Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Gosling's back in her element!!!

Singlar Guaymas; 20:45, Tuesday, 29 Dec 2009
Finally we are there! We are suspended about 6 inches off the ground by the travel-lift bridles in preparation for launching in the morning. The boat is covered with gear waiting to be shoe-horned somewhere on board. Today was a blur of taking all of our stuff onboard from the car, the area around the boat where we had shed lots of loose gear to get it out of the way while working and from a small lock-up where we had the more valuable items stored. It was also the time to complete any watertight integrity related projects. That meant that the speed sensor that we had purchased and delivered to our Palm Springs friends had to be installed. Now all the holes below the waterline are accounted for. I had delayed this project until I had heard back from the manufacturer of the sensor to make sure it would be compatible with the existing system. Finally we will have a hull speed reading and not just speed calculated by the GPS. Meanwhile, Fran escaped with Elke (Winds of Change) and Kim (Salty) for margaritas in San Carlos leaving Rosie and me to fend for ourselves.
This week we also had the welding done. It isn’t as nice a job as we would have liked and the welder was working on Mexican time. When he showed up he did a fair job which will stand up but it won’t be as pretty as we hoped.
Another project for us will be polishing the welds. Another item that had been overlooked was improving the propane feed from the bottles to the regulator. With the potential hazards associated with propane you don’t want to take any chances. We have an excellent control system with an integrated sniffer and shut-off system in case of leaks but the feed lines needed attention. It was quite an accomplishment to finally find a dealer with all of the specific fittings we needed for under $2.50.
Sunday splashed today. Gil and Lexi’s big tri is at the end dock in the marina where we plan to join them tomorrow.
This week’s preparation brought this whole cruising lifestyle into perspective. This is our third and largest boat. Granted, the last 2 were not live-aboards but imagine trying to fit all the comforts of home on a 42 X 12 ft space where much of the space is already taken up by other more important stuff like the engine, electronics, tools, galley equipment with its all-important fridge( with a small, very small, freezer compartment that produces ice for drinks and keeps a few other items frozen). There is surprisingly little storage space in a 42 ft boat after all of the essentials are packed in. Ironically that includes the case of Girl Guide cookies, 5 months worth of dry dog food and the 4 cases of wine we bought in Palm Springs at $2/btl. (Don’t laugh its good stuff. Fran’s discerning wine palate says so). After you put away your clothes and food there are a myriad of items that have to find a home in a few cupboards and storage areas under the benches and bunks (Christmas decorations). We still have sails and lines stored in the V-berth. Once they are brought to the upper deck and installed, their places below will be taken up by stuff on deck waiting to be stored. We also have to clear up the sleeping quarters up there in case we have guests. Needless to say we will be giving all spaces a once over before we leave and all non-essentials will be stored in the van to await our return or taken to the monthly marine swap meet on Saturday. Wonder what I’ll find that I absolutely can’t do without this time....
21:00, Wednesday, 30 Dec, 09
We have made it!! Gosling is back in her element. It was a successful launch. Once the travel-lift had us lowered us into the water we did thru-hull rounds and found and fixed a minor leak in a valve. The engine started right up (thanks Omar the mechanic from last year) and Fran drove us around the marina to our berth. Now comes the real work of getting everything ship shape and all gear stowed. The problem is getting to those tasks without other distractions. As soon as we got alongside Fran announced that neither of the heads were working. That took a few hours to fix. One was easy the other required some repair to an overly large vaccuum break port in the salt water feed line. Naturally it took about 1/2 hour to access it. A more permanent repair will be an item on next year's wishlist. Shore power started to cut out; found the problem in a defective plug in the same cord we had been using for the past month.
Still hadn’t received a part back from the welder; he’s 3 days late. After 3 calls from 3 different people in the yard he finally showed up. The part is repaired and will work but it isn’t pretty.
Tomorrow will be a full day with no distractions, I hope, and tomorrow evening we will celebrate the beginning of a new decade.
Happy New Year everyone from Jean-Guy, Fran and Rosie aboard Gosling, in the water in Guaymas, Mexico

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Refit Report #5

Refit Report #4
2145, Sunday, 20 Dec, 2009, Guaymas
Happy Birthday Mike, our youngest son....
We are still on the hard but the end is in sight. We have re-installed most of the gear that was removed for the painting and today the bottom was sanded in preparation for the anti-fouling, Hope to do that tomorrow. Some of the windows still need to be re-installed but the fitting of the frames has been completed. We have given up on getting the welding done by Hernandez so we have contacted one of his competitors. Hope the quality of the work is up to par.
Another accomplishment today: for the past week we have had an annoying fresh-water leak into the bilge and it was getting worse – so much so that the water tanks were almost dry. Finally found the culprit; a broken clamp on the fresh water supply tubing under the galley sink, an excellent reason to check all clamps on a regular basis.
Fran has been busy making up wind scoops for the hatches from a design she saw on the web. They are turning out quite well. Maybe this will be a sideline. She has also found some other cruisers interested in morning yoga.
There are lots of boats leaving the area for points south. Manasea, Full Quiver, Tanque de Tiburon and Relax have left over the past few days and today War and Peace headed out for Mazatlan. Optical Illusion and Precious Metal are leaving La Cruz and headed towards Barra. Looks like we won’t be following for another week or so. Hope the weather cooperates. Those leaving are taking advantage of a weather window that will last a few more days before a strong northerly system takes over.
2244, Thursday, 24 Dec 09, Guaymas
We are still on the hard but there is a light at the end of this tunnel. The bottom paint has been applied and the railing is almost completed with just 1 or 2 hours more work to complete it. We have modified the original design slightly to provide more space between guardrail and rigging by bending the middle stanchion outwards and having the rails follow the new line. Thanks to Phil on Salty for the suggestion and direction. The windows are all back in and only 3 frames are left to be installed. There are still lots of checks and adjustments to do as is the re-install of lines and sails that will be done once we are afloat. That is expected to be on Wednesday or Thrusday next week.
We have just had a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner onboard with Trish, Doug, Gil and Lexi. As always it was a coordinated effort with Fran making the main course, Pollo Navidad, a special Christmas chicken marinated in fruit juices which Fran stuffs with citrus fruit. Very juicy and only one (of the 2 cooked) was enough to feed the 6 of us. Trish brought candied carrots and Gil brought his signature mashed potatoes, laced with lots of garlic. We get to do it all over again tomorrow for Christmas dinner at the San Carlos Yacht Club.
It is blowing hard outside with temps hovering around 62F but much cooler with wind chill. Still a lot nicer than a cold Ontario winter night. It has been like this for the past 3 nights but the associated system is expected to pass through in a day or so, Another mass exodus of boats headed south is expected when that happens. Funny how most sailors wait until the wind dies to zip before heading out....
It isn’t even close to a white Christmas here but there are fireworks close by. The Malecon is strangely quiet for a Christmas Eve. It has been quite loud for the past few days with Christmas music playing but tonight it is quiet, as is the nightclub at the marina. Maybe we’ll get a good night’s sleep.
Merry Christmas everyone.
Jean-Guy, Fran and Rosie send their best wishes

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Refit report# 3

Tuesday, 15 Dec, 09, Marina Singlar, Guaymas
We are finally back aboard Gosling. She looks like a new boat from the upper decks. The paint job turned out very well considering the environment of the boat yard, the heat and the dust churned up by the ever present breeze. It’s not a show-room car quality but it certainly makes a difference from what we had. The few days we had expected turned into 10 days. Much of the problem was translation difficulties between us and Pancho (Francisco) the painter. The prep work was extensive with lots of dings, old screw holes and blemishes to be filled and sanded then filled and sanded again. Masking and covering the parts not being painted took a day then primer coats, finish coats for the vertical surfaces, wait a day, re-mask for the non-skid, more primer and then finish coats, wait another few days and, voila! The job was done. Now the gruelling task of putting everything back together. The windows will take a lot of time. Three have to be completely re-installed because they sprung when the chrome framing was removed and all surfaces where the frames fit must be thoroughly cleaned and prepped for the final fitting. I just hope I have enough caulking. After going through the tubes I had left since last year I found about half had hardened and are unusable. When all is said and done the paint job will have set us back about $4000. For comparison sake, a similar job on Antares, the 34 ft Peterson we sold last summer cost us over $5000 back home, however, Gosling required much more prep work and after seeing the two, I much prefer this sprayed on finish and non-skid.
Fran picked up the re-upholstered cushions today. I must admit they look good and the price was right. Labour and material came out to just over $300, a fraction of the price back home.
Our time in the condo was very pleasant. Rosie loved the beach and could have been out walking back and forth on the sand chasing seabirds all day but we had other chores to do. The outboard was rebuilt and the door hatches received 6 coats of varnish and we did relax between trips back to the yard to check on progress and trips to San Carlos to visit friends and to prepare for the Silent Auction that was held on Sunday, another benefit for Doug.
Fran took the lead on the search for donations and was very successful. By the end of the drive she had accumulated several hundred dollars worth of gift certificates from restaurants, gift shops, spas and even a $75 gift basket from the kennel where Rosie had stayed last spring. With a host of other articles donated by individuals we had quite a variety for people to bid on. After the auction there was a puppet show and music by a few cruisers to finish off the evening. All in all we were able to raise another $2000 for the fund. The local community again showed its support. The next event will most likely be a bachelor auction sometime in February.
Meanwhile, back to the boat, it is 10 pm, it is blowing 30-35 kts and the boat is shaking on its stands. This is the second night of strong NE winds that are preventing many cruisers from leaving the area. This is the high time for the migration south to warmer waters. Phil (Manasea), Bill and Linda (Tanque de Tiburon), Steve and Linda (Warren Peace) are all leaving by the weekend. Gil and Lexi (Sunday) who are in the condo for a few days while their boat is fumigated will be launching soon but staying around till after Christmas and possibly the New Year.
Phil and Kim (Salty), who we have not seen since Barra 2007 while aboard Royal Exchange have arrived to get their boat ready. They are facing quite a challenge repairing the damage done to their boat when it was dropped while being lifted last spring. All of the damage is to the stainless aft and the rudder and mounting gear. Phil brought all of the materials needed to do the repairs and will be doing much of the stainless welding himself. Probably a good idea since we have been trying to get Hernandez, the welder, to come to the boat to do our railings. Promises to pay us a call have not been fulfilled 4 times now. It will be awkward to sail without the solar panels mounted.
The following text was written by Fran after the haircut event a few weeks ago:
8 AM, 5 Dec , 09, Marina San Carlos, Mexico
Who would have thought that 2 years after meeting such a nice couple as Doug and Trish, I would have volunteered to have my hair shaved off for a fund raiser to help pay for his medical treatments. But to know them is to love them. We met them in a bay, while sailing our new boat down from San Diego to Mexico, 2 years ago. We were out of bread, and Trish kindly volunteered a fresh-baked loaf. With talents like those of plumber Doug, and electrician/baker Trish, they were great to have as buddy boaters.
With all the plans, dreams and adventures to come, one would never think that cancer would rear its ugly head. But it did and now I stand here with shoulder length hair to be sheared at high noon, to a head I have not seen since I was 3. The event is to take place at the annual Christmas Bazaar at the San Carlos Marina. Wonderful, talented people will display and sell their crafts and goodies. The owner of the first raffle ticket to be drawn at noon will have first go with the clippers.
3p.m. It is all over, the planning, the work and the schmoozing with the crowds and we raised nearly $1000 with one nut case (Mike on Tazmo) buying over $300 worth of tickets just so that he would have a chance to shave my head, which he did several times. After finally seeing myself in a mirror, I realize that I am not defined by my hair but what I do in life. The day has been fun, and we have found a very supportive community down here that has either had or has been touched by cancer. I’m glad I did it. It was not about me: I did it for Doug! Fran Nadeau on S/V Gosling
More next week, Adios

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Refit report #2

Saturday, 5 Dec 09 - Condominiums Pilar, San Carlos We are in the “Cruiser’s Condo” for a few days while the boat is getting painted. This is the same condo we stayed in with Bill and Janet on our arrival. They left last week and have now sailed off to the Baja coast. It is a studio style but very comfortable and reasonable since Trish and Doug manage the place for a relative. The ocean is steps away and Rosie has miles of beach for her walks. J-G brought a few projects that could be done here while we wile away the hours, refinishing the door hatches, re-building a head pump and refitting the outboard. The neighbours will love us.... It has been another busy week getting the boat ready for the painters by removing as much as we could from the cockpit and upper-decks. Ideally everything should have been removed as we had done with Antares but we couldn’t afford the extra time needed to remove and re-install if we want to be in the water before the new year. We have briefly seen the work over the past few days and it looks good so far. We now hope to be back to the boat by mid-week. We expect to have the stainless railing work and the new upholstery done next week. Fran had it done to match the colour of the new counter top – anything to make the Admiral happy. The funding drive for Doug was held today at the San Carlos Christmas bazaar and was a resounding success. The support shown by the local gringo community was fantastic. Gil, Lexi and Fran manned the booth, selling tickets and cajoling all passersby that they should contribute and they did a sterling job. By noon, over $1000 US had been raised and much of that came from one individual, Mike from S/V Tazmo. He really wanted to cut Fran’s hair and bought enough tickets to ensure that his number would be drawn, and it was, several times. It was quite amazing to see the support we received from cancer survivors or those who have been touched by cancer one way or another. Once Fran was done she, in turn, cut Doug’s hair. Fran doesn’t look quite as bad as we had expected but under all that lush brown hair was the organic grandmother colour that she will now let grow out. The next event will be next Sunday, a puppet show and silent auction at the Captain’s Club in San Carlos. Doug received some good news on Thursday. His oncologist informed him that the results of the tumour biopsy indicated that it is a very treatable type but will require a different series of chemo that will specifically target the tumour cells, something they weren’t able to do last year. He starts the new series on Monday. More when we get back to Gosling next week.
video

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Refit for 2009-2010 season

Marina Singlar, Guaymas, MX, Sun, 29 Nov, 09
Day 5 of our refit period. It seems only weeks ago I was writing the same words in the marina Seca across the bay. It has been a very busy few days since our arrival on Wednesday. We have been trying to get some sense of order in Gosling but we don’t seem to have achieved much. We are working around our painter Francisco’s schedule and has been doing the prep work for the upper-deck paint job. Not being able to get some of the gear that we stowed below up on deck and out of the way adds to the sense of frustration but we have seen some of Francisco’s work in the yard and the wait will be worth it.
The last entry had us in Albany, Oregon, being chased down the coast by winter storms. We left Albany in bright sunshine and had a good drive to Sacramento. The news that night predicted that more storms were on the way and that the mountain passes in Oregon had received a 2-1/2 ft snowfall. We don’t know if that included any of the high passes along our route but we were glad to have avoided any of the winter weather. We left Sacramento the following morning to more threats of wind and rain and managed to get into Palm Springs unscathed except for frazzled nerves from driving in LA traffic for a few hours.
In Palm Springs we enjoyed the warm hospitality of very good friends who have welcomed us each time we passed through. We were able to relax, recharge batteries and load up on 2-Buck Chuck. How we were able to fit another 4 boxes in the van I have no idea but Rosie must have noticed her seat was getting smaller and smaller with each stop. We left on the Monday morning, intending on reaching Tucson that night and meet up with Gil and Lexi Ballatore (SV Sunday) who were there for a few days of shopping. On our way through Phoenix we bought the stainless tubing we will need for the railing aft where we plan on mounting the new solar panels. More weight on the car! This is where we noticed that the roof rack brackets had broken but everything up there was double tied and still secure.
We had a good evening with Gil and Lexi catching up on all the latest news and gossip. Before departing the next morning we had to make one last shopping stop at Walmart to get a turkey for the US Thanksgiving. We had received an e-mail while in Palm Springs inviting us to Thanksgiving dinner with Doug and Trish (Ka-Em-Te), Gil and Lexi and Bill and Janet (Optical Illusion) and asking us to bring the turkey. We’ll do anything for that kind of party!
Our next and biggest concern was whether we would make it through the border without a thorough search being made. A tidal wave of relief washed over us when we got the green light and were waved through. Welcome to Mexico! We arrived in San Carlos before nightfall and bunked in with Bill and Janet who were in a condo for the week while their boat was on the hard getting some last minute repairs, how convenient was that! We were also able to deliver the turkey where it would be consumed a few days later. Rosie got to play and make nice with their new kitten Amber.
The following morning we drove the last few miles to Guaymas and Gosling. There was evidence everywhere that Singlar has been a very busy location this season. We would like to think that we had contributed to that fact with all the recommendations we passed on at the end of the season.
Opening a boat after a six month absence is always done with a degree of anticipation. We had been assured that Gosling was dry after the hurricane but we found our bilges full with filthy water with a thick scum. That took the better part of the morning to clean up. So far we haven’t noticed any associated problems. Fran was also busy for the better part of the afternoon cleaning out cupboards where some of the water had seeped in. She also had to deal with mini-bugs that had permeated storage jars containing flour and a few spice jars. So far there has been no evidence of cucarachas that others have experienced this year. Maybe Fran’s Bay leaves have had their desired effect.
Plans for the benefit for Doug are in high gear. Several events have been organised to raise money for his chemo treatments and already donations have started coming in. There is even a website called www.payforward where donations can be made under “Friends of Doug”. Doug is actually looking quite well and is looking forward to restarting his treatments this week. Last year when he started them it was almost too late. We are hoping to get a big response from the local cruising community. An article on the benefit drive is being submitted to Latitude 36 for the next issue.
This weekend has been a very “LOUD” one where we are. For the past 2 nights it has been very hard to sleep. There have been 3 venues close by vying with each other to see who can be loudest. They must rest on Sundays because there is only the nightclub at the marina making noise tonight and the karaoke they are playing is God-awful!!
It now appears that the prep work on the boat will be completed by Thursday and painting will be done on the following 4 days so we will be occupying the condo (same one that Jan and Bill had) for the weekend. This will be handy as we will be attending the Christmas Bazaar and the benefit events for Doug that weekend in San Carlos and we’ll be spared the daily drive back and forth. This is where Fran will have her head shaved at high noon on the completion of the days raffle which will determine who will wield the clippers..
More next week. Adios.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Back to Gosling for 2009-2010

16 Nov 2009, Vancouver
Greetings from a very rainy Vancouver where we are for a few days before starting our trip south back to Mexico for another cruising season.
This last month has been a blur of completing projects, getting the house ready for renters and satisfying the many items on our “to do and get” list that we are constantly updating from the day we arrive until we leave again. This has included the refinishing of all the deck sole panels that we brought home, rebuilding the galley counter, getting solar panels, paint for the upper deck area and too many upgrades and items to mention. The van is loaded down even more than last year but we have added another set of leaf springs to get the rear end up higher. Just hope the rest of the chassis survives the abuse.
Fran’s summer was very busy with a constant stream of chairs to be repaired. They were lined when we arrived and calls were still coming in a few days before we left. J-G was mostly busy around the house finishing off his workshop in the basement, refinishing the items we brought up with us and getting Antares (our 34 ft Peterson)ready for sale. She was sold in early July, the surveyor noting it to be a very good boat. J-G felt good about that, testimony to the work he put into her over the years we owned her but it was a sad day to see her being sailed out of the harbour by her new owners.
We are a bit later departing than we had hoped. In early October we learned that our daughter-in-law, Robyn has been stricken by cancer and for the past weeks the prognosis has been uncertain. We are here to help her get a few things in order so that she will be able to live the next few months of treatments without undue worry. Her mother has just arrived to be with her and the grand-kids during the ordeal.
Also, over the past few months we have learned from our very good friends Doug and Trish, on Ka-Em-Te that Doug’s cancer has returned and he is facing another six-month course of treatments. A number of their cruising friends have grouped together to raise funds to help them through this difficult period and we are looking forward to contributing to the effort. Fran has even volunteered to have her hair all cut off by the highest donor. It is a difficult time.....
18 Nov 09, Albany Oregon
We are finally on our way. The drive from Vancouver has been very good. The driving rain we had experienced in Vancouver let up just long enough for us to get this far south. There is promise of a large storm system moving into the Pacific Northwest tomorrow so we must get moving south to avoid it, particularly during our transit through the Oregon and California high country. By tomorrow night we should be close to Sacramento and basking in the Palm Springs sun by the weekend.
We received some great news on our arrival at the motel. Robyn’s oncologist reported that her cancer wasn’t as widespread as they has first assessed (mass on liver) and so the prognosis is much more positive. Obviously she is much relieved but she will still have to go through a painful and tedious treatment regime.
We are now expecting to make it back to Guaymas/San Carlos by the American Thanksgiving. Maybe someone will invite us for dinner....
Next blog will be after we get back to Guaymas.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Last post of the season





7 May 2009; Slip 13, dock 12 Marina Real
We are about to leave for Guaymas where we will be hauled out tomorrow. The wind has picked up noticeably since this morning and thick fog is pouring over the hills from the direction of the Sea. It looks like we will be delayed for a few hours. Gosling has been here for 3 weeks and is looking quite different from when we arrived. Most of the sails have been removed as well as most of the lines. The genoa is still rigged just in case it might be needed on the way. We had another phenomenal sunset last night; see pic.
Our trip back home to tend to Fran’s mom was a fast and frustrating affair. Without going into details, she is recovered well and is now back home doing reasonably well on her own. Her hospital stay was longer than expected as she came down with the Norwalk virus (hospital induced) during her second week. We seemed to have dodged that virus and we are now hoping to stay clear of the Swine Flu which, so far, has not been found in this part of Mexico. On our way back to the boat we picked up Rosie from the kennel. She was in fine form but very tired from playing constantly with the other dogs in the kennel. She slept most of the following day. We have been surprised to see that she has gained self-confidence when dealing with other dogs.
It has been a very busy week since we returned from home. Putting Gosling to bed is much more work intensive than it was last year. Being in a stable environment, with a vehicle available to us, we have been able to get many of the chores that had built up over the past few months. After we haul out we will be rushed to complete all of the preparations to ensure that Gosling spends a comfortable summer on the hard. We have made electrical repairs, varnished the outer woodwork, emptied and refilled storage compartments, washed and scrubbed most of the lockers and bilges, washed and stored sails; the list goes on and on. One big chore at Singlar will be to wash all of the lines and store the genoa and dinghy.
We have also seen several other cruisers who have arrived back to store their boats for the Summer. Warren Peace, Optical Illusion and Indian Summer, among others, have returned and are already on the hard.
We paid a visit to Marina Seca Guaymes the other day and there seems to be fewer vessels there this year. Looks like the word is getting out that it isn’t such a bargain after all. Singlar has many more boats and they claim to have enough reservations to max out this year.
15 May 2009, Phoenix, AZ
We are on the road home, having left Guaymas yesterday morning. We have just dropped off Janet and Bill from Optical Illusion, at the airport and we are heading west towards Palm Springs.
The last week was a blur of activity. We arrived in Guaymas after a pleasant trip from San Carlos. The weather was ideal, light winds and the fish were biting. We caught 3 sierras on the way. 2 are in the pic above. After arriving at Singlar we spent the remainder of the day and the following morning removing and storing the genoa, removing the remainder of the lines and finally washing, dismantling and bagging the dinghy. We shifted to the haul-out basin by 1400 for our 1430 haul-out appointment. The staff at Singlar seemed to be apprehensive about hauling us out. We later learned that they had dropped a boat a few weeks before with our hull shape when a line parted. It took what seemed to be an eternity to get us raised in the travel-lift but all was done without incident and with the help of many volunteers from the boats at the slips and those on the boats in the yard. By 1600 Gosling was propped up and settled for her summer rest. (See pics above)
The remainder of the time was spent servicing thru-hulls and heads, washing all the lines , relocating a solar panel so it will trickle charge the batteries over the summer, deciding what was coming home with us, storing everything else away, cleaning out the fridge, disconnecting all the radios, varnishing the upper deck teak trim and oiling (teak oil) the toe rail, wrapping all shiny bits in old t-shirts to protect them from the sun, the list goes on and on. Finally the last day was upon us. Bedding was washed and stored for next season, through-hull valves were shut and the outlets were plugged with green scrub pads, all loose upper deck items were stored below, battery fluid levels checked, bug prevention measures were activated (cucaracha traps and lots of bay leaves). We have decided to do some major interior work that require bits to be taken home for work so the galley counter was dismantled and all of the main salon and v-berth floor panels were removed and put in the van. The final operation was to seal her up and lash the tarps down over the coach-house, remove the ladder and say goodbye to our friends in the yard. By the time we were finished it was past 20:00 and we were dead tired and looking forward to a few cervesas.
It has been a good season for us and Gosling. We have travelled almost 2000 miles have made many new friends and renewed old acquaintances and have gained another season of experience. Our long-term plans have changed. We plan to spend another year in Mexican waters, concentrating on the Sea of Cortez next year. In 2011 we are considering heading south to Central America, then visiting the Galapagos. Instead of continuing across the Pacific we are now planning a few seasons in the Carribean then onto Europe. This is all a pipe dream at the moment but, we now know we have the boat capable of doing it.
Look for the next adventure beginning in mid-November 2009. Thanks for reading my attempt at story-telling.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Gosling is flying north (temporarily)

Installing the outboard.
22:30, 9 April 2009 –Halfway between Puerto Escondido and Guymas/San carlos
What a difference a few days make. We are heading towards Guaymas/San Carlos under power in a calm sea.
We learned a few days ago that Fran’s mom had an accident at home and is hospitalized. She has asked that Fran return home ASAP so we have cut our trip short and are heading back to our Mexican home-port. We were advised of her condition by our son Chris, over the ham e-mail service, WINLINK, while we were in Los Gatos and over the past few days the follow-up e-mails have made it clear that we have to go back. We arrived in Puerto Escondido yesterday and were able to communicate directly and make our travel arrangements. Luckily there is a lull in the weather in the middle of the Sea of Cortez and we have been able to make excellent time. If conditions persist we will be in San Carlos by early morning.
With all that has happened over the past few days our trip up from Isla San Francisco seems a distant memory. We departed on Monday morning with Warren Peace in 15-20 kt headwinds and made our way to Puerto Evaristo, 6 miles up the coast. We anchored in a small but protected bay, spent the night and departed the next morning for Los Gatos, another of our favourite destinations.
As we arrived we were please to see Manuel, our fisherman in the bay flitting from boat to boat. No sooner had anchored than he was alongside welcoming us to the bay and asking if we wanted any lobster. It has now been a tradition for us to get a few from him each time we visit this bay. He was overcome with emotion when we gave him a few items of clothing for diving. When Fran asked about his wife’s embroidered pillows he pulled out a plastic bag full of her work from under a thwart in his panga. The man comes prepared and Fran found one to her liking. It was a good day for Manuel. Apart from our purchases he managed to talk a few other boats into buying lobster.
We spent a very enjoyable day beachcombing and J-G went snorkelling in the crystal clear waters of the Bay. Bill and Sharon (Warren Peace) came over for supper that evening and were treated to a seafood smorgasbord with the lobster, scallops and conch that J-G found while diving and the last of the Dorado caught off Muertos the week before.
We had planned to proceed to Agua Verde from there but we received Chris’ news that night so we departed the following morning bypassed, Agua Verde, another superb anchorage and proceeded directly to Puerto Escondido where we took on fuel and water and called home for the latest developments. We had heard Optical Illusion on the VHF earlier that day and were pleased to meet them when we got in. We had hoped to buddy-boat with them a few days but had to be contented with only an evening with them at the restaurant at the Singlar Marina.
The Marina is almost fully operational. There have been many improvements over the past 2 years since we first visited this location in Royal Exchange. Most of the services are in but water is still not available to the docks and there are only 50 amp services. Dock space is very limited and we were quite lucky to get alongside for the night. All of the moorings for buoys in the anchorage have been reconditioned and there were more vessels in the buoy field than we had ever seen.
18:00, Easter Sunday, Marina San Carlos
We are sitting in the relative calm of the cabin, tucked alongside in the marina at San Carlos. The wind outside is howling, an accurate description. It has been blowing 20-30 kts most of the day and the noise it makes in the rigging is horrendous.
We arrived early Friday morning and were advised by our friends Doug and Trish on Ka-Em-Te to go directly to a berth they knew would be empty for the weekend. This is Easter weekend in Mexico and it is a very special holiday so the marina office is closed for the entire weekend. Fran brought the boat into the slip like a pro. She has been driving in and out of our berths for the entire trip and she seems to have mastered the technique.
It was nice to get back to familiar surroundings and friends we had last seen in December. Trish and Doug are doing very well, both working; Doug at plumbing for a local American contractor and Trish still baking for Barracuda Bob’s and working with a newly arrived marine electrician, hoping to add “marine” to her domestic electrician credentials. Gary and Julie (Seafire) are in Marina Real. We learned that they have a buyer for the boat and are busy getting ready for the turnover later this month.
We spent much of the weekend preparing the boat for our 10-day absence and starting on the long list of preparations to put the boat away for the summer. Doug and Trish made us an offer we couldn’t refuse on Saturday. We accompanied them for a relaxing day to a beachfront condo they have access to. It was an eye-opener to see how the Mexicans celebrate this holiday. The normally deserted beach was packed with people and tents. Everyone over the age of 15 seemed to have a cervesa in hand. There is litter everywhere.
00:30 Wednesday, 15 April 2009 The waiting room at the Phoenix Airport
We are doing an all-nighter at the airport waiting for our 06:15 departure. Tomorrow will be a long day.
Over the past few days we have moved the boat to Marina Real where the monthly slip rate was more affordable, found a kennel for Rosie and today we drove to Phoenix. Hopefully all will sort itself out in the next 10 days and we will be able to get back to put Gosling away for the season. We have made reservations to haul out on the 7th of may so we will have lots of time to get her prepped and, hopefully we can tackle some of the tasks we were going to put off until November. If we can do that we will be able to splash earlier and get away.
This will be the last blog until we get back.
Thanks for tuning in and reading my ramblings.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Southern Crossing back to La Paz

07:00 Friday, 27 March 2009,
We are 20 hours out of Isla Isabella on our way to La Paz. The wind has been from the NW, and as usual, the direction we are headed. When we left the seas were calm with a slight swell from the west and a 2-3 kt breeze that built up most of the day, peaking at 15-18 in mid-afternoon. We were able to get some sailing in but the odd swell pattern from 2 directions made progress really slow and 60 degrees off our planned course. By nightfall we were back under power as the wind died off. The wind has backed to the SW and if it builds we should be able to sail some more today with decent progress towards La Paz. The weather gurus have predicted very light conditions for the next few days. Our aim is to get to La Paz for the start of the Seafest on the 1st.
We stayed 3 days in Mantanchen Bay, lazing about and enjoying the ambience. The boats in the anchorage proved to be quite friendly and we did quite a few things together. One evening J-G organised a dinghy raft-up for cocktails and nibbles. That went off very well, as did Fran’s sushi rolls which have become quite popular and are being requested for such events now. We spent a few afternoons at Ishmael’s palapa , on the beach. Ishmael graciously allows us to bring our dinghies ashore adjacent to his establishment and looks after them for us while we are away. We also made an excursion into town and did the mangrove/river cruise.
The river cruise is a 4-hour expedition by panga and is well worth the $10 fee. We were 8 in a large panga powered by a quiet 50hp Honda outboard. The Mexican skipper had been doing this for years and he guided the boat skilfully along the narrow waterway, stopping at any interesting fauna and flora along the way. Fran took lots of pictures of birds and the occasional crocodile and turtle. We also stopped at a crocodile hatchery and got our fill of the reptiles in all stages of maturity and lengths. The breeding pairs were 10-12 feet long and ugly as sin. There was also a stop at a spring fed pool, fenced off of course, where we could take a dip. Few of the group took advantage of this after seeing the croc farm.
The unofficial “Cruising Mayor” of San Blas mentioned in Charlie’s charts and a resident of San Blas for the past 40 years, Norm Goldie, is still helping the cruisers with anything he can but now he is asking for a “gratuity” of $20 to guide cruisers into the estuary and to the marina. His description of the waterway and the shallows is quite scary. His claims that you will go aground unless he assists you are a bit hard to take but cruisers will do what they feel comfortable with. Eventually someone will provide the waypoints.
We left Mantachen Bay on Wednesday, in company with 5 other boats, all headed for Mazatlan, Juniata and Dash opting to stop at Isla Isabella on the way, the remainder continued on. We arrived at the Eastern anchorage at Isla Isabella in late afternoon yesterday. We are the only boat headed directly to La Paz from here. We spent a quiet night and Rosie got to bark at another dog on a boat nearby. It has been quite a challenge to get her to bark when other boats, especially dinghies, get near. Hopefully she will develop into a good “alert” dog. Once she does start barking, however, it is a problem to get her to stop. We might have created a monster.
The water was crystal clear and J-G took the opportunity to clean the bottom using the hookah. Having been here twice in Royal Exchange we had no desire to go ashore so we finished our tasks and sailed off by 11AM powering into a calm, windless Pacific with a low swell from the SW that lasted for the entire day and most of the night. By the next morning we had the start of a NW breeze, unpredicted by any of the forecasts. It continued to build until we had 15-18 kts on the nose with 4-5 ft seas. We had no option but to power into it. By the following day it had backed to the west and we were able to sail towards the NW. The next morning it was down to 12-14 kts and back to the NW.
We have adapted easily to being at sea, out of sight of land and night watches and but this is the first time this trip where we have sailed overnight without a moon. There is a certain comfort about a source of natural light when sailing. The radar certainly helps in those conditions.
Our fuel is getting low so we decided to continue under sail but altered to the west and into Los Muertos for the night. The plans is to use the remainder of our fuel reserves to get us around the headland and through San Lorenzo channel, hoping to catch the westerly’s for the remainder of the trip down to La Paz.
We are back in fish again with a 15 lb Dorado caught while we were under sail. He was quite a challenge to bring in as we couldn’t slow down and reverse course like we normally do under motor. It is nice to be back in Dorado waters.
Sunday, 29 March, 2009
We arrived at Los Muertos in late yesterday afternoon, and had a nice relaxing night. The temperature has dropped quite a bit so sleeping is comfortable. There were quite a few boats in the anchorage including Relax, who we had last seen at Las Hadas. The bay here is changing. The old Giggling Marlin has been bought out by a couple of ex-NFL players and the foreshore of the point is being developed. Several large new houses and the start of a resort/condo development are visible.
This morning we headed out just after sunrise into a calm sea. It has been a really good day to make the transit to La Paz. He wind has been very light and variable all day and has changed direction on us all the way up the coast and back down to La Paz. We have been able to sail for a good portion of the day so fuel is no longer a concern. We had asked Vicky on Inspiration at Sea to make reservations for us so our arrival and slip assignment was quite simple. We have 4 days credit from our last stay here in January.
The marina has changed hands since we were here last so there have been changes. The credit system has been eliminated and prices are going up. Good thing we leaving.
Most of the boats we were looking fwd to reconnect with at this marina are away. We have missed Freedom Kirkland. He crossed over to Mazatlan a few days ago. We had been trying to call him but had no luck. Both Inspiration at Sea and Precious Metal are out in the Islands. But Pam had to come in yesterday to pick up a friend and restock, so we got to see her. Red Pepper is tied up and it appears that Ken and Pat are away and Polar Bear is all sealed up for the season while he is progressing work on his “Glide Cycle”. Tanque de Tiburon has arrived in San Carlos and they should be on their way home by now. Everyone else we know is either anchored out or in one of the other marinas in the bay. With Bayfest starting this week we should get lots of opportunities to meet some of our acquaintances.

The Southern Crossing back to La Paz

07:00 Friday, 27 March 2009,
We are 20 hours out of Isla Isabella on our way to La Paz. The wind has been from the NW, and as usual, the direction we are headed. When we left the seas were calm with a slight swell from the west and a 2-3 kt breeze that built up most of the day, peaking at 15-18 in mid-afternoon. We were able to get some sailing in but the odd swell pattern from 2 directions made progress really slow and 60 degrees off our planned course. By nightfall we were back under power as the wind died off. The wind has backed to the SW and if it builds we should be able to sail some more today with decent progress towards La Paz. The weather gurus have predicted very light conditions for the next few days. Our aim is to get to La Paz for the start of the Seafest on the 1st.
We stayed 3 days in Mantanchen Bay, lazing about and enjoying the ambience. The boats in the anchorage proved to be quite friendly and we did quite a few things together. One evening J-G organised a dinghy raft-up for cocktails and nibbles. That went off very well, as did Fran’s sushi rolls which have become quite popular and are being requested for such events now. We spent a few afternoons at Ishmael’s palapa , on the beach. Ishmael graciously allows us to bring our dinghies ashore adjacent to his establishment and looks after them for us while we are away. We also made an excursion into town and did the mangrove/river cruise.
The river cruise is a 4-hour expedition by panga and is well worth the $10 fee. We were 8 in a large panga powered by a quiet 50hp Honda outboard. The Mexican skipper had been doing this for years and he guided the boat skilfully along the narrow waterway, stopping at any interesting fauna and flora along the way. Fran took lots of pictures of birds and the occasional crocodile and turtle. We also stopped at a crocodile hatchery and got our fill of the reptiles in all stages of maturity and lengths. The breeding pairs were 10-12 feet long and ugly as sin. There was also a stop at a spring fed pool, fenced off of course, where we could take a dip. Few of the group took advantage of this after seeing the croc farm.
The unofficial “Cruising Mayor” of San Blas mentioned in Charlie’s charts and a resident of San Blas for the past 40 years, Norm Goldie, is still helping the cruisers with anything he can but now he is asking for a “gratuity” of $20 to guide cruisers into the estuary and to the marina. His description of the waterway and the shallows is quite scary. His claims that you will go aground unless he assists you are a bit hard to take but cruisers will do what they feel comfortable with. Eventually someone will provide the waypoints.
We left Mantachen Bay on Wednesday, in company with 5 other boats, all headed for Mazatlan, Juniata and Dash opting to stop at Isla Isabella on the way, the remainder continued on. We arrived at the Eastern anchorage at Isla Isabella in late afternoon yesterday. We are the only boat headed directly to La Paz from here. We spent a quiet night and Rosie got to bark at another dog on a boat nearby. It has been quite a challenge to get her to bark when other boats, especially dinghies, get near. Hopefully she will develop into a good “alert” dog. Once she does start barking, however, it is a problem to get her to stop. We might have created a monster.
The water was crystal clear and J-G took the opportunity to clean the bottom using the hookah. Having been here twice in Royal Exchange we had no desire to go ashore so we finished our tasks and sailed off by 11AM powering into a calm, windless Pacific with a low swell from the SW that lasted for the entire day and most of the night. By the next morning we had the start of a NW breeze, unpredicted by any of the forecasts. It continued to build until we had 15-18 kts on the nose with 4-5 ft seas. We had no option but to power into it. By the following day it had backed to the west and we were able to sail towards the NW. The next morning it was down to 12-14 kts and back to the NW.
We have adapted easily to being at sea, out of sight of land and night watches and but this is the first time this trip where we have sailed overnight without a moon. There is a certain comfort about a source of natural light when sailing. The radar certainly helps in those conditions.
Our fuel is getting low so we decided to continue under sail but altered to the west and into Los Muertos for the night. The plans is to use the remainder of our fuel reserves to get us around the headland and through San Lorenzo channel, hoping to catch the westerly’s for the remainder of the trip down to La Paz.
We are back in fish again with a 15 lb Dorado caught while we were under sail. He was quite a challenge to bring in as we couldn’t slow down and reverse course like we normally do under motor. It is nice to be back in Dorado waters.
Sunday, 29 March, 2009
We arrived at Los Muertos in late yesterday afternoon, and had a nice relaxing night. The temperature has dropped quite a bit so sleeping is comfortable. There were quite a few boats in the anchorage including Relax, who we had last seen at Las Hadas. The bay here is changing. The old Giggling Marlin has been bought out by a couple of ex-NFL players and the foreshore of the point is being developed. Several large new houses and the start of a resort/condo development are visible.
This morning we headed out just after sunrise into a calm sea. It has been a really good day to make the transit to La Paz. He wind has been very light and variable all day and has changed direction on us all the way up the coast and back down to La Paz. We have been able to sail for a good portion of the day so fuel is no longer a concern. We had asked Vicky on Inspiration at Sea to make reservations for us so our arrival and slip assignment was quite simple. We have 4 days credit from our last stay here in January.
The marina has changed hands since we were here last so there have been changes. The credit system has been eliminated and prices are going up. Good thing we leaving.
Most of the boats we were looking fwd to reconnect with at this marina are away. We have missed Freedom Kirkland. He crossed over to Mazatlan a few days ago. We had been trying to call him but had no luck. Both Inspiration at Sea and Precious Metal are out in the Islands. But Pam had to come in yesterday to pick up a friend and restock, so we got to see her. Red Pepper is tied up and it appears that Ken and Pat are away and Polar Bear is all sealed up for the season while he is progressing work on his “Glide Cycle”. Tanque de Tiburon has arrived in San Carlos and they should be on their way home by now. Everyone else we know is either anchored out or in one of the other marinas in the bay. With Bayfest starting this week we should get lots of opportunities to meet some of our new acquaintances.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Banderas Bay to San Blas; late post

Sunday, 22 March 2009
We are at anchor in Mantanchen Bay, near San Blas after a 2-day passage from Bandaeras Bay. We may go up the estuary to San Blas in the next day or so but for now we are enjoying flat calm conditions with a slight south-westerly swell. There are 7 other boats here including 3 other Blue water cruising boats from Canada, Wattea and Naida who we have both met in La Cruz and Sea Lise who arrived the following day. The latter is on its way home after a 10 year odyssey that has included much of Europe and the Atlantic as far south as the Cape Verde Islands.
It has been a busy week. We arrived in the marina at La Cruz on Sunday the 15th. This facility is new and has yet to reach its full potential. Less than half of the 349, fully serviced slips were occupied so the management was offering a half-price special for members of the Puddle Jumpers group of which we have been members for the past few years. So for less than $20 (US) per night we had the run of the marina and were able to get the boat cleaned up with the abundant fresh water. We had been putting off cleaning the stainless for a while so it was starting to get messy. Within the first day we got an offer we couldn't refuse when a local wharf worker offered to do it for $85. It was well worth it as he worked the entire day and did a wonderful job.
The rest of our time was filled with replenishing supplies, getting laundry done; visiting friends we had met along the way and meeting new ones. Lin (Royal Exchange) kindly offered to drive us to the new Mega super store so we were able to fully replenish the larder in preparation for the next part of the trip. We were also finally able to reconnect on e-mail with the WIFI service offered by the marina and attended a talk on sailing in Central America and Ecuador. Being alongside also gave us the opportunity to explore La Cruz. It has changed much with the opening of the marina and new restaurants and services are a part of the new landscape.
This week was also the start of the Banderas Bay regatta. Bob, on Pantera, invited J-G to participate as crew on his supersonic catamaran but his invite came too late as we already had other commitments. J-G would have really enjoyed sailing in a boat that has topped 28 kts on several occasions. We have just heard from Bob. He finished 4th and is on his way to Mazatlan. He just bypassed San Blas doing 10 kts in a 6-8 kt breeze.
Our friends, Marg and Bruce Walton arrived in Wednesday from Rincon de Guayabedes where they spend their winters away from Victoria. We departed the following morning and sailed into some uncomfortable moments when the afternoon breeze increased to 25 kts. We experienced some difficulty reefing the main and Genoa but after some interesting manoeuvres we sailed into the anchorage at Punta Mita for the night. The next morning was flat calm with light airs so we had to motor the rest of the way to Rincon to deliver our guests and resume our way up the coast. We stayed the night in the lee of an island in the bay and continued the next morning to Mantanchen bay where we are now. We actually had an excellent day of sailing up the coast in a 10-12 kt breeze from the west.
Sorry for the late post. More tomorrow if we can connect to WIFI.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Visitors from Canada



Sunday, 8 March 2009, Tenecatita
We have been anchored in this lovely bay for the past 3 days amongst a great bunch of cruisers. Surprisingly, of the 27 boats here a good portion of them are catamarans and several are boats we have met before so it has been a lot of fun renewing friendships and participating in some of the organised events such as beach games and the Friday evening dinghy raft-up dinner, more on that later.
After departing Cuestacomate last Monday we went back around the headland to the south and anchored in Melaque Bay. Waiting on the beach were Bert and Vickie Blattman and Vickie’s sister, Barbara and husband Murray. We sorted ourselves out and joined them ashore for lunch, dragging our dirty laundry with us, to a laundromat. We had heard about a beachfront bar that was catering to the land and sea cruisers with 7 peso beer and cheap food. What more could a cruiser ask for? This establishment was also planning a party for all of the Canadian land cruisers who were beginning to depart the trailer park adjacent to the beach.
We had planned to take our Canadian friends for a day-sail on the Tuesday but a problem with the dinghy outboard caused us to delay for a day. The first 2 days were spent exploring Melaque, repairing the outboard and cleaning up the boat. Early Wednesday morning (0830 is early for us) we ferried Bert, Vickie and company to the boat and departed into calm seas and light airs. With these conditions we decided to forego the sailing and motored over to Cuestacomate for lunch and snorkelling. We left there in early afternoon but wind conditions hadn’t improved much but we were able to fill the sails and provide our guests a semblance of sailing for a few hours. We arrived back to the Melaque anchorage by mid-afternoon, in time to attend the party at the beachside restaurant.
What a blast! The large crowd was made up of mostly older land cruisers with a few of us “younger” boaters mixed in. 7 peso beer was flowing freely (lemonade was 15 pesos by comparison) and the entertainment was continuous. The highlight of the evening was a female impersonation act with 4 of the best looking guys we have ever seen. The last portion of the act blew everyone away when the best looking impersonator reverted back to his male identity onstage, an amazing transformation to observe. We all felt a bit like voyeurs. (See pictures above before and after pics)
By Thursday we were ready to move on. We bid farewell to Bert, Vicky, Barbara and Murray and resumed our trek north. Before departing the bay we went back to Barra to fill our water tanks at the Grand Bay marina fuel dock. We were amazed to see a very large cruiser “Attasea”, complete with helicopter, alongside at Grand Bay. It was another windless morning with calm seas so we motored up the coast to Tenecatita. As we rounded the headland we saw several fishing boats near the reef so we tried our luck and were rewarded with a nice Mexican Bonito, the highly prized version of the species. We continued into the bay towards La Manzanilla and anchored off the town for a quick run into town to replenish veggies and fruit and pick up a jug of drinking water. Lately we haven’t been powering long enough to make sufficient drinking water onboard to meet our needs. Our water-maker only produces 1.5 gals per hour.
We arrived at the anchorage area at Tenecatita by early afternoon. The cruisers here are very organised. Archie on Sea-tacean has been acclaimed as the mayor of the bay and he and Barbara (who makes very unique bead jewellery) organised several events, including the Friday night raft-up. This is essentially an assembly of all the dinghies that tie up to each other (the first one at anchor) and each brings a main dish or dessert, their dishes and cutlery, boat cards and any books they want to get rid of or exchange. Plates of food are passed from boat to boat around the circle and each serves themselves. Big plates or fast eating is of essence. Fran’s bonito sushi was a real hit.
The atmosphere here is lazy and relaxed. Each afternoon at 1 several of the girls jump in and have a leisurely swim ashore then a walk down the beach before repairing to a beachside palapa restaurant for board games. The guys dinghy or kayak in, John (Paloma) brings volleyball gear and a few hardy souls brave the hot sand for a few hours between beer runs to the palapa. Snorkelling and fishing are popular pastimes in the mornings before the sea breeze fills in (about 10-11am) while others dive on their boats to scrub the bottoms clean. One feature of the bay is the tunnel through the mangrove swamp to the beach at the beachside community on the western side of the bay. This unique waterway is narrow and affords the explorers a rare view of the wildlife therein which include small crocodiles. Evenings are often spent visiting other boats or hosting a few couples aboard. Fran has also had several people aboard to teach them how to make sushi. This included Erin, the youngest of the girls on Don Quixote.

Friday, March 6, 2009

1 March 2009, Cuestacomate

We have been at anchor in Cuestacomate bay since yesterday afternoon after motoring from Barra .
We departed Santiago bright and early last Monday morning to take advantage of the morning calm before the onshore breeze set in. We motored most of the way on glass smooth seas and into the distant mist that had been characteristic of the past few days. We arrived in Barra de Navidad just after midday and went directly to the fuel dock to replenish both fuel and domestic water, rinse off the uppers and have a shower in the cruisers facilities at the head of the dock. By early afternoon we were inching
our way up the channel under the guidance of sounder and the way-points that we had used last time we were here. We anchored amongst 25 or so other cruising sailboats and one large ex-US pilot vessel, Kolea, now a cruising boat, owned by, Serge, a French Canadian who used to own a life raft repair and inspection facility in Montreal.
Barra de Navidad is one of those places that attract cruisers and hold on to them, much like La Paz. One boat, Star Dancer, had been there since mid-December and David and Mary-Ann had no plans to leave anytime soon. The anchorage does have its advantages. It is a nice quiet and sheltered anchorage, surrounded by mangroves to the east, scrub land to the north, the waterway to the town of Barra to the west and the Grand Bay's golf course to the south. It is a 10-15 minute dinghy ride to the town
of Barra and less if you are going to Colimilla a small village between the golf course and the resort hotel where supplies can be obtained from Maria's well stoked (from Costco, PV) tienda. She also has the corner on propane and water delivery in the lagoon and can deliver your order for an extra fee. Then there is always the French Baker who faithfully makes his rounds daily by panga with his baguettes, croissants, quiches and exorbitant prices. Internet service can be obtained for a fee from
a shore based cruiser who donates all the proceeds to the Colimilla School where 6 grades are taught in the same classroom. There are not many negatives but our main one is the time it takes to wash off the fine muck off the anchor chain when weighing, a minor inconvenience. Also, the water in the lagoon is very silty and unfit to swim in or make water.
Many of our friends from Zihuat have made it into the lagoon and we have met a number of new boats and renewed our acquaintance with some from 2 years ago. Blue Water boats, Airborne and Neuromancer were there, the latter getting ready for a trans-Pacific voyage. Other Canadian boats included, Pacific Jade, Tica and Panterra, a beautiful and fast catamaran, built and being single-handed by Bob. He is on his way to the Banderas Bay regatta where he hopes to improve his record of always finishing second
in his class.
We spent a lazy 5 days there taking in some of the Mardi Gras celebrations that last all week long. We saw the parade (short but lots of fun) and attended one of the evening presentations of dancing and music in the town square. The acts were surprisingly very professional. The market day was also lots of fun. I find it amazing that even under NAFTA one can buy bootlegged music and DVDs anywhere in Mexico. We now have copies of Australia and Valkyrie in decent quality, both for under $5.
Fran was able to get her hair tinted at the same location as 2 years ago and she convinced J-G that he wanted a pedicure, his first. He'll have another next season.
By Saturday we were ready to leave. We had made a point to include Cuestacomate in our cruising plans. This beautiful, secluded bay a few hours from Barra, is not mentioned in any of the cruising guides and rarely gets any cruiser visitors. The beautiful beach is almost empty during the week but many local Mexican families make it their Sunday destination. We were last here in Royal Exchange 2 years ago and Fran was eager to return to the palapa restaurant on the beach where she claims is the best
seafood cocktail in Mexico. We went ashore this afternoon and Fran is now in heaven. Even J-G agrees with Fran's claim about the seafood cocktail. This will definitely be a regular stop for us. We also met a few Canadians; one couple from Saskatchewan, holidaying in a very nice beachside rental and a couple from Vernon who we had met briefly 2 years ago and who have their own place and have lived here during winters for the past 5 years.
Yesterday J-G dismantled the outboard to find out why the cooling water wasn't streaming out as it is supposed to be. After a frustrating afternoon of experimentation in taking the leg apart he found a badly worn impeller. He re-assembled it with only one screw missing which he made up from our hardware store and apart from a minor adjustment for the shifter it appears to be working much better. We'll have to be careful with it until we can get another impeller in PV in a week or so.
Tomorrow we leave for Melaque where we will meet friends from Victoria before heading up the coast back to Tenecatita.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Back to Las hadas and Santiago Bay.


Sunday, 22 Feb 2009: 1400
We are at anchor in Santiago Bay, an open anchorage in a wide bay, on the west side of Manzanillo Bay. We are protected from the predominant SW swell but some of it makes its way around the point to give a slight. The land and sea breezes are quite refreshing and the lull between the two, between 9 and noon is an ideal time to go snorkelling.
After arriving at the anchorage of Las Hadas we settled down to a few days of projects and relaxation. J-G had been wanting to use the gas powered hookah system that we got with the boat but had never had time to try out. After 3 months in this warm water is time to do a bottom cleaning and the hookah is be an ideal tool. We have no idea when it was last used and, naturally, it would not start. It took J-G 2 days of fiddling with but finally, after soaking and cleaning the carburetor, he managed to get it going and it now runs like a top. Another project that was accomplished was the soldering of the ground plane copper straps that he had run last week. Hopefully that will improve our SSB/HF capability.
We also had to get some fuel aboard. Las Hadas has a fuel dock but all boats are required to med-moor into the dock. That decided us to get our fuel by dinghy using portable jerry cans. Las Hadas doesn’t charge a docking fee like most other locations in Mexico but their fuel prices have been adjusted to make up the difference, therefore, everyone pays the premium price whether you go alongside or not. At 8.6 pesos / li it was the most expensive to date. Thankfully, they didn’t charge for the numerous dinghy landings or for fresh water that J-G picked by jerry up every chance he got to supplement our fresh water supply.
We also took the time to explore Manzanillo. It certainly has changed since J-G was there in 1984 with Oriole. We also did a major grocery run here at the Sorianna store, one of 3 major food outlets close by.
While there we met quite a few boats, including, Rio Nimkish (Tom and Shirley) who we had met at the Blue Water Cruising rendezvous in August 2008. We also met Bob and Gisele Coffey from Victoria in a boat called Relax. We have also heard Curare, another Blue water boat that we had met last year in Guaymas, on the net and are looking forward to meeting Geoff and Linda when we get to Santiago Bay.
We left Las Hadas and sailed across the bay to Santiago on the 20th. We have been here for the past 2 days enjoying the crystal clear water and the beautiful beach. The beach seems to be used mainly by the local holidaying population living in the many houses lining the beach. It is rare and refreshing to see a lack of resort development on such a choice location. There are only 2 small hotels that we can see.
The anchorage is a popular one for cruisers. Snorkelling locations are hard to find along the coast at this time of year due to the swell and poor visibility caused by turbulence and plankton and we have seen an increase in plankton in the bay since we arrived. There is a wreck of an old freighter in about 30-40 ft that provides a great snorkelling site and the shore has interesting reefs. J-G spent a few hours trying out the hooka today and did a thorough cleaning of the hull. It was time. The algae growth was getting thick but the barnacles were quite small and easy to remove. Scrubbing with the pad removed quite a bit of the finish that was put on in San Diego last January so a new coat of bottom paint will be required next fall.
We expect to leave tomorrow or Tuesday for Barra de Navidad.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Back to Las Hadas

Thursday, 12 Feb
We have just arrived at Maruata Bay, a remote anchorage about 90 miles south of Manzanillo after having done 36 miles against steadily increasing headwinds. By the time we arrived they were blowing 20-22 kts . Mannasea (Phil), a small catamaran with engine problems, is a few miles behind us and is beating against this wind, hoping to get into the bay by nightfall. It will be a hard slog for him.
After leaving Zihuatanejo, on Monday, we motored up the coast and anchored off Isla Grande, just offshore from the large resorts of Ixtapa. The island serves as a beach playground for the resorts with pangas delivering tourists in the morning and taking them back to the resorts in the late afternoon. By 5PM the place is deserted. The well renowned snorkelling coves on the south side of the island were inaccessible due to high surf conditions so we had to be content with a late afternoon stroll on the beach with Rosie. Tuesday night we decided to leave for Caleta de Campos with Kalalau , a boat from Port Townsend owned by one of the skippers of the Adventuress, the American tall ship in the pacific northwest. George and Kathleen will be heading off to the Marquesas in a few weeks so they are rushing back to PV to join this year’s group.
We departed at midnight, aiming to reach Caleta de Campos, a 67 mile run, before the afternoon winds developed. It was a very pleasant night with light winds and a full moon as we motor-sailed north. At 4 a.m. on Fran’s watch, as we approached the busy port of Lorenzo Cardenas, a darkened, very fast vessel passed down our starboard side and took station a mile away on our port quarter for 30 minutes. We had been advised by other boats that the Mexican navy was doing drug interdiction patrols in the area and we presume that was one of the patrols. Had we been a lone boat we might have been boarded but by maintaining a continuous dialogue between Kalalau and ourselves probably helped our lot.
We arrived in Caleta de Campos without further incident by early afternoon. As predicted, the wind had shifted from a land to sea breeze by noon so the last 2 hours were a slog into headwinds of 18-20 kts. Caleta de Campos has wonderful beaches but there was hardly anyone enjoying them. We were able to make a landing in the surf and had a nice afternoon walking Rosie and enjoying a cervesa in one of the many wall to wall palapa establishments covering a good portion of the beach adjacent to the village. The different table coverings are the only indication of where one starts and the other ends. If you like beer and fish dishes, this is for you. Much to Fran’s disappointment there were no Margaritas available but the guacamole was the best we have had so far. But in reality, these establishments are just an extension of a family’s home and they eke out a small living by feeding tourists when they can. Menus are basic and based on supplies that are easily available: seafood, beer and pop.
We left there the following morning after Rosie had done her business and after recovering the outboard off the dinghy. We have been towing the inflatable for the past few days instead of lifting it to the foredeck. Much of the morning was flat calm but by noon the sea breeze started to develop and it increased steadily until we arrived in here Maruata Bay. Phil arrived just after nightfall, very tired and thankful for our directions into the anchorage. Without radar and before moonrise it is very difficult to make out shore features after dark.
0530, 14 February, Happy St Valentines
Cruising north in light aires and calm seas. This can’t last...
We are on our way to Manzanillo after a 2200 departure. We were counting on the sea breeze to die down after sunset but it persisted until about 0200 with headwinds from 15-22 kts. It was not a pleasant ride for the first few hours but the wind has let up and the seas have calmed somewhat allowing us to make good headway. We hope to arrive in Manzanillo before the sea breeze re-establishes itself but that may be wishful thinking.
We spent the day relaxing and helping Phil sort out his engine problems. We were able to make some band-aid repairs to his engine, sufficient to get him to Manzanillo where he can get a permanent solution. Lucky for us he had an extra 15 gallons of diesel onboard. J-G miscalculated our fuel reserves for the return trip and we were contemplating hiking to the nearest Pemex station but thanks to Phil that won’t be necessary. Have to add spare diesel jerry cans to the shopping list for next season...
Maruata bay is very typical of the coves along this coast. It is a lovely sandy cove protected from Northerly winds but the SW swell refracts around the point giving us a gentle rocking motion. Landing on beaches like this can be an exhilarating experience. You start by choosing a landing spot and timing the swell pattern and then rushing in to the beach, jumping out and hauling the dinghy out of the surf line. We don’t want to repeat the dunking we experienced a few years ago in Tenecatita with Royal Exchange’s dinghy. This time we had Phil with us so the landing and departure were textbook. There is always that moment of apprehension when the outboard doesn’t start back up on the first pull but we had observed the swell pattern well and had a good calm period between sets of breakers. We had a pleasant few hours on the near deserted beach and had lunch in one of the few open palapa restaurants on the beach.
With another 80 miles to go to Manzanillo we decided to leave by 2200 to take advantage of the land breeze during the night and the calms that seem to develop from early morning to early afternoon. As luck (or bad luck) would have it we encountered 3-4 ft seas and 12-15 kt headwinds for the first 3 hours before it began to lighten up.
1800, 14 Feb 2009, anchored off Las Hadas
We arrived back at anchor off Las Hadas by 1400. The light winds didn’t last and by early afternoon the sea breeze developed again but by then we were entering Manzanillo Bay and we were finally able to have a good sail into the bay. By A few hours later Mannasea arrived. The engine repairs he had done lasted the trip but the rough seas were not kind to him.
We will be here for a few days before heading north towards Barra de Navidad and meeting friends in Maleque at the end of the month.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Zihuatanejo Sail Fest



The Sail Fest has been a blast and the event has raised more this year than ever before, close to $65,000. This is surprising when you note that there are fewer attendees, both ashore and afloat this year, undoubtedly because of the recession. The shore year round resident gringo community has done the lion’s share of the organising and this has been supplemented by the winter gringos and the visiting cruisers. The latter have waded in with as much support as possible, helping out wherever help is needed and in particular, all of the events centred around boats.
The first major event was a fun race organised by Pam on Precious Metal. With her experience in running the Vic-Maui Race for the past few years it was a cinch for her to set up a race for a bunch of cruising boats, nevertheless, we were divided in 2 groups; fast and slow..... Surprisingly, the favourite boat came in second overall, much to the chagrin of the skipper-owner but to the glee of the remainder of the fleet. It seemed to mute the arrogance he had been displaying up to that point. Gosling fared quite well and came in 2nd out of 4 boats; beat out by a small catamaran but edging out the closest boat by 2.3 seconds after a 4 hour Driftsure style race. With only the 2 of us on board it was a real challenge. This was also our first experience sailing Gosling upwind and we were quite amazed at getting 1.6 – 2 kts of speed in light airs of 3-6 kts. Thanks to the light conditions J-G was able to try every combination of sails onboard. Other boats got a kick out of watching him scurry fore and aft trying to coax the wind to fill the sails. All in all it was a fun day.
Later that evening we attended a concert of local talent ranging from Mariachi musicians to Blues and Rock performances. One was a Louisiana native called Mamou who was reputed to have played with Jimi Hendrix and Chuck Berry and others before retiring to Zihuatanejo where he is a regular on the bar circuit. We were really impressed by the quality of the performances. Each year musicians contribute to a CD that is professionally produced. As part of our registration package we received last year’s CD as part of our entrance package and it is very good.
The following day was the Sail Parade. This event was more of a “get the locals out on the boats” event, where anyone ashore bought tickets to go for a day’s sailing. We had signed up to take 3 but by 10 AM, start time, they hadn’t shown up.
Other events included a poker dinghy race where participants had to solve a riddle to determine which boats to go to collect a playing card. Once 5 were collected participants met ashore to play out their hands. SV Panchita arrived on Tuesday with a large bucket full of rubber duckies that they use for fundraising events. People “rent” a duck and all rented ducks are dropped beyond the surf line. The first duck to make it ashore wins half the pot for its sponsor. The final event tonight was a BBQ sponsored by one of the local bars.
We have met a lot of very interesting people here in Zihuat. There are 2 other Canadian boats, Precious Metal with Ivy and Pam and Optical Illusion with Janet and Bill. Pam and Ivy are from Port Hardy where they have just sold the local marina. Optical Illusion is another Bluewater boat. We met Bill and Janet at the Bluewater Rendezvous at Montague harbour last summer. We learnt that they also have a summer place on Saturna Island and have attended several 1st of July lamb BBQs when we were there helping out. It is a really small world when you meet a local Gringo who used to be a nurse at Stadacona when we were first posted to Halifax. Julia was blown away when J-G mentioned names of fellow Naval Officers who had gone through Stad in the 1970’s. She also worked for Alan Porter, one of our fellow club members from CFSA. She had also lived on Saturna Island for several years. Another astonishing fact is that she had also played basketball with Fran while J-G was on the CCO course in 1979.
J-G also met his clone. A remarkable resemblance between the two was noted the night of the concert. Pictures will follow. He is from Brentwood bay. Go figure!
One item we omitted to mention in our last blog entry was that we were at anchor when Zihuatanejo was the epicentre of a 5.2 earthquake last week.... We slept through but some boaters actually felt it.
Each morning we have the morning net where the local cruising community share information. Morning nets here have been a real treat with one of the 3 young girls on SV Don Quixote running the net each day. As Fran puts it, it is her early dose of sunshine every day.
We have also seen the dark side of Mexico while here. We found out after the sail parade that the people who had been designated to be on our boat had been mugged the night before and had decided to fly back home immediately. The following day we learnt the one of the boats in the anchorage was the victim of an extortion attempt. Their kayak had been “found” washed ashore and some locals wanted a ransom for it. This caused quite a stir among the boaters but, thankfully, cooler heads prevailed and it was diplomatically handled through the Port Captain.
We will depart tomorrow morning for our trip back north. We will try to stop into every noted anchorage along the way. Looks like we will meet many of the same boats on our way as most will be heading in the same direction. A few are headed south to Central America and beyond. One boat, Kalalau, from Port Townsend will be heading for the South Pacific.
Unfortunately the bandwidth on the WIFI service here is insufficient to send photos so we will add them to this issue when we arrive in Manzanillo, sometime in the next few weeks.
PS: If any of you subscribe to Sirius Radio and listen to the Cousin Brucie show, listen out for our e-mailed requests that we send occasionally.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Zihuatanejo for the Sailfest

20:00, Thursday, 29 January 2009
Another night at sea, our second since departing Santiago Bay,(Las Hadas). It is a warm, calm and windless night with a new crescent moon under a bright Jupiter, setting in the western sky. The water is considerably warmer here and the phosphorescence is superb. We have just observed a pod of dolphins playing in our bow wave, their wakes illuminated by the bright green trail they leave as they swim by. We have just dipped below 17 degrees N and only have 65 miles to go.
We departed Las Hadas yesterday afternoon and have been powering all the way because of the light headwinds we have encountered. In order to arrive at Zihuatanejo in daylight we dipped into a nice little anchorage at Caleto de Campos for the afternoon. We weren’t able to get ashore but this will be one of our stops on the way back. We departed again just before sunset in company with Acapella.
As we had expected it is getting warmer and warmer as we head further south. We thank our lucky stars that we chose a boat with a covered cockpit where we can take shelter from the sun. Even a light breeze is refreshing and we hope that there will be some breeze in the anchorage at Zihuat. We have been wearing less and less as we travel south and when modesty dictates we usually resort to Polynesian style wraps. J-G got used to them while serving in Kuwait. Our 2 sun-showers are serving us well but we don’t leave them out in the sun anymore. We prefer them cool. The sea water is nice and warm but still refreshing and we are taking dips off the boat regularly when at anchor. Rosie takes shelter in the aft cabin and is turning into quite the pit queen. We will have to get her ashore more often from now on, however, we have been warned not to take her to the boat docks in Ixtapa where crocodiles have been known to snatch the odd unsuspecting dog or cat right off the docks.
Sunday, 1 Feb 09
Day 3, in Zihuatanejo. It is 19:30 and we are rocking in a gentle swell amid a fleet of some 25 boats in the anchorage off the town. It is 85 F in the salon and relative humidity is 57%. It has actually cooled down a bit and we are waiting for the evening breeze to settle in. We are listening to a band playing on shore not too far from where we are. We seem to be one of a very few boats to have anyone aboard. Most of the cruisers are crowded into the Sunset Bar watching the Super bowl. We just came back from a walk ashore with Rosie and passed by the cheering (and booing) throngs. Fran is cooking up some fish that we bought at the fish market on the beach this morning. We have no idea what it is but we know it isn’t tuna, marlin or dorado. Rosie is tuckered out and sleeping in the cockpit after a long walk along the beach.
It has been a lazy few days. The heat during the day is oppressive but we are comfortable under the shade of the dodger and the sea breeze is wonderful. J-G started sanding the woodwork but had to wait till sundown to apply the finish coat of varnish. He has several other jobs to do over the next week or so. The wind-vane repairs will have to wait until we get the parts. We have managed to get friends in San Diego to get the parts and Gil and Lexie (SV Sunday) just so happen to be going back to San Diego next week from San Carlos. If all goes as planned we will get the parts in the next month or so when we meet up with Sunday as she sails south.
Tomorrow we have the first meeting about the Sail-Fest and we will find out how we can participate. Although we had signed up online it seems that the information was not passed on to the local organizers. There are many gringos, Canadian and American, in town are involved in this event. They are mainly shore-based residents and visitors who come here every year. The cruisers assist where they can but mainly the water-based events. The boat will be a lot lighter after we land all the clothes and school supplies Fran brought from Canada. The highlight of the week will be on Thursday when boats take guests onboard for a day sail to Isla Grande. With our small cockpit and the number of life vests, we have asked for just 2 persons. It should be a fun day on the water.
We are getting used to this lifestyle.....

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Barra - Santiago bay

Wednesday, 28th of Jan
We have been anchored off the Las Hadas resort for the past few days. Since the last entry we have been relaxing in sheltered anchorages and enjoying our surroundings. Here we have found a spot where we have free WIFI access so I can finally update the blog for the past week.
We departed Tenecatita the following morning and arrived at the entrance to Barra by early afternoon. Although I had the waypoints for the channel leading in to the lagoon we called ahead and were met by Shoot the Moon who guided us in his dinghy. The waypoints proved to be very accurate even though they had been charted 4 years ago.
Inside the lagoon there were approx 30 boats and we were the only Canadian boat for a few days until we were joined by a boat from Vancouver called called Mary Powell. We were in a good company of cruisers who maintained an enjoyable morning net that covered Santiago bay to Tenecatita. Barra hasn’t changed much in the past 2 years since we visited in Royal Exchange. The sands Hotel still caters to the cruiser crowd and it still appears to be run down but the bars are lively and it has free WIFI service. Who could ask for more? The laundry we used then is still operating and a still good deal, the little girl we photographed in 2007 is 2 years older now but still accompanies her mother to the same souvenir shop and the French Baker who delivers to the boats in the lagoon still has outlandish prices on his products but still finds customers among the boats in the lagoon and marina..
While there, the centre of activity was the Grand Bay Marina which hosted a 3-day fishing tournament. Our curiosity kept us there an extra day to see the final weigh –in. The winning fish was a 93.3 kg marlin. But the fish was only part of the attraction. 10 peso beer and the Tecate girls (Tecate was the principle sponsor for the tourney) and it being a focal point to meet other cruisers made it a fun event. The tourney itself was a rich man’s event and at $3000 per entry it was out of reach to the cruiser community.
We did meet some old acquaintances from last year’s passage up the coast, Coastal Passage and Darkside and a few we had met while on Royal Exchange, Dean and Maryanne in Rippling Waters and Bill on Raptor Dance who came out to the boat and gave me some pointers to improve my SSB/Ham performance.
Rosie enjoyed this stop and went nuts when we took her to the manicured lawns of the Grand Bay. She ran around in the soft grass like a whirling dervish for about 10 minutes. We also took her on the kayak to the golf course and along the shore where we found a beautiful plant nursery for the resort.
We weighed anchor and left Barra on Sunday the 25th and powered in light airs down the coast towards Manzanillo. During the 5 hour crossing we had the line out and to our great surprise we hooked a 25-40 lb sail fish that gave us quite a show for the 20 minutes he was on the line. Mercifully, it slipped the hook but we had had our thrill. Our only regret was not getting a decent photo.
We arrived in Santiago Bay in mid-afternoon and bypassed the usual anchorage spot on the north side of the bay for the cove outside Las Hadas. This proved to be a wise decision. Here we are close to public transportation for shopping, we can use the dock facilities of Las Hadas for free and we have free WIFI thanks to some unsuspecting provider and there are a few bars and restaurants along the beach that are very friendly to the cruisers.
There are a dozen other boats here, including a few that have followed us from Barra. We were thrilled to meet up with another Blue Water Cruising boat, Warren Peace (Steve and Linda Warren), who we had met at the farewell event for this year’s departing cruisers in Montague Harbour last summer. With Steve’s help I was able to re-rig my masthead halyard. We had a good morning snorkeling with them just off the 18th hole of the local golf course collecting golf balls and seeing the colorful fish and we topped it all off with supper on board, sharing stories and planning future rendezvous.
We have had to shut down the freezer. It was costing us a fortune in amp-hours. The difference without it is quite remarkable. Looks like we will have to go back to the drawing board on that one.
We will be departing this afternoon for Zihuatanejo, a 2-day run from here. The weather is ideal but the winds may be a bit light for us. No idea what e-mail service will be like when we get there.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

La Paz to Barra de Navidad


1500, Friday, 17 Jan 2009 - Posn:22 29.0N, 107 50.5W, 110 nm SSE of Cabo San Lucas
We are under sail with the mizzen and the spinnaker flying in a 12-15 kt quartering wind and stern on seas of 3-4 ft. The GPS indicates that we are doing 5.5 - 6 kts over the ground and we are enjoying every minute of it. We are out of sight of land for only the second time in Gosling. The first was a day or so on the way down the west coast of the Baja last spring. The air is cool and the sky is clear. The flying fish are all around us leaping from wave to wave in their attempts to flee our intrusion and the boobies are diving in chase.
We departed La Paz at 0900 on Thursday into a freshening northerly breeze. By the time we arrived at San Lorenzo Channel it had reached the 10-15 kts predicted on the morning net. We were able to sail down the coast to Los Muertos but by mid-afternoon we had to supplement with the engine to reach the anchorage before nightfall, arriving just as the last light was fading.
We departed the anchorage the following morning, sails up and running before a 12-15 kt breeze and have yet to see it diminish in strength. We were even able to steer by wind-vane for a short period, another first for us, however with a slight backing of the wind we had to resort to the auto pilot.
The night was long and quite cool but by 2200 the waning moon in its last quarter brightened things up. Several times we were alerted by the shallow water alarm only to see a solid mass near the surface on the sounder. This morning we found several small squid on the deck leading us to believe that these were huge banks of these creatures coming to the surface to feed at night.
Rosie is not having a very good time of this. She has been seasick and yesterday she made quite a mess, however today she seems to have perked up a bit. She still prefers to stay in her bunk but she has taken on a bit of food and water. In my last entry I forgot to mention the extra expense I had at Marina Palmira. On our first night we went ashore to a small restaurant with several friends leaving Rosie in the aft cabin. On our return we found J-G’s electronic dock key pass in shreds on the bed where he had left it. So far, this has been the first item she has destroyed but a $50.00 (US) mistake on J-G’s part.
As I was finishing the last sentence I heard an ominous “bang”! The spinnaker was in the water, the halyard broken at the masthead! It took some time to recover it and it came in undamaged. Looks like I will be some masthead work when we reach Barra to re-rig it and correct whatever was causing the chaffing. These lines were replaced 3 years ago and haven’t had that much use. Of the 2 halyards this one had to be the one that led up through the inside of the mast.... We are now proceeding under genoa and Mizzen and still maintaining 5.5-6 kts but rolling as bit more.
10:20 Monday, 19 Jan 2009
We made landfall on the coastline below Cabo Corrientes at sunrise. We are power sailing in order to reach Barra in daylight but it looks doubtful so we are planning on anchoring in Tenecatita for the night and continuing tomorrow. We are familiar with this bay as we were last here 2 years ago with Royal Exchange . Except for a few hours of light winds yesterday morning we have continued to experience great sailing weather, however, a few hours ago the wind died off and we are now powering in an oily calm sea with long swells from the NE. Fran is enjoying the occasional visits by dolphins and whoops with excitement when they come close and play in the bow wave. We haven’t seen any whales yet but the challenge is out for the first to spot one.
With the engine on there is no concern about power consumption so we are charging both computer batteries and operating the water maker to increase our store of drinking water. The freezer continues to worry us. It draws 6 amps when running and it runs a long time before shutting down. We are quite certain the reason is a lack of adequate insulation in the original refrigerator. Another project for next season.
They say that bad luck comes in 3’s; I hope that adage is true. At the change of watch 2 nights ago Fran wanted me to investigate an odd noise from astern. Sure enough it was trouble. The wind-vane that I had rebuilt in Guaymas was being towed by the control cables. All 3 mounting brackets had broken. With the aid of the mizzen topping lift we were able to recover it and lash it on deck. Parts for repairing this will be impossible to find here. The following day we flew the spinnaker again without incident but when we recovered it we noticed that one of the pulpit supports was loose. The through bolt had sheared. Hope there is a good stainless repair facility in Zihuatanejo. The “to do” list is adding up. We also lost a big fish in mid-morning, taking the lure with it on it’s dive to freedom. I didn’t mind that loss and expect to have the big ones get away. We only want the “easy to handle on deck” versions.
I have managed to repair the broken spinnaker halyard thanks to my time in Oriole where I learned to splice Sampson braid. Now the hard part will be to thread it down the mast and fish it out of the sleeve.
1800, 19 Jan
We are anchored in the outer bay at Tenecatita. On to Barra tomorrow. Just heard on the SSB net this morning that a boat called Carpe Diem was abandoned not far from our track just east of Cabo yesterday. Crew was saved but the boat is adrift. No other details were provided. There are many Carpe Diem’s around.