Big Dollar continued

Please remember that when Pete returned from fishing, his mind was on the fish he caught…  And it was calm, no waves or wind, so he was not putting much attention on how he secured the dinghy.  We feel quite strongly that the dinghy got away for this reason.  In those dark moments in the night when the dinghy was gone, (which also had Pete’s bag full of things like his wallet, credit cards, driver’s license, etc.) if someone where to ask, would you pay $50 to have it all back again, like it had never left?  We would have been so happy and  relieved.  This is what José did for us – he made it so all was as it was before…  And so, $50 is the value of Big Dollar in this case :).

This experience has invited us to realize how much we value our dinghy.  We are taking much better care of it now!!  And have also finally found a name, which we will soon have put on the transom: Big Dollar.



Big Dollar

After Pete’s awesome catch from fishing in the lagoon at Bahia Magdalena (two spotted bass and a finescale trigger fish) he was so excited!  The kids were excited too, Neli wanted to begin dissections and Liam was keen to clean and fillet…

After dinner I was sleepy, my bedtime has become 7pm or so since I was used to beginning my watch at 3am.  I heard the fenders banging a bit so asked Pete if he could move the dinghy back to the stern and pull the fenders right out of the water for the night.

Pete:  Where is the dinghy??  The dinghy isn’t here!!!!

I went out on deck and sure enough no dinghy to be seen.  It was dark by this point.  No use even trying…

In those moments before sleep came, Pete and I both realized how much we rely on that dinghy!!  And now it’s gone…  How could we even replace it in rural Mexico?  We didn’t know…

Luckily it was a northeast wind that night, so theoretically it might just have washed up on the beach closer to the town of Puerto Magdalena…  There was a little hope…  But maybe it was stolen…  We were right there the whole time but over dinner or who knows when, maybe someone took it?

I woke up at 4:30am (slept in!!) and began writing out phrases to ask Gregorio’s the port Captain.

My dinghy is missing (mi dinghy ha desaparecido)

Have you seen it? (?Ha visto mi dinghy?)

Our dinghy is adrift (my dinghy esta a la deriva)

Can you please help me? (?Puede ayudarme?)

And so on….  I wanted to say “we” but the phrase book we have seems to prefer the 1st person singular….

Then sunrise came.  Daylight!!!  I was out on deck with the binoculars scanning the entire horizon… Nothing.

7am Pete got up and we started to mobilize.  We’d go over closer to the town, drop anchor, go in the kayak to shore to plead for help from Gregorio.

We were getting underway when Gregorio’s panga came roaring up to us.  Once he was close we could hear him saying “tu dinghy!!!!”. Yes!!  He knew who’d found it, José at the palapa restaurant, we should go find him, he had it pulled up there.  But don’t give any money, we thought we heard him say…  And then he was off, to the town of SanCarlos on a fuel run.

Relief!  Off we went to find José 2 miles away.

Town of Puerto Magdalena

We dropped anchor near the palapa and got the kayak in the water.  Liam and Pete went to shore and pulled up near the palapa restaurant.  Liam was holding the “Spanish for Cruisers ” book.

Pete:  Buenos dias!!

José: (in Spanish) is this your dinghy?

Pete:  Si!  Muchas gracias!!  We were worried!

José: No problema (points at dinghy) Pete thinks he then says, big problem)

Pete: Gracias!

José: something something something donero… something

Pete: Money?

José:  Si si si

Si Si Si!
Si Si Si!

Pete:  Um… Gregorio said no money

José: (in Spanish, but what Pete understood was:) But, pulling up on the beach and out with my boat, was a lot of work.

Pete:  So you want money.

José:  Si, si si, no problema.

Pete:  Wait, no problem?  So you don’t want money?


José: silent but with that look…


Pete: Soooo you do want money

José:  Si si si

Pete: So, Americano? or pesos?

José: No problema

Pete: what?  so you don’t want money?



Pete: So how much?

José: in the clearest English yet; BEEGH DOLLAH

Pete: Big dollar…

José: Si si si

Pete:(in English and sign language, taps on chest) I go back to boat (points to our boat) to get the money (rubs fingers with thumb)

José:  Si, OK

Pete:  I’ll come back.

So Pete and Liam came back with the dinghyand the kayak and filled Neli and me in on what went down.  Big dollar..  so how much is that??  I asked…

Pete: I think $100

Sara: what??!!  no way!!  Gregorio said no money!!

Pete: well, he does want money…

So, here’s my question to you, dear reader, how much would you think “big dollar” should be in this situation?

We’ll fill you in on how it unfolded in the next post 🙂


Photos, Mag Bay to Cabo

Swimming!!  Mag Bay
Swimming!! Mag Bay
Fishing in the lagoon
Fishing in the lagoon


Bringin' home the bacon (fish actually)
Bringin’ home the bacon (fish actually)



Fine scaled trigger fish and sea bass for dinner
Fine scaled trigger fish and sea bass for dinner


Village at Man of War Cove, Port Captain Gregorio's town
Village at Man of War Cove, Port Captain Gregorio’s town
En route to Cabo San Lucas, skipjack tuna
En route to Cabo San Lucas, skipjack tuna


In Cabo, hauling our groceries back to the dinghy
In Cabo, hauling our groceries back to the dinghy


Sara finally goes swimming - it's warm enough!!!
Sara finally goes swimming – it’s warm enough!!!


Among many small tour boats at Land's End, Cabo
Among many small tour boats at Land’s End, Cabo


The famous arches at Land's End
The famous arches at Land’s End

Next stop: La Paz

Hola Mexico!

 It was just 70 miles or so to get to Ensenada from San Diego so we thought an overnight trip would be best. We also wanted to get there early enough in the morning so that we could complete all of our check in procedures during office hours.  We arrived at Baja Naval marina at 9am.  Jose the man at the marina ofice was very helpful with getting us organized to present to the harbour master and all of the other offices.  Luckily the offices are all in the same buikding in Ensenada as opposed to scattered all over the town like in many other Mexican ports of entry.  Our friends Doug and Lyneita Swanson from Comox, BC on board their Coast 34 Ka’sala were at the marina too!  In Ensenada we were surprised by how much garbage was strewn around the streets, sidewalks and harbour…  Everywhere we looked, it seemed, there was garbage. And nobody seeed to mind or even notice!  So we tried to stop noticing too…  when in Rome, as they say….

The following day we went to the bank (Scotia Bank no less!) to get pesos and also go grocery shopping.  We thought we lost our hand cart in the grocery store at one point (panic!!!) but we found it again.  The walk back to the marina all loaded down with our stuff was an adventure.  The sidewalks were cracked, uneven, had huge potholes and sometimes were nonexistent…  but we made it and it was fine.  I wish we’d known how much cheaper provisioning would be in Ensenada…  they have everything we expect in a grocery store… and much much cheaper than San Diego…

The idea was to leave for Turtle Bay the following day.  Our friends on Ka’sala left the marina at 10am on Nov. 28th while we left at 11:45.  Once we were out there, and the weather was so good (north wind 10-20 knots at various times) we decided to keep going to Magdalena Bay.  Pete and I decided to do 6 hour shifts through the night. This would allow each of us to get 6 hours of uninterupted sleep at a time.  I think this worked better than our 3 on 3 off from before.  Three hours of sleep at a time over many days becomes very difficult to live with…  Even though Pete took maclazine for this part of the trip too he still felt seasick most of the time…  he’s noticed that wheat (gluten?) makes him feel worse,which made for limited options for snacks and meals…  this was difficult.

We arrived at Bahia Magdalena around noon on December 3.  It is like a desert oasis here.  Sand dunes right beside the sea shore… White powder sand…we have been swimming and snorkeling near our Anchorage in Puerto Magdalena, hoping to get over to Bahia Maria for a bit of boogie boarding later today…. Surprisingly, there is cell coverage here so our T-Mobile service is working.  Its spotty though so we are not renewing it.  We’ll probably get a telcel Sim card in La Paz.  I can’t load any photos right now so that will have to wait too… Hope to add them in La Paz.  Not much farther now 🙂