Dodging Hurricanes

Sheri’s mom Deanna wanted to switch vehicles between her home in eastern Washington and her place in Sun City near Phoenix, so we decided a road trip was in order. We left in early September and spent about 8 days in Sun City before they drove me down to the boat in Puerto Penasco.

It was right where I had left it back in late April, except they had drilled a few small holes in the hull and torn away some of the fiberglass skin and underlying balsa coring, to allow a leaky spot to dry out. Over the next several HOT and HUMID days I worked on filling that area in and covering it with a layer of double-bias fiberglass cloth. I could only work for 2 or 3 hours each morning from sunup (around 6) until the sun hit me as it rose higher than the boat next to me n the yard. Pretty nice looking patch, eh?

Then they went to work rolling on 2 layers of blue bottom paint and getting new name and home-port decals affixed.

But don’t assume it was mostly work. The boatyard had made a deal with a nearby hotel, so for $15US I could use their pool and get a very nice hamburger meal in their restaurant. I took up that deal twice. Plus there was a birthday party for one of the cruisers (Anna) in the cruiser’s lounge one evening. That’s Brian and Anna from Stray Catz (soon to be known as Strange Byrds), Brian and ? from Sea Rose, and a couple whose foreign names I never did catch, from Imagine.

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From my arrival in Penasco on September 7 to my launch on September 26 I spent most of my waking hours in the air-conditioned comfort of the lounge at the boatyard. But finally it was all done. I made one last walk to the Ley’s supermercado for frozen goods, checked out with the Port Captain, and got dropped in the water. I spent a couple of days anchored off town, finding that the SSB radio still can receive but not send, and fixing a problem with the depthsounder. Then on September 28th, after a phone call home, I set sail for the mouth of the Colorado River, the trip taking from about 9:45 until 8:00 that evening. I anchored just north of the town of Santa Clara. 

At low tide the next morning I raised anchor and headed on up the river to escape the possible wrath of Hurricane Rosa. The boat swung upriver on the anchor chain just after 10:00am, meaning we had just passed the low tide, so from 10:20 to 12:20 I sailed upriver under genoa alone. At first the wind was directly behind, but as I headed more westerly behind Isla Pelicano, it was a nice port reach. The whole time I had a 3 or 4 knot current assisting me along. I anchored in about 16’ of water on the southerly side of the river, nearer the island. My thinking is that if Rosa packs strong winds, they will be predominantly from the south.

On Sunday I took the slack water timing just before low tide and kayaked to the island. When I climbed out of the kayak, I plunged into the mud up past my knees! I had to crawl to pull the boat up the ‘beach’, but it slid easily up the mud bank. After working my way further away from shore I was able to walk. I played around in a couple of the small creeks, then crawled around and harvested a bunch of clams. They were very close to the surface and pretty easy to find.

Back at the boat, the wind stayed light but it rained softly, off and on all afternoon. Around midnight it rained pretty hard, but it still didn’t last. 

October 1 has me marking leaky bolts around the windows in the salon. One of these days. I swam ashore to play in the mud and get some exercise, then returned to the mother ship and got cleaned up, shaving and washing my hair. I spent the afternoon working on the SSB radio to no avail. The rain started in earnest around 3:00, and wow we have leaky windows and hatches. Anyway, the effects of Hurricane Rosa had heavy rain until about 22:30 that night and breeze topping out in the low 20’s.

As dawn comes on the 2nd, there is still heavy cloud cover, but no rainfall and a westerly wind of just over 10 knots. I spent the day drying things out, taking every piece of stuff off the dashboard to wipe it down and stripping the bed down to the mattress to air all of that out.

I was planning to head out on the high tide this morning (October 3), but the fore cast is for S or SW winds 10-15 knots all day and a bit stronger overnight. Tomorrow they’re calling for northwesterlies, so I’ll go on that high tide, should be around 10:00 or so. Dramatic clouds this morning, and a squall just headed northeast past me, on towards Puerto Penasco. Gusts hit about 20, but thankfully no rain. The task for the day was to try to seal bolts in their holes around the salon windows. I used liquid tape this time, but found that it requires a second person.

A quiet night, and a north breeze in the morning. I pulled the very muddy anchor an hour or so before high tide, at 9:45. After a few minutes under just the Genoa, I raised the main and off we went. By around 13:00 or so things got light, so I decided to test the water maker. Well, one of the high pressure hoses leaked, so I’ll have to dismount the beast again and fix that! Rats! A light breeze filled in from the west a bit after 17:00, so, with 90 miles yet to go I’m nursing that for all it’s worth as the sun sets.

The breeze lasted until just after midnight, so I lowered sails and got some shuteye until just after 6:00, when I awoke sensing wind. Sail up and off we went with a following breeze (northerly). No sea life all day, but more sea birds are back, and the water color improved from the murky brown from up in and around the river mouth. Reached Bahia Willard at 19:00, using the port engine for the last hour. Entered just at dark, and the charting was spot on. Anchored in about 15’ and had a nice pasta soup for dinner.

Awoke just before sunrise and decided to tackle the leak in one of the high pressure hose connections on the water maker. I had to remove this connection and one other in order to replace the o-rings and membrane a few weeks back. First test in open water was ugly, as water squirted from one of my connections, even with the machine running at low pressure. So I removed all 6 mounting nuts and the inlet hose and removed and inspected the connecting nut. It seemed fine,and I finger-tightened it several times. Finally, I put some thread tape on it and tightened it up. Once I finally got the beast lightly screwed back in place, I tested it again. It still leaked, but not as bad as before, more of a steady drip. Once it had run long enough on low pressure to clean the new membrane, I started making water. The drip was a bit faster, but the good news is that the salinity, or dissolved solid, reading was acceptable, in the mid 400’s (ppm). Hooray! So I let it run for the better part of an hour, then fresh-water-flushed it. The rest of the day was spent swimming and reading, then as night came on the wind cameup. It had been blowing in the teens most of the day, but in the early evening I saw low 40’s. I lengthened the anchor bridle to achieve greater scope, then tried to settle in until the wind died down. Logic tells you it has to die down sometime.

Sunday saw more high winds in the Bahia , but down in the 20’s, with a forecast for even less overnight and in the coming days. I put the second fishing pole and reel together, tied on the smallest lure I had, and launched the kayak. Over near the rocky shore to my south, I proceeded to get the lure caught in the rocky bottom and broke the line, losing the lure. Headed right back to the mother ship and decided to go snorkeling to see if there really were any fish to catch. Turns out there weren’t many, but they were getting more numerous as I headed out the bay. Maybe another time. It was a pleasant day all around, with cooler temperatures.

Much calmer today (Monday), so a bit warmer. The batteries/solar charge controller did their equalization thing in the morning, meaning the panels have been hooked up a month now. I drilled holes in the anchor chain lead and installed the new bolt I got in Puerto Penasco, which will strengthen the fitting and best of all keep the chain in the channel when things get hairy. I also dove on the anchor near low tide, and I’ve never seen it buried so deeply.

A nice pleasant night at anchor here in Bahia Willard. After trying to listen to both the Sonrisa and Amigo nets unsuccessfully, I decided a trip to town would be worthwhile. Good news is I got the dinghy and engine set up easily, and it started pretty much on the first pull. Bad news is I can’t turn the mounting bolts to tighten it up to the transom. Worked on them all day and still no luck, but great weather and no sign of Sergio on the southern horizon.

Wednesday the 10th is turning out to be a beautiful day, weather wise. I was able to hear both nets this morning, so am aware that Sergio is forecast to bring relatively weak winds to the sea and should enter near Santa Rosalia just before dawn on Friday. I’m still working to loosen the engine mounting bolts, and I took another turn at the radio wiring. The bolts are starting to turn about a quarter turn each, but the radio’s ability to transmit is still a non-starter. On a later attempt at the radio, it looks like I have a little more transmission power, so I left it alone and will try to reach the Amigo net folks in the morning. The excitement for today was my panga rescue. I watched as an empty panga was slowly drifting past my position, and out of the bay. Once it got to about its closest point, I put on mask and fins and swam over to it. Just as I got it dragged back to Epic to tie it off astern until someone came for it, I heard an engine. Three guys came by so I pushed it off and they thanked me and waved several times as they put the owner aboard and roared back towards shore. Dinner was fish (store-bought) and Mexican rice, yum! The wind is up, so I’ll get to losten to that as I podcast my way to sleep.

The wind died off by morning but light cloud cover had rolled in. Here comes Sergio. I couldn’t hear the Sonrisa net worth a darn, but Diane on Dolce was handling Amigo net duties. She came in and out, but I got weather info well enough. Then I was actually able to check in! Even volunteered with Jake (on the sailboat Jake with wife Sharon and sailcat Izzy) to be a net controller again. Then I re-mounted the radio and hooked it all up. Hopefully we can hear each other over the storm in the morning and everything still works. Later I was able to finally get the mounting bolts freed up on the dinghy outboard, so I mounted the little beast and went fishing with my last jigging lure that I thought might work on triggerfish. Out near Punta Willard, which has a couple of interesting windows, I caught 2 rockfish and promptly threw them back. Then I cruised slowly to the other side of the mouth of the bay and caught a nice big trigger. Wanting a second for dinner, I hooked another rockfish, which promptly wedged in the rocks and held on to my lure until the line broke! Crap. So I settled for one trigger for dinner and went for a quick tour of the bay, where I had a nice talk with a gringo fly fisherman down here on vacation. Fish and Mexican rice 2 nights in a row, yum. It was cloudy all day but at 19:00 there is still no rain or wind.

Hurricane Day – it sprinkled a little after 2:00, then again just past 6:00, but by 7:00 it was coming down pretty hard. Couldn’t hear either net worth a darn, and Amigo didn’t hear me. The rain ended around 10:00 and the rest of the day saw slow clearing and winds from the NNW 10 to 15 knots or so. Around high tide (noonish) I decided to raise the hook and do some exploring. I had almost 20’ where I was, so wanted to find at least 14’ further inside the bay. My dinghy explorations from the previous day suggested more depth than the ‘shoal’ comment on my chart. Anyway, it dropped to a pretty constant 9’ to 10’, then I headed to windward (N) toward the rocky spit that divides the inlet channel from the bay, and the depth increased to almost 15’, so I idled the engine and dropped the anchor. By the time I drifted back, it was only about 10’ deep again, so I pulled up the anchor again and headed closer to the spit, finding as much as 21’! So I anchored again, settling in over 19’ this time. A great relocation for most any wind direction, and no swell from the gulf in here. A boring snorkel outing and that was it for the day.

I was able to make contact with the Amigo folks today. Some hams stateside are already chatting on Sonrisa at their start time, and I’m not sure what alternate frequency they use. Anyway, looks like lots of wind the next few days and a probable depression forming down south, so I’ll stay up north here for a while and see what happens. Today I kayaked ashore and walked around the resort and homes that make up the ‘town’ of Bahia Willard. The second picture shows the bit of water that separates the island from ‘town’. The first shows Epic at anchor inside the bay, looking north towards Papa Fernández mobile home park and junkyard.

Even bought some internet, but it doesn’t work out here on the boat, so I’ll have to go ashore each time for that. Also began painting liquid tape around the windows, but it was hard to do in the strong winds (15-20 knots from WSW), so I only got one done. The remaining pictures show a cute area cactus, Main Street (only street) in Willard, plus some visiting birds at anchor in the bay here.

The crescent of the moon is bigger each night as it follows the setting sun into the western mountains.

Sunday the 14th saw me kayaking my way around Isla Willard, trying to catch fish for dinner. No luck with fishing, but the island is way cool, lots of different rock formation types and a couple of volcanic vent/pipe holes. And a visit to shore for internet/email/blog posting. I even liquid-taped another window.

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Back in sunny and hot Mexico

While we enjoyed our days in the northwest at our new-to-us home, relaxing by the pool pretty much every day,

towards the end of August it felt like time to move on. While up north our younger daughter-in-law Tawnie made us a pair of Adirondack chairs, and we got to attend a wedding ceremony for Ali and her main squeeze Brian, over in Outlook, WA. The photo shows Sheri and her mom all gussied up for those festivities.

Plus Sheri’s mom Deanna wanted to switch her cars from eastern Washington and Sun City. So we joined her for the road trip, then spent about 9 days in the valley of the sun. I even got a little golf in.

The sad news from the summer was that my mother passed away back in St. Louis, at the age of 92. She passed peacefully and pretty quickly, and was the best mom anyone could ever hope for.

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Today, I find myself back in Puerto Penasco, where it is close to 100 degrees and way too humid. I’ll try to get a few tasks done each morning and evening when it is bearable outside, then try to post once more before heading out into the northern Gulf.

A new nest in Seattle

The big task for Sheri and I during this Summer in The Seattle area was to look for a home base. We needed to be able to have our own place to come north to, where we could have our own belongings, be able to entertain, get our mail, have a car or two, all that stuff. We stayed in our son Joe and daughter-in-law Audrey’s basement bedroom for several weeks while we looked at dozens of options. Geographically, we searched from south Seattle all the way to west Olympia. We began leaning towards condominiums, for their ease of maintenance, but swayed towards a traditional single-family house in the later part of the hunt.

After losing out on a very cool place on the water near Olympia that Sam had located, we eventually located our new nest in a 55+ community of about 340 units called Huntington Park, in the Zenith neighborhood of Des Moines, a few miles southwest of Sea-Tac Airport. Interestingly, it is only about 6 miles from the house where my family lived when I was born.

Without further ado, some photos, beginning with the whole house view from the north.

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This is our patio, behind the privacy fencing, looking towards the doors that lead into the living room, with a door into the garage on the right.

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The kitchen, with the 5-burner gas stove for Sheri to whip up wonderful meals. The pantry door is on the right, long bar with sink on the left.

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And here’s the view from behind the kitchen counter, of the front doors and the gas fireplace on the living room wall to the left.

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Another view from the kitchen, showing the new funky clock we mounted, and the doors out to the patio.

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Still another shot of the living room, this one from just inside the front doors. Sheri found the new-to-us sectional couch online, and Sam and I got it home in our old pickup truck. The TV is new, a 65-inch model, our first big-screen!

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This hallway leads from the back corner of the kitchen, just past the big clock, past the second bathroom and bedroom, to the 2-car garage that contains the furnace and washer-dryer combo. The blinds on the windows to left in the photo are way cool – they can be lowered from the top and raised from the bottom at the same time. Who knew?

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The front hallway that leads to the master bedroom, through a small office or reading room on the left, and built in cabinets with glass shelves above, on the right.

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Here’s the new 4-poster that Sheri located online, in our master suite. Sweet!

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The bedroom wall had a large TV mount on it, so of course we had to get a 42-inch model to cover the mount. Pretty cool view right from bed, morning or evening. You can see the entry to the walk-in closet to the left of the TV, and the sliding-glass door to a deck on the right.

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And the somewhat messy closet, which may get messier as we accumulate more stuff  in the coming years.

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The master bath has no door, like the closet. This shot is from near the foot of the bed.

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Finally, the open shower, with spray from the wall included. The tub is large, and the counter opposite the tub and shower has 2 sinks. The floor in here is even heated!

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So there you have it, our new nest just south of Seattle. We’ve been to the community pool/jacuzzi a couple of times and are getting to know the layout of the neighborhood. All is well, but I still yearn for next season down on the Sea.

Across the Gulf and on to Puerto Penasco

I’m back in Seattle now with Sheri, staying with our son Joe and his wife Audrey. Naturally, lots of news since the last posting from the WiFi at Marina Mazatlan. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring my written log from the boat with me, so this post is missing much detail. I will add that  once I return to the boat in a few months.

Upon paying my bill in preparation for leaving Mazatlan, the resident Capitania de Puerto noticed that my ship’s documentation had expired. He couldn’t give me my clearance paper. While trying to update that online, I wondered if he was going to accept my status without the actual piece of paper in hand. I decided to slip out of Dodge without proper permission. As I motored out the long harbor entrance channel towards the open sea and freedom, I kept looking back to see if he was sending his launch to detain me. Thankfully not, but as I turned around the breakwater at the seaward end of the channel, what did I see but a Port Captain boat sitting a few hundred yards away! I decided to play it cool and just motored right past him, then raised sails and began the voyage across the sea. He paid me little attention.

The wind was a decent strength but from the direction of my destination (on the nose, as we say), so I began heading south of the Baja peninsula on a starboard tack. Once across (a few days later) it was great to see the stark Baja landscape again.

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I got to practice my man overboard drill as I sailed up this coast. Sailing downwind with the spinnaker, I decided I needed to jibe. As I released tension on the port sheet and pulled the starboard sheet tight, everything felt fine. But when I looked up at the huge sail, there was a wrap in the center of it. Try as I might, I couldn’t get it out, so I lowered the sail on deck and removed the twist in it. Meanwhile, we had turned sideways to the wind, as we always do while drifting, so when I went to start raising the sail again, it went up over the starboard side of the boat. When I had it about halfway up, I noticed the white shape of the bow seat in the water under the forebeam! Somehow the sail had caught it enough to break it free from the 3 legs it had been glued to. So now I had to quickly decide whether to try to retrieve the seat or build a new one once I reached Puerto Penasco. I chose the former, as a rebuild would be quite time=consuming. So I dropped the spinnaker and raised the genoa then jibed back to try to spot the white seat amongst the white=capping waves, no easy task and definitely not a sure thing; in fact I gave it about a 50=50 chance. But there it was, about 50 yards downwind of my path. I jibed for it, but couldn’t quite reach it with my fishing net. Next I sailed a bit, tacked back, spotted the little devil again, and sailed for a spot upwind of it and lowered the genoa in order to drift down on it and net it. It was barely out of reach as I stood on the port stern, and then I spotted my 50’ safety line on deck near my feet. If I put the loop in the line over my shoulder and dove in for the seat, I could possibly get it back aboard. But I had to be sure this plan would be totally safe, as the alternative could be deadly. Epic drifts pretty fast with a good breeze. Thinking through the plan a second time, I decided it would be safe, so I went for it and several hard strokes later, got hold of the seat and pulled us back to the safety of the boat.

Three nights and days after leaving Mazatlan I had gotten just north of Isla Cerralvo at around 2100 when the current wind died. Frustrated because I just wanted to get  a bit farther to a beach for a long=awaited anchorage and rest, I waited for some new wind. Well, be careful what you wish for! A breeze came up and before I knew it, was blowing over 20 knots and starting to create a nasty chop. I had lowered the mainsail but was still moving at a very good clip with the Genoa. It kept building in strength so I headed for the lee side of Isla Espiritu Santo, which offered a lot of relief from both wind and sea. I even raised the main again, and debated lowering both sails to drift and get some rest, but had remembered seeing one of these windy events on an online forecasting tool. In that case it had been very localized, so I decided to sail on north and out from behind the islands, expecting far less action from the wind and sea. Wrong! Blowing just as hard as before, I lowered the mainsail again and was lucky to get the boat to sail unattended for an hour or so. Around 0500 the winds started to let up a little so I turned for Isla San Francisco, arriving at 0830 with about 10 knots of wind. The maximum wind I saw during this ordeal was 46.3 knots, a new record aboard Epic. I slept for a while, since the previous night only netted me 3 hours and this had been an all-nighter.

i left the next morning before sunrise, eventually reaching the Loreto area, where I was able to make phone calls. Just north of town I anchored along the south shore of Isla Coronados after dark, then took off at sunrise the next morning. Mostly drifting to the east shore of the island on a tidal current, as I caught wind and headed north again I could see clearly that this island is an old volcano.

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Several miles north along the coast I sailed past Punta Chivato, which also must be an old volcano. It has a pretty dramatic look to it.

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I motored about 22 miles to reach the San Sebastián anchorage at the mouth of Bahia Concepcion just ahead of a wind event that lasted a few days. When you face wind and swell, the anchor chain and bridle lines collect a lot of sea grass, which becomes a mess to clean up when time comes to bring the anchor back aboard.

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Earlier I posted a photo of my nighttime view, the compass and inclinometer making a devilish silhouette on the cabin wall. Well, here is my usual daytime view, my reflection and other stuff looking back at me from the salon window.

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Farther north again I passed the southeast corner of Isla Angel de la Guarda. It has an off-lying island that would make for an interesting anchorage, in northerlies or southerlies, on some future passage.

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After a strong breeze got me just north of the island and the Puerto Refugio area, I lowered sails to get some sleep. When I awoke around 0500 to wind, I got going until dawn on a port tack under Genoa alone, as it was blowing in the mid-teens and was dark. Then I raised the mainsail and went over to starboard tack to see if I could point any closer to Puerto Penasco; no luck. After an accidental tack to port, I noted that both tacks, given the sea state, had me below my destination by about 50 degrees, so I stayed on port tack out of laziness. An hour or so later, the wind had lifted me a few degrees, and over the course of the day it slowly shifted until I was headed right on target. Arriving around 0145, it was great to get the anchor down off the harbor entrance. A beautiful sunrise greeted me off the town that first morning.

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I launched the dinghy and went to town, only to find that the boatyard was closed until Monday, so I took the time to do some resting up and cleaning in anticipation of hauling out.

Arrangements were made by phone Monday morning and Epic was settled on the hard by noon.

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Able to get thing cleared up overnight for the yard to redo the top sides, I took the bus north to Phoenix the next morning.

North to Mazatlan

La Cruz was fun, as usual, with food being a highlight. On Sunday, Sheri caught a cab with friends of Striker, to the airport for her flight to Phoenix and a break from cruising. It was exactly a year ago that she did the same. I headed off to Wal-Mart for some provisioning and good food at their food court, of all places. Another fun spot was the street taco joint run by his mom and Gaby, who has gotten a haircut since we saw him last year.

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So on Tuesday I set out for Punta de Mita. It was 4.5 hours of upwind sailing, with about 20 boats already anchored. Spent the next day cleaning the hulls, which were surprisingly clean already. Swam ashore for a beach run and was pleased by the fact that the Semana Santa revelers on the beach were quiet at night. Muskoka came in on their way from Paradise Village Marina to the South Pacific, and Striker followed in order to say their goodbyes.

On the 29th (happy birthday to Corky) I set sail at 0200, rounding the point from 0300 to 0400 in light winds. It was sloppy due to a northwest swell and wind on the nose which built as the day progressed. Saw porpoises a couple of times and finally approached Isla Isabel around 2200. Lots of anchored boats so I just lied ahull downwind for several hours of sound sleep. Took off around 0630 on the 30th and the wind filled in around 1100. The swell was slowly subsiding, so a nicer day of sailing. I ended up anchoring at 2200 in 85′ of water about 3 miles from shore and 42 miles from my destination.

Raised a lot of anchor line and chain at 0700 with a light offshore breeze. It died right away, but the northwesterly filled in pretty quickly. Not much swell left, so light winds made for a comfortable day. Even had a half hour of fog roll over me a bit south of the Mazatlan harbor entrance. Sailed on to anchor behind Isla Pajaros near the marina entrance at 2200 to the final sounds of Semana Santa festivities on shore. Called the marina the next morning (Easter) and motored in and got tied up (twice). Did several boat chores along with a little more provisioning, with visits to the private pool each day.

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Even had time to visit the mall for a Blizzard.

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On Wednesday the 4th the plan is to set sail for the islands north of La Paz and enjoy their beauty as I continue north to Puerto Penasco.

Barra, then on north to La Cruz

Spent 6 fun-filled days in Barra, lounging by the pools, playing water volleyball, doing aerobics, etc. Hit Simona’s German restaurant, street tacos, rooftop sunset drinks, and the French baker (who delivers baked goodies right to your boat in the marina or lagoon anchorage each morning).

Set sail for Perula town in Chamela Bay on the 12th with decent wind, but it died away and headed us, so we back-tracked to Tenacatita Bay for the night. Next morning the southwesterly came up around 0900 so off we went. A beautiful day as we were often accompanied by porpoises and a few whales in Bahia Chamela as we arrived around 1530. A bit lumpy in the bay but the breeze was cooling. On Pi day we went ashore for lunch, cleaned a hull, and lounged on the trampoline. Ides of March saw us messing with the SSB to no avail, cleaning the second hull, playing Mexican Train, and having pasta for dinner. Finally left Perula on the 20th with light southerlies. They didn’t really build, in fact clocked around and hit 25 knots from the northwest. We had to tack several times and reached the safety of Punta Ipala just after midnight. This is night sailing, the eerie view of the compass and it’s shadow as lit by a Lucy Light.

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Next day around 1400, with a 10-knot northwesterly blowing, we sailed off the anchor. The breeze went light so we added the mainsail to our genoa repertoire and slowly got lifted around Cabo Corrientes as night fell. We tacked several times as we watched the cruise ships come and go out of Banderas Bay. All of the marinas were full so we anchored off La Cruz. The following morning we took a double-slip near Striker and Profligate of Latitude38 fame.

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Many boats are participating in the Banderas Bay Regatta for the next few days here, so a bit of added excitement.

North to Barra de Navidad

we had lots of fun this season in Z-town before heading north again. One highlight was sailing up to Isla Grande near Ixtapa for a couple of nights with several cruiser-boat friends, hanging out on the beach with Juan of Paraiso Escondido telling local pirate stories while the cocoanut bonfires burned on. Seems the Spanish would send their galleons full of New World gold and silver from Acapulco towards the Philippines to trade for spices and other exotic goods. Pirates were said to hide out behind Isla Grande to attempt to intercept them. Juan is on the right in the photo.

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Favorite Zihuatenejo restaurants were Cevicheria La Gamba for me and Las Braseros (shrimp tacos) for Sheri. After getting a new SSB cable (rat chewed through the old one) via Ryan on Waponi Woo, the sound didn’t work. Testing indicated a bad speaker, so I retired that cord and we now have sound but very weak transmission; the fun never ends. A coffee get-together on Fantasia and co-ed Sip & Swim rounded out our fun in town, but Sheri hit the road to view the butterflies with 3 other cruiser gals for a couple of days. News was that the roads were fine and the Monarchs were truly amazing.

We finally checked out with the Port Captain on February 27th and sailed back up to Isla Grande. After another great shore get-together amongst the cruisers, we got some sleep before sensing wind around 0330, so set sail for Caleta de Campos. Striker accompanied us at our pace while Aldabra and Wainui took off for Barra about an hour later, passing by quickly as we had little wind. A frustrating 24 hours got us to Caleta de Campos where we anchored near Striker, who had arrived at 2230. We had Eileen and David over for dinner, then after a decent night’s sleep, they took off for Maruata at 0500, reporting some wind outside. We got under way pretty fast, then the day was spent searching for breezes. We arrived at 1815, Striker having anchored at 1600. They had scored lobster and oysters from local fishermen, so had us over for dinner! Opening the oysters was interesting with limited tools and less knowledge or experience. We spent a lay day in Maruata, playing in the surf and snorkeling a cool cave.

After burgers with Striker on Epic, we got to bed early as it was our turn to lead the way north, this time at 0615. A bit of wind brought Striker out after us after they walked Jack ashore. A short day got us to Punta Cabeza Negra, where we anchored on the north side of the point for a change. It was now March 4th, and a cat named Bula headed north first, radioing back that they had wind, so we took off at 0900. Striker followed a few hours later. We sailed through the night, never seeing winds over 15 knots until just before anchoring near Malaque, where we rested, made some water, and waited for daylight. A little after 0900 we headed into the marina and settled into slip C-14 near Mark and Stephanie on Wainui. Time to get showers, play in the pool, get started on taxes, visit town, and make new cruiser friends.

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