Wednesday, April 22, 2015

2015 Finale - back to reality

16:00, Friday, 27 March 2015, Under sail, Sea of Cortez

Finally, under sail again, with the main, mizzen and genoa on a beam reach with about 12 kts of true wind speed, heading across the Sea at 6 kts, the best sailing we have done since we left Guaymas, 3 months ago. This has been a rare event this season but our sailing area and destinations this year have not been conducive to good sailing. In the winter, on the Sea of Cortez, the wind generally blows from the north, occasionally from the south or not at all. Most of our destinations took us directly into the wind this year. By the time we get to Guaymas we will have done over 1000 miles this season and about 190 hours under power. We don’t actually count the hours under sail but it would be a small percentage compared to the hours under the “iron spinnaker”.

This part of the Sea has been a disappointment and not at all what we expected. Surely the time of year is not ideal but since we left Santa Rosalia we have not been impressed. We quickly realised that there are not that many anchorages up here that are protected from the predominant northerlies. In fact, yesterday after our quick visit to the village of Bahia Los Angeles we opted to return to our “bay of wasps” when the wind picked up to 16-18 kts in the anchorage off the village.

Our visit there was also disappointing. We had hoped to get a good internet connection but there was none in the village. This town was not spared by hurricane Odiel when it swept up the Baja last fall. There was no Telcel service so the previous blog will have to wait till Guaymas. We visited the small but well-appointed museum, bought a few eggs, had lunch and managed to check our e-mails at a restaurant with a very slow internet before heading back to Gosling. The wind had come up while we were ashore and with it the waves so remaining there for the night was not an option.

Anchored not far away was a 26 ft McGregor, Schera-Lynn with Mike and, his crew, Jay. We learned that they were on their way from San Francisco to Costa Rica, yes, in a 26 ft boat designed for lakes and inshore sailing!! Coming down the Pacific side of the Baja they encountered rough sea conditions so they managed to find a truck and trailer and had the boat transported across the Baja and had just finished re-rigging her when we met them. We encouraged them to follow us back to Puerto Don Juan and had a nice evening giving them advice for their trip south. You have to love a guy who names his boat after his mother. This morning predictions were for a good northerly breeze, ideal for our crossing and good for Mike and Jay on their way south, retracing our track down the Baja coast.

So, we are now crossing to the mainland side and expect to be in Guaymas in a few days, much earlier than expected. Tonight we are aiming for a small bay on the South end of Isla Tiburon.

0830: Sunday, 29 March 2015, Anchored at Pozo Moreno

We arrived here after an 11 hour motor sail from our last stop at Bahia de los Cruces on the southern tip of Isla Tiburon. Nothing much to report on our sail across except that we arrived just before sunset and departed the next morning just before 7AM. The wind was from the NNW at 8-10 kts all day so we put up the big spinnaker, just so we could say that we deployed it this year. We flew it most of the day and recovered it later in the afternoon when the wind lightened up.

At about the same time we had a strike on our trolled fishing line, the first in over a month, and lo and behold, it was an edible fish, a sierra mackerel, a very highly prized sports fish. Within minutes of putting the line out again, another hit and another sierra, larger this time. That was enough for today. Fran noticed that the sea temperature had risen to above 70F. We had been told that the sports fish in the Sea of Cortez do not like anything below 70F and this seems to emphasize that point.
Sierra mackerel

Today we have a southerly wind, as predicted a few days ago. Naturally, we are headed south so it will be a bumpy ride but we are only going 14 miles to Bahia San Pedro. Fran wants to use the kayak again before we put it away. The following day we should be arriving in Guaymas.

07:00, Tuesday, 31 March 2015. Alongside Marina Fonatur, Guaymas

Another sailing season completed, our 8th and probably our shortest at just under 3 months. We are back where we started on the 7th of January with a list of tasks ahead of us to get Gosling ready for another summer lay-up.

The last few days were more of the same. We left Poso Moreno in fairly light winds but were soon pounding it moderate to strong southerlies, again, right on the nose, so it was another motorboat ride down the coast to Bahia San Pedro. Although it was just 14 miles it took us almost 4 hours to get there under those conditions. We arrived just as the wind began to lighten and anchored in another beautiful sheltered bay shared with 4 other boats. We met Alan and, our boat broker, Marisa on Chicane and John and Jennifer on Spinnaker, a Canadian boat from Vancouver.

We left the following morning for the final 30 mile leg to Guaymas. It was another day of headwinds but much milder than the previous day and we arrived in Guaymas by mid-afternoon. Our assigned berth was on the shallow side of the marina so we opted to wait, at anchor, for another few hours of flood tide before attempting our approach. By 6PM we were alongside with the help of Mike and Judy, (Pura Vida) who had arrived a few days earlier.

Other than their slips, Fonatur is not much of a business anymore. Notwithstanding a significant reduction in storage rates, there are only a few boats in the yard and the prospect for more is dim. The main reason are new rules about working on your boat and living aboard while on the hard and the lack of essential services. The continued lack of funding and support by the home office in Mexico City has contributed to this state. Most of the original staff has been replaced and the day after we arrived Ariana, the office manager for the past 7 years was fired and replaced by a non-English speaking lady. Needless to say, the language barrier will make dealing with this marina much more difficult in the future.
Empty yard at Fonatur

2030, Monday, 13 April 2015, Camping at Moab, Utah

The last entry seems so long ago, and it is! Laying a boat up for a long period is a busy and tiring time but as you can see from our location above that we survived the ordeal and are on our way home in our truck and Casita trailer via the natural wonders of Utah, Colorado and, hopefully, Yellowstone Park in a few more days.

 The day after we arrived at Fonatur we began the laying up process. Sails had to be taken down, washed, dried, folded and stowed below. Similarly with the running rigging. All lines were removed and replaced by messenger lines, thoroughly washed, dried and stowed. Every through-hull that had carried salt water was rinsed out with Salt-Away, including the engine and outboards. The water-maker was pickled, water tanks emptied and wiped with bleach, fuel tanks filled, all bright-work cleaned, polished and waxed, dinghy scrubbed, covered and lashed to the deck, the cockpit windows and any loose items removed and stowed below, the list goes on and on and on…… It took us the better part of the 5 days we had before our haul-out date at Marina Seca Guaymas. On the Tuesday after Easter we motored to the haul-out basin and hauled up on the travel lift and deposited in the yard, close to where we were 7 years ago.
Washing sails
More sails
Then all the running rigging

In the 2 days on the hard that followed we completed the lay-up ordeal; transferred foodstuffs, clothing and anything that we were taking back home with us to the truck and trailer, washed Gosling down, wiped down the interior, set up the boat cover, washed the bottom and scraped off any growth that had accumulated (there was surprisingly little. The paint I had obtained in Panama was still performing well), covered all blocks, lights, and other machinery to protect them from dust and sand, etc, etc, etc. The last item (and one of the first on our return) is always setting off an insect spray bomb to eliminate any critters that may have gotten used to our company in the last few months.
Last get-together at the Dug-Out with the Fonatur dock group

We left early on the Thursday morning content that all was ready. We had John and Jennifer (Spinnaker) and their cat Diesel as passengers until Phoenix.

21:30, 21 April 2015, Lonesome Creek Ranch, Kelowna, BC

Post Script: We are settled in to our cozy apartment with Jacquie and Von at Jacquie’s small horse ranch in the hills above Kelowna for the next few weeks. We are finally re-united with Rosie. She was glad to see us and made a fuss when we arrived. Good dog!!!!

It was a long and tiring drive from Guaymas but we saw some spectacular country from Arizona to Montana, including Monument Valley, The Canyonlands, The Arches and Dinosaur National Parks and Lava Hot Springs. Our plan to go through the Grand Teton and Yellowstone parks was thwarted by a cold snap as we passed through Vernal, Idaho. The temperature dropped 20 degrees (F) with snow and 30 MPH winds for 2 days. The higher roads were impassable so we stayed put for a day and took a surer route north through Salt Lake City. By the time we arrived back at the Canadian border the cold weather was well behind us and, since then, we have been enjoying a rare and early warm and clear spring. Our first stop was in Cranbrook, BC for a quick overnight visit with our old cruising buddies Steve and Linda (Warren Peace) who we had last seen in Panama last year.
Monument valley
Cowgirl Fran
The trip wasn’t without its mishaps. Towing a trailer brings a whole set of variables that didn’t exist when we travelled back and forth with the van, years ago. We had 2 blowouts on the trailer and just after the summit of one of the passes in southern BC we lost the pin holding the hitch to the trailer. Luckily the safety chains and emergency trailer brakes functioned as they are supposed to. Albeit shaken up a bit we were able to reconnect and carry on within about 20 minutes. That extra pin I carry came in handy. We will continue on to the coast in a few weeks.

Thanks for looking in on us this season. All the best from Gosling and her crew.

No comments:

Post a Comment