Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Isla San Fracisco, BCS

Just a short 40ish miles north of the town of La Paz, BCS sits Isla San Francisco.  It's beauty and protection from north or south winds makes it a favorite amoung the local cruising community.  The anchorage is very large and can hold many boats over a great holding sand bottom with plenty to do on shore as well.  Snorkeling and diving is excellent and there are a couple of trails that lead up the ridgeline of the rocky southeast side culminating at the top offering a stunning view of the anchorage.

The downside to the island is that large superyachts are rumored to be banned in the National Marine Park of Isla Espiritu Santo to the south and so they wander the extra 20 miles north to Isla SF making the anchorge sometimes crowded and busy, especially during the weekend in peak season.

A sunrise in the eastern anchorage.

If you find the anchorage void of the big boys, you won't be disappointed.  Here's a look from above. Enjoy.

Click on the pic to see the video. (mostly drone footage)

Until next time,

Bret and Marne
SV Liahona

Sunday, November 26, 2017

A secret cave near a lightly visited anchorage...with lobster!

I won't be disclosing the location of this particular anchorage because it is just too good to disclose.  I will say that it is in the beautiful Sea of Cortez. It is passed over by most cruisers and is therefore it sits high on our list of favorites.  I discovered this unique cave about 4 years ago while snorkeling along the coastline with my youngest son.  15' into the cave it was pitch black so we had to go back to the boat to get a dive light.  It goes in a total of maybe 150' with several small spurs leading to other caverns along the way.  Along with some nocturnal fish and a few morray eels there are lots and lots of lobster.  The first time we went into the cave this year we saw maybe 200+ of them crawling along the floors, walls and crevaces of the cave.  The GoPro footage in this video was taken on day 3 into the cave and it was a bit stirred up and defintely less populated as many of the bugs must have wandered off into deep crevaces that I couldn't see.

 Underwater looking toward the entrance.

This was taken about 80' back into the cave looking out.

Anyway, here's a look at the video. Enjoy!

Click on the pic to watch the video.

s/v Liahona
Bret and Marne

Saturday, November 25, 2017

San Juanico, a top 3 anchorage in the Sea of Cortez.

We have a lot of favorites when it comes to anchorages in the Sea of Cortez.  At or near the top of that list is San Basilio, or as most cruisers know it, San Juanico.  It is a short 20-25 miles north of Loreto and a fantastic stop along the route from Loreto to the Bay of Conception.  It is a  large anchorge and can hold many, many boats with excellent holding over a shallow sand bottom. San Juanico provides extremely good protection in almost all directions excluding the east.  

There is wonderful hiking along the dirt roads including possible stops at a couple of local ranchitos that have goat cheese and offer burro rides.  Snorkeling is excellent along many of the close by rocky shorelines and we often see turtles, octopus and a wide variety of fish.

Here is a video from way above and slightly below sea level.  Click on the pic and enjoy.

s/v Liahona

Bret and Marne

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

A hike through the beautiful Steinbeck Canyon in Baja California Sur

While in Puerto Escondido we took the opportunity to walk up Steinbeck Canyon with Nicki from s/v Seychelles.  It is about a mile or so walk out to Hwy 1 from Puerto Escondido then on the dirt road from there up the canyon.  All told it was about 3-4 hours round trip.  The canyon itself is breathtaking.  Huge boulders are strewn through the narrow canyon, deposited there over hundreds of years of flooding, most likely from the hurricanes during the summer months.

The hike is generally not terribly strenuous nor technical, depending on how far up the canyon you venture.   We visited in late October and there was still water flowing through the deep pools and over the ledges.  Interestingly, in many spots the water disappears undergrouond only to reappear a little further down the canyon, spilling into yet more pools.  The water was clean and refreshing.  We loved it and will definitely go back.  Enjoy the video.

Click on the pic above to watch the video

s/v Liahona
Bret and Marne

Thursday, October 5, 2017

From drydock to the less than 3 days.

Taking the boat of of storage in dry dock, where it lives for the summer, to the bay is definitely a process.  Usually it takes us a good week to accomplish all that has to be done.  Last year it was 3 1/2!  This year we arrived late Friday, spent Saturday and Sunday prepping and we splashed at 8am on Monday.  A record for us.  Here is the time lapse of the event.

Click on this pic to see the video.

We are now in the Bahia de San Carlos and continuing to prep the boat for the 9 months that we will spend in the warm waters of Mexico.

 A view from above the Liahona in dry dock.

Marne is more than ready to get into the water.

A view of the beautiful Bahia de San Carlos.

Let the season begin! 

SV Liahona
Bret and Marne

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Reviving a striped marlin...the video version.

Most of you have read the post of the marlin catch, release and rescue.  Here is the video version of that event.

Until next time,

Bret and Marne
SV Liahona

Friday, June 30, 2017

Running Baja.

While living aboard 9 months out of the year it can be challenging to stay fit.  It is not always easy or convenient to work out or go for a run.  Last season we started, then peetered out, struggling to find the motivation to head out in the dinghy toward the beach in search of a suitable place to run.  This season we were much more dedicated and we found that we were richly rewarded.

On mainland Mexico it is easier finding places to run because we are almost always anchored by small or large towns.  On Baja, it is a completely different story as almost all of Baja's anchorages are extremely remote with very few towns and just a few cobbled dirt roads that wander from the beaches off into the thorny hillsides and mountains and eventually connecting to the main highway that is well into the interior.

This video is really more about the beauty of where we run and not so much about running itself.  However, we have found that running has given us a much braoder view of the hard stuff that is always just a short swim or dinghy ride away.  As we ran down beaches, trails and dirt roads I often thought of my running buddy, John Lotts, back in Oregon and how much he would LOVE the diversity.  This video is for you John.

Until next time,

Bret and Marne
SV Liahona

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Catch, release...and the extra mile with a striped Marlin.

Yesterday we crossed over from the Baja side to San Carlos on mainland Mexico as we prepare to end another amazing season cruising the beautiful waters of Mexico.  It was a gorgeous crossing and as our friend Jake on our sister-ship puts it "very civilized".  It wasn't much for sailing but cruising across 80 miles of clear blue, glassy, 80 degree water... it was worth spending a few pesos on diesel. We lost count of how many turtles we saw, somewhere between 20 and 30.

As usual, whenever we travel, we were trolling lines looking for a delicious dinner. Not much action unitl about 30 miles out of San Carlos things got exciting.  The ocean was so calm that I had decided to hop in and swim with the next sea turtle fast approaching off the port bow.  Just as I got my mask and fins out we got a hit on one of the lines.  Looking back we were treated with an amazing aerial display of a large striped marlin.

 Trying to get comfortable...

The battle went on for an hour or more as Bret struggled to gain ground and Marne balanced her time between the camera and the helm to keep the boat positioned correctly so the fish didn't make it's way under the boat and cut the line on the prop or something else on our undersides.  Honestly, NO WAY we would have caught that fish without her careful manuevering.

After an hour or so both the fish and Bret were exhausted but the fish was finally at the side of the boat where we could carefully remove the hook and let him go.  Bret put on some gloves, grabbed the marlin by the bill and lifted as much of the fish out of the water as possible so that Marne could remove the hook.  It was a struggle to get him high enough out of the water but the hook came out easily and we attempted to send him on his way.  However, when we let him go he turned belly up and swam slowly in a circle, upside down, then stopped, just laying there looking like he had given up entirely.

It was a major struggle getting him high enough so Marne could unhook him.

We realized he was in trouble when we saw he couldn't stay upright.

Bret quickly put on his mask and fins and jumped in to see if he could revive him.  Grabbing a pectoral fin, he turned the fish over and started to swim him forward forcing water through his gills.  A few minutes in and we could see that he was beginning to breathe on his own.  However, when Bret let him go he turned upside down again.  So more swimming.  After about 10 or 15 minutes of keeping the fish upright and moving water through him he was breathing pretty strong and when Bret turned him loose he swam off on his own into the deep blue.

 Getting to the fish and turning him over.

Helping him along.

On it's own, this pic looks ominous but it is just a very, very tired marlin.

 Trying to swim the marlin forward to push water through his gills.

 Just after releasing him as he swam down into the deep.

 Going back up for air before the final shot of him swimming away.

Adios amigo.

It was an amazing experience and we are both glad that we were able to help the fish back to good health so he could be on his way.

Until next time,

SV Liahona
Bret and Marne

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Isla Isabel - The Galapagos of Mexico.

Isla Isabel lies off the coast of Mexico approximately 90 miles south of Mazatlan. It is one of our favorite anchorages in all of Mexico because of it's remoteness and also it's unexplainable beauty both of the island itself and also the animals that inhabit it.  They call it the Galapagos of Mexico.  There are literally thousands upon thousands of birds that nest here and the boobies, frigates and gulls are just a few of the species.  The island is also heavily inhabited by iguanas and other land creatures.  While life above the water is breathtaking there is also a plethora of life below the surface living in the ultra clear waters that surround Isla Isabel.  The pictures below only capture a small spackling of the wildlife but we hope you enjoy it.

Dolphins play in the bow wake of the Liahona in the crystal clear waters.

Gulls fly by closely, protecting their nests.

The famous Blue Footed Boobie.
 An adult with the white fluffy juvenile.

 The dance.

 A semi fluffy juvinile towering over the smaller female.

 The brown boobies.

 Fluffy juvenile.

 Protecting the egg.

Some underwater views...
 Spiny lobster.

Lone sea turtle.

The iguanas.

A male frigate calling out for interested females.

This is the inner or south anchorage.  We prefer the anchorage on the east side of the island.

Until next time,

SV Liahona
Bret and Marne