Dec 2, 2012

New Winter Home

Stopping by San Diego on our way north, we passed by one of the Navy's new high-speed warships.  This one had what looked like a flight deck in the rear, and you just had to wonder what kind of top speed it's capable of...

Sea Story is again back in the USA .  We brought her up to Ventura from La paz in early July, and now we're getting used to the cooler, wetter California weather.  We're also meeting new neighbors and exploring the nearby Channel Islands National Park - a fascinating cruising grounds I've long been curious about.

Our "Baja Bash" crew, Richard, Mary Lee and I the day we arrived at Ventura West Marina.  Our berth is close to the harbor entrance, and just a couple hundred yards from the beach.

To gain some knowledge about the Park, and to add to my seagoing skills, I've signed on as a volunteer crew member for the Park Services's transportation fleet of support vessels.  lots of fun so far, and it's been a chance to gain some of the skills required for hauling cargo and people to and from the Islands on a big boat.  Nice people to work with too....

The Ocean Ranger is my volunteer assignment for the Park Service.  We regularly take this 100' workhorse out to the Channel Islands in support of the Park's operations and research projects.

Sea Story is due for a haul-out in January, so it looks like a trip back down to the Baja Naval boatyard in Ensenada- probably leaving right after Christmas.  Already looking forward to spending at least a couple of weeks back in Mexico.  Sure hope we remember some of our Spanish....

Mar 27, 2012


Sea Story heading for the starting line after a night at anchor in Caleta Partida, one of the prettiest anchorages in Bahia La paz.  From this start, we raced back to the entrance of the La paz harbor channel (about 20 miles) and finished second in our class.

A couple of years ago, some local cruisers got together and started Veleros de Baja, a loose and very informal organization of racing enthusiasts here in La paz.  Because most of us are racing the boats we live on, the races are pretty low key, and no one gets too excited about a slow start or raggedy tack.  They're mostly fun events and a good excuse for getting out on the Bay for a pleasant afternoon of whale watching and sunbathing.
 Sea Story is fairly fast for a fully loaded cruising boat, so we usually finish in the top two or three of our class.  In this particular race, there was a big lull midway through, so we were one of only five boats out of thirteen to even finish the race within the allotted time.  Best of all, we managed to beat Talion, a very fast fifty footer that usually dominates the competition.  If course, it helped that skipper Patsy was single-handing Talion - but maybe I shouldn't have mentioned that....!
There's a full rundown and more photos of the race at:

Mar 5, 2012


Cleaning a clogged diesel fuel filter bowl on a nice Sunday afternoon at the dock.  Usually this happens at sea, in rough weather at 0300 hours.  Managed to catch a break this time...

I once thought nothing could be a bigger pain in the ass than owning and maintaining an airplane. 

I was wrong. 

None of my airplanes had plumbing systems, electrical systems operating in a salt water environment, or diesel fuel systems, ultra-sensitive to line leaks and algae growth.

So now I find myself continually re-educated and doing maintenance chores far beyond anything I could have imagined for someone who once was challenged by simply changing oil in my car.  Not sure if this is progress, but it does keep me busy and more knowledgeable about the inner workings of my floating home.  Of course, it also reduces my maintenance costs - most of the time.  Once in a while, the opposite happens, and I have to hire an expert to fix something I buggered up beyond my ability to correct. Fortunately, that seems to be happening less and less as time goes on, so this not-so-glamorous side of boat ownership has just become part of the experience down here in La paz.

Just letting you all know it's not all sunshine and pina coladas every day!

Like most old skydivers, I really don't like being this high without a parachute, so I'm hanging onto everything I can!

Feb 13, 2012

Entertainment in La paz

People are always curious about what we do for the six months we spend down here in Mexico every winter.  Here are a couple of highlights from the season to date:

Not long ago, we had a chance to get close-up and personal with John Davidson, the singer/actor/ TV personality who, among other things, used to host Hollywood Squares. John's son and daughter-in-law have opened up a small restaurant here in La paz, and he put on a couple of benefit performances on their patio for audiences limited to thirty people. John's a very  funny and personable guy who still has a great set of pipes. His hour and a half gigs really were excellent entertainment and you couldn't beat the intimacy of the setting.

A French couple, who happen to be ex-performers from Cirque de Soleil, put on a spectacular show in the rigging of their boat for fellow cruisers in Marina Palmira.  Their performance drew a couple of hundred people, and they didn't even have to warn us "not to try this at home!" 

Mary Lee playing and singing with 7 Clouds, a local jazz band performing at La Encantada, our favorite Art Gallery/Wine Bar here in La paz. 

We brought our own pole-dancers! A wild night at Tailhunters, a self described "dishing and frinking establishment," where Laura and the Baja Boys play rock favorites on Friday nights.  With only a bit of encouragement, our ladies took the initiative to start a pole dancing mania that entertained the band as much as it did  the rest of us...