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.

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