Crossing the Sea - Twice

Picture of Don
 Captain Campbell - casual attire
We pulled away from the dock at Guaymas On Tues Nov 10, 2009. We had a lone dolphin play with us for a little while on the way out of the channel. We poked our nose in at the nearby anchorage of Bahia Catalina, to say goodbye to Patrick (s/v Amy Michelle).

As soon as we got clear of the Bahia, the swells were very big and there was no wind. To make Isla Carmen, our intended destination, we were taking the swells right on the side and rolling way too much - even putting up the main didn't settle things down.

Our choices were to go back and wait another day, or change course, and go with the swells, which would take us down the mainland side of the Baja, towards Topolobombo. This course would be OK, it had been one of our options, although it would mean two nights out instead of just one to Isla Carmen.

By noon we were able to change course again and head right for Aqua Verde, one of our favorite spots. By early afternoon, the wind was just right, and we put up our biggest jib and were sailing at over 7kn most of the afternoon.

Even after dark, the wind kept up and we were still moving at about 5 knots without any help from Suzie (our Izuzu engine). No more wildlife today, but we sat out on the foredeck and watched the sunset. From the time the sun touches the horizon, there is only about 4 minutes till it's completely gone.

Then we get to watch the stars come out - Venus first, then, since I'm not much good at identifying stars, the only ones I can see are Orion - it's always really easy to see at this latitude, and then the dipper, which is not as easy to find as it is at home. Then I saw two falling stars and of course watched the sparkle of the phosphorescence in the water as the waves roll off the hull.

It seems that every day has it's good and it's bad, and today was no exception. When we were about 15 miles out of Guaymas, I got a call on the radio from Karen (s/v Aegean Odyssey), she was about 25 miles away, and we could hear each other as if we were side by side. Our new antenna is obviously working well.

And now for the bad, about 11:00 pm Don noticed the batteries were down to 11.9 volts, so the alternator has quit charging again. Now he must change back to the old one, while underway and in the dark. I sure hope the engine will start again.

Next problem, no GPS reading on Nobeltech, some more fiddling, and it works again. I'm going to bed before anything else goes wrong. Tomorrow will be a better day, and it's only a half hour away.

Couldn't sleep last night, but we did make good time under sail. Think that may have been our longest real sail ever, 18 hours and speed never dropped below 4.5 knots, probably averaged about 6 knots.

Breakfast this morning was a grapefruit and cereal. Lunches under way are generally a chef salad, or quesadillas. Anything that requires little or no cooking. I'm lucky that Don is not a picky eater and will eat whatever I put in front of him. With the Celiac Disease though, it has become a little more difficult - can't just have sandwiches because there are no gluten free bakeries down here, and I don't usually bake bread under way.

Wind kept dying all day, so had to wake up Suzie again. We anchored at Aqua Verde about 3:15 PM and by 3:30 we were in for a swim. Water temperature was almost 83F (27 degrees Celsius). Washed my hair in the ocean as Pantene Shampoo foams up just fine in the salt water.

Then had our fresh water solar shower before we dined on Mexican Lasagna for supper. Then Don had to change the fuse to the macerator pump which had also blown out a night or two before. Early night tonight, have to be away by 5 AM to make San Evaristo by 5 pm in the daylight.

Up anchor at 5 AM with a morning star overhead. Calm today, so had good breakfast, did dishes, tidied up and defrosted the fridge. Then listened to Summer Passage radio for the weather forecast. There could be a big blow happening tonight - 25 knots ... sure hope he is wrong! Listened to some of our spanish lessons, then Don changed the connector on the radio - but still no win-link.

At anchor Isla San Francisco
 At anchor at Isla San Francisco, not a ripple on the water.
We anchored at Isla San Francisco in almost the same spot as two years ago. All by ourselves, except for a fisherman who decided to come along and check his traps just as I was having my half naked swim & shower. Sat in the cockpit for cocktails, but had to retreat inside for dinner. No see-ums were out in force.

We left San Francisco (Isla San Francisco) that is, at about 6:30 am. The wind had picked up over night, but we were still comfortable in the anchorage.

When we got out though, the seas were confused and lumpy and the wind did pick up. We reefed the main and put up the little jib and were sailing in 16-18 knots doing about 6 or 7 knots, but only for a short while. By 8:30 motor was on again to keep us going 4 or 5 knots.

Took the sails down as we entered the La Paz channel and radioed Marina Singular to see if they have a slip available. They confirm that they do, but can't really confirm if it is a port or starboard tie - their English is about as good as my Spanish ... so I'm putting out dock lines and fenders on both sides.

Our new cruising guide "The Sea of Cortez" by Shawn Breeding & Heather Bansmer gives up the waypoints to cross the magote (aka swamp) so we didn't run aground this time - last time we tried we hit bottom twice.

However, following the waypoints into the channel to the Singular Marina the depth was so good, we were cutting corners a bit - wrong thing to do, we went from 18 feet to 6.5 feet in an instant - almost ran aground, but Captain Campbell got us out of there in the nick of time.

We didn't know it then, but that was just his first magical manoeuvre of the day. When I had radioed the marina, I had asked about the possibility of having a piloto meet us.

Since I didn't get an answer, I assumed that wasn't going to happen, but low and behold, a bright yellow panga came out to meet us and guide us into the slip. We sure wondered where he was taking us as he kept going further and further into the marina. We got all the way to the end, and had to make a really sharp U-turn and pull into the first slip right beside a 94 ft sailboat from Seattle.

It's not easy to turn a 38 ft sailboat on a dime, but Don did it, and made it look easy. His second magical manoeuvre of the day. When we were all tied up he came out and sat on the deck took a deep breath and said "Do you know how close my rudder was to that stone wall!?"

I'm hoping it's just his lack of 3-D that made it look closer than it really was. Guess we'll find out when we leave here.

Got to the office to check in and get our keys for the washrooms. Had showers, supper and straight to bed. You wouldn't think sailing was very tiring, but just the constant motion takes it out of us. Should be a nice calm and quiet night here, and fortunately it was an uneventful Friday the 13th.

Escala Nautica
View from above, all gov't run (Escala Nautica) have the same office building and the same little pool.
Guess we were even more tired than I realized, we slept the clock around 7 PM to 7 AM. Unfortunately it wasn't all restful sleep as I had to get up in the night to take more benedryl. My bug bites were driving me nuts.

We listened to the Cruisers Net while we had breakfast. There is a swap meet tomorrow that we will go to, but for today, we'll start by doing 2 days worth of dishes, then I'll wash the salt off the boat, and Don will tackle one of the toilets - neither of them has been working quite right.

After lunch we walked over to Wal-Mart hoping to buy some more Pic-a-Fin (the local version of After Bite, that has tea tree oil in it). Unfortunately all Wal-Mart had was After Bite, and I don't like it, it stings and doesn't stop the itch for me.

When we got back, Don started tearing apart the radio shelf to find the problem with Win-Link while I cleaned some of the stainless rails. Success, Don found the loose connection, but while putting the shelf back together, something else came loose - no more daylight, we will have to finish in the morning.

Got the radio back together in the morning, and it works!!!

Now up the mast he goes to remove the tape that held the antenna wire in place till the silicone dried. Got down just in time as the norther started to blow around 11:00AM

Got changed and were just heading off to the swap meet when we met Susan & Dennis of s/v Toucan Play. They now run a business in LaPaz checking on vacant boats etc. They offered us a ride to the swap meet and we stopped in for lunch at a Fish taco place.

I had your standard shrimp taco, but because the shrimp was breaded, Don had Tacos de Manta Ray - another first for us. It was shredded, looked a little pinkish like salmon and was very tasty. Not strong tasting or tough at all.

At the swap meet, saw a nice little shelf that would look good in the galley, but it's teak, and they still wanted $60.00 (dollars, not pesos) which is more than my budget could take.

Walked over to the CCC grocery store, which we have now discovered is IGA, and picked up a steak for supper then took the bus back to the marina. Busses here are small, but comfortable ride, it's automatic, so no clutch to pop the minute you get on. Back on the dock, we visited with Lorraine & Henry on Sea Nidday. He has retired from Edmonton Provincial Gov't and now house sits in LaPaz.

Next day, started our day as usual by listening to the Cruisers Net, then Don started running the ground wire - something that was on the TO DO list several years ago, but never got done. I went to the Sam's Club with Gayle from m/v Sirens Call (we had met them in Guaymas on their home built 48 footer).

Had lunch, then started on changing the drawer slides on the pot's & pan drawer. Since he could really use a router to do the job right, we will wait to tomorrow to finish as Alberto, who is working on s/v Havruen beside us has one we can probably borrow.

The evenings are still nice and warm, it was a very short lived norther, so we sat in the cockpit and watched an episode of The Waltons.

boat repairs
 More boat repairs in exotic places.
One more time today, put Don up the mast to remove the glue left from the duct tape, to put on reflectors, and to change the spreader light. Hope that's all for a while now.

After lunch, borrowed the router from Alberto and finished the drawer, then put everything back in place.

At home in the summer time when the windows are open all night, it's not unusual to be awakened by a cat fight. Last night we were woken up by a bird fight - squaking at the top of their lungs.

Think it was Heron vs Pelican as earlier in the day, we had seen a Great Blue heron land on the shore and within moments he was surrounded by three pelicans.

They didn't fight, but it seemed like the pelicans were saying "Don't take another step closer to the water - these are our fish!". Guess they came to blows in the middle of the night.


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