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A note from Dick and Gail Barnes:

Dick and Gail Barnes are off on another excellent adventure on their Nordhavn 57, Ice Dancer II. They departed Honolulu on May 4, 2009 for an expected one-year cruise of the deep South Pacific. On Ice Dancer (I), a Nordhavn 50, they completed trips to Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii and French Polynesia for a total of 23,545 nm. Ice Dancer II has been to Mexico, Alaska, Galapagos Islands, Cape Horn to Hawaii for a total of 28,708 nm. At their first stop for this trip, Palmyra Atoll, they had completed 52,253 nm on their two Nordhavns. You are invited to share their observations, here.


November 30, 2006
At sea

We left Zihautanejo, Mexico for the Galapagos Islands at 6:30 CST, this morning. Our computer says that we will arrive on the afternoon of 11/06, disregarding weather, currents and stops to exercise fish.

Departure procedures included a $40 cab ride to the international airport to clear immigration. The Port Captain's office was friendly and helpful. It is amazing, however, the amount of time wasted on unneeded paperwork.

Weather conditions look favorable. Winds in the Sea of Cortez are expected to roar today, but that is far behind us. On Saturday, the Gulf of Tehuantepec is expected to get windy. We expect to be far enough west to miss that effect. We will see.

 

November 28, 2006
Zihautenejo, Mexico
17-38.16N 101-33.35W

We refilled the refrigerator with vegetables and fruits, today. Zihautanejo is a comfortable anchorage with its only drawback being the daily arrival of a different cruise ship. At least it is only one. With it comes the parade of shore boats injecting tourists into the little town and commercial boats of every stripe moving them off to fish, enjoy beaches and sightsee. Three norteamericano sailboats are scattered across the bay. The cruising fleet has not made it this far, yet.

It is fortunate that we filled diesel tanks in Manzanillo. The Pemex concession is closed and so is the one in Ixtapa. Pangueros were anxious to fuel us with jerry jugs ferried from the gas station. That would be difficult with our need for over 1,000 gallons. The fuel dock problem seems to be sale prices set by the national oil company that leave too little margin for operation. Our previous fueling in Ensenada was similarly odd. There is not fuel dock in Ensenada Harbor proper; only one the the Coral Marina, about 10 miles north. Free markets work better.

 

November 26, 2006
A single point anchor gave us a quiet Saturday night behind the Las Hadas Marina, in Manzanillo Bay (19-06.08N 104-20.70W). Well, the seas were quiet. Local custom is for hotels to play highly amplified music, very late. It wasn't Las Hadas, but another one down the beach that offended. The anchorage is first rate, with upscale hotels, condos and houses ringing the spot.

Ice Dancer II was fully fueled this morning at the Las Hadas marina. We left Manzanillo for Zihautanejo, before noon. By midday Monday, we should be anchored in Z-town's bay. Zihautanejo will be our departure point for the Galapagos Islands, instead of Acapulco. Leaving before Acapulco will put us further away from the gales that form at the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and fan out into the Pacific. However, Zihautanejo's fuel dock runs out of diesel, at times, so we wanted to arrive nearly full.

Seas and weather remain favorable. Air quality is poor, for unknown reasons. It could be fires or pollution from Mexico City.

 


November 25, 2006

Bahia Tenacatita met expectations as a lovely anchorage. The bay is about three miles in width. We anchored inside a hook on the north side 19-17.9N 104-50.3W. Our spot was well protected from swell and located not far from a palm-lined beach.

Friday, we kayaked four miles up a mangrove estuary and back. Our quiet mode allowed us to see many birds and small animals. We are now in a jungle environment, quite in contrast to Baja's desert. Most of the kayak ride was beneath a canopy, with vines hanging to the water. The green vegetation is punctuated with occasional flowering trees in lavender and yellow.

Today (Saturday), we will move to Manzanillo, about 30 miles to the south.

November 22, 2006
We should be in Bahia Tenacatita at about 11 a.m., this (Wednesday) morning, in about three hours. In all of our provisioning, we failed to pack a form of turkey. Gail says, oh well, we can have steak and lobster. She didn't go for my idea of trimming a chicken breast.

We gave John and Joanne 17 packages of mahi, so our freezer capacity for new fish has opened up a little. We have about the same amount in reserve, in case fishing gets slow.

If Tenacatita is a nice as expected, we will likely stay a few days. The plan is to launch the Zodiac and Kayak, put out a stern anchor and the flopper stopper. The next chore will be to wash off salt spray from the exterior. Bashing into bow wind and waves Monday night and Tuesday morning deposited a medium coating of salt. Some of the spray ended up on walls and other inside surfaces that need to be rinsed. Since Tuesday afternoon, seas and winds have been mild. Water temperature is up to 87 degrees.


November 21, 2006

Thanks for all the birthday greetings. Just think, in two years I'll be old enough to retire.
We caught the edge of winds blowing from the Gulf of Mexico into the Gulf of Tehauntepec. Last night and this morning was bumpy, but it is calming down, now. Maybe we can put out a fishing line.


November
20, 2006
We pulled anchor at Cabo San Lucas Monday afternoon at 3 p.m. Our next stop is Tenacatita Bay, 19-16N 104-50W, about 30 miles north of Manzanillo. We are running at 109T for 360 miles, which will put us into the anchorage Wednesday morning. We have beam seas of 3-4 feet and 13 knots of wind. Water temperature is 84.6 and air is 82.

Today, we had a nice visit with John and Joanne while they shopped at Home Depot for closet and lighting fixtures. Gail found a small, artificial Christmas tree, for use later in the trip. Then, we picked up provisions from Costco and CCC. It was great to see them before we left Baja.

Sunday gave us all of the entertainment we needed from Cabo San Lucas. The beach party at the anchorage was non-stop and included large numbers of jet skis, loud music and cruise ships. It is not your wilderness experience.

Puerto Vallarta was passed for similar reasons. It is described in a cruising guide as the ultimate Mexican boating destination. Tenacatita is described as a sleepy, undeveloped bay. Now, that sounds like our kind of hangout.


November 19, 2006

Tropical storm Sergio appears to be losing steam and heading west. That has allowed us to move to Cabo San Lucas, overnight. John and Joanne will drive down from La Paz on Monday morning.

We stuffed the last corners of our freezers with another mahi mahi,this afternoon. John will take some home with him on Monday, so we will be able to fish some more.

Weather continues to be beautiful.

November 16, 2006
We are enjoying perfect weather and warm water at Bahia Santa Maria. Activities include kayaking, swimming and the ever-present boat maintenance and cleaning.

Our plans to meet John and Joanne in Cabo San Lucas have been delayed. A tropical storm named Sergio is intensifying and heading toward Baja. It will be a few days before we learn what its path and strength look like. In the meantime, we will enjoy this lovely place. If the storm heads this way, we will move to a nearby refuge behind Bahia Magdelana.

November 14, 2006
We ran overnight Monday to arrive at the Thetis Bank, about 25 miles north of Magdalena Bay, for early morning fishing. We landed three large male dorado (mahi) and had them in the freezer, by noon. It's great having a plan come together.

Water temperature spiked to 82 degrees, today. Air temperature is 78.

We will be hanging out at Bahia Santa Maria, kayaking and looking around for signs of tuna. On 11/18-19 we will go to Cabo San Lucas. John and Joanne are supposed to come down from La Paz, for a visit.


November 13, 2006

We anchored Sunday night at Bahia Tortugas (27-40.55N 114-53.75W) and left Monday morning for Bahia Santa Maria. We will run overnight and expect to fish the Thetis Bank at daylight, Tuesday. Maybe the yellowfin tuna we be lurking about.

The weather is good and all is well.


November 11, 2006

We left San Diego at 4 a.m. and made it to Ensenada at noon on Thursday (11/09), fueled and checked into the country. We got a dose of back-to-the-third world. Only one of the two diesel pumps in town were working. Luckily, we did our 1250 gallons while others waited. To better service the gringos, all of the relevant Mexican offices are in the same building, along with a bank and a private forms and copying concession right outside. The bank is owned by the military. It still took over two hours to complete our check-in. We stood, papers in hand at Kiosk 2 for 45 minutes while the worker disappeared, at 4 p.m. Hours are 10 to 5, but if you want service after 2 p.m., the fee is double. Well, we could have spent another day, I suppose. I have trained myself to smile and not say a thing about the system or players.

We arrived at Islas San Benito at 11 a.m. (28-17.93N 115-34.63W), after running overnight from Ensenada. Bartering for lobsters still works, here. So, seafood again tonight. Last night we enjoyed sushi from a small tuna. Tomorrow, we will make the short run to Bahia Tortuga. Weather here tries to be clear, but 20 knot winds off the water make some low clouds. The island blocks the NW swells that are coming down from the North Pacific storms. Water temps are up to 71 degrees. It should rise quickly as we head south. On the outside of the Ranger Bank, just north of here, we saw very large groups of porpoise and many whales.

 

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