Paradise Isn’t Always Wonderful….#31

I’m sure you watch our posts and think…. “If only?” or “what a life” or “wish I could do that”…. but the real day to day life is more hard stuff and work than just sunsets, swimming in the ocean and eating tacos. Dan keeps an ongoing list of projects, some really hard and some easy… of course while we are working on the list, something else breaks and is more important and we reshuffle our priorities.

One of our most recent fix and a bit complicated was the removal, welding fix and reinstalling of a couple exhaust elbows. We have 4  two on each engine, 1 of them had previously had a leak and was repaired. When 2 of the remaining ones started to show signs of leakage we quickly decided to do the same to those that we had done to the first. This time I documented it and it was a bit easier because we understood more about it than before.

What we learned from the first repair:

– The water line is above the level of the elbow (when you remove the elbow water starts to pour into the bilge)

– Having a plug ready & sized properly to stop the water entering is a good option

– Helping hands is needed, Dan couldn’t do this alone

– You get wet, dirty and sweaty!! I know first hand

Prior to the removal of the elbow Dan went hunting for 4-6 inch thick hunk of wood that he could cut to size, plugging the opening once we pulled the elbow out. He found some solid wood remnants that the marina had left over from installing new whalers and were in process of tossing out. “It was Lucky” He attempted to cut them in circles to fit the diameter of the pipe but he didn’t have a good enough saw to accomplish. We asked the stainless steel repair shop to help us, he gladly cut them for us.

Once we had all the parts ready Dan and I prepared to remove the elbows. Sorry no pictures of the action as we both had our hands full. Dan loosen the hose clamps one at a time, top and bottom. Dan slid the top of the elbow down and out. As we were preparing to remove the bottom I would pull on the elbow while Dan would shove the plug into the end with his wood caps and tighten hose clamps around it to stop any water. This worked great but remember as soon as the elbow was removed water started pouring in. He had to move quickly.

img_2953Sergio from, “Machine Shop Vallarta” swung by to pick them up from us and started the repair. If you need any stainless steel repairs done or machine work while in Puerto Vallarta, we highly recommend them. You can find them on FB at Machine Shop Vallarta. The completed elbows came back all shiny and like new! We then prepared for the install… of course the opposite procedures of pulling them off was the process for putting back on. It wasn’t a hard process, but a bit messy and the final product and results are “perfecto”.

One other projects we are in-process of completing is the repair of our dinghy crane hydraulics. The hoist cylinder started to leak fluid from the main seals. Our nextdoor boating neighbors Ben and Andrea on SV Belle Vie helped us disassemble the crane. We took the cylinder & one of the sheaves  (rollers for crane line) into this same shop to have fixed. While it was out and down we were able to clean and paint the boom, and assess the hoisting crane cable & decided to purchase a new line. We will be getting a line with different material called Dyneema AmSteel, that will help the crane work more smoothly.

Here are some action pictures, using the Port crane to lift and move the Starboard one.

With all our projects we always look at repairing versus buying a new part.  Both options are always assessed on how to go forward from a “best repair” and a financial perspective.

We always feel lucky….to have our friends to help us! New boating friends, Machine Shop Friends and You that read about our crazy adventures! Thank you!

Hasta Luego Amigos

Lightning & Thunderstorms and change in plans, again and again….#30

Our plan a year ago when we started this adventure was to be through the Panama Canal and in the Caribbean by now. Maybe even take our boat up the East Coast to Annapolis for Dan’s 40 Year class reunion…. But with all things, flexibility is key when things you can’t control impact plans. Our January shipyard work took longer than 4 weeks and this put us into a situation where we would be hurrying down the coast to get out of the way of hurricanes….. (not an ideal situation) So we made Mexican lemonade and went to The Sea of Cortez  – Blog about this adventure = Sea of Cortez Anchorages & Marinas, A Nautical Travel Guide… #29

After our adventures north we stayed at Marina de La Paz. The temperatures were 90 to 100+, so we decided to head to Paradise Village in Nuevo Vallarta (a suburb of Puerto Vallarta) sooner rather than later, where it was a bit cooler, so off we went.

lapaz to PV travel plan.JPG

Out trip to Puerto Vallarta would be our third and Dan and I decided we would do this alone without the help of our friends. Our plan was: 

But with all good plans….they change. We departed LaPaz as expected, fishing along the way, with no luck. Totally uneventful trip throughout the evening. We had a great sunset, moonrise and moring blue sky.

We arrived at 7am at the mouth of the land where we would enter into the marina de yates. (we had never been to this marina before) pic of marina entrance.JPGAs you can see the entrance into the marina was very tight and was very hard to see visually. As we approached the opening (or where we thought was the opening) the waves were building up behind us and it was not a comfortable situation to be in. We could have been pushed into the rocks/land very easily. So we abandoned the idea of staying at this marina near Altata. We had already been underway for 20 hours and now we were heading down the coast for who knows how long. We looked for a bay we could anchor in overnight. We found a good looking one about 7 hours away. So we headed toward “Barras de Piaxtla”.

Arriving at a great looking bay with hotels/pangas/beach front and seemed to be popular location. We anchored and I started to cook some dinner. As we were eating,  the waves and wind were hitting us from different directions, competing with each other. The wind was blowing and holding us north/south but the waves were hitting us from the west. So we were getting hit broadsided and rolling us side-to-side. It was not comfortable at all. While this was happening I could see lightning stretch across the sky over the land. It didn’t take us long to decide to pull anchor and head towards Mazatlan. We had just completed 27 hours of cruising and really wanted to get a good night’s sleep. But it was not meant to be…. we were back cruising.

“Dan and I trade off the watch schedule with 3-4 hours of watch while the other sleeps”

As we headed to Mazatlan we had 5 hours of cruising and realized that we would be arriving around 2am, not an ideal time to go into the marina. Our plan was to anchor close to Isla de Pajaros Just outside the marina entrance. So after a total of 32 hours cruising we finally arrived, anchored and got some sleep. We pulled anchor and arrived in Marina Mazatlan at about 10:30 am and we stayed 3 nights. This gave us plenty of time to recover and be prepared for our 20 hour run to Puerto Vallarta.


This looks near, but it was about 10 miles away

We left Marina Mazatlan 3 days later at around 2pm due to the tide and currents. We planned to be in Paradise Village at around 11am if all went well. We had a pretty rough start but the sea settled down just after midnight. I took over watch from Dan at approx 2:30 am. The cloud cover was heavy and the lightning was surrounding me but was far away. At approx 4:30 am I could see a huge storm right in front of us. I needed to go around it but wanted Dan’s opinion first. So with hesitation I woke him up. We agreed to track the storm as we slowed down a bit to see which way it was going. An hour later I was making my move and decision to go around the storm as Dan slept for another couple hours.

By sunrise I was back asleep and Dan could get a better view of the storm and he cut through the center where the clouds and storm had parted.

We did hit a small corner of the storm as we got close to Banderas bay which gave us considerable amount of rain. With this slight deviation it increased our time by an hour and we arrived safe and sound in Paradise Village Marina at noon.

The evening we arrived, in one of our favorite towns/marina, we were invited to an event at the Vallarta Yacht club for drinks and dinner… and got to meet lots of boating new friends.

We are truly blessed to be able to live this life!

Thank you for following us and reading our adventures!

Dan and Angela on Angelique



Sea of Cortez Anchorages & Marinas, A Nautical Travel Guide… #29

If you have been thinking about traveling to Mexico by boat, you don’t want to miss out on visiting some of the awesome anchorages in the Sea of Cortez. I will cover those marinas/anchorages that we stopped at…. but there are many more! It is a beautiful trip and I highly recommend it!

Lets cover some basics before the review of each location

Language Key

  • Bahia = Bay
  • Isla = Island
  • Caleta = Cove
  • Playa = Beach
  • Punta = Tip or Point

Once you head into the Sea the majority of this trip there is NO cell or internet service. Tell your family that you are taking a well needed break. Some of the more developed cities along the way have poor quality service, but the service does work.

I will give a “star” rating for each location 1-5, low to high (this is our opinion only) ratings are based against other marinas or anchorages. Not against each other… not fair.

We used these two books to help navigate and make decisions on where to stay. Of course the direction of the wind/waves also determined our picks.

Whether you choose to come down with a rally like “Baja ha ha “or “CUBAR” or on your own, you will more than likely have Cabo San Lucas as your first stop. This is where I will start the review.

Cabo San Lucas  Anchorage –  2.5* & Marina 3.8*

Cabo is a big huge developed city and you can get anything you want in the city with great amenities. Fuel, provisions, good cell service, snorkeling, scub, restaurants, spa, etc. etc. The city is very lively and stays up all hours of the night. If you like this, you will like this town. It was a bit too loud for us, you can hear music from bars out into the bay until 4am. (hence the lower rating timg_4956han expected) Watch out for the winds and waves which can come up unexpectedly and hit you hard. Have a plan and be prepared on what you will do if this happens.

The marina is pretty good size and the noise from the bars is not so bad. It is a bit expensive and can be crowded if events are happening. e.g.; fishing tournament, boat rally, etc.

21nm to….

Puerto Los Cabos Marina (San Jose del Cabo) – 4.2*

img_5098Puerto Los Cabos is a short jaunt around the corner from Cabo. The marina is small and no town next to marina. There is a small amount of anchorage area inside the breakwater. Small cafe with the “Best pollo nachos”. There is an OXXO on the far side of the marina. Internet and cell service is okay in this location. We enjoyed this marina and would go back. As long as you understand it is a bus or taxi ride to town.

 117 nm to….

Bahia Balandra – 3.1*

This bay is very close to La Paz and very comfy and convenient if you don’t want to go through the La Paz channel in the dark. (The channel is very tight when looking at it in the dark along with lights on the land reflect against the red/green buoys and in your eyes) You can anchor here for the night as we did. It is a really pretty bay with good snorkeling and wildlife. Pretty good protection from the wind. No cell service.

12nm to…

Costa Baja Marina in La Paz – 4.8*

This marina had everything including resort amenities & very luxurious! It is a bit of a ways out of town, so some people don’t like it. But the shuttle runs almost every hour for free, just tip the driver. You can find just about anything in town. Grocery with lots of very good choices, bagel shop, banks, sail shops and farmers market (smaller than PV but still very good) on Tuesday and Saturdays. Marina is very clean, great security, helpful & friendly staff, pool, restaurants, very small store (limited items), fast strong dock based pump out came to us & didn’t have to move, fuel dock, Good internet & cell service. (Not great!)

Inside La Paz 4nm…

Marina de la Paz – 4.6*

We have stayed here a couple times too. It is a great location downtown, cheaper than Costa Baja. Docks are newer and seemed well maintained, cable internet (hard wired) & Wi-Fi is good & cell service. Easy walk to lots of restaurants, we have had dental work and new eye glasses done in this town too. Lots of anchorages in bay and dinghy’s come in to dock here. One restaurant at head of marina, showers & toilets. The sewer pump-out at this marina is a manual process and didn’t work well for us. There is a small yacht club, Club Cruceros de La Paz, they have books and DVD for free. Rent DVD’s and exchanges books

There are two other marinas here in La Paz, Marina Cortez & Marina Palmira. We have not stayed in these two. 

21nm to…

Isla Espiritu Santo (Holy Spirit Island), Ensenada del la Raza – 3.2*

This island is the largest in the group of islands just north of La Paz. Lots of snorkeling and scuba is done on the group of islands. We picked Ensenada dl La Raza as our first anchorage location. Very windy stayed 1 extra night than planned because of weather. If we would have been able to get in the water might have rated a bit higher.  Lots of turtles cruising around boat. Length of stay 3 nights. No cell service.

22nm to…

Isla San Francisco – 3.0*

Isla San Francisco is a small island south of Isla San Jose and is only 2 miles wide. The bay in this island is a semicircle that is west facing. Bugs near this island were becoming overwhelming. Good thing Angela finished making screens for the doors and window in La Paz! There is a hike up on one side, but too buggy & hot this time of year. A generally calm location from winds compared to other places.  Others did it and said it was a beautiful view. Length of stay – 2 nights. No cell service.


36nm to…

Bahia El Gato (The Cat) – 4.3*

Legend has it that Cougars lived in caves and would come down to fish in the bay, hence the name. This is a cove on Baja California. It has white sandy beach surrounded by red rock bluffs. It is a beautiful bay. I took the kayak out and around the bay and saw lots of sea life, including these small crabs that stayed on rocks, but would run about as I got close. Dan did a snorkeling and said the fish were hundreds and enjoyed it. Wish I would have gone too. (next time) Length of stay – 2 nights. No cell Service.

18nm to…

Bahia Agua Verde (Green Water bay) – 4.8*

A beautiful bay with beautiful greenish blue water, sandy beaches, large rock formations. Very small tienda for shopping and a very small taco shop on the beach. Dan and I snorkeled around the Pyramid rock. The rock was in just offshore in the middle of the bay. The water was a little rough that day, so we stayed close to each other. Had Great fun! Length of stay – 2 nights. Watch the wind in this location it can pick up quickly. No cell service, but the tienda has Pay by hour internet service.

17nm to…

Caleta Candeleros Chico (Little Candlestick Cove) – 4.0*

Candeleros has a hotel resort at the shoreline of the bay. It stands all alone with nothing else really to support it. Hwy 1 runs past it and it seem slightly busy with guests when we went to visit. It is an unprotected anchorage & we got lucky with the wind. We were back in limited cell service for the first time in a week+. The Hotel had nice food and very good service. Was not allowed to use pool or other facilities. But they did have internet we could use. Length of stay – 2 nights

10 nm to…

Puerto Escondido Marina- 4.4*


Photo Credits – Dean and Roxane Sutherland

Very protected Marina with well-maintained docks and friendly service. Very nice restaurant, covered pool, laundry/showers facilities. Closest marina to Loreto. We took the motorcycle and went into downtown Loreto for provisions, mostly vegetables. Had multiple friends at marina, always fun to visit and hang out. A bit rough with NW prevailing wind and waves. No shuttle in to Loreto (18 miles away) but you can easily rent car from about $30 usd a day.  small Nice grocery store on-site, Wi-Fi at office we could use. The jumping Manta Ray put on a show every night, thank you to Dean and Roxane for these photos! Their photos turned out better than mine. Limited cell service. Length of stay – 5 nights + return stay later in the month for 11 days. Rates are much cheaper if you can stay for a whole month.

Loreto town

Rented a car for the day to do sightseeing and provisioning with friends. A few pictures, beautiful town. Anchorage in bay is totally unprotected and only good for day anchoring.


4nm to…

Isla Danzante, Honeymoon Cove – 3.6* 

We really enjoyed this very small cove. Only a few boats at a time can fit in here. We snorkeled mid-day and saw dolphins hunting all the fish we saw when we were snorkeling. The next morning the dolphins came back in force. It was really fun to watch. Length of stay – 1 night. No cell service.

18nm to….

Isla Carmen, Bahia La Salina – 3.8* 

This bay on Isla Carmen was really cool because it had a bunch of old buildings, like a ghost town. We were able to explore buildings, salt pond, very protected from NW winds, Big & easy to anchor. I think this is a must do anchorage. But once you’ve done it, it is now just a nice protected anchorage. Length of stay – 1 night. No cell service.


40nm to…. 

San Jaunico – 4.5* 

This anchorage is a bit rocky with a NE wind, it was pretty crowded, but lots of room for all of us. It is very beautiful, we went for a dinghy patrol and picked out a spot to snorkel with Dean and Roxane, we also walked along the beach. length of stay – 2 nights. No cell service.


45nm to…

Bahia Concepcion (The sea within the sea), Punt Santo Domingo – 3.0*

This was a stop on our way to Santa Rosalia Marina. It had flat sandy bottom for anchorage for hundreds of feet at 20′ depth. It was easy to pull in pretty close We didn’t make the next planned stop to Rosalia due to family emergency. We turned back to Escondido marina to be close to an airport. If we had more time we could have gone into Bahia Concepcion area where there was a lot more anchorages and a bit of population. But family first always.

The Sea of Cortez is big and beautiful area to cruise/sail through. We only dented a very small percentage of what is available. I can understand why some people come and never leave. I hope you all get the opportunity to see this wonderful area in Mexico. We are certainly glad we did.