121130 Thaikarl - Mexico!07


the adventure continues!  i moved off the Emerald Lady a few days ago, and onto my new ride s/v Trilogy, owned and skippered by Dan.  Trilogy is an Islander 36, not as well appointed as the Emerald Lady, but dan's been cruizing mexico for a number of years, and he has all the right stuff, and all the support gear and systems tuned to a fine pitch.

John and Kelly took me out for a nice dinner the night before i left.  i was quite sad to be leaving them.  they have been very generous and gracious to me, and i so appreciated the time i was able to spend with them, and i hope my support was adequate.  i gained 47 days of off-shore seatime to add towards a captains license  and that in itself is valuable compensation.

we left La Paz on Trilogy at 04:00 (!!!!!) a couple of days ago.  motoring south alongside the beautiful sunrise.  i don't see many sunrises, they are as beautiful as sunsets, except rather than settling into the calm sweet dark of night, it justs builds into blazing daylight.  exactly the opposite. i guess which one i preferr.  i tried to stay awake, but i went down for a "nap" around 08:00 and didn't wake up til noon.  dan had his fishing rod out, in the late afternoon we had "fish on!"  hauled in a three food dorado.  we had a magnificent lunch from that fish!

we anchored up in Bahia  De Los Muertos (Bay of the Dead) in the afternoon.  not much there, a fishing camp, and a restaruant up on the hil.  we got the dingy out and got it inflated, went into the beach and walked up tot he restarurant.  there were a couple of ladies from canada i knew from the Ha-Ha having dinner.  we had some pleasant conversation about cruizing, places to go, things to see.  Enchalada verde was tasty, but american style - way to much on the plate.  Dan is covering all expenses for me, which is very generous. the dinner was pretty expensive for mexico.  mine was 145 pesos - 13$ USD.

the next day we motor/sailed to Bahia Frailes (Bay of Friars), which has even less land features.  just a few fishing shacks.  the moon was full, the sky traces with high clouds.  light surf humming onto the long beach a few hundred yards away.  i sat up in the cockpit in a t-shirt and worked on my moontan.  hughe moths would flutter by in the night.  you can hear their wings buzzing and they clumsily wander the air.  very nice, very nice indeed.

dan tied a flashlight on the rail shining down into the water.  soon attracted tens of fish, circling around the boat in the light.  we'd saved a few  scraps from the dorado and tossed little bits into the water, where the quick ones snapped them up.  we were in 30 feet of water and you could see the anchor chain on the bottom.  still amazing to me, as i'm used to the cold grey opaque waters of puget sound.

we came into Cabo San Lucas the next day.  the cruisers hate this place, with all the jet-ski's running around, pangas, "Animators" yelling games and encouragement into huge Speakers at the clubs on the beach, para-sailing  cruise ships, the general Party-On atmosphere and the high prices and huckstering everywhere.  but that's Cabo.  but i know from my bus ride exploration, that just a few miles away, people live in very basic block houses, with dirt streets and dust.  the shoreline east of the marina, past the giant hotels is lined with grossly huge and extravagant houses.  glad it's all here tho, else they'd be gloaming onto the peaceful places.

we leave Cabo at Oh-Dark-Hundred again tomorrow for a 36 hour run to Mag bay tomorrow.  might be my last internet connection for a while.




121124 Thaikarl - Mexico!06 Night wander in La Paz


i borrowed one of the boat bikes to go into town last night.  amazing how much more ground you can cover on two wheels.  sure wish i had a motorcycle, that would really be the way to get around.  but the bike was nice.  

i cruised down the Mercado - beachfront drive.  nice wide tiled promenade the whole way along.. there were searchlights in the sky. discoverd a portion of the street blocked off, with a stage and sound system set up, lights, rows of chairs in the middle and booths along the sides.  seemed to be some kind of ocean conservation event, as the boths had dead baby sharks and rays that you could handle.  some artists, sculptures for sale. a band finally set up, playing some kind of "latin" music.  not terribly interesting, so i pedal up into the shopping district.  looking for a grocery store i was at a few days ago.  there were vendor booths set up on the sidewalks, selling cloths and jewlery, but most of them were packing up already.  it was just after dark.  seems they don't stay out late like they do home in thailand.

i found a few shops of interest, a dolor store, a leather shop.  the grocery store was closed at 6pm.  havn't had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich since the san diego bread went moldy a few weeks ago, and i was looking to buy bread.

there were lots of people out on the streets tho, looking in the shops and headed to the water-front.  the bus station was real busy, buses going everywhere lined both sides of the street.  i ended up back on the water front where i was maybe to meet the crew later.  the commercial district petered out, and i biked up into the neighborhoods   roused the dogs to barking all along the streets.  i heard a tuba and trumpet that sounded like live music and found my way there.  out in front of a house were some people on the sidewalk playing music and singing.  tuba, trombone, trumpets and voices.  little kids, just singing and playing out front of their house.  great fun!  all the live music i've been hearing so far on this trip has been bands playing oldies cover songs in english, and i'm wrung out on that sound.  

back on the waterfront, i passed a bar/disco that had a real mexican band.  i don't know what you call the style of music, but it's mexican, and it rocks!  drums, bass, guitar, conga and accordion   cost 50 peso's to get in, they kept my backpack at the door and did a pat down search on all the men that came in.  the band was playing up on a balcony, where it was a bit difficult to watch.  they played two songs and took a break, and they played dance/pop music very loud in the house.  it was about 10 pm, and there were only a few people there, but more began to arrive.  i was way underdressed in a t-shirt.  most of the guys were wearing long sleeve snap-button shirts and cowboy boots.  the girls were poured into tight skirts.  i was the only gringo in there.  but the band came back after a while, and played these amazing, long songs, with blazing accordion riffs between each phrase.  they had color-changing LED house lights everywhere, large LCD screens showing rock videos the whole time.  i left after a couple of hours.  there were crowds of young(er) nightclubers out on the sidewalk.

halfway back to the marina, there was another group of people beside the road, playing horns and singing songs.  they must be popular songs, becuase everybody knew the words.  passers by like myself would stop and listen.

there is so much to see in the world.  i'm realizing that places that are familiar and pre-explored, comfortable and stable as they may be, stifle my brain and being.  you know how if you have a nice, familiar living space, and you get up and do your morning thing and get all cozy it feels content and warm.  then you step outside and get smacked with sunlight, plants, clouds, air, breeze... wholy bovine! there's this whole other world out here.safe in the nest, there's not much movement.  only the movement you create yourself.  when you go out in the strange world, you are in the broad flow, the movement of nature, man and animal.  not sure i'm describing this very well.  one of my favorite things to do is to take something really simple, make it as complicated as possible, then occupy myself trying to make it back into something simple again.

note the bottom line here

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i need to get the fuck out of seattle.


121121 Thaikarl Mexico!05


i'm sitting in the CinnaRolls Cafe on the beachfront road in La Paz, Baja, Mexico.  enjoying an espresso and a cinnabun.


today was the first day i've had to "free range" in La Paz.  john went off early on roller blades, kelly and the other crew went off on the bicycles, and i hung out on the boat for a while then took the marina shuttle the 2 nm to downtown.  i've been wandering around for a few hours, looking in the shops, watching the people taking pictures.  i sat for a long time at a bus termial and just looked at everything, and everyone.  when i'm wandering by myself, which i prefer, i stop for not much reason, turn up streets just cause i feel like it, back-track, fore-track, and sometimes just stop and stay in one place, just to watch the life and land around me.  walking around with companions tends to be more directed, like we are going someplace.  by myself, i am going thoughtfully random places.

i'm really liking mexico, the little i've seen of it.  not quite as exotic and strange as thailand, cambodia, vietnam or india, but it abounds in mysteries and discoveries non-the-less.  i'm even picking up a few words, not useful ones, but i have learned them..  like "Empuje" = "Push", cause it's on the doors of the shops.  Or "Bassura" = "Trash" cause i'ts on the trash barrels.  having an online powered english-spanish translator on my iPhone helps for more complex things like ?donde es un taller de soldaura? ?para el acero inoxidable?" = "where is a welding shop? for stainless steel"  everybody shrugs and says basically "i don't know, not here" (just like they do in thailand!)

on the way up here, we anchored up and overnight-ed in Bahia (bay) Frailes.  we dingied to the beach, and struck out across the land, intercepeted the dirt road and walked. and walked. and walked.  two miles the guide book said.  it was more like five miles, after i stuck my thumb out and got a ride in the back of a pick-up for us all.  there was a huge red fish back there, and bricks and tires.   off shore from the village lies the largest coral reef in north america.  we went snorkeling.  it was wonderful!
it was like swimming in one of those giant salt aquariums you see in hotels, except the fish were right there below me.  i counted 23 different kinds of fish.  all colors.  no wet suit required.  i was out for an hour, and not even chilled.  two tank scuba dive was 45$ USD.... someday.

i have the approaching weight of  "gotta get back and get to work - take care of family" rattling round in my head.  don't want to leave to soon tho, so i've been asking around to get on another boat going north.  have a good prospect get get on a sailboat bashing back up to san diego in a couple of days.  everybody says its a hell of a trip, up-wind and against the waves and swell all the way, rock-and-roll city.  a lot of cruisers down here don't want to make that trip, and will sail down, holiday, and then pay someone to take their boat back up for them.  simply going to the airport in Cabo San Lucas and flying back to seattle would be too, too.... ordinary.

cup of street food:  layers of corn, shreded cheese, and picante, topped with mayo.   5 peso (about thirty eight cents USD)

onward! sun is setting and i have a long walk back to the boat.

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121115 Thaikarl Mexico!04 the plan that wasn't a plan


 when i'm in seattle, he days just kind of roll by, streets, people, food, and activities are familiar, similar and rather ordinary.  not so when traveling, especially in new territory, and triple especially when traveling by sailboat.  everyday we make plans, that aren't plans, that never work out anyway.  you've heard "go with the flow"?  yeah.  something like that.  this morning Gina said, "making plans here is like the ocean, it's always changing"

yesterday we moved the boat down the anchorage a half a mile, offshore of Hotel RIU.  plan was for all of us to dingy into the beach, then i'd take the dingy back to the boat.  they were going to go inland and meet up with some friends from here, and retrieve Gina's left-behind hat.  the beach landing in the surf went all wonky, safe but dramatic.  i managed to get back out and went back to the boat.  resting or sleep was impossible, because one radio or another keep going off, and i was on alert to listen for our shore party.  John came on the VHF, but his hand-held kept cutting out and i could only get two words at a time.  eventually we got across that i should take a panga (water-taxi) into the beach in front of the hotel.

that landing was much less exciting - meaning the panga touched the beach and i got off, barely got wet.  eventually found john.  he'd said "we're hanging around the pool" but i didn't ask which pool.  there were like five of them.  all together again, we walked out to the frontage road, ran into Roy and Mary, who were closing their furniture store.  we all went up the road to eat dinner, and Carlos joined us after his work.  Carlos took us to Costco, but they were closing, so Carlos took us back to the marina.  we walked way up the beach to the Mango Deck, but guess what? no water-taxi's after dark.  walked back to town, walked the entire marina walk, maybe a mile to the end and back, looking for a boat, any boat that could take us back out.  nothing.  everything locked up.  John decided to quit taking wrong turns and they went in a booked a room in the Windum hotel.  room for two people.  when the four of us went to the elevator, the security guard questioned us.  "only two people in that room"  Gina managed to go up the elevator, but the stand-out purple hair guy had to wait.  eventually john came down, gave me some money, and i struck out on my own.  we'd been told of an inexpensive hotel a taxi ride away, but after a long language fail in the phone, i decided i could just figure it out on my own.

i just kept walking past the bars, asking door guys where there was a cheap hotel.  "three blocks that way", "four blocks that way" the other way ??  finally found hotel Melida.  400 peso's (about 30$ USD), double beds, cable TV, aircon (which i didn't turn on) and beds only slightly softer than the tile floor.  but i slept.  the "hot" water was the same temperature as the "cold" water.

so today we're on plan 36, we're run out of letters to designate the plans.  i walked/bussed to walmart, and after i post this im walking to the RIU hotel, taking a panga to the boat, getting the dingy and bringing it back to the marina dingy dock.  and then...???

post script:  i walked to the hotel RIU, but the gate guys wouldn't let me in, cause i couldn't tell them a room number.  "i just need to get to the beach to get a panga."  no.  so i walked off down the dirt road, well, actually a sand road, trying to find my way around the huge hotel complex to the beach.  side road headed towards the beach, so i followed that, came upon a swamp which i tried to tip-toe through and got all muddy sunk anyway.  finally got to the beach, and behold!  there was a hundred yards of fence between the hotels.  gates locked.  it was a wimpy 10 foot fence with no barb-wire.  so i climbed over and fell on my ass on the other side, eliciting giggles from the people on the beach.  "I meant to do that"!  no pangas at the beach.  waited more than a half hour before i could flag one down.  finally got to the Emerald Lady, got the dingy loose and got set up to go.  the thing kept going under the stern and banging my head while i was trying to pump the air up.  i'd had the security cable still clipped to the boat.  got all that sorted out, and motored back to the harbor, which took over a half an hour we are anchored so far out now.  nearly got swamped because i was distracted watching the frigate birds soaring overhead.  but finally did make it in, tied up and went into town and enjoyed a street stall taco with egg and rice and HOT sauce.

i went looking for an electronics store to buy a plug-in for the router.  i drew a picture of what i wanted to show people.  everyone i asked said "go two blocks that way"  i'd get there, see nothing ask someone else, and they'd say "go two blocks"  if i followed everyone's instructions i would have walked twelve blocks.  the electronics store was 6 blocks away.  didn't have the plug.

the adventure continues


121012 Thaikarl - Mexico!03 walking and bus in cabo san lucas


hanging out in Cabo San Lucas.  we went into town yesterday.  i went off on my own wander-about.  walking up the streets away from the marina/tourist area, there were a lot of buses going by.  i asked a few questions and board the first bus that came along.  9.5 pesos (less than a dollar.  bouncy bouncy bus, going i've no idea where.  just away from the tourista zone.

very different out there than in the marina area.  everybody got off the bus, and the bus driver said i had to leave.  oh oh.  he pointed to another bus.  i got on that, and it wandered a bit, and took me back right into the marina area.  nice.

reminded me a lot of home, out in the vilillages in thailand.  very basic construction, cinder-blocks and haphazard architecture.  but very dusty.  many of the people on the bus going out were wearing hotel branded shirts.

i'm digging this tiny little view of mexico i've seen so far.  john and kelly are having family come join the boat, and i'll be needing to get back to work for the family in thailand, so i'm looking at having to head back to cold, dark, wet, seattle.  The Horror!  trying to see if i can crew on a boat going back to san diego - they call it the Baja Bash, cause it's upwind and up wave all the way.  stay tuned.


Cabo walking and bus stats -

Start Time: 11/11/12, 15:25
End Time: 11/11/12, 20:51

Active track info:

Distance: 12.8 NM
Total time: 5h 23'
Average Speed: 2.4 kts
Max Speed: 29.7 kts

i couldn't figure out how to link to the Google Earth site or post the .kmz file, but here's an image of the trip:


121108 Thaikarl - Mexico!02 some photos

we (well, the hood on the end of the dragline actually)
caught a 52 inch Dorado.  Beautiful fish.

arrived cabo san lucas!  woo hoo!  tourista town, but it is a real town.  got a SIM card for my iphone, so my phone works now, with data, getting my lost filing replaced tomorrow, met marvelous people, it's 80 plus degrees and sunny, beaches, boats, and even a costco!  laying over here for a few days till the winds settle down on the sea of cortez, working on the boat and provisioning etc.


father and daughter in Turtle Bay, Baja



121102 Thaikarl - Mexico!01 not thailand, but there is sun and palm trees


a slightly different adventure.  i am crewing on a 47 foot sailboat - the Emerald Lady.  i was

on the San Francisco to San Diego leg, then flew back to seattle to work work work, then flew

back to join the boat in San Diego.  we've joined the Baja Ha-Ha rally to Cabo San Lucas on the

very southern tip of the Baja peninsula.

after a 65 hour run on the open ocean, out of sight of land most of the time, we've arrived at

the first stop over, the Bay of Turtles.

awesomeness max max max!

dry dusty country.  basic life here, but lobster fishermen drive around in 30,000$ pickup

tried to buy a SIM card for my iPhone.  Language fail. forgot to download spanish/english

dictionary for my phone.  it would shure help

more adventure to be had, we're just getting started.  Today is supposed to be day of the Dead

here.  The Baja Ha-Ha group had a big potluck on a nice beach mile south of the town.  tons of

food, beer tent and festivities.

i wandered off into the hills behind the beach.  very dry, powdery ground full of sharp rocks. 

i like the desert. lived there when i was a little kid.  my earliest memories are being in the

desert and going out with my friends to play.  way off the reservation, by ourselves.  i was in

first grade, so i was what, six years old?  we were free-range kids back then.

tommorrow we leave in the morning for Santa Maria, 240 nautical miles south.


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