Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Refit completed - departing Guaymas
Skating in Mexico
Departure morning; high fog bank but clear below.
19:15, 17 Dec 2010, At sea, enroute to Mazatlan`
We are finally at sea, on our way south. It is a clear night with light winds and a calm sea. The moon is directly overhead, waxing to a full moon in another few days. Orion, my favourite constellation, has just risen in the east and somewhere between Bellatrix and Alderbaran the star “Jean-Guy” is burning a hole in the sky. (Fran named the star for me as a Christmas present a few years ago). There are no visual or radar contacts. We have been under power all day because of the calm conditions and the engine is purring like a kitten (OK, a big kitten). We had a large pod of dolphin’s visit us outside the harbour approaches this morning and a wonderful green flash at sunset, good omens. Fran is in her bunk and I am standing the first watch of the evening. Manasea, Plan B and Tanque de Tiburon are in company but spread over a 30 mile path astern. Life is grand!
It was a great feeling to cast off the lines this morning and head out of the harbour. We have seen so many of our friends leave over the past few weeks and have received e-mails that many are already in Mazatlan enjoying the pre-Christmas events. For the past few days there has been a lot of fog in the area and all the way down the coast. Nights have been very damp with heavy dew and we were worried that we’d be delayed but this morning, although overcast was clear. Once we got away from the coast it cleared up and we has a sunny but calm day. It is nice to relax once again, something that hasn’t been on our menu for the past month.
It has been a very busy week since launching on Monday. Storing and organising the living areas was the biggest task. Omar returned and checked the engine alignment and it was near perfect, testimony to his last alignment 2 years ago. I must admit that the vibration we used to experience is all but gone. The machining of the shaft seems to have corrected that. Doug and Trish finished wiring of the grounds, solar panels and a new shore power connection port. The original was in the cockpit and was always in the way. All of the jerry cans and fuel tanks were filled and lashed to the guardrails. They look much better with the covers Fran made to match the new sail covers. This year we have quite a variety: 100-1 and 50-1 mixture for the outboards, high test gas for the generator, diesel for the main engine and 2 cans of potable drinking water. Last year the containers were covered by old t-shirts to protect them from the sun. The last task was to stock up on cervesa and put the car in the storage yard for the winter. Fran did that yesterday.
0610, 19 Dec, at Sea
It is twilight, day 3 of our trip south to Mazatlan; the eastern sky is aglow in pink and gold promise of another beautiful sunrise. It has been a cool night but not as damp as yesterday. The company has changed somewhat. Tanque de Tiburon is experiencing alternator problems and will have to stop in Topolobambo to replace it with his spare. Plan B is also stopping there to sort out a leaking cooling system. Manasea is forging ahead; his trimaran much lighter and swifter than us. We have heard Rich on Third Day calling in on the radio and he appears to be paralleling our track towards Mazatlan from the Cabo side.
Yesterday was a quiet day with decent winds on the stern which gave J-G the opportunity to try out a few sails that we brought down with us that came with Antares, our last boat. The heavy (3 ½ oz) spinnaker will probably stay but the Tall Boy will be going. What an odd sail, a cross between a drifter and a jib, some former owner’s race breaker. We’ll probably end up giving that one away just to get rid of it. We’ve also discovered that the new stack pack sail cover scheme has lowered the mizzen boom by a few inches. Now the boom interferes with the outboard engine storage mounts. That will be a harder one to sort out. Note: the easy solution was to re-insert the outer lug on the foot of the sail to the boom track. It now clears the mounts .
One never has the time to get bored on these long passages. There is always something to fix or adjust, normal routines to be followed like taking and logging fixes, listening and participating in the morning and evening radio nets, checking the engine state, fuel levels, and such. Keeping a good lookout is very important out here. Fishing activity is everywhere and already Phil (Manasea) has had to go swimming twice to free his boat from floating fishing lines. All that considered, there are Spanish courses on CD to listen to and many books that have to be read. The more we read the lighter the boat gets, at least in theory. They normally get exchanged for other books to read.
Then there is Rosie, our live mascot. Since we left she has not ventured very far from the aft cabin bunk. Yesterday we managed to get her to do her business on the bow after shutting down the engine and finding course that minimized roll and pitch. She managed to eat a bit of food and Fran makes sure she has a drink on a regular basis. She will bounce back to the party dog we all know as soon as the first line is on the dock.
2100, 19 December, 60 miles to go.
It is an absolutely beautiful night. The moon is full and bright enough to give us a horizon as we motor down the coast on a sea of glass. There are lots of fishing vessels bobbing in the distance and the temperature is much more pleasant than last night. Earlier we had another fantastic sunset and our third “Green Flash” in a row. On the down side we have not caught any fish since leaving Guaymas. We’ll have to check what colour of lures are working before our next leg south to San Blas in a few weeks.
It has been a pleasant day. We sailed most of the morning until the wind died. With the engine on and foresail down Rosie has braved the decks and, on a few occasions came up by herself to do her business. Is this a sign that she is getting used to this way of life???
We have been called by Bill (Optical Illusion) and Pam (Full Quiver) from their berths at El Cid. It will be nice to catch up to everyone. On the other hand, we heard from Bill and Linda (Tanque de Tiburon) that they were pulling into Topolobambo this morning to effect repairs to their electrical system, engine and gooseneck. Linda believes in the “3” principle of bad luck and is confident that with 3 problems they will be safe for a while. Plan B is following about 60 miles astern with his engine problems unresolved. Phil is 10 miles ahead, still dodging the fishermen close to shore but, thankfully, not dealing with their equipment today.
2100, 21 December, El Cid marina Dock B-35
We made it without incident and tied up alongside at 0900 on the 20th. Bill (Optical Illusion) told us that there was only one berth left and that we should take it before anyone else did. Good thing we followed his advice because there were several other boats that were refused later on. One of them had chosen to go for fuel before taking a berth. Too bad for them and hooray for us. Good thing we had a reservation. It was a nice reception with many of our old cruising acquaintances already there. We were also warmly greeted by Cliff and Lynne (Taya) from Vancouver, on their first season in Mexico. Cliff admitted to having read our blog and having been inspired. Somebody actually reads this thing!!! If there are others out there please leave a short note in the comments section.
The boat is now in festive colours with our Palm tree Christmas tree on the bow and several strings of solar Christmas lights. We are minimalists compared to others boats in the marina which are adorned with miles of light strings. One even has a reindeer and tree, all in lights. We will be celebrating with a dock Christmas dinner on Christmas day. So far there are 26 people participating, including Linda and Bill, (Tanque de Tiburon) who are now fixed and departing from Topolobambo tomorrow morning. It should be a fun week.
Hope all of you have a safe and wonderful Christmas and New Year.