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 winlink.org account. If it works, I should be able to post updates via Ham radio while we are “out and about”.
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 Continue reading
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
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 Continue reading
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 grib.us application
So, we are in the marina 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
This is an old volcano caldera that has since eroded away on the East and West sides and so is a bay that separates two islands … Isla Partida to the North and Isla Espiritu Santo to the South.
There were a number of boats here when we arrived, but that fist night three of the sailboats left and then next day the motoryachts left, leaving us with only 4 yachts.
There are a number of turtles that call this bay home, we could see them as we were anchoring. We’ve also seen dolphins, Osprey’s, sea lions, and other wild life. “Fisherman Bruce” on a little yellow Tartan 10 who’s anchored beside us, said that he saw a whale in the bay yesterday.
Speaking of Bruce, when we were getting ready to kayak to the beach, he came into the anchorage. After he got the hook set, he delivered to loud blows on a Conch shell horn he had. I paddled by to say “hi” and ask him about it. He seemed a bit weird (I suppose months/years of single handing a boat could do that do you ;-). He loves to fish (perhaps live to fish or fishes to live?) and last Continue reading
After Bahia San Gabriel we motored up to Puerto Ballena. We might have sailed a little, but we needed to charge things up, and we wanted to run the motor up to see what the maximum RPM was and check out how it seemed at the continuous duty rated RPM (3,400). The book said the maximum should be 3,600 and we got 3,700. At 3,400 the boat, even into a little chop was making 7.5 kts. I’ve likely been running the engine too easy. The manual (courtesy of Dwayne on Ronin) says that for every hour of operation less than 3,400 RPM there needs to be 1 minute of running at that rate.
We were looking for the Fang Ming, a boat sunk by the Mexican government as an artificial reef. We went back and forth over the coordinates we had, and when Holly reported the depth rapidly declining, I jumpped in with a mask. As the bubbles cleared I saw a large turtle swimming away and right below that, the wreck. We knew we could come back in the dinghy to dive it.
We initially planned to anchor in Ensenada la Gallina since it was closest to the wreck, but there Continue reading
We depart Puerto Ballena for Caleta Partida, a volcano caldron formed inlet between Isla Ispiritu Santo and Isla Partida. There are 6 other boats there already but there’s lots of room so we pull into the northwest corner to anchor.
It is a beautiful anchorage; one of our favourites so far! We jump in to dive the anchor to confirm it’s set, and I spot an eagle ray. I dove but couldn’t get anywhere near it and Michael didn’t see it at all.
We took the kayaks and Dwayne paddled his SUP over to the beach to check out what the sea looks like on the side of the island open to the Sea of Cortez so that we can plan to contact the dive shop. On the trip there and back, we spot turtles (at least 4), angel sharks, and sting rays. Wonderful!
The wind calms down to nothing at night and we enjoy a nice dinner on Ronin. In the morning, I woke up early to glassy waters and beautiful sunrise photo ops. The pelicans are dive bombing for their breakfast in the shallows near us. It’s a peaceful alarm to wake up to!
The next spearfishing venture that morning is successful Continue reading
Yesterday Ronin and Wanuskewin left Marina Fonatur in La Paz and header for the islands for a week or relaxing (yeah we need more of that and some diving. There was no wind so we had to motor. We’d actually planned that since after a week in the marina we needed to make water. The marina people said that the water wasn’t safe to drink. Our watermaker generates about 20 gallons / hour and so we were able to make 40 gallons or so. Since we were running the generator and the engine already, I also fired up the compressor and filled four scuba cylinders so that we have those ready for diving on the Fang Ming, a 184′ long ship that the Mexican government sunk as an artificial reef.
There were already two boats anchored here, but the bay is huge so there was lots of room. After we got set, a strange wind came through that swung us 180 degrees. Dwayne’s anchor rode was wrapped around a rock, so we got a little too close to Ronin so we hauled the anchor and moved over a bit.
After watching the sunset, we all went snorkeling … the bottom Continue reading