to make a quick detour on the way back to the mother ship to photograph Isla Gallina.
These cormorants call Isla Gallina home. Food sources abound in the Sea of Cortez, so it's not surprising to see such a healthy marine environment.
This colorful crab, along with several others, was feasting on a fish that had apparently washed ashore during the strong northerly winds that blow in the Sea of Cortez this time of year.
After a short return trip to La Paz to deal with a failure of the refrigeration, I headed to Balandra Bay. The dinghy landing, as you can see, was pretty interesting, because the little cove shoals about a football field's length from the beach, making it necessary to leave the dinghy in the shallows and wade ashore. There's a real danger here in the Sea of Cortez from sting rays, which live in shallow water just like this. The key to being safe and not getting one of their nasty stingers in your foot or ankle is to shuffle your feet as you wade through the shallows. It's tiring, but necessary.
Balandra Bay is known for Mushroom Rock. This unusual landmark was destroyed by a hurricane several years ago, but some clever engineering and volunteer work restored it to its place of honor along the shore. Here's Last Resort anchored just off the shoal.
After the long, almost 200 nautical mile passage from the coast of Baja to Mazatlan, on mainland Mexico, it's nice to see pelicans. These soaring birds harken the imminent landfall in Mazatan.
But if the soaring pelicans weren't enough to alert an approaching mariner that Mazatlan was close, the SOARING TOURISTS surely did!
The 189 mile crossing from Los Muertos (a favorite staging anchorage for boats preparing to make the "southern crossing" of the Sea of Cortez) was pretty exciting. Between the strong 20± knot winds and 8 - 10 foot following seas, I saw speeds in excess of 10 knots on the knotmeter. The lighthouse at El Cid Marina, situated within a five star resort, was a welcome sight after a long night at sea.
Last Resort has sailed over 19,000 nautical miles in the last 4 years. To see where she's been on an interactive map, CLICK ON THE MAP BELOW.
Once the new page opens, enter K6WDD in the box labeled CALL SIGN.
YOU CAN ZOOM IN, HIT HYBRID TO SEE A SATELLITE IMAGE AND CLICK ON ANY ICON TO READ MORE DETAILS.
Don't forget to enter K6WDD in the Call Sign field and click on VIEW to access the interactive version of this map.