North American Tour 2017-2019

From Portland, OR through Panama Canal to East Coast of USA and back via Caribbean, Panama Canal, and Hawaii

11 June 2014 | Haida Gwaii, BC
07 June 2014 | Haida Gwaii, BC
05 June 2014 | Haida Gwaii, BC
02 June 2014 | Larsen Harbour on NW Banks Island, BC
31 May 2014 | Prince Rupert, BC
29 May 2014 | Prince Rupert, BC
29 May 2014 | East Inlet, BC
28 May 2014 | Coghlan Anchorage, BC
27 May 2014 | Kitimat, BC
26 May 2014 | Bishop Bay, BC
24 May 2014 | Alexander Inlet, BC
22 May 2014 | Morehouse Bay, BC
21 May 2014 | Clatse Inlet, BC
20 May 2014 | Shearwater, BC
19 May 2014 | Hakai Conservancy Area, BC
18 May 2014 | Smith Sound, BC
17 May 2014 | Port McNeil, BC
16 May 2014 | Port McNeil, BC
14 May 2014 | Port McNeil, BC
13 May 2014 | Port Harvey, BC

Leaving Mexico

20 January 2018 | Off Guatemala
George Stonecliffe
Today we left Mexico in our wake after entering back on October 31st, eleven weeks ago. Our stay in Marina Chiapas was a good one. We hauled out 'Julia Max' to pressure wash the hull, remove barnacles, sand corroded areas, paint those areas especially around the rudder, the wind vane, the water line, down about 3' on the hull, and apply new zincs on the rudder hinges, Max Prop cone, and refrigerator water cooler. It was great to clean up the Max Prop as well, so all is ready for the next section of the trip into Central America. The excursion with Luis included the Izapa Mayan ruins, La Parra Chocolateria, a German plantation established by the father of Eva Brown (Hitler's mistress), and a Catholic cathedral that was being painted for a festival in a few weeks. Meeting cruisers that are part of the Panama Posse, sharing BBQs, support for those working on repairs, and getting to know them better has been terrific. Back on the ocean, we have been seeing different pelagic birds, i.e. Masked Boobies, petrols, and some of the old regulars: brown pelicans, brown boobies, etc. A pod of 20 spotted dolphins was special. Sue spotted a Dorado jumping after a smaller fish, again and again and again. What a flash of blue and green!

In Port To-Do List

08 January 2018 | Chiapas, Mexico
George Stonecliffe
Yes, it's fresh water washdown for this salty boat. We had taken on alot of spray from waves in the first day, leaving enough salt to spice a year's worth of meals! Fresh water and soap is the cure for salt! Of course we needed to top off the fuel, the drinking water, the propane for cooking, and the laundry. Deitmar introduced us to Luis who had helped them from trips into town for supplies, to taking excursions into the hinterlands, including coffee plantations, cocoa plantations, Mayan ruins and so on (which we hope to enjoy soon). We have also planned to lift Julia Max out of the water long enough to sand and paint a few areas where we had scratched the hull removing some paint below the waterline, and replacing some flaking paint near our SSB radio ground under the waterline. At most this should take two hours to lift, repair/paint, and re-float her in the water. This will be on Friday morning. By the way, Marina Chiapas was hit by a tsunami last September. They have virtually finished repairing all the damage with new docks, electrical, water pipes, etc. Very impressive considering how extensive the damage was. The tsunami was caused by the earthquakes that hit the State of Chiapas, and felt in Mexico City if you recall.

Successful Crossing and Arrival in Puerto Chiapas

08 January 2018 | Chiapas, Mexico
George Stonecliffe
As we entered Puerto Chiapas, we passed a US Coast Guard cutter coming out of port! A wonderful sight for sure. Evidently the USCG has several ships that are assisting the Mexican Navy in reducing drug running. The crossing included 23 knot winds 'on the nose', waves from behind. We motor sailed, we sailed, and then we motor sailed into the first night. Winds were never down to the promised 2 knots. And no one told us about the counter currents that ran from 1-2 knots against us. In the second day things started settling down, but our attention was diverted by 5 commercial fishing boats that ultimately surrounded us. But Sue took charge, turned on the engine, dropped some sails, and sped away before they could net us. The last fourteen hours were motoring with flatter seas, staying close to shore to lessen any current. Finally one hour short of two full days, we pulled into Marina Chiapas to find several of our Panama Posse boats that we had been following. Names like Carinthia, Liquid, Respite, Avant, and Crossroads greeted us with a Potluck dinner the first night. Carinthia in particular was special for us, as we had shared time with them crossing the South Pacific in 2009. Deitmar and Suzanna are special people to be back with. All is good to be across the Tehuantepec, and safe in Chiapas.

While We Wait

03 January 2018 | Huatulco, Mexico
George Stonecliffe
At the moment the winds coming over the isthmus and blowing out over the Tehuantepec are 35-40 knots, So we wait. Today we went on a bird watching trip with Cornelio Ramos. This capable guide gave us one of the best trips we have been on. He was able to spot birds, describe them, and focus his spotting scope on them with sharp accuracy. We have changed our engine oil and filter, successfully checked our tranny fluid, added 27 gallons of potable water to our tanks, washed the boat down with fresh water. Unfortunately, we don't have electricity. Friday we go scuba diving in the afternoon. And on Saturday, we go to the mountains to a coffee plantation where we will do more birding ... and have some coffee!

Staging for crossing the Mighty Bahia de Tehuantepec

01 January 2018 | Huatulco, Mexico
George Stonecliffe
January 1st, 2018 we arrived at the Marina in Huatulco, the town known for staging boats to cross the Tehuantepec. Almost unexpected, winds up to 50 knots will whistle through the mountains on the isthmus in Mexico, and out on to the Pacific Ocean. Unsuspecting boats would find themselves in heavy seas, running for their lives. But forecasters can predict the high winds based on fronts that are crossing the mainland of the USA. So these winds come fiercely, and die quietly. Boats decide on staying terribly close to shore (60' depth line) so that there is no fetch, meaning the seas don't have space to build up by the time they reach your boat. A list of waypoints is provided. Some boats make a straight shot to cross the Bay, but this only saves 20 miles of distance. In the meantime we will re-fuel, check out the engine, change the oil, check the tranny ATF level, and be ready for the right weather. How is your first week of the new year shaping up? Cheers!

New Year's Eve in Puerto Escondito

31 December 2017 | On the way to Huatulco, Mexico
George Stonecliffe
Rather than spend another night out at sea, we pulled in to Puerto Escondito about 50 miles short of Huatulco. The day had been one surprise after another: spinner dolphins pod, long-nosed striped dolphins pod, spotted dolphins pod, numerous individual sea turtles floating along, two different types of sea snake on the surface, numerous flying sea rays, and lots of sea birds. As we anchored at sunset, we heard cheering from the beaches, and noticed 15 sky divers making their way down to the beaches, ending with a death- defying fall the last 100 feet to the ground. Sue had noticed the 'green flash' as the sun disappeared. She thought the cheers from the beaches were for the flash. Fireworks are going off sporadically through the evening in celebration for the change of year. Happy New Year, and have a strong start and solid experience for you and yours!
Vessel Name: Julia Max
Vessel Make/Model: 45' Passport/Peterson Custom Ketch
Hailing Port: Portland, Oregon, USA
Crew: George and Sue Stonecliffe
About: Float Plan: July 1, 2017 Leave Portland, OR; head south along US West Coast; leave San Diego 10/29/17 with Baja Ha-ha Rally; go through Panama Canal 3/2018; Florida 6/2018; NYC and Rhode Island 7/2018; Chesapeake Bay 9/2018; Caribbean 11/2018; Panama Canal 3/2019; Hawaii 7/2019; home 10/2019
Julia Max's Photos - Main
2 Photos
Created 4 July 2017
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Created 5 May 2011