Jun 14 2010

Potential Hurricanes in Mexico: Not One, but TWO

Two potential hurricanes in southern Mexico--according to NOAA I was waiting happily for crew to arrive, and for the right weather window, and planning for everything to be just right.  But, with TWO potential tropical storms (according to NOAA) brewing in the south of Mexico, it is time to go.

The first storm is brewing off the coast of Acapulco, and the second one a bit further down.  The first has a 20% chance of turning into a hurricane, and it is traveling West, North-West–basically, towards Hawaii.  The second storm went from a 10% chance to a 20% chance, and is traveling North, North-West.  Neither of them currently are pointed towards the Baja . . . but, that could always change, and I am not taking any chances.

Marishanna sets sail tomorrow in the early morning hours.  Yesterday, I provisioned the boat.  Today is diesel, water and all the last little bits that need to happen, and tomorrow before dawn, we set sail for California.  The goal is to be above latitude 27 in roughly three days (approximately 300nm).  Fortunately, the weather looks decent – to good, and even more fortunately, I will be buddy-boating with some neighbors from Alameda (literally, other liveaboards from the same dock, even) and, I think they are sharing one of their crew with me for at least the first part of the trip.

More updates soon . . . .

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Jun 13 2010

Video: Day Sail Cabo–Luxury Yacht Sailing in Cabo San Lucas, MX

Published by under Beneteau,Mexico

This is a short promo video I made for Captain Bob of L’Atitiude 32. It is a gorgeous boat, and Bob provides an amazing sailing experience. So, if you ever get down to Cabo San Lucas, save a day and go sailing with Day Sail Cabo. (www.daysailcabo.com)

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Jun 07 2010

Calling All Sailors: Crew Wanted

I am looking for a few good sailors for the return trip. The details of the boat are on this blog, and I will provision the boat–you must simply cover your flight expenses to Cabo San Lucas, and return transportation to your home town.

Sunset vista offshore in the Pacific with swell The trip from Cabo San Lucas to San Diego has no place to get off, although we will be stopping in Bahia Santa Maria, Turtle Bay, and Ensenada for our final check-out of the country–with the possibility of other stops along the way to avoid bad weather. Your help on this stretch of the trip would be for the duration of the Cabo to San Diego leg. Of course, you will have to suffer vistas like this . . . but, you will have your share of watches, too. 4-hour watches during the daylight, and 2-hour watches at night–and, we will be fishing the entire trip.

If we were to sail straight through without stopping, and with perfect weather, it could take optimistically 6 days to get to San Diego. Realistically, it will be more like 10 – 12 days–and, if we have to wait out bad weather, or mechanical problems, it could be another 3 – 5 days on top of that.

Once in San Diego, we will be there for a few days to visit friends, re-provision the boat, and check into the country. The legs are much shorter once we are back in the US–San Diego to Morro Bay (with the possibility of stops at Catalina, and Point Conception between), Morro Bay to Monterey, and Monterey to SF.

If you are interested in getting some sea miles under your belt, please contact me through the website, or email me directly at: timothy@isailaway.net

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Jun 01 2010

Mission Control, We are in a holding pattern . . . .

Published by under Mexico,The Adventure

My cousin was down to be my crew member for the return trip, and after more than a few delays, he ran out of time. Rather than taking the trip solo, I am still here in Cabo–waiting for additional crew. Perhaps another two weeks for me down here until departure time . . . .

More later!

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May 16 2010

Big Winds and a Weather Delay

Weather Grib from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas The GRIB files for weather have just worsened.  A high pressure system is bringing some big winds off of San Diego that will extend all the way down to Cabo San Lucas . . . and, so we sit for another few days.

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May 05 2010

Zenzi: There goes the neighborhood . . . .

Published by under Boats

Zenzi, Under Sail A beautiful boat . . . .

This is Zenzi, purported to be owned by Larry Ellison (think Oracle and America’s Cup).  It anchored out in the bay in Cabo for a few days . . . and, we were neighbors.  Then she set sail.

How sweet it is . . . .

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May 04 2010

The Baja Bash (and another Beautiful Cabo San Lucas Sunrise)

sunrise_in_cabo It has been quite a while since I have updated the blog–but, things have gotten a bit hectic.

There was a repair to the heat exchanger on the motor, the Tsunami from the earthquake in Chile, a trip into the Sea of Cortez with friends, lots and lots of client work (that has been the consuming part), and now, the preparation for the return trip home.

That list is a bit lengthy, unfortunately, but here it is:

  • Clean the filter screen in the fuel system
  • Clean debris from the bilge pump/screens and hoses. If that does not resolve the slow pumping problem, replace. I tested it the other day, and it was pumping slowly, if at all. It has power and you can hear it working. It is certainly not pumping the 500 gph rating. If the hoses are filled with gunk, it should return to normal operation once they are cleaned. If not, it must be repalced. Gotta have a bilge pump.
  • Mount the flag holder to the first spreader (a lashing–no drilling involved), and mount the radar reflector on the standing rigging. On the sail down, we attached the reflector and our courtesy flags to a halyard, but I took them down because the rolling from the waves caused this contraption to swing back and forth–and, it was resting against the spreaders–basically sawing through the halyard.
  • Change the oil in the motor. Bought the hand pump to remove the old oil in La Paz a few weeks ago. Have the new oil aboard, and purchased a new filter at a local store.
  • Sew temporary repairs to the first reef points and rig the second reef. On the way down, the winds were 45+ knots and we had to gybe. We made it through, but the reef points tore about an inch on two of the four. I’ll use the palm and waxed thread and sew those together to keep them from ripping any more and out of their insets. I’ll certainly need to reef on the bash back to San Francisco.
  • Tie down the front netting with heavier-duty line. The netting on the bow was fixed with plastic rings, and they simply cannot endure rough conditions. I purchased some nylon line and am sewing it to the railing for a more permanent fix.
  • Clean the bottom thoroughly, and replace zincs. I finished this yesterday (with the exception of the zincs)–and, it took about 1.5 hours. The last guy I paid was a friend of a friend, and he kinda took me for a ride. “Oh, yeah, it’s CLEAN.” Perhaps we simply have different definitions of “clean.” Regardless, it is super-clean now.
  • Mop the deck with fresh water. The sand blows all the time–it is a desert down here. Time to mop the deck and get all that dirt off.
  • Purchase 2 jerry cans for water. One of the two 25 gallon water tanks sprung a leak. The best idea would be to pull it and have it repaired, but that process may be cost-prohibitive. As an alternative, 2 more jerry cans of fresh water would suppliment the two that I already have and give me 24 gallons–one gallon less than the tank, and would cost hundreds less.
  • Buy the provisions. Already made the menu and shopping list.
  • Fuel up, and top off the water tanks.
  • Wait for a good weather window.

I’ll keep you posted as to the progress. For now, please enjoy this morning’s sunrise.

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Feb 27 2010

Tsunami in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Today, around noon, two 4-foot tsunami waves from the earthquake in Chile hit Cabo San Lucas. I had early warning, pulled my anchor, and headed out for sea and deeper water (where the waves wouldn’t break), and didn’t really notice them come through.

The Port Captain closed Cabo San Lucas Harbor to all commercial activities, and the reports were that the observed wave height was 2 – 4 feet high as it passed the Galapagos Islands.

There was some damage to some of the boats in the marina (from the absence 4-foot drop after the waves came through–hitting their keels/motors on the ground), but nothing happened to either the boat or myself. In fact, I made the best of it, and had a wonderful sail in 12 – 15 knots of wind, and saw about 5 pods of humpback whales over the course of the day.

I’ll give a full report soon, but for right now: I am safe, back on the anchor in the bay of Cabo San Lucas, the boat is put away, and everything is fine.

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Jan 24 2010

Warning: The Death Star has Arrived

Tourism is the blood supply of Cabo San Lucas. It brings money, people, mega yachts, fishermen, and a huge supply of Nationals from all over Mexico to work. Without it, Cabo San Lucas would be the simple fishing town it was 30 years ago. There are two sources of tourism: the time shares and resorts, and cruise ships. On my previous two trips to Cabo San Lucas, I stayed once in a Beach resort, and the second trip, we stayed in a private condo. So, I had already been familiar with the former, and apparently, the largest producer of tourists. Now that I am anchored out in the bay, I have become intimately connected with the latter–the cruise-ships.

A Cruise-Ship arriving at Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in the early morning If you haven’t seen them before, these vessels are enormous. They are entire floating cities, complete with off-shore Casinos, medical facilities, shopping malls, exercise gymnasiums, your choice of restaurants, bars, discos, and vast neighborhoods of rooms. They hold some in the range of 5000 – 6000 people, and provide services for all of them. They arrive in the bay between 5:45am and 10am, and typically depart between 5pm and no later than 9pm. They never stay–Cabo’s fluky winds would spin them around their anchor dangerously considering that each one is hundreds of feet long. When they arrive at pre-dawn hours, they remind me of the first time the Death Star came into full view in the Star Wars movies–ominous, a giant object filled with people and things.

Once they arrive, the Port Captain sends out a representative to collect the necessary fees and complete paperwork and inspections, and then these huge cities start off-loading their precious tourist cargo. Entire portions of the Cabo San Lucas come alive in anticipation of the wandering groups of week-old friends who have arrived and seek a place to eat, a good margarita, and to purchase some silver or a cuban cigar–all the while engaging in the small-talk of new, but tightly-bound friendships.

In town, everyone knows about the cruise-ships. Everyone knows how many will be in-port today: two, four, just one . . . This is their business–to sell goods and services to tourists. The tourists staying at the resorts will still be sleeping. They invariably took advantage of the nightlife–something the cruise-ship guests miss because of the early departure times. So, the wandering hoards are coming from one source. Others aboard the cruise-ships go directly to the activities they have planned: snorkeling, jet ski rentals, a hi-speed water tour, para-sailing, sailing, and right now, whale watching.

My relationship with the cruise-ships is different, and I think, much more intimate than most. I can literally feel them arrive. Marishanna is a race-boat with no insulation, and so I often hear smaller boats motoring past, but the cavitation of the huge propellors of the cruise ships is unmistakable. Something I can hear from a few miles away. Once they are in port, the clanking of the giant chain links of their anchor is amplified and echoes through the water and into the metal parts of my boat.

It is both eerie and unmistakable . . . and a daily component of my morning routine since I arrived. 6am, clank, clank, clank, clank, clank, clank, clank, start the coffee, go above decks, survey the boat, check the anchor, and, well, you get the idea.

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Jan 08 2010

Christmas Humpback Whale Watching in Cabo San Lucas

While I certainly missing all of you at Christmas this year, I had an interesting opportunity for a unique way to celebrate the holiday this year.

On Christmas Eve, I recognized another Baja Ha-ha participant–Captain Bob. He sailed down on his 52-foot Beneteau sailboat, named L’Atitude 32. He is a licensed Captain, has chosen to winter down here in Mexico, and has gone through all of the hoops to run his charter business out of Cabo San Lucas. Both down here without our respective families, we decided that we would go fishing on Christmas and do what sailors do–sail.

The boat is luxurious, to say the least. The interior is huge, has an entertainer’s kitchen, a horseshoe-shaped dining table that seats 8 people, two aft cabins (each with their own bathroom and shower), and a gigantic master suite amidship–which corresponds nicely to the most comfortable, least rolling, and most quiet place on the ship. The dark blue hull and ultra-white topsides are recognizable even from a distance.

Whales Breeching in Cabo San Lucas on Christmas Day while Whale Watching with Captain Bob We met a little after 10am, packed up the gear, and motored out of the harbor. Not far past the famous rocks of Land’s End, we rigged our fishing gear, tossed the lures overboard, and spooled out some line to get them popping at just the right distance behinds us–the irresistible siren’s song singing to the fish swimming below. And, we settled into the important tasks in Mexico: selecting the right music, and what will I be drinking today.

It was, in fact, our original intent to fish all day. The seas were flat, and there was a mild breeze. Neither of us has a schedule–so, if we fished all day, that would be fine. On our two fishing poles, we dragged a cedar plug, a painted cedar plug, a couple of jigs, and later a spoon. Captain Bob got a nice hit on one of his lures. We slowed and waited and the fish took another nibble. And, then, nothing. So, we returned to our conversation and kept fishing.

We made a nice, arcing loop outside of the Bahia Cabo San Lucas. We headed west for a almost an hour, then due south off-shore, and finally circled around back towards Cabo. Just as we had turned back towards Cabo San Lucas, a humpback whale surfaced about 20 feet off the starboard side of the boat. A nice, benign visitor wondering what two sailors were doing in his or her territory on Christmas Day. We quickly decided to reel in the fishing gear and spend the rest of the day whale watching.

Whale Watching with Captain Bob on Christmas Day in Cabo San Lucas . . . and, a full whale breech That magnificent humpback whale proceeded to put on a show for the next three hours that was absolutely spectacular. Full, out of the water, breeches. Giant splashes. The picturesque tail before the deep dive. It was phenomenal–and, a superb way to spend Christmas. If we had only figured out how to transport the entire family and an apple pie, or two down here–it would have been complete!

Captain Bob charters his boat, and it is a classy, full-service experience. You can go whale watching (they will be here through March), snorkeling, or enjoy a sunset, cocktail cruise–the food, drinks and gear are provided. You can reach him through his website at www.daysailcabo.com, by email: bob@daysailcabo.com, by phone (US): 858-442-2233, or phone (local, Cabo San Lucas): 624-18-24-924

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