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Back in Mazatlan after 1603 miles

Posted on Sunday Nov 6, 2005

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Yeah!  We did a 49 hour passage from San Carlos to Topolobampo and another 46 hour leg from Topolobampo to Mazatlan.  We were able to sail quite a bit on the first leg, but the second leg we had crappy winds and only sailed for about 10 or 12 hours.

 

Our “loop of the Sea” from Mazatlan up the inside of the Baja, then back down the mainland side, which we took a leisurely 7 months to complete, covered a total mileage of 1603 miles.  Wow!  And here we thought we were “just going up into the sea for the summer.”  It’s a little funny that it took us only 5 days to cover about 420 miles back down the main land coast and about 6+ months to cover the 680 or so miles (as the pelican flies) from Mazatlan to Puerto Refugio (with a billion stops in between).

 

So we’re going to visit Sherrell’s dad for Thanksgiving, make plans for future family rendezvous and try REALLY hard to get some more boat work done.

Topolobampo -- Say it!

Posted on Friday Nov 4, 2005

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Even if this bay wasn?¢â??¬â??¢t a great spot to rest on our way to Mazatlan from San Carlos, we probably would have come here just to say the name: TOPOLOBAMPO. Say it with me! TOE ?¢â??¬â?? POH ?¢â??¬â?? LOW ?¢â??¬â?? BAM ?¢â??¬â?? POH Yeah!

This little town gets lots and lots of ships and cruise ships so the channel and entrance are marked with navigation aids up the wazoo, including 3 separate sets of range markers. It?¢â??¬â??¢s a thing of beauty after so many comically charted entrances with no aids. Not that the charts here are any good, it still shows us anchored in the middle of town, but with nav. aids life becomes a lot less stressful.

The aids allowed us to enter the bay at 3:30am in the pitch black dark of dark and pitch black dark nights. Our radar punched through the night and lit up the marks like stars in the sky. We could also see the navigation lights really well too, until the fog rolled in.

We were swallowed by it! It swooped down and ate everything in sight. We couldn?¢â??¬â??¢t see more than 10 feet, even the well lit channel markers 30 feet away were a feint glow. It was really bizarre! Fortunately it cleared as we approached the town, and shortly there after we were saved by the rising sun revealing the glory of TOPOLOBAMPO.




Birthday, Yard Work and Friends

Posted on Monday Oct 31, 2005

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Sherrell spent her birthday working on the boat in the yard. As you can see from the photo I kept her slaving away. We did celebrate her birthday with a group of friends. One group we met almost a year ago coming down the US Pacific Coast and the other group we recently met in Bahia de Los Angeles over the summer. It was a fun get together with gifts, some poems and even a VEGAN cake from Batwing!

As I write this we are back in the anchorage. The wind is blowing like crazy, but it?¢â??¬â??¢s good to be back in the water. We had to wash off about an inch of dust on the decks, and there seems to be grit everywhere. We?¢â??¬â??¢re all stocked up and ready for the long two legs down to Mazatlan, 180 miles then 240 miles. Non-stop it would take us about 5 days, but we?¢â??¬â??¢ll probably stop in Topolobampo and rest. We?¢â??¬â??¢d like to leave tomorrow, but we?¢â??¬â??¢re waiting for a clear sign that the weather is going to be good and not blowing like crazy.

Hauled Out!

Posted on Saturday Oct 22, 2005

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We got our boat loaded up on the yard?¢â??¬â??¢s trailer and we?¢â??¬â??¢ve already got the bottom cleaned and prepped for paint! Hopefully we?¢â??¬â??¢ll be back in the water before Sherrell?¢â??¬â??¢s birthday and we?¢â??¬â??¢ll be good to go for another 2 years.

Comings and Goings

Posted on Monday Oct 17, 2005

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Lots of people who left Mexico for the summer are starting to migrate back to San Carlos and launch their boats again.  We’ve been catching up with some of the people we knew from Mazatlan and it’s been fun going to a grocery store and selecting items we want to eat rather than taking whatever’s not rotten.

 

We’re both really glad we stayed in Mexico this summer.  Especially after we hear tales of gas prices, customs inspections and all the hustle and bustle that people endured going back to the US.  We have tons of great memories and met a bunch of great people while they fought the rat-race.

 

Our expected haul-out date is Oct. 21.  We’re doing some routine maintenance and then back into the water.  Hopefully we can get all our work done quickly so we can take off for Mazatlan.  As things stand now, we are just waiting for some friends to arrive with our bottom paint for the boat then we can put the gears in motion.

Across the Sea

Posted on Thursday Oct 13, 2005

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We left B of LA bound for San Carlos 3 days ago.  Because there are several islands up in the north part of the Sea of Cortez we were able to do shorter legs to reach the other side.  We went from Puerto Don Juan (in B of LA) 27 miles to Salispuedes Island.  We were hopeful to get some rest before the 40 mile leg to Isla Tiberon, but the anchorage was too rough, so at 10pm we sucked up our self-pity and made a night passage to Tiberon, not our idea of resting.  We spent the following night in a rolly anchorage on Tiberon called Dog Bay, but we were too tired to care.  At noon the next day we did the 80 mile leg (overnight) to San Carlos where I’m writing this now.  Along the way we saw a pod of 6 Orcas and 3 Thrasher Sharks, pretty damn cool.

 

So, San Carlos is an expensive gringo retirement community (read nightmare).  On one side of the bay there are $3+ million dollar mansions built into the cliffs and mountains, and on the other are small wooden shacks where the Mexicans live.  It’s a little disturbing how much money some of these people have, a lot of decadence.

 

Anyway we’re here specifically to work.  We have to get the boat out of the water and get busy.  Our friends on Ocean Lady and Batwing have been helping us to get some work supplies down to us from the US (along with 6 months worth of our mail)!  We’re excited to be here, but I have a feeling we’ll be even more excited to leave.

 

It’s been 5 months since we’ve had direct access to fresh water (meaning we don’t have to fill containers and haul them out to the anchored boat).  There’s a fuel dock here where we can take the boat right up, park it and fill the tanks.  It’s also been about 6 months since we’ve been able to wash the boat with fresh water, not to mention how long it’s been since we could take a real carefree showers where we can use more than a quarter of a gallon of water!  Oh luxury!

Otis fizzled

Posted on Tuesday Oct 4, 2005

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PHEW!  Otis burned itself out and didn’t make it across Baja.  We spent several days nervously listening to the SSB weather predictions, stripping the boat down and checking and rechecking our anchor gear.   But we’d rather be ready for nothing than sitting on anchor getting pasted by a storm!

 

Another goodie is out there brewing.  Hopefully it won’t come our way.  We’ll be in town preparing for the crossing to San Carlos in the next week or so!

It's hitting the fan

Posted on Friday Sep 30, 2005

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Otis is going to give us trouble one way or another.  It’s going to be here around Monday.  Hopefully it follows its predicted path and travels up the outside of the Baja before crossing over to us.  If it does this, it will loose power down to a Tropical Storm and we’ll expect to see torrential rains and 40-50 knot winds.  If we get lucky and it turns out to sea (doubtful) then it will be just another day in paradise.  Either way, we’ll be out of touch until later next week.  You can watch the action from the safety of your home:

 

http://www.nhc.noaa.com

 

Look for OTIS in the Eastern Pacific.

Otis

Posted on Thursday Sep 29, 2005

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Well, Otis could be coming our way in the next few days.  It’s not expected to get much bigger than a category 1, and the current models show it going on the outside of Baja, then curving inland towards Bay of LA.  However if it follows this track, it will be killed by the land before reaching us.  The problem is the center of the storm is difficult to find due to the convection around it and it is moving slowly, both of those things make the models unpredictable.  Keep your fingers crossed that Otis turns out west and burns out.

 

The other strange thing is that a week ago almost half of the boats up here decided to head back south.  Hurricane season is just getting dangerous this time of year because they start to “recurve” and head towards Mexico instead of Hawaii.  We’re not sure why so many boats decided it was all over and left, but there are only about 14 boats left here, when there were 30.  Hopefully the season is winding down after Otis, but we’re still sitting tight.

Back in the B of LA Again

Posted on Wednesday Sep 21, 2005

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Traveling down the outside of Isla Angel de la Guardia was a bit of a bust in terms of sailing, but the scenery made up for it. We had to motor down the entire outside stretch, often against some strong current of 3 to 4 knots. On the way up we sailed like crazy in 20 to 30 knots of wind, so I guess we had to pay the price on the return trip.

Anyway, it was great to come back to town and pick up some ice and cold cokes. Oh, and we found 3 Dr. Peppers in one of the lockers! Wow! You can?¢â??¬â??¢t find Dr. P anywhere and we discovered them in La Paz and bought a bunch. So months ago I thought we?¢â??¬â??¢d run dry. Our pleasures are simple out here, and I was delirious when Sherrell found three cans rolling around! Now there?¢â??¬â??¢re on ice!