Saturday, December 31, 2011

Topolobampo to Barra de Navaidad

Fran's garden. Chives not too plentiful!

0900, Tuesday, 27 Dec 2011, At Sea
We are on day 2 of our passage south. We are powering in 12 kts of NW wind and we are heading SW. We spent most of yesterday and last night under sail with main and mizzen in winds ranging from 12 to 25 kts. At some points we were touching 7 kts hull speed, about our max so far in Gosling. Seas are about 4-6 ft so we did roll somewhat and it was difficult to get any sleep. We’ll be napping on and off today.
We had a very quiet Christmas at the marina dock, just the 3 of us. It was cold and windy night again with gusts in the 30-35 kt range. It lightened a bit on Christmas morning and the sun was able to overcome the wind-chill and warm us up a bit. Santa brought J-G a fancy Swiss watch and a Kindle, lots of candy and a feather rose for Fran. It was fun to open the gifts from friends and family that we had brought with us. Rosie got a multi-coloured, super-bright mini-dog light that makes her look like a Christmas tree at night from her doggie God-parents (Rick and Jane). We’ll never lose sight of her again.... For something different we went to a restaurant in town for a late breakfast. There are very few choices in Topo and the hotel/restaurant is owned by the same person who owns this marina.
Tourtiere for Christmas eve dinner, Yum Yum!

We departed early on Boxing Day in a calm sea. It took 2 ½ hours to get to the end of the channel where we found 12 kt winds and 4 ft seas but, thankfully, all in the direction we were heading. By the afternoon the wind had increased to 15 kts and we were able to fly the spinnaker for most of the afternoon. Just before sunset a large pod of dolphins came in for a look and Rosie went nuts running up and down the deck and barking her head off. At least she gets her exercise that way. J-G tied a line to her floater coat just in case she slipped through the guard rails at the bow. We have netting from there to the midships embarkation points.
0700, Wednesday, 28 Dec 2011, At sea
Yesterday was almost a carbon copy of the previous day except that the wind is lightening and the sea is calming down. We flew the spinnaker all afternoon but the lightening winds made that a challenge. By sunset the wind had dropped to 10 kts, still on the stern, making for very slow progress south. We decided that wasting any more time getting to our destination wasn’t a desirable option so we flashed up the engine and powered all night. This morning the wind is even lighter so it looks like we’ll be a powerboat for the next few days unless conditions change.
It is getting significantly warmer. Two nights ago we put on all the warm clothes we have to stand our watches but last night we didn’t need all those layers. This morning, with the wind abating it is actually a pleasant 70F in the cabin.
We passed by Mazatlan, about 30 miles off, in mid-afternoon. Steve and Linda (Warren Peace) departed from there yesterday and they are some 30 mile ahead of us. I doubt we’ll catch up unless they insist on sailing but with only 3 days left to get to Barra I think they will be powering as well.
We have decided to miss La Cruz and continue on to Barra. Our reason to stop into La Cruz was for Fran to get an appointment at the Chiropractor in Bucerias but after contacting him by e-mail we have learned that he is away until after the New Year. If all goes well we should arrive on the 30th. We were going to stop in Tenecatita to visit an old family friend, who we discovered, much to our surprise, has been living in La Manzanillo, for the past few years. Had we known last year we would have made contact when we went grocery shopping there after the Tsunami. After an e-mail exchange we will see them while in Barra. They are only 20 minutes away by road.
0800, Friday, 30 Dec 2011, The Aquarium anchorage, Tenecatita Bay.
We arrived in this beautiful anchorage as the sun was setting yesterday; another beautiful Mexican sunset. We weren’t going to reach Barra before dark so this was a good option for a quiet night. Our friends Hal and Cathy on their catamaran, Airborne are the only other boat here. What a difference in temperature! We are now officially complaining about the heat. It was 80 in the cabin but it is cooling off as evening sets in. The sea temp is 82. We had to take a dip to cool off before turning in
The shoreline here has changed significantly since we were here last. A few years ago all of the squatters, vendors and a few well-established residents were dismayed to learn that they were being evicted. Within a few days the beach was cleared with bulldozers and all access roads and gates were blocked. The area had seen a lot of controversy about the ownership of the cove for many years and finally the more influential party, with backing from the local police and others validated their claim through the courts and, finally by force. Today there are just a few newer buildings that have been built since then.
Yesterday we powered down the coast with our sails up to catch any wind. The land and sea breezes that came up assisted us for short periods but to arrive here by sunset we needed the extra propulsion of the engine. We had a great nature day with turtles, dolphins and 2 pods of whales, one of which surfaced about 50 ft from the boat. But the only fish we caught was the bad tasting Bonito, so they went back to the sea.
0800, New Year’s Eve, 31 Dec 2011, Barra de Navidad.
We are enjoying a beautiful morning in one of our favourite anchorages. There are 21 other boats here including Warren Peace and Optical Illusion, the two boats we were hoping to catch up to for New Years. There are several other boats that we have met here over the years; Manasea, Windward Bound and Jake. We expect to be here for a week or so before we continue south to Manzanillo.
We arrived here mid-day yesterday and immediately went to the fuel dock to replenish what we had used since Topolobampo. We took on 230 litres of fuel, which translated to a usage rate of .82 imp gals per hour. We also filled up the water tanks, a chore that we will have to be diligent on this trip. We would have liked to be independent on that front with a bigger watermaker but the new batteries took precedence this year.
We have had a few maintenance issues over the past few days. The shower drain pump for the fwd shower has decided to pack it in so we are now looking for a new impellor for that pump. Last night, when removing the cover off the BBQ, I heard a splash and discovered the small control knob on the regulator had popped off. It is still useable but with difficulty. I also broke the tip off my casting fishing rod when launching the dinghy. They say crap comes in threes so I should be OK for the next few days.
All the best everyone on a great 2012.
(Pictures will be posted soon)


  1. Have enjoyed reading your exploits! Wish I could be with you. Think of you lots. Love Caroline XXX

  2. I spent a lovely evening with Steve and Linda here in Panajachel, Guatemala watching the sunset and drinking a few beers. My name is Sherry. They definitely sparked my interest in traveling in this way. It would seem your group is mostly married couples. Any solos in need of a capable platonic sailmate for next years adventure? I live in Woodland Washington. My wanderlust takes me many places. Sometimes alone sometimes with a group or close friends. But most of my friends don't have the luxury of freedom as I, and apparently you, enjoy. I realize this is sort of a shot in the dark but por que no?