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Position Report 2005-08-07
Corumuels, Elephantes, Northers, and Hurricanes.
With all of these weather conditions, you might be asking yourself why are we doing this and where is the fun. This is a new situation for us
and we learn as we go. As for fun, we are having so much that we are having a hard time getting around to this report. We are sorry to our
family and friends who are waiting for this and hope it is worth the wait.
Where does the time go? It's been a long time since we reported in.
The talk around here is about hurricane season. The season begins in June and ends the first of November. There has already been one very
unusual storm that built up very far south on the mainland. Between these months, the weather conditions are such that hurricanes form from San Carlos on down south. There are known "hurricane holes" here in the Sea of Cortez. These are areas where we will have the most protection
from these systems. We will need to follow the weather predictions very carefully and be ready to prepare our boat to withstand the heavy
We have already begun to experience corumuels. These are winds that come up in the evening and blow from the south. There are not very many anchorages with protection from the south. So while you may anchor in a beautiful northerly anchorage and enjoy the day, by evening, you must think about moving to a southerly anchorage. This can be a real pain.
You may remember from our last report, our engine had to be rebuilt; the problem was Seawater flowing back through the exhaust elbow into the top. This caused one of the cylinders to freeze up in place and we were thinking it would take a LOT of work to fix. IT DID! And it took a lot of time. It seems that there is only one diesel mechanic in town. AND it took almost 3 weeks to get the parts required shipped in. We were
lucky in one area. The seawater was not in the engine for a long time so the cylinders did NOT need to be bored out. So, the engine, although
rebuilt, still has new engine specs.
As I had put the motor in myself I knew what it takes to get it out and back in. So it took me one day to prep for the removal. The mechanic
came over and we removed it and loaded it into his minivan and off it went. He said I should expect about 2 weeks to get it back. I would have
been happy with 4 weeks. It took almost 7 weeks! At times it was impossible to even get in touch with the mechanic! He would not answer his
cell phone or stop by to let us know what was going on. At one point he said he was going to meet me at the boat right away, I waited, on the
boat so I did not miss him, for 3 days and he didn't show up! Finally, he contacted me and said he would bring the engine back on Friday June
17th, so we could put it in the boat. As we were expecting a one-week visit from two of our sons on Tuesday June 21, I was VERY happy to hear this.
So, on Friday June 17, we put the engine back on its mounts in the boat. Not a hard task, except it was about 95 degrees F. Then, after the
engine was in place, he handed me a small box of fuel lines and parts. I looked at him and he said, it was my engine and he thought I would know where these went! CAN YOU SPELL MAD????? So, it took me a couple of days in the SMALL Nor'Sea engine room, to do what should have taken a half hour in the shop, on the bench to do. On the 21st, when I should have been with our sons, the mechanic came back and we started the engine and did a check out. Once he finished I had to figure out a few other small problems that seemed to creep up due to the engine R & R. We then had to put a minimum of 40 hours on the engine and then have the head re-torqued and the valves adjusted before we can actually head out for an extended cruise. The next time I need any work done, I am going with a Mexican. They seem more professional than a LOT of the gringos here! As a matter of fact, the other day a friend had set up an appointment to have something done on his boat by a local Mexican craftsman, the appointment was for 1 PM. Our friend was running a bit late and got to the boat about 1:15 PM. They found the Mexican waiting for them on the dock in front of the boat. He looked at his watch and then up at them and said, "Oh, you must be on Gringo time". Everyone had a laugh. But it does seem that all of the Mexican people around here at least, are very sensitive to the stories about being late to appointments.
FINALLY, on Friday June 24, we got to take our sons on board and head out. We just went out to a spot that has become one of our favorites. It's called Caleta Lobos. It is a fairly well protected anchorage with good holding (the anchor stays put). And, it's only about 9 miles from here.
The first day and night we had it all to ourselves. On the 2nd day, four other boats showed up, including Chaletmer, with Gene & Pat Gehlbach
aboard. They departed Oyster Cove Marina within a few months of us. It was fun to visit with them and we all had a potluck dinner aboard their boat that evening.
The boys had a good time taking the family car (our dinghy) all over the area. They also did a bit of snorkeling, but had no luck fishing! Must be me!! It's getting to be a joke about my lack of catching a fish!!
One day the two boys built a hut/lean-to on the beach and thought they might try camping out. As it turned out, the wind came up and they
decided not to try to make a beach landing at night in rough weather. So, they spent the night aboard Guenevere. We moved the cockpit grate to the up position and they slept there. As a matter of fact, they got a bit cold due to the wind, even with the weather cloths up.
We were very sorry to see the boys' head back home on Tuesday June 28! The visit was too short. As is the tradition here, they will be
carrying mail from here back to the states to be mailed for the cruisers.
On July 4th, all of the cruisers and a few of the people who live here full time got together for a party! It was at a very nice restaurant here in town that has a swimming pool. We have seen a few of these, if you have dinner, you get to use the pool. We all swam in the cool water,
had a very nice dinner, and watched a small firework display.
With the party and no boys here, we decide to put some hours on the motor. So we headed back out to Lobos and two of the close islands. We spent one night at Lobos, then headed up and motored along the West coast of Isla Espiritu Santo. This is a wonderful and VERY beautiful island. It is also a preserve so it stays the way it is.
Don't you know, when you want to sail the wind is ALWAYS on your nose or coming from the wrong direction. And, it is ALWAYS too much or to little. Well, because we needed to motor, the sailing would have been GREAT!!!! The wind was PERFECT, and the sea was calm!
We motored most of the day at a low RPM up to a cove that Dan and Lee, aboard Afroessa, were in. It's called "Caleta Partida". It is between
Espiritu Santo and Isla Partida. But has a marsh area between the islands so if forms a deep harbor. Afroessa had departed La Paz a couple of
days before and we wanted to say bye to them.
Caleta Partida is large and over a hundred boats could anchor there. But we found it a bit large for our liking. Also, as one end is low-lying
marsh, and the sides are high hills, it gets a good wind through it. As we were entering, there were white caps in the bay. Small white caps,
but they were there. We had dinner with Dan and Lee that evening. We also saw Toyon, a VERY nice motor yacht with Chip aboard. He had a guest aboard and had stopped by for a quiet night. He then headed back to La Paz and on up to Southern California on the Baja outside.
The next day we spent motoring (at 3 Kts.) back to Lobos. About the same time we were just turning into Lobos, we heard on the radio that
Afroessa was "anchor down" in Evaristo. They will be staying in that area for a time and we hope to catch up with them soon.
We also found something different at the two anchorages that we did not expect. Every time we have been swimming in an ocean, once out of the water, we have felt sticky and/or tacky. The times we have been swimming in the two anchorages we have been in so far, we did NOT have this feeling. As a matter of fact, we had the same feeling as you might have after taking a soothing bath that had mineral salts in it. There was no
feeling like you needed a fresh water rinse! This is a very pleasant surprise! Even the two boys were taken by this and actually tasted the
water to make sure it was not fresh. On our way back I did stick my arm in the water along the coast and DID get the sticky feeling. So we are not sure what is going on, but we like it a lot!
When mechanical things go crappy, it seems a few go at the same time! On the way back to Lobos, I noticed that the alternator was not charging the battery bank.
We live on a fine balance of power generation and usage. We have sized our solar panels so that they will not carry the full load of all of
our needs. If we are running the freezer, we need the solar panels AND we need to run the engine about once a week. Maybe more in this very hot climate. So, I did some troubleshooting and found that a temperature sensor that is on the alternator is bad. It makes the system think that
the alternator is over heating and shuts down the output. I emailed Balmar and got a reply within an hour! They also believe it's the sensor.
They are sending a new one, by priority mail, to our Florida mail service. WHAT GREAT SERVICE!! We could put on our spare alternator, but prefer to make repairs while it is more convenient.
So, we will wait here until our mail service sends us our collected mail and the part. They send it by DHL and it normally takes about 3 days
to get here. As soon as we get the package, it will take me about an hour to put the sensor on, and we will be on our way north into the Sea
of Cortez with about 3 to 4 other boats that are finishing projects.
We have not been bored, several of the ladies organized a shopping expedition over the course of two days and really helped out the La Paz
economy and had a great time stopping for lunch and coffee along the way. Big Kahuna delivers pizza right to the boat so we had pizza parties,
the movies are current and air conditioned and every day someone is having a dinner party. We have had excellent dinners here. One restaurant served a rib eye steak dinner for $22.00 US. That sounds like an expensive meal until they brought out the steak. It was so big it could
feed four!! Our dinner for two came to $55.00 US. Another night, we feed 9 people very well for the price of our dinner for two. Every meal is an adventure.
Another HIGH point this time was a tour of the motor vessel (Proper Yacht) Dorothea. She is about 107 foot. We met John, the captain, at
dinner one evening and he allowed us to go aboard. What a magnificent yacht this is! She is privately owned and is not for hire. John moves her to where the fishing is good, and the owner flys in. She is 40 years old and made of wood. But standing next to her on the dock, at a distance of
6 inches, you can NOT tell she is not made of fiberglass. She HAS to be the best maintained yacht we have seen! And, she is not one of the
large plastic boats. She is meant to go to sea. She has large side decks and a proper bridge. Of note, she has no batteries aboard, she starts all
of the engines with compressed air. She uses no dock power or water! Her generators run 24/7. She has redundant systems (2 of EVERYTHING!). She has 2 electronic (professional and independent) navigation systems with complete charts of the world, but still, also plots on paper charts! It was better than a tour of the White House.
One of John's jobs is to find an area where the owner can fish for whatever type of fishing he wants to do. Next, they will be fishing for shark, so John had to find "chum". He found 30 gallons of blood, a pig head, and a horse head. Yuck!! Can you imagine tooling around La Paz
collecting those items, in a taxicab?
Have you read the John Steinbeck book, "The Log from the Sea of Cortez"? Jill has it aboard, and we are reading it and plan to visit some of
the same places mentioned.
We made a trip to the grocery store for our last provisioning for awhile. Susie from Spirit and Jill took Gaspar's cab to buy tortillas and
frozen meat. We washed down the boat with fresh water, took on water, fuel and propane, checked out of the marina and we are on our way!
We are finally underway! We left La Paz and headed to one of our favorite spots, Caleta Lobos with Gordon and Susie aboard Spirit.
Wanderlust with Gene and Aggie aboard came to anchor with us for a few days. Aggie makes the best breakfast we have ever had.
We spent four days at Lobos and then headed up Isla Espiritu Santos taking pictures as we traveled and anchored in Ensenada Grande.
It is so beautiful here, it is beyond my vocabulary to explain. We have explored every day and snorkled every day. Greg has speared fish
every time he has gone "shopping" and has redeemed himself for his lack of fishing skills on the trip down here.
We have been here 5 days now and plan to depart tomorrow Aug. 8, Monday for Isla San Francisco.
That's it for now, from us.
call us up on a map and see where we are! To do this just click on the a link I have placed below...