03/05/2010, Puerto el Gato
Yesterday was spent just passing time aboard Zephyr. It was overcast and windy plus a chill was in the air. Just about everyone stayed aboard their boats. A few ventured ashore to do some exploring but most stayed right where they were. The one lone powerboat(Dark Side) took off about mid morning heading North for Agua Verde. We hit there on our trip North a while ago. As they left, a sailboat(Juce) radioed them to see the conditions and availability of space in the cove as they were headed South. The Dark Side clued them in on what to expect. I radioed them once Dark Side was done and let them know where the space was that had been left by Dark Side. Another sailboat was headed in a ways out for el Gato also. We were going to get even busier. We ended up the night with seven boats in the anchorage. The last one in, dropped his hook on the far Southwest side of the cove far away from everyone.
Early in the afternoon, one of the pangas(local fishing boats) finally stopped by. They were selling fresh caught lobsters. At 250 peso(about $19.50) for two kilos(4.4 pounds) we got a good deal(five lobsters). Later in the day, a second panga came into the bay and stopped by to take orders for delivery on Sunday(today). We ordered two more kilos. The rest of the boats passed on his offer. He was selling them at 100 pesos per kilo. We worked out the deal in broken Spanish(our side) and broken English(his side) and everyone came out happy. It took some big tin snips to cut the shells, but we had a great dinner with the ones we bought from the first panga fishermen.
Today dawned nice and bright with boat after boat taking off for for either Agua Verde up North of Evaristo down South. We still wanted to see el Gato, so in the end, we were the only boat left in the anchorage. After the last boat left, we decided to up our anchor and move to a more protected space in the cove. Another boat had anchored there the night before. Up came the anchor and over we went. Down went the anchor and it would not bite anywhere we tried and we tried to set it in several places. In the end, we motored back to where we had started and reset the anchor. During the move, Tracy noticed that something was wrong with one of the alternators. The one that keeps the instruments(house bank of batteries) charged wasn't coming up to the normal charge level of 14.2 volts. It's the same one that blew when we were North of Ketchikan, Alaska. Once we were anchored, I poked my head in the engine room and checked to make sure it was running. To find that out, you put a screwdriver against the back of it. It there is a strong magnetic field there then it is working. It was working alright, just not putting out the right amount of volts. Once the engine was stopped, I check the belt and found them not only loose, but in very bad condition(lots of belt chips down under the engine). It probably would have broken in a day or so. We'd installed new ones when we replaced the alternators in Port Townsend back in September of 2008. They've gotten lots of use since then. Up to Alaska and now down to Mexico. As a good cruiser, I keep spares on board and grabbed one. I placed it on my list of things to get(more spares) when we are back in the US this Summer. Since I was in there, I changed out the oil in the diesel injector pump while I was at it. Same door, same place. All in all, about a hours worth of labor.
We took Puff ashore to explore the incredible sandstone bluffs. This cove was found over 20 years ago but kept as a secret by the person that found it so it wouldn't get disturbed by visitors. That lasted a good 13 years until the secret got out. Now it's a special place for boaters to visit. There are no roads to this place.
Just before we went ashore, the panga fisherman(from yesterday) showed up with our lobsters. Two kilos for 200 pesos. A even better buy than the day before. These were so fresh that they were alive when he handed them to us. I later got to cut off their tails. Did you know that lobster scream? I didn't but I do now. It was really creepy listening to them as I killed them. My Mother always dunked hers in boiling water to cook them and they were alive when she did that. Gee, what fun(not) it will be to club fish to death once we catch them.
The winds started the day out of the West and slowly shifted around to the East. The swells have been coming in from the East all day making it a very rocky place. That is one reason all the boats left this morning. Some had had a bad night. We expect to be off tomorrow morning early as a new Norther is due by late Monday or Tuesday morning and we don't want to be here when it arrives. We plan to head for either Evaristo or the cove at the South end of Isla San Francisco. Both give good protection from North winds. Isla San Francisco is about 36 miles farther down the coast so we will be getting an early start tomorrow morning. I'll let you know where we end up.
03/02/2010, Puerto el Gato
We upped the anchor this morning and headed out past anchored shrimp boats. There were three in the cove just South of us. As soon as we left the cove, we hoisted all the sails--main, genoa and forestaysail. The winds were light but at least they were from the North or Northwest so we could make headway down the coast. There was not a lot of wind--maybe 8 knots to start which later dropped to 5 knots or so but on we pressed. We passed the beautiful Gigante Mountain range as we pushed South. An amazing creation of nature that amazes us each time we see it. We left about 0935, so we had all day to cover the 12 miles to el Gato. No reason to rush.
I had a nice lunch of pulled beef in tortillas with salsa while Tracy had smoked oysters on crackers. I figured to pass on the oysters since it has become clear that I am allergic to them. I vividly remember what I went through the last time I had them.--Pass!!! After lunch, I went around the deck tightening the life lines. I had checked them a few days ago and thought they were a bit too loose for comfort. A couple of wrenches and a pair of pliers(why are pliers always in pairs?)and the job was done. Now there is no where near the flex and give that they had. I'm not sure how tight they are supposed to be, but ours are nice and tight.
When we were about a mile North of el Gato, we heard a conversation on our VHF radio(always monitor channel 16) between two boat headed North toward el Gato. The gist of their conversation was that they hoped that there was enough room in the cove for everyone. El Gato isn't that big an anchorage. How many boats were headed here? We looked off our bow and there was yet another boat obviously headed for el Gato also. Well, the rush was on!!! We dropped the forestaysail and rolled in the genoa. Started the engine and took off for the anchorage. As we rounded the North point, there was a power boat in the North part(most protected)of the anchorage. Rats!! At least one boat beat us in. We finally dropped the mainsail just outside the cove and motored in about 20 minutes before the other boat. Down went the anchor(25 18.165N 110 56.765W) about 1420. We had our spot in 12 feet of water. A nice sandy bottom made the anchor bite in real well. A few minutes late, we saw two more sailboats headed North for el Gato. This place was going to be busy for the night.
As we waited for the other boats to join us, along comes a panga(small local fishing boat) trying to sell his fish. He stops at the other sailboat, then goes to the powerboat and then goes to shore. HEY---what about us?? Do we smell or something(well maybe)? About 15 minutes later, out he comes again--back to the other sailboat!!! He never bothered to come by our boat and we would have bought his fish. We've been waiting for some fishermen to come to our boat to sell their fish. Heck, all we ever caught was a shark a long time ago! The other boat traded him ball caps, cokes and money for his fish. Since he has set up a camp on shore, maybe we will visit him tomorrow and see what he has to sell. We'd love some local shrimp or lobster(just no oysters or clams please).
We expect to be here for a few days or so depending on the up coming weather. One of the other boats at anchor was talking about a "Norther" due here on Tuesday. I'm not sure where she got her forecast as neither Don Anderson on the Amigo Net nor Geary on the Sunrisa net give forecasts out past 36 hours. Nothing I have downloaded tells anything about any upcoming storm. That's a few days out, so we will see what the weather gurus say in a few days.
We've already launched Puff and Dragon and will be taking some hikes around shore tomorrow. It is supposed to have some amazing sandstone formations. A separate task over the next day or so is to refine our reefing system on the mainsail. Our mainsail comes with three reefing points--positions for making the sail smaller on the mast. You hook the forward edge of the sail to rings on the boom and then pull the sail up again only a smaller portion goes up instead of the entire sail. When the wind is blowing and you have to do this in really nasty conditions(or at night), it pays to know how much line you have to pull up to make the sail tight along the mast. Tomorrow, we plan to put the sail up in each of its positions and mark the lines that hoist the sail with marker. We will also mark the line that pulls the foot of the sail out and keeps it tight. This way, when we need to reef the sail in really nasty conditions, we will know when the stop pulling on the line. Tracy normally pulls up on the line that hoists the mainsail and stops when I tell her to. With the lines marked with colored line at the appropriate locations, she will know automatically when to stop pulling the line. When we reef, one of my tasks at the mast is to pull in on the lines that holds the foot of the sail tight during the reefing while Tracy pulls up on the main hoist. Well, these lines will also get marked so I will know when to stop pulling on those. I typically use a winch to tighten mine and I'm afraid that if I pull too much, I might rip the sail. There is no way for me to tell from my position at the mast, how much to pull the line without getting up and going to the end of the boom and looking. If I mark the lines, I'll have the knowledge of how much to pull and when to stop. It will make reefing the mainsail much easier and safer.
That's about it for now. I'll let you know now tomorrows project and hikes go.
03/02/2010, Ensenada La Ballena
Boy, it was a tough move this morning from Bahia San Marte to Ensenada La Ballena. All of 2 miles. When we took Puff around a day or so ago, we decided that we thought La Ballena looked prettier so we decided to move. It's still protected from North winds so we knew we would be ok there.
Yesterday, we made plans to have a bonfire on the shore at San Marte. To make sure we had enough wood, we visited other beaches and collected all the wood we could as there didn't appear to be much at San Marte. We filled Puff with all sizes of wood, from big logs to small twigs. Once ashore at San Marte, we piled them beside a fire ring that some one had made a long time ago. Since there was a burn barrel there also, we made plans to take our trash in and burn it. As you cruise, there are some things that you can throw over board and some things that you can't. Any form of plastic is a no no. It has to be burned. Aluminum cans can go over board as long as you punch enough holes in them so they will sink and you dispose of them in very deep water. We try for 1,000 feet deep. Not a hard depth to find in the Sea of Cortez. I took the trash in early in the afternoon and got rid of it. Afterwards, I hike up the hills to the top of the bluffs and took in the views.
Now all the tour books say that San Marte is a seldom visited anchorage as it is so close to Agua Verde. Not while we were there. The night we arrived, we did have the anchorage to ourselves. Yesterday, we were joined by a cruiser that we had seen in Escondido-- AirOps. He pulled in behind us. An hour later, Nordic V showed up from down South. They had motored all the way since what winds that they had had come from the North. They anchored between AirOps and us. We were filling the anchorage. So much for a place to ourselves.
We motored ashore to have our bonfire and cook dinner and since the other cruisers were ashore exploring, we invited them to join us. The folks from AirOps declined and returned to their boat. The folks from Nordic V stopped by and we chatted and filled them in on what to expect at Escondido. The ins and outs. They dropped off some fire wood but declined our offer of the bonfire. We'd brought along bratwurst and canned corn to cook and heat on the fire. We keep a small grill on board that we can take ashore to use. I'd setup the fire pit so it fit perfectly. Tracy made sure we had all the proper utensils that I needed to cook with. As we sat there cooking, suddenly we were surprised by a pelican waddling up from the shoreline to join us. He discretely plunked himself down about 6 feet from us and just stared. We have no clue as to what he wanted but he stayed there for well over an hour before getting up and waddling back to the shoreline. I have to admit, we were both very surprised by his actions. Since when do pelicans attend bonfires? We sat on discarded pieces of plywood and part of the deck of some ones boat that had washed ashore. A jug of cheap wine completed the affair. We cooked and drank and talked the night away. There were other people out there but we couldn't see them so they didn't exist as far as we were concerned. As we launched Puff off the beach, Tracy ceremoniously fell into the water. Hey, alcohol will do that to your balance.(Tracy's note--"This is Bill's version") By 0730 this morning, Nordic V was gone. Off to see the sights of Escondido and Loretto. About 1000, AirOps took off for parts South. About 1030, we upped our anchor, but not before going back to shore and getting what logs we didn't burn the night before(wood is scarce out here), and headed out for La Ballena, as I said, about 2 miles South of San Marte.
We motored around the small reef between the two and dropped the anchor and set her well in the sandy bottom. Now, what weather forecasts we had heard, all called for 5-8 knots of wind from the North for today. What we got was 5-8 knots from the Southeast!! We set our anchor so that our bow faced Southeast, just incase the forecast was wrong. For once, it paid off. If there was going to be wind from the Southeast, we wanted to make sure our anchor was set and set deep to keep us off the shore and the reef along the shoreline. We dropped the anchor at 25 28.447N 111 01.104W for those of you Google Earth folks. For once, we had the place to ourselves, at least until about 1700 when a fishing boat joined us. We'd gone ashore earlier and gathered as much firewood as we could for tonight's bonfire. As we went ashore(about 1900, we invited the fisherman to join us. He declined as he wanted to go catch some bait fish for tomorrows fishing. He returned later and dropped his anchor right off shore. We retuned to Zephyr about 2100 to a rocky boat as the shrimp boats pass by.
Apparently, March 1'st must be the start of shrimp fishing season. Since Monday, we have had shrimp boats going up and down the coast at night, dragging their nets trying to catch as many as they can. During the day, they drop their anchors and wait for nightfall. It's like a stinking freeway out there. We had at least 7 boats going up and down the coast. We'd not seen any before Monday night. Now they are out everywhere. Not one fisherman has stopped by to try and sell us any fish. We had expected that they would. I expect we will be buying a fishing rod when we return to La Paz. Dave, if you read this, could you email us with some recommendations as to what to buy--type of rod and reel and weight of line, etc? They aren't cheap and we want to make sure we get a good one. We drag a line behind our boat when we are out sailing, but once the anchor is down, we could try getting fish using a rod. Or, we could take Puff and head for one of the reefs and do it there. I know there are fish out there just waiting to be caught by us.
03/02/2010, Bahia San Marte
We listened to the weather again this morning(typed last night before I crashed) and it sounded alright to take off again.
Up came the anchor at 0835 and out we went. I'd laid in a course the night before so we could take the most direct route South to Bahia San Marte. Out we went quickly passing the protection of the point to the East. Up went the mainsail and out rolled the Genoa and off we went. Of course, once we took off, the winds shifted to be coming more out of the North which would make it a bit more uncomfortable. We would be forced to sail almost directly down wind which is not a lot of fun. So instead, we took a bit of a more sideways course so the wind would hit us a bit more from the starboard stern. It was blowing at a speed of maybe 6 knots. Not much wind. So to try and make a better speed, we rolled in the Genoa and lowered the mainsail and pulled up the spinnaker. She is stowed in a large sock gizmo that gets pulled up and allows the sail to pop free once it is raised to the top of the mast. At 1200 square feet of sail, she flies big and colorful.
After about 8 miles, and consulting with the charts, we decided that in order for us to get on a better course toward our destination, we had to detach the spinnaker from the port side on the bow(pointy end of the boat folks) she was on and moved over to the starboard side. It's called Gibing. All you have to do is detach the rope that holds the sail in the appropriate position(pulls the sail back along the side when up), detach the sail where it attaches to the deck(that pointy place again) and pull it around all the wires that go up the mast, and then across Zephyrs bow. Reattach all the lines on the starboard side(mostly new ones), pull the sock back up and pop, open she comes(at least in a perfect world).
Once we moved the spinnaker to the starboard side, off Zephyr went. Still not too fast-3 to 4 knots but at least in the right direction-South for Bahia San Marte. With James, our Hydrovane engaged and the DuoGen lowered into the water, we could sit back and let Zephyr do her stuff.
It was a slow day with the winds maybe hitting 8 knots which left us sailing at 2 to 3 knots and over 30 miles to the new anchorage. Once in a while, the winds would climb to 10 and our speed would increase, but rarely. At that speed, we wouldn't get to Bahia San Marte till almost 2200. Once we got beside Isla Monserrate, the waves and swells increase with the shallowness of the water and reefs and Zephyr began to rock violently back and forth in the swells. We made the decision then to sock the spinnaker and turn on the engine. It was already 1600 and we had ten more miles to go. It took from 0835 to 1600 to cover all of 21 miles. Like I said, slow going.
I went forward and grabbed the line that pulls down our sock on the spinnaker while Tracy slowly released the line that keeps the spinnaker tight and down the sock came. Meanwhile, Zephyr was getting thrown all over the place by the swells. The bow of the boat was rocking and rolling. As always, I had on my life jacket. I'm not crazy. If I fall overboard, I'll need all the help I can get and being able to stay afloat is one of the most important. With the sock down, and the motor on, we headed South at about 5 to 6 knots. We would be in San Marte by 1800.
There are three sets of reefs off San Marte and we wanted to make sure we avoided them. I'd entered way points into our chart plotter so that we would know where they were. It's one of the biggest reasons to have cruising books aboard is that they give out important information like that. It makes boating much safer-at least as long as the GPS point are accurate. We slowly motored into the small cove and dropped the anchor at 1735(25 30.240N 111 01.040W). We were in a cove all by ourselves. This cove is so close to Agua Verde that most boaters pass it by and go there. It's much larger and a bit more protected, especially from South winds. We'd anchored there on our way North. We'd passed San Marte by like all the rest. Now was our chance to explore it all by ourselves. There are a few caves along the shoreline just South of here we will be exploring with Puff and Dragon later this morning. Meanwhile, the forecast is for light and variable winds from the North for the next few days.
It surprises us how few boats we see as we sail the Sea of Cortez. Yesterday, we saw only two other boats. One a fishing boat and the second one was a tour boat full of sightseer heading for Escondido. No other sail boats. Sure, you see a few in anchorages where we congregate, but out on the water, we see very few. For it being the high season, this place is relatively deserted.
For those of you out there working on your boats, a word of advise. Make sure you have a dodger installed before you ever leave the dock. Plus, make sure it blocks out as much wind and water as possible with a cover that leads back over parts of the cockpit. For those land lubbers out there, a dodger is made of either wood, fiberglass, cloth, or plastic and shields the occupants of the cockpit from water and wind as you are out sailing and in the harbors and coves. It also allows you to sit in the cockpit in rotten weather and enjoy the outside and not be trapped inside the cabin. While in San Juanico, of all the boat in there everyone but one had a nice dodger. We could all sit outside in wind and still enjoy the sunshine. One boat--Sea Story--didn't have one. They had a large bimini to protect them from the Sun, but not the wind out here. When you are at anchor, the wind can ruin a nice day of sunshine fast. Sitting outside in 30 knots with no wind break is not fun. While the rest of us sat and enjoyed the beautiful(yet windy) day, the poor folks on Sea Story were stuck below decks. When they arrived, they were all bundled up in insulated pants and sweaters with hoods. The rest of us were in shorts and tee shirts. Having a dodger can make a big difference in your personal comfort and safety.
Well, we are off to explore the caves about 1.5 miles South of here. I made a loaf of English Muffin bread this morning. Something new. Cut it and toast it and voila, English Muffins, or at least that is what the Fleischmann's recipe book says. I guess we will see tomorrow morning. I'll let you know.
03/01/2010, Porto Perico, Isla Carmen
We hopped into Puff and took off for Bahia Salinas. It's an old abandoned salt mining town about 2.5 miles from Porto Perico. They had massive flats set up to dry the salt water and make salt to export all over the world. It closed down back in the 1980's and the place has not withstood the test of time. Salt is a very powerful corrosive and it has done its work. Most of the metal things are almost unrecognizable as what they were. Carts and old cars as well as grinders and loaders just sit and rust away. Many of the buildings are still standing but the winds and sand have eaten a lot of the mortar away from the bricks and concrete block leaving a strange hollowed out look to the walls. There is virtually nothing left of the dock and you can see several sunken boats in the harbor and along the beach.
We arrived in mid morning understanding that the place was over seen by a caretaker and that he would let you explore the salt flats and the buildings. Not sure if we ran into the caretaker, but the man we met advised us that the salt flats were to dangerous to explore, but we could tour through all the buildings. Now how a piece of ground that is flat can be to dangerous to tour was a bit beyond us but it is his place and he is responsible for it and all that goes on. So, we turned around(we were on the road(clearly marked with signs) to the salt flats when he caught up with us) and headed back to the village compound. Most useable things were long since removed either by the company or the locals. From the windows to much of the roofs, to the floors and plumbing and electrical wiring is all gone. If this had been in the US, there is no way we would have been allowed to go anywhere near the buildings. To say they are in bad shape is an understatement. In the close to 30 years since they closed, Mother Nature had taken over and won against the work of man. It can't stand up to blowing wind and sand and water.
We walked the miles of beach along the shoreline seeing no one. The place is on the side(East) of Isla Carmen that few boats visit. We figured to be the only boat anywhere near here. We returned to Zephyr and stowed Dragon and hoisted Puff back on board. We plan on taking off tomorrow for Bahia San Marte. about 31 miles South of here. It is supposed to have decent protection from the North winds.
As we sat in the cockpit in the afternoon reading and planning our course for tomorrow, along comes another sail boat. A small boat with three people on board. It is one of the boats that gets rented out with a guide for people to explore the islands and coves. There are no cabins on board and they pull into a cove at night and roll out their sleeping bags and spend the night. Since they are normally on National Park property, they are not allowed to build fires so there isn't much to do once the Sun goes down. Now Porto Perico is a nice cove, but it is still relatively deep right up to the shoreline. No sandy beaches over here. These boats typically sail into the cove, drop their bow anchor and then row the stern of the boat toward shore and put out a second anchor on land to hold the boat in a safe position. Well, out went the bow anchor and the man at the oars rowed and rowed and rowed and couldn't get the stern of the boat to properly face the shore. After a while, and several tries, his wife jumped into the water(up to her arm pits) and pulls the boat ashore. I guess she had had enough and wanted to get ashore. With the water at 69 degrees and the wind blowing at a good 15 knots, I'm sure she was chilled to the bone quickly. Once ashore, they set up a small lean too with a tarp for some coverage and had a wonderful cold dinner(yum). The guys had to wade ashore too so I'm sure they got good and wet also. Not how I would want to spend my vacation.
About 1600, along comes another boat!!! A big catamaran! I thought this was supposed to be a place that few boats visited!! We have more boats in here tonight than there are in San Juanico. All those boats let yesterday. The catamaran(Limerick)sailed up the the Southwest coast of Isla Carmen so they must have come from the Escondido area around the South tip of Carmen and up the coast. Not a fun sail as all the winds(13-20 knots) were out of the North and Northeast and they would have to plow into them all the way up the coast.
Tomorrow, we expect to take off South for Bahia San Marte, a small indentation along the Baja Coast. Nice and protected(at least sort of) from the North winds that are due tomorrow. You can check it out--25 30.254N 111 01.030W at Google Earth. Zoom in and I would expect that someone has posted some pictures of the cove. Check out Puerto Los Gatos(25 18.200N 110 56.732W, we expect to be there in a few days. The sandstone formations are said to be incredible. We'd stopped in there for a lunch on our way North and now want to stay a bit longer(weather permitting) and see it better.
02/28/2010, Porto Perico, Isla Carmen
After 8 wonderful days in San Juanico, we left this morning in wonderful sunshine and good winds and headed South for Isla Carmen and Punta Perico on the southeast side of the island.
For the last few days, we have been sort of stuck in San Juanico as the winds crept up again. This time from the East and the Southeast straight into the anchorage with lots of swells making for a bit of an uncomfortable few hours during the day. The forecast for the day from Don Anderson(regarded as the man to talk to about weather in the Sea of Cortez)said nothing about any wind from the East or the Southeast. His forecast was from the North and West. At least one boat left heading out to take advantage of the unexpected East winds to head North as fast as they could. A smart move as these wind continued all day. About 1700, they shifted around from the West and the South and continued that way through the night. Not a lot of wind but enough to make the anchorage rock a bit.
We'd gotten in Puff and taken a short ride early in the morning to a small cove on the Northeast side of San Juanico to see it. Figuring it to be our last day, we wanted to see what it was like. Several of the houses on the hill have paths leading to the cove. Not much to see. No sandy beach, just lots of rocks. A very small place to even beach a boat. We did so and took a short walk along the shoreline. By the time we left, the winds had started their Easterly blow into the anchorage and we spent the rest of the day aboard Zephyr.
This morning, we listened to Don Anderson on the Amigo Net on our SSB to get his forecast to see if the day would be good to head out. He pretty much glossed over our area. At the end of the broadcast, they give a slot to radio in for a specific forecast for any particular area. I grabbed our microphone and called in. He is in Oxnard, California and he could hear my broadcast better than the man that manages the net much closer. We were broadcasting a strong signal. Don got on the radio and gave us a forecast of morning Northwest winds moderating to Northeasterly winds. Perfect to head South.
We uncovered the mainsail and took out the broken batten from the sail and stowed gear all over the boat and got ready. A quick breakfast in the cockpit and we were almost ready. As we sat there, another boat took off heading South. Another boat had already taken off some time around sun up. As we upped the anchor, another boat was bringing up theirs and followed us out. Apparently, several boats in the anchorage heard our forecast and decided to take advantage of it. About an hour later, a fifth boat followed the rest of us out all heading South. At least 5 boats left this morning and two more were going to leave this evening about 1800 for the crossing to the mainland. All in all, 7 of the 8 boats left in the bay were heading out in one day. That left just one power boater all to himself and he can go anytime. He doesn't have to rely on the wind to get places.
Of the 5 of us that were headed South, 4 were going to Escondido. We planned on seeing Isla Carmen and the few anchorages that we had missed on our trip North. The winds we got as we headed out were from the Southwest till about noon when they shifted to the Northeast and moderated(dropped to zero for a while) to between 5 to 10 knots. We had all the sails up doing their job. We'd started with the big Genoa at the bow and then added the Main shortly. Finally, we put up the Forestaysail. If it could fly, it was flying. No room for the spinnaker. The three boats we could see stayed close to the coast making their way South. We took off away from the rest and headed out away from land toward Isla Carmen.
It was a great sail. The sails needed continual adjustment(fun) as the winds changed direction and speed. Tracy sat on the stern(working on her tan at the same time) and directed our Hydrovane(steers the boat with wind power and not battery power). I sat in the cockpit and adjusted the sails and the wheel slightly to make sure we got the most out of what we had up. From time to time, I would go forward to check the sails to make sure they were set right. You can't see them all from the cockpit. We'd left at 0830 and finally pulled into Punta Perico(25 58.251N 111 04.528W) on Isla Carmen about 1700 after covering 36.5 miles, just about all of it under sail. We maxed our speed to 7.9 knots in the winds as they hit the high teens every once and a while. Most of the day was at about 4.5 knots. James(our Hydrovane) worked hard for us today with some timely adjustments to correct the course as the winds shifted.
Tomorrow, over to Bahia Salinas(next cove West of us) to visit a deserted salt mines. Pictures in some of the cruise books show some amazing salt crystals just laying around. It's been deserted for quite some time. A day or so here and then head South as the winds permits. We plan to use the sails as much as possible. We're tired of motoring when we don't have to. The prevailing winds this time of year are out of th Northwest and we want to use them if at all possible. The sailing today was great and we want to enjoy more days like today. We'll let you know what we find in the salt mines.