The cruising adventures of Sid and Manuela

Wednesday, December 21, 2022



Last I wrote was in my last blog was: Weather finally was getting warmer in fact it is already winter again and no idea where summer went LOL? Yikes, where does time go?!!! It’s been busy and crazy here and I just realized how long it’s been since I updated the blog. But then again, house life is not as exciting as boat life and who wants to hear about our house life. We are approaching our 3rd Christmas in the house. Anyway, here is a little update since last June: 




How often have I mentioned “Cruising Plans are written in sand at low tide”? Once again a tidal wave swept the plan away.  Sid’s hip was still not fully recuperated, he has a really hard time walking up the hill to the house. But more so his wrists are riddled with pain, and the doctor told him he had a bad case of Osteoarthritis and if he does not take a break it will turn in to Carpal tunnel and would need surgery to fix that. So here he was sitting at home again recouping for several weeks. It didn’t get any better with either hip and wrists Doctor Michael and Nurse Manuela ordered a couple months off for Sid and Sid did not object.


We hired the tractor guy again to hoist the motor, which had been sitting under the boat for 2 months now, into the boat plus the heavy batteries, all to be hooked up when Sid is well again. The boat then was moved to the long term dry storage saving us some money from 600 down to 147 per months (they do charge for live aboard even if you are not). We also extended the house rental once more, just so lucky they are flexible. We extended it to the end of January, which eventually was changed now to end of March, and who knows, but I’ll get to that later.


The dirt in the yard is unreal

I had already started with some provisioning, but at least these are all dry goods like rice and beans, pasta etc, which last a minimum of 10 years most more than 20 years. I also bought a dehydrator and dehydrated anything from veggies (carrots, cabbage, celery, mushrooms, eggplant, tomatoes, green beans, cauliflower, broccoli and eggs) and fruits (mangoes, pineapple, apple, pears, grapes, watermelon, banana, mangoes and pineapple). The Mexicans love cut up mangoes sprinkled with a hot spice and as I like to experiment I dehydrated some mangoes and pineapple with jerk seasoning, omg delicioso!

Lots has been happening here, the water plant had a break in the pipe we watched how the geyser grew and grew, in the meantime it has happened again. There is not enough water for this growing town and especially during the summer they cut the water off at least 4 days out of the week. Pretty much every house has a big tank, our tank is huge, the water inside is 5 feet tall and 5 across. We used to do 3 weeks on 45 gallons of water on the boat.


For exercise Lupita, her sister in law Lupita and I have been daily noodeling in the pool again. Well on the weekend it was just Lupita and I and on Sunday we ended up sipping Sid’s Happy Sunday Coffee in the pool to which I made a carrot cake. We had fun.


One very disturbing  thing was Cartels infiltrating this peaceful little town. In July, the newly opened restaurant La Bartina just on the outskirt of San Carlos had an assassination in the bar area. 1 dead, one injured and also a BMW in parking lot on fire. 2 days later on a Friday, we were noodeling at 8 am when police cars with sirens passed the house. The following morning I found out there was another assassination up the road from Lupita’s house about 10 minutes away.

Saturday, the next day another assassination at Hammer Head restaurant in the marina, we now and then go to. This poor guy was in his car and whoever shot him emptied a whole magazine of a semiautomatic weapon, a friend told us it was a never ending rattle of bullets. Guests at the restaurant huddled under the tables and luckily nobody was hit. The following Tuesday night Lorena played at La Catrina which just a little passed La Bartina. Roger and Barb joined us, we had never been in this restaurant that was opened right after Covid. I know Jorge the owner from Tortuga where he then worked as a waiter. Anyway, we got there at 18:15 but no Lorena, Jorge told me that he canceled her for a couple of weeks as there are no guests on Monday and Tuesday. True enough we were the only customers all night. Food was fabulous and Jorge talked to us for a long time. He was telling me how his wife makes it possible to run the restaurant, she is the cook and she has the ideas for food. He takes his son every year on vacation, last year they went to Mazatlan, this year he promised him to take him to either Spain, France or Italy. I told him Italy.

Dinner was wonderful and we finally left at 8pm. Next day when Lupita picked me up she told me there was another shooting, a woman and a kid were shot. This happened just around the corner from her sister in law Lupita's house in Ranchito, a neighborhood of San Carlos, she said there was a big shootout and not just 2 guns. At 11 I went to Lorena for the singing class, she was all upset and sad. She told me that when Jorge called her to cancel her singing he also invited her to join them for dinner which she declined, she said she regreted it. At 9pm his wife was assassinated in her car around the corner from Lupita's. Her son was hit as well but luckily he had a minor head injury and spent a few days in the hospital. Later I found out that the Cartels pressure businesses to give them money and if they can’t or refuse to pay they kill a family member, his wife. I was told that the son said it was mistaken identity, months later I was told that Jorge had paid the Cartel but they killed the wrong woman. My question is: how do they know they killed the wrong person. I am sure the cartels are not knocking on your door: oops we’re sorry we killed the wrong person.

This is as close as I ever want to get to an assassination. There is definitely a huge police presents since then and were told that the police can’t be trusted. The Governor brought in an army of Marines as this is a tourist area, Marines are not corrupt we were told. The town was on pins and needles, and hotels and rentals received 50% cancellations. The word is that the Cartels are in the process to take over San Carlos, Guaymas just 8 miles away is the capital of Fentanyl which is shipped in from China. The open border situation Biden created is not helping either, the Cartels are moving closer to the border and fighting over territories, impacting us. So hope this was the last killing. I feel horrible for Jorge, so sad. Silvino, Lupita's hubby said he is glad they decided to close their restaurant and not opening it again after Covid. There were 4 more assassinated on the following weekend after Jorge’s wife. These were fishermen in la Manga. More Marines were brought in and luckily since then it has been quiet. But 12 assassination in just 10 days, not to mention all the killings in Guaymas and south from there.

About 2 weeks after that we went clamming with Lupita and Silvino south of Guyamas and Enpalme on a deserted beach. At the end of this dirt road which brings you by a shrimp farm are 2 restaurants that the locals visit on weekends. We had been there with Eleazar and his family, simple place, wonderful and reasonable seafood. We had filled about ½ bucket of clams when we decided to have lunch at their favorite restaurant. Weird both restaurants were closed then we realized we did not see 1 car pass us while clamming, hmm weird. Lupita immediately said: oh no Carteles! To which Silvino said: oh no, no possible. So we left and had lunch in Guaymas at El Rey which is by far the best Seafood place in this town. Later they found out that the restaurant we went to a charred body was found that morning in front of the restaurant. Glad it was found and removed before we got there, but since then we never returned and will not either.

You probably are thinking: get out of there! Tourists are not targeted only businesses which owners and their families. But then again wrong time, wrong place, you never know. Scary, so hope this was the last of the shootings here and so far so good. North Guaymas is another story, even Police Officers are scared to go there.

How we never noticed the daily special board at Tortugas, the restaurant just down the street from us and probably with the best and most consistent food. They have every Friday a Prime rib dinner special which includes a glass of wine, so Sid took me there for our 32nd Anniversary: OMG it’s a ½ cow on a plate and it was tender and so yummy, definitely a go again dinner, but next time we will share one. We did go back 3 times since then and we do share one and still bring 1/3 home. All our friends are now hooked on the Primes. 

Wonderful Creme Brulee

Told you 1/2 cow on a plate

It was a very active hurricane season, we had one system after another starting as far south as El Salvador. We had about 5 pretty good down pours but that was about it. Truthfully, I expected a heck of a lot more rain during hurricane season, it’s pretty dry here all year round. 


Most of the time we had 2 to 3 systems at the same time

But with the rain the mountains turned again into the lushest green and the flowers started blooming, although not like last year. Kinda weird, last year we had less rain but a lot more flowers for a much longer time, this year it was short lived and some type flowers never bloomed. 


My desert rose

But what amazed me the cactus flowers, oh my gosh are they beautiful. I have never seen so many different species.

Look at the incredible markings

One Saturday we had a huge black cloud above the mountains, really close from us, but not one drop of rain here.  We did see rain in town and towards Guaymas.  Sunday morning when I was petting the cats that sleep by the window I notice there was a river where it usually is dry, so Sid and I went for a walk. Wow the dry river bed was a raging river and by the marina it looked like a lake. Up from there is where Nakapula Waterfall and park is, where we went hiking with my brother Gino a year ago. We later heard there was so much water coming out of the waterfall and flashflood on the road
way below, a car was swept away and the driver was killed. Also 15 minutes out of town on the Autopista to Hermosillo one side of the bridge was washed away, same thing south of Guaymas, we were cut off from both sides. The same night we had another rain fall but this time buckets for us and the river turned once more into a raging river, could have done river rafting. A day after the rain we walked down to the beach to follow it to la Griega, but the beach was totally washed out and we had to wade through as till slightly running river.  La Griega that burned down is open now and is now even bigger, nice to have it open again.

When Hurricane Kay roared up the coast of the Baja Peninsula, we expected the worst as she put us in the north eastern quadrant, so far we have been in 3 in same position, not a good place, plus Oscar we were 45 miles away from the eye, just good the wind was coming offshore. We braced for the worst and of course were worried for the boats not to get blown over. 


We are where the pink ring is

We had 2 days of hurricane weather but you know the most wind we saw was 45 knots and gusty, barely any rain and if just a veil of fast moving drizzle, yes with the gusts it was stinging in the face, but nothing that we have had in the 4 hurricanes that we experienced. The tarp on Paradise was shredded but it had some tears to begin with, it was not a new tarp. That was an easy repair. But wow the ocean was wild, the waves were crashing way out from the beach, it was dangerous to go to the beach. El Mar restaurant had to board up their windows as the waves were crashing into it, it was quite a spectacle. I walked all over the place, even up the Caracol Hill, the waves were enormous. Luckily not much damage anywhere.

I always say things happen for a reason. I am so glad that we were still in San Carlos and boat in the yard, had we been in the water my July we would have been on the Baha California side in the middle of Kay. 

Start of Kay


Kay from our house


Day of Kay


During the hurricane season we had a couple pretty good lightning storms

The beaches usually look like this here:

Mid September Mexico celebrates one of their independence days. Here in San Carlos they have a boat parade, we counted 33 boats that attended, all with bright lights. One boat shot fireworks into the sky. Lidia the owner of our rental house has a beautiful 4 bedroom house on the beach and Lupita suggested this year we should watch it from that house. We had fun and we had a perfect view of the parade and fireworks.

The beach got a little beat up by Kay

Talking about fireworks we still get firwork shows on weekends right off the patio:

Lidia also owns 6 condos on the rocky shore part at the Caracole Peninsula called Condominio Dorado. Since Lupita’s Nephew was in town we could not use his pool so we used the Dorado Alberca, that’s what they call a pool in Mexico. Lupita organized a stay over for Sid and I for 2 nights at the condos, plus they would join us for dinner. Since Silvino and Sid’s BD’s are one week apart, I suggested we should have surprise BD party for them. So we did, we had a wonderful BBQ outside and the boys loved the surprise.   


The sunrise was soooo peaceful

We did stay one night and declined the second as we have 2 kitties at home. But since we were noodeling there in the am I told Lupita and btw Lorena has joined us for the noodeling, that I would have breakfast ready afterwards. A few days before we moved in there were two new guests checking in Kit and Julie, sisters that spend a week in San Carlos every year, so I invited them for the noodeling and breakfast since the pool was right under their condo. They did join and when we had finished Sid showed up with 5 perfect Happy Sunday Coffees, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all. 


After that we enjoyed our breakfast. We found out Julie is a singer as well and so we ended up sitting around the table one after another singing with Lorena playing my guitar, it was wonderful. 


Kit and Julie joined us every day, we were a happy group. I even was able to help Kit and Julie to find a boat for a sunset cruise. Julie revealed that Kit had lost her daughter 19 years ago and that she wanted to do a burial at sea but they could not find a boat. Ken Sid’s buddy was open to take them and did not charge a dime, as he just wants to go sailing and take someone along. So that was a perfect deal. That Saturday evening we had a girls out and dinned at the Steakhouse Lorena sings every weekend. She has her live Facebook show on Saturday (she has one on Tues and Saturday, one is called Lorena Robles and the other Lorena Robles Cantante, I think this one was on Saturday.) She let Julie and I sing. It was fun and dinner was great. The Tuesday one was at La Catrina but the restaurant has been closed since then.  Larry a 78 year old started singing with Lorena and wow do they sound great together. Lorena loves to invite people to sing when she has a show, I joined her many times, so fun.

At Catrina's

Larry has a 19 foot Boston Whaler so I asked him if he was doing fishing charter. Indeed he did and so to make good with the bad gone fishing trip we made good with this one, Lupita and I joined as well. We did not catch much trolling, 1 sierra and two Bonitas, one was the dark meat and was tossed back, but it felt good to be on the water even for just a few hours. Next time we will do bottom fishing, that’s more exciting and guaranteed to catch dinner. 

Julie and Shane we had met on SV Echelon in 2000 in San Blas and Cartagena, now living in Tucson came back to San Carlos for one month to get their boat Christina ready for winter to cruise the Baja. They hadn’t been here for the entire summer and organized a big party at their house they were renting while getting the boat ready. Some we had met already and Dick and Karin on ex Irie passed by and were able to join the party. Julie had a taco bar ready for us, huge fun.


Remember Guicha and Richard that visited us in March, sadly Richard passed away in July. Guicha was coming to visit us for Thanksgiving but unfortunately she is suffering from a bad case of Gastritis and postponed her trip to when it gets warmer again. Guicha hates the cold. I don’t blame her.

I almost forgot to write about our fury kids Miss Kitty and Miss Ninja. Ninja sure deserves her name that’s just what she is a super fast Ninja and oh so intelligent. The two have bonded beyond and teaching each other bad habits. Especially Ninja, she has discovered that when the the dry food in their feeding station get too small, she pulls them out from the back and refused to eat the little bits and pieces. Miss Kitty is doing the same now. So I left the little bits and pieces in there so they had no choice but eat them first before I fill it up again. While watching TV I heard this weird chchch noise and of course I went to investigate. It came out of the kitchen and sure enough there is Ninja pushing the feeding station in the middle of the kitchen floor sat next to it and kept alternating her look from feeder to me, feeder to me.  Both keep taking the door stoppers out and hide them, so they can play around the doors. I keep finding my closet open, and drawers in the guest room open. Also the strainers in the sinks go missing or sometimes I find them all in one sink out of 3. All Ninja’s work, she also goes into my shower stall and takes the drain out. So I started putting shampoo bottle on top but she moves them. A bucket will do I thought, nope no chance. I feed them wet food every 7 am and 5 pm. Ninja is like clockwork and gets in my face telling me it’s time to eat. Miss Kitty is the sweet, I don’t do anything wrong girl, she loves her sister dearly and is almost motherly to her. Never a dull moment in the house and Ninja is worse than a little kid that gets into everything. They sure are a blessing and fill our hearts with joy. 

This is so funny, they were watching a hummingbird:


Miss Kitty got into my shopping bag

Every afternoon in the guest room they catch the sun

She sits sooo funny

Thanksgiving has come and gone. We celebrated it with Silvino and Lupita at our house, my 3rd turkey ever. It was delish. I looked up some recipes and this one it said to cover the pan with carrrots, celery and onions, place the turkey on top then add some chicken broth to the veggies. It even said to add the giblets to it and then use the juice for the gravy. I decided to cook the giblets separately as I like a lot of gravy. Rub the Turkey with butter and season. It came out delishes and so juicy and the skin crispy.  The only thing I forgot to do is to inject the bird with some garlic butter. 

Christmas tree is up and we are ready for Christmas. 

With the white roof tops it almost looks like snow, love it

We are the only house with lights again

As I was typing this a hummingbird came flying into the living room, hovering in front of me, I was sitting next to the Christmas tree then the cute little hummer buzzed around the tree, checking out every red ornament, what a treat. 

Lidia invited us along with Lupita and Silvino to her house for dinner. Silvino made us wonderful shrimp. OMG the view from Lidia's hows is amazing. We had a great time. 

View from front of the house and marina entrance

View of San Carlos to Guyamas Bay with a full moon, stunning

A few days later on Dec 12th I surprised Lupita with a birthday dinner. We were suppose to play billiard but instead she got her favorit dinner Fondue Bourguignonne. A further surprise was that Lidia and Jeff joind us, it was a great evening

Lidia spoiled Ninja, we can't even do this

Sid’s wrist are still plagued with lots of pain and the three plasma shots did help at first but wore off fast. They do work wonders for my ankle and hold up 6 plus months. Bummer it is not working for Sid, so he decided to wait until January to get the boat back to the work yard and install the motor and finish up to get her back in the water. We may have to extend our March splashing to end of April as we don’t know yet, how it will go.

Luckily the lady that has been waiting for the house since August is Ok with it, blesse her heart. She is staying with a friend until we move out, so we have until mid of December to let Lupita know. So hopefully we manage to get all done and will probably hire some help. The heaviest work is to install the motor plus the heavy batteries. After that is done I will sand the cabin sole which Sid then will varnish. We have another coat of primer to paint on the bottom, rough it up a little with sand paper then paint with the bottom pain. Yikes the 5 gallon bucket cost 750 bucks. As soon as that is done we will move Paradise into the marina which will make it a heck of a lot easier to put our belongings back on the boat. I still have a few sewing project to do, filler between bimini and solar panel and another one between bimini and dodger. Also new lee cloth around the cockpit, a new cover for the teak deck box as varnish spilled on the then new cover. Also new enclose windows for those cold Baja nights in winter.  When we move onto the boat with the cats we will anchor the boat before we bring the cats onboard and let them adjust to their new life for a while before we pull anchor and sail out of San Carlos.

So that’s the new plan. Anyway, other than the hiccups we are doing fine and the kitties are a blessing. We are so lucky!

Hope you had a more exciting year than we had. Hopefully my next blog will tell you that we are as happy as popcorn farts in a wind storm living in and on Paradise again in a beautiful anchorage.

Until then we wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year nothing but good health, happiness and may this world find peace.

Hugs and kisses to you all

Sid and Manuela and the furry critters Kitty and Ninja

Here are a few Christmas songs Lorena and I recorded for you:


 A few more photos:

Miss Ninja is not so sure about this bird 

Still taking singing lessons but most of the time we record songs, here are my three first songs:

Some sewing projects

made a cover for my pool

Made some covers for the sofas as Ninja was rough on them

Al most same color

Christmas present project, making blankets with sleeves
So cold I covered myself up with it

There is a pocket for feet as well, which can turn it into a pillow for storing

Barbara and I were at Homdepot when we discovered a weird looking seat, we call the trampoline seat. Barbara had to try the seat out: