Thursday, December 31, 2015

We're gettin' hitched! Answer Your Questions Here!

Hello friends, family, fellow cruisers and genuine blog followers...

Exciting News for the Sound Discovery Crew of Two!

While cycling around Vietnam this past November, Clif whipped out a diamond ring and asked me to be his sailing buddy and First Mate for life. I responded with an immediate "Yes!" ... which means these two sailors are tying the knot... for real!

What does that mean for the adventures of Sound Discovery? We will be shortening our cruising season in the Sea of Cortez, and spending a chunk of our spring time wedding planning and getting married prior to our summer cruising season in Alaska.

Family and Friends Seeking Wedding Information...

For your convenience, and ours, we have added a tab up at the top of our blog labeled "Our Wedding" that includes as much information as possible about the wedding day events, prior wedding weekend events and what's going in Juneau the week of the wedding. We have chosen to get married prior to our summer work season on April 9th, 2016, in Juneau, Alaska, which means it is prior to the normal tourist season. While the tourism aspect of Juneau will be sleepy, the locals will be hoppin' as we Juneauites celebrate one of our favorite weeks of the year: Alaska Folk Festival. The Folk Festival takes place nightly April 4th-10th at Centennial Hall in downtown Juneau, and branches of into live music jams in almost every bar and restaurant during the week. It is one of my favorite weeks of the year in Juneau-- a week I have purposefully come back for year after year to be a part of and enjoy.

I could go on for days about how fun the Folk Festival is... just trust me! It will be a fun weekend rain, snow or shine!

For more information--- check out all the links I've provided in "Our Wedding" page, or email me directly with your questions at 

Engagement Ring placed over the beach where I said, "Yes!"

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A little short, but sweet.

Writing to you from Prescott, Arizona, where the sun is shining and it is a cool 49 degrees outside this morning; a sharp contract to the 95+ heat we were feeling in Guaymas and Phoenix this past week. We crossed the border back into the United States on Sunday with relative ease (I only say 'relative' because I was harboring many fruits and vegetables... which I always seem to forget before border crossings). Somewhere along the drive from the Nogales Border to Phoenix, I managed to loose my wallet... which is always a fun feeling.... and Clif managed to find several important documents that he thought (for the entire drive) he forgot on the boat. Basically--- we both need to turn our brains back on. We're not on the boat anymore and not everything we own is within arms reach. Luckily, Alaska DMV allowed me a temporary license for the road trip up the coast, and my little wallet was made out of recycled bike tire tubing.

All things considered, the quick end of our spring cruising season was wonderful. We spent two weeks exploring the Loreto area, including a couple days playing in Agua Verde, just 25 miles south of Loreto. We sailed up to San Juanico and ended up waiting 3 days for a weather window to cross the sea, 100 miles, to Guaymas. Our crossing was absolutely flat calm. We did a little more motoring than desired, but would rather have it flat calm and fast than the other way around.

The sweet life with a sweet cocktail (strawberry margaritas) in Agua Verde.

 We got to enjoy some quality spear-fishing time with our friends Eric and Pam, aboard Emma Bell, along with Eric's brother, Andy. The five of us made a motley crew in our wetsuits, and enjoyed several great meals of fish tacos and ceviche. All of us ended up joining back together in Loreto for drinks and goodbyes before Clif and I started north.

The last couple weeks of cruising went by incredibly quickly, and we smoothly made it back to Guaymas around the time we planned (which is rare for cruising... since we can be so weather dependent). We pulled into the "free docks" (30 pesos a night/$2USD) outside of Guaymas to work on folding sails, coiling lines and stowing all the sailing aspects of the boat. We also walked to Gabriel's yard (Marina Seca Guaymas) from the dock, which was a quick 20 minutes to pick up the truck and schedule our haul out. The yard was ready to take our boat early the next morning, so without any lag time, we motored over to the haul out dock, pulled Sound Discovery out of the water with no hiccups and had her put back in almost the exact position she was in just a couple months before.

Spearfishing bounty from an outing on Emma Bell. (My fish it the furthest to the right... my toes farthest to the left)
Buddy boaters aboard Emma Bell, enjoying some margaritas in San Juanico after a diving session.
Clif working on tying out sun-shades over the boat before we left.
We had one new triangular sunshade made for the bow of the boat to protect our dinghy and foredeck, but other than that, our process for "putting the boat to bed" was the same as last year. We refined our to-do list and worked our way through every chore in three full days. The cardboard over the windows was a last minute effort to cover from the sun... we will see how long that lasts.

Summer Tourist season is rapidly approaching, which means we are making our way north, in the truck, steadily through the states. Going to make stops all the way up the coast and pull into Seattle around the middle of the month. I will be dropping Clif off in Port Orchard, WA to climb aboard Mist Cove (the boat he will be working on for the summer) and I will continue on to Prince Rupert, BC to hop on the ferry up to Juneau.

Plans for Sound Discovery are a little up in the air right now, but thoughts of Panama and Costa Rica are floating in our heads for next fall, so we will see where the wind takes us! Thank you for reading!!


Sound Discovery anchored in San Juanico.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Week in San Juanico

Officially awesome spear gun portrait!
What a glorious week it has been in Caleta San Juanico, over a week by the time this blog post gets uploaded in nearby Loreto. Loreto may be only 40 miles south of us, but we feel as if we are in a secluded cruisers haven. Spear fishing within a short swim of our anchored boat, bonfires on a private beach, hikes to a small ranchito, finally meeting up with our friends on Emma Bell, and making my own goat cheese (yes, fresh goat cheese) have all been highlights. There are several boats here in the bay that have been anchored in San Juanico for months… and now I might have a slight inkling why. I do feel like this week has been a true vacation, and, although it looks like it, not all days aboard the boat are easy as pie, but this week has not been in the least bit trying. The boat’s solar power has been charging away, keeping our provisions nice and cold. The rain clouds that we had at the beginning of the week have dissipated. Clif and I have caught some great sized fish with the spear gun and Hawaiian sling, and feasted royally on fish tacos (until our tortillas ran out.) I am really making the most of this time with Clif, before April 15th, when he will be off on a new job, on a new boat leaving from Seattle, and I will only be seeing him every-other Saturday night throughout the summer.

Our sail down to San Juanico from Concepción was a little bumpy, but non-the-less a sail! It rained for the better part of the day, and reached 22 knots of wind, creating a rough quarter-stern swell. My little herb garden flourished in the rain, while I took full advantage of the clean fresh water, brushing my hair outside, attempting to simulate a shower. We sailed down with two new friends: Greg and Diane aboard Alma (who we crossed the sea with), and a single-hander, John (on Rosalita), who is the same age as me, working as a street musician (classical violinist) in San Francisco in the summer. The group of us reached San Juanico in the mid-afternoon, after an early start from the Santo Domingo anchorage, and we toasted our efforts with a big spaghetti family dinner aboard Alma. Greg and Diane, who have children our age in the states, have begun referring to us as “The Kids,” which we are more than happy to be called, since more than once they have cooked us a yummy dinner! We appreciate the love.

Cruiser "meet-and-greet" bonfire in San Juanico.
The anchorage in San Juanico has been busy this week (up to 12 boats at once), and we celebrated the mass of boats accordingly with two “meet-and-greet” bonfires. Baja boating can be so unbelievably social, if you want it to be. Where some might retire to RVs or gated communities, others prefer a watery mobile home, and know many of the boats moving back and forth, up and down the Sea of Cortez. The radio, both VHF and SSB (Single side band), connect many of these boaters to each other throughout the season, and help create a tight-knit community, both far and near. This week, we had the pleasure of meeting Doug and Linda, aboard Que Linda, hailing from Bend, Oregon! Doug and Linda have been incredibly nice to us, even inviting us over to watch a movie on a quiet night. We enjoy their company immensely (and is only enhanced by the fact that we can both LOVE and make fun of Bend, OR together). My sister would love to know that Doug is a huge fan of the Ocean Roll and Sparrow, so I told him, when he returns to bend, go find the barista at the Northwest Crossing Sparrow that looks identical to me!! Doug is also a live-long Outward Bound Employee and enthusiast, and has gotten me to think more about apply for outdoor education positions where more foundations educators are needed. He also promises to take Clif and I to the best dive-bars in Bend next time we pass through (Clairen, you’re invited.)

Fried-fish tacos! Officially cruising.
Our friends, Pam, Eric and his brother, Andy, arrived yesterday morning after overcoming several hassles in the boat yard. We are excited to have our fishing-buddies back with us. Andy’s first day on the Baja with the four of us couldn’t have been better: spear fishing, fish tacos, margaritas and a bon-fire with most of the cruisers in the anchorage attending. Not bad, not bad.

My absolute favorite highlight of the week was meeting José and buying vegetables from his fresh, organic garden, just a kilometer up the road. I was so inspired by my experience with him, that I attempted to write a small magazine story, which is still in its draft state, but hopefully will get sent along with some of my photos to a couple cruiser magazines. I’ll let you know how that goes. It’ll be my first attempt at a short magazine story. Instead of re-writing the entire thing, I’m just going to say a fond farewell and copy-and-paste the story below. Clif and I will be cruising the islands around Loreto before turning north to head back to Guaymas.
Jose and Clif milking the goats.

Eating Local: An Exceptional Find in Baja Provisioning

One of my many joys in sailing the Sea of Cortez, is watching my little boat refrigerator gradually transform into a Mexican icebox. Any bread or beer dwindling from the states quickly converts into stores of Pacifico Clara and flour tortillas. Avocado slices, lime wedges and sprigs of cilantro garnish breakfast, lunch and dinner. My boyfriend and I begin to supplement our protein intake with freshly speared fish and fight off scurvy with heaps of canned salsa. It’s heavenly.

The hipness of “eating local” in the states becomes second nature to any cruiser. It’s a necessity. Often we run out of fresh vegetables in a remote anchorage and it will be me tromping around the Baja desert, looking for some small sign of civilization… a Mini Super, a truck full of juice oranges, wild oregano growing on the side of the dirt road, anything. So one can imagine my excitement this spring, when we pulled into Caleta San Juanico and heard word of a small ranch, just a kilometer up the road, with a brand new garden. I rowed ashore with a backpack, pesos, camera and a couple plastic bags, just in case my provisioning bounty was surprisingly plentiful… and it was.

José, a very kind and curious Mexican rancher (owner of the garden) is just beginning to understand the wealth of his nearby clientele. Cruisers and campers alike in San Juanico have been walking up to his tiny home and jardín (garden) this past winter and spring to buy anything that looks fresh, green, and springs from the ground. José also owns a small herd of goats and chickens that provide income from fresh goat milk and eggs daily. “You’ve got a good thing going, that’s for sure,” I told him in Spanish when I arrived late one hot afternoon. With a little conversational, I found my arms and backpack full of more fresh vegetables than I had seen in weeks, for less pesos than I would spend at any small grocery store. With green onions, bushels of cilantro, beets, brussel sprouts, carrots, lettuce, and garlic along the way, José’s organic garden is a dream for cruisers who love to eat well and appreciate growing things form the ground.

I did have a little secret agenda arriving at José’s that day (besides acquiring vast amounts of veggies). For years I have wanted someone (specifically someone from Mexico,) to teach me how to make fresh cheese. I am not a cheese maker by trade, nor have I ever ventured in cheese making my own, but I adore Mexican queso fresco de chiva, that is: fresh goat cheese. I wrote out an entire paragraph in Spanish expressing my desire (as a cue card of sorts… my Spanish isn’t quite on par these days) asking José if he would be willing teach me to not only milk the goats, but also make the cheese. He was surprised at first, but more than eager to have me arrive the next morning at 7:00am to milk the goats (free milk maid… why not?)!  And that’s exactly what I did. My boyfriend and I showed up at seven and began our first hand ranchero tutorial on milking goats. In a single day, I was successfully milking goats while the sun rose over the Baja hills; I helped strain and clean the fresh, warm milk, and drank coffee with José as the cheese began to curdle. We snapped a couple priceless photos, and spoke enough Spanish to keep conversation flowing. My boyfriend and cruising partner, Clif, generously helped hold the goats, as well as relieving my milking duties when my hands got tired. We rowed back to our boat while the newly pressed cheese sat under bricks and condensed. As a parting gift for my charitable teacher, Clif and I spent the afternoon prepping a roasted beet and goat cheese salad, utilizing many of the vegetables from José’s garden and cheese that I had bought the prior day.

We arrived back to our boat that night, fresh cheese in hand, with the new-cheese texture of firm tofu. By that time, everyone in the anchorage had heard of our humorous, yet joyful, goat-milking endeavors. Rowing boat-to-boat, we offered chunks of our delicious, freshly pressed goat cheese. Those couple days in San Juanico getting to know José, gave me a whole new cruiser approach to the idiom “Eat Local:” building relationships with the growers, passing on knowledge and skills, giving back to the growers and sharing the wealth, (food and knowledge,) with close friends. Next time I’m buying groceries for the boat and tempted to over-provision, I’m going to remember the relationships and adventures to be had when seeking local food during your cruising voyages.

My favorite photo of our cheese-making day with Jose.

To accompany the story--- check out the newly UPDATED Galley Time blog! I posted the Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad recipe and brief story.

Thanks for reading--- would love your comments. Clif and I are going to be headed south to Agua Verde for more goat cheese and fishing grounds.
Getting 2 gallons of fresh goat milk.

Letting the milk set with the starter, and cheese cloth fly-protection.

Straining off the whey from the cheese curds.
Pressing the curds in the cheese cloth.

Revealing the goat cheese after it sat under a brick for the day.


Monday, March 2, 2015

Back in Bahía Concepción

Hello from Mulegé.

Little quick check in from the wifi-hub/bakery Mago’s. More photos than text this time, which is probably preferred by the Internet masses.
On the boat, practicing a new Red Dog song for the summer!

It’s been a lovely week sailing south from Santa Rosalía and posting up in Bahía Concepción. We had two days of great sailing: one day in particular sailing on a beam reach from Punta Chivato into Bahía Concepción at a nice clip of 6.2 knots--- getting close to our fastest sailing speed, pointed in the right direction… we were happy as clams. It’s so wonderful to be able to have a steady enough wind to engage the wind Monitor, “Leo,” and sit up front, on the cabin of the boat, while the boat sails by itself. While heading into the bay, we saw many Minke Whales (looks like a small humpback) and several large fin whales (none that got as close as our fin whale experience near Fort Bragg, CA). Whales spouts, 15 knots of wind, sunshine and a little ukulele serenading… what more could you ask for?

Hammock feet return...
We quickly eased back into cruise-mode once we dropped the hook in Playa El Burro, our favorite anchorage from last spring. The palapas on the beach all look about the same, we even ran into familiar faces on the beach that recognized us from last year (us younger cruisers seem to leave a lasting impression… and maybe seek more social beach interaction than the average sailor). I literally had a woman get up from her El Burro beach chair, with ice-cold margarita in hand, yell, “I remember you! You were here last year!” And thus, the party ensued. We got invited to several pig roasts over the weekend and dinner parties aboard other cruising vessels. Bahía Concepción is a party spot for cruisers. There are so many boats anchored up with Bahía Coyote and so many transient RVers on the beaches, all equipped with VHF handhelds, it’s inevitable that the gringo tequila drinks will be flowing.

Clif and I slid into our wetsuits for the first time on Sound Discovery this spring (definitely not the first time this year… I feel like this year I’ve wormed my way into my wetsuit over a hundred times.)  Clif speared several fish off the southern point of El Burro Cove. I’ve been practicing using Clif’s JBL northwest spear gun, but he has had more luck with the Hawaiian pole spear. Fresh fish! Huzzah! The JBL gun is so heavy to lug around underwater, I’ve been inspired to look for a sleek, girly spear gun to accompany my new free-diving fins. I’m thinking pink reef-camo--- if you see something like that, let me know (I’m only half-way kidding).

Where we are headed…
Margarita stealer: pig roast party on Playa Santispac.

South! The water temp and clarity up in Bahía Concepción is a little cold and cloudy this week, so we are going to move south to Bahía San Juanico--- another Baja cruiser favorite destination and then on to Loreto. That being said, now that we have settled into our cruiser-mode, if anyone is interested in joining us via Loreto (Alaska Air flies there) for a week, and you have the time/means to get a flexible round-trip ticket, contact me via the InReach (Cambria and Clairen--- were talking to you!!) We have space for one friend to come aboard and sail around the islands near Loreto, and it’s a very easy place to pick-up/drop off/resupply.

Until Loreto--- Happy March,
New decor for the galley, shells I collected from Punta Chivato.

Letting "leo" sail the boat while tanning our legs.

Shell bounty!! Punta Chivato had the most amazing shelling beach. I have never see so many shells in my entire life.

Quintessential bow sailing shot...

Clif's first spear fishing catch!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Cortez Crossing and Santa Rosalía

Joy ride in the Walker Bay in Santa Rosalia Harbor.
“28…30…32…” Clif is reciting the wind readings as I type. The “El Norte” has surely set in. The dock lines, halyards and doorknobs are all banging and rattling out of unison. The distinct whistling through the rigging tells me the wind is sticking around 35 knots. Luckily, we knew this little windstorm was coming through long before it arrived, so we tied up securely to the Marina Fonatour early this morning. Not at hour after we secured the lines, the wind went from 10- 25 knots in about 10 minutes. The north wind of the Sea of Cortez (“El Norte”) has a mind of its own. It whips up the sea into short, steep chop, making it virtually impossible to move anywhere besides directly downwind. We can peek out beyond the harbor embankment and see huge white caps that have been traveling from the top of the Sea, thankful we are inside a little shelter and attached to a dock that survived Hurricane Odile last fall (up to 100 mph winds here in Santa Rosalía).

Young boy in Santa Rosalia watching a palm tree be cut down. One of the favorite shots of the week!
We had a very uneventful crossing culminating two days ago (nothing like the wind we’re experiencing currently). We managed to pick a night that had just enough wind to sail for 6 steady hours, allowing us to attach our wind monitor and relax. In San Carlos, we arranged to cross with another boat, S/V Alma, owned by our new friends Greg and Diane of Quincy, CA, and stayed with a mile or two for the majority of our night on the Sea. VHF radios enabled us to communicate occasionally, until the next day with Alma motored ahead and we chose to sail a little further south to avoid bashing upwind. The crossing from San Carlos to Santa Rosalía took us a total of 16.5 hours, beginning at 10pm and ending the following day at 2:30pm.
Walking the streets of Santa Rosalia.
We reminded by several cruisers in San Carlos, that Santa Rosalía was significantly damaged by Hurricane Odile last October. We were fairly in tune with the Hurricane watch while our boat was in Guaymas on the hard, but it’s a completely different thing to see the outcome months after the fact. One of the two marinas in this little harbor was completely destroyed. There were also many boats attached to that dock that were significantly damaged or lost. Two boats are still among the broken pilings, waiting to be lifted out of the water or salvaged. There’s a pangueros dock, also in ruins, and parts of cement from the ferry dock in the middle of the harbor. The town, originally a French mining town, had many structural relics that didn’t make it through the Hurricane as well. It’s a good reminder to also check the weather and never underestimate the power of the wind. (Which, fortunately for me, I’m petrified of what the wind can do over 20 knots… it’s a positive and negative sailing trait in my opinion).

On the bright side, we’re attached to a dock that has power and water. We can charge up all of our electronics and top of our batteries. I can wash the boat with fresh water (hasn’t happened quite yet, waiting for the weather to die down a bit), and can use as much water as I like to scrub the dishes! It’s also a very short 5-minute walk into a hustling, bustling pure Mexican town. No tourists beside the occasional gringos driving through on Hwy 1, and myself, lugging laundry for 20 minutes to find the cheapest, most authentic lavandería I can find. Santa Rosalía is home to a very famous Mexican bakery, Panadería El Boleo, making fresh pan dulces every day. Little “Cochas” and “Pitahaya” buns (mis favoritas por desayuna) go for 7 pesos. Check out this sweet 90’s Mexican TV footage I found on YouTube:
You might not understand a word, but about half way through the video, the baker lists off the names of the typical buns--- super helpful for me being a beginning Spanish speaker. Gotta learn my bakery terminology!

Panaderia El Boleo buns... fresh out of the oven!
It’s also fun to go seeking out the best tortillas and best tacos in town. We were recommended by a gringo local to have tacos at “Tacos Paisano,” where the Asada tacos are excellent and go for 20 pesos ($1.50). Two can fill you up--- way to go $3 dinners! Many taco stands, particularly under a roof, allow you to bring in your own cerveza, which is an added bonus. Mucho barato, very cheap.
World Famous.

From Santa Rosalía, we will be heading down into Bahia Concepcion (within the next day or two) to meet up with our friends, Pam, Eric and Andy aboard Emma Bell. We might have Pam aboard a couple nights before Eric and Andy can cross from Guaymas, but we will all be frying fresh fish again soon.

Tacos Paisano with new friends, Greg and Diane.
Going to indulge on as many dock luxuries as possible right, since we’re grounded: hot showers, fresh water usage in general, wifi and battery charging. Clif’s tying off another line to the bow, which is getting the brunt of this wind, so we might not be wondering too far from the boat today… maybe to get another taco or two.


Tacos de Carne Asada
Hiking up the hillside to see the cemetery of Santa Rosalia.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

She's Afloat!

It’s official. Our second season of Sea of Cortez cruising has begun. After six days of hard work in the yard, Sound Discovery is on the water! With her fresh new bottom paint, deck scrub, sails on, teak oiled, and plenty of drinking water, we are all set to roll.

Our first “Put-in” went as smoothly as we hoped it could go. I realized about halfway through the process, that “putting-in” is WAY more stressful than pulling the boat out of the water. This thing has to float again! And who knows what has happened to the shape and soundness of the vessel while she was sitting in 100+ Mexican summer heat all year. To protect the new bottom coat, the painters suggested plastic garbage bags (of which we had two) or bed sheets, which I did have a couple of laying around. It only took a couple minutes of the boat being laid in the water to recognize that bed sheets were are horrible idea. The strips of sheet fused to the final layer of paint and wouldn’t come off the bottom. It took quite some fishing, pulling and prodding with a boat hook to assume that the entire bed sheet was removed from the hull. (You can see the green sheets dangling in between the sling and the boat hull.)

We did have two other leaks once we were set in the water. Both fixed easily with a little work from Clif, while we were attached to the Marina Seca dock. Our prop shaft was leaking pretty severely, but needed just a little tightening. The knot-meter inside the bilge of the boat was also leaking, and the pressure of the water made the piece really difficult to remove. However, all was fixable within 30-45 minutes, and we were off. The engine ran smoothly and soundly (as soundly as our ’78 Westerbeke Diesel can run) while we made our way across the bay leaving Guaymas. We spent our first night afloat at the “Free Docks” (30 pesos/$2 per night) just on the outside entrance of the bay, along with our new Canadian friends aboard S/V Slade Green, who are also seasonal worker in the Inside Passage! The Free-docks are an excellent place to do boat work sans-fresh-water (hoisting Clif up the mast, putting on sails, scrubbing the yard dirt off the decks…etc). What a feeling to finally be afloat and have little to no problems! Needless to say, we toasted our efforts with mimosas, ending our almost-month of sobriety. We toasted to our cleansed livers and once-again-floating home.

Like my bright pink zinc-oxide lips? Gotta love self-timers.

Today, we had our first morning afloat and motored/sailed our way north to San Carlos, a popular Mexican cruising hub. Just 18 miles from Guaymas on the water, it is a small Hurricane-hole/summer-destination for folks that spend a year or more in the Sea of Cortez. It is also a popular spot to haul-out and store boats, because of its proximity to the US.  We were able to sail the last several miles into the bay and make sure everything aboard was ship shape. We even got a good heal and had to strap the new herb-garden in place. I will soon get to use my fresh mint for mojitos, and limonadas. I’m going start infusing my drinking water on the boat to make it taste better—what a genius idea.

Playing with my new 50 mm lens on my Canon Rebel on our first sail.

Our friends Eric and Andy (Eric’s brother) aboard Emma Bell are going to be in the water tomorrow morning, if all goes well, and from there we are headed across the sea. The weather this weekend looks perfect for crossing, light winds across to Bahia Concepcion, where we plan to find those awesome whale sharks we got to swim with last year. Keep an eye on our Inreach Delorme tracker this weekend, it will be moving!

Cheers to our second spring of sunshine and sailing. Let the cruising begin!

This portrait was taken to mimic a similar shot of his dad at the same age!

Just about to set in the water at high tide.

My herb garden is strapped in for the ride to San Carlos... until it finds a better home.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Returning Home: back to life-on-the-hard...

Sound Discovery with a freshly sanded hull!
It's been a little over tens months since we said a rushed goodbye to our little home in Marina Seca Guaymas. We closed the gate behind us, planning on returning 6 months later (after our summer work in Alaska), and like many cruisers who sail seasonally, 6 months turned into 8, 8 turned into 10, and here we are. It's a wonderful thing, coming back to a boat. The excitement of being afloat again has been fueling our hard work these past several days ("hard work"... might be a little bit of an understatement). I forgot how much work we put into the boat before it was hauled out of the water last spring. The same amount of effort, hours, to-do lists, cleaning, scrubbing, assembling everything that was disassembled, is required to ensure a safe departure.

Rudder hug. First photo when we got to the boat.
We drove 25 hours to reach Guaymas from the Bay area (over the period of a week), visiting family and spending "kitty" money along the way. New boat purchases included: an outboard motor for the walker bay, a head rebuild kit (talk about bathroom remodels), new lines, an oven-sized cast iron pan, new sheets, several new dishes, a new swim ladder, a random assemblage of spare parts... etc. We crossed the the border at Nogales with ease, stopping only once to grab lunch at a road-side restaurant. The hustle and bustle of Guaymas was fun to navigate and made for a very exciting experience in Clif's truck. I'm off firm belief that Mexicans may be crazy drivers, but they are very KIND drivers. Maybe it's the Alaskan plates?

Long way down. Taking care while working...
We arrived to a boat very laden with dust, a mixture of dirt and bottom paint being sanded off our hull. The boat is still the same old Sound Discovery, but has required some familiarization. The wood and plastic inside the cabin walls lost all of its moisture over the year and shrunk. One can almost picture the boat exhaling and relaxing into place once it hits the water. A thin dust covered most of the inner cabin (a thicker dust on the outside). I worked room to room the first day, starting from bow to stern, cleaning all surfaces, oiling wood and putting belongings back into place. And so work commenced...

We've taken several breaks driving into town for community festivities. We timed our Guaymas visit just right, arriving the first night of Carnaval (the week leading up to Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday). Parades, music concerts, dancing, eating and vast amounts of confetti are all apart of the celebrations, making the downtown streets of Guaymas an entirely different cultural experience. I dragged Clif down to one of the four (yes, four) parades, which lasted for over three hours. We began to walk against the parade, trying to catch a glimpse of the last float, but the endless groups of dancers proceeded by trucks with generators and loud speakers seemed to continue on forever. It was like American 4th of July on steroids... and salsa. I promptly bought a crown of flowers to wear on my head, hoping it would not make me look even more foreign. From our boat (about a 10 minute drive out of Guaymas) we can hear loud dancing music long into the night, carrying across the bay. Last night I woke up to get a glass of water around 3:50am and the music still continued! Gotta love falling asleep to Mexican horns and drums blasting away.

One of the many Carnaval Dance groups in the parade.
Our boat isn't scheduled to enter the water until Thursday. We are getting the bottom of the boat sanded and painted, as well as getting the rudder touched up-- which all will get done Tuesday or Wednesday. Our friend Eric, captain of our buddy boat, Emma Bell, just arrived with his brother today, so we have company now in our race towards our cruising season.

More soon, from the water, once we finish up at Marina Seca Guaymas!


Friday, January 30, 2015

New Year, New Lines-- Headed back to our little home!

A row of our new, clean, white jib sheets, furling line and reefing lines.
Happy New Year to all of our friends, family and fellow cruisers!

The Sound Discovery blog is back in action after a long 9 month hiatus! Clif and I are headed back down to our lovely Cal 34' after being away from the cruisers life for a little too long. We have had a busy, busy year, moving around the states and the globe. Clif was just commenting to a friend yesterday over the phone, that we have not been in one place for more than a week since the end of September. We've spent a lot of time in our two-man tent and sleeping in backpacker hostel bunk-beds; we even spent a week sleeping in the bed of our Toyota Tacoma.

Red Dog Lady--- making bucks for the cruising kitty!!
Last year I left the blog right when I flew back to Juneau for summer work. Both Clif and I had full time jobs set up for the summer season working May through the end of September. I worked at the Red Dog Saloon (a Juneau staple) as a bar maid, and Clif was able to work again for the Marine Exchange of Alaska. Feeling like we needed a little more land-lubbing time in the Fall, we hopped on our bikes and cycled from Bend, OR to Bodega Bay, CA. After soothing our saddle sores, a product of many miles logged on our bicycles, we flew down to Australia to be real, genuine backpackers.

Turns out... we might be getting a little old for hostel lifestyle. Don't get me wrong-- I don't mind sleeping in a bunk bed one bit-- but we quickly found out that we were on the upper-age bracket of the Aussie backpacker demographic... and we didn't much enjoy listening to European-techno music at 2 am. We did, however, get to surf to our hearts content and volunteer aboard a live-aboard scuba-dive boat. Both activities got us excited to be back aboard our sailboat, seeking out Mexican surfing spots.
Our victory shot after finishing almost 800 miles on our bikes!

We got the opportunity this past month to help crew a 45' Hunter with Clif's parents down in the BVI. We did a little scouting about--- dreaming about bringing our boat to the Caribbean while we explored beautiful beaches and beach bars! We had some great sailing weather, enjoying the tradewinds, on our week long charter through CYOA based out of St. Thomas. I highly recommend doing a charter in the USVI and BVI, especially if you've done some cruising of your own.

So, that gets us to now, late January. We've spent several days boat shopping, repacking the truck, sorting through clothes that we will and won't need in Mexico. Getting ancy to see our Sound Discovery. We finally get to be in one place for a while (well... at least sleeping in the same bed for more than a week). Sound Discovery will be getting new sheets for the v-berth, some new dishes for the galley, several new sets of brilliantly white lines, LED light bulbs to replace in our v-berth and chart table, a service kit for our head and several other items to make our home a little more cozy and liveable. We're also planning on getting a small outboard to attach to the back of our small Walker Bay, which should be living at anchor a little more comfortable.
Clif makes a new friend at the Koala Sanctuary outside of Brisbane.
Clif aboard Island Sister, the 45' Hunter we chartered in BVI.

All that said, we're trying to keep spending budget low this spring, after using quite a bit of money bouncing around Australia and BVI. We're planning on doing seasonal work again this summer, beginning in May, most likely in Southeast Alaska, and just need to stretch out our cash a little bit longer. Good thing tacos in Mexico are cheap! I'm ready for some $1 taco stands and inexpensive margaritas. Can't wait!!

We are planning on driving down to Guaymas (Marina Seca) between February 7th -10th. We are very excited to start working on the boat, getting her in the water again and meeting up with our beloved buddy boaters, Eric and Pam (S/V Emma Bell) whose boat is out of the water directly next to ours in the yard. We hauled out the same day and plan to get back in the water around the same time as well.

Spring Cruising Plans?

Viva la Mexico! Our cruising plans are extremely lax this spring. We have almost no agenda, besides trying to use our surfboard as some point. Both of us would like to explore Southern Mexico, PV and down, as well as visiting some of the beautiful anchorages along the western Sea of Cortez between Concepcion and La Paz. Hopefully our spring will include several longer passages across the Sea of Cortez, as well as visits from state-side friends. Tequila tasting is on Clif's to-do list. I know... rough to-do list, huh?

Communication (How can you get a hold of us):

We are going to be relying heavily on our InReach Delorme. We can text easily from the device and it doesn't cost a fortune. I will not be using my cellphone for anything besides wifi. Email is always a great way to contact us. We both check our email as frequently as possible (which is frequent when we're in a town or city, and NOT frequent when cruising about and anchoring in remote places. Take a look at our Delorme tracker in a couple weeks to see where we are. We will be in the Guaymas/San Carlos area for at least a week prepping the boat for the water and provisioning.

Zines (What is a zine?):

Last spring I sent out a small hand-written booklet with information about our trip, maps, stories, recipes... etc. This little "zine" (tiny magazine) was a fun and easy way to inform friends/family of our plans, while also giving them a neat piece of art to share with others. I'm definitely going to be sending out several "Sound Discovery Sail-zines" this spring, and if you would like to receive one, all you need to do is send me your address. I'm beginning the first one this week, so we can have one to give to cruisers we meet during the first half of our short season.

The next blog post will be sent from Guaymas!! Can't wait to take pictures of our boat and update everyone on how the boat did through the summer/fall seasons on the hard.
Until then,