Thursday, March 8, 2012

Coastal Baja Trip Update - Part 1

21st Feb - Traveling to San Carlos

On 21st Feb between San Quinten  and San Carlos we spotted a fishing boat that looked like it was heading towards our boat. As they got closer we saw that there were four men onboard. They got close enough to have a good look around our boat and we were wondering what they were looking for. After a few minutes they steamed off and left us alone. About 5 minutes later we were worried to see that they had turned around and were on there way back to our boat! It turns out that they had returned to give us 3 nice big fish that they had caught. We offered them money which they declined so we offered them beers instead and gave them a cold one each. This made them very happy and we had enough fish to last us a week.
Lee filleted the fish and Katie and I breaded them using Lee's mum's NZ recipe. 

California Sheepshead fish

22nd Feb - Bahia San Carlos

We arrived at Bahia San Carlos in the afternoon after a good trip down. We didn't know what to expect as the guides were not that favorable, but we found it to be a great anchorage and one of our favorites on the trip down the coast.

Bahia San Carlos

We decided to leave the following morning as we had a good weather forecast for the trip to Cedros. We left at 4am in the dark, but would only have less than two hours of darkness until sunlight. after a while i noticed that we were not making the speed we should be and thought we had picked up some kelp around the keel. I brought the boat to a stop and then saw my nemesis, the rope from a crab pot taught behind the boat. Not sure how long we had been dragging it, but we quickly cut it away from the boat. We could still hear the floats banging under the boat, but had power and headed back to San Carlos so i could dive under the boat.

Once back on anchor we sent the underwater camera down to investigate. The shaft was still pretty bound up and the floats were wrapped around the rudder. Time for a dive under the boat for some cutting. I'd been wanting to use my new scuba bottle and wetsuit anyway so it was the perfect time to test them. It was cold though, 55 degrees F.

Bound round the prop
Bound around the shaft

Floats around the rudder

Getting ready to dive

Things went well with the scuba bottle and i got relaxed under the boat gradually clearing the lines. After a couple of minutes though it got difficult to breathe more air and then nothing more form the bottle. It seemed to take forever to get back out from under the boat following the shaft back out to the stern of the boat and i took a breathe of water before making it up. The bottle was supposed to last 25 minutes so something was up. I can only think that they didn't fill it properly.

I was hopeful that i had managed to clear it though and got showered and warmed up. A second trip with the camera revealed that it was still pretty bound up. Back in the water, but this time without air. I tried diving from the side a couple of times with a mask, but it didn't allow enough time to work. Time for plan B. I took our boat hook and duck taped a bread knife to the end (i'd also tape a torch as well in the future). Using the mask and snorkel and my new tool i was able to cut through the rest of the rope and free the prop. Definitely the best way to tackle the problem.

Dont laugh at my haircut. It cost $5.

It took a couple of hours to warm up. Here I am wearing ski socks and a fleece in 85.9 degrees !

23rd Feb - Passage to Isla Cedros

On 23rd Feb we departed Punta San Carlos at 4am and later we caught our first fish, an 8 pound Mexican Bonito! Thank you Octavia and Petter for the fish book, its good to know what we are eating.  We saw lots of whales along the way and arrived safely at Isla Cedros at around 4.30pm. The island is beautiful and as we approached we could see that the beaches were covered with seals, sealions, and elephant seals, huge ones at that. They started jumping in the water and swimming up to the boat to take a look at us. We got about 12 feet away from the island and we were reading about 300 feet on our depth sounder. We knew this couldn't be right so i made a quick lead line to check the depth. We realized then that our depth sounder wasn't working properly. After a few attempts we managed to secure the anchor but Lee wasn't comfortable that this was safe so we decided to check the boat every hour throughout the night. We woke up in the same place but we would not recommend using this spot as an anchorage!

Our first fish

Isla Cedros

The wildlife


  1. Dude, so many things to ask! Firstly what the hell are those gloves you are using to fillet the fish from the random boat that you though was gonna try and take you captive; it's not like you had to worry about hygiene your were about to eat them, lol!? Secondly I did a lot of research into small dive bottles that give you more than two breaths to get to the surface, so even though yours didn't work as designed I would love to know who it was made by and where to get one! I have gone with a full scuba rig which is really cumbersome for a 20 minute dive! And of course I have to comment on the hair (yours that is, not Serena's which has been getting all the attention!), when did you go fully Moreton with the complete shaved top / beard below down below looking all fuzzy!?

    Seriously though I was worried sh**less, check the blog every day and sent you three text messages to your sat phone (with no reply so I assume you didn't get them), I am soo pleased you made it safely even if there were a few hiccups!

    Call when you can!

    Alex x

  2. Hi Alex, We have so much to tell! Wish you were down here with us! Feel like a holiday from your holiday here in Mexico? You must buy a bread knife, just a cheap one. Actually get a few. We didn't get your text messages but i'm going to try leaving the sat phone on to see if that works as there may be a time limit to delivery. We have received emails on the sat phone so try sending us one. We have internet at the marina we are in at the moment but we leave tomorrow. We'll stay online so skype us if you can. Can you also send us your sat phone number and well give you a call and find out how your trip is going. Well also send you another email that we are picking up on the sat phone through another service.

  3. Great blog! How did the red and black fish taste?!?!

    Nat xx