Wednesday, November 30, 2011


In Cabo I had some work to do. There is an excellent shipyard there and I was in and out like a yo-yo. I had some issues with Tender 1 motor/fuel supply and so they sorted that out. And we needed a new exhaust bracket and they were all over town looking for the spare part. I am indebted to Lugger Bob and Bill from Thor; we had a wrestling session with Johnny trying to fit a bracket that nearly is just an eighth of an inch that makes all the difference. In the middle of all this Ed and I (the FUBAR band) were settling on the tracks we were going to delight the Fubaristas was a busy time. We took our guitars to the party that night but the band were led by one precious guy who really didn't want his gig hijacked by us.........I know enough band craft to know the negative signals.
We got things fixed/patched up (put the old bracket on!) and headed North with the gang. The scheduled stop was a marina newly built where the fleet was to anchor since the slips are not in yet. Late in the day one of the first boats there was following a panga in and went aground in only 5 feet at mid tide. Whoops........after getting free and clear the messages were resounding around the way were we going in there; most boats were over 6' draft. We pressed on and got into Bahia de los Suenos after dark, some anchoring challenges for us all off the beach there. It is a great anchorage and wonderful beach; the resort is something else.

The next day we scheduled our impromptu guitar
concert. Ed (co-chair of the Fubar) is a great country singer and had also had been corrupted by me to learn some Santana and Eric Clapton. It was quite an afternoon. Black Magic Woman blasting out to the fleet, what fun. No wonder Ed looked worried - but it was absolutely fantastic, what a warm up for the party. We went ashore and to the Train Room at the Gran Sueno Resort - yes - model electric trains......for a truly excellent party and supper.
We moved on eventually and headed for La Paz, Mexico, our final destination, and the capital town of the Baja. What a great marina and what a nice town. The marina complex here has all you need. The town is laid back, quiet, one of those places that has whatever you need but it is not in your face. There is no street hassle; the tourists here are a required commodity and need to be nurtured.

And so we are at the end of the Fubar. A great Thanksgiving Dinner and thank you to Ed and Don, our Co-Chairmen. You did a great job. A thousand miles of new friendships and new horizons, not to be forgotten for many a year. Thank you to our crew, Iain and Sandra. And to the Admiral for putting up with me. And to Barb at Hatton Marine for getting Johnny's new exhaust bracket here in only 48 hours. Wow.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Fishing Was Good!

Well here is one happy camper! Iain with his first fish. Yes it must be very difficult for a Scotsman to admit that he didn't learn to fly fish for salmon either in Scotland or Canada but it was great to see that ear to ear grin when the flashy dorados started homing in on our lures. We had pulled out of Turtle Bay at a leisurely hour for the 231 mile run south further down the Baja. A beautiful moonlit night and in the morning we were set to traverse The Ridge, a 100-fathom bank where fish congregate. The lures went out soon after dawn and then it got really busy. We had four lines out at one point and then cut down to two because it was hard to keep up. The zipping of those reels sent us into a frenzy of
activity pulling in the other lures while someone took on the next dorado. We had already caught a couple of smaller ones and also bonito but today's harvest was a 5-dorado bonanza including a couple of good bulls. I was trying to remember all the tips for processing these fish; I think the trick is to make a shallow incision around the whole side filet. Then pull the skin off from the head end. It is then easy to cut to the backbone and cut away the filet, with some tidying around the ribcage. I managed to get them prepared pdq on our stern filetting table before we anchored in Bahia Santa Maria for a well deserved night's rest.

The next day we had a short 29 mile run to Bahia Man O'War. There is a small friendly fishing village and they had organised a fish fry for us. Great tacos and plenty of Tecate Light Beer............oh well, you can't have everything. At least there was a lot of fish!
We also had our introduction to a Dinghy Poker Run. Yes, exactly, what is that?? Well it all boils down to running between three designated boats in the anchorage and answering Nautical Trivia questions. It just so turned out that our Number Two tender (aka "Prawnbasher") turned plenty of heads, it is not often you get a Portabote among the Nordhavn planing dinghy-ites. And we were lucky with the Trivia...........and, Iain is an expert poker player! Well, here we are with our winning grins at ending up with a Straight Flush and first prize, thank you to West Marine for the sponsorship. 

The next morning we were on our way again and the lines were out in the late afternoon over another fishing spot in the Baja Fishing Atlas..............this time I chose the biggest lures in the bag, what was going to try to eat these? Within an hour there was a huge zip from the starboard reel. I grabbed the rod and there he was, a long long way behind the boat, my first marlin. He looked big, although he was a way away, and he came again and again out of the water, dancing on his tail, trying to shake off the hook. Eventually I had brought him fairly close to the back of the boat. I had the reel on full drag but he wasn't ready for a clean release, he just dived powerfully right under the boat and was gone. I stowed the rods; we couldn't top that. We had a quiet evening under way. Our night watch routine is now well rehearsed; we leave the Admiral to the owl spot from 9pm to midnight; then me until 3am; Iain takes the watch through dawn until 6am. Through the night the FUBAR fleet of about 30 boats closed on the point at Cabo and we were taking care with speed and heading as the group bunched for the point. At dawn we suddenly met a lot of traffic! Every sportfisher in Cabo was pouring out of the harbour coming straight for us; the marlin rush hour was on. By 0745 we were in our slip moored against a long line of touristy restaurants and bars. Yes, it was time for a leisurely breakfast on the Malecon right behind the boat, followed by a couple of hours sleep.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

To Mexico on the FUBAR rally

After two busy days working with our crew, Iain and Sandra, we headed out of San Diego at 0530 underway for Ensenada, Mexico. It was a good trip; the log records 8 blue whales and a dolphin pod. We had already pre-cleared into Mexico and so all we needed to do was moor at our slip and head off for supper. It was great to see friends Kevin and Anna on the next dock with their Nordhavn 62; it was hammering down with rain and Kevin kindly shuttled the six of us to the Brazilian restaurant. A few caipirinhas later everything was looking good!

We took on some fuel at Ensenada since it is cheaper than in the US; the fuel dock gets a truck a day - 5,000 gallons - so they were hard pressed to deal with the thirsty FUBAR boats - 40-odd boats getting a thousand gallons each................anyway, we survived a bit of rationing. There was plenty of time for us to explore the town, and we were pleasantly surprised. Plenty of good restaurants. Very friendly and courteous people. A wonderful famous bar which has been there since 1864. An HSBC Bank. And an internet access SIM card from Telcel which worked first time (ran out pretty quick however).And our first en-route rally function, there was a communal supper so we were able to meet up with the folk who had been to the seminars and find more travelling companions. Probably around a hundred and fifty people in all.

After getting our Mexican paperwork we were underway for the long leg to Turtle Bay, some 290 miles, and the first overnighter. We were sort of travelling in a long convoy so there was plenty of radio chatter through the night. Weather was calm and there were more whales, minke and grey, and the odd turtle. Turtle Bay was quite a sight with the FUBAR rally boats all arriving and getting their anchors down. Actually the village there has seen better times - there used to be a cannery here but of course that went out of action and now the villagers survive on fishing. At this stage of the rally the weather forecast started changing for the worse and captains elected either to run from the storm or go to the beach party at a local bar and ride it out here at anchor. Pangas took us to the shore; the skill of the drivers was pretty impressive since they needed to land us at a rusty old ladder on a fixed pier. After the tacos and margaritas the sea had come up even more and the pangas ferried us back, with great difficulty, it was a major effort getting on board. During the night the storm was relentless; it was reassuring that we had set the anchor hard and laid out a hundred and fifty feet of chain. And in the morning, the storm had passed.

More later...........