An Altere Adventure

Vessel Name: Altere
Vessel Make/Model: Wauquiez Pretorien 35
Hailing Port: Tacoma, Washington
Recent Blog Posts
13 January 2018

Checking In To México

So when you enter a foreign country on a boat, you need to go through Immigration, Customs, and make the importation of your boat legal. We had been advised to go to Marina Coral to engage the services of Juan to get us through this process.

13 January 2018

Tres Amigos Debacle Empieza (The Three Friends Debacle Begins)

Andrew arrived at San Diego and we shoved off shortly thereafter around 1900 Thursday and picked our way through the markers in the dark out of San Diego harbor. Everyone on board was tired from preparations or travel. We worked out a watch schedule that Andrew and John immediately ignored. Andrew [...]

11 January 2018

Contributing to the San Diego Economy

So we leave San Diego tonight for Ensenada. John Tebbetts arrived from La Paz where it had been nearly 80 degrees. When I picked him up at the north end of the footbridge from the Tijuana Airport, the rain was coming down hard and had been for about 24 hours. Hours before he had been sipping a drink [...]

09 January 2018

More Boat Repair and Provisioning in Exotic Locations

So I returned to San Diego to find Altere still in her slip as I had left her. I immediately went to work preparing the boat for her next adventure.

09 January 2018

More Boat Repair and Provisioning in Exotic Locations

So I returned to San Diego to find Altere still in her slip as I had left her. I immediately went to work preparing the boat for her next adventure.

09 January 2018

Holidays and Sailing At Home

It was wonderful to get home and spend time with my family and friends. I hosted Thanksgiving and Christmas at my house. We had seventeen people for a lovely Christmas dinner. Having a family of people who both like to cook and eat makes for a delicious experience.

Checking In To México

13 January 2018
So when you enter a foreign country on a boat, you need to go through Immigration, Customs, and make the importation of your boat legal. We had been advised to go to Marina Coral to engage the services of Juan to get us through this process.

We paid a very high fee for moorage in order to use this valuable service plus an extra $30 US. The marina office took copies of all of my ships documents, passports, etc. I needed the serial number of the engine on my boat. Once all of the copies were made, we headed off to Centro Integral de Servicios along with a rather entertaining crew of a fishing boat trying to get their zarpe to leave México. Ensenada is one of the few places in México where immigration, customs, etc are all in one office. In other towns this process can take several days and require going to different offices all over town including trips to a bank to pay the various fees. And Juan is an ace at getting people and their boats through this process. While it took about an hour and a half at the Centro, it was very efficient. Juan schmoozed with the workers at each window. And he was on top of everything, even noticing the hull number on my American insurance documents was missing a digit.

We were done in time to go back to the Marina Resort and have a lunch of ceviche, guacamole and chips, and carpaccio with beer on the veranda. It was the first opportunity to really relax after the pressure of preparing and getting out of San Diego. As I sat there on the patio sipping a cold beer and munching on fine food, I told my friends that this is what I had imagined my retirement adventure to feel like. I had arrived. I was relaxed, sitting in the sub-tropical sun, and legally in México.

Tres Amigos Debacle Empieza (The Three Friends Debacle Begins)

13 January 2018
Andrew arrived at San Diego and we shoved off shortly thereafter around 1900 Thursday and picked our way through the markers in the dark out of San Diego harbor. Everyone on board was tired from preparations or travel. We worked out a watch schedule that Andrew and John immediately ignored. Andrew worked through John’s watch and vice versa.

Both John and Andrew have a lot of experience sailing and cruising. It is nice to have crew aboard that have so much experience. John has been cruising aboard his Yamaha 33 for about the last six years first in Mexico, then Hawaii, and later, back and forth between Tonga and New Zealand. He has been somewhat of a mentor (or pain in the ass) as I have gone through the learning curve of preparing a boat for long distance voyaging. He has also been somewhat of a bad influence in that he is constantly thinking of ways that I can spend more money. Andrew also has a lot of experience sailing, is very handy mechanically and with carpentry skills, and as a Naturopath, it is nice to have his medical skills on board. To top it all off, we all are good friends (or at least we are now at the start of the trip).

The night trip from San Diego to Ensenada took about 12 hours. It was clear night and the seas were reasonably calm. There was a pretty good swell running off our beam as we left San Diego, but it was somewhat predictable and not terribly uncomfortable. John reported seeing dolphins swimming near the boat on his watch. We were outside Marina Coral in Ensenada about 6:30 am. We took our time poking our way in with shallow water as the sky was lightening up at dawn. We tied up at the fuel dock and waited for the Marina Office to open.

Contributing to the San Diego Economy

11 January 2018
So we leave San Diego tonight for Ensenada. John Tebbetts arrived from La Paz where it had been nearly 80 degrees. When I picked him up at the north end of the footbridge from the Tijuana Airport, the rain was coming down hard and had been for about 24 hours. Hours before he had been sipping a drink on the malecón in the sun. John has complained since he got here about the cold rainy weather.

While California needs the rain, it has been too much of a good thing, washing away houses and people near Santa Barbara where the fall fires had decimated the foliage that held the topsoil in place. It is very unfortunate that these extreme weather events are becoming so much more frequent.

We spent the day shopping for things we needed. John has some strong feelings about having adequate anchoring gear. I share some of those opinions. I purchased a much larger spare anchor in a used marine store here (a 45 pound CQR for my sailing friends). We went to West Marine and purchased about 50’ of chain compatible with my windlass. He wanted me to buy 100’ (did I mention that John has strong feelings about anchor gear?). We bought a number of other small but necessary items, shackles and line and tools and so on.

We came back and emptied the lazarette locker and found that I owned some anchors that I did not know I had. They were small but useful. As well, there was a lot of very serviceable anchor line that can be used with my used spare, about 250’ of Dacron double braid and about 300’ of three strand nylon. I also have a Danforth style anchor (good on muddy bottoms) and a small Delta (would be good for a stern anchor). I also found a small 25 pound CQR that I plan to take to the used marine store tomorrow and see if I can sell it.

We did find time to have a fine lunch at Point Loma Seafoods yesterday. We also went to Costco and found an Asian market for that all important curry paste.

Today is the rest of the food shopping, topping off the propane tank, filling the water tanks, getting a few copies made at the business center, getting a shot at Kaiser Permanente, another trip to West Marine and returning the rental car. Oh and the diver returns at 11 am to scrub the bottom of the boat and replace the zinc on the Maxprop. Then we wait for Andrew Rife to arrive and we will be off to sail for Ensenada. It might be a while until the next post. Getting these out depends upon finding good WiFi.

More Boat Repair and Provisioning in Exotic Locations

09 January 2018
So I returned to San Diego to find Altere still in her slip as I had left her. I immediately went to work preparing the boat for her next adventure.

I repaired a slow leak in the top of the port side water tank where a non-working sending unit for a tank gauge had been. I took the cover plate to a South San Diego metal fabrication shop and had them weld a cover over the hole for the sending unit. It was a family shop run by Mexican-Americans who had customer service down and also had a lot of fun in their jobs.

I also hired a diver to come look at my sacrificial zincs on the propeller and its shaft. For the non-boaters reading this, the zincs are a less noble metal than the other metal parts under a boat. In the electrolysis present in salt water, they degrade rather than the expensive and vital running gear. Mine had degraded faster than I had expected, but I had been in several marinas since leaving Seattle in early September. I guess I will just have to watch this.

After paying for a lot of UBER rides that first day, I rented a car to do all of my running around. I had a lot of errands and shopping to do that has taken me all over the area. I purchased charts and a data chip for my chartplotter, mosquito repellent for clothing, a sunshower, and many more items. I also bought some new toys (but more on that later).

I had great fun buying fishing equipment at West Marine here. The salesman was one of those guys who could not help himself when given an opportunity to introduce someone to the sport of fishing. Given that the last time I caught a fish was in the 1980’s in Alaska, I am no fisherman. He set me up with two handlines with snubbers to troll with while sailing as well as a long gaff hook for getting the fish on to the boat. Mostly he gave me about a half hour of great advice about how to fish from a moving sailboat.

The weather had been beautiful here. Yes, “had been”. Last night it started to rain and early this morning, I was awakened by the boat bouncing around in its slip. There I was at 4:30 am adjusting fenders whilst the rain was going sideways. It surely got the day going for me.

I went to the Mexican Consulate this morning to inquire about a Temporary Import Permit (TIP) that I am told I need to have before entering Mexican waters. They seemed not to know what I was talking about. This surprised me, given that hundreds of boats pass through San Diego on their way south every year. Eventually, I was advised to go ask at the San Ysidro border crossing.

This afternoon, one of my crew members, John Tebbetts, is flying up from La Paz and I am picking him up from the bridge that leads from the Tijuana Airport. He and I will work on provisioning the boat ahead of the arrival of our other crew member, Andrew Rife.

More Boat Repair and Provisioning in Exotic Locations

09 January 2018
So I returned to San Diego to find Altere still in her slip as I had left her. I immediately went to work preparing the boat for her next adventure.

I repaired a slow leak in the top of the port side water tank where a non-working sending unit for a tank gauge had been. I took the cover plate to a South San Diego metal fabrication shop and had them weld a cover over the hole for the sending unit. It was a family shop run by Mexican-Americans who had customer service down and also had a lot of fun in their jobs.

I also hired a diver to come look at my sacrificial zincs on the propeller and its shaft. For the non-boaters reading this, the zincs are a less noble metal than the other metal parts under a boat. In the electrolysis present in salt water, they degrade rather than the expensive and vital running gear. Mine had degraded faster than I had expected, but I had been in several marinas since leaving Seattle in early September. I guess I will just have to watch this.

After paying for a lot of UBER rides that first day, I rented a car to do all of my running around. I had a lot of errands and shopping to do that has taken me all over the area. I purchased charts and a data chip for my chartplotter, mosquito repellent for clothing, a sunshower, and many more items. I also bought some new toys (but more on that later).

I had great fun buying fishing equipment at West Marine here. The salesman was one of those guys who could not help himself when given an opportunity to introduce someone to the sport of fishing. Given that the last time I caught a fish was in the 1980’s in Alaska, I am no fisherman. He set me up with two handlines with snubbers to troll with while sailing as well as a long gaff hook for getting the fish on to the boat. Mostly he gave me about a half hour of great advice about how to fish from a moving sailboat.

The weather had been beautiful here. Yes, “had been”. Last night it started to rain and early this morning, I was awakened by the boat bouncing around in its slip. There I was at 4:30 am adjusting fenders whilst the rain was going sideways. It surely got the day going for me.

I went to the Mexican Consulate this morning to inquire about a Temporary Import Permit (TIP) that I am told I need to have before entering Mexican waters. They seemed not to know what I was talking about. This surprised me, given that hundreds of boats pass through San Diego on their way south every year. Eventually, I was advised to go ask at the San Ysidro border crossing.

This afternoon, one of my crew members, John Tebbetts, is flying up from La Paz and I am picking him up from the bridge that leads from the Tijuana Airport. He and I will work on provisioning the boat ahead of the arrival of our other crew member, Andrew Rife.

Holidays and Sailing At Home

09 January 2018
It was wonderful to get home and spend time with my family and friends. I hosted Thanksgiving and Christmas at my house. We had seventeen people for a lovely Christmas dinner. Having a family of people who both like to cook and eat makes for a delicious experience.

I also used this time at home to get medical checkups and arrange for travel vaccinations to be prepared for being away for months. After all of the diagnostic work was done, the diagnosis was clear, at least to all the medicos. They uniformly agreed that I had all of the symptoms associated with getting older. I demanded a second opinion and they, of course, repeated the assertion. Oh well. On the other hand, I used some of this time at home to run, use the old Nordictrak machine in my basement and reacquaint myself with the Friday spin class at the Y. So I am still moving pretty well (for a medically certified old guy).

On December 2, my niece Jane, my friend Andrew, and I raced Capriccio in the Winter Vashon Race. We were in the Cruising / No Flying Sails class. This race is always a question of weather. One year it really blew and destroyed my already ancient mainsail. Another it was sunny until we rounded the north end of the island and then it snowed until visibility was down to almost zero. This year the wind was light and it rained all day. And I do mean all day. At one point, when we were a bit south of Ollala in West Pass, I offered to quit and took a poll of the crew. No one said they wanted to quit. (Later, both told me that they did not want to be the first one to say it.) And then we got teased by just a little bit of breeze. Each time I was ready to quit, just a little bit of wind came up and I deferred the decision a bit longer. And at this point we were in front of everyone in our class making it even harder to drop out.

A common feature of races in Puget Sound is when everyone starts all over again. The wind dies and then fills in from behind, as it did in this situation. So all the boats that were behind caught up and the new wind from the south and east had us moving smartly north up the west side of Vashon. We traded the lead several times with a well sailed Catalina 30 eventually finishing just seconds ahead of them at the north end of the island. Because we owed them time in the handicapping system, we came in second overall beating many other larger boats.

I also got to reconnect with Spanish class at La Unica. I had tried to do homework for the class while in California, but it was too difficult to get feedback. Rosetta Stone, Duolingo, and other web / computer based systems can help a little when learning a language, but my experience is that one needs a class like this that teaches the structure and rules of the language as a base. And as an added bonus I have been able to hang around with interesting and amiable life-long learners. And of course, I want to get prepared for México.
I was lucky enough to connect with many friends while home. Unfortunately, my one regret is that I was unable to see everyone I wanted to during the holidays. The adventure continues……
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