Thursday, March 14, 2013

Whale Watching in Bahia San Ignacio

We Petted Gray Whales today, live, in the water, Gray Whales! 
This was a truly, one of the most memorable experiences of my life!
The adventure started as we were exploring a town called Santa Rosalia, on the Sea of Cortez. We were shooting pool at a local bar we had seen earlier, and it turned out every one wanted to play a game of pool with us. That is, one of my three crew mates, Barry, a very congenial man of about 74 years old, who has been coming down to Baja for many years, after sailing much of the Pacific Ocean for 20 odd years.
We had been asking around to find out were the whales were calving and were told you needed to cross over to the Pacific side of Baja to see this incredible sight.
The next morning I ask the manager of the Marina, where my boat the Jolly Roger is docked, if she knew how we could arrange this journey to the Pacific coast of Baja to see the wales calf. Isabel said she had taken her children there a couple of times and it was very exciting for them to pet the whales. I did wonder if this is not something “we “as mankind should be doing, and at the same time was very excited about the prospect of actually touching one of these magnificent creature in the wild.
Barry was flying back to Guaymas the next day and could not go, but Phillip and Ted , said they were very interested in going along.
We left the next morning at 5:30 AM, and caught  a bus to San Ignacio, on the main road, Rt one , UP the Baja peninsula. After arriving we called our tour company “Baja expeditions (one of five tour companies leading whale watching tours), and they picked us up , and drove us to the Pacific Coast.
We were met by a guide who explained the safety requirements and were split into three groups of six or seven, soon we were in a 20 foot fiberglass boat with an 80 HP outboard motor, driven be a young man who drove us out to the calving ground of the Gray whales.
I still did not believe that we would actually touch a whale to day, as the guide said every one does not get to pet a whale, it is the luck of the draw. So we can see other boats near by and whales very close by, and passengers splashing the water, as our guide explained it attracts the babies to the boat. I felt we were being made fools of , on some level, but sure enough, soon we saw a mother and baby whale approaching the boat, the baby were 20 feet long and the mothers were 40 to 45 feet, it was rather intimidating, as the guide said, the flukes of the mother could throw our entire boat and US, way into the air, with hardly any thought involved.
We splashed the water and soon the baby blue whale stuck his nose right next to our boat so we could rub its nose, I am still in awe that we did this over and over with a number of different mother and babies. We were told 180 pairs of mother and babies were in the San Ignacio Lagoon, plus some males still trying to have their way with the moms. 
Note from Phillip: we spent time both in Guaymas and Santa Rosalia (an old mining town started by the French in 1885) before going whale watching. The other photos in this album are from those places.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Update from Roger, Guaymas Harbor, 2/15/11

am still in Guaymas harbor, at the Fonatur Marina, we ran the motor very hard for about four hours at three quarters throttle to break it in ( as it only had about two hours running time). On the four hour run it ran smoothly, but my temperature gage was not working, so for whatever reason it stopped. We put the dingy over board dropped the engine on it strapped to the side and started to push the Jolly Roger back to the marina. At this point ,Ted started up the diesel again and it ran smoothly, but we still did not know why it stopped , so we drove back to the marina, using booth engines and turned on our new refrigeration system, making moore cold beer. This all happened yesterday afternoon, and as the engine was to hot to work on we sat around had dinner with our cold beer and left the engine work for today.
The weather has been perfect if not a little chilly at night, so hanging out with some people we know at the dock, has been fun , plus we took six junier high school boys and girls for a ride yesterday as they were making a movie about boats, and America, ( or that is the best we could understand). They were adorable, with little triangular hats on, made from newspaper,and one boy with a Abe Linclon hat on. they all wanted to steer the boat, and did not know how, and I said just like a automobile, and the all said in unison, we do not drive yet! They gigled and laughed a lot, as they kept taking pictures of themselves, and Ted and I with them steering. I almost got diszy as they kept going around in circles and having souch a great time I could not have the heart to tell them that they should try and steer for a destination, and learn what the wheel does.
When we reached the dock there were about eight people helping us at the dock, so very courios who our crew was, and wonder why th

six Guaymas Junior High students exploring America, aboard the Jolly Roger
e boat was going in circles out in the middle of the bay ( about a quarter mile straight off the docks), so they all had a front row seat to or unusual crews steering antics.
When we tied up and all they helping hands on our dock met the six junier high students, One of our dock hands was a young boy who was a little shy , but the three girls, in our crew all wanted to have there picture taken with him , because he looked like "Jessy James", Ted said the great train rober, and they all said NO! Of course we knew they were talking about the rock band "Jessy James"( now disbanded ), well since we checked the internet to find out they were a punk rock band!l
Love from the deck of the Jolly Roger

(posted to the blog by Phillip for Roger - Roger has posted some recent photos here)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Thursday, December 31, 2009

preparing for deparure to guaymas

My first Mate Ted Czesak and I, will get on a plane this sunday the 3rd of January 2010, and fly to Guaymas Mexico to start "part Two " of the Jolly Roger's sail south, to Panama.
My old Mate, Don Peck, who sailed with me from Berkeley California to Guaymas Mexico, and related our adventures on our blog sight, is sitting with me at the Berkeley Yacht Club , and showing me how to navigate the world of blogging.

Roger and Ted are setting sail

The Jolly Roger will soon be setting sail again

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Disaster Averted

Don's Log: We almost lost the mast at about 8am on Sunday morning the 7th of December. We were about a half mile offshore, motoring between 4-5 knots into a moderate north wind and high seas . We started early, pulling up the anchor at around 4am. We were making relatively good time, but headed straight into a North wind, so we did not have any sail up, a fact that saved us we came to see a few hours later. The sunrise was spectacular and Roger observed, "Red sky in the morning-sailors take warning, red sky at night-sailors delight". The weather seemed favorable at that particular moment so we thought nothing more of "take warning". Life was grand as this was Roger's 65th birthday and we both were appreciative that we were the luckiest two guys in the world, living a dream. I was at the helm, and It got to be around 8 am. I heard a strange sound and then looked up at the mast and saw a mass of cabling and heavy metal plates falling from the sky to come landing with a heavy and sickening thud onto the deck. The 54 foot aluminum mast, which before seemed so solid, was now the picture of fluidity. The lower shrouds (strong steel cables that attach at mid mast to the deck of the boat) , all four of them, had released. There was absolutely nothing good about this situation, except that the mast was seemingly defying the laws of physics and NOT crumpling over or worse. Roger took an instant to figure out what had happened and I gladly surrendered the wheel as I went below to get the inflatable life raft, our wallets and the ditch bag. We watched, white knuckled as the mast would do a hula dance every time we attempted to take the ship closer into the shore, putting her more parallel to the waves induced lateral movement and the mast looked to be goner each time we tried to get closer to shore. Up ahead there was a an anchorage listed on the chart called Punta Pulpito, which translates as the Point Pulpit. As Roger and i watched the mast do it;s thing and imagined and discussed everything that was racing through our minds in this highly adrenalized moment, I joked that if we made it this this anchorage intact the "Pulpit would be a Godsend!". Roger smiled slightly. I can't describe the sense of relief and gratitude experienced as we reached the calm waters of this point. Needless to say it was a very happy birthday present for Roger. He get to keep his boat and we got to make the repair and continue on this most amazing of adventure.

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