Rover

27 April 2020 | Police Guest Dock, San Diego, CA, USA
25 April 2020
24 April 2020 | Underway, off Baja California Norte, Mexico
20 April 2020 | Bahia Tortuga, Baja California Sur, Mexico
17 April 2020 | Bahia Tortuga, Baja California Sur, Mexico
13 April 2020 | Bahia Asuncion, Baja California Sur, Mexico
10 April 2020 | Punta Abreojos, Baja California Sur, Mexico
08 April 2020 | Punta Abreojos, Baja California Sur, Mexico
03 April 2020 | Bahia Santa Maria, Baja California Sur, Mexico
03 April 2020 | Bahia Santa Maria, Baja California Sur
02 April 2020 | Man O'€™ War Cove, Bahia Magdalena, Baja California Sur, Mexico
28 March 2020 | Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico
25 March 2020 | Ensenada de los Muertos, Baja California Sur, Mexico
24 March 2020 | Bahia de los Muertos, Baja California Sur, Mexico
23 March 2020 | Sea of Cortez, Baja California Sur, Mexico
16 March 2020 | LaPaz, Baja California Sur, Mexico
01 March 2020 | Playa Bonanza, Isla Espiritu Santo, Sea of Cortez, Mexico
26 February 2020 | San Evaristo, Baja California Sur, Mexico
23 February 2020 | Los Gatos, Baja California Sur, Mexico
19 February 2020 | Bahia Salinas, Isla Carmen, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Back in the USA

27 April 2020 | Police Guest Dock, San Diego, CA, USA
Eric Ahlvin | Sunny 72F, 5 knots from the west
We arrived in San Diego Saturday night, 4/25. We checked in to customs and anchored
near Shelter Island. No quarantine (so far). We moved to the Police Guest dock yesterday, and then will move to Chula Vista Marina 5/1. Crew is walked to the airport this morning to rent a car. We used it to reprovision and they departed for Seattle after lunch.

The arrival was pretty exciting. It was fully dark with not much moon. We could see fog rolling over Point Loma as we came past the outer marker, and the Coast Guard broadcast an alert about hazardous fog, with less than ½-mile visibility. Also, two police boats pulled in behind us, just keeping an eye on us. As we came in, the fog lifted but it was still difficult to identify the buoys with the lights of the city and waterfront in the background. Being able to have a radar window open on the chart plotter (B&G) at the helm was a great help. It was also great to have all-hands-on-deck as lookouts. We threaded our way past the buoys, around the shoal at the entrance to the Shelter Island Yacht Basin and to the customs dock. I was glad that we've been in here a couple of times before, but this was the first time at night. We checked in with customs and immigration by phone.

The police said we couldn't stay at the Customs dock overnight, and that we couldn't get into our slip until 1 pm tomorrow, but did allow us to use a nominally closed anchorage a few minutes away. We anchored, had a beer and were asleep by 10:30 pm.

We slept in the next morning and woke up to dense fog. The TDL (To Do List) for Sunday included Linda sewing masks (photo) and making yoghurt and me writing Seatime Letters (useful for meeting USCG licensing requirements). Showers (on the boat) for all hands.

Some stats on the trip:
1268 nautical miles in 34 days. 29 days since we set foot on land. The crew got Seatime credit for 21 days underway, near coastal. Rover had 309 hours underway, 153 hours of engine use, 110 gallons of diesel consumed on the trip from La Paz to San Diego.

I went for a walk off the boat in the afternoon, along the seawall, and saw some of the changes since I was last in the US in October. Social distancing and masks on about half the people. “Closed” signs around the parks and sculptures. There was a nice new playground, closed off with cyclone fences. The swing set was outside the fence, but the swings had been removed.

Last day of the bash

25 April 2020
Eric Ahlvin
The last day of the bash, Saturday 4/25, started out with the fog lifting. There wasn’t enough wind to sail and we had plenty of fuel, so we motored along. I had the 6-10 am solo watch as we went by Ensenada. We’d seen about eight cruise ships on AIS, drifting or moving slowly up and down the coast. I watched one come out of the haze at 6 miles, cross our path ¾ of a mile away and then continue to Ensenada (photo).

The weather became even more clear and calm as we went along. Just before the US border, an hour before sunset, a large pod of Pacific White Sided Dolphins came within a hundred yards, racing and leaping to welcome us back in the US.

Heading for the US

24 April 2020 | Underway, off Baja California Norte, Mexico
Eric
After a few days waiting for the wind to moderate, we planned a departure from Playa Maria the morning of 4/23. When we woke up, it was clear that the weather had changed. It was calm with dense fog and a large flock of grebes were surrounding the boat. We had breakfast then raised anchor and navigated around the point, through a field of lobster traps. Once we got outside of the sheltered area, the residual seas were large and confused, with not enough wind to sail. We motored north through the fog.

It’s Friday morning 4/24 now, the wind has turned around to help us for the first time since Cabo San Lucas. The fog persists and we’ve been using the foghorn and radar for 24 hours. We’re making pretty good time and it looks like we’ll have adequate fuel to motor the rest of the way if the seas and wind stay moderate. If not, we’ll sail.

I was taking over from Kay at 10, and just as she came to relieve me, we saw an object floating in the water. We did an ad hoc MOB drill and recovered a mylar “Princess” balloon (photo). It was a sure sign we were getting back to civilization.

One of our sons has helped us out with reservations at a dock in San Diego and moving our reservations at Chula Vista up by a month. We’re starting to make plans for what to do after we arrive. We’ve been getting news summaries from time to time via satellite email. We only have a vague idea of what we’ll find when we get back to the US, but we expect there will have been lots of changes.

--
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A rough passage

20 April 2020 | Bahia Tortuga, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Eric
Arrived yesterday morning in Bahia Playa Maria after an overnight sail
from Bahia Tortuga. We Sailed out of Bahia Tortuga with two reefs in the
main and jib. We had a nice day of close hauled sailing in building
winds to the Canal de Dewey, a tight spot between Isla Natividad and the
mainland. We turned the motor on for some insurance in the tight spot of
the Canal and passed through it just at sunset. Then the motor was
turned off as we expected to sail until the wind dropped in the lee of
Isla Cedros and then motor through the night. Instead, the wind
increased and we decided to reef the main to the third reef. The third
reef clew got caught in the lazy jacks, so we had all-hands-on deck and
used the motor for steerage while we get that sorted. We motor sailed
the rest of the night in 20+ knots and 3 to 5 foot seas. They were
somewhat confused so there was minimal sleep by all hands as they were
tossed about in their bunks. By morning the wind had moderated and the
seas were smaller and more consistent. The wind was on our beam rather
than our nose for the first time in two weeks. It was perfect sailing
weather so we made one 4-hour long beam reach at 6 knots across the
Bahia Vizcaiya to Playa Maria, arriving here around noon. Playa Maria is
an uninhabited beach protected by a bight. As usual, we're staying on
the boat.

The wind is expected to be quite strong for the next two days, so we
plan to sit at anchor until 4/22. 4/23 is predicted to be sailing
weather and after that it'€™s predicted to be calm for a while. With our
current fuel state we can motor through the calms.

We'€™ve been isolated from anyone other than our crew for 3 weeks, and
only been getting some summaries of the news via emails from our kids
We'€™re beginning to make plans for our arrival in San Diego in about a
week, and thinking about what happens next.

--
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We'€™ve got fuel!

17 April 2020 | Bahia Tortuga, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Eric
We started the leg from Bahia Asuncion to Bahia Tortuga at 11:30 on
4/15, after the wind started to build. We had a great sail around
Asuncion Island and then headed offshore in the building wind. Linda was
on watch and I was hanging out in the cockpit when we saw a large whale
blow and breach about a hundred yards ahead of us. "Large"€ may seem
redundant when describing whales, but by this point in the voyage we'€™ve
seen enough that we can judge size, and this one was bigger than the
average whale. He was going the same general direction we were, and we
got to see him breach another four times before we tacked and headed
back toward shore.

The wind built through the evening and we reduced sail, and then when it
started coming down overnight the reefs got shaken out until we had all
working sail out. In the middle of the night, the wind suddenly dropped
to almost zero. The engine came on, the jib came in and we motor sailed
through the rest of the night.

Linda had a dawn watch, and I kept her company then went to bed when the
sun came up. We have two people on watch during darkness but only one in
the daytime, so she was the only person awake. She decided to do a
little fishing and put out her handlines. She caught about a 15 lb tuna
within 10 minutes of putting the line in the water and landed it
herself. When I woke up and came to the cockpit, I could smell the fish
and she was getting ready to clean it. After a picture (for her brother)
she started cleaning it and since we were motoring with the autopilot I
went forward to take down the stays'’l.

While I was moving to the bow, Linda called "€œDolphins"€ and I could see a
pod of a dozen or more all around the boat. I went forward to the
bowsprit and a few came over to ride the bow wave. One dolphin in
particular would swim sideways and look up through the water at me. I
tried to encourage him to jump by telling him "Jump!"€ and making arm
motions. It worked with our kids when they were toddlers. He watched me
intently, but didn'€™t jump. He stayed in the bow wave for about 10
minutes. His friends would come and swim in the bow wave for a while,
but he stayed right there and kept watching me. Eventually, he must'€™ve
gotten bored by my arm motions, and the fact I didn'€™t jump in to play
with him, and swam away. (photo)

After anchoring in Bahia Tortuga, a panga came out and asked if we
wanted fuel. We bought 50 gallons and filled up the tanks. Now we have
enough fuel that we could motor all the way to San Diego and still have
30 gallons left over. We were at half tanks, so if we hadn't gotten fuel
here it would have been a lot tougher to get back. We weren't sure we'd
be able to get fuel here, so we've been sailing a lot to conserve fuel.
Prevailing winds are right on the nose, so it's slow and we've been
sailing even in very low or high winds. Having full tanks gives us some
flexibility.

We did the transaction with the panga at arms-length and wearing rubber
gloves, and they disinfected the cash when they got it. They made very
clear that we weren't welcome ashore, and the "policia, militares y
capitan del puerto" would all intercept us. We weren't interested in
going ashore, so that was OK with us.


We had tuna on the grill for dinner last night and will have tuna cakes
tonight. The fish was the biggest one Linda has caught, and was big
enough for about 12 person-meals.

Today we had a crew meeting to discuss the rest of the trip. We decided
not to sail or motor continuously offshore directly to San Diego (4-5
days), but to continue to harbor hop our way north. With plenty of fuel,
we’ll have more flexibility to motor when the wind drops rather than
drifting or creeping along. We'€™ll probably do about 5 24 hour legs,
taking opportunities to sleep and recuperate as weather allows.

--
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www.ocens.com

Overnight to Bahia Asuncion

13 April 2020 | Bahia Asuncion, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Eric
The weather pattern the past few days has featured less wind from
midnight through dawn, with the wind building in the early afternoon and
evening to the high 20'€™s. Hoping for smooth easy sailing on our next
leg, we planned an 11 pm departure from Bahia Hipolito and an overnight
(8 hour) passage to Asuncion, arriving after dawn. The first part went
according to plan and we were soon outside Hipolito, moving nicely in a
beautiful clear evening and the off-watch was sent below to sleep. We
could see phosphorescence in the wake of the windvane and rudder. It
looked like fireflies just below the surface of the water. Then the
almost full moon rose and we had a beautiful sail for about an hour. The
wind decreased so we added more sail until all working sail was up, and
the boat speed dropped below a knot. We'€™d wanted 6-12 knots of breeze,
but 3-4 was too little to maintain steerage and stop the sails from
slatting. We have a drifter for light air conditions but setting the
drifter is an involved process in the daylight, and didn'€™t sound like
fun in the night. We let the off-watch sleep and started the engine.
Since we'€™re trying to conserve fuel, too little wind is a problem and so
is too much. Last passage, there ha€™d been too much wind, now there was too
little.

The second watch, Rod and Kay relieved Linda and I at 2 am, and we went
below to sleep while they motor sailed toward Asuncion. Since they
didn'€™t have to tack, they arrived at the bay ahead of schedule, before
dawn, and saw some lobster floats in the dark. According to the standing
orders, they woke the captain (me). We slowed way down, and put out
another lookout. By now, enough wind had come up to sail so we set all
working sail and secured the engine. We had a beautiful morning sail as
dawn was breaking.

Bahia Asuncion is known for the amount of wildlife in the bay and birds
on the island that shelters the anchorage. As we got close to the
anchorage, we started the engine and took in all sail. Rod and Kay were
on the foredeck taking in the stays'€™l and the sun was just rising when a
large pod of dolphins came to visit us. They played in the bow wave and
jumped out of the water, singly or in pairs. After we'd left them
behind, and woke up Linda, a couple of sea lions came to check out the
boat, leaping out of the water on their way over.

We dropped anchor in twenty feet of water, about a hundred yards
offshore of the village of Asuncion. It was Easter Sunday, and the
village was very quiet. After an Easter Breakfast highlighted by
cinnamon rolls that Linda made yesterday, we all went back to bed until
afternoon. A short rest day of cribbage, Easter dinner of canned corned
beef, and the crew were all in bed by 8 pm.

In the middle of the night, the wind changed direction, and the anchor
reset with a clunk and a rattling of chains. I checked to make sure we
were still well set, anfd before I got back to sleep, I heard some
scrabbling on deck. I turned on the deck light and investigated to find
a pelican on the foredeck. We have netting on the lifelines to hold the
stays’l on board during sail changes, and I didn’t want to startle him
into the net. I gently encouraged him onto the pulpit (photo), and then
urged him more vigorously to leave the boat. He flapped away into the
night.

--
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www.ocens.com
Vessel Name: Rover
Vessel Make/Model: Valiant 42
Hailing Port: Seattle. WA
Crew: Eric and Linda
About:
We're making a big change to a cruising lifestyle. Eric retired in 2012 after 32 years in R&D (mostly) at HP. Previous passions included flying and bicycling. Linda will retire in 2013 from Oregon State University. She's been active in Zonta, was a Scoutmaster, and is a champion baker. [...]
Extra: Linda was barrel master and Eric participated in the Jackson Street Vintners; a group of friends that made wine from 2000 to 2013
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