We had a great time taking care of biz in Marina Costa Baja, the issue being that when we pulled out of our slip the first time there was an 18 knot cross wind with a very strong current helped push us into a power boat.We got caught by the boat’s anchor & we put in a few scratches.The manager at Costa Baja went way above the call of duty by arranging repair quotes.The first quote he rejected as alarmingly over bid.The next repair guy had a reasonable estimate & we settled with the owner.A few hours of biz turned into a few days ‘mon-yon-a…’ while the manager coordinated all the details with the owner & the repair guy scattered out & traveling between La Paz & San Diego with grace & a smile.We are easily finding life in ‘mon-yona-ville’ to be ‘no-problemo’ so we enjoyed the curtsies of having a slip, using the pool, taking real showers everyday & Robin met some great new friends!Robin got to take a power boat ride on Silver Eagle to the beach at Ballandra.
On Friday the 11th we headed out of Costa Baja & set the hook near the Magote & went in to the La Paz Bay Fest held at La Costa restaurant.There was a blindfolded dingy race in which Robin paddled to victory in his class.I volunteered to team up with Bob from the cat Panterra, he had a very high performance rowing dingy with custom scalloped 8’ oars.I was to simply be the navigator but the surprise of the race was that after the first race we all switched positions:-OThis type of a dingy would require a lot of ‘eye hand’ coordination to learn how to have the oars installed with the oar scoops in the right direction, how to make efficient oar stroke with racing paddles a few long than the ones in most ding’s…With all the dingies bashing blindly into each other & a few splintered old dingy paddles we survived & each won a bottle of booze except the kids won ice cream & wouldn’t exchange with us J
For three days there were lots cruising related seminars, $2 buck beers & plenty zesty food.On Sunday at the very last minute we decided enter the sail boat race :-OSo I put down my book, cast away a day of recuperating from the previous two days of Bay fest & began to prep the boat for the race.Of course the dingy’s motor gets hauled & the dingy gets hauled.The anchor gets hauled & while underway the sail covers come off, the sails are rigged.We stopped in front of Costa Baja to pick up two of Robin’s friends that came aboard to experience the thrill of victory or at least the agony of defeat.As we motor sailed out to the starting a line, the count down began & instinctively our helms person Bobbie brought the boat around…unfortunately just shy of the starting line…but we were in first place for a few moments JThe committee boat came out & immediately required a bribe from the bar to hear version of innocents in this vagrant nautical foul.We all continued on in stiff 2 to 3 knot winds with most of us barreling down the course at half that speed.Mean while we’ve got all four of our sails up & would have then poled out the jib to keep the jib in open air without collapsing in the shadow of the main but since we missed the opportunity to rig & test our newly acquired used gennakar sail we began the process of learning how the rig & deploy the big womper sail.
The first thing we wanted to do was to take the long lines from our current jib & put on the gennaker, so we dropped the jib, our speed also dropped.The jib sheets had been securely attached for 4 years & wouldn’t budge in the heat of the race, so back up goes the jib & a search for long enough spare line ensued.I tied a pair of 40’ lines together but the knot aligned up with the deck block when the gennaker was first hoisted.I found a 50 footer that ended up working out.By the time we hoisted the gennaker with a functioning jib sheet the wind had shifted 4 times, each time causing us to re run the gennakers set up.Then finally with our new gennaker flying nicely, pleased as punch that was indeed a perfect fit for our boat we enjoyed the beauty of it flying off our boat for the first time, but that moment lasted all of a few minutes, the wind shifted & we had to gybe the gennaker for the 5th time.Again a few minutes later we had to gybe it again; when the need to jib it the 7th time within a bout a half an hour’s time I then declared that we will continue on this course until I finish this beer; I’ll never make a hard core racerJAfter the beer I had to douse the gennaker, raise the jib & have Bobbie turn the boat back to the channel buoys which we had spent the last 15 minutes going the wrong way while consuming the beerJWe sailed down the channel towards the finish line long after all the boats were in, the racing committee boat asked if we would concede a total loss now so they could commence more pressing affairs at the beach bar.All we had left to do was to flake & bag the sails, anchor the boat, redeploy the ladder, re install the dingy motor & fuel tank… 8 hours of constant hauling sheets for a race that should have been a relaxing run, but we won rum so it’s all good.
Bob from the cat Panterra invited us over for drinks with a couple of other couples.One couple had been cruising for years perhaps for over 20 years mainly on catamarans, hoping we get another chance to talk to them further about cruising central/south America & the south Pacific.The other couple came down from northern British Columbia on a home made boat cleverly made on a show string budget.Although they stated that they were poor, they seemed rich with happiness.The wife Josie, is a native Indian from northern BC whose native name was “Sparkling Eyes of the Beaver”.They have been cruising south for three years now & will continue to cruise their home made green boat for as long as the spirit moves them.
Bob has a home made boat too, although his is on the ultra high end of technology utilizing the latest in carbon fiber, Kevlar, rotating carbon wing mast, it draws only 16” of water & at 44’ can be propelled by a 9.8 horse power dingy motor over 7 knots.
We spent a few days doing errands around town, I got the hose that connects the BBQ to the large propane tanks.I went to a splicing demonstration at the Club Cruceros where Gene from Wanderlust patiently revealing the magic details of the double braid eye splice.I bought a splicing fid kit & spent 3 hours making an eye splice on some brand new ½” New England braid, then failed to make the slice with used unknown brand rode & failed again on used New England brand. I washed out the New England braid & failed again the next day; at the demonstration they used a very cool fid tool that lassos the line that is to be pulled within the core, the fid I bought is like a crochet needle, it has a hook at theend which even covered with tape pokes through & snags the braid your trying to pull through, I‘ll need to exchange that fid for an other ‘substandard kit’, but here in Mexico ya get what ya can get & placing a special order would take way too long at this point.
So why does a manly man need a set of crochet like needles?The connection of a rope to the sail connection is important, along with connecting the anchor rode to the chain & there a number of block & tackle setups that will only work if the line is connected with an eye splice.Other wise a good ol’ knot works fine & my favorite is the half hitch two or three of those will do the trick but there is the poop sized pile of knot to contend with; I’ve got a few ‘piles’ to clean up around the boat with eye splices.
Our friends on WingStar came into La Paz after a few days sportin’ around the islands with Chris’s dad.We met them up in Ventura a few months before we headed south, they’re on a year’s sabbatical from work or longer if they can find a way to circumnavigate that passage back to work:-O
4-18-08After Bobbie attended a women’s navigation seminar & I spent time learning my way around our new e charts, discovering that they don’t fit into Raymarine chart plotter as outlined on their web site… We hauled anchor & sailed out to the nearest anchorage at Caleta Lobos.We had yet to discover this gem, less than 10 miles from La Paz with decent snorkeling & beautiful vistas… we wondered why it was so empty of all but two other boats…we found out at sunset when the wind died & the bugs came out.Then the wind came back in & blew them away.The next day all the other boats left, we had the whole place to our selves & again wondered how cool was this to have the whole place to our selves.We found out how cool is was when the bug level began to increase at an alarming rate.We spent hours in the water, I cleaned the metal parts under the boat & the prop, installed a new zinc on the prop shaft using the 12 volt air compressor that allows me to breath underwater from a 60’ hose.Robin & his friend Sam had a blast testing is out.I then took a long snorkeling run with my new spar gun, there was lots of great coral & small reef fish but very few ‘meal sized’ fish.I didn’t get to bring home a meal but just test firing the new double power band spar gun was impressive, the long metal spar is propelled out to it’s line limit in a very straight & powerful shot; I shouldn’t have any trouble bagging a meal the next time one swims by.
After swimming & showering off with our bug sprayer in the after the bugs really became relentless.We have yet to experience the magnitude of their numbers in our boat or even camping out.Sitting in the cockpit trying to read was nearly impossible.Bobbie had cleverly equipped our straw hats with bridal vale that kept the bugs out…that is until one takes a sip of beverage, a bit of lunch… then suddenly there a few dozen bobos on your face.Bobos…such a cute name for such an annoying bug; they don’t bite, but they team up by the hundreds to just pester.Attempting to take a nap was an adventure as one by one dozen a minute find our new place, only by covering up completely with the sheet over my head could I escape their wrath…I couldn’t breath but it seemed like the better choice:-oBobbie slept fine in her bridle vale bug hat.An hour before sunset when the bugs were exceeding the horror movies we fled to the dingy for a fast escape.At a speed faster than a bobo can fly we trolled around the anchorage & out around Isla Roca, a tiny pile of rock with a light beacon & a bunch of seals.Trolling the clear turquoise bays inside the anchorage I spotted at least 8 sting rays; something to consider when hopping off the dingy near shore :-O
Arriving back at the boat over a half an hour after sun set the bugs were surprisingly gone.Just a couple of hours early there were hundreds of bobos, a hand full of flies, a dozen bees & a few wasps, at dusk there were noneJThe wind piped up from the only direction there is no protection, the SE; these are a La Paz exclusive wind called the Corumel winds; thermally drive wind that is drawn in from the cooler waters of the pacific…I let out some more scope & deployed the chain subber & went to bed on a rockin’ boat.
Looking from 5-7-08 back to 4-18-08
Arriving back in the La Paz anchorage we made arrangements with the Marina for a slip & wait for the roller furling parts to come in.Well the parts came in but we had to wait a few more days to get into a slip.We got the slip but only for 4 days but that was long enough have the rigger to spend one day to install the roller furling unit which is made up 7’ sections connected together to form a ridged aluminum foil 60’ long; this was the hard part but easy part has become the night mare of trying to get our hands on ‘the promised sail’.Now for nearly 3 months we’ve been waiting ‘mon-yona after mon-yona’ for this promised sail.It’s amazing how much bureaucracy & game playing is involved in getting anything done out here in the frontier :-O
Exploring our options is an even deep & darker adventure into the night mare.A 2000 mile round trip road trip to pick up a used sail of unknown quality is not a fun run.The local sail maker doesn’t have anything used & would charge about as much as a UK sail like the other new sails we have which is around $5000 :-OTo have a new UK sail made we couldn’t feasibly get until we get down to Acapulco in Nov. but we would still need ‘some kind’ of roller furling sail in the mean time. A sailor nearby has an extra roller furling sail, that is too big for his35’ boat but wants to cut it down to size; if it’s too big to cut down for his boat he’d sell it to me for a low price.There is another sail repair guy in town that might have a few used sails also.
Seems like our best option is to persevere with the local charter company to get a used sail that will have the closest fit to our boat, which means trying to contact them daily & making ourselves available to be there on a day to day bases.
While we’ve been waiting on the sail we’ve attended two Mogote parties, one last weekend & anther one the week before.It was great sitting in our beach chairs in the water drinking cervezas JRobin got to spend two days &nights on a 36’ trimaran with our friends Billy & Jo, they came back just in time for another Mogote beach party.Where Robin met up with another cruiser kid Josh.
A lot of the cruiser kid boats are hauling out for the summer, we hope to find a number kid boats summering with us up in the Bay of LA (Behia de Los Angeles).There is quite a number of cruisers heading that way for it’s quite little laid back town, numerous anchorages & the best hurricane hole in the Sea of Cortez.
Still while we wait, we’ve nearly finished our boat’s sun shade, made out of our old yankee jib.There’s enough surface area to nearly cover the entire boat.We have been warned about the heat of the summer & a good full boat sun shade is a mandatory requirement to survive.We’ve had temporary cheapo blue tarps hang in there in 20 knot breezes so the our old jib that’s been up sailing in 30+ knot breezes should do us well.
4-6-08In the evening when we brought up the dingy out of the water along side of the boat & noticed, much to our dismay, one of the kayaks had made an escape :-OMoments before I could have fallen asleep for the night but now had to lower the locked up dingy & head into the dark night in search for our wayward kayak.The bright flash lights were of no help in the vast open water ways down wind & current from our boat, they only ruined my night vision.So through the darkness I trolled along in the dingy in the direction of the wind & current.With each minute down stream into the darkness the less & less the chances were of finding it.We each had seen both the kayaks happily bobbing behind our boat not too long before one made it’s great escape so I felt my chances were good, but fading with the distance.Making my way I could see any silhouette between me & the lit up shore but looking out into the La Paz channel there was nothing but darkness.After going about as far as I felt my chances were to finding the kayak,some how I turned towards the darkness of the mid channel & was drawn to what I felt was a possible trajectory path & soon a dim glow of what turned out to be our kayak presented itself like a ghost ship in the night.Bobbie & Robin rejoiced in my triumphant return J
Bobbie & Robin went into town for supplies & possible a new game for Robin’s Playstation.I’m brainstorming my head sail options & since it’s much to early to drink heavily I’m updating this log in the mean time :-O
Our friend from Mooring’s had been doing as much as he could to get the Moorings people to get moving on the used sail but then he’s just been sent out on 23 in a row chartering.I called the Moorings base & made contact with Socorro the manager a week before Cinco de Mayo (5th of May) holiday & was told they are way to busy during this holiday, I should try in a week or two :-OA week or so later I called again with the nerve racking phone connections.We had bought a Mexican cell phone & had a new phone card with plenty of minutes left but apparently too much time had gone by & again the phone is useless.The Skype computer internet phone was cutting in & out do to our boat doing the La Paz waltz during a slack tide.I was told they would check into their used sails.By the end of that week I was told that Poncho the storage bodega key holder would be in on Saturday & works until .My cruiser friend Billy drove me up there by 2:20 to find that Poncho was gone; turns out it was Mexico’s Mother’s day :-O
We had been keeping busy with continued work on converting our old jib sail into a sun cover for the boat but the day before I drove up the Moorings base with Billy I somehow manage to really wrench my right middle toe really bad.I hurt like heck but I didn’t think too much of it but I found myself limping a bit on the trip up to the base.Two days later I drove up to the base myself in Billy’s truck & the toe was really hurtin’.Today I’m waiting for the final word that they’ve got my sail ready & my toe is in lot’s O’ pain due to the swelling.The moment I injured the toe I checked it out to be quite sore around the mid joint but I could move it with out too much pain & the rest of the toe & foot was fine but the swelling that kept increasing each day since has me keeping it elevated & now with ice on it while I wait for the promised email about the sail :-O
The La Paz waltz
Anchoring in La Paz is done in a channel about mile wide & runs about 10 miles from it’s opening to the Sea of Cortez to the inside lagoons & back bay areas.The current that comes in starting after low tide or the current that flows out to sea starting after high tide travels like a swift flowing river, despite the wind direction that normally dictates the direction the boat will point to at anchor, the boat will be way more influenced by the tidal flow.At slack tide, occurring during a change in tidal flow direction,the waters slow down, some areas the waters are still flowing various directions before changing direction & then the wind will finally have an influence to the boats direction at anchor.It is at this time that most boats begin to point at different angles from each other, the lighter boats will often begin to sail around their anchor rodes in mysterious ways :-OIn our case if we are trying to use the internet we will have to continually adjust the long range wifi antenna which is hard to do while plugged into the computer with the head set :-O
We have been delayed here in La Paz for so long now that we will have to update our tourist visas, we would need to be in Santa Roselia which is hundreds of miles north of here in one month from now & we still don’t have a head sail.Surprisingly most cruisers here sound very nonchalant about hurricanes; no one seems to worry about them until August/September.It’s a good thing the planet’s weather is so darn tootin’ predictable :-O
The last few days since 5-18-08
After going to the charter base on Monday with a mangled toe with no luck getting the sail, I was told by Tuesday am the sail would be there.On Tuesday I got no email of sail news & my toe was so painful that I wouldn’t want to hop around anywhere but the next day it was feeling good enough to hop around looking for a sail.I didn’t get my promised email yet but our super sail hero Allison called me on the radio to say the timing is right to meet the guy with the key & get the sail.So I hopped into the pre-historic truck with Billy’s ‘Beverly hill Billy’s’ camper & rambled off to retrieve the ‘promised sail’.Our friend Allison has a zillion years of college & no doubt a lot of time must have been spent in psychology, she was able to get the whole operation to move in sync & land the sail!Although the used sail was a few years old it was in fantastic ‘like new’ shape.We hoisted up our new roller furling unit & it was only 2.5 feet short of perfect & the top few feet of sail has hardly any surface area at the tip of the sail any way.
With the sail issue finally put to rest we realized that we’ve been languishing in La Paz for so long that our tourist visa’s are close to expiring
Our options are to ether go to USA & come back & we’d get another 6 months extension or pay $161 each to get a year more.The trouble to find a slip & scramble up the boarder just to touch base & come back would be a big hassle; I suppose if we knew this was to be an option we would have planned a round trip, it would have cost about the same.We hired an agent to complete all of the paper work.
With the visa paper work in the works we took a test sail day on 5-17-08.We spent the whole morning getting the boat ship shape & hauled the anchor in at about .The chain has been down for so long it came up like big fuzzy green & slimy snake :-OThe other cruisers that sink the hook for long term said to let out another 50’ two days before hauling it all in; the sandy bottom will remove most of the slime:-OWe had the perfect sail day with fair to light winds while we raised our sails & headed out of the La Paz channel.When we got near the end of the channel the winds strangely picked up to 20 knots & shifted from one side to the other as we passed the headland point.Soon we were in consistent winds & then deployed our new roller furling sail.We adjusted the blocks that lead the genoa sheets from the sail’s clew back to the big wenches that control the sail.After a few adjustments our new sail was pulling us along nicely.We sailed towards the wind, down wind & practiced reefing the sail by rolling it in halfway; it all worked out great.We even practiced the ‘hove to’ maneuver.To hove to in our cutter rigged ketch we drop the main sail, we pull the stay sail over to the windward side & sheet in the mizzen sail, then we set the rudder a bit to wind ward.The boat then tries to go toward the wind then the back winded stay sail hits the wind & the boat is push off the wind & slides a bit side ways, effectively slowing the boat’s speed from 7 knots to less than 1 knot; almost like having an anchor out & sailing in place, good to use if we get into exhausting situations where we need to take a break from constant sea battling.
Today 5-18-08, we put the sun covers on the sails & setup our full length boat sun cover we just made from our old jib sail.We’ve got it made in the shade & now we will have our visas completed in two weeks so we can finally escape the vortex of La Paz.All seems to be going smooth now… Hey! What’s that gas smell :-OStay tuned for more J