12/12/2010, Mangle Solo
We upped the anchor and set out just after 0900 for a run to Mangle Solo(25 01.756N 110 42.300W), a seldom used anchorage on the West side of Isla San Jose. As we were preparing to set out, we got a radio call from Karen and Paul on Gigi. W'd met up with them at San Juanico and had expected them to join us in Los Gatos as they had at Agua Verde. Instead, they stopped and spent he night at the anchorage just North of us--Punta San Telmo. A little wide spot on the way South. They had already set out and were a good hour ahead of us on their way to San Evaristo, a snug harbor about miles South of Mangle Solo. With the rollie seas and no wind, we were both forced to use our engines again. While no Northers had been forecasted, afternoons are full of good wind, but leaving to enjoy them can make you arrive at your next destination late in the day after the Sun has gone down.
So off we went, engine purring nicely. Twenty three miles later, we pulled in just as the winds were beginning to develop. We're now sitting in 17 to 20 knot winds completely protected from the rolling waves of the sea by a nice large headland off our bow. As the anchor went down in 20 feet, Zephyr began to fall back and with 10 feet of chain out, she buried her anchor fast and deep. Zephyr's bow swung around into the wind as the anchor grabbed below us. It was one of the fastest I have ever seen our anchor set without Tracy having to put us in reverse. On went the snubber(length of heavy gauge three strand nylon line with a hook on it to hold the chain) and we were set. Now the wind can blow and make our wind generator do it's job and we can sit nice and comfortable and let the day pass. So far, we haven't seen another boat--not while out coming South or since we have been at anchor.
Tomorrow, off for Bahia Amortajada, just 12 miles South of here. I think we will wait till the wind starts so we can have some fun with the spinnaker. It's been a while since we flew her and heck, adrenaline is good for us. Meanwhile, we sit and read as the job I had scheduled to do(attach a preventer line to the boom--keeps the boom from flying across the deck if the wind changes) will just have to wait till the wind lessens.
More to come.
12/11/2010, Los Gatos
As Tracy and I sat in the cockpit this morning we had to think as to what day it was. We really weren't sure what it was. The day of the week loses it's importance when the life of a cruiser normally revolves around what the weather is, not so much what day it is. We have come to the realization that knowing what day it is is no longer really of import. Now if we were back in civilization, that is another matter but sitting here on the hook, it really doesn't.
We upped the anchor yesterday about 0830 and took off from Aqua Verde, a pretty little anchorage that is quite popular with cruisers since it offers protection from the wind if it comes from the North or from the South. You just drop your anchor in different spots. With 6 boats in the West section of the harbor, we were well protected from North winds. Two other boats were forced to anchor in the East cove since our cove was full. As soon at a boat left our little cove, one of them upped their anchor and headed into our cove for more protection. Some of the guide books tell of Maria's Tienda(little store) in Agua Verde. I'm sad to report that it appears to now be closed. There's a sign on the door about it, but with our meager Spanish, we couldn't read all of it.
Far Fetched, a Beneteau 45 upped their anchor and took off 15 minutes before us. We were both headed for Los Gatos about 18 miles down the coast. They decided to go outside a reef that lies a bit off shore while we took a shortcut between the reef and shore. We had passed the same way on our way North months ago. With us taking a short cut, we arrived at our destination about 30 minutes before them and grabbed a nice place to anchor. Since we were the first and only boat in here, it was wide open to us. Down went the anchor and we were set. Steve and Andrea on Far Fetched arrived about 30 minutes later and anchored a bit South of us.
During the afternoon, we lowered Puff and Dragon into the water and took off for the South shore to look for geodes that are supposed to be located there. We found a few, but they were still well attached to their surrounding rocks so they stayed put. With out a hammer, they were not going anywhere. Getting off the beach, we got nice and drenched--hey, another shower. That's two days in a row!! Steve came over just after 1600 and invited us over for wine and conversation so 30 minutes later we joined them on their boat. We swapped lots of stories before returning to Zephyr for a nice dinner of barbecued Arrachera and corn. A few TV shows(off dvd's) off to bed.
We're going to stay one more day here to explore farther South along the shoreline. If there is a loose geode that wants a long distance journey and is willing to come along, it will find us. Meanwhile, the weather is beautiful and not a cloud in the sky and the high is to be about 80. It doesn't get much better than that. We even got or reservation confirmed for our stay in La Paz for a short stop before heading back to the mainland and Puerto Vallarta.
12/09/2010, Agua Verde
We disconnected from out mooring ball just after 0900 and headed out of the harbor looking for the North winds that had been promised to us by the weatherman we listen to each morning on out short wave radio. At 0745, there is a net on the radio called the "Sunrisa Net" that has a man that lives up in the Bahia Conception area several hundred miles not of here. He's broadcast the weather from his home for years. All for free!! It's invaluable for boaters throughout the Sea of Cortez and cruisers coming down the Baja coast from the USA to have accurate weather. Well, today wasn't one of his better days. Instead of North winds in the low teens, there was just about no wind and what there was sure wasn't from th North. So the engine stayed on and we pushed South toward Aqua Verde, about 23 miles South of Puerto Escondido. A good half dozen boats took off so the West cove here in Agua Verde is full. So full that the last two boats had to anchor in the East cove. Not the best place to be if a big blows comes up but right now, it's calm and probably will be for the rest of the night.
It was an uneventful trip down other than coming close to hitting a reef on the way. One of the boats that left before us radioed us to watch out for it just as we were coming upon it. That's about the last thing we need. One reef collision in a lifetime is quite enough.
So here we sit after a trip into town to visit Maria's small tienda(little grocery store). Unfortunately, it has closed since the last time we were here. I guess the bad economy is hitting all over the world. We pushed Puff back into the surf and headed back to Zephyr getting doused by numerous waves as we headed out fro the beach. Now we have lots of clothes hanging all over the boat drying. We also took showers to get all the salt water off ourselves.
Tomorrow, we're off for Los Gatos, a beautiful sand stone cove about 18 miles South of here. A nice easy trip but we're hoping for some wind to make it even better.
Stay tuned, we'll let you know how it goes.
12/07/2010, Puerto Escondido
We took off last Thursday at 0900 heading back into the Sea of Cortez. Having been hauled out last June 12 for a short Summer respite ended up at well over 5 months. Oh well, our house looks better and many things got taken care of on Zephyr before she had her hull splashed on November 27th just after Thanksgiving and my return from Denver. We took up residence at one of the slips in the marina till Monday when we moved out to a buoy. Cheaper and more fun than staying in a marina. We finally disconnected from the buoy and headed out on December 2 for a return trip to the Baja. A lot more fun and more anchorages than simply heading back down the mainland coast.
Our first stop was San Juanico, an old and favorite stop on our trips up and down the Baja coast. For the most part, it was a straight shot at 180 degrees or due South from San Carlos(27 56.699N 111 03.743W). At 100 miles, an easy trip. Winds were forecast to come from the Northwest so it would be a nice sail. We figured a normal running speed of 4 to 5 knots which put us coming in early the next day. As luck would have it, the best laid plans normally go astray. Instead, we had one of the best sails we have ever had. After motoring for just over a hour, we hoisted the sails once we were clear of the coast and zoom, off we went. Winds were in the mid to high teens with gusts into the low 20 knot range. Zephyr was in her element and with a nice clean bottom(no scuz) we were regularly hitting into the high 7 knot range with our max speed at 9.5 knots. We zipped along with all three sails up--main, genoa and jib having a great time. At sun down, we knew we would arrive in the middle of the night. Not our normal procedure. It has just about been a standing order that we only enter any harbor during daylight hours for safety sake. Not this time.
When we were about 2 miles off shore, I went below and turned the key to start the engine to bring us into the bay. Tracy hit the start button with NO effect. Just a slow grind and then nothing. There was a problem with our starting battery. OK, I hit the switch that joined all of our batteries--house and start banks into one big bank of batteries. After a minute or so, with a turn of the key, she started up. I'm sure you could hear my sigh of relief clear into the harbor. Into gear and on we pushed. We had been here before so we already had a good feel of the bay as well as points in our chartplotter as to where we had anchored before. There were a few other boats in the bay as we pulled in but none near our last anchorage spot so we just pulled in and I dropped the anchor(26 22.096N 111 25.813W). Tracy put the engine to reverse so we could set the anchor and NOTHING happened. We had no reverse gear. For those that have been following our posts over the last few years know we are already on our fourth transmission since we set off in July of 2008. With the anchor down we weren't going any where so I headed for the engine compartment on the double. Tracy had heard some strange noise as we crossed the Sea of Cortez but I had looked at the propeller shaft and coupling joint and all appeared fine. What I had missed was where the propeller shaft joins the transmission. There are normally four bolts holding the shaft to the transmission. As I watched, the fourth and lost bolt fell out!!! The transmission was fine, we simply weren't attached to it. This was not something that normally happens but as Murphy's Law would have it, if it could, it will happen and it clearly did.
Both of us were tired after such a sail but we knew we couldn't go to bed with no way to get us out of trouble is something should come up during the rest of the night. So out came the tools and I changed into cloths already stained from previous jobs and dug in with Tracy at my side. I gathered the bolts and a part that was a cap to hold grease inside the fitting and went to work. The cap was bent but with a wrench(no hammers were handy) I pounded on it till it would fit back in place. Far from perfect,it would fill the bill till I can get a replacement. Back the the compartment behind the engine and in I went again bolts in hand. About 30 minutes later, we were all bolted back together. We coaxed the engine back to life and tried out the transmission and propeller shaft. It rotated just fine. Job done just after 0400. We fell into bed and awoke several hours later
Next job, fix the battery connections for the start battery. Off came each wire which was then brushed with a wire brush to clean away any corrosion and then each connection was coated with my new copper based grease to help with the connections and all the wires were reattached. Since then, no problems have arisen at least with the engine, transmission or propeller shaft. The forward head(commode) on the other hand has given us some concerns. It won't flush.
I took it apart and changed out the "joker" valve. This gizmo keeps what ever you have flushed out out. It won't come back. It still wouldn't flush so we emptied the forward locker where the hose goes carries the "stuff" out of the head. With Tracy pumping the pump that forces the "stuff" out of the head, it still wouldn't function. So off with the hose that connects with the tank(and you thought we were out here having fun didn't you)and stuck it in a bucket(gee what fun) and had Tracy pump again. Thank God I have a bad nose! With the hose cleared, we checked the air vent(it was fine) and put it all back together again. Now it pumped fine but what we pumped out and out the hose just came streaming back in. I needed another "Joker" valve to replace the one I had already replaced. It's a good thing I carry spares of just about everything. I finally replace it this afternoon. We still had one functioning head on board so it wasn't critical. She now works just fine.
With a big Norther headed our way, we made plans to head off for Isla Coronado. A Norther is normally a three day event where wind will blow at any were from 20 to 30 knots with no letup. We were well protected in San Juanico but didn't want to spend three more days there. We had already made the pilgrimage to the South shore to look for the rock I left behind last Spring when we were there. It was unlike any rock I had ever seen before. If you check out pictures, there are some there that show it. Unfortunately someone had beaten me too it and it was no where to be seen.
We upped the anchor on Sunday morning and headed for Isla Coronado(26 06.274N 111 16.443W) about 20 miles farther South. Leaving at about 0930, we pulled in shortly after 1400 and dropped the anchor after a very rollie trip south. The winds were from behind us the the seas were full of swells in the 3 to 4 foot range with bigger ones in the 6 foot range coming by to visit every now and then. We rocked from side to side the whole way down the sea. Once at anchor, the winds continued till about 2000 when calm came over the anchorage but the swells continued to rock Zephyr from side to side through the night. Strangly, it remained calm through the night even with the Norther in the forecast.
This morning we took off for Puerto Ballandra on Isla Carmen. A short trip of 8 miles but again in rocky seas that through us all over the place. We pulled in just before lunch and dropped anchor(26 01.204N 111 09.832W). In the anchorage with us was a Liberty 458, a cousin to our boat. It was "Evergreen" that we had met just before we hauled out in San Carlos. They came out a few days before we did. About 30 minutes after we dropped anchor, they took theirs up and headed for Puerto Escondido. We expect to meet up with them there in a day or so weather permitting.
So now we sit here with wind blowing nicely outside getting a few more jobs done inside.
Tomorrow is another day. I guess we will decide what to do then.
OK, it's now tomorrow and we have upped the anchor and set off again. this time, back to Escondido to deliver some Emmitts Irish Cream. We met Dale and Linda on SV Moxie way back when we were tied up to the Police dock in San Diego and came across them again when we got into Puerto Escondido last Spring. Dale loves Irish Cream and could not find any down here in Mexico so while we were in Colorado, we picked him up a nice bottle and have brought so we can deliver it to them. So we upped the anchor this morning and headed out before the supposed Norther starts up again and got here about 1300. We tied up to a buoy and motored in in Puff(our dingy) and got all registered for two days here before we head South again for Agua Verde and on to La Paz in a few weeks. The goal is to be in Puerto Vallarta by the first week in January. From there, we have not a clue as to what or where we will be doing or going. TIme will tell.
11/30/2010, San Carlos Harbor
We slipped our dock lines early yesterday morning and took off for the fuel dock and much needed Diesel fuel. A quick 109 gallons and $320.00 bucks and we were done. Now that price includes a nice 10% charge to use their fuel dock to get their fuel. Yes, that's right. If you use their docks to get the fuel, they add on a nice 5% fee. It's how they bleed people with boats as everyone know, we have so much money. Yeah, right.
Once done, we took off for a mooring buoy out in the harbor. Fran and Ed off AKA stopped by when we were still at the fuel dock. They had made a trip over to see our buoy and took off ahead of us incase we needed any help getting tied up. What a great couple of sailors. In the afternoon, all four of us headed in for Guaymas for one last trip in for provisioning. Tracy and I were in the back of their truck. Memories of times in the past when we had a pickup truck.
Once we hit all the store we needed, we headed for "Ernies" for lunch and had a great meal. Since it was after 1430, that pretty much took care of dinner too.
We headed back to the marina and loaded poor Puff(our dingy) with everything we had bought and headed back to Zephyr.
The head(toilet) in the bow was still not working so I's taken it apart earlier before we headed in. I'd cleaned some of the parts of it as time and salt water had left lots of deposits on it. I'd made a call on the morning net looking for parts and another boat at the marina(Warren Peace) had volunteered some of their parts to see if it would fix it. No go, but at least we tried. another boater today offered other parts but they still don't match what I need so we will jsut have to pour fresh water into the bowl to do the flushing until we get to La Paz and see what we can find.
Meanwhile, this morning, we made reservations at "Paradise Village Marina and Resort(http://www.paradisevillage.com/) in Puerto Vallarta to spend some time in January and February making up our minds as to where we will be heading after that. That's one thing about "cruising". We don't have a clue as to where we will be heading next.
With luck and Mother Natures help, we will be heading out from San Carlos on Wednesday or Thursday. There's a big blow coming and we want to avoid it.
Stay tuned, more to come.
11/28/2010, Marina San Carlos
We're back in the water again!!! The workmen came for us at 0930 and backed in the big trailer to hoist us up and take us away. We all stayed aboard as we were quickly driven to the harbor. Heck, we went faster on the trailer than we go most of the time when we are in the water. We were whipping along at well over 6 knots and for a trailer rig to go that fast with a boat as big as Zephyr, that's not bad. By 1000, we were at the launch ramp and about to be launched. Unfortunately, the man with the key to the chain that blocks the ramp was no were to be seen so off went the engine on the tractor that brought us there and we waited. About 10 minutes later he showed up and apologized. In we went and then stopped so we could check all the thru hulls we had rebuilt as well as the stuffing at the top of the rudder post that had to be repacked after we lowered the rudder for it's repair. I turned the key and vorruum the engine sprang to life with a roar and water shot out of her tail pipe just as it was supposed to. All was well, except for the fact that someone was parked in the slip we were supposed to go into. OOPS!!
Off to the office a voila, we were assigned to another slip. This one was 56 feet long. A BIG slip and much easier to get into(and at no additional charge too). It was a straight shot right into it. Even I couldn't get it wrong and surprise, we made it in on the first try. Tracy started grabbing the fenders that keep the hull from bouncing against the dock and took them to the opposite side as well as the dock lines and off went. A few minutes later and we were safe and sound tied up to our slip.
The rest of the day was spent doing a few more tasks. At least after a nice lunch at the local Marina Cantina. We put more things away and then started filling our water tanks. Now the water here can be a bit suspicious so we brought out our BIG water filters--one charcoal and one a paper filter and then for good measure, we added one of our smaller filters that is supposed to be good at blocking small little microbes that might be hiding in the water. All in all, our new water would be filtered three times before it ever got near our tanks. As you can imagine, with three filters in the line, it slowed up the delivery of our water so it flowed in a crawl. About 90 minutes later, our tanks were finally full.
About the only things that isn't working so far is the forward head(toilet). It won't draw in water from the thru hull that flushes it. The valve is turned on, but no water is getting into the bowl. Tomorrow, we'll be tearing it apart to see what is wrong down there. At least the one in the stern is working. Do we really need two? It's in there, so it's one of my jobs to make sure it is up and running.
Apparently from what we have heard, San Carlos has a bit of a problem with people stealing things off boats, especially dingys and motors so we will have ours safely under lock and key. We've made it even harder by not inflating it and leaving it upside down on the front deck. Puff(our outboard) is lock nicely to the stern railing and if you want it, you are going to have to take the railing with you.
So, we're back in the water and at this time plan on heading out by Wednesday if the weather cooperates. The weather dictates when and where a sailboat normally goes and we are no different.
Tomorrows another day but at least we are in the water and all of it is staying out(as of now).