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Calou's Blog
Cruising with the crew of CALOU on the Baja Ha-ha and Pacific Puddle Jump
Relaxing in Bahia Santa Maria
Bruce
11/03/2008

There was a strong wind the entire night, which kept it cool. We all slept well at anchor in Bahia Santa Maria. This is a small bay adjacent to the much larger Bahia de Magdalena (Mag Bay).

The rest of the crew got to relax while I got caught up on some projects.

One, the watermaker had an alarm go off. Checking the manual, the alarm was related to a flowmeter being clogged. I disconnected the flowmeter and cleared the clog. The watermaker is now back in operation. We made about 20 gallons of water today.

Two, it was time to check the engine oil. It appears that the crankcase oil level has not gone down since we left Turtle Bay. This is a good thing. If the engine is burning oil, it is not at an alarming rate.

Three, I repaired the lifelines. One cotter ring had come off taking a clevis pin with it. In the process I turned the bow lifelines around so that the turnbuckles are aft, not forward. This way the sail doesn't get ripped to shreds on the turnbuckle cotter rings.

Four, I installed a snap shackle on the preventer line. This will make it easier to remove.

Five, I replaced the forward head with a new one we bought in San Diego. The new one has the safety feature of a positive shutoff preventing backflow into the toilet form the holding tank. This happened to us a few times when the holding tank was too full. The new one will prevent that from happening.

I think that's enough projects for the day and will try to relax and have fun now.

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Kite Aerial Photo of Calou
Bruce
11/02/2008

Here's a snapshot taken of Calou from a kite-mounted camera from about 200 feet up. We're on the second day of our passage to Bahia de Magdalena. We've sailed the entire way from Turtle Bay, with steady 20 knot winds.

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11/02/2008 | Judy Armstrong
That is totally awesome!
Arrival at Mag Bay
Bruce
11/02/2008

We've finally arrived at Mag Bay and dropped the hook at about 11 p.m.. We had a steady 20 knots the last two days and it continues to blow in the anchorage. We're looking forward to setting foot on land tomorrow.

I have a few projects to do while in Mag Bay. The watermaker is not operating at normal efficiency but I'm sure I just have to change out the filters. We haven't changed the filters since we left Tiburon. (The filters can be washed and reused, by the way).

I need to check the engine oil level and see how much was consumed during the hours we ran the motor on this last passage.

A shackle pin popped off on one of the lifelines so I need to replace it.

The foot of the jib, near the tack, needs to be repaired. The UV covering got shredded on a turnbuckle. I have a sail repair sewing kit on board which should do the trick. I think the shredded jib managed to pull off the cotter ring leading to the loss of the shackle pin also.

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Kite Aerial Photography at Sea
Bruce
11/01/2008

One of the fun things we planned to do on this trip was experiment with KAP - Kite Aerial Photography. John bought a kite in San Diego and I bought a waterproof digital camera for the purpose. Earlier today I made a harness to hold the camera out of two pencils, some wire ties and tape. This rig was tied to the kite string and we flew the kite off the stern quarter.

The result is pretty cool, the camera jumps up and down and sways quite a bit but you can see what our sailboat looks like from about 150 feet up. When we get to some place with high speed internet I'll upload the video to Youtube and post it on this blog.

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11/02/2008 | Sherry in Anchorage
Wow! ...I had to fly down to Florida for a few days and I can't believe how far you all have traveled in the time I was gone! I can't wait to see the video that you post on Youtube. ~~~Take care!~~~ Sherry
Passage to Mag Bay
Bruce
11/01/2008

We left Turtle Bay this morning at 8:30 a.m., and headed offshore where we found 15 to 20 knots of wind coming from the north west. This has made for a pleasant sailing day thus far. We are now sailing wing-and-wing and making 8 knots.

One of the sailboats in the fleet lost its steering. They have a cable quadrant, and the last i heard they were setting up the emergency tiller and heading for a bay along the way where they can anchor for the night and try to make repairs. I heard that about three other Ha-ha boats were accompanying them. That's an example of how members of the Ha-ha fleet help each other out.

A few hours ago we heard something snap, and looking up from the cockpit the radar on its backstay mount ahd rotated 180 degrees. The bolt that prevents its rotation had snapped - again. Having repaired it already once before, we all knew what to do. We attached the topping lift around the backstay and used it to support the weight of the radar dome. Francois used the topping lift winch to raise or lower the assembly to just the right level. John used two Vise grips to rotate the assembly back into the proper position, while I leaned over the swim step and inserted a new bolt. Since this is the second time it broke, it's obvious that the 1/4 inch bolt is not up to the task. I'll have to re-engineer that assembly so that it's much stronger when we get to a marina somewhere.

In order to reduce the strain on the radar dome mount, we ran a line from one stern cleat, up and around the radar dome, and back down, so that the dome doesn't swing back and forth. That should reduce the strain on that bold considerably.

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Turtle Bay
Bruce
10/30/2008

Having arrived in Bahia Tortugas (Turtle Bay), Pascale, the boys, and John took the dinghy to the beach, while I stayed on board to check things out on the boat.

As we arrived the previous night, when we prepared to anchor, I put the engine into neutral. At that time the oil pressure alarm came on intermittently. So this morning I checked out the engine. I found that the oil level was very low. This engine doesn't leak oil, so it must be burning some. I purchased oil in town, and did an oil and filter change. I must carefully monitor the crankcase oil level from now on.

I also installed a new fuel gauge (which I purchased in San Diego). The fuel gauge we had was reading backwards; Full read Empty and vice versa. The new gauge solved this problem.

After lunch, we took the dinghy into the village of Turtle Bay to buy groceries. This is the quintessential third world village. The streets are crooked, unpaved dirt roads. Everything is dusty. The tienda, which we jokingly refer to as the Wal-Mart, has the basic staples in canned and dried goods, milk, beer, a few vegetables. And then there is the meat counter. You don't want to go there. I bought some polish sausages; those are more likely to be sanitary since they're factory shrink-wrapped. I wouldn't touch the beef they sell here for anything. It looks old and gnarly.

We refueled our diesel tank today. This was an interesting process. Turtle bay is getting modernized. In the past we had to tie up to a rickety pier and pass our cash to the operator via a bucket tied to a rope. Now a panga loaded with a huge fuel tank comes up to your boat and fills you up right at your boat. The cost of diesel fuel is a mere $2.50 US per gallon.

Recall yesterday, I reported that the pennant that holds the tack of the jib down was showing serious signs of chafe. Despite our rigger's assurances to the contrary, the pennant was touching the deck opening that the furler passes through when under sail. (Our furler is below decks). I solved this problem by bringing out the ZIP router (a high speed tool somewhat like a Dremel and a router). I used the ZIP tool to cut away the gel coat and fiberglass opening, enlarging it by about half an inch all around. That should solve the chafe problem once and for all. If I hadn't done this, I don't think the jib tack would have lasted until we got to Cabo.

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Second Night Passage to Turtle Bay
Bruce
10/29/2008, Pacific Ocean

This is our second night passage on the way to Turtle Bay. John is at the helm; I'm about to start a shift at 2 a.m. If we maintain our present speed we will arrive at 9 a.m.

The total length of this leg is 390 nautical miles. Winds are light, 8 knots coming from behind gives us a very low apparent wind speed so we are motorsailing.

We had a very nice afternoon under sail yesterday. The air and sea temperatures are noticeably getting warmer.

We fixed the radar mount yesterday. John held the assembly at the right angle with Vise Grips and Francois adjusted the height of the assembly using the topping lift, while I extracted the broken bolt and replaced it with a new one.

We had a problem with the furling line yesterday. The interior core of the line inexplicably bulged out of the line like a big hernia. This made it impossible to pass the line through a fairlead and impossible to furl the sail. Thank goodness this didn't happen to us in a blow! I removed the furling line and replaced it with a thinner line. Ironically this thinner line is the original line that Harken supplied with the new roller furler.

I also discovered an imminent problem at the furler. The tack of the jib is fastened to the furler with a short pennant made of something like Vectran. This pennant is suffering from chafe and won't last much longer. While we're in Turtle Bay I'll have to improvise something better. A steel cable pennant would be the way to go here. Maybe someone in the Haha fleet has steel cable and crimps that I can use.

I need to add steel cable and crimps to my list of required spares to carry.

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Flying the Kite
Bruce
10/29/2008

John flies a kite, in preparation for our Aerial Kite Photography (AKP) experiments.

Bruce

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