Friday, February 25, 2011

Adios Mexico

The dinghy is on deck, the tanks are full, food is organized, and spirits are soaring as Namaste sets sail this morning for her passage across the Pacific Ocean to the Marquesas.
We've had an unbelievable time at Las Islas Revillagigedos and our hearts are sad to say goodbye, but we're leaving this paradise for another.
The mantas, whales and dolphins at Isla San Benedicto and Clarion were an amazement. The diving has been spectacular and we've been blessed with great weather and good times.
We're extremely excited to reach the South Pacific and I'm pumped for my first big passage. Chris is a seasoned and salty sailor and this is his sixth time crossing the Pacific.
Wish we had more wind, the conditions are pretty mellow, but we'll raise the spinnaker and head out. We're expecting the 2,400-mile trip to take between 16-19 days. We'll stay in good touch via email and would love to get messages from all of you to help pass the time.
Much love, and many hugs and kisses to all our friends and family!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

RE: website

Hey Chris and Jessica! Hope your journey is going well! Larry had given me your website and I thought I signed on to get your updates but I guess not, and now neither he nor I can find the email that had the website address! Can you send it to me? I would love to follow your trip!! and live vicariously :))
Audrey from Jackson Hole

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

whale wonder

Our first fully rested day at Isla Clarion was one to remember.
We awoke to several sets of mother and baby whales nursing in the bay where we're anchored. The young ones would go in for a feed and then surface with a light blow while the mothers rested at the surface. It was a serene moment at this unique paradise.
We loaded up the dinghy and headed for the Pedros Pinnacle on the northwest corner of the island. When we arrived at the GPS coordinates, given to us by the live-aboard dive boat Nautilus Explorer, there was a significant 10-foot swell pumping and the site was too precarious for us alone in our dinghy. We decided to circumnavigate and saw dramatic red cliffs, and an incredible rock monument on the northeast tip. This was another dive spot, but the waves created limited visibility, so we continued on to the third location recommended to us.
We dove at a large rock formation about 1/2 nautical mile offshore of the southeast point in 50-140 feet of water. It was an awesome dive with insane visibility, between 70-80 feet, and warmer temperatures. There were thousands of fish, gigantic trumpetfish, massive lobsters in a cool cave, a deep swim-through, turtles and octopuses.
Near the end of our dive, I looked up and what did I see..........A HUMPBACK WHALE! I couldn't believe my eyes, it was the most amazing and one of the luckiest things ever. It's so rare to see one swim through a dive site, but you couldn't miss this 25-30 foot giant. After we surfaced, we saw the whales a few hundred yards away from our dinghy.
My heart was soaring all afternoon, and I felt giddy for hours from the experience.
After a lunch of fresh seared-tuna tacos, we jumped back in the pangita and dove in a protected cove close in the next bay north of the anchorage. It was a shallow dive with lots of big rocks, coral, fish and white-tip reef sharks. We also found what must be the largest lobster alive!
We're extremely stoked to be here and can't wait for tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

San Benedicto

It's been an action packed few days here at Isla San Benedicto. If you consider mantas, sharks and whales action-packed!
We had some amazing manta interactions on Saturday at the point near the anchorage. We had loaded up the dinghy en route to the boiler dive site, but on our way we encountered a full-blown manta gathering. There were seven or eight relatively close together and it was a feeding frenzy. The manta's were swimming in circular patterns scooping up zooplankton and filtering huge amounts of water through their gills. It was an unbelievable sight, and like nothing we've seen out here before. In between feeding, they were playing with us and showing off their incredible underwater skills, doing flips and swimming upside down to get a better look at us. All in all, an incredible day!
On Valentine's Day, which Chris doesn't believe in because "everyday is Valentine's Day" we celebrated our love...underwater! Trust me, wetsuits are sexy :)

Then, we packed up the dinghy and headed up to the boiler for a wonderful deep water pinnacle dive. We spotted whales very near our location when we were suiting up. It was incredible to listen to them underwater. The sounds of a mother and baby grunting back and forth to communicate was so loud it was literally pulsing through our bodies. When you dive it's normally so quiet that all that noise was almost disorienting.
We also got the chance to test my new shark shield in action. A large silky shark came in for a too-close-for-comfort look and I turned on my "force" as I like to call it. The shark did an abrupt 180 and took off, never to be seen again. I guess that thing really works!
Following our dive, we took a leisurely dinghy ride to circumnavigate the island, seeing around 10 more whales and a few manta's.
Today, we went out in search of manta's - big surprise! I snorkeled with an all-black manta that had to be between 16-18 feet across. It was massive as it came up close underneath me to check me out. It was busy feeding and swimming too quick to keep up. Chris snorkeled with another one up in this cool little bay we found on the northwest side of the island. We came back to our bay and dove at the anchorage bommie, seeing lots of fish and eels.
After a lunch of leftover  chile rellenos, we were back in the water, looking for more dinner.  We saw two beautiful turtles, loads of fish and six white-tip reef sharks. After returning to the boat, the whales put on another show, featuring a mother and baby simultaneously tail slapping and breaching.
I'm sure there'll be more to come....

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

seriously, this is it - we're off!

It's been a whirlwind couple of days in Cabo San Lucas as we ready the boat, and ourselves, for the big blue sail. It took us most of the morning yesterday to finalize departure from Mexico with immigration and the port captain, but it's all done and we're clear!
We also received great news today. We've been granted permission to visit Isla San Benedicto on our southerly sail. We were originally told the island was closed to visitors during naval training exercises on the adjacent island of Socorro. But we were told at the office today, and we have the permit to prove it, that we may go there, as well as Isla Clarion. This is amazing, and we're so ecstatic to revisit the island where we had so many awesome manta ray and whale encounters last season. So our plan has changed slightly and we'll now be sailing directly to San Benedicto when we leave Cabo San Lucas tomorrow morning.
Namaste is packed to the gills with food, fuel, beer and wine. It's amazing how this boat just swallows up huge quantities. I think we could live on it for years and not run out of anything - except fresh veggies!
It really hit us both today, and we got a little giddy with excitement for this adventure. As this is my first big passage, I'm an emotional mixture of thrills, quivers and a few tingles. Chris is getting a real kick out of all the "What if" questions that I've been throwing at him at an alarming rate, but he answers them all with patience and a smile.
The French lessons have finally started, and we're committed to studying a few hours a day from here on out. It seemed to be too difficult to start until now, considering I'm already speaking another language every day up to this point. My brain can only take so much!
We promise to stay in very close touch with everyone via email, and remember we love to hear what's going on back on the mainland.
Many hugs, kisses and thanks to all our family and friends. More to come, as you can imagine....
xoxo-Chris and Jess

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