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Photos - San Carlos, Guaymas, Tucson

August through December 2003

 We ended up staying in San Carlos five months to fix the damage done by the lightning strike. Most of the repairs were to the electronic devices that were fried (SSB radio, VHF radio, speedo, autopilot, radar, GPS, battery monitor, solar regulator), requiring multiple trips to Tucson in the U.S. for access to the U.S. mail system (the Mexican system doesn't integrate with the U.S. system as the Canadian system does). Also, Karryn made a trip to Maine with the kids, and Jackson and I spent a month in Seattle. We finished our stay with a month long haul-out at a wonderful yard in Guaymas.

The summer weather was quite memorable. We arrived in San Carlos at the beginning of the hottest period of summer, when inside-cabin temperatures were in the upper 90's and the humidity level was over 85% (Baja, with similar temperatures, had humidity levels closer to 50%). It stayed this way through August, September, and even into October; during that last month, record high temperatures were set in Arizona.

The humid air turbo-charged by an unrelenting sun creates amazing clouds that descend on the Sea of Cortez and transform into intense lightning storms called Chubascos. We saw six Chubascos over the course of the summer, the first when we were hit by lightning near Punta Concepcion on the Baja side, and the other five when Karryn and the kids were in Maine and Seafire was anchored in Bahia San Carlos. Each of these storms had more lightning than I'd seen in the first 42 years of my life. In two of them the winds were so severe that I lay on the deck for fear of being blown off; gusts in the marina, sheltered from the worst winds, were as high as 68 knots.

An unusual year, with four hurricanes coming into the Sea of Cortez, one at the end of August which caused us to put Seafire in a slip in Marina San Carlos, and another three while Karryn and Naomi were in San Carlos alone and Bill and Jackson were in the NW. Only one of these three hit San Carlos; fortunately it was weakened from its passage north and moved quickly, so little damage was done.

The November weather was perfect, but December was downright cold, with morning temperatures around 50 degrees in our unheated cabin.

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Self-portrait of a one-eyed sea monster. Dawn over San Carlos as we cross the Sea (previous photos are of sunsets). Clouds over the Sonoran Desert, near San Carlos. These thunderheads sometimes turn into Chubascos, fearsome lightning storms that move west and cross the Sea of Cortez, typically at night.

Arlyn, our 20-year-old niece, while visiting in San Carlos.

<- Repairing the lightning damage done to the electrical devices at the masthead.



The kids taking pix of each in the back of the rental car. We had reserved a smaller car, but the rental agency had only the bigger sizes when we arrived in Tucson. We ended up with a Buick Park Avenue (think of a car your wealthy grandparents would drive), which gave us nothing but trouble on our drive through Sonora. Everyone thought we had enough money to own the beast, and held their hands out accordingly.
Seafire's interior. Alexandria of Peregrinata. Naomi, a witch for Halloween.
Marina kids dressed for Halloween. Marina dads admiring their costumed children. Katrina of Peregrinata.
Seafire under sail. Patches, a Searunner 40 sistership. Hauling Patches in Guaymas.

  Naomi trying on dresses that Bill bought for her in Seattle.  
Hauling Seafire in Guaymas. We found the experience of using the very large Travelift (28 ft wide and 60 ft long) the least tense of all the methods we've used to pull the boat out of the water. The crew running the Travelift were extremely competent as well as very respectful of our knowledge of the best places to put the straps.
Karryn on the night Bill returned after being in Seattle for a month, waiting for Naomi to finish trying on dresses. View from the Desert Museum in Tucson. View from the boatyard in Guaymas.

Flint of Beachcomber
. Note the tall curb.   
Touring Guaymas. San Carlos is a resort town for both gringos and inland Méxicanos with money, and feels like a small piece of Arizona which just happens to be 300 miles south of the border. Guaymas is a real Mexican town, and we enjoyed our forays into it and our five weeks in the boatyard there. Everyone we met was very friendly. The boatyard was located in a relatively poor neighborhood, and we got used to being the token gringos taking the bus into town for groceries, internet access, and Chinese food.
Note the air conditioner behind us. The sidewalks and general surroundings are not constructed or maintained with any regard for liability laws, since they don't exist in Mexico, so you have to keep your eyes open.   Guaymas used to be a big center for shrimpers (fishing boats set up to catch shrimp). As is evidenced by the photos, the shrimping industry is dying and there are many boats just rusting away.
The local buses are old school buses from the U.S., meaning they no longer are up to the safety standards of the States. They can range from a bit rickety to downright scary, although generally speaking we felt safe riding in them. It appears that the drivers get the same bus every day (I'm not sure if they own them or just lease / rent/ use ones from the bus company), and the buses are individually decorated, many with paintings of the Virgin of Guadalupe and / or Jesus Christ on the ceiling just over the driver's head. The buses between San Carlos and Guaymas are real buses and much nicer, although I'm sure they weren't intended to be driven (at 60 mph in a 60-kph speed zone) with the door open, while someone facing backwards, sitting on the dash next to the open door, is holding a conversation with the driver! We've also noticed that occasionally the driver is letting someone else drive on the less-traveled parts of the route, both in Guaymas and in Mazatlan, and we've never figured out if these are drivers-in-training or just the driver's friends.

The bus to Tucson and Phoenix. We got to know the stretch between Guaymas and Tucson better than we wanted to.

Bill in black, specifically the black sweater his mom made for his dad.

On Christmas day, we had the usual small celebration with the kids and Yvonne in the morning, then headed to a potluck Christmas dinner hosted by Dan and Heather of C'est La Vie. They had rented a small house near the marina while they were working on their boat, so we all enjoyed the space (wow – a real kitchen!) and the view. Bill wandered around the hill taking pictures while dinner was being cooked.
Note from Santa. Faithful anchored in Bahia San Carlos Bahia San Carlos
Panga with fisherman heading for the fishing camp in Bahia San Carlos. Bahia San Carlos Brad of Faithful
Brant of Bruja Heather of C'est La Vie Julie of Faithful
Jackson and Naomi with Siobhan and Thor of Faithful. Looking westward across the Sea of Cortez at sunset, when unusual conditions allowed seeing the Baja mountaintops. We took Yvonne to the boatyard to invite Arnie (Arnulfo) and his puppy Jupiter to dinner, and took more pictures while we were there.

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