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I surprised the wife on Tuesday morning by announcing our imminent departure for Mexico, sending her into a flurry of preparations that I find wholly unnecessary. Gilligan needs a dose of some drug that will supposedly settle his stomach during the 3-plus hour drive, water jugs need filling, cooler stocked, and she must have her various pillows, books and medications, too.

Good times.

All I really need is my passport and enough cash to see me through the interim. Oh, and my pocket knife. I need that, too. It’s not as if we’re going to be in BFE, dependent only upon our wiles and the vagaries of Vishnu.

So we roll out of Tucson about early afternoon with a full tank of reasonably cheap gasoline, headed for the border. Just before we get to the halfway point in Why, AZ, Gilligan pukes his guts out in the back seat.

Yeah, that valerian root helps.

We arrived in Puerto Penasco about mid-tide, got splashed quickly, and I motored over to Marina Fonatur, while Pam drove the car through the torn-up back streets to our handicapped parking spot. Howdy, boys!


Tomorrow’s weather forecast is calling for very light winds, so no need to set up the reefing lines while bending on the mainsail, and I skipped installing the jacklines, too.

Oscar, of the catamaran Tiempo, said the whales were about 7 miles out, at a heading of 150 degrees. He’s our resident whale-whisperer, the Svengali of all things cetacean, so we thanked him and then hit the malecon for supper.


Homero says “Hello, and welcome home!” I had the chili rellenos.

Day 2-

Up before the sun, take the dogs for their morning ablutions, and try to keep their noses out of the fishy detritus left to rot along the small beach at the public ramp. A dog needn’t starve here, but he’ll need a strong constitution.

Coffee, a leisurely dockside breakfast, yet more coffee, and let’s put out!


The winds were indeed light, so I fired up the outboard, and we made our way SSE. Not too much later, Tiempo is passing us, but along a different course, more Southwesterly. I added a few degrees to my course, as an homage to Oscar’s sagaciousness in these matters.
A little later, the breeze had picked up to where I could shut down the outboard, and still make about 2-3 knots of speed. Whoo-hoo.

We never did get quite far enough out to see the whales that day. I spotted a spout or two through the binoculars, probably a couple of miles distant.

We slowly sailed back into port. So it goes.

Supper that night was at “China Fortune”, where we split a massive plate of Mongolian Chicken. ‘Ol Marty’s right about Chinese restaurants. They’re either really good, or they’re okay. This one was really good.

Day 3-

A repeat of the previous morning’s machinations, with a little twist. My dock neighbors, Carl and Cordina, are MIA, and haven’t been down to their boat in way too long. The pelicans have taken to roosting on the railings, decks and various accoutrements, pooping prodigiously. And I mean prodigiously. Thankfully, Oscar had brought a power washer down to the docks, and graciously allowed me the use of it.
I spent a couple hours spewing feces all over the place, and was obliged to rinse down the boats on either side of Carl’s Sea Ray afterwards, one of them being mine.

The road to hell, huh? Well, I just hope that if someone sees my boat in dire straits, it doesn’t get ignored.

Meanwhile, Pam’s cleaning up the waters surrounding our docks, pulling out all sorts of trash with each ebb and flow of the tides.

She’s starting to learn some Spanish, too, like the word “basura”.

I have to throttle her back a little when she starts proselytizing, however, because I don’t think people much care to have a gringo woman yelling “Basura” at them. Context is everything.

Our Boy Scout-ly deeds for the day done (well, mine anyway), we again put out to spot some whales. And this time the wind gods were much more generous!

4, 5, sometimes almost 6 knots of speed were attained as we made our way out to where we’d seen Tiempo yesterday, and we were rewarded with whales!




It’s an amazing, thrilling feeling, seeing these giants up close and personal, if about 25 yards is “up close and personal” enough for you. It was the closest Pam or I have ever been to a wild humpback, so far.

Here’s a shot of Sovereign’s track that day, with our whale intercept point marked with a flag.


An excellent day!

For supper that night, Lucas’ Pollo Shack along the main drag.

Day 4-

We passed the time waiting for a mid-tide haulout by taking the dogs out to Sandy Beach. The only accessible area now seems to require that you buy a drink, and it being morning, I made it a bloody mary. The folks at Wrecked At The Reef were happy to allow our dogs access to the small strand of beach next to that new cruise ship pier being installed.


Gilligan got his first taste of saltwater waves lapping at his paws, and after overcoming his fear of the unknown, was soon tenuously wading while Ziggy showed off her own fearlessness.



It’s like pictures of a child’s first steps, huh? With a little cheap vodka thrown in for good measure.


A beach-side hawker, hunkered over his smartphone.


Maybe someday, I’ll have a smartphone, too. Maybe.

After a while, we headed back to the marina, moved our modes of transportation back over to Safe Marina, and had hit the road by 1345 hours.

I might install a set of speakers on my little boat next visit, just to annoy the neighbors with some weird music.

Cultural imperialism works both ways, you know. : )



  1. nice adventure ! And a great photo of Pam on the boat ! 🙂 miss you guys- glad to see you are having fun.

  2. Tom, you are an excellent writer. I really enjoy your updates. That is awesome about seeing the whales! We are at the Costa Rica boogie and Saturday we should be able to get in a long overdue blog update, but more than that we can’t wait to see you guys in person and share tales over some beers. Hopefully in May sometime

    • Thanks, Karin or Joe!

      I always enjoy reading about your adventures, so update often, please. Oh, and lemme know when your transiting Northward…

      Say “Hi” to everyone for me!

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