Feeding ourselves from the sea: Big tropical fish of Mainland Mexico… Part 2

The cove at Isla Isabel, a Mexican National Park. Fishermen have permits to fish here, "grandfathered" due to years of fishing. They come from San Blas on the mainland coast.

The cove at Isla Isabel, a Mexican National Park. Fishermen have permits to fish here, “grandfathered” due to years of fishing. They come from San Blas on the mainland coast.

Catching dinner has surprised us with some of the most cherished memories of our adventure.  Cooking from scratch for 4-6 hungry crew means that we are all eating better than any other times of our lives. Luckily we have plenty of fresh fish, and time to make homemade yoghurt, oven baked bread, kim chi, and ahem…. brownies!  

The vast coast of Mainland Mexico provided the fish stories for Part 2; you can read about Baja fishing in Part 1.

Sabby was reeling in a skipjack tuna but he got away. Many sailors use heavy duty hand lines to catch their meals, but rod and reels with lighter duty line gives the fish a better fighting chance... we think it's better sport!

Sabby was reeling in a skipjack tuna but it got away. Many sailors use heavy duty hand lines to catch their meals, but rod and reels with lighter duty line gives the fish a better fighting chance.

The incomparable Isla Isabel... Aldebaran is anchored in the far right side of the frame.

The incomparable Isla Isabel… Aldebaran is anchored in the far right side of the frame.

One of the most special places we’ve visited was Isla Isabel, known as the Galapagos of Mexico.  This small volcanic island has a Jurassic vibe with rivers of birds continually flying above.  A national park protects large populations of nesting frigate birds and blue footed boobies, and abundant iguanas and other colorful lizards skitter about.  Underwater is a thriving ecosystem, with schooling fish galore and large predatory jacks patrolling the depths.  In this abundant zone we speared an incredible pelagic predator: Pacific crevalle jacks, 16 pounds of darting fish to handle. (Check out the rest of our visit to the gorgeous Isla Isabel in our post.)

Still dreaming of large tropical fish like yellowfin tuna and dorado, we talked to local fishermen in Mazatlan and discovered they likely wouldn’t show up until later in the summer.  They also mentioned that as we headed south we’d have a better chance of finding these warm water species.  They explained that Cabo Corrientes, south of Puerto Vallarta, is kind of like the Point Conception of Mexico, a geographical dividing point; upon passing it tropical game fish might be found.

ryan yellowfin tuna

This is one of the most prized fish for the dinner table: yellow fin tuna. This is the “ahi” sushi that you are familiar with at Japanese restaurants.

As we rounded Cabo Corrientes the water temps shot up into the 80s and that night dozens of 4 inch squid jumped onto our boat.  We collected them all, 40 in total and saved them for bait.  I awoke the next morning before dawn to shouts.  Ryan had woken at first light, baited a rod with our squid, and caught a gorgeous 20 pound yellowfin ahi tuna before sunrise, our first one! 

Sushi roll smorgasbord at Chamela Bay with the yellowfin tuna.

Sushi roll smorgasbord at Chamela Bay with the yellowfin tuna.

Leaving Chamela Bay we had a two night sail in front of us, and the second day, 20 miles offshore, I spotted some birds on a floating log.  A couple dozen turtles also lounged, and knowing that flotsam like this creates its own eco-system, I jumped in.  An underwater wonderland with 100+ foot visibility greeted us and for hours we dove what came to be affectionately known as “The Magic Log”. 

Schools of thousands of tropical fish swirled around, dozens of turtles visited cleaning stations, where scores of fish cleaned them, and small sharks patrolled below.  Hundreds of small dorado and skipjack tuna flitted in and out of the scene.  We couldn’t pull ourselves away until finally, sunburnt and cameras “full”, we departed from the wonderland of the magic log.

One of the turtles that clued us into

One of the turtles that clued us into “The Magic Log”

Our biggest fish story happens just south of Zihuatenejo at Rocas de Potosi, a chain of guano encrusted rocks which look like a herd of white elephants heading out to sea.  After a successful speardive, we sailed south at sunset when we heard yet again the cedar plug zinging.  The line pulled heavy and low and as I tightened the drag something kept pulling line off the reel with strong, regular pulls. 

Marlin struggle, as seen from the mast. We had a tough time removing the hook safely from this large a fish.

Marlin struggle, as seen from the mast. We had a tough time removing the hook safely from this large a fish.

The reel was getting hot with all the friction when finally I was able to make some headway, pulling line in and then 100 yards behind the boat we saw a full size marlin surface.  We all stared at each other in amazement and worked as a team to keep the marlin on the port side of the boat so we could tire out the muscles on one side, making it easier to bring him near.

300 pounds of marlin is a gorgeous sight I'll never forget

300 pounds of marlin is a gorgeous sight I’ll never forget

This is a prize fish that always deserves to be caught and released. We tried to remove the hook and release him.  I brought him to the boat twice over a half hour, each time we leaned over to try to get the hook out and release him he suddenly tugged away, stripping line with steady, rhythmic pulls.  Finally Kristian had a go and brought him to the boat a third time. 

tail view

Tail view of the marlin! We brought him to the port side of the boat each time because his muscles tire on one side of his body… but then he regains his energy with incredible speed.

As we tried to free him he broke the line and swam off into the depths.  He must have been hooked near a sensitive spot, the only reason we could have brought him to the boat so many times with 30 pound test line.  Marlin stun prey with a hit of their bills, so perhaps he wacked the cedar plug and by happenstance struck the tender flesh near his eye.  He was huge, and the hook was probably just like a splinter to him, released soon by the sea. It was a dignified ending to a cedar plug that had brought us so many memorable fish dinners.

The crew post battle... we felt privileged to have an encounter with such a magnificent fish, a true king of the ocean.

The crew post battle… we felt privileged to have an encounter with such a magnificent fish, a true king of the ocean.

We spent our last month in Oaxaca, and finally came across dorado (AKA mahi mahi).  These highly prized sportsfish gleam gold and green, leap acrobatically in the air and have a sweet white flesh which our fishing book proclaims “Food Value: None Better.” 

Colorful dorado jump acrobatically as you bring them in.  They are even more delightful in the pan

Colorful dorado jump acrobatically as you bring them in. They are even more delightful in the pan

The Mexican ones have been smaller than the 4 foot, 25 pounders I’d often catch in Hawaii and a local fisherman explained that in the winter they catch large ones, which he thinks come to mate off the coast.  Every February they start catching little ones, which just get larger and larger as the year goes on.  Dorado amazingly can grow to 20 pounds in one year and reach sexual maturity after 6 months.  They are highly fecund and are thus a very sustainable (not to mention great tasting) fish to target.

While we love to surf, dive, fish, and explore, the Green Coconut Run is also sailing to spread awareness of the importance of Marine Reserves and sustainable fishing.  In order to avoid the collapse of fish stocks, scientists suggest the use of marine reserves to provide habitat for mature fish to grow and reproduce plentifully. By ensuring fish can reproduce, it allows future generations to also enjoy seafood and sustains fishing livelihoods.

Check out our blog on a man who is crowd funding a new marine protected area in Mexico.  We will continue to highlight success stories like this throughout our voyage.

Angelica's first fish caught ever was our first barracuda - very tasty on the BBQ

We met Angelica in Mazunte, in the state of Oaxaca. This was her first time fishing… what a great first catch! 4ft+ barracuda – very tasty on the BBQ

Feeding ourselves from the sea: Un mas pescado, Baja California… Part 1

Our largest catch (and release), a 300+ pound marlin!

Our largest catch (and release), a 300+ pound marlin!

Three months in, and we aren’t tired of fish yet!  We have surprised ourselves with our trolling and speardiving success, and eat the freshest fish almost every day.  Fishing from a cruising sailboat is different than most recreational or subsistence fishing, and we’ve been learning as we go.  From free diving for ceviche to the catch and release of a 300 pound marlin, here I’ll tell our best fishing tales and break down how we fish on the boat.

Fish patrolling the reef

Hefty jacks patrolling the reef

Flashback to Fall of 2014, and due to my two years living in Hawaii and some modest experience big game fishing with an expert friend in Kona on the Big Island, I’m elected the one in charge of getting our fishing gear together.  After listening to my stories of hooking up multiple 5 foot hawaiian mahi mahi at the same time and catching a 103 pound ahi tuna, Kristian shows me his scant supplies.  A few handlines and random old lures indicate not much line fishing has ever happened on Aldebaran.  Hawaiian slings have been the main source of spearing California reef fish.

Some of our fishing implements get prime rafter space on the boat

Some of our fishing implements get prime rafter space on the boat

I explain to him that we need at least $500-$1000 worth of trolling gear and he gulps.  The Green Coconut Run boat repairs are already way over budget and this extra expense seems like a luxury.  It will pay off in protein I say.  Tropical waters are full of large pelagic fish we can catch and I’m willing to put in a couple hundred dollars.  Coop member Matt Dobberteen, a fellow fishing enthusiast, comes to the rescue with the rest and after scouring Craigslist, local stores, and online, I’ve put together everything we need. 

I scoured Craigslist for deals like these lures, known as feathers.  They came with an hour of advice from a salty Ventura fishermen

I scoured Craigslist for deals like these lures, known as feathers. They came with an hour of advice from a salty Ventura fishermen

We have two medium class 30-50 lb trolling set-ups, three casting rods, dozens of lures of all types, line, hooks, gaffs, and a net.  My last minute request for a fighting belt gets passed over in our final Westmarine order in San Diego and it takes a bit of convincing to assure the Captain it is a necessity, not a luxury.  Ryan and I both also purchase spear guns to add to the hawaiian slings already on board.

Sabrina's brother Pierre shows off the fighting belt

Sabrina’s brother Pierre shows off perfect form with the fighting belt

Fish On The Boat!

Our first fish comes on the second day of the trip, as we pass an underwater seamount near Santa Barbara Island.  The trolling rod zings and I pull in a five pound bonito – enough tuna to feed the entire crew. 

I’m a bit rusty on the fish filleting, but the bonito is pretty easy to cut up.  We discover an important thing about our designated fish cleaning station atop the aft cabin.  We must always ask Kristian and Sabrina to close their windows so fish guts and sea water don’t spoil their sheets….

Our first fish!  Feeding the Green Coco Run family begins

Our first fish! Feeding the Green Coco Run family begins

Trolling in the Channel Islands is somewhat frustrating with all the kelp, as there are many false alarms.  The first couple weeks we mostly catch bonito, and they seem to get larger as we head into Mexican waters where we catch a 20 pounder off of Ensenada. 

Me flleting our first big fish

Me filleting our first big fish

As the adrenaline of our largest catch wears off, we savor the freshest sashimi, thinking how this one fish will feed all five of us for several days.  The fighting belt comes in very handy – it makes pulling in a large fish much easier by shifting the strain of the end of the pole to the legs while avoiding certain bruising.

Sometimes you gotta just kiss your catch.  Ryan, stoked for his first bonito

Sometimes you gotta just kiss your catch. Ryan, stoked for his first bonito

Diving For Fish

The wilds of Baja prove to be plentiful grounds for spear fishing as well.  The kelp forests and sea life are very similar to California, but larger and more plentiful fish are found.  On my very first shot ever with my new speargun I manage to hit a nice opal eye and a couple weeks later end up getting a 12 pound sheephead off remote San Benito island.  Ryan is a more experienced diver and has great success with his new spear gun.  We catch fish every single time we go spear diving.

The fish of Baja are similar to California, but often larger.  This sheephead fed the crew for days

The fish of Baja are similar to California, but often larger. This sheephead fed the crew for days

In sparsely populated Baja, we are primarily passing through pristine ocean wilderness areas, and most of the other human contact we have are with fishermen.  They often stop to show off their catch or just chat it up for a while.  When we go on shore we sometimes pass simple fishing villages.  We have mutual respect for each other fellow seafarers.

Baja fishermen often stopped by to chat.  These guys had netted a huge white sea bass.

Baja fishermen often stopped by to chat. These guys had netted a huge white sea bass.

Sushi Time

Just south of Magdalena Bay, three quarters down the length of Baja, we are dodging lobster traps and our trolling rod zings.  The line feels so heavy it seems like we’ve wrapped up in a trap and I curse and ask Sabrina to put it into reverse.  Pulling, pulling, pulling and I feel some life on the other end and we catch our first non bonito on the trolling lines, a gorgeous 15 pound yellowtail. 

Sabrina with a nice yellowtail

Sabrina with a nice yellowtail

That night we pull into wild and mesmerizing Punta Tosca and celebrate with a Japanese feast including the fresh yellowtail, also known as hamachi, a favorite at sushi restaurants.

Sabrina is the sushi master

Sabrina is the sushi master

The fish was caught with a simple wooden cedar plug, whose action must drive fish crazy as so far it has been our most prolific producer.

The simple cedar plug, our most prolific producer.  The action drives fish to bite, here we've rigged it up with some squid.

The simple cedar plug, our most prolific producer. The action drives fish to bite, here we’ve rigged it up with some squid.

Finally In The Tropics

Rounding the tip of Baja, we are suddenly in tropical waters and all the sea life changes.  Clearer water, colorful fish, and 75 degree seas greet us as we meet up with Eric and Brian, two very enthusiastic spearfishermen, who proceed to show us how it is done.  The familiar fish of California are now replaced by a myriad of different reef fish and we continually have to consult the fish book to see what we’ve caught.  No matter the fish, almost all of them are delicious and as fresh as can get!

Eric surrounded by a baitball

Eric surrounded by a baitball

In these tropical waters we start catching lots of small tuna in the 3-4 pound range, known as skip jack.  They have a darker flesh and stronger taste, so often aren’t considered the prime tunas.  However we find they are excellent grilled with BBQ sauce and the captain shows off his Brazilian heritage by putting them in an amazing coconut stew.  The name “Sea Beef” sticks as we catch many of these small tunas, including four in one day that included an 11 and a 9 pounder.  Good thing we had Brian with us, with an appetite for three normal people!  Eric also brings down my mother’s luggage scale, which is the perfect implement for weighing fish.  We have a grand time playing the guessing game each time we catch a memorable fish.

Kristian and Sabrina and some nice Skip Jack Tuna, AKA “Sea Beef”

Fishing has been a fun surprise for most of the crew.  Everyone leaps with excitement and adrenaline when hearing the reel zing.  The wonder of pulling in the line and seeing what kind of jackpot we’ve won each catch is addicting.  Feeding ourselves from the sea is a magnificent way to experience the fathomless and beautiful ocean and we give thanks to the fish that feed our adventure.

To Be Continued.…. Part 2 finds us in the tropical waters of Mainland Mexico where we encounter the 300 lb marlin, our first ahi tuna, and abundant dorado of Mainland Mexico.

Crowdfunding Marine Reserves: inspirations from a Squid and a Wise Man

Arroyo seco proposed MPA

Underwater in the proposed marine reserve, “Arroyo Seco”. It is a grassroots, fishing community led initiative.

Here is one of the missing keys to the ocean’s health, and in fact, to our whole sailing voyage across 15,000 miles of the Pacific. We knew it had to do with marine reserves- and the incredible fish we had been catching on our boat-  but we weren’t sure how.

The revelation began with a scream.

“Aaaaaah!!” Sabrina exclaimed as she lept up, nearly sending her dinner plate flying across the cockpit. “A flying fish just hit me in the back of the head!” she said bewildered, jumping up and down. We turned on a light with excited anticipation.

“No way, it’s actually a squid- check it out!” Michael scooped the slimy cephalopod  off the cockpit bench with his fingers and put it on the table for closer inspection. We discovered over 50 ‘flying squid’ on the deck that night, but that first one we named Mr  Squiddy: the “magic one”.

Outside was deep darkness, the groan of rigging, and the satisfying flutter of sails. Aldebaran, our 42ft trimaran, was heading south, 30nm off the coast of Puerto Vallarta, surrounded by stars and brisk north winds.

Sunrise over the Pacific the next morning, no land in sight, Ryan baited our trolling rod with Mr. Squiddy on our famous cedar plug lure. Within 20 minutes the line was singing with a catch! All hands were on deck as we pulled in the fish that we had been yearning for, but been eluded by, since we left Santa Barbara a month and a half before: a yellowfin tuna, weighing in at 20lbs. Here was the coveted, delicious “ahi”.


Spirits high, we spent the next two days in Chamela Bay gorging on sashimi and rolling every form of sushi roll we could conceive. The bay is a gorgeous cruising ground with a dozen small islands, perfect for exploring with a standup paddle board. Here was the kind of dreamy seascape that drove us to spend our savings and months of sweat and tears to make this voyage happen.

Admittedly, fishing was my greatest surprise in this trip so far. With our small budget and small kitchen, we were eating better than we had ever in our lives– thanks to the fresh fish from the sea.  A deep appreciation for the ocean was growing in each of us as we harvested our daily protein. This reached new heights during magical moments like Mr. Squiddy bringing home a yellowfin tuna.


Four Arrows in between the ladies and the rest of the Green Coconut Crew

Just as we were enjoying our latest culinary invention, a “chili-mango-ahi roll”, we saw Four Arrows, aka Don Jacobs, paddling out to Aldebaran. It’s not every day that we see a 70 year old man paddling out to our sailboat, thin frame and sinewy muscles bronzed from sunshine.

Four Arrows is no ordinary man, however. He is a Native American of the Lakota tradition, a university professor and author of books covering dozens of topics. His expertise ranges from riding wild stallions, applied hypnotherapy, and his academic focus, curriculum for balanced education. He lives here in Chamela Bay, partly because it is the best place for him to battle his  7ry old lymphoma cancer. After being given just 2 yrs to live, he’s beating the cancer on a rigorous diet of coconut water, sunshine, organic whole foods, and a lot of exercise.

We had contacted Four Arrows to learn about his latest achievement: how he is setting up a grassroots marine reserve with Kickstarter funds for a local fishing cooperative, just south in a town called Arroyo Seco.

DSC05181“I knew nothing about marine ecology. But I had a vision during one of my sweat lodges: the fish needed protection. I spoke at the fishing coop meeting with my kindergarten level Spanish, not really expecting much,” explained Four Arrows.

The younger fishermen were naturally very skeptical. But the older fishermen started telling stories of how the fish used to be bigger and closer to shore.  Nowadays they had to go offshore many miles to find sizeable fish, which is dangerous with their single outboard pangas. By the end of the meeting they raised their hands and voted to consider the idea further.

They flew in a fisherman from Cabo Pulmo, a famous protected area in southern Baja, to tell the Arroyo Seco fisherman about the experience of creating a marine reserve: “It has transformed our lives,” said the fisherman from Cabo Pulmo.

big fish more babies

The fisherman continued: “The fish have come back, because the big fish in the reserve have millions of babies more than the small fish. We also have new opportunities in tourism, which is great for our children – more options for work keeps them around.” Having heard the testimonial, the Arroyo Seco cooperative approved the idea! Now they just needed the $26,000 for biological and social assessments, required for a National Marine Area designation.

Four Arrows took on the fundraising task. He laughed about his first experiment in crowd-funding: “Some one raised a million bucks on Kickstarter to make a cooler; so I figured we could raise the cash for our little reserve. There was no “environmental” category in Kickstarter so I put our project under “seafood”- and we met our goal in four weeks.”


Cooperativa de Arroyo Seco voting in favor of the proposed marine reserve

This innocent act – of connecting our love of eating seafood with the protection of the ocean – was an unplanned stroke of brilliance. Here was the missing link key which helped us define our own voyage.

As we had begun the Green Coconut Run, a sailing voyage from California to New Zealand, our dream was to enjoy the wild beauty of the ocean : surfing and diving in remote places. As young professionals in environmental and health fields we also wanted to visit marine reserves and help support them – somehow.

Here in Chamela Bay, enjoying ahi sushi and listening to Four Arrows, we realized that if we can connect appreciation of the ocean – through surfing, fishing, diving and sailing- to efforts  like this community led marine reserve, we can help preserve the ocean.


The “Los Frailes” rock formations in the proposed Arroyo Seco marine reserve

“We are calling this the Three Dorados Project,” explained Four Arrows of the proposed reserve in Arroyo Seco. “The name came to us as I was paddling with a fellow sport fisherman who was quite skeptical of the idea of a marine reserve (as all fisherman are!). Then quite close to shore, unexpectedly, three large Dorados swam between our two boards, entrancing us with their glittering beauty. The sport fisherman was so moved by this moment that he donated $5000 the very next day. He knew the ocean was talking to him.”

Will our grand kids be able to enjoy seafood as we do? Scientists say that pollution and overfishing may cause the collapse of many fisheries by mid century. One of the most important solutions suggested  is to expand the small network of marine protected areas, which currently cover less than 1% of coastal areas. Marine reserves give fish safe havens in which to breed and grow to full size and fecundity.

DSC05139Most existing reserves have been designated by governments in complex bureaucratic affairs. It is no wonder their creation has been slow. In comparison, the proposed Arroyo Seco marine reserve, measuring 16 square km and including a complete mangrove area, was developed in nine months with the support of local community. Official designation is expected in under a year with less than $35,000 invested.

Screen shot 2015-07-26 at 5.34.40 PM

The proposed Arroyo Seco reserve is to the south of Chamela Bay. For the Google Map link, click here and click “Chamela Bay” in the menu. 

This is the power of the Grassroots reserve effort: it is community led, it is relatively small and attainable, it is crowd-funded, and it is fast.

The science behind protected areas is well documented, and says that reserves are beneficial for both ecology and fisherman. A network of small marine reserves, located in important habitats every 50 miles, would make a vast improvement to fisheries and the ocean’s health.


Delighting in the “magic log”. If a random log in the middle of the ocean can bring together so much life, there is hope for restoration of fish.

The capstone to improve our relationship with the ocean will be to shift our attitude. Four Arrows put it eloquently:

“While we consider the ocean a ‘resource’, we will continue to abuse it. When we consider the ocean a ‘relation, – the fish and corals as our brothers and sisters – then we love and protect it.”

We have been moved by many moments on this voyage, only the latest being Mr Squiddy’s yellowfin tuna. The next night, we swam around the most brilliant display of bioluminescence, snorkeling through a galaxy of tiny stars. Two days later, we found a “magic log” in the middle of the ocean with dozens of turtles, small sharks, and schools of fish.

Sunset in Chamela Bay, mainland Mexico.

Sunset in Chamela Bay, mainland Mexico.

These experiences make it easy to see what Four Arrows is talking about. But even on a mundane beach, looking out at the horizon of the vast ocean, who doesn’t catch a glimpse of this awesome power and beauty?

Raising anchor and continuing our voyage south, we contemplated our fishing poles with new eyes- ever grateful for the offerings from the sea. We also contemplated our tasks ahead: to dodge hurricanes and lightning as we sail to Panama in the storm season; to find (and share) amazing experiences that move us; and in so doing, do our part to promote a growing network of marine protected areas. Because now we know that it is possible.


  • Support the grassroots, community marine reserve being set up in Arroyo Seco with Four Arrow’s help… see their Kickstarter link here. 
  • Like what the Green Coconut Run is about? Become a ‘patron’ of our video series and help the voyage keep going! Follow this blog for updates on our up-and-coming Patreon campaign.

Video Episode #5: Hook to Fork, Sea Venison

One of the most surprising parts of our voyage is how well we are eating!

People ask, “do you have a stove and a sink?”  Here is a video that will show the whole process of catching and cooking dinner, from “Hook-to-Fork”.

This video is about a 15lb Trevally Jack, which we prepare into “Sea Venison”. We’ve been eating so many different kinds of fish that we liken some to chicken, some to beef and this one in particular to venison..   It’s a red meat, hence the “crime scene” while Sabrina sweetly fillets the fish, an integral part of our cooking experience.


ps. If there’s good response we’ll try to make other “hook-to-forks” about our seafood exploits and old-fashioned boat cooking like bread, yogurt, and kim chi. So thumbs up if you enjoy it.

The Authentic Way of Mag Bay


Punta Tosca: a burly and majestic place, but a marginal anchorage

“Whatever it is we are looking for – we found it!”  Aldebaran had spent three nights in the Bahia Magdalena area; we were exhausted and euphoric.

Searching for surf and diving in remote places is not everyone’s cup of tea. The cruising book reads: “Shifting shoals, very marginal anchorage, various wrecks, avoid if possible.”  We interpret: “There might be waves and fish!”

It ain’t exactly ‘cruising’ … we dub it… Aggressive Cruising. We’re moving fast and going to funky places, courtesy of our trimaran’s great stability and the crew’s willingness for occasional suffering. Carving your own path has higher stakes but higher rewards — it feels pretty damn good to find our authentic way.

A lonely, blustery point break our friend Johnny had once told us about on a backdrop of gorgeous coastal mountains, near Bahia Magdalena.

Living authentically is also about eating really well- and getting close to the source.

At a village near a Mag Bay estuary, we traded a 10lb yellowtail for a few bucks and AA batteries, which Michael paddled in a SUP through the rivermouth breakers. Sabrina made exquisite sushi rolls that afternoon.

yellowtail sushi

The yellowtail soon became sushi rolls.. we have now run out of soy sauce

We later swam through a derelict ex-whaling station inside the bay, and when we pulled up anchor, a ton of tasty looking seaweed came up! That night it became seaweed salad (à la wakame) with sashimi from the yellowtail, along with Kim Chi that Ryan had been fermenting for 5 days (cabbage, carrots, and other vegetable detritus).

Breakfast featured fresh homemade yoghurt, which only fermented 8hrs in the sun, then was chilled overnight in the fridge. The jar of yoghurt was nicknamed “Bessie” and we talked to her sweetly as she matured in the dashboard basket.

seaweed anchor

Ok, making seaweed salad from what the anchor pulls up is a little extreme… but we had to give it a try!

Amid all this culinary extravaganza, we came upon the intimidating headland of Punta Tosca. The horrendous shoals and rock pinnacles sunk our spirits.. where was the anchorage? (Ahem, the book did mention it was an “emergency anchorage at best.)

anchoring bahia

Will she hold? Anchoring in strange places has its uncertainties.

The shoals had migrated offshore and we committed to a night in the turbulent, 50ft deep waters… then were rewarded with a most Mind-Blowing sunset and moonrise, and the next morning we scuba dove a 150ft ship wrecked on the rocks off the point with big lobster and gold treasures.

Subsequently every hugely intimidating but rewarding experience was dubbed a “Punta Tosca”. Few people probably stop here and for good reason– nevertheless it was one of our favorites for its pure ocean wilderness.

Dancing the seductive line between dreams and fears at Punta Tosca

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur fastest passage to date: 150nm in 24hrs. We left Punta Tosca and arrived in Cabo San Lucas the next afternoon after battling the twisted reacher sail off the forestay. We pulled up to Land’s End monumental rocks with a cavalry of tourism boats bumping techno music.

Tourist chaos spoiling the moment? Not at all… When aboard your own boat, you have your own world.  We marveled at the madness, and celebrated turning the “corner” with a fresh focaccia bread coming out of the oven.

Cabo is a love / hate relationship. What a contrast with the wild waters we had left; yet here was the arrival of blue water with 75ft visibility, 75F degree warm water we could swim anytime.

We would have another battle or two with purgatory, but the Holy Grail was within reach. The Sea of Cortez was the next stop.

sunrise yoga

Sunrise at Punta Entrada, Mag Bay

Walking on the footsteps of ex-whalers… grey whales were once decimated here, now they are protected and have made a great comeback.

Shakedown cruise on the Spring Equinox!

Unbelievable, we actually made it off the dock! We were installing gear until the last minute — solar panel mounts, caulking the deck, building the outboard mount — and somehow we put it all together and left Ventura Boatyard at noon on Saturday March 21. This was exactly 4 months to the day since we arrived in Ventura…. WOW.

We went to Anacapa and dove at Frenchy’s Cove, then spent the night at Smuggler’s Cove. The next morning we motored to Little Scorpion anchorage and had a glorious breakfast, what a great feeling to be back out here! The SCUBA compressor ran perfectly and we did a second dive through underwater caves, super clear water.

Sailing back across the channel revealed the need for some rigging modifications, which we’ll work on during the next few days in Santa Barbara harbor. ‘Twas a successful shakedown cruise!

from anacapa

from anacapa

leaving ventura

leaving ventura