In Part 1 I shared the kind of information that it’s useful to know before arriving in a new place. Now it’s on to the fun stuff! Here are some of our favourite things to do locally, and details about places to visit around El Salvador.
Exploring locally: These places often don’t have websites, but they’re all on Google maps:
The imposing, bird-covered Monument rock at Ensenada El Candelero on Isla Espíritu Santo is surrounded by fish, crabs, and red seastars clinging to the rocks. After a drift around in the dinghy watching all the life thriving in the shallow water, we headed to the beach to follow a trail to a dried-up waterfall. The island is managed by CONANP (National Commission of Natural Protected Areas) and has six authorized paths for hiking, accessible from different bays. This was one of the easy ones, a 40 minute round trip according to the leaflet we were given when we bought our permit to enter National Parks on our boat, and suitable, we hoped, for a young sailor to work his land-legs. Continue reading “Water, water, everywhere? Family walk in Isla Espíritu Santo”
We anchored yesterday here in Bahía San Gabriel, on the south west of Isla Espíritu Santo in the Sea of Cortez, and woke up this morning to a bay full of clouds and colour. The boat was covered in dew, the air was wet with morning mist, and sun beams shone through the grey hanging over the hills. Magnificent Frigatebirds circled overhead along with a few Turkey Vultures, at the shore there’s a Great Blue Heron, and on the water a group of maybe a hundred Least Grebes (I think, definitely some kind of grebe) moved around tightly packed together, ducking under, then chirping their way back into view. As the sunlight got stronger, cloud reflections and wind ripples on the water swirled into gently shifting patterns of blue, white, grey and green, smudgy like an oil-painting. Continue reading “Birds, cactus, and friends: exploring the Baja Peninsula and Sea of Cortez”
Wow! We haven’t written a blog post since February? Oops! So much has happened with and on Illusion since then. We’ve done a slightly better job at keeping Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram up to date, but if you don’t follow us on there, here’s a quick recap, written with apologies for being the worst bloggers ever….
So 2016 is coming to an end and what a year it’s been.
We are delighted that this was the year we finally got Illusion up to British Columbia, were able to live-aboard as a family for a while, started exploring the amazing Salish sea, and shared some great sailing and boat-based social times with friends, old and new. Summer feels a long time ago now, but wow, we had some brilliant local trips and started to get the hang of sailing with a little one. We didn’t do a great job of updating the blog, but our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages are usually fairly current, and perhaps over Christmas we’ll add some videos or posts about our time in Desolation Sound and other beautiful places round here! We’re excited to gradually get to know more boat-people in this area and are especially impressed by the hardy liveaboards who brave the winter here, despite a lack of official support for long-term anchoring in False Creek and nearby beaches, and manage to keep cheerful too. Everyone should have a few (friendly) pirates in their lives! Continue reading “Endings and beginnings”
There were numerous moments over the last three years when we wondered whether we should just give up on trying to get Illusion to Vancouver. It was so complicated and expensive and time-consuming. And then on top of that wanting to visit our families for weddings and births and funerals, the addition to our own family-crew, the ongoing pressure of trying to complete my PhD, Doug’s surgery and recovery from his shoulder injury, and all the other ups and downs of life…. Yawn, I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about all the bad stuff. Every few months we would have a serious talk about whether we should give up on trying to get the boat here. Maybe sell her. Maybe sail her back to the Marquesas. Maybe go and live on her in Hawaii. But none of it quite made sense and each time we re-evaluated, our conclusion was to keep pushing on. We couldn’t easily sell her without a working engine, but if she had a working engine, we could get her here and in that case we didn’t want to sell her. So we just stuck at it and waited for all the circumstances to make sense and come together and…. eventually, they did!
Hi! Happy new year! Well, yeah, not exactly new any more, but we’re just settling back into Vancouver after six weeks away (no, not on the boat, come on, you know us better than to think we’d actually go sailing, don’t you? Hoho. More on that later…) so it still feels new to us. And hey, it was still January when I started writing this. Just.
Illusion has been in Kewalo Basin Harbor since November 2014 and although Doug’s made a few trips down to work on the engine, he’s hardly been out of the engine room! So when Toby and I went down to join him for a while recently, it was up to us to go and check out what Honolulu has to offer the visiting cruiser. In Part 1 I talked about the practical stuff – bear in mind that we’re on a budget and not looking for the fanciest restaurants and bars, so it’s all pretty basic. But we had some fun times, and managed a little bit of exploring too in between hose-showers, galley cleaning, and swimming in the sea!
Obviously ideally you’d want to get away from Honolulu and explore the quieter parts of Oahu, (and even more ideally, take off to the other islands!), but even without a car and keeping local there are some fun and interesting times to be had. Diamond Head and Pearl Harbor are two of the most obvious nearby ‘attractions’, but although Doug explored both (and thought they were worth a visit), I decided to use my free time to check out the art galleries. Continue reading “Cruisers’ Guide to Kewalo Basin Harbor – Part 2: Being tourists..”
After Illusion sat in Ko Olina Marina for over a year we were pretty keen to work out somewhere else for her to be. We’d gone there originally because they were the only place to get back to my emails confirming Doug could arrive there and the paperwork seemed manageable. It worked out fine as a place to arrive to from the Marquesas, but overall we had a slightly disappointing time there – it’s right by a resort and is basically a really impractical spot unless you have a car, and even if you do, it’s not that ideal. The restaurants, shops and bars at the resort were crazy expensive and to get to other stores required a longish walk and bus-ride. There were a couple of friendly people on other boats, but it wasn’t a great vibe in general and it wasn’t cheap either – though we had some fun times wandering through the hotels and hanging out at the beaches. Maybe as a live-aboard place with a car it would be better, and admittedly it coincided with not being able to get our engine mended, Doug’s shoulder preventing him from sailing, Doug having a bad back, and me visiting while pregnant and really struggling with the heat – so it’s not surprising it has some bad associations for us! Anyway, last November when Doug went down with his friend Petra (while I was too pregnant to travel!) they managed to get a tow out of the marina and sailed to Honolulu. It should have been an afternoon sail, though they were unlucky with the winds and it took a while longer than hoped, but they eventually got into the harbour and that’s where Illusion‘s been for the last few months.