Latest Entries »

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

San Evaristo revisited

Mama is a trooper. No two ways about. Here she is, 82-years-young, and we've been hauling her through rocky and rolly waves that would exhaust anyone. Did she ever complain? Not once. Instead, she greets the end of the day with a smile and a, "Thank you for the lovely trip." Michael and I smile back and imagine what she might have said. If we feel muscles in our hands and shoulders that get used only on uncomfortable passages, what must she? We marvel at this example of graciousness.
Perhaps it's her southern upbringing. And perhaps it's just that she's pleased enough with the results of being here as we drop anchor in an old favorite haunt of hers - the first she's been able to recognize from last year - and watch the pelicans vie with the gulls for dinner.
We motor-sailed into Evaristo in an escalating breeze. The night before we'd spent an unpleasant interlude in Aqua Verde, knocked about by fetch that rolled into the anchorage to hit Sea Venture's beam while she pointed into the north wind.
Most of the anchorages are packed with boats heading north to Puerto Escondido for Loreto Fest. We decided not to stay for the festivities. Mama wouldn't have enjoyed them or the crowds. I'm sorry she did not get to see Aqua Verde at its best: the water truly is green and clear - unless a northerly wind has things churning.
So it was either roll at anchor or roll at sea. The wind was supposed to be dying, the seas flattening. They didn't. There must have been something happening in the north to have caused all the wave action because we never saw winds over 15; they were usually in the 9-11 knot range. The mizzen on a preventer was the only thing that worked. We tried the staysail, but to keep it filled, we had to turn too far so the waves hit us broadside as opposed to off the stern quarter. Motoring it was.
Normally with following seas and wind we can make excellent time, but the waves were obnoxious enough to slow us. Motoring at 7.6 knots allowed us 5.6 over ground. It was a long slog to cover those 44 nautical miles.
But here we are. The water is clear, the breeze from the northwest, the residents of Evaristo enjoying their Sunday. Mama has found a perch on the deck and is soaking up sun, watching the pelicans and gulls.
Life really is good.

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Puerto Escondido

Here is a picture of Puerto Escondido at night. Don the Amigo Net weatherman from Summer Passage had suggested that the next day might have high winds, so the anchorage had filled. Then this gorgeous sunset showed up, and we rejoiced: Red sky at night, sailor's delight.

For a daytime picture:

Mama and I sailed the dinghy again, which is really the best way to view the entire harbor. The wind behaved well, allowing us to ghost at times and zip along at others. Our friend, Ken Osgood on Lovely Rita, took a couple of pictures of us using his i-Phone as we sailed past him and his dinghy.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ballandra, Isla Carmen

After a rowdy 12-hour trip south from Concepcion in rather unpleasant following seas but with enough wind to push us at and above hull speed, we anchored in Ballandra on Thursday evening. On Friday, we visited Loreto for lunch and reprovisioning, returning to Ballandra with ice cream in the freezer. Mama and Michael are happy campers. M. took this picture of Sea Venture sitting happily off the shore in Loreto.

Today we are bouncing around in the wrap-around swell from the north wind that's wending its way down the Sea of Cortez. Payback, I suppose, for all those lovely, mild days we've enjoyed here. On Saturday we were the only boat in the anchorage, so Mama and I lolled around on our little sailing dinghy and had a jolly time. The little boat moves in almost no wind, which is fortuitous as there were mere whispers.

One other boat, Verdia, joined us on Sunday and brought along a friend, whose picture I will post at the end. Now there are 10 boats, all ducking out of the way of wind and waves.

Here are pictures of us sailing my little dinghy around during the last two very benign days, exploring the shallows and the rocks at the entrance to the bay. So much fun!

And now,

for a photo of the critter who tagged along behind Geoff on Verdia from the bay entrance all the way to the point Geoff dropped his hook near us. Michael and I watched it sling its tail around Verdia's chain, then slither past before meandering up among the rocks. We did not go climbing.

Monday, April 05, 2010

San Carlos to Bahia Concepcion

Easter Sunday
Maybe the Lord wanted to bless my mama. Maybe He just decided we'd had enough miserable crossings. I know not, but the day fulfilled every promise of new beginnings that came to the world through Resurrection Sunday, the celebration of new life through the atoning death of our Lord.
Michael and I rose at three in the morning to prepare for departure. By four, Sea Venture was pointed out of Bahia San Carlos and across the sea. The moon was at half-mast, bright enough to light our way out of the bay. The seas had calmed from their rowdy state of several days earlier. This was to be one of only two opportunities to cross this week. I'm glad we chose it.
I climbed back in bed. Michael, the darling, kept the first watch. By six, I'd roused enough to fix breakfast; Mama climbed from her bunk shortly thereafter. We had a leisurely crossing, motorsailing under genoa and mizzen in the light breeze that climbed steadily as we neared the center of the sea. It came from about 170 degrees. We were aiming our nose at 202 degrees. Without the engine's assistance, we would not have been able to point that high. As it was, the light-air genoa bumped our speed up to over 8 knots, 7 over ground.
About 20 miles out from the Baja side, the wildlife appeared. Whale spouts and tails graced the horizon both ahead and behind us. Then an odd thing happened, something we've not seen before. We noticed a set of breakers about a mile off shore, a mile or two from us. Puzzled, we peered through the binoculars. The waves had tails; the waves leapt. It seems that dolphins had formed a line several miles long and were herding prey, having a feeding frenzy. We'd seen them in clusters before, but never in a long line. As we neared, the line surrounded us, circling to the port and starboard. Some cavorted near the boat, leaping and dancing. Some we distracted so that they played next to us before reforming and going after dinner.
'Twas an amazing sight.
Now we are in Bahia Concepcion. Last night we anchored in Santispac; today we've moved next door because a norther should arrive by morning, and it's more protected here. We've met new friends and found old ones from San Carlos. The cruising community is like that, paths crossing again and again. We dined at Ana's Restaurant on beef and chicken tacos. Russ, the owner with his wife, Ana, put on a good feed. He helped us and our friends from Genesis last July. It seems to be his calling: helping cruisers.
We'll see what happens next, but Mama is having a grand time. She's a good sailor and a lot of fun. I told her that we're aiming to keep her young this way.

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Saturday, April 03, 2010

In Guaymas and back to San Carlos

We flew in to Guaymas on the 25th with Mama in tow and spent a delightful week shopping, seeing a doctor -- love Mexican doctors! -- walking the streets, and eating at Poncho Villa's Cantina.

The first picture shows our dock guard keeping watch. We could walk almost to his side before he would lift off. In the next photograph, Mama lounges in the cockpit as we motor from Guaymas to Bahia San Carlos. Wind blew from the south as we left Marina Singlar so we imagined a nice reach north. Nope. By the time we had exited the Guaymas area, we found a windless sea filled with swells that lifted us in an ungainly fashion. We hoisted the mizzen to help cut down on the roll, but it was not a stellar moment in SV's sailing history. Still, five hours later we dropped the hook in the beautiful bay, glad to be back until we realized that the swell was to be our companion through the afternoon and evening. Finally, the next day, the wind changed direction, cutting the swell, but keeping us boat-bound as it climbed into the 30s. M. barely noticed as he kept to his bunk with a stomach virus.

Today is glorious. We launched the dinghy, whose newly-applied and much-touted paint is a disaster -- we are hoping to get another season or two our of her before we're forced to sink capital in a new one -- and headed to shore. In the great blow of yesterday, we lost two fenders.  (That's what happens when the Captain is ill and so has an understandable memory lapse. The Admiral failed to take up the slack because she didn't know there was one.) Someone else is obviously enjoying ownership of them as we could find no trace of either a bright blue Taylor-made one or the older yellowish and very hefty one that came with the boat. Losses aside, we enjoyed the ride and the scone-muffin purchases at Baracuda Bob's. Mama, of course, assuaged her hunger with mango-vanilla ice cream. La Paz and mango sorbet, here we come!