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Cabo San Lucas to Maui 5/14/09-5/29/09
05/01/2009, Pacific Ocean

As we sit here in beautiful Gustavia, St. Barths in the French West Indies we have time to fill in our blog with highlights of our adventures aboard Escapade from last season to the present.

When we set out from San Francisco in September 2008 there had been no intention on ending our first sailing winter on Escapade in Hawaii. However, driven by our struggle to rectify all of our Spectra watermaker problems we decided that we needed a true "SHAKEDOWN CRUISE" so Hawaii seemed like an enticing adventure.

Enlisting the help of Jay Watts from Kat Den Rie, owner of a San Francisco based Catalina 42 we had met on the HaHa and Ken Scott, Greg's son from Los Angeles we were able to round up a perfect crew of four which would make the watches easier and give us a foursome for hearts. After a night spent in Cabo San Lucas and another day of provisioning we left at 0600 rounding Los Arcos at the tip of the Baja peninsula a couple of hours later. At the corner of the Baha peninsula we were instantly thrown into action as the winds piped up to 20-25 knots. We unfurled the Solent and were off. Initially sailing just cracked off hard on the wind we were on a course heading to Australia but sailing smoothly san motors. At 8-11 knots SOG we were ecstatic after having very light winds all winter cruising the coast of Mexico.

Sunrise the second day found a Coast Guard 277 slowly stalking us in a wide circle. After an hour or so of this, Greg hailed them on the radio and asked their intentions. They queried us as to who was on board, passport numbers and the documentation of the ship. Sometime later they came back on the radio and wished us a good trip. I guess they're used to boats turning north and heading up the Baja toward San Diego. Probably 1 in 100 head west to Hawaii which lies at approximately the same latitude (21 degrees) as Cabo. The 277 turned back to Mexico to pursue their drug interdiction run.

The first 200 miles were beautiful as we lifted up to a direct course to the Hawaiian Islands and were able to set the large spinnaker. Escapade glides smoothly thru the water when she has enough wind to push her along and life onboard was very comfortable with days spent reading, fishing and playing a lot of cards.

Being the galley "Cucinara" I enjoyed putting together some great meals supplemented by the fishing talent of Jay and Ken. We enjoyed fresh Mahi and Dorado as sashimi right off their poles and many other variations of seafood inspired meals. Days were spent in intense games of Hearts and Foot and Mouth with Jay always intent on riling up the rest of us to create intense competition.

Night watch in the middle of the Pacific was as close to a religious experience as there can be. We saw nothing but the stars, planets, moon and sea for fifteen days. Not a shore bird, boat or any type of man made creation. It was just us and the big sea surrounding us with Escapade coursing thru the water between 8-9 knots. I felt peaceful to be one with the experience and would make another "off the wind" ocean crossing in a heartbeat.

Our arrival in Maui came without fanfare from the local immigration and custom authorities as we had to twist their civic arms to get us checked in before leaving for the weekend and forcing us to stay on the boat until Monday morning. Anxious to feel our legs on land we disembarked in Lahaina to have a marginal meal at the Lahaina Yacht Club with a few bottles of wine to celebrate the occasion of our first ocean crossing aboard Escapade. Sharon, Ken's wife joined us in Maui where we enjoyed a few days island hopping between Kaui, Molokai and Oahu.

Escapade will spend a couple of summer months here in Oahu at the Ko Olina marina while we return to Tahoe to work. We will be back late in the summer for the return voyage to San Francisco.

Sea of Cortez and Sailing Week

The Sea in Spring is beautiful but the water is still chilly. Nonetheless,

Banderas Bay Regatta
03/19/2009, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

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After spending quite a bit of time in La Cruz Marina, using it as our base to explore Banderas Bay we were excited to have guests aboard to help us in the Banderas Bay Regatta. Alan Weaver Harbormaster from Marina Village in Alameda, Kellan and her friends R.C. and Molly. Albeit an inexperienced crew the overall dynamics were perfect for the locally sponsored regatta. There were a number of catamarans entered, most notable Richard Spindler and Donia's "Proflifgate", "Endless Summer" captained by Steve May and his girfriend Manjula, and "Sea Level", a home built Schionning that Kent and Jimmy Milski were using to jump start their retirement and dream of sailing around the world.

Over the course of the winter we had spent much time with all of these characters and there was a certain amount of mischief that went into the race dynamics. Steve May took the charge by writing LOSER on Jimmy and Kent's "Sea Level". They went around the course unaware on that first leg that their boat had been tagged. Their spinnaker ripped as they were charging downwind and Steve May's LOSER became a truism.

At the end of that first day Kellan was surprised in Paradise Village with best friends, Molly and R.C. arriving from San Francisco to help celebrate her 25th and GOLDEN birthday.....albeit not a sober day ahead.

Next morning found us all well and ready to start the second race. Had we been on our game we may have noticed the LOSER moniker having been attached to our Starboard side. True to form we headed to Port after the start whilst everyone else went to Starboard and ended up on the back side of the first buoy mark. We made up some time going down wind and finished second to Profligates first.

It was all a lot of fun...good sailing and being able to have Kellan, Molly and R.C. aboard with their enthusiasm made the short week a start in introducing "THE KIDS" to our sailing life

Mexico's Gold Coast

Stretching south

The Sea of Cortez

The landscape hasn't changed in 20,000 years.

The Sidelights are the Highlights
11/10/2008, Baja Ha Ha, Mexico

The lay days were awesome! Prior to the event I thought the schedule wasted a lot of time with lay days on the way to Cabo. I was in a hurry to get to the Cape and head up into the Sea of Cortez because we have plans to leave Escapade in Puerto Vallarta while returning home to see family and take care of business at Thanksgiving. In reality the lay days were a really fun part of the trip.

Pulling into the headless dead fish infested Turtle Bay, I was ready to turn around and continue on to Cabo. If we had done that we would have missed surfing off the anchored boat the next day, meeting the crew of Bonkers (true 'hunter-gatherers' who caught the lobster, abalone and fish for sushi rolls for a memorable dinner aboard Escapade), walking the wild beach south of Turtle Bay and experiencing the friendly inhabitants ot this small outpost 150 miles from the paved highway.

Bahia Santa Maria was stunning from the moment we arrived. None of us expected Baja to be so green... not tropical lush, but vegetation on the jagged forms of the mountains, and lush mangroves lining the estuary. The beach goes on forever and the sand dunes are spectacular. A real treat was first kayaking up the estuary backing the beach where we were awestruck by the flocks of birds that would take flight as we approached, flying low overhead in great formations, and later taking the dinghy as far as the main estuary would go, past the fishing villages with the orderly groups of houses and the fishing pangas lining the shore.

Also, both these stops put an end to the caricature of Mexico as being dirty. As I write this, sitting in a faux Starbucks in La Paz, Debbie, Robbie and I keep commenting on how clean and neat it is everywhere we have been, from the extremely modest homes with dirt floors of Turtle Bay to the city of La Paz. Suddenly the call of the Caribbean has quieted and we are really enjoying our time here in the Baja...

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