Jun 24 2010

Baja Bash: Bahia de Asuncion to Bahia de Tortugas (June 24, 2010)

Around 3:45am, Marishanna and I were underway from Bahia de Asuncion to Bahia de Tortugas. We rounded the large islands and with almost no winds at all, made our way towards the open ocean and Turtle Bay.

There are two successive points that you have to pass, followed by a long, open bay (Bahia de San Cristobal). The northwest end of the bay has Thurloe Head with a small protected anchorage behind it, roughly an 8-mile rock outcropping and then the entrance to Turtle Bay. It is a straight-forward passage–with the exception of the fishing nets around San Pablo (the fisherman in Bahia San Hipolito warned me about them).

I was motor-sailing as the sun rose (6 – 8 knots of fluky wind was not enough to sail), and the further I got into the ocean, the stronger the seas built. Quickly, they were 2-meter waves every 2 – 3 seconds–a rough, pounding time and a bit more than lumpy, in my opinion. Shortly after, the fluky winds amplified to 15 – 20knots, and remained fluky–shifting as much as 20 degrees in the course of a few minutes.

I tinkered with the course a bit more, wanted to stay outside to avoid the fishing nets and the only course that balanced the waves and the wind was taking me WSW–away from Turtle Bay. So . . . I dropped the main sail, lashed it to the boom, and powered the rest of the way to Turtle Bay. It was quite a difference from the full sail of yesterday.

The seas stayed a bit more than lumpy and the winds stayed above 20knots all day, but landfall happened quickly, and I was sitting on the hook by 1pm. Also, while in Bahia de San Cristobal, I saw the spouts of three whales. They never breeched, but they were there . . . .

Turtle Bay is a large stopping point for boats on their way either up or down the Baja outside passage (there are more than a dozen boats here now). Clean diesel and potable water are available here (they actually bring it right to the boat), and there is a small town as well where you can re-provision, get warm showers, and a cold beer. There are cell phone signals here, too–and, internet access.

I also needed a few small repair parts for the boat–a spare belt for the engine and some fuses–which I was able to obtain pretty easily. I will be here for a few days to do some minor repairs on Marishanna, re-provision, buy diesel and water, and to get some current weather information.

And, then–it is the final 350Nm to San Diego and home . . . .

27°41.080′ N
114°53.317′ W

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Jun 21 2010

Baja Bash: Bahia San Juanico to Punta Abreojos (June 21, 2010)

Got up early, pulled the anchor and set off for Punta Abreojos. Abreojos translates to “open eyes” because there are lots of hidden underwater nasties to catch, grab and sink your boat. The word is to NEVER make an entrance of this harbor at night or in poor visibility.

Marishanna and I made pretty good time on the way, and the breeze was relatively light–starting at 15 – 20 knots and freshening to about 25 knots–a typical day of summer sailing in San Francisco.

After eating all of the sushi from the last tuna, I decided to fish a little more. After 45 minutes with the cedar plug out on the line, I caught another Blue Fin Tuna–this time about 8 pounds.

As the afternoon progressed, the winds built to 25 knots of steady wind and the seas built to 1.5 – 2 meters–but the frequency increased to every 2 seconds. It was rough going, and I was happy to finally pull into Punta Abreojos. Because of the underwater hazards and I was rapidly losing sunlight, I approached the anchorage from the far Eastern side of the bay–well clear of the hazards.

I found a nice place to anchor in about 25 feet of water right around dusk, and watched the moon rise as I cooked dinner. Another really awesome day!

26°45.598′ N
113°30.820′ W

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Jun 18 2010

Bahia Magdelena to Bahia Santa Maria: The shortest leg of the trip

After the longest leg of the trip, it was great to have the shortest leg of the trip. Today, I sailed from Bahia Magdelena to Bahia Santa Maria–a mere 20Nm and from anchorage to anchorage about 4 hours.

But, let’s back up a bit. Around 4am, I heard a bird land on the mast. Typically, I would run up on deck to scare whatever bird it was away because I hate to clean up their droppings . . . but, last night, I was exhausted and had finally found peace with it. A tired bird looking for a place to rest is not a big deal–a few swabs of the mop in the morning, and all is well. I heard him sitting up there all night . . . or, so I thought.

When I awoke this morning, and was doing my morning survey of the boat, I saw all of the appropriate droppings on the deck. But, when I looked up, I saw a dead pelican hanging limply with his broken wing caught in the middle spreader–about 30 feet above ground.

I am not sure if he tried to fly between the shrouds and the mast and hit his wing, or if he was resting up there and got it caught at some point during the night. But, he was certainly stuck–it took me a while to get him down and set him afloat in the bay. I know that all things of this earth must return to the earth at some point, but that was the saddest thing I have seen my entire trip.

After that, I tried to piece together my morning. Sat and thought for a short time, made something to eat and some coffee, and then took another short rest.

About 10am, I raised the anchor and motored towards the mouth of the bay. Once outside, the winds blew a steady 20 knots all day, and the seas were a lumpy 2-meters high with a pretty fast interval. It was a short 3.5 hours to Bahia Santa Maria, and I arrived to an empty harbor (other than a couple of trawlers anchored out towards the ocean off Punto Hughes).

I set the anchor in this familiar bay (we stayed here for three days on the way down with the Baja Haha), made some food, and off to sleep. If the winds die tonight like they are supposed to, I will depart for the 95Nm leg to Bahia San Juanico at either 11pm or 3am–depending upon the weather. It will take about 15 hours and I need to arrive at the anchorage during daylight hours . . . .

24°46.000′ N
112°15.428′ W

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May 16 2010

Big Winds and a Weather Delay

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 04 2010

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

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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Oct 11 2009

Yacht Delivery Count-Down

Published by under Boats,The Adventure,Wylie 39

We are a bit more than one week away from the yacht delivery–the start of the trip for me.

Tuesday, of next week, we will depart San Francisco Bay, and sail to San Diego. It is going to be a quick trip–well be sailing as fast as we can to get to San Diego for the start of the Baja Ha-ha.

Right now, we are looking for another sailor to join us on a Tuesday through Friday sail to San Diego. Food will be provided.

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