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.
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.