Friday, September 05, 2008

April 2008

The Islands of La Paz

Abril 2008

We left Scotts Mills on Wednesday, March 26th @ 4:30 am with snow falling and arrived in La Paz @ 1:20 pm in beautiful sunshine with a 90 deg F temperature.

Took the Taxi to Marina de La Paz and found the Noe Mar covered with dust, but in good shape, with the exception of the batteries and it’s charger. I had left the house bank disconnected and the charger unplugged, hoping the solar panel would keep the batteries afloat.

Well, one battery was dead and hot (when charged) and the battery charger was toast. So off to town I went in search of a new charger. Carlos (Water works) sent us to Lopez Marine Services…and gave us directions in espanol…well, we had to ask but we found it. I purchased an IOTA Power Converter/Charger, DLS 55 for $305.53 USD. Apparently it is one of the sturdiest units, made in Canada and the USA. The Chinese manufactured ones are NOT allowed in Mexico and this eliminates 90% of those that we sell in the USA. It seems to work great, however, I am down to 2 good Optima batteries.

We fill out water tanks, fuel is OK…clean the boat, wait for the bottom to be scrubbed and then take off for Isla Espiritu and Isla Partida. Candy spends time, plots a course, writes down our heading (180 deg off due to my auto pilot flux gate compass pointing to the stern vs the bow). Puts in our way points and off we go.

To leave La Paz, requires you to motor a long distance out around the Mangrove Isla between the harbor and the Sea of Cortez. This takes about 1.5 hours motoring. At the very end, it is confusing, due to the marker bouys swinging the course tight to the shore and then out to the last two.

Wind? Not much, however, enough for the Genoa and Mizzen (increased from 5 knots to 6 knots that way). On the way, we saw a beautiful Schooner with her Ballon Jib ( asep spinnaker?) set, beautiful turquoise blue. Later, we, found out it was the “Magic” and her sails were built by Carol Hasse…small world.. Well, if we were going down wind I know we could do well with our Mizzen stays’l and our balloon jib.

A while later the wind picks up , I put the engine in neutral and raise the Main…as the Noe Mar heels over, I hear crashing below and the Ist Mate hollering that she asked me NOT to raise the main (hey, we were sailing) OOPs. So down it went and we motor sailed @ around 6.8 knots to our last way point….Caleta Partida…or the inlet between the two islands.

As we followed Gerry Cunningham’s GPS point for anchoring, I found we were in very shallow water (5.5 feet……or less). I turned the Noe Mar around and set anchor in 20 ft of water. Zoomed in on the computer chart, C-Map running on MaxSea…and left the system on, so we could watch us drag slightly. Hoisted the anchor and reset…now it seemed stable. Turned on the anchor light. However, we opened an eye every few hours and checked it, since we had three other boats near us.

In the morning we rowed the Tinker to the shore and walked in the silt…watching out for new coral growing. Later we fired up the Merc outboard (runs but it is smoking and wants to quit…I think the break in period is well over and the fuel is too rich).

Candy decides that she wishes to snorkel, but her shorty wet suit is too cold…so I get my light wt. full suit out and she goes snorkeling for a short time…………way too cold. I could get out my heavy wet suit, but it would be way too big for her. Anyway, she is gutsy and it was fun being an observer.

Time to collapse the Tinker (hate pulling a dingy…inflate able or hard…stowed it on the Port Side…ready to be washed and put away when we get back.

The last day in the bay, the winds were 17 knots all day….nice...however, when we raised the anchor (yes, all by a hand anchor winch)…the wind died………..and back to La Paz we went, motor sailing (with the Genoa poled out). It took us 4 hours to get back @ 6+ knots.

The next day, the owners of Magic came over and talked. Later they invited us to this gorgeous one off schooner. She will be shipped to Canada and put up for sale. All due to the First Mate’s eyes, very sad and great people.

Time to fly home and get ready to go down in the fall.

Cheers, Skipper Scotty