Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sunsets in La Paz

Date & Time: 12/28/2010 4:09 PM UTC (Zulu)
Location: 24°09.36'N, 110°19.62'W , La Paz, BC

While the US is suffering from winter storms we're enjoying beautiful sunsets in La Paz. Today was clear and sunny with a high of 80°. We almost feel guilty, almost.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Rounding Lands End

Date: 12/17/2010
Location: La Paz
Lat/Lon: 24 09 N 110 19 W
Weather: Sunny and Warm

We have arrived in La Paz and it feels like coming home. We've been in La Paz 4 other times in the last 2 years and the city has become very familiar and comfortable. We still think it is the prettiest city on the Mexican Pacific and we just enjoy walking around town.

We had a great passage around Cabo Falso, Land's End, and past Cabo San Lucas. It got a little lumpy off the cape but not too bad, the wind and seas were coming from the West so it was all from behind us and the boat just gently rolls in those conditions with the stabilizers out. We arrived at los Frailes in the early afternoon and had a nice afternoon nap, then dinner and back to bed for the night.

We did have one final adventure on our trip. Los Muertos was our last stop before La Paz and when we anchored it looked like it was going to be a calm and peaceful night. Not so. Just before midnight the winds picked up from the west, not very strong winds, 15 kts or so, but at a different angle from when we and the other boats anchored. Our anchor alarm which measures the distance from a way point we create when we drop our anchor to the current position of the boat, was indicating that our boat was dragging the anchor and although we couldn't see that we were moving the different direction we were pulling was getting us uncomfortably close to a small sailboat that anchored close to us in the afternoon. After getting up at midnight and watching the wind and boat location for half an hour we decided to pull the anchor and move away from the other boats and let out more chain. Once we moved about 1500' from the other boats we let out nearly 200' of chain and got a good set on the anchor. We sat up for another half hour to make sure everything was ok and then went back to bed to try to get some rest. Frank got a couple of hours sleep while Linda laid awake for most of the rest of the night. We're not sure why our 110 lb Bruce anchor dragged, it never has in the past, but maybe it pulled out of the sand bottom when the direction of the wind changed and it never got a good set after that. This is the first time we have pulled and reset the anchor in the middle of the night and were pleased with how well we handled it, no panic or confusion just a well trained crew... well not really.

At the dock in Marina de La Paz we had the marina mechanic come down and look at the leaking raw water pump on the Gen. He doesn't have a new seal for it so it's off we go with pump in hand in hopes of finding a seal in town.

We couldn't find a new seal for the Gen raw water pump in town but the mechanic found
a 'near new' seal in his shop so we are going to have him install that one. It looks in better shape than the one that was in the Gen so we hope to get through the winter with it and get a new one when we return to the states next summer.

We were going to stay in La Paz for 2 weeks but Linda wanted to stay through the first of the year so that took us up to 18 days and the way the marina prices the slip rentals 19 days at the daily rate is the same as paying for one month so we decided to spend a month here. So goes our plans.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bahia Santa Maria

Date: 12/11/2010
Location: Bahia Santa Maria
Lat/Lon: 24 46 N 112 14 W
Weather: Winds W 5-10 kts, morning fog, mostly sunny

In Punta Asuncion we discovered a water leak coming somewhere from the Generator. Frank spent a few hours in an embrace with the Gen trying to locate the source of the water only to find that the sea water pump is leaking from the shaft seal. Not something we can fix out here and we don't have a spare pump, should have one of those. The leak is not so bad that it stops us from using the Gen and as long as we're moving the only critical need for the Gen is to make electricity so that we can run the water maker. So we run the Gen for a couple of hours per day to make water (50 gals in 2 hours) and we'll be able to get the pump rebuilt in La Paz.

Continuing south, we finished our second overnight passage this morning starting yesterday at 10 AM in Abreojos (ah-bray-OH-hoz, love those Spanish J's) going 23 hours for 145 NM to Bahia Santa Maria. This is a large, open bay (bahia) that could easily hold 200 boats. Which is a good thing because when we arrived here at 8 AM the fog was so thick that visibility was less than 1/4 mile. Using both radars, the GPS, and electronic charts, not to mention Linda standing on the bow, we found our way into the bay and anchored clear of the 4 other boats already here. The overnight passage was full of stars and easy rolling sea, about as good as it gets for the outside of Baja. The evening started by both of us seeing a 'green flash' at sunset. This occurs just as the sun sets under the horizon and then seems to pop back up colored a bright green and then quickly disappears again. To my knowledge this only happens when the sun sets on the ocean and the air is clear. It's a well know phenomena amongst boaters but this is the first time we have witnessed it.

The weather continues to improve for the next few days so tomorrow we are going to move south 20 NM to the mouth of Bahia Magdalena and then the next day depart early to go around the lands end of Baja California and head north into the Sea of Cortes.

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Turtle Bay

Date: 12/6/2010
Location: Turtle Bay
Lat/Lon: 27 41 N 114 53 W
Weather: Winds W 5-10 kts, some overcast, mostly sunny

Clear sky's, calm seas and we're back on the water. Life is good. Six months on the dock in Ensenada has made us soft and out of practise on running and living on a boat in motion. It's different staying on a boat in a marina than cruising on a boat, closely watching the weather and charts and planning for your next anchorage. People who travel on their boat develop different skills from those who stay in the marina.

We're in Turtle Bay, officially Bahia San Bartolome, a little short of half way down the Baja peninsula. Turtle Bay gets it's gringo name from the abundance of turtles that were here when the gringos first arrived. There are few if any turtles left. We had 2 nice day passages and one overnighter of 30 hours. The seas could not have been better, at night you could see the stars reflected on the water it was so calm. The only challenge was an area of dense fog that Linda encountered at dawn of our overnighter. We had planned to anchor at Isla San Benitos, a small group of rocky islands west of Cedros Island, but the fog deterred us from entering the rocky anchorage that we had not been in before so we changed course for the east side of Cedros and an anchorage that is open and familiar to us.

The next morning it was a pleasant passage of 7 hours to Turtle Bay where we found 15 other sailboats and one trawler anchored. When we were here last in March 2009 there were only half that many boats. Turtle Bay is a village of maybe 200 people where the main road into town is the only paved road. We took Enrique's water taxi into town and had lunch at the hotel and bought some Coke and chips at one of the many small tiendas (stores), returned to the boat and decided to leave the next morning. Turtle Bay is a safe place to anchor and get some sleep but there's not much to see or do here.

It is getting warmer. We no longer run the furnace at night and you can wear shorts and t-shirts mid-day. Our outdoor thermometer is broken or I would give you the actual temp. We are eager to continue south, which we will do tomorrow.

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