Our Sea Era

27 April 2009 | Martinique
25 April 2009 | Martinique
23 April 2009 | Dominica
19 April 2009 | Dominica
18 April 2009 | Guadeloupe
14 April 2009 | Antiqua
13 April 2009 | Antiqua
12 April 2009 | Nevis Island
08 April 2009 | St. Kitts
07 April 2009 | St. Kitts
03 April 2009 | St. Barts
02 April 2009 | St. Barts
20 March 2009 | St. Martin/St. Maarten
19 March 2009 | St. Martin/St. Maarten
18 March 2009 | Road Harbor, Tortolla, British Virgin Islands
12 March 2009 | St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
10 March 2009 | Porto Patillas, Puerto Rico
28 February 2009 | Ponce, Puerto Rico
20 February 2009 | Dominican Republic
20 February 2009 | Dominican Republic


31 March 2010 | Mexico
Brunch on SoCal SoGood with Bill and Martha, us and Dan, Marianne and Christof

We went to the office and checked in and spent the rest of the day on the boat resting from the overnighter to here. I fixed a problem Pat had on her computer, it kept freezing up and cntrl alt del didn't work, so she had to restart it each time. Anyway it is all fixed and ready to go. Called a canvas guy to look at our bimini we had done in Cartagena, Columbia last October. We were not happy at all with the canvas work done there. All the rest of the work done there was great, just this particular guy that we had used for the canvas was a bad choice. On April 1st I told Pat I was up to the office and they were closing down for the Easter Weekend and there will be no internet. Pat looked at me, her jaw dropped and her eye brows raised and she was about say something not too pleasant when I quickly said "April Fools". There was no question she was going to kill the messenger. There are certain things you joke about but to cruiser, internet is about the only life line to the "outside world". Friday I went looking for a sports bar to watch NCAA final four on Saturday night. I found one just around the corner of the marina. Friday night we were invited to s/v Shamu for wine and hors d'oreuvres to show their appreciation for chauffeuring them around in the dinghy, etc. We had a real nice evening with Marianne and Christof, they are nice friends. Monday we went out to dinner with Bill from catamaran Chat D'O and Dan from s/v Perception and Marianne and Christof. We enjoyed the dinner and then we drove Pat and Marianne back to the marina and the guys went to another "gringo" sports bar and watch the NCAA finals. Too bad Duke won and Butler didn't, oh well, it was a good game and I haven't watched a NCAA game in almost 3 years so I enjoyed it.

Pat took the bus and did some shopping (provisions) and I changed the oil, oil filter and both fuel filters and changed the transmission fluid. Took the dinghy down and fixed a couple of minor leaks and cleaned the bottom. Pat spent a lot of time cleaning the boat inside and I washed the boat on the outside. Both inside and out needed a good cleaning. I bought some parts at a swap meet on one of the docks. Sunday we had Marianne and Christof, Bill and his wife Martha and Dan over for brunch. Pat made egg bake, potatoes, muffins, pastry and Marianne's delicious bread and of course Bloody Mary's and Mimosas. It was a real nice time and every enjoyed the food.

Tuesday I walked to the Pemex Gas station about a half a mile from here and got 2 jerry cans of diesel fuel for the boat and brought them back in a West Marine fold-up carts with wheels. I made 4 trips and got 40 gallons total (that's approx 320 lbs). It was easier than taking the boat out of the slip and going over to the fuel dock and then come back and re-tie up etc. We couldn't do it on the way out because we had to schedule our departure to coincide with the dredging. This gave us more flexibility as to our departure time. Pat went to dentist and she really liked her, she spoke excellent English and was very thorough. Pat made stuffed peppers for dinner, yum. We got the outboard engine fixed, it kept stalling at idle. We think it is because while we were in Mantanchen Bay we got into our dinghy and started the outboard and we left to go ashore. After about 500 feet the outboard stalled. Then we realized we didn't put the gas tank in the dinghy (DUH!). It was running on whatever was left in the outboard and we think it suck some dirt, etc in the carburetor. We got the boat bottom cleaned, the water in the marina wasn't that clean and whiskers were growing on the water line, so it needed it. Pat did some more provisioning went to a bank and got some pesos so we could pay for the different work being done. Picked up our propane tank that we had re-filled and we are all set to go.

The canvas guy Pedro did an unbelievable job on the bimini. He and his helper Rubin used a template to make sure everything was to fit perfect (it took them 3 hours do this). We also had him make a new dinghy cover with the sunbrella fabric we had put on in Cartagena for the bimini, that he was replacing. He also made an additional sun screen for one our sides of the bimini. He did all of this within a week and with an excellent fit and quality craftsmanship. He delivered the last of his work the morning of the day we were leaving (today). We have enjoyed Mazatlan and will miss our friends but sooner or later you need to move on.

We are leaving Mazatlan around 6:00 this evening after the dredge closes down. It is a 2 nighter to Cabo San Lucas. It is about 200 mile across what is referred to as the Southern Crossing. Mazatlan (mainland) to Cabo San Lucas which is on the southern tip of the Baja peninsula. To the north is the Sea of Cortez which runs about 700 miles up the inside of the peninsula. We will be sailing up the outside of the Baja peninsula (Pacific side).

Isla Isabela Bird Sanctuary

29 March 2010 | Mexico
Isla Isabela fishing village seen from top of hill surrounding a volcanic lake.

We anchored at Isla Isabela on Monday 3/29 at about 2:30 in the afternoon. It was about a 9 hour trip and we motor sailed most of the way, not much wind, and what there was, was on our nose. Pat made some chili and some rigatoni while we were underway to have for dinner in Isabela and our overnight passage to Mazatlan. We were here about 2 1/2 years ago and enjoyed it. Our friends Shamu and Warren Peace also arrived at about the same time as we did. Because we were here before, we knew the anchorage was not the best but it was better than any other place around the island. The bottom has patches of sand among the rocks but fortunately the water is crystal clear and you can see right to the bottom. The patches of sand are small so when you drop your anchor where you see a patch you hope that it sets in the sand and does not drag to some rocks. We felt we were well set (I know, famous last words). It was a bad night because the chain kept "growling" all through the night. Our master berth is the fore berth, which is very close to the anchor roller and therefore amplifies the things that go "bump in the night", in this case, the chain dragging across the rocks . We were not concerned that we were dragging, we were more concerned about sleeping.

The next morning Warren Peace left at about 6:00 am to head directly to Cabo San Lucas, actually San Jose, just around the corner from Cabo to attend a nephew's wedding and a family reunion. We decided to take the dinghy ashore around the point of the island and into the shallow water (as is rocks just below the surface) to the fishing village. We picked up Marianne and Christof and headed in. We decided that because of the noisy night to leave later that afternoon rather than wait until tomorrow afternoon. Shamu agreed, so we spent the morning and early afternoon walking up and down the island. Pat and Marianne stood in the front of the dinghy and directed which way to turn to miss the rocks, and then we paddled our way around the anchor lines of the panga fishing boats. The island is basically uninhabited except for some fishing shacks and camps for some University environmental students helping in the study of the habitats of the frigate birds and the blue footed booby birds. We climbed (as in mostly on all fours) to the top hanging (clinging) to branches etc. to get to the top. It was a beautiful panoramic view of the lake in the volcanic basin and the surrounding hills and the fishing shacks and the rocky entrance we had traveled. It was a really beautiful view and we took lots of pictures. We then went back down and walked on the beach to the other side of the island where you can walk along and see the frigate birds with the male with a puffed up chest of bright red. They and their nests in the trees are within arm's reach. We also saw several iguanas. We picked the burrs out of our clothing that we got going up and down the hillside and headed back to the boat and got ready to weigh anchor.

We left about 1 hour earlier than planned because we were not sure if our anchor or chain was hooked on the rocks. We checked it out in our dinghy and it looked like the anchor chain was under some large rocks and the anchor was set at the edge of the sand patch. With Pat at the bow pointing the directions, we moved the boat to the port in order to drag the chain away from under the rocks as we were bringing it up. It turned out great and we weighed anchor and headed to Mazatlan. It was going to be an overnighter and the weather looked good. We set the main and the jib and sailed the first 4 hours and it was really nice. It was a full moon and you can't get any better than that. The wind was on our starboard beam and about 12 to 13 knots which gave us about 5 knots sailing, which was really comfortable and nice. We turned on the music in the cockpit and listened to some tropical music from Zihuatanejo Sail Fest and "Philo live from Pfilo's Bar" in La Cruz as well as some good ole Jimmy Buffet. We enjoyed a delicious dinner of rigatoni with a glass of wine and relaxed and let nature take us on our way. As the wind died we started motor sailing and decided if we pushed it a little we could get to Mazatlan before the dredging of the entrance channel started at 8:30 am. We cranked it up a little to average between 6 and 7 knots. We were doing great until we got to about Old Town of Mazatlon at day break but the fog had started rolling in and it was getting thicker. Fortunately we had been here before so we used our radar and kept an eagle eye for any freighters, shrimp boats, etc. as we stayed a couple of miles off the islands along the shore. Just as we were approaching our way point the fog lifted and we could see an island about 1 mile to our starboard where we needed to turn in to the bay. The fog came in again, but only lightly and we proceeded to the entrance and entered it before they stated dredging. Shamu had emailed Marina El Cid for slip reservations for both of us the night before but we had not heard anything. As we approached the fuel dock at El Cid there were already 3 boats rafted up so we couldn't tie up. We had no choice but to proceed past El Cid (narrow and shallow channel) and head up further to Marina Mazatlan. We finally got radio contact with El Cid, but they said they were all filled up. We proceeded to Marina Mazatlan where we stayed on our way down the coast and hoped that we could find a slip there. It was too early for the office of Marina Mazatlon to be open, but we figured we could find an open slip or end slip and wait. Well as we approached the first dock (dock 3) there was a security guard and a fellow cruiser there telling us to pull into the dock and go down to slip 6. We did and they helped us with our lines and we were all tied in. Shortly after, Shamu came in and we helped them with their lines. All was well after a long night.

Hill people, bird watching

29 March 2010 | Mexico
Isla Isabel - Resting on the way up the hill. We thought bird watching was easy. Not!
Vessel Name: SoCal SoGood
Vessel Make/Model: Beneteau 473
Hailing Port: San Diego, Ca
Crew: Pat and Rich Merrall
We chose the title "Our Sea Era" for two reasons. The first one is that over the next several years we will be living our lives on the sea. It will be an exciting time, we will be sailing down the coast of Mexico and Central America, through the Panama Canal and throughout the West Indies in the [...]
SoCal SoGood's Photos - Our Sea Era (Main)
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Our Sea Era 00192: Beach from path to dinghy beach
Our Sea Era 00194: Jan and Vivian at dinghy beach with our dinghy with our dinghy in front
Our Sea Era 00197: Tortilla shop in La Cruz
Our Sea Era 00198: Huge bouganvilla at house in La Cruz
Our Sea Era 00182: Front of restaurant on beach
Our Sea Era 00186: Us infront of our boats
Our Sea Era 00187: SoCal SoGood from the restaurant on the beach
Our Sea Era 00188: Restaurant where we had a great fish lunch (plus cerveza of course)
Our Sea Era 00175: Chacala fishing village, neat houses with pretty ironworks on gates and fences
Our Sea Era 00176: Chacala house
Our Sea Era 00177: Chacala - beautiful wood doors
Our Sea Era 00165: Iguana
Our Sea Era 00155: Las Monas (the maniquins)at Isla Isabela, where we anchored
Our Sea Era 00163: Male frigate with puffed up chest
Our Sea Era 00164: Fishing camp at Isla Isabela
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32 Photos
Created 17 June 2008
120 Photos
Created 17 June 2008
785 Photos
Created 1 March 2008
The first album is full so we have create another. It will include lower part of Mex. and begin the rest of Cental America
120 Photos
Created 25 February 2008

SoCal SoGood

Who: Pat and Rich Merrall
Port: San Diego, Ca