Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Santa Rosalia and South

Santa Rosalia South:

We leave the harbor of Santa Rosalia on Thursday, March 29th, 2007 after checking the latest Weather Buoy off Loreto. Looks good after a day…so we head for Punta Chivato on March 27, 2007. Make a call to Ed and Jean Epifiani and tell them we are coming.

The winds are 18-20 knots and the seas are rough…we sail fairly fast…about 7- 8.5 knots under Jib and Jigger (Genoa and Mizzen only…poled out the Genoa). When we take the whisker pole down…to prepare to go into Punta Chivato bay in high winds…it jams and Dave helps but it hits his hand…big time. I get it down but Dave may have broken a bone (later it appears not).

Ed stands on his roof of his “Eco” home (solar panels for all electricity and a deep well)…calls us on channel 16…we go to 22 and he directs us in…….winds calm down…we take in the Mizzen…and motor into a clam anchorage. Good place to hole up in a breeze. 27 deg 3.1126 N and 111 deg 59.2933 W.

Ed rows out to greet us…looks good for a retired Dentist J His row boat is like a dory but slimmer and trimmer. We inflate the Tinker…put out our boarding ladder…load up the engine and oars…and motor into the beach. No Surf…easy landing…tons of shells.

By this time Jean is back from Loreto (took friends to the aeroporto) and is there to greet us with warm hugs and smiles (Jean on the hugs…both on the smiles). We take a tour through their magnificent home…great kitchen…big “great” room…huge wood shop…upstairs is Jeans weaving room with 3 looms…next a computer room (satellite dish)…and a screened in breeze way….plus a guest bedroom and bath downstairs…and of course a master bedroom. All tiles and all stucco…beautiful place.

We go out for dinner and drinks…then into the dingy and motor back to a blinking red and yellow flashing light (the Noe Mar never drug anchor)…and a pleasant rest.

Up at 8 AM on the 30th of March…and we head for Loreto or rather Puerto Escondido. Dave gets out my ocean first aid case (cost $600 but worth it) and gets splints out for his hand…and wraps it. Very sore…but hopefully it is not broken.

Out in the Sea of Cortez…the winds are 17 knots and sailing is bumpy but good….7-8 knots. I do raise the main after a while…and I have the Genoa poled out. When we raised the Jib leaving Santa Rosalia…it whipped and broke the radar reflector…I will build one myself when I get home.

We are still having computer problems…but I am able to keep it running…this is serious…and I need to fully download my new computer and sink the GPS plus get all the charts up and running on it (it was loaded but crashed a month before this trip)…Of course I can always get C-map for my radar…and we do have 2 GPS’s and paper charts…but that is more work. By the way…all charts a frequently off in the Sea of Cortez…so keep a look out and try not to sail at night…unless you have a good moon.

Back to our trip…Dave gets sea sick…so I turn on the motor and lower the main…smooth’s the motion out and picks the speed up to 9.5 knots…slow the engine down…our hull speed is 7.5 knots. We check Cunningham’s book for the middle Sea of Cortez and find a hole to duck into for the night….winds pick up to 25 knots…time to settle down.

We duck into Punta Pulpito 26 deg 30.718 N 111 deg 27.4055 W that night…….trouble lowering the spinnaker pole again…I will solve this…….after that we talk to 2 other boats anchored there for the last 2 days. We put out 100 ft of chain…need to raise that tomorrow.

We leave around 7 AM on March 31th, 2007 and head out to sea…the winds died last night but the wind is up to 17 knots today…later it slows down to 15 knots Northerly. No pole today…but Jib and Jigger to Loreto. I had charted a course to down town Loreto so we could see the area, an oasis in the desert rugged mountains…nice spot. Highway 1 runs through it and Alaska Air flies into it. Sixteen miles south is Puerto Escondido and a harbor. Today we only sail and motor for 5 hours…we lower sails and go into the inner harbor.

Another Sinclair facility…all new, all Mexican government marinas. We call and request moorage….finally we are told ball 74 (very little English spoken and here I am with zip on espanol). We hook the line on the ball and get out the Tinker…over to the new marina. A Mexican family is having a picnic and nice music is coming out of the boom box. A young Senora comes and takes copies of all of our papers….ants everywhere…food laying around…big screen TV…no Wi Fi…no computers…however; the bano and showers are the same. This marina will never have regular docks…but will have fuel and water shortly. No hot water in the showers…but hey…it is clean and refreshing.

The Iridium phone lets both of us keep in touch with our wives and allowed me to have Micro Soft re-register my XP operating system…yes it was MS that shut my system down and it took me around 100 minutes to get it re-registered…at a nice cost of $1.70 per minute…thanks a lot Bill Gates. Fortunately I had an Iridium phone and could re-register with it…because I did not have the ability to be on the internet. Without this process, my main computer would shut down. I do like the C-map on a Furno radar…but it sucks more juice and is not nearly as nice a format as MaxSea (which I have) or Noble Tech (which Ocean Planet used). I might add, thanks tons Pat (my tech son-in-law…seems the Oregon State Police have encountered this shut down my MS).

We left Puerto Escondido this morning at 7:30 Am on April 1, 2007…headed to La Paz…no wind (zip) so it is motor all the way (unless the wind god is favorable).

Just out of Puerto Econdido, Dave sees a lot of “fin whales”…and the tourist panga watching them. They put on a good show for him…I get to scan my computer that crashed again with Lava Soft….unfortunately I cannot use most virus protection software because it interferes with Ocens…etc….Oh, well, I am getting good at it. Both computers go home for a total check up …thanks Pat and Bruce (our work IT guy) for all of your help and keeping these things working. Later, I find all is well, just need to tune my systems up a we’ bit.

Today is bad sailing…no wind (3 knots) and 75 deg F outside…82 inside…apparent wind is 9 knots…so we create a nice breeze…but the motor is running…L very, very “treste”. Dave is busy reading about Captain Cooks boat (a replica) and it’s crew as it sails around the world. Apparently it has a big Aussie crew that sings ditty’s that irritate the women crew members….like: “I wish all the women were bricks in a pile and I could lay them all” ???? Apparently these Aussies don’t have Candy as a wifeJ. Dave says the women complained about sexual harassment…but it didn’t get them far. Apparently this replica of Endevor is very accurate and they have all volunteer crews that sign on for a short tour.

Well, we are going to take the Canal de San Jose…should cut an hour off our sail…at this minute we are off Punta San Marcial (for those with a map of the Baja).

We are going to make an all night run for La Paz…Dave needs to get home…and I could use a little time to straighten up the Noe Mar…sorry all of you sailors…but we have seas of glass until around 3 AM…by then it is to late to set sail…and to dark. Dave’s hand is still very sore. Check the next blog about La Paz.

Skipper of the Noe Mar……….Ken

San Carlos to Santa Rosalia, Mexico

San Carlos, Sonoma, Mexico, Marina Real…………………Sunday, March 25, 2007.

David (my son) and I arrived, finally, in San Carlos after 4 PM Sunday…seems US Air has a problem getting their act together…one of the reasons I chose to move the Noe Mar south to La Paz (there I can fly Alaska or Delta…not only do they use USA airplanes but they have a far better record of “one time flights” plus they are cheaper by half the cost.

Upon arriving at Marina Real…we found the Noe Mar filled with dust. One would never believe I painted her deck the day Candy and I left last time.

Also the Marina Office has moved to closer and newer headquarters…very nice.

Several projects to do and the Merc engine (which all the local staff at Marina Seco called the “Barby” engine…only 3.3 HP) to pick up (repaired). One of the projects is the “mast head light”…by the way Candy, David does not believe that you winched me up the mast (more than once, I might add). OK, after washing the deck and putting our food and cervasa away, Monday AM…up the mast…down the mast…up the mast…down the mast………OK, got the point? I went up the mast 4 times…and Dave did a great job but he wondered…where is the electric winch???

As it turned out…the main wire had a break in the plus lead…the light bulb was burned out…the unit itself was and is a mess (too old) and it needs a new one…LED??? However, after a trip to the Merc dealer in San Carlos (also the West Marine dealer) we got new wires and a new bulb (no mast head fixture available). Dave repaired the light fixture (actually he jammed the new bulb into the old fixture, since the new brighter and higher wattage, had the wrong prongs on it). Hey…it works and works great.

Next project before I got the boat ready to depart on Monday eve…check out how the SSB works for various talk stations. Everyone says that “Don” says we will get our “butts” kicked if we take off on Tuesday…OK, OK, we will leave tonight. However, I cannot download a GRIB file and Accuweather says that all will be very calm….hmmm…where did “Don” see 30 knot winds?? Don’t know but I am not waiting to find out. Dave reads all my SSB books and figures out how to check on “Don” and crews that are chit chatting. Never hear “Don” but a lot of chit chat…boredom?

We get Isabella (Marina Real’s port Master) to give us transfer forms to La Paz…to be shown to Santa Rosalia if asked. I get the latest info I can on the weather from Accuweather (should’ve used www.Bouyweather.com )…we get to the fuel dock just before they close and take off @ 5:08 PM on March 26, 2007.

27’ 56.8258 N & 111’ 06.3281 W…we raise the sails (I use the working jib…just in case)..set the autopilot for 52 deg (remember it is 180 deg off…I need to remount the fluxgate compass). After inserting a waypoint…I check our distance…79 NM to go.

Beautiful sunset…take a video and go for my little camera…oops…where is it? Not sure…did I leave it in the shuttle coming here??? Need to scour the Noe Mar for it (later found it).

Nice moon for most the night…I sack out for (around 8 PM) a few hours after my quick dinner (Dave prefers gourmet cooking vs my fast cheese tacos..or sandwiches, washed down with cervasa). Get up @ midnight…take over the helm…27’ 38.856 N & 111’ 40.76 W…motoring on flat glossy seas @ 5 knots (was 6.5 knots when we had a wind) checked our distance to the harbor in Santa Rosalia….36.8 NM to go…hope it is daylight when we arrive. I read all the articles (using a red headlight…makes for weird reading) in this months Crusing World…relax in these glassy seas. Dave sleeps well…and I am bored and sleepy. Come below…keep an eye on the radar & computer. Watch the ferry go to Santa Rosalia (yes, it beats us)…Dave gets up and takes over.

Just out of Santa Rosalia in early AM…we get a small breeze…I shut off the engine and we sail nicely. Now, right in my path to enter the Marina…pangas every where…so I fall off…Oh well, time to take down the sails and enter the harbor.

Dave calls the marina…This is the Sailing vessel, Noe Mar, calling Santa Rosalia Marina. They answer and we request a slip for the night…yes, they have 20 available…and they would wait for us on the dock.

WOW!...four of them there to anxiously tie us up to the brand new (albeit small walk ways) dock and system that was made in Canada…they quickly ask us if their prices are to high…and hurriedly show us the new showers, new offices, etc. They are proud of this Marina and the President will be here in a few weeks to dedicate it. They will take us into town (we walk)…they will let us use their computers for the internet…and so it goes. Price??? 10 pesos per foot plus 10% tax…per night……or $36 USD. Spendy.

Dave and I check out the town…look at the Eiffel church (a prefab church built by Gustaf Eiffel…aka Eiffel Tower)…neat.

I finally got hold of Ocens and learned how to use the Iridium phone to dial Mexico…it is “0052+ the numbers”…not 011 as you would do in the USA. So, I down load a 3 day GRIB file from Chopper…they call for 18 knots period. I try to call my friend Ed Epifane…no luck…he is out and about. I even find where I put my little camera…Hooray!!

Remember this is Tuesday, March 27, 2007. I noticed that the Davis Weather vane was twisted…so Dave hoists me up the mast with the preventer system (block & tackle on land)…oofff…I can’t reach it but Dave hands me the pole from the fore deck and I shove it around to it is straight. Seems to work. He challenges me about Candy helping me do this with this system. Candy will have to vouch for me.

David takes us out to dinner in a small diner…good food and good rum, but to much ”carne”….Oh well. We get to bed late.

I wake up @ 3 AM on Wed the 28th…the boat is being smashed into the dock and the wind is up to 25 knots…OOPs…better listen to “Don” vs Chopper of Max Sea. I put another line on the bow…bend a bolt over that was left on the docks (as a guide to make them all square). Do my best to cross tie it better…give up and go back to bed. Shine the flash light on the weather station…31 knots and???

All day we get 17-28 knots….get hold of Ed and he says the channel we will go through is doing 30 knots. I get a printed download of the Bouyweather Global weather service…it is specific for all the bouy’s in the Sea of Cortez. It will let up some on Thursday AM…we plan on going south to Punta Chivato and anchoring behind it until Friday. Then Friday on the winds subside. This will give us a 5 hour start…and a nice visit with Ed and Jean (Dave says sitting here is boring) and be safe. Checked out the Cunningham’s charts…it is a good holding area for Northerlies and Ed agrees (he is a very experienced sailor and lives here).

My main computer is fried…think it has a virus (turns out later…it is MicroSoft that shut it down, read the next blog) …I only use it for Ocens mail and Grib files and then rarely. I have down loaded everything onto my new laptop (my back up) but CMap is not letting me open every thing (since I forgot my codes…I have them now). Still, we have paper back ups and a GPS…however the GPS interface to the new computer is not working…so we will travel in daylight from now on. The marina here gave us keys to use the computer system tonight (or so they thought)…so I will see if I can get help downloading a new driver and CMap to open up my paid for charts (actually did it when I got home…and I have the codes on my laptop). Need to cover ALL of my bases before I take off like this…paper still works in an emergency.

Dave is off shopping…I am finishing this for the day, fresh cup of coffee…and then it is shower and shave time. Dave’s espanol is pretty good…gets me out of trouble with the locals J.

Check with everyone tomorrow (Thursday)……….Skipper of the Noe Mar….Ken