Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Racy Red Bottom

Here is a photo of Indigo with her newly painted bottom. Red paint, expertly applied by the workers at the Berkovich boatyard in La Paz.
This was the first time we had the boat hauled out of the water using an old-fashioned marine railway. You can see in this photo that the boat is supported on the steel crossbeams that make up the "car" of the railway. What you can't see is the amazing, classic old "donkey engine" nearby, which drives the winch cable that pulls up the car to bring the boat out of the water, or let it back down.

What you must imagine is that we are on the boat as it is pulled uphill out of the water, and lowered back down.  That means we are about fifteen feet up in the air, with the boat at a pronounced slant as we transit the slope.

Imagine also metal wheels on metal rails, and the creaking and jerking as the winch strains with the weight of boat and metal car. 
Like so many things in Mexico, this marine railroad looks a bit dated and rustic, but it works well and gets the job done.  Bit by bit, we learn not to expect things here to look like they do further north. 

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Saturday, May 04, 2013

Mexican Recipes in 48 North

In the May edition of 48°North, The Sailing Magazine, there is an article about the recipes and stories we have published in the blog The Mexican Recipes (

You can view the article here: . On this website there is a digital version of the magazine. Open the May edition, and turn to the article in the galley section called “Catherine learns about Mexican cooking”.

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Internet in the Sea of Cortez

Here's what passes for an internet cafe in the Sea of Cortez. In the area around Loreto, there are robust cell phone signals. Given a cellular modem, a computer, and a rocky crag with distant views, we have pretty good internet. This particular mobile office is on enchanting Isla Dazante.

Friday, May 03, 2013

San Juanico Idyll

I thought about how to title this post about our week in the big bay of San Juanico, and the word "idyll" floated to the surface of my sunbaked brain. Uncertain of the meaning, I looked in the dictionary:  "An extremely happy, peaceful, or picturesque episode or scene, typically an idealized or unsustainable one." Yes, yes for the happy, peaceful, picturesque stuff. Interesting that last bit.

San Juanico is perhaps our favorite of all Sea of Cortez anchorages. It is a big bay, with many rocky cliffs and spires where several families of osprey raise their babies, and a variety of anchoring locations. There were many boats coming and going this past week, and it was also the week of the full moon. There were gatherings on the beach in the evenings to share food, drink, and stories, watch the moon rise and enjoy a bonfire. 

During the days, we kayaked and snorkeled in the increasingly clear water. With Jan and Joan from s.v. Dulce Maestra, made an epic kayak trip from San Juanico to Punta Mangles, where there are tall cliffs of amazing colored rock, and dramatic deep sea caves. We were blessed with favorable wind and current returning to San Juanico, so that the fifteen mile round trip was just a good workout. 

As for the term "unsustainable".  Although afloat, we are still living in the modern world, dependent on fossil fuel and complicated electronics and mechanical systems. Keeping everything running smoothly requires maintenance and ingenuity.  During our idyll, the Captain was busy trying to repair a leak in the engine cooling system. He traded 15 gallons of fresh water for a tube of fancy epoxy, and was gifted a roll of magic red tape.  The combination managed to staunch the leak. Perhaps we are barely sustainable, in the short term, with the help of a community of like-minded boating vagabonds.