About our Boat
Lapworth 50. She is a 50 foot wooden boat built in 1961. Designed by Bill Lapworth for racing the Transpac and built by American Marine in Hong Kong. She is framed in Australian gum and planked with Philippine mahogany.
|Thank you to our friends from s/v Indigo for taking this photo of our boat from Agua Verde|
About our Dinghy
18th century Peapod (the original lobster boat). Wood dinghy made with scrap wood from 14 years of wooden boat projects. Plans from Joel White, Wooden Boat magazine, and built by Geoff Ashton in 2014. Geoff also built our wooden paddle board from the same scrap wood as a Christmas present to Miriam in 2013.
Geoff is a Marine Engineer who has sailed since childhood. His career and sailboat racing has taken him around the world many times, but it has always been his dream to sail around the world with his family. He enjoys woodworking, boatbuilding and not agreeing with everything being sold at the boat shows.
Miriam has worked in the Technology field for over 15 years and had never sailed before until she met Geoff.
Our first date was zooming across the San Francisco Bay in a Snipe during Fleet Week. We were going extremely fast, but hey, what did Miriam know about sailing. We didn't know that we were being chased by the “boat police” and we also didn't know we were heading into the no sail zone (location where the planes fly over). As Miriam kept thinking she was hearing a siren, both Miriam and Geoff looked up to see a MIG flying right over their heads. The sound was deafening and it literally felt like our heads were going to catch on fire. Needless to say, it was a very exciting first date.
Geoff proposed to Miriam by getting her seasick sailing outside of the Golden Gate Bridge to Drake’s Bay. She said, “Yes, anything to get off this boat!” Since then, Miriam has taken sailing lessons, and she and Geoff have sailed and raced together many times.
We have two very active and fun loving boys, Horatio (age 10) and Noah (age 8). After what it seemed like many years of not really spending a lot of quality time with our children because of work or just shuttling them around from sport to sport, we decided we wanted a different way of life with them. We want to spend as much time with them as we can before they leave the nest. We really hope this cruise becomes one of their great adventures in life where they can say they explored and learned about many different countries, cultures, and people and have a decent understanding of how different, unique and wonderful all of the places are.
The Journey (as it is late May already and we are just getting this blog started, these sections are brief as we didn't really jot everything down at the time, but trying to remember from photos)(also please excuse any misspellings, typing fast to get this blog going!)
Late January 2015. Geoff, Horatio and Geoff’s dad, Peter, sailed from San Francisco to San Diego. Miriam and Noah drove down the California coast and met them at the Pier 32 Marina (great marina with swimming pool, workout facility, laundry, TV lounge, guest apartment and Pier 32 Grill) As Geoff puts it, it was a sleigh ride (17knots) all the way from the Golden Gate Bridge to Point Conception. Peter said it was not quite the shake down sail he expected, but he was impressed by how the boat handled. Horatio said he will never eat Caesar salad again since he got seasick right after eating said salad!
|Leaving the dock in Alameda|
We stayed in San Diego for about 2 months while getting the last of items needed for outfitting the boat and also for food provisioning and any additional parts we think we might need. The kids went on many field trips to museums, wildlife sanctuaries and of course, many trips to the beach. They also practiced catch and release finishing right on the boat dock at the marina.
|the pelican was not amused|
|Eewww, it's a mackeral!|
We celebrated Miriam’s birthday with her twin sister, Rachel, who flew in from Albuquerque for a visit.
|Guess who's who|
We also met a few kids that lived on their boats at the Pier 32 marina. It was nice for the kids to have other children to play with. Horatio celebrated his 10th birthday with Ali Aros, whose birthday was two days before his and they were also the same age. We also met some great folks who offered lots of good advice and also well wishes.
|Robert Aros with Horatio and Noah in Horatio's bunk|
April 2, 2015
San Diego to Ensenada
We left San Diego early in the morning and it took about 9-10 hours to sail down to Ensenada. Miriam took some meclizine, but not soon enough as she got seasick and didn’t wake up until 2 hours before reaching Ensenada. It seemed like an easy trip for her! We wanted to check into Ensenada, and it was a Thursday, 4 days before Easter. Not knowing that in Mexico, Easter is a week long holiday, Immigration office was closed until the following Monday. So, we stayed through the weekend and enjoyed Ensenada as our first trip to Mexico as a family. It was eye opening for the kids since it is obviously such a different environment from what they know. Of course everyone speaks Spanish, and that was new for the kids also.
|Leaving San Diego|
|Cruiseport Marina in Ensenda. (notice the large cruiseship in the background)|
April 8, 2015
Ensenada to Turtle Bay
After getting checked in at Ensenada, we had our first overnight passage to Turtle Bay. Miriam had never kept watch at night before, (I know, you would think we would have done this before, but we didn’t) so it was new and exciting and a little bit intimidating for Miriam. It was also very dark with no moon and it was pretty chilly at night. We had our foul weather gear on sometimes even during the day. The sky was beautiful as it was full of stars, but it was also very solitary. Miriam was so excited when Geoff came up to take over for his watch. Needless to say, he is very good at staying up for several hours with little sleep, but he also took naps during the day.
We caught our first fish on the way to Turtle Bay, it was a bonito. We were so excited and the kids were just screaming with excitement, “Fish on, fish on”.
We didn’t know what to expect as this was our first town that we had stopped into after checking in. We were a little surprised by how small it was, maybe about 100 people, but come to find out, many towns are like this one. We spent the day in town and ate lunch, fish tacos, and also visited their tienda (market)
April 10, 2015
Turtle Bay to Punta Abreojos
There was little wind and we had hoped to sail to Santa Maria Bay, so we stopped and anchored at Punta Abreojos. There were many windsurfers from the US that travel down the west coast of Baja to catch some waves and wind. I wished I had taken some pictures as the site was beautiful with the windsurfers sailing right next to the rock walls!
The kids were able to get some boogie boarding in at the beach. It was nice to relax and walk on the beach and look at interesting shells and sea life.
April 13, 2015
Punta Abreojos to Santa Maria Bay
We really enjoyed the beach at Santa Maria Bay, but were wondering if we were going to see any significant signs of dolphins, seals or whales. We had seen maybe one or two dolphins and some seals.
When we were leaving Santa Maria Bay, we saw a few mother and baby whales and then about 2-3 miles outside of the Bay, saw huge pods of dolphins and about 10 whales. Of course, we are never ready with a camera at the time, and have no pictures, but it was spectacular. The kids were really in awe of seeing so many dolphins and whales together at the same time.
April 17, 2015
Santa Maria Cove to Cabo San Lucas
We got into Cabo San Lucas at night, and were glad that the beach was full of hotels and lights! We were able to anchor without a lot of pain, but have to say that anchoring at night can be frightening. As we have found out that many boats do not turn on anchor lights at night so, if you can’t make out objects on your radar and have to second guess where everything is, it can turn your stomach.
We were thrilled to have made it the most southern point of the Baja, as the weather had dramatically changed. No more foul weather gear and it was actually warm with cool breezes.
The lovely thoughts had faded quickly as we found out that Cabo is like a frat party at night. There is a club on the beach that blasts music day and night. There are also many party cruises which compete with each other for the loudest party music on the bay. During the day, the jet skis and pangas (water taxis and fishing boats) zoom by very close to your anchor line and boat. It is crazy!
But we stayed a few days to check out the city and get some more fresh produce and some more fishing lures.
We found a very nice organic farmer’s market up the hill that had a small restaurant and juice bar. It was a real treat. We also made our way to Minerva’s fish and tackle shop. Great place and great service.
|Geoff rowing us into the marina in Cabo San Lucas|
April 22, 2015
Cabo San Lucas to Los Frailes
By now we and the kids were wondering if we were ever going to see any other children or boat kids. We kept thinking that maybe we left too late (typically the time frame to come down the coast and to the Sea of Cortez is Nov/Dec time frame). We anchored at Los Frailes and had a terrible night due to high winds, but in the morning, the boat anchored next to us, happened to be a kid boat. s/v (sailing vessel) Sang Vind. They had two boys ages, 7 and 12. Yeah, finally!
But we had a terrible night and decided to sail to the next anchorage.
April 23, 2015
Bahia de Los Muertos
Muertos had a nice beach full of shells and also a resort and little restaurant/bar. It was nice to walk around, swim, and snorkel. We saw the pangas coming in and we went down to the beach to see what they caught. We were so surprised to see sharks!
We ate lunch at the restaurant and the table next to us had two girls. s/v Terrapin. It was great for the kids to meet and talk to these girls as they had already been cruising for about 90 days.
A little bit later in the day, Sang Vind had pulled into the anchorage next to us and one of their boys, Dylan quickly kayaked over to our boat and introduced himself. He and his brother Jayden came over to our boat and the boys were thrilled to have other kids over to play. We have found that kids make fast friends with other boat kids. It really is so great.
April 26, 2015
Islas Espiritu Santos (Marine Park)
We decided to anchor at one of the first bays of the Island, San Gabriel. It was beautiful. Full of shells, coral reefs, puffer fish, Mexican houndfish and a home for a large colony of Frigates.
|Frigates taking over the oyster farm|
We hiked a little and just loved how clear the water was. Unfortunately it was a horrible night at anchor with the Cormuel winds (high winds) and it felt like water was going to break over the bow of the boat.
When we got up in the morning, a panga with marine park officials approached our boat. They asked if we had a park pass, (we had read that you can buy a pass from them directly on the boat, but they wanted us to go into town (La Paz) and buy one), and they also mentioned that we cannot anchor there since our boat is over 34 feet! We were ok with not anchoring there again, and said we would leave and get a park pass. They were actually very nice and provided us brochures of the park.
April 27, 2015
Islas Espirtu Santos – Caleta Partida
This was a great anchorage, large and better protected. We found several other boats anchored there already. During high tide you could actually row to the other side of the island over a sandbar.
We were able to swim, paddleboard, and “Tarzan” off the boat. We also caught and released a few fish. One happened to be Trigger fish. We later found out that lots of people eat this fish. It is called Cochito in Spanish. It has very sharp teeth and off course a needle like fin that “triggers”/ pops up when in danger.
|Noah is too cool for Tarzaning|
|Tarzan's got nothing on Horatio|
May 1, 2015
We decided to go to La Paz and see a real city. We were all looking forward to site seeing, doing some real laundry (in a washer and dryer, not a bucket and line), having a real shower, eating at a restaurant and going to see a movie (The Avengers – Age of Ultron). We decided to stay at a marina instead of anchoring out. We stayed at the Marina de La Paz. It was nice with all the amenities. The nice thing about being at this marina is that Club Cruceros is literally next to the marina. Club Cruceros is an organization that helps any and all cruisers including kayakers. They have morning coffee, free DVD rentals, book exchange and lots of information on the town of La Paz and the surrounding area and also any boating help needed. They are also dedicated to raising money and supporting the local schools and charities.
Right when we walked out of our dock gate, we met up with Terrapin again and another kid boat, Yolo. Yolo has a boy and a girl. All of the kids right away went into the Club and hung out together. Great!
La Paz is a nice town with a very active Malecon, a walkway along the beach with restaurants and bars.
We happened to show up during a holiday, so there were lots of activities on the Malecon.
There was the Dos Mares 500 racing going on, similar to Baja 500 racing with dune buggies and class trucks racing. Geoff was envious of how much fun the racers were having as he had raced the Baja 1000 several years ago. It was fun for him to see how much excitement the town has for Baja racing.
We also ran into the Sang Vind kids again and they came over to our boat and hung out. We also spent a little bit of time at a small park on the Malecon and saw the Yolo kids. The Yolo family suggested the ice cream store across the street from the playground called La Fuenta, the fountain. Besides having ice cream, they also make these incredible crushed ice treats with real fruit juice and fruit called Respados. They are so refreshing. Yum!
We were able to find a few nice grocery stores, Mega and Soriana. We stocked up on a few more items, mostly fresh produce and lots of milk and pineapple juice! We also bought some more fishing lures. At the Soriana, Noah happened to put a small punching bag into the shopping cart. It has turned out to be a good way for the kids to get out some energy! It was the best $8 purchase ever.
|Dos Mares 500 - Geoff and Horatio having Class 7 truck envy|
|POW! the best money spent for getting energy out.|
May 5, 2015
We decided it was time to leave La Paz and move on. We stopped at Puerto Balandra where they have a rock that is shaped like a mushroom, El Hongo. We decided we should go see it. It was not the best anchorage, but we did a little bit of snorkeling and rowed to see the mushroom.
Picture of el hongo
Caleta Partida on Islas Espiritu Santos
Since we enjoyed Partida so much, we decided to go back especially since the strong winds were getting a little crazy at night and we felt Partida offered the best protection. We had one very large dolphin swimming with us to Partida for about 5 minutes. They are such fun and beautiful creatures. We saw the Sang Vind family at Partida and the kids had fun swimming, being pulled by a dinghy while holding on to a surf board and Tarzaning.
Picture of dolphin
May 7, 2015
Will post more at our next stop