Baja Adventure

WHERE HAVE I BEEN?!

Ahhh, another 6 months of no writing. When I started this blogging thing, I swore to myself I wouldn’t be the once a year writer but I’ve become exactly that! As a result, you’re stuck with reading a super long blog, longer than my usual blogs anyway, and I spend 2 months just trying to remember all the adventures and crazy decisions I’ve made in those past 6 months and try to stuff them with enough detail to keep you all interested. With that being said, I apologize in advance for this long blog but if you’ve been curious as to what I’ve been up to during my moment of MIA, then continue reading!

So where to begin… well I last left off in La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico. I had just driven down from San Diego and spent 3 days stuck on the beach in the sand running desperately low on food and water and forced to eat my legs… yeah, something like that. Well I’m still here in La Paz and within the first few weeks of being here, Heidy and I went ahead and bought a house. We’re going fast here! Second paragraph and a house was already purchased! Well the story is more one of impulse rather than adventure but we were browsing through Craigslist one day and came IMG_1774along a little house with an ocean view and a decent amount of land up on a hill. We couldn’t pass on the price and with 3 weeks worth of online studying about buying and selling real estate in Mexico, we were officially homeowners! The house is a little Palapa constructed of adobe bricks and is completely off the grid with solar power and large, underground water tanks, which get filled by truck one or twice every 6 months. It’s the perfect little house; Simple, beautiful, and with enough land to continue to expand for years to come. Since buying, we’ve purchased a large above ground pool when we’re too lazy to just go to the beach and we’ve installed a hot water heater for the cooler winter months! We somehow IMG_0434managed to install the hot water heater with only one run to the hardware store! Some of you may not think much of that but anyone who owns a boat or do projects like this, you know that’s a damn miracle! But I digress. The next project, hopefully, is to find an old boat(s), chop the keel off and drop the boat(s) in the middle of the property to rent out to guest. I figured, I’d probably have one of the coolest vacation rentals without all the hassle of a boat if I rented out boats on land as vacation rentals. I’ve done a surprisingly large amount of research in making this happen so don’t be surprised when I open up a landlubber floatilla in the hills!

IMG_0004Possibly one of the best things about the property is what lies behind it. About 100 yards behind the property is a large riverbed. This riverbed is located in the dry desert, with cactus and other thorn invested woody plants covering the land as far as the eye can see. But inside this river is a complete oasis with wild plumarias, vines, trees growing out of the sides of cliffs with long hanging roots, ferns, and a 50ft waterfall that gets bigger each time I tell the story! It’s truly a piece of heaven and I couldn’t be more stoked! IMG_0030We even have 3 pet mice that live in a drawer and are very neat and don’t chew up anything. They’re so well behaved, they even let us pet them in their little nest.That’s the only real impulsive thing that I’ve done in the past 6 months that I can think of and if it isn’t then I’m sure it takes the cake for being the most impulsive. With that being said, lets talk sailing! Last year, Heidy and I were set to sail off to Mexico before my motorcycle accident got in the way of things. Well we set for the same date and left on October 26th with the Baja-HaHa, a sailboat rally consisting of 110 other boats starting in San Diego to Cabo San Lucas with 2 stops on the way. While many cruisers aren’t crazy about the HaHa, it’s a great way to meet other cruisers who are heading in the same directions as you are throughout the season. Whether you’re heading to the South-Pacific, the Caribbean, or just hanging around the Sea of Cortez, you will find yourself with boats you sailed down with.IMG_0122

It took us 12 days to sail down to Cabo and we couldn’t have asked for more ideal conditions. Actually, being sailors, we’re always asking for better conditions, but as much as we complained, the weather was great! I can’t say there was ever a night that was too cold or miserable; A couple of IMG_0155nights with heavy seas that didn’t allow much sleep or perhaps an upset stomach but nothing abnormal about sailing offshore for an extended period of time. And for all the things that could have gone wrong and that did go wrong on other boats, we managed to escape the entire trip without any major issues! The boat definitely did better than we did, that’s for sure! We even flew the spinnaker as the rookie spinnaker flyers that we are without ever once dousing it in the water or throwing up an hour glass! I must say, I never knew the boat could sail in only 7 knots of wind considering her heavy weight! It was like sailing my Cal 2-29 all over again.12219606_935047370720_836961668750855360_n

Our first stop was in Turtle Bay; A small, poor town that became a big party for 2 days of the year at the arrival of the HaHa. It was so funny to see 110+ yachts sail into this tiny community, everyone stuffed into a small anchorage, and partying in these little restaurants that were probably use to having no more than a handful of guests in per night, or even week! Pangas would jet around the anchorage all day and night like taxis in a city offering rides to shore, garbage removal, fuel, and just about anything they could offer you. And anything you needed on shore, there was always “some guy” within an arms reach that could somehow get it for you. Classic hospitality down here from the locals but it never gets old mentioning it.IMG_0214

With that being said, Heidy and I brought something to a local family that I imagine will land in the storybooks for years to come. It all started out with us minding our own business. Heidy was just finishing up guiding a yoga class in the park for some of the cruisers when an older woman
approached us. It was clear she was in pain but with my lack of understanding Spanish and Heidy’s ability to only be fluent in it when she’s drunk, we were stuck guessing what she was trying to get across. In these types of circumstances, I usually step back and let Heidy do the talking as she has a far better chance in getting points across. Well, I’ve learned to maybe stop doing that. After a brief moment of conversing, Heidy turned to me and explained she had no idea what the woman wants as we were being pulled into her house to meet her family. We met herIMG_0391 husband, her mother, father, and a few other members or the family. More conversing took place that was definitely on the topic of pain. I’m still standing to the side letting Heidy do the talking. I quickly noticed Heidy saying yes to the woman quite a bit as well as a lot of nodding. Once again, she tells me she has no clue what the woman wants and now I’m worried what Heidy was saying yes to the whole time because we are both being led into the back bedroom with the door being closed behind us.

We entered a room, which I like to refer to as the “Jesus Room”. He was everywhere! It seemed almost as if pictures of my brother were all over the place staring at me! And then the woman began to strip down to nothing but her panties. This is when I turned to Heidy and told her she can’t just say yes to everything! After a little bit more conversing, it came to my DSCN2572understanding that someone dear to her had died, that her mother was likely to pass away soon, and that she was in a great deal of pain and we had at some point agreed to give her a massage with cactus oil. I might add, this woman was of heavier set and around her mid 60’s. It was not what I was looking forward to after a nice morning session of Yoga in the park. And of course, let’s not forget, Jesus was watching us the entire time in every direction of the room to just top the whole situation off.

I’ll spare you the details of the rest of the story but the family saw us as holy doctors after we were finished giving this lady a massage. I’m not sure if we actually helped her at all but right after we exited the room, the rest of the family wanted massages, including her father who had swastikas tattooed all over himself. Little did he know, Heidy is a Jew! Of course we managed to get out after about an hour and while the whole 12208691_10153252653472621_2112792718175464726_nexperience was downright weird, the family was very, very nice and grateful for our services and paid us in caramel popcorn balls. So we were a little grossed out but we were 3 popcorn balls richer than when we woke up so there were no regrets!

Stop number two took place in Santa Maria, just North of Magdalena Bay. This anchorage was much bigger with a small surf break and a nicely
established fish camp. Not much bigger than your typical fish camp but definitely a bit more permanent with a few concrete buildings rather just wood shacks. We had a nice party up on the hill with the fleet of boats and somehow ended the night with all the young cruisers dancing on the rooftop of a small cabin built into the edge of a cliff. It’s a miracle that the 12190045_935047530400_7326458653956429382_nlittle house was even there to begin with, let alone support the entire dance floor with its roof. A complete miracle no on died but man was it a great time. I suppose that’s how most adventures in Mexico go.

We anchored the boat right on the outer edge of the break. The swells were nothing big but I had a paddleboard to fool around on and figured it was time to learn how to surf on this trip. I grew up at the beach and live the lifestyle of a surfer, it was time to get out and actually catch a wave. You’d think with the lifestyle I live, I would have started surfing years ago12188952_935046921620_6462998562355012217_n but for some reason it just never caught my attention. Well, right away, I caught my first wave, and was hooked! I could not believe how much more fun it was to stand up compared to riding a wave in on your stomach. A huge difference it was that I never imagined! Of course the waves were only about 4ft and I was on a large board with a paddle but I didn’t care. I caught every wave and by the end of the day, I was already on a 6ft short board riding in waves with Heidy, experiencing how much harder things got. Definitely not ready for the short boards, or maybe I just need bigger waves to be able to appreciate the short boards but I’m definitely in the market for my first board. Wishing I would have taken advantage of the surf in Southern California before moving to the Sea of IMG_0266Cortez where there’s no surf. Luckily, I’m only an hour away from Cerritos Beach where I plan to continue bettering my skills and of course head back up North and shred with all of my friends that have been pushing me to get out in the waves my entire life. To any of my surfer friends who are reading this, if any of you have any old boards that are taking up space, well I’ll be happy to take that off your hands for you and help with the Spring Cleaning!

DSCN2646The third and last stop of the sail down was of course in Cabo. We rounded the cape around 11p.m., somehow managing to be one of the last boats to arrive. Pulling into Cabo was surreal! We couldn’t believe we had made it! While it isn’t the most amazing sail in the world, it took a lot of work to get there over the years between the two of us. All we could think about was going to sleep while the rest of our crew high tailed it to Squid Roe to finish the night in a bang. I didn’t hear a thing that night but from the looks of our crew passed out on the boat and hearing that they had to swim back to the boat to get ashore, it was clearly a crazy night for everyone else. Of course, Cabo wouldn’t be Cabo without its 7am party boats, wave runners jetting through the anchorages, and DSCN2652beach vendors. And as soon as the first cruise ship pulled in, we hoisted the main and set sail north to La Paz. Since we left Cabo a little early, we missed the award ceremony for the race down. While we didn’t win any awards for our speed, we heard over the radio that we won the award for being the most naked boat at sea. Still undefeated and a title I’m proud of holding. Anyway, after about a week more of sailing and anchoring in various spots, we finally arrived in our new port we call home, or better known as Costa Baja Marina/Resort. And I may say this a lot but it really doesn’t get much better than this.

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Work. The word I don’t like but still have yet to find an escape from in my short 23 years on this Earth. Many people tell me I’ve got quite a few more years of it but I’m ready to retire any minute now! When first arriving to IMG_0670La Paz in June, I began working with a new charter company, Sea of Cortez Adventures, offering sailing tours. I spent all summer working on the sailing vessel, “Sidartha” getting her in top shape for tours this season. After establishing a good relationship with the company, Heidy and I partnered up with Sea of Cortez Adventure and use Que Sera as part of the sailing fleet handling all overnight tours to Isla Espiritu Santo and beyond. Feel free to check out the website and come on down! www.SeaOfCortezAdventures.com. And for those who have not IMG_0659been down here to see Espiritu Santo, I like to describe it as where Utah’s back country meets the crystal clear ocean. It truly is an amazing island with postcard photos around every corner. It’s worth every effort to get down here and if you make it down, I’ll take you out there for a trip to remember.

Aside from chartering, I’ve also been doing boat maintenance and repairs for vessels around the marinas and recently picked up a gig delivering a Nordsman 45’ up to San Diego in the infamous sail we sailors know as the DSCN2679“Baja Bash!” No it’s not like a birthday bash! It’s like bashing your boat into every oncoming wave all day everyday for a couple weeks. Not the most popular sail amongst sailors but I’ve yet to do it so I had to say yes. Who knows, if I manage to like it, maybe I’ll make something of bashing boats back north but for now, one trip will do. Regardless of how bad it sounds, I’m really looking forward to getting back offshore! Something about having a lack of sleep and being cold, wet, and uncomfortable out at sea is just great. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to explain it. Plus, this boat has a bit of a chef on board which I’m rather stoked about. If you told me someone was on IMG_0592board just to make me sandwiches, I would be ecstatic! For those of you in San Diego, I should be arriving back in San Diego sometime in the first or second week of February but do not know for sure. I’ve got all odds working against me so it’s looking to be a slow sail north as of right now. But I look forward to seeing my friends and family that I didn’t get to see last time I was up there.

While there’s so much more I can write about, I think what sums things up quite nicely is that I’m living in a beautiful place, with a beautiful weather, and a beautiful partner. I swim with whale sharks about once a week. I have plenty of islands to choose from for any kind of escape, each with a great geography for hiking or diving. I have my boat but also a IMG_0626house for my landlubber days, and I only have to work about a quarter as much as I ever did before. At the end of the day, if I could have one thing that I don’t have now, it would be visitors!

With all this great stuff surrounding me, I wish I could share it with my friends and family back home. So I hope some of these photos will make you think twice about heading down my way!

Thanks for reading!

Capt’n Sean

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