May 4th, 2010

Our friend Rick says, when you’re homesick it’s because you want to go home and when you’re seasick it’s because you want to go to sea. Oh, if only that were the case!

We left the anchorage at Frailes mid-day on Saturday May 1st bound for Hilo, Hawaii. We had good sailing until that night when we were left with no wind and washing machine seas off of Cabo San Lucas. Knowing there had to be wind ahead around the cape we motored for a couple of hours and at midnight were sailing again.

The last couple of days have been mostly, well, miserable! Although conditions have been great with just the right amount of wind our seasickness has limited our activities to sleeping, laying on the cabin sole wishing we could sleep, dry heaving over the rail, and cursing the ijiit who bought 4 cases of beer and only 4 bottles of Gatorade.

On our 2nd day out a brown booby circled the boat a number of times before landing on our new life lines for a rest. Although we knew our kindness would be repaid in guano neither of us had the heart to shoo the little guy off. He preened and rested for several hours and then left us, but not before paying his bill in spurts on the foredeck.

The other night I was laying on the cabin sole between checking the horizon for ships while Capn Sweet Dreams was asleep in Sequoia’s berth. Suddenly he raised himself up and shouted “Ahoy there!” Confused I replied “I’m right here” as I was a mere 5 feet away from him. He mumbled something incoherent in his half asleep state so I said sternly “you’re hallucinating, go back to sleep, and next time buy more Gatorade.”

Thankfully we seem to be acclimating now and surprisingly this is one thing that Todd has done faster than I. We’re hopeful that we’ll soon feel good enough to add watching movies, reading books, and drinking beer to our vast daily repertoire.

Miles to go: 2350
Beers remaining: 90 (sigh)
Dead squid on deck: 2

Almost (but not quite) Gone

May 1st, 2010

Left La Paz Tues 4/27, great sail to Caleta Lobos and a quiet night at anchor.

Weds 4/28 went thru the Cerralvo Channel, but were surprised by southerly winds; still managed to sail most of the way, and decided to anchor at La Ventana, where we spent another day waiting for the winds to change. Unfortunately, they did at about 11pm- came strong from the west (reported to be 40 kts)! Had an uncomfortable night but decided to wait it out. Later heard of two boats on the rocks/beach at Muertos, on the other side of the point we were at.

Awoke to screaming winds and large swells, so we decided to get out of there. Had our walkie-talkie headsets on for the operation. Capn Calm N. Collected’s commentary: “Oh my god! NO! Ahhh! Oh, f#%*!” I thought he might be hurt, praying “God, don’t let it be his hands! He can’t support me if he can’t type!” Turns out we were just paying out anchor chain unintentionally. Got the anchor up with the only victim being our heavily chafed snubber, got the hell out, and had a good sail down to Los Frailes.

Sat 5/1: Still deciding if we strike out this afternoon or wait til the morning. Next landfall Hilo?
Capn Junk N. DaTrunk’s latest trick: sitting on the auto-pilot remote. He puts down the remote, forgets it, sits on it, then exclaims in shock when the auto-pilot goes wild.

Miles to go: 2675
Beers remaining: 90.

Goin’ to Hawaii

April 26th, 2010

That’s right, we’re provisioning and prepping to cross the Pacific! Well, part of it anyway. We hope to depart from La Paz around April 27, and spend the night at nearby Caleta Lobos. Then, depending on the weather, we might anchor at Los Frailes or Muertos (on Baja’s East Cape) or just head on out to sea.

Are we scared? Are we excited? No, we’re in denial. We’re just focusing on our To-Do list, like we would if we were hauling the boat or planning a cocktail party. No big whoop. We’ll have time to get nostalgic for Mexico, second-guess ourselves, and generally freak out when we’re under way. Read the rest of this entry »


April 21st, 2010

Our friends Anna and Naresh arrived in La Paz on Monday, April 12, bringing goodies from home, and the sweetest delivery of all: Sequoia! In short order we’d eaten at Rancho Viejo, Koiya had a swim on the Mogote, we saw dolphins, and we hit La Fuente for ice cream, knocking four big items off Sequoia’s To-Do list.

Naresh has a tendency to fall asleep at 9pm no matter where he is: on our couch, at the movies, during parties. This has earned him the nickname “Pumpkin”, because he turns into one. Luckily, 9pm is known as “Cruiser’s Midnight” down here, so we knew he’d be fine as long as we gave him a comfy place to nap. But we were a bit worried about how Anna would fare on the boat, as there is a Lil Pumpkin on the way!

Despite a bit of sea-sickness on our first day out, Anna was a real trooper and took to sailing gracefully. Not so graceful is her diving; when we took an evening swim at Playa Bonanza, she did a full-on belly flop from about 4 feet off the water. This had the odd effect of turning Todd and Naresh into Mother Hens, who flapped about the decks clucking “The baby! The baby!” Anna turned to me and just rolled her eyes. “As soon as you’re pregnant, no one cares if you’re hurt, it’s just all about the baby,” she sighed. I told her to quit whining and get out of the water before Lil Pumpkin got chilled. Read the rest of this entry »

Back in Baja

April 11th, 2010

We spent a fantastic week in Bahia Concepcion. It was great to be back out at anchor, where our daily schedule was something like: eat, read, drink a beer, sleep, repeat. For a little variety, we occasionally took a swim, or drank a margarita.

We also met Geary at his palapa in Playa El Burro. Geary gives a weather report every morning on the Sonrisa HAM net, and has the perfect radio voice. He’s also a really nice guy, and we had a couple of pleasant evenings chatting out on his porch.

Our birthdays were made special by morning soaks in the natural hot springs. The tide was a bit too low for the makeshift tubs that others had built, so we built our own little tub that mixed the scalding spring water with sea water to achieve an agreeable temperature.

Another great birthday treat: a full moon! What a pleasure to put on some music, mix a margarita, and sit out on deck to watch the sun set, then turn around and watch the moon rise. Read the rest of this entry »


March 26th, 2010

On Sunday, March 21, we took the bus to Guerrero Negro, to take a whale watching tour in the Ojo de Liebre lagoon. This lagoon hosts more gray whales than any other, so we were willing to brave the 3 hour+ bus ride.

It was pretty stressful getting there. We went to the station at 6:15am to catch the 6:25 bus, only to find that the 6:25 bus actually left at 5:25. Luckily there was a 7:15 bus that, given our guess that the trip would take 3 hours, we hoped would get us to Guerrero Negro in plenty of time for our 11am tour. And we were doing great time… but when we got to Vizcaino, the bus driver announced we were stopping for 40 minutes to get breakfast. Then that 40 minutes turned into over an hour…

Luckily we made it, and within minutes we’d paid for the tour and were on the mini-bus out to the lagoon. On the way, the guide told us more about Guerrero Negro, and we learned that 25% of the world’s salt is produced there. Some of it becomes table salt, most is shipped to Japan where it’s used in everything from cosmetics to fabric softener, and some is used to de-ice the roads in the US. We saw a barge being loaded with salt from a pile hundreds of feet high- amazing! Read the rest of this entry »

Back Out There!

March 20th, 2010

Well, it took us a month, but we finally got all our projects done and left San Carlos on St. Patrick’s Day! We had a great overnight crossing. Despite the light winds, we managed to sail about 3/4s of the way, so we were happy with it.

As we got underway, we discussed our watch schedule and the course we’d take. “Does this course have us going north or south of that island?” I asked. “What island?” responded Capn GPS Navigation. “Um, the one right in between us and Santa Rosalia, that is probably impossible to see on a moonless night?” I replied. “An unlit island in the middle of the Sea? What are the odds?” said Toro, heading below to check the chart. (Note to selves: Check the friggin’ paper chart!) Read the rest of this entry »

I’ll Drink to That!

March 15th, 2010

Our friend Ross lost over 40 pounds last year. He blogged about his formula for weight loss: Eat Less, Work Out. (I have since been trying out a corollary- Work Less, Eat Out- with limited success. Total failure, actually.)

The last five afternoons, the wind has been so strong in the anchorage that we’ve had to stay on the boat, in case the anchor drags. Late one afternoon, having finished a book and a crossword puzzle, not to mention countless games of Boggle on Toro’s iPod Touch, I was ready for a little physical exercise. I thought Capn Built-In Swim Ring might want to join me.

“Wanna work out?” I asked.
“Chuh!” scoffed Toro, taking another swig of tequila. “I’ve hardly eaten anything today. I don’t need to work out!”
“You just gonna drink yourself skinny?” I replied, trying to point out the empty calories in his plastic mug.
“That’s right!” he boasted, slamming the mug down. “I’m drinking myself skinny!”

Well, he’s certainly come to the right place- or rather, chosen the right lifestyle- to do just that. There are far too many reasons to drink when you’re cruising: you’re getting together with other cruisers, it’s hot, it’s cocktail hour, the sun’s going down, your boat has problems so you need consolation, you fixed your boat’s problems so you need to celebrateā€¦.

Sometimes you drink because you want to send an email (because some restaurants/bars offer free internet), and you have to order something before you can whip out your laptop. When we first got to San Carlos, we went to two different bars, trying to get online, and both places were having connection problems. Toro was exasperated, and uttered one of those instantly classic quotes: “How many beers do I have to drink to get an internet connection?!”

I try to remind him that this is one of those problems that is good to have. Kinda like being stuck on your boat all afternoon because it’s too windy to leave her.

We’ve got the new windlass all wired. As soon as we get a good weather window, we’ll be leaving for Santa Rosalia. It’s about 75 nautical miles away (a short overnight sail), on the Baja side.

Check out how great our brightwork looks (if I do say so myself!):

And while I’m bragging, I just have to add… Ladies (and some of you men), eat your hearts out! This man is all mine!

No Time for Tsunamis

March 6th, 2010

Everyone has been asking if we were affected by the tsunami caused by the Chilean earthquake. Though we kept the VHF radio on to hear updates from other cruisers who were monitoring bouys off of Acapulco, Manzanillo, and Cabo San Lucas (which saw .5, .9, and 1.2 foot surges) we weren’t very concerned. We were too busy getting ready to launch! And thankfully, there was really no effect here.

We’ve met a number of people whose boats were flooded while they were in “dry” storage during the hurricane. Typically this happened because the cockpit filled with water and then emptied into the cabin. For some it has just meant a muddy mess to clean up; for others, it has meant lost gear, dead batteries, and ruined engines. One guy (who, incidentally, is responsible for reintroducing wolves to Idaho- you meet such interesting people while cruising!) had hoped to spend a month sailing the sea, and instead is hauling his rusty engine back home. So, we were even luckier than we realized!

We worked hard getting ready to launch. While Todd was busy taking the engine apart and then putting it back together, I was in charge of scraping all the old cetol (varnish) off the boat. After coming off my previous job of waxing the hull, which took two days and left me with some sore muscles, I was glad to move on to a less taxing chore. Read the rest of this entry »

Hassle Free Zone

February 22nd, 2010

We had a lot on our minds when we left Sacramento on Weds, Feb 10. Our most immediate concern was whether our car’s transmission would fail; the fluid had contained metal shards which apparently is not ideal. Plus, we were carrying a ton of stuff- mostly clothes, books, and the like, but also bottom paint and a new electric windlass, and we hoped not to be searched by customs. In the back of our minds we worried about the condition of our boat and her batteries. And to top it all off, this year Sequoia has decided to take up “rock star cruising” (she’ll let her crew move the boat to desirable locales, and just fly in here and there for a week of fun). Knowing we wouldn’t see her until April made us so sad!

Despite a certain snobby tenant of ours (Omar) scoffing at our road trip itinerary, we were excited to stop in Bakersfield and Tucson on the way down. Our friend Adam has a huge, cool apartment in an older Bakersfield neighborhood close to downtown. It was great to walk to the new Padre Hotel for a drink and dinner, and catch up with Adam’s fascinating work and romantic life!

Though it’s about 600 miles from Bakersfield to Tucson, the drive was uneventful and there are definitely worse ways to spend a day than blasting through the desert at 75 mph. There was no room at our usual B&B, but luckily we found a great little cottage on craigslist, and the two-night minimum suited us fine. That way, we had a day for relaxing and last minute shopping, and two opportunities to indulge in what really draws us to Tucson: Magpie’s Pizza! Read the rest of this entry »