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Docpal last won the day on April 7 2018

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About Docpal

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    Advanced Member
  • Birthday 07/17/1945

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    Nopolo, Baja California Sur, Mexico
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  1. Graham, Not a tough choice between the fires/rain of Northern CA., and here...Gonna give her a good working over while i have the facilities and then try to hit some new places in convoy with a few other small boat owners. No need to go too far for that... Reports to follow. OH- one bit of "survival gear" we tested on this last coastal trip might be of interest to anyone who might potentially get stranded. We used a "Steripen" ( https://www.katadyn.com/us/us/products/steripen#/1/filter?categories=46025) UV water purifier to clean up some stream water whose origin was of question...Tested it against iodine tabs, and clorox bleach , and it tasted great (in all fairness compared to the others, anything would have tasted better even though we went strictly by the instructions AND used more tabs that were supposed to erase the iodine taste...) . No ill effects from any of the 8 riders who drank it either. Katadyn seems to have absorbed many of their competitors and one can only hope the prices of their desal units drop soon too.
  2. Petunia and I decided to spend more time in Baja, MX this year so I found a big old funky house where I will be able to catch up on some over due maintenance and hardware changes. Since she is now sitting on her trailer next to my casa instead of her mooring, I don't have to worry about running down to the marina (19 miles) daily to check on her. And we have a fairly functional; ramp only half a mile from the new place. This has given me a chance to scout out some new areas for sailing as there are now a few people with various small sail boats interested in 'going someplace' as a convoy. One of the people who kept trying to get me down here has been running kayak/bike/mule trips in Baja for 35 years . SO when she asked if I wanted to jump in on a group riding mules down the Southern Baja coast I gladly joined in. My lack of time on a mule was a little disconcerting as the last few trips I did showed me that after riding a mule for a day I was able to feel pain in places I didn't even know I had the day before...BUT I figured that we should be able to get into some places unreachable by land other wise so I asked Trudi to show me some of her favorite secluded beaches that she had been taking her kayakers for the last 35 years, and she did. And I'm glad as I learned a lot. We spent a few days running down the coast South of Agua Verde, Baja. 8 riders/mules, 3 pack donkeys, 1 dog, 1 puppy..Donkeys carried enough supplies/water to get us a few days down the coast. Then I processed a bunch using my Steripen from some mountain streams Trudi knew about. Otherwise you couldn't even consider being back in there as water IS life. Desert ranchers we met were hand digging their SECOND 28 meter deep water well as the first one they dug dried up after last Fall's 6.5 quake. Mules are cool beyond belief. They not only carry huge amounts of people/gear/water but they don't need to carry any food for themselves as they will eat most of the desert if allowed. We carried more food for the puppy than the mules.....They will also drink the water without me having to process it... Natural arroyos/deltas channel rare rains such as hurricanes when they happen. But so far this year we've only had 0.05"of rain...This means the arroyos become safe and easier to travel in than riding through some thick brush, as everything in Baja can slice,dice,rip,tear your flesh as your mule plods through it all. Easy to see why the real Vaqueros wear custom leather, some of which is designed for easy in/out, on/off, horse/mule without wearing chaps. Beaches aren't white,sandy places, but various layers of shell,sand,rocks dependent on when the last Norther blew through. Since ALL of the East coast of Baja becomes a lee shore during the Winter, the tides/swells/and what the locals call 'dumpers' can make beach launching/retrieving a dicey event. Kayaks still have the easiest time because of their agility, and lack of draft. Some beaches drop off gradually, while others are pretty severe,suddenly. Between islands it can get REAL deep too. What I learned was that is some of these places you almost have to wait for a low tide to check out the low lying reefs,and shelves which sit just below the surface at a higher tide and could tear out a bottom on something larger/heavier than a kayak. Most of the "cruising guides" for Baja don't deal with the interface of sea/land , dealing with areas to anchor/moor larger boats. That's also probably because small sailboats aren't the norm here. The few marinas that exist want larger boats, and launch ramps are both expensive and awkward ( none have a floating dock, etc. to tie to after you launch). A few of us are trying to instigate some sort of boat building program for kids down here , but so far not much interest. Probably not gonna have Petunia ready to go over the mountains and try sailing the lagoons of Adolfo Lopez Mateos before the whales come down this year, so that might be a Spring trip as we can't sail in the lagoons while the whales are breeding. But she needs, and deserves, a good over haul so I'm gonna work on her for the next few weeks and see if I can tart her up a bit. I'll try to attach some pix of the mule trip and Agua Verde coastline ...
  3. Rattus, I will gladly embrace the suckiness of Baja.... This might be my last cruise of the season due to our untimely displacement into the Puerto Escondido marina mooring field. I am easily the smallest boat in the marina. The moorings are about 3-400 yards away, and usually upwind of the dinghy dock and I only have my 2.5 hp Suzuki down here this trip so it's a case of motoring out to Petunia, swapping the motor over to her, motoring outside ( they don't "allow" sailing in/out of the marina so I have to motor through the channel which isn't always easy due to the narrowness and velocity of tides), and then reversing the process when I get back into the marina. Royal PIA... However NEXT season the plan is to rig a tabernacle for the masts to facilitate raising/lowering them, and then taking Petunia for a "tour" of the peninsula. Lopes Mateos lagoon on the Pacific side with it's sand dunes on one side, and mangoves on the other is particularly interesting as long as I get there before the gray whales do and it is then closed to private boat traffic. And then there's Bahia Concepcion which could be a week or more of beach hopping, and Cabo San Jose down off the tip of the peninsula, etc., etc. I am fortunate to have a good friend down here who was the sailing master for NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership Schools) for many years so he knows every small boat beach within 300 miles. Winter winds can be limiting since the entire Sea of Cortez side becomes a lee shore, and beach landings aren't always graceful depending on how much gravel/rock has been deposited after the Summer storms/hurricanes. That also limits beach launchings in many areas as you have probably learned that the standard "rules of tire deflation" mean dumping over 50% of your air to make it across the sand to even GET to the beach. And then you have to reinflate when you get back onto hard pan, etc. SO, while the water side of things is obviously wonderful it's access TO the water that we spend a lot of time dealing with. Luckily there are SO many islands within 20 miles that we can usually find a place to hide from the "Nortes", but this Winter some of them lasted 7-8 days with winds exceeding 40+ mph and sizeable swells in the channels (water depths can run to 1,000 feet between islands....). This Winter was exploratory and I learned a lot. Next Winter I hope to use some of that knowledge and expand our range.... Hasta,
  4. Seasons are starting to change down here, and there are less 'Nortes' to deal with. Temps are also starting to rise again (90+ yesterday). Took a short 3 day cruise to some of the local islands near Puerto Escondido and camped out on their beaches.One great thing about desert beach camping is the lack of bugs. We also timed the cruise so tides weren't too extreme either. First day was a short run over to Isla Carmen and a spot called 'Bahia Marquer". Wide open beach that gave us protection from the SE winds that day, but not a lot of shade to keep the Sun off of us (next cruise will include a foldable 'cabana' style shelter....). Second day we spent all of our time trying to beat against wind/tide through the pass between Isla Carmen and Isla Danzante. 7 miles in 7 hours in 90 degrees.... By the time we made it through and found the second camp site we were whupped. BUT the second camp site was pretty spectacular! Too small for larger boats, but protected from winds in 3 directions with large over hanging cliffs/caves for protection. As you can see from the attached pix having a small, beachable boat opens up big territory. We would anchor fore/aft in a way we could adjust our distance off the beach in case of weather, and in the worst case scenario we could still swim out to the boat and haul ourselves beyond the surf line. A Bruce anchor worked well on the bow, while a Danforth type was perfect as the beach anchor as it really dug deeply into the sand. Bottoms here can be rocky but if you make an exploratory pass before anchoring you can usually spot sandy patches as the water is SO clear. At night we could hear dolphin swimming off the beach, and near dusk we could see the "blows" from Finback whales running through the channel. But we missed the Blue whale by a few weeks. Since the ONLY way to get out to these locations is by boat, and it IS a national marine park there wasn't the usual tourist trash. Instead we'd find skeletons of prior sea life occupants. last day of the cruise we finally got to run downwind for hours on end, but as we neared the marina the wind shifted again, and the 10 knot breezes went to over 20 in a heart beat. We just pinched along until we got under the lee of the headland and then got the sails down to motor into the marina. Looooong political story but ALL of us who were moored outside the marina were 'evicted' last month as the marina decided it wanted to "expand", so we were all given 3 months of free mooring inside the marina. Next season I will probably be trailer sailing Petunia down here which will open up my range tremendously.... Gonna leave her down here for the Summer while I drive North to Mendocino and finish off 'Rancho Palumbo'. Then I have to fly back East load up a U haul with the rest of my tools/gear and drive it back West. Rented a house down here for next year which will allow me to work on Petunia a little and do some maintenance work she is deserving of...
  5. Awhile back I owned a marine towing/salvage company in Key West. In nine years we never towed in a boat with a Yamaha on it...
  6. Steve, For some reason this just popped up on FB and it seemed appropriate to drop it here: http://www.rhinegold.co.uk/music_teacher/jazz-hands/
  7. Ken, They put new wheels on it too ! What NICE people....!
  8. Graham, I needed to squeeze this in before the Everglades Challenge kicked off next weekend !
  9. Tom, San Ignacio is actually further North than we were, but the setting is very similar. The Mexican name for the area we were in is now Magdalena Bay. I had NO idea that Captain Scammon was such an "opportunist" as once he discovered that the grey whales would return every year to the bay to breed, he also returned every year and slaughtered them while they were then trapped inside the lagoon. One of the best parts of the day was seeing how many Mexican families came to the bay to show their kids the whales. These families, and their kids will have a say in the future treatment of the local environment, and the whales as well. You didn't even need to go out on a boat as the lagoon isn't very wide so you could actually sit on the dock and watch them as they swam by... Graham, I needed to do this before the Everglades Challenge kicked off this weekend !
  10. And the last one with the baby showing off-
  11. Drove across the peninsula yesterday and went to what was formerly called "Scammon's lagoon". Now it's the town of Adolfo Lopez Mateos ( turns out that Scammon was not a very nice guy as he discovered the grey whales breeding here and sailed into the lagoon to slaughter them....) . Luckily the locals have now formed a cooperative and ONLY their boats ( NO private boats are allowed) can be in the lagoon for breeding season which runs up to the end of March/early April. We chartered a Panga and went out to find whales. Took all of 20 minutes before we found "Olivia' pictured in this video and her 3 week old calf. Olivia has become acquainted with a few captain's/boats and will swim right up to the boat to let you pet her ! The calf was like most kids, playing, rolling around, etc. Very surreal experience having a 40 foot animal watching you as you rub her head... Throughout the day we sighted about 25 whales, many of which would let you get up close, but not touch them. In fact at times we were surrounded by whales of all sizes ! The lagoon itself is a pretty special place with sand dunes on one shore, and mangroves on the other. I'd like to bring Petunia over in the "off season"and spend some time here....
  12. Two quick videos of a great day on the water with a friend. We scouted the coast for future camp sites. As you can see by these videos there isn't a lot of boat traffic in the area.. https://youtu.be/2f1jspk80BU https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFbrwag-8po&feature=youtu.be
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