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Sean The Seabird
Fri Dec 19 17:31:00 EST 2014, 3 30'N:115 29'W,

Sean the Seabird

On a dark and lonely night watch, a swift shadow swept over the cockpit several times.

As it circled in closer and closer, I could see it was a bird, which finally picked a landing spot on the life rail about 2 feet from my perch near the tiller!

I waited quietly and so did the bird. It rested and preened, and I marveled at having such unique company so deep in the night. I named my new frend Sean. The seabird stayed with us the whole night, and met each of my shipmates as they took watch. But lke many friends you meet cruising, Sean moved on his way the next day.

We haven't been able to make an official bird species identification. You would think albatross so far at sea, but the bird was small for that, about the size of a large gull. Sean is very tapered at both the bill and tail in flight. Any comments (we can receive comments at sea, just not respond to them) on what type of bird my new friend is are appreciated.

Fri Dec 19 23:23:36 EST 2014 | George Conk
My wife Marilyn thinks it is a red footed Booby.
There are red footed and blue footed boobys but they evolve, don't they? There are pictures on Google of Galapagos Boobys! And I estimate you are 1,500 wnwof there.
Sat Dec 20 12:57:50 EST 2014 | Ralitsa
I vote for the red-footed booby, with the blue-pinkish bill, though the tail is a bit blackish.
The Day The ITCZ Exploded
Wed Dec 17 17:55:00 EST 2014, 10 30'N:115 0'W,

The ITCZ is the Intertropical Convergence Zone, also known as the Doldrums. The ITCZ is an area between the NE and SE tradewinds; warm, humid, with fitful winds interspersed with strong squalls, heavy rain and owering cumulus clouds.

It is usually a lot of work to sail thru the ITCZ, as it requires frequent sail changes, and while it gets totally calm, nothing lasts for long, so if one drops the sails and starts the motor, it likely won't be for long before more wind arrives. So I pay attention to where the ITCZ is (it is shown on weatherfax forecasts, a portion of which is the image above), and try to get thru it quickly.

Normally seen as a somewhat wandering double line (with slashes between the lines) across the weatherfax forecasts, suddenly the ITCZ broke apart just ahead of us. I've not seen that before, so wasn't sure what to make of it. Judging from the conditions we've seen so far (we're now well into the broken area, south of the

position indicated in the post), it seems like we are alternating between ITCZ-conditions and the NE tradewinds).

Prepare For Inspection!
Tue Dec 16 1:51:00 EST 2014, 18 45'N:110 53'W, Isla Socorro, Mexico

"Prepare for Inspection"

So commanded the heavily accented voice over the VHF radio as we carefully motored into the lightly-charted bay to drop anchor. After sailing 300 miles from Puerto Vallarta, we were calling at remote Isla Socorro for a quiet place to work on the spinnaker halyard up at the foremast head, and to have a little break. It was early morning and men in uniform slowly gathered on the boat ramp ashore, then made their way out to Issuma in a low launch. The island is a nature preserve and military outpost of Mexico.

The military circled us, taking photos and notes, then came alongside, and 3 men boarded Issuma. The Commander carried a binder of paperwork that took an hour to complete, luckily, he also had a sense of humor and we all got through it in broken Spanish with a smile. His Captain took photos of everything on the boat, from every angle. The young Marine, cool in his beret and aviator shades, kept his machine gun pointed down at all times. At the end, we were actualy asked to complete a short evaluation of the inspection. Questions like did we share drinks, offer to trade, or was anything taken, were in contrast to the professionalism of the team.

We had obtained permission to anchor at the island for a day, but civilians are not allowed ashore. The spinnaker work took less time than the inspection did! We enjoyed our breakfast, then jumped into the cool, blue Pacific water for a swim before heading back out to sea.

Fri Dec 19 15:37:12 EST 2014 | Jocelyn
Lucky that these people were not pirates. Good wind.
My Mexican Experience
Sat Dec 13 13:45:00 EST 2014, 20 39'N:105 14'W, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Richard, Andrey and Maks sailed Issuma from the Sea of Cortez (where the last blog entries were) to Puerto Vallarta, where Andrey left to return to work.

I started experiencing Mexican culture right outside the airport - with the public bus ride to the boat! The driver's personal music soundtrack was blaring, the speed was high, the doors didn't always close, the ride was bone-jarring, but the other passengers were very friendly. They included a local soccer coach who gave great advice on surfing.

Some last minute errands included a long walk to the gas station to top off jugs for the generator. Luckily, my new crewmate Maks is great at finding favors and got us a ride back into town in the back of an old pick up truck. The friendly, young driver stopped for tacos at a great roadside stand, pictured. The cocinero mesmerized us with his speed and grace in slicing a portion from the stack of pork onto a tortlla, then topping it with a slice of pineapple from the top of the rotisserie, all in fast fluid food service to keep those tacos al pastor coming. The street food here includes amazing fresh salsas and is so delicious!

The last chore was sailing over to the Puerto Vallarta marina to formally check out of the country, which Richard understood as typically Latin American layered with forms and authorities. The bay, Bahia de Banderas, was full of pelicans, flying fish, eels, dophins and more! So the best farewell came from the whales slowly breachng as we passed.

Mon Dec 15 14:17:24 EST 2014 | George Ray
Great to be able to follow among, keep the great blog posts coming. And the next stop might be ??????
Looking Up
Fri Dec 12 13:04:18 EST 2014

A view of the fisherman, sailing downwind in light air.

Wed Dec 10 13:01:26 EST 2014, Puerto Los Gatos, Sea of Cortez

Taking the picture of the gravesite in the previous entry turned out to be more interesting than I expected. At the top, I walked along a narrow strip of porous rock with occasional sinkholes. It seemed like a painful slide down on either side if I was to slip. At that point (too late!), it occurred to me that perhaps the grave marker was there as a way of dissuading people from climbing there...

Wed Dec 10 12:58:19 EST 2014, Puerto Los Gatos, Sea of Cortez

I saw this gravesite at the top of a hill, so climbed up.

Puerto Los Gatos
Mon Dec 8 12:43:53 EST 2014, Puerto Los Gatos, Sea of Cortez

Though its a little far away to be seen well in this picture, the raising of the sides on the dinghy has gone well.

Holy Cactus
Sat Dec 6 12:28:13 EST 2014, Puerto Los Gatos, Sea of Cortez

Sun Dec 7 22:22:46 EST 2014 | Karen
Growing up in Phoenix, Arizona the saguaro was a familiar sight. This is the first one I've seen with the sea in the background...beautiful.
Puerto Los Gatos
Thu Dec 4 12:22:23 EST 2014, Puerto Los Gatos, Sea of Cortez

We anchored at Puerto Los Gatos in the Sea of Cortez after leaving Puerto Escondido. Stark, beautiful, red rocks, sand and cactus.

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