Excerpts from Talion's Log

Part 4 - Back to San Diego and the '08 - '09 Cruising Season


The trip back home to La Paz from Puerto Vallarta was pretty uneventful except that the only camera that took any pictures got wet so we have nothing to show for it... and except for one scary night at sea. This is what Talion sent to the editor of Latitude 38:

On the rumb line between La Paz and Puerto Vallarta are a group of islands called the Tres Marias. It’s well known there is a prison on one island and the Sailing Directions say boats are to stay well clear to avoid interception and detention. "Talion" has always passed the islands on the south side. We have never seen a sign of life ashore but the sea life has been abundant. Not being one to follow rules every time we pass we get closer and closer… still have seen no one.

On the way back from the Banderas Bay Regatta this March with Allison Cary, and her 20 year old daughter Mercedes the wind took us north of the islands so as we neared we plotted a course 3 miles off their north side. Just after midnight I came out for my watch. Allison had us on a course 5 miles to the north and we could see lights on one island.

10 minutes after Allison went below there was a white light approaching from the port side. I smiled a big grin at it and waved in an attempt to appear friendly. As the light got closer I could see it was a panga with about 8 men. Three of the men were dressed in cammo with automatic weapons and big black boots. The boat got closer and started to slam into the side of "Talion". The men were screaming in Spanish and the ones holding the guns looked about 17 with very nervous twitching eyes. I only know enough Spanish to order a taco and find the bathroom so I yelled for Allison. After attempting to communicate with them for a minute she yelled for Mercedes who grew up in La Paz on the family boat “Free Run”… this kid knows her Spanish. A few minutes later 2 men jumped onto "Talion"… one of them had a gun. This is getting worse! One guy crouched down near Mercedes and started talking to her. Mercedes came to the conclusion that we passed too close to the islands and they want us to go in with them for an inspection. "Talion" was motoring as fast as the boat would motor away from the islands. “Tell them we apologize, we will leave, we won’t do it again”. "Talion" continued to get further away. “Inspect the boat out here.” The man told Mercedes that the Director needs to inspect the boat and he is on the island. Finally we decided these guys have no say in the matter and our only choice is to go to the island. We turned "Talion" around and headed to the lights of the prison.

When we arrived we were told to tie to a massive ship size dock with tires larger than "Talion" on the outside. When we said no they offered the concrete pier which had rebar and giant chunks of broken concrete sticking out. Finally they said we could anchor. The first anchoring attempt dragged, the second held but as we were setting the anchor the panga came back on the starboard side, slamming into "Talion", men were trying to climb aboard, yelling in Spanish. I let go of the wheel, stood up on a cockpit seat, and screamed at them to back off. I know they didn’t understand my English but I am sure they understood my mood. They stayed away while we finished anchoring, we put fenders on the starboard side, opened the lifeline gate, and motioned them to come aboard.

We were told the Director could not inspect the boat until morning. While we wait we will not be allowed to stay on the boat. Let me get this straight... you want three women to leave their boat and spend the night in a penal colony? NO WAY we argued, we pleaded, we begged, señor, por favor, deja al compromiso, por favor. They told Mercedes that if we did not cooperate they have the right to confiscate the vessel. OK! And we went below to pack. What does one pack to spend the night in a prison? Jammies, change of clothes, toothbrush, I’m taking my jewelry & cash, what about the flare gun? hair dryer? sheets! Do we need food? Camera, boat papers, computers, cell phone, should we set off the ephirb? We sere tossing suitcases, duffel bags, back packs, groceries, and anything else we could think of in the cockpit. The pile was huge. Finally at 3 am we decided we were ready and went outside. They looked at the pile and waved their arms and said something to Mercedes. They changed their minds! We can stay on the boat! Before they left they did a short inspection, took down some information, and took our passports.  In the morning they woke us at 8 am. They were in a big hurry, gave us our passports, and said we needed to leave right away because another boat was coming. 

On our way out we passed as close as possible to the remaining islands. We saw whales breaching, schools of dolphins, birds, and the beautiful topography of these remote islands. We learned that the distance a vessel needs to stay away from the Tres Marias is 12 miles and that it is possible to obtain a permit to visit the islands and the little village around the prison.


We will see if he prints it :)

The Bandaras Bay Regatta was so much fun it gets it's own page!

March 11-15

La Paz to


22 52.90
109 54.60


20 41.20
105 17.90

David Paul and Barb Hutchinson arrived at the airport only to find we hadn't quite gotten the aluminum skiff taken care of. So their first adventure was a trip to a friends desert home to drop off the boat and kayak for storage. We spent one day in La Paz provisioning for our trip across the Sea of Cortez and met friends at Ranch Villejo (one of Patsy's favorites) for dinner. After joining cruisers Richard and Elizabeth at The Dock Restaurant for breakfast we did a little sightseeing and then headed across the sea. A pretty tame trip with some great down-wind sailing and some no-wind motoring. Unfortunatly we didn't spot any whales but were entertained by a gazillion dolphins and some very lazy turtles sunning themselves on the surface. We arrived a little early to check into the marina so we buzzed through the anchorage of Punta Mita on the northernmost tip of Banderas Bay (20° 45.5 N & 105° 32.0 W) which looks a little rolly but would be easy to find in the night. We went on to check out the new marina and anchorage at La Cruz (20° 44.5 N & 105° 23.0 W). WOW that place has changed since Ocean Gypsy and Patsy were there 15 years ago! We arrived in Paridise Village Marina in plenty of time to get the boat all cleaned up for the Banderas Bay Regatta crew.

David Cookingham's desert place is about 30 min from La Paz

David Paul and Richard Houser - I knew they would get along!

Better shade that white skin!


It's Barb's watch!

We had to practically hit hem to get them to move.

Feb 8-16


22 52.90
109 54.60

Talion was delighted for the company of Glenda and Mike Oliver for a week of dining, shopping, sailing, kayaking, and just doing nothing. Their first few days were spent in the marina at Marina de La Paz. Of course Patsy couldn't resist the opportunity to get some work done on the boat while it was tied up to the dock. The blown generator capacitor issue was diagnosed and a new hertz meter ordered to end that problem. The generators starting issues were solved by getting the clog out of the injector pump and the freezer received another cold plate so now it is colder than the fridge... no more frozen lettuce... nice! While the workmen worked we took a great trip to Todos Santos to shop and on to San Jose del Cabo to the Tropicana for lunch and a little more shopping. After the work was done on the boat we headed to the islands off La Paz for a great two nights of anchoring and just doing nothing! We saw whales off in the distance on the way back and couldn't resist diverting our course to get a closer look. Unfortunately the marine life photography on Talion is as bad as usual so all we have to show for it is a bit of a tail. The week was finished off with more sightseeing and a visit to the posh Costa Baja Resort and Marina. A great visit and lots of fun catching up on the Verhoeven family!

Mike decided he needs a boat! Getting ready for a sail

Perfect place for morning coffee Costa Baja resort in La Paz

The work never ends

Todos Santos Cultural Center

What a tourist!

A relaxing day

Where did those whales go?


Todos Santos

Just like a pro!

Happy Sailors

Just can't seem to get a good shot!

Dec 15-24


22 52.90
109 54.60

It's pretty exciting to be only a half hour away from the best kite boarding in the world. At least it's exciting for nephew Elliot! He has been trying to perfect his skills in Portland but the wind is so inconsistent during the few hot months that it has been difficult. His first night here we had a going away party on the boat for Katie and the next morning we headed over to check out La Ventana. Elliot couldn't resist jumping right in and then spent the rest of his vacation commuting between the boat and the kite boarding site. On his last day we drove to Cabo San Lucas for some Christmas shopping and he did some boarding on the Pacific side. In 10 days his skills transformed from wobbly & unsure to that of a slalom water skier gliding along parallel to the water with only one hand on the control. I wish I would have had more than my phone to take the video with!

The first day

Had a little problem with his turns too.
The wind died after only a couple of passes but he was hooked!

Go ET Go!

Nov 28 - Dec 9


22 52.90
109 54.60

Jon and Sue Drake visited for over a week just after Thanksgiving. We checked out the kite boarding town of La Ventana where their son Elliot plans to spend his time in the next couple weeks and then drove out to Bahia Los Muertos a beautiful bay usually visited by boat en route to Cabo San Lucas. The aluminum skiff the perfect craft for a cruise completely around the bay of La Paz and out to the new construction areas. It's a huge bay and a very long trip we only ran aground a couple times and came dangerously close to running out of gas. Then it was out to the islands with stops in Ballandra, Ensenada Partida and Ensneada Grande. The sea lions at Los Islotes were once again the highlight with Sue in the kayak and Jon snorkeling. Once we returned to La Paz we hit the road again and visited Todos Santos for a little art appreciation and restaurant investigation. A great visit!

La Ventana

Jon and Sue on the beach at Balandra

Jon is down there snorkeling someplace

Todos Santos has some fantastic restaurants
Muertos for dinner

The famed mushroom rock at Balandra fell over so the have it all cemented and held up with re-bar :)

Sue really liked kayaking around the sea lions

All decorated for Christmas in Todos Santos

Nov & Dec


22 52.90
109 54.60

The big change for Talion this fall was moving from the slip in Marina de La Paz to a mooring buoy. Being away from the dock has the benefits of abundant wildlife, gorgeous sunsets, lots of privacy, and no marina fees. But there are drawbacks especially the lack of unlimited power and water. Talion got two solar panels and a very sophisticated solar controller and significant upgrades to the watermaker. Both help quite a bit but it is still a challenge. About half the time during the winter the wind blows from the north as much as 20-30 knots. This makes for a very wet and wild dingy ride to and from the shore. Talion is lucky to have a 15' aluminum skiff that makes windy days no problem and calm days a delight zooming around the anchorage. Between visitors November and December were spent on boat tasks such as stripping and varnishing all the exterior wood with new found friends Syra and Katie (firefighters from British Columbia). They stayed aboard for a week while we did the work and it is just beautiful! Raft up dinners have been a blast like the Thanksgiving feast and then there were the 25 people for dinner at Christmas. The year ended with an awesome horseback trip up a desert canyon.

Out near the beach called "The Magote" near the birds, dolphins and sunsets

And what a great party it was!

Yes, the one in the middle has no mast. It is being restored from the hurricane a few years ago.

Beautiful canyon north of La Paz

Pete and John Cookingham's boats and Talion

Richard and Elizabeth from Forte

It was a sad day when Katie and Syra went back to Canada

A great group of friends

November 5-9


22 52.90
109 54.60

The final and fastest leg of the three was a run to Cabo San Lucas under the 1-1/2 oz spinnaker. We finished the leg in less than 24 hours with the likes of a 51' Swan, a Farr 44, and a J 130. We were only an hour behind the Perry 59 and the 63' cat Profligate. Wahoo! Festivities in Cabo San Lucas included the Squid Roe party, Mango Deck beach party (including Talion's entry of Seth and Leslie in the "From Here To Eternity" kissing contest), a visit from Patsy's niece and 11 of her closest friends and finally the Baja Ha-Ha awards ceremony where we won our class and a special award for being one of only 4 boats who sailed all the way. Sadly it was also Patsy's last time to see Denise, Paul and Andrea before they departed Mexico for their new life in Denver Colorado :(

Out to party!

Nice Hat!

They were the best!
What a happy crowd to finally be in Cabo

Craig, Patsy, Bill Lily and Leslie

Baja Cantina for dinner

November 1-5


24 46.50
112 16.00

We arrived in Turtle Bay too late to explore much of the town, but in plenty of time for a good night's sleep and the Turtle Bay Pot Luck & Beach Party. We ate, kayaked, swam, played volleyball, body surfed, almost swamped the dinghy, drank, met new friends and reconnected with old ones. The next morning started the second leg which was a great spinnaker run in 15-20 knots of wind all the way to Bahia Santa Maria. We sailed fast and managed to keep up with the catamarans and race boats all night with the 1-1/2 oz chute. Dead down wind, no big problems, and great gybes got us into Santa Maria in just over 30 hours. We were surprised at what a beautiful green the hills around Bahia Santa Maria were, courtesy of the rain from Hurricane Norbert 3 weeks earlier. Leslie got some great cactus and spider shots! That night we invited the whole fleet over to drink wine and purchase wine glasses. A very fun group of people! The next day was the Ha-Ha shore party with a band from La Paz, beer, dancing and lunch cooked by the local women. Our crew was pretty mellow after our party the night before and we were back to the boat to get some sleep before the 7 am start the next morning.

The start from Turtle Bay

The hills were alive

Great hiking spot

No hikes at night for Talion's crew

Craig was having a good time!
Getting better at catching dolphins!

Bahia Santa Maria is a huge bay seperated from Mag Bay by the sand bar in the background


Great pictures Leslie and Seth!

What a party!

October 27


27 41.00
114 53.00

This years Baja Ha-Ha crew included Portland friends Seth Constable, his wife Leslie Egenberger, and Craig Shaw. We didn't have much time in San Diego so we raced around to buy, install, repair, and provision. We also picked up parts and supplies for friends in La Paz. It was a very busy few days! The pre-race party was a blast and we were a hit with Leslie's two cases of custom Baja Ha-Ha hand painted glasses (see lesliepaintedglass.com). This year's entries included 137 boats and over 500 people. The start was in about 10-15 knots of wind. Perfect for the new 3/4 oz spinnaker! Eventually the weather turned to hot and sunny with little or no wind and stayed that way for the rest of the 3 1/2 days to Turtle Bay. The goal is to sail all the way to Cabo San Lucas but most of the boats gave up and motored this leg. Check out the picture of Seth and Craig paddling the boat with Kayak paddles! The race committee decided not to penalize us for this :)

We had a great start!

Custom glasses $20 or 2 for $30

Nice photo Seth

The new/used spinnaker picked up in Annapolis

Otto (the Autopilot) does the driving which makes for a very relaxing race!

We really only paddled for about 5 minutes to a wind line

Oct 14-21

They don't call it the Baja Bash for nothing. The trip up the coast started with 12 hours of 20-25 knots on the nose and crashing into 8-10 foot seas. Not kind on the stomachs of the crew. Then we had a couple of days of fairly calm conditions perfect for Paul to catch a huge Dorado. A stop in Turtle Bay for fuel and then back out to more pounding, deck leaks, 30 knots on the nose, and upset tummies. The final straw was realizing that the guys in Turtle Bay did not actually fill our fuel tank. We ran out of diesel 5 hours before San Diego... just as we ran out of wind. Paul and Niki saved the day and pushed the boat with the dinghy. A memorable trip for all but Paul and Niki have decided that world cruising on a sailboat is no longer on their "to do" lists.

We will be back!

Finally got a picture of a dolphin out of the water!

Great tasting too!

Making 3 knots with the dinghy!

Oct 12-14

A few more days of waiting included dinners at the Ogiers, games of Trivial Pursuit, jewelry making with Denise, and out to eat at our favorite bar Shooters. Finally the part arrived in La Paz. Not wanting any more delays Patsy drove the 4 hour round trip to pick it up instead of having them deliver it.

Some jewlery by Denise for the Ha-Ha

We liked Shooters!

The cross in the background cost 2.2 million dollars!

Pretty Dress

Oct 7-12

Sitting in San Jose Del Cabo not only waiting on the part but waiting out the potential hurricane! Lucky for us the hurricane passed north of us. We're spending our time watching the DHL tracking of our "next day" package from California, the tracking of the hurricane, visiting time shares (for massages, horseback trips and cash), reading, family time for Patsy, and a little boat work. Took apart the exhaust system to get a pin hole welded... better safe than sorry.

Niki loved her horse Tequilla and only wanted to run!

Andie was a big help!

Patsy spent the whole time trying to get her horse to SLOW DOWN!

Patsy wants a diesel mechanic for Christmas!

Oct 6

23° 03'

The morning engine check discovered that the newly rebuilt raw water pump's pulley was not only loose but was completely sheared off. We slowly sailed off the anchor in very light wind and headed for the next port San Jose del Cabo. We had great wind behind us most of the day until about 5 pm when it shut down completely. We happily accepted a tow from the marina staff.

We thought we might have to stay out all night!

Very professional staff

Oct 4-5

23° 22'
109° 26'

Patsy and La Paz resident Niki Leilani left the blistering hot and extremely humid city and headed north for cooler weather, the Baja Ha Ha, and adventures along the way. We had a great sail down the La Paz channel and through the Canal de San Lorenzo but eventually ran out of wind and motored to anchor in Bahia de Los Muertos the first night. Another long, uneventful, and hot day of motoring put us in Bahia Frailes the second night.

Niki cookin up a storm




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