A Boat Too Far

07 December 2017 | Santa Rosalia, BCS
26 April 2017
25 March 2017
17 March 2017
23 February 2017 | Cabo San Lucas
23 February 2017 | Bahia Magdalena
06 February 2017 | San Diego
23 September 2016 | Ventura West Marina
27 May 2016 | Bahia Asuncion
13 May 2016
30 March 2016 | Santa Rosalia
05 March 2016
12 February 2016
17 January 2016
08 December 2015 | Cabo San Lucas
27 November 2015 | Turtle Bay
16 November 2015 | Ensenada, Mexico
29 October 2013 | Santa Barbara
05 October 2013

Back in the Sea of Cortez

07 December 2017 | Santa Rosalia, BCS
The hills are turning brown, the nights are cooling off and a heater is needed in the mornings it's time us snow birds head south for the winter. Southern California is just way too cold! So October 31 we packed the Element with a “boat load” of stuff and drove down to Puerto Penasco, where we left Rum Doxy for the summer. Before we left last spring we hauled the boat out and stored it in the boat yard, a large sandy, empty lot. When we hauled out there where only two other boats in the yard, when we got back the yard had filled up... old friends to see again, new friends to meet. We spent the next two weeks sanding, grinding, painting and patching up the boat getting ready for our next sailing season. While working and toiling away in the boat yard it's hard to imagine sailing around in beautiful sparkly water, gently rocking to sleep, waking up to silence and solitude but that's the reward when you finally launch and that's what happens and it all becomes worth it!!
Starting at the very top of the Sea of Cortez feels like we are cheating. At this time of year the predominate winds blow from the north so it's mostly down wind sailing and we did not have to sail against the wind for 700 miles to get to this most remote corner of the Sea of Cortez. Unless you have a boat you will not see the places we have been to. There are no roads to speak of, no villages,commerce or tourist boats to take you out on day trips and no cell service, not even many cruisers venture up this far north. From the moment we sailed out of the Puerto Penasco harbor on November 15 until we arrived in Santa Rosalia 18 days later we had no contact with civilization (except via satellite phone or ham radio) nor any pressing schedule. We surrendered to the wilderness, weather and the immense, overwhelming beauty of the Northern Sea Of Cortez. We made our first stop after leaving the boat yard at the very northern part of Isla Angel de la Guardia. It felt like being reborn. We could feel the energy of Puerto Penasco and their Annual Motorcycle Rally (a gathering of 5000 motorcycles competing to see who was the loudest and baddest) which happened to be going on while we we there, drain from our bodies. After three days we blew further down to the midsection of the island and the anchorage at Este Ton, the most picture “postcard” perfect anchorage, where we stayed for 4 days. After detoxing and reclaiming our sea legs we set off to explore new anchorages, zig zagging back and forth between the many islands and the east side of the Baja peninsula. What has made this trip even more spectacular is our new toy that Mike got for his 60th birthday. Something I've always wanted, a 2 person peddle kayak! It has added a whole other dimension to our cruising experience. It is unbelievable comfortable, cruises at 3-4 knots, we don't ever have to paddle and our butts stay dry. We get a great workout (exercise being something that was really lacking while cruising) all while seeing so much more of the coastline and underwater aquatics in the 6-8 miles we can cover. Check out the gallery for pictures of things we saw, and places we stayed.
The party is over now. We're docked here in Santa Rosalia waiting out the “First Northerly Blow” of the season, anxious to get going because we still have to sail another 100 miles down to Loreto (3 days travel) where we will leave the boat and begin our long journey home for Christmas. After securing the boat in Puerto Escondito (Loreto) we have a 5 hour bus ride to La Paz, a plane to Hermosillo, a 5-7 hour bus to Puerto Penasco and a 3 day drive to the Bay Area with a stop in Santa Barbara for my friend Judith's very special birthday party which I do not want to miss!
I just love being home with family and friends at Christmas. The times we've been away for the holidays have always been very hard for me. This year is an extra special Christmas as the “Torch of the Ringenberg Christmas Tradition” is being passed on from Gordon and Grete (Grandpa and Grandma) to Sabine (grand daughter) who is very happy to take on this responsibility, skipping a generation (me) which I am grateful for. Thank you Sabine!
After Chrismas we'll fly back and bring in the New Year aboard Rum Doxy with Brian and Alison who are coming down join us for a cruise around the Loreto area for a week before we make a serious effort to sail south toward mainland Mexico, Puerto Vallarta and beyond.

Cave Paintings

26 April 2017
Last year, when we were in the Sea of Cortez, I heard from friends about the Great Mural Rock Art throughout central Baja, and it has since been on my "bucket list" to go and see at least one of these hidden and remote sites. So when we arrived in Santa Rosalia, we left the boat in the marina and went on an adventure. First we took a bus back down to Mulege and arranged for a guide with a four wheel drive to take us out to the cave mural San Bojitas, 40 miles northeast of Mulege. We drove for 2 and half hours from the coast, deep into the canyons of the Sierra Guadalupe mountains. It was a slow drive through a rugged terrain of dry river beds and flowing streams, steep hillsides with deep boulder ravines and sandy washes. It was a bumpy ride, but stunningly beautiful. There were delicate white blossoms from matilija poppies speckled among the dry river rocks and brilliant splashes of yellow from the flowering Palo Verde tree dazzled the hillsides with fluorescent color. Up close you could see the cardon cactus flowering on the south sides of their tall trunks. The drive was so entertaining it seemed like no time and we were there at the base of the cave. We hiked a short trail to the cave entrance where we stood, the only ones in this 100' wide cave, looking up at the ceiling covered in layers of larger than life drawing of animal and human silhouettes. It was other worldly, awe inspiring!

After a brief moment to take it all in, our guide rapidly fired off a lengthy history of the cave in his heavily accented English of which I was able to retain a few of the interesting facts. The artists (medicine men) used four colors red, yellow, black and white which they made from plants and minerals. From the plant based colors red and yellow archaeologists radiocarbon dated the earliest paintings back 7,500 years. The figures were painted over many thousands of years, often times one over another. Some of the human figures described warring tribes, humans with arrows through them, while others were more mythical cactus people, figures drawn half black and red and some with square heads. Hallucinogenics were obviously involved. There were also petroglyphs for fertility, images of dozens of vulva's etched into the rock. In the 1600's the Jesuits got involved when the native Indians showed them the caves and they were the first to actually archive the paintings and the history they received from the Indians. That's all I can remember from the narrative. We spent about 45 minutes at the cave taking pictures and soaking in it's significance, then hiked back down to the car and had lunch. It only took us two hours to get back to Mulege, arriving back with just enough time to shower and find out the bus back to Santa Rosalia had left 15 minutes ago. We consoled ourselves with margaritas and a stay in a simple hotel with a shady courtyard in town. The next bus back to Santa Rosalia left at 4:00 am, which, despite the margaritas, we managed to catch, and we were back on the boat by 5:00 the next morning.

Mystery Revealed

25 March 2017
This photo goes a long way towards explaining why the drone keeps crashing. We have put a lock on the cooler and have had no further incidents.

PS: We have added some more photos in the Gallery section under Sea of Cortez, 2017. Also, an unedited video of some fin whales has been added under the "Favorites" tab.

How many lives does a drone have?

24 March 2017

We're here in the Loreto area and the weather is perfect. Light breezes, just enough to cool us down and keep the bobo's from becoming annoying. Our entertainment here is the whale show and Wonder Bug our drone. As we drift around the islands off the coast of Loreto there is a constant sound of whale blows, singing and fin slapping. Mike is getting a lot of practice at launching and landing Wonder Bug off the boat, often times sending it up to two miles away to capture fantastic videos of whales going about they're business. With the drone we're able to follow the whales and observe them for long periods of time. We're able to see them doing what they do, they're no longer just a fin or a fluke sticking out of the water. However, there have been two VERY close calls...The first while landing the bug as the boat was still moving. The drone has an obstacle avoidance safety feature, which causes the drone to stop if there is anything in front of it. As we drifted at 2 knots, Mike maneuvered the drone to land on the trampoline up forward. Once the drone was about two feet above the trampoline, it saw the rigging at the front of the boat, perceived it as an obstacle and stopped. Unfortunately, the boat was still moving. Mike tried to get it back up before the boat hit it, but the drone hit the rigging and crashed, slid down the rigging, becoming tangled in the lifelines where we rushed to grab it before it could go overboard. Close call, lesson learned, turn off obstacle safety feature when flying from the boat. The second time was when launching the bug while underway. Mike launched the drone off the surf boards which lie on top of the dingy davits like he's done several times before, but for some reason this time after it took off it went a foot in the air then all of the sudden the motors stopped and it fell like a brick, hitting the surfboards before tumbling into the dinghy where it just caught on the railing.
How many lives does this bug have?? We're hoping at least 9.

Critter Report

17 March 2017
It may be our imaginations, but it seems we've been seeing a lot more wildlife on this trip than last year. It began with tropic birds and albatross as far north as Ensenada, as well as near daily sightings of sea turtles, some far out at sea. On the way south we saw many, maybe too many, grey whales as our trip coincided with the migration and we spent some time in Magdalena Bay where they feed and breed during the winter months. As we entered the Sea of Cortez we began seeing the familiar mobula rays as they jump out of the water, somersaulting and landing on their bellies with a loud 'plop'. We spotted a large black marlin jumping just north of Frailes and have seen yellowtail, tuna and other large fish finning about.
While anchored at Cerralvo Island at night the ocean glowed with phosphorescent krill that would wash up on our swimsteps and lay there glowing like LED strips.
As we move north into the Loreto area the whales just keep getting more numerous. The greys have been replaced by the ever-present humpbacks and a large number of blues and resident fins. The weather has been unusually calm and we have spent entire days drifting among the feeding whales and filming them with the drone.
We've been skunked so far trying to spot bighorns on Isla Carmen but will try again next week. In the meantime, we came across Senor Cascabel above while hiking in the Sierra de la Giganta this morning.

Bumper Boats

23 February 2017 | Cabo San Lucas
Since we last wrote we had an easy day and a half sail from Mag Bay to Cabo San Lucas, 160 n.m. Arrived at 1 pm, set anchor and headed into town for a few staples, a fishing lure and license and tacos so that we could take off first thing in the morning, destination Puerto Vallarta. Our hope was to meet our friends the Milskies from s/v Sea Level at a Guitar Festival in Zihuatanajo some 700 miles from where we are right here Cabo and be there in 10 days, oh the pressure!! Again, we would have to sail petal to the metal, ugh. I called them and found out they weren't going to make it after all. What a relief, we were off the hook and even though it would have been a lot of fun the stress to get there wasn't worth it. Mike and I looked at each other and instantly decided let's just head back up into the Sea of Cortez this season without any agenda except to haul out in June.
While futzing around putting things away on the boat after returning from our trip into Cabo we noticed the little sail boat anchored in front of us was a lot closer than when we first arrived back. As we watched the boat drifted closer by the minute with no one aboard.. We sprang into action attaching every fender we owned to the port side of the boat, turned on motors, grabbed the boat fending pole and started pulling anchor. As Mike brought the anchor up, the LB was pulled into the side of Rum Doxy bouncing off the fenders as I feverishly tried to keep the bow from t-boning our hull. Once our anchor was up we were free of the LB and moved way up the beach while staying upwind. That boat was dangerous! After the anxiety of saving our boat from disaster and choosing the "no agenda" lifestyle in the Sea of Cortez we made margarita's and settled into relaxing for the evening and the next 3 and a half months.
BANG, CRASH! We both knew exactly what was happening. The wind had changed to the opposite direction and the #$@# LB was slamming into Rum Doxy but this time there were no fenders, and it was dark. With 15 knots of wind the LB dragged it's anchor down the beach and over our anchor chain. Now the LB was pinned broadside to our bows like a shrimp on a fork. We managed to push it off but, as it made it's way down the side of our boat, for the SECOND time that night, it's anchor line got tangled up in our prop. So here's what Mike did to free us again. He first tied the LB off to our stern so it wouldn't drag any further and take us with it. He then kayaked over and boarded the LB in order to let out slack in it's anchor line and get the LB further away from us. Then he kayaked back, got into his wet suit, jumped into the water and freed the LB's anchor line from our prop. Next he had to pull up by hand the LB's anchor (which drifted over and fouled our anchor chain) and move it and all it's line to the stern of Rum Doxy. Last thing he did before tossing the anchor and line of the LB and releasing it from our hold was to make sure the it's anchor was securely set. My hero!
We then pulled our anchor and moved across the anchorage again, this time putting another, very large boat between us and the LB, and finally got some sleep.
Vessel Name: Rum Doxy
Vessel Make/Model: 46' Custom Catamaran
Hailing Port: Santa Barbara, California
Crew: Mike Reed, Annette Reed
Rum Doxy's Photos - Main
We left the boat on the hard in Puerto Penasco for the summer while we returned home to Ventura to work. We returned to the boat in early November and, after 2 weeks of work on the boat in the yard, we launched and headed straight for Isla Angel de la Guardia, where we took up where we left off in the spring.
27 Photos
Created 7 December 2017
We got a late start heading south this year, our mainsail warranty replacement having taken much longer than anticipated. Our plan, as we headed south, was to get to Ecuador this season so that we would be poised to head to Patagonia in the fall. Somewhere along the way, though, we realized that this would mean traveling every day; more of a delivery than a cruise, so we decided to spend another season in the Sea of Cortez, store the boat in Puerto Penasco or Guaymas for the summer hurricane season, and head to Ecuador next year.
24 Photos
Created 4 March 2017
39 Photos
Created 30 March 2016
After a quick haul-out in La Paz we headed out to the local area to do some exploring. We spent most of January and february sailing up and down the coast enjoying the Islands of Espiritu Santo, San Francisco and San Jose as well as some of the anchorages on the mainland.
34 Photos
Created 13 February 2016
We left our slip in Channel Islands on November 7th, bound for Mexico with stops at Santa Barbara Island, Catalina Island and San Diego. We arrived in Cabo one month later having harbor-hopped down the coast of Baja.
23 Photos
Created 8 December 2015
30 Photos
Created 19 September 2013
We made an unplanned detour to Alaska when the wind sent us there. Rather than spend time in the Salish Sea as we had planned we have been sailing from Kodiak to Prince William Sound and down to the Inside Passage with stops at icy Bay and Yakutat.
97 Photos
Created 1 September 2013
After leaving Yokohama we headed southeast to get below a series of lows coming off of Japan. This worked to some extent as the wind was always behind us, even if a bit strong at times. As we approached the Pacific High the winds lightened and we were pushed northward which gave us the idea to head for Alaska instead of Canada, a move we have not regretted. The great majority of the trip was spent under cloudy skies, rain or fog so there are regretably not many photos. On the other hand, Kodiak is having their best summer in 75 years with daily temperatures in the 80's.
17 Photos
Created 25 July 2013
43 Photos
Created 13 June 2013
We made our way from Luzon to Okinawa with a detour to Taiwan due to weather. from Okinawa we sailed directly to Shimuzu where we based ourselves for a week while we did maintenance and land travel.
36 Photos
Created 5 June 2013
19 Photos
Created 20 April 2013
We made our way from Miri, Sarawak to Kudat, Sabah where we hauled out for a bottom job and a few odds and ends. Then we headed north up the west coast of Palawan, spending some time in the El Nido area, where we met our friends from Miri, Roger and Jane on "Wings and Strings". We have been buddy-boating with them for the past week as we make our way through the beautifull Busuanga group. We are really enjoyin g the Philippines as the people are very friendly, the beaches clan and the water clear. The scenery is spectacular as is the snorkling.
60 Photos
Created 30 March 2013
Nearby Mulu National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, famous for it's caves. It sports the world's largest cave system, largest cave passage and largest chamber (100m x 400m x600m!). The BBC series "Planet Earth" filmed it's "Caves" segment here (think mountain of guano seething with cockroaches). We took a couple of days off from boat work and flew out to have a look.
39 Photos
Created 8 September 2012
We had an uneventfull passage from Singapore to Borneo, though a bit tiring as we had to hand steer for 3 days and 2 nights. We arrived in Borneo just after dark on the 3rd day, anchored and awoke to a scene from a Tarzan novel. Over the next week we made our way to Miri, just short of Brunei, traveling during the day and achoring at night as we didn't want to run afoul of the many floating logs in this area. Typically we would sail all day then drop a couple miles off the coast to (mostly) avoid the bugs. We were lucky with the weather and apart from the hydraulic steering exploding as I tried to avoid a log, we had a good trip.
19 Photos
Created 30 August 2012
After 2 years of working on the boat and migrating back and forth between Phuket and Langkawi, we finally moved. The trip down the Straights of Malacca was uneventfull but at times difficult due to the opposing wind and current. We did not travel at night for fear of fishing nets and buoys and so had long days between anchorages. The sky was a uniform dismal brown due to forest fires in Sumatra and the shoreline was mostly mangrove flats so not much to see.
26 Photos
Created 27 August 2012
With the dinghy done we set sail for Langkawi, leaving Thailand for the last time. We lingered a few days in the Butang group to take advantage of the clear water, then made our way to Langkawi, where we have been working non-stop on the boat ever since.
27 Photos
Created 25 July 2012
We've been knocking around for a couple of years now without a dinghy so we took the time to build one this trip. We got a spot on the "work dock", picked up some plywood in town and got busy. The rowing/sailing boat is from plans but heavily modified. It took 2 weeks all in. It might have been less, but when the wind wasn't blowing a gale, it was raining. Some people do this inside garages or sheds, but they don't know what they're missing.
24 Photos
Created 3 June 2012
After launch we did a "circumnavigation" of Langkawi to put the boat through it's paces and see if all our work was for naught. As it turned out, the leaks are all a thing of the past and the boat now makes a pleasant "squish" instead of "bang" when beating into a sea. After our spin around the archipelago we picked up Annette's parents, Gordon and Grete, in Langkawi and made our way up to Phuket where we met Sabine and her boyfriend Josh. Another spin through Phangnga Bay and it was time to button up the boat and head back to Santa Barbara for another 4 month work stint.
60 Photos
Created 22 January 2012
Annette's plastic cardboard fix allowed us to continue work despite the rain and we were able to launch after 2 months and 3 weeks. It's great to be out of the boatyard but we will miss all of our friends who we left behind, hoping we will see them on the water.
24 Photos
Created 29 December 2011
We discovered on our last trip that the boat pounds quite a bit when going to windward due to the flat bottoms on the hulls. The boat has a unique contruction in that the hull and deck both come from the same mold. The deck is just flipped uside down over the hull and they are joined down the middle. A clever idea, but it turns our what makes a good deck does not necesarily make a good hull. We also found that the Thai workers had sanded the hulls a bit too thin in some areas which allowed water into the core when the boat was working. Ungood. Our solution was to see if we couldn't improve things by adding a bit of "vee" to the forward sections of the hulls to help with the pounding and encase the whole mess in a layer of glass with a proper barrier coat of epoxy for the leaks. A side benefit is that we get a "minikeel" encased in the vee so that we can beach the boat if need be. It also would provide a crash compartment along the length of the bottom. We hauled out in the village of Chebilang outside of Satun in southern Thailand and dug in. The yard is on the rustic side and is used by the local fishing boats and ferry companies, but it is endlessly fascinating and the staff are very accomodating. We will also be doing work to the interior, adding bunks and a head, making spare rudders, working on the mast and fixing up the forward cockpit.
57 Photos
Created 18 September 2011
We came back from Thailand to meet our shipment coming ocean freight from Long Beach. 2 pallets of wire, rope, tools, materials and toys. Once we picked it up I was able to install the 12 volt electrical system which freed us from shore power. Now we are able to work on the boat at anchor and have been taking advantage by exploring the Langkawi Archipelago as we put the boat together.
24 Photos
Created 15 March 2011
A quick root canal and we headed back to Phangnga bay to pick up where we left off.
50 Photos
Created 26 January 2011
Between dentist appointments we took a spin up into Phangnga Bay for a couple of days. We were surprised to find a lot of solitude here as it is high season and a popular destination. There were a lot of tour boats but from 4pm to 10am we had even the most popular anchorages to ourselves.
24 Photos
Created 26 January 2011
As the major construction on the boat progressed, it occurred to me that I could move things along a bit by building some of the smaller bits at home and shipping them to Thailand. Even with shipping costs this saved a lot of time and money. We had rented a small cottage in Carpinteria that had an attached deck. Sabine lived in a tent on the deck and I set up a work area under some tarps supported by bamboo next to the tent. It worked out really well and I was able to build the dagger boards, rudders and rudder drums, hatch bases, stanchion supports, trampoline supports, nav station, galley and steps down into the hulls. After we launched in March, 2010 we had to return to SB to work for 7 months. We were living on our Catalina 30 in SB Harbor to save money but I was able to build a refrigerator/freezer, settee, lavanette, cabin beams, battery box and other small bits right there on the dock. I was not popular with the next door neighbor but again, it worked out well.
45 Photos
Created 9 January 2011
Just after the New Year we went back to phuket to get some dental work done and see Phang Nga Bay, which we had to skip the first time around. We had great sailing, taking 3 days to do the 160 miles to Yacht Haven Marina at the north end of Phuket. We had broad reaching conditions the whole way and got to put the boat through her paces.
11 Photos
Created 7 January 2011
Once launched we had to take the boat out of the country as the visa had expired. We took a week to leisurely sail down to Langkawi, the first stop in Malaysia. The boat was nowhere near ready to sail but you do what you have to do. There was no electrical system, plumbing or furniture. I had pre-fabbed the nav station and galley in SB and shipped it to Thailand, but it was still in the crates. The boat did motor well, though and we got to sail a bit, at one time doing 9.4 knots in about 16 knots of wind. Once in Langkawi we had to haul out again after only 2 weeks as there were some leaks around the daggerboard cases. We were now out of money so we had to return to SB where we got our old jobs back and worked for seven months.
44 Photos
Created 24 December 2010
After over 4 years in the boatyard, countless setbacks, redoes and hand wringing we quit our jobs and flew to Phuket New Years day, 2010 for the final push to get the boat in the water. The date was not arbitrary. The boat's visa ran out March 27, so we had less than 3 months to get the boat in the water and out of Thailand or customs would impound it. The worklist included fabricating and installing fuel tanks, installing the engines and controls, installing the hydraulic steering, glassing in the rudder drums, building a mast step, painting, rigging and stepping the mast, building and hanging doors, making and installing windows and hatches, installing the trampolines and all the deck hardware, scuppers, and prepping and painting the boat. This is just a partial list but gives an idea of what we set ourselves up for. We rented an apartment in the marina and got to work. In the end we were able to slip out of Thailand 2 on March 29, two days late, but who's counting.
37 Photos
Created 24 December 2010
From August 2006 to December 2009 the boat was on the hardstand at The Boat Lagoon in Phuket Thailand for a complete refit. As we had to stay home and work to pay for it we had contractors do the work under the supervision of a Marine Surveyor. I would send plans and money and visit the boat for a week or 2 every 4-6 months.
50 Photos
Created 16 December 2010
We bought this boat "as is" in January 2005. The idea was to replaces some bulkheads, do some hull repairs and sail it back to California to finish. After over 30 years around boats I knew better but what can you do? These are the "before" pictures. As you view the photos try to imagine the sweet tang of mildew and cockroach scat and the delicate sound of millions of tiny termite jaws feasting on the bulkheads.
13 Photos
Created 4 December 2010