Colombia – Our Days in the Yard

On March 9, we finally got hauled out at the Manzanillo Marina Club in Cartagena.  It’s not really in Manzanillo, and it’s only kind of a marina, and not at all a club, but it is a working boatyard.  In a moment of weakness we agreed to have a fellow we met on the street in front of the Carulla grocery store, who called himself Pedro the Painter no less, do our topsides and bottom painting.  The estimated time for this was 2 weeks.  I know, anyone out there reading this is thinking “Yeah, right!”. 
It is necessary for one or both of us to be around all the time. We’ve been told by every cruiser that you can’t travel while getting work done on your boat anywhere in South/Central America.  Also, Maurice, the yard manager/owner, has a poster behind his desk that says “We strongly advise that owners supervise any work on their boats”.
And it’s a good thing we were did that.  We’ve had to insist on more sanding, or cleaning, or protection at almost every stage. Not to mention continually asking Pedro to bring the gel coat so that we could see the final mix before putting it Continue reading

Wanuskewin Burlesque Show

We hauled out at Manzanillo Marina Club on March 9.  We showed up at 8am and anchored off the travel lift dock.  The marina crew told us to come in to the dock and tie up.  Shortly after we had done so, they told us we had to move out so they could splash a boat or two.  So, we headed back out into the channel and dropped the anchor to wait.  For the travel lift, we need to enter the basin going in reverse, so that we can take off the backstay to fit in the lift.  Wanuskewin has a MaxProp, an elliptical spade rudder and a fin keel, so she backs down not too badly, still, the first time we backed in, it was perfect, and we hate to tempt fate by doing it over and over.  We were worried that the yard was so disorganized, they couldn’t time the boats for haul out and splash?  However after watching how smooth and conscientiously they ran the travel lift and the forklift that they use to move boats in and out of the water, we were instilled with confidence!
When they were ready to haul us out, Davinson dove under Continue reading

Will we ever learn?

So here we are in Cartagena, Columbia.  First day into the marina and we meet a guy that wants to help us with anything we need on the boat.  The next morning we bring him out to the boat to look at the possibility of repainting the hull.  It is painted with polyurethane and the previous owner had done his own work so it is peeling off in places.  Next thing we know, we’re agreeing to have the work done. We’d heard that work in Columbia is of good quality and they are able to get better products than other areas of Central/South America.  The cost was half of that quoted for Ecuador and probably a third of what it would cost in the US.  The US, of course, has to cover costs for all the safety concerns, both manpower and environmental, that other countries don’t yet worry over. 
We should have known from the beginning that it was going to be trouble.  Initially, we agree to have him do the grey non-slip areas of gel coat on the deck because, being 20 years old – and I think we got the Monday morning production boat – there are small Continue reading


Hello from Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador!
We have just arrived after spending 10 days in Peru with David and Melissa De Long of the sailboat Apsaras. Melissa is blogging like crazy, so you can catch up on what’s been happening by reading her blog ( too.
Since we were only overnight in Lima, we stayed near the airport and didn’t have time to check out any of the other parts of town, which is too bad, as we heard over and over the food in Lima is among the best in Peru.
Still we hoped to get a little taste of the local cuisine, so we asked our taxi driver, Juan Carlos (there’s always a Juan Carlos in Latin America :-), if he could take us to a place typical for Peruvians.  He said Peruvians really liked “chife”, and that he and his girlfriend had it sometimes two or three times a week. So off we went went – along the way we saw many little hole-in-the-wall restaurants with “chife” in the name, so we could see it was popular. When we got to the one that Juan Carlos had selected, we realized that instead of asking for a Continue reading

In La Paz again

Holly and I are once again in La Paz, doing some minor boat projects, and in general waiting for a nice weather window to cross to the mainland. This is a test post from my account. If it works, I should be able to post updates via Ham radio while we are “out and about”.

Isla Monserrate to Ensenada el Cardonal

Hello all!
Our last check in, had us just leaving Isla Monserrate. After a bumpy night, we did a little snorkeling and hiking on the island and then hauled up the anchor to sail to Agua Verde, about 8NM away, to meet up with our friends Sam and Dave aboard the sailboat Islena. Sam and Dave were in the slip next to us at Marina Cortez in San Diego. They left on their adventure a year before we did so we wanted to catch up with them.
After all that wind in the night, there was little to none during the day, and we sailed for about 3 hours to make 4 NM and then decided to put on the engine and motor the last little bit in — we always justify that by saying we need to charge the batteries anyway 😉
If you look on the Google Earth at Agua Verde (25 31.92’N, 111 03.80’W), you’ll see a large single rock at the entrance to the bay, fittingly called Roca Solitaria. This “rock” rises from the sea floor, which is about 150 feet below the surface to 115 feet high). We decided that this would be a good place to do Continue reading

Santa Rosalia to Punta Perico

Holly and I are currently in a little place called Punta Perico, which is on the East side of an island called Isla Carmen in the Loreto area. We’ve actually been here for a couple of days – but I’ll get to that.
My last update had us in the Fonatur Marina in Santa Rosalia. We stayed for about 3 days, on the one hand when we arrived, we found that the Port Captain had closed the port and so we were kind of “stuck” until that particular “Norther” blew through, but we’d wanted to spend a couple of days there since we’d not had the chance to see it when we drove down at the start of this year.
It was Halloween there, which is a new thing for the Mexican people. A lot of very little kids were dressed up, a lot of vampires, zombies, etc. … even for the little girls. Not too many princesses, firemen, or Disney characters. They don’t really trick or treat as near as we could tell — rather their parents walked them into the local businesses along the main streets and then the shopkeepers would give them some small candies or maybe a small Continue reading

San Carlos to Santa Rosalia

In early June, Holly and I had just sailed to the San Carlos area in Sonora, Mexico.  We realized that it was nearing my sister’s birthday, and that we’d not yet visited her at her place North of Edmonton, so we decided it might be a nice surprise for us to fly up to celebrate her birthday with her, and it would give us a short “vacation” from our otherwise permanent vacation 😉
We got back to the boat in mid-October, and here’s a little update from our first couple weeks back.
I guess that we’d prepped the boat okay, and Caesar, the fellow we paid to look after it for the 4 months did a good job, because all was good when we got back. It took about 5 days to put everything back together as well as install the new Ham radio that I bought (I wrote the Ham exams in San Diego so I’m a licensed Ham now, KK6GXC in case any of you guys are listening out there somewhere.)
We sailed up to Bahia San Pedro as a “shakedown” to make sure all was good … we stayed there a couple of days and then at about 2:00pm local Continue reading

The Sea of Cortez “Northers”

We want to go across the Sea of Cortez to Mazatlan and then head South down the Pacific coast of mainland Mexico.
It’s not very far across, about 190 nm from Bahia los Muertos to Mazatlan. If we assume that we will average at least 5kts (if the wind is too light to push us along at that speed we can fire up the 55HP turbo diesel engine 😉 then it will take us approximately 38-40 hours. (We sometimes drop below 5kts for a while, hoping that there’s a little more breeze, just ahead, before starting the engine).
We don’t want too much wind though, not so much because of the wind itself, as we can reef the sails to make them much smaller, but due to the waves that the wind generates. In the winter time the Sea of Cortez gets much of its weather from the North, the wind funnels down the length of the sea and generates short period, steep, uncomfortable waves. It’s currently blowing 30+kts down the Sea and the waves are reported to be 7-8′ at 8 second intervals. That’s bumpy!
GRIB (GRIdded Binary) forecast data displayed using the free application
So, we are in the marina waiting Continue reading


Perhaps no other aspect highlights the difference between living aboard a boat and living on shore as much as anchoring. Rather than being built in a specific, permanent location, our floating home is attached to a claw-shaped hook that is dropped to the bottom of the sea and held to the boat by some chain.
Like most things, there’s a procedure that’s been developed over the years to improve the odds that the connection between the sea floor and the boat is secure. After all, if it’s not secure the result is that our home ends up floating away out into the open ocean or worse, floating towards other boats or the shore and hitting them.
In order to anchor effectively, one starts by making sure that the connections between the anchor and the rode and the rode and the boat are solid and that the rode is free of defects. In our case, the boat was used and came with the “ground tackle” so we could inspect the anchor and the connections, but we pretty much had to accept that the chain is okay (after all, the previous owner used it in Mexico for a number of years).
The next step is Continue reading