Holiday Break

If you’re ever in Arbuckle, California, give Tacos Jesus Maria a try. Popular with truckers, locals and random travelers, the food is amazing and affordable.

Backing up a little bit, our weather window arrived for crossing the Sea of Cortez from Santa Rosalía to San Carlos, so off we went. Waves were decent sized, but not too uncomfortable, and winds were in the 10 to 15 knot range. We had a pretty good heel on by the time Nina needed to start cooking dinner, something she should have done while we were in hurry up and wait for out passage to start mode. It was getting dark and she was fighting a touch of turista and food was really the last thing she wanted to think about or deal with. Bill did get a hot meal.

Bahía San Pedro had a couple of sailboats anchored in it when we arrived in the early afternoon. By the time we settled in, had some lunch, four more boats arrived. The next morning there were eight boats total. The San Carlos fleet had arrived. Most we knew from the San Carlos radio net. Dan, from Island Time, put together an impromtu San Pedro net, and we would meet up on the beach later in the morning. We put the outboard on the dinghy and got it started. It was working fine as we motored around for a bit and headed to the beach. As we were beaching the dinghy, we noticed that we had a leak. Oily black water was leaking into the dinghy from the engine. It was the first time this year we had been able to get the motor to start and we were worried about it. Later we discovered that it did have serious problems. Luckily we had oars along, and after we did our beach meet up and some trash pick up, Bill rowed us back to Gypsy.

We headed down to Ensenada Algodones in a gentle swell from the south. The wind was changing direction from the north to the south. Cloudy skies. Got some good walks on the beach and headed back to San Carlos where we ran into some old cruising friends. The marina was windy, it was cold. We started working on our project list. We’d also bought some shrimp from a guy in the Santovalle parking lot, so Nina got busy cleaning them. The floor by the sink was wet. Annoying, because she was wearing socks (it was still cold). We had a cracked foot pump, so swapping that out got added to the project list.

The next morning, the cabin temperature was 50 degrees F. We turned the boat furnace on. So much for sunny, warm Mexico. The following morning, the same. We got our projects done and were ready to head north. The composting head was cleaned out; the refrigerator empty; the watermaker pickled. We’d be gone for three weeks and didn’t want to come back to biology projects or bugs. The car was packed and we set out, hoping the roads beyond Tucson would be clear. Reno was experiencing white-out conditions and there was snow in the Sierras. We thought it would be an I-5 drive but we managed to avoid that until around Sacramento. Once in southern California, we headed for Bakersfield and took 99 up the valley and drove in lots of fog, but no snow.

We made it back to Portland. One of our projects was to make new shrouds for the boat. These are the cables that hold up the mast. Getting Gypsy ready after we launched, we discovered that there was more corrosion and the start of cracks on the swedge fittings at the end of the shroud wires than we first thought. This meant we needed to replace them as soon as possible. Nina went up the mast and we took measurements. We called our friends Tom and Jeanne in Portland who ordered all the parts we needed. At Tom’s shop we got them cut to length, took them to the riggers to get the swedged.

New Year’s Day sail. This is an annual tradition at Rose City Yacht Club to start the year off with a boat parade to Portland Harbor. Thank yous to Blue Moon for letting us be passengers.

Returning to Mexico, we traveled light but heavy – two duffle bags with rigging wire and a few clothes. We took them as carryon. We had a connecting flight through LAX to Tucson and those bags got heavier each time we had to pick them up and move them. But we schlepped on and made the bus to Guaymas. Crossing the border at Nogales, the bus stopped and everyone got out of the bus, claimed their luggage and waited while the sniffer dog went by all the luggage. Then we all had to open our bags to be searched by customs. A woman next to us was given a long and stern lecture over a couple of in the box bottles of perfume. When the agent got to us, he felt the wire and asked what it was and Nina said para un velero (for a sailboat). He looked at her, went through Bill’s bag, felt wires, got the same answer for his wire, and moved on. We’re not sure what he thought but he went on to have a long conversation with a young woman with a new pair of headphones in the box. Good thing our wires weren’t in a box. We didn’t see any declaration forms or exchanges of money. Finally they let us all back on the bus and we trundled south in the dark with a dubbed movie blaring away on the screens. We finally arrived at Gypsy at about 4:20 in the morning.

Nina’s tacos from Tacos Jesus Maria. Spicy pork on the left and cabeza on the right. Bill had a different pair of tacos, but in the excitement forgot to photograph them.

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