Archive for November, 2007

Alive and well in Asuncion

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

I just wanted to write a quick post that we´re anchored in Asuncion and having a great time. The internet connectivity is too slow to really post any photos so we´ll do another post later about our trip down the coast so far. In short we´ve had good weather, light winds, and fair seas so it´s been a great trip but with quite a bit of motoring.

From here we´re moving on to Santa Maria and Bahia Magdalena so it´s possible we won´t have internet access for the next week to two weeks depending on how long we stay there. Hope everyone is well and look forward to reconnecting with folks once we have better connectivity!

Viva Mexico!

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

Woohoo! We’ve made it to Mexico! What a relief to finally be in a country with decent internet access, after all we suffered through down the coast of California! I tell ya, I don’t know how people can live in those conditions.

We had a fantastic sail from San Diego to Ensenada, although poor Eric was a bit seasick. The upside was that he could barely choke down one peanut butter sandwich, so he didn’t get hungry until after we’d docked. And Todd got the Cape Horn wind vane working, so it steered us for a good part of the trip.

Capn Gringo was a bit nervous about being in a new country where he doesn’t speak the language, but as soon as he found out he could get a meal of fish, shrimp, and steak tacos, plus a beer, for $5, I was worried he would never want to leave! Luckily, there is a strong surge in the marina where we’re docked (Baja Naval). This means the boat rocks a lot, and rubs against the fenders. But just to be sure he’d be willing to head south, I’ve been adding a few extra scuffs to the side of the boat. (more…)

On Vacation from Vacation

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

San Diego is home to fantastic maritime and cultural museums, the Cabrillo National Monument, and of course, the world-famous San Diego Zoo. We didn’t see any of it! We were too busy swimming, sitting in the hot tub, and figuring out how to get the sauna to an optimum temperature.

We arrived early on Sunday, Nov 4, to discover that all the $10 slips at the police dock were full; there was a big power boat rally in town; and there is a 24-hour waiting period to get a permit to anchor out.

We called one marina-resort that would cost us $150/night and required a 3 night stay. Many calls later, we had few options. One marina was $67.50/night; the other was the Marriott Marina, at $90/night, which included the use of the lavish pools and hot tub. “Well,” said Capn Silverspoon, “If we’re gonna splurge, we might as well have a hot tub!” Koiya flew in that night, and we went for an evening swim. And the next morning we went for another swim. Doesn’t leave a lot of time for sight-seeing!

The following day we moved to the San Diego Yacht Club, which also featured a pool, hot tub and sauna. I was worried Todd would never want to leave, but luckily the internet connection died in the middle of the week!

It wasn’t all fun and games, though. We had to carefully schedule our day to get to Downwind Marine in time for their free BBQ lunch; one day we got there too late and only got donuts! We also had all sorts of errands to run: I had to get Koiya to Border’s Books to use up a gift card, and Todd went to Tijuana to get his Mexican HAM radio license. And we hit Trader Joe’s a couple times, too. (more…)

Thank You, Marcus Anderson!

Friday, November 9th, 2007

Marcus Anderson is a former owner of our boat, from back when she went by the name Restless. When we were busy getting ready to leave, it was a running joke of mine to blame Marcus for everything that went wrong. If I came across a stripped screw, I’d clench my fist, wave it in the air, and yell “Curse you, Marcus!” And anytime something fell into the bay (like my iPod), I’d scream “That damn Marcus is so clumsy!”

But now that we are “out here”, I have a new appreciation for everything Marcus did to make our boat the awesome cruising craft that she is! Here is a partial list of things we have Marcus to thank for:

Glacier Bay refrigerator: With a cold plate that reaches 20 degrees F, we have the frostiest beer in the Pacific, and can even make jumbo-sized ice cubes! And the motor only needs to run for about 20 minutes, twice a day. Simply brilliant!

Solar panels: We were worried about how much energy we’d need to run the fridge, so we upgraded to bigger solar panels. But the key here is that Marcus installed the original pair, so Todd saw the whole project as a relatively easy upgrade. Marcus had blazed the trail, and all Todd had to do was follow it. This spared me weeks of pretending to listen as Todd first fretted about what a big project it was, then congratulated himself on how much he’d accomplished. Have a look at the vaillant boiler prices and check which one is feasible for you.

Charming Catalina

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

Catalina Island has a permanent population of under 4,000 people, but is visited by a million tourists a year! Since we only had a few days before we had to be in San Diego to pick up Koiya, we decided to head straight to Avalon Harbor. After hearing so much about Catalina, we were prepared to be disappointed. After all, it was certainly no Morro Bay!

We had to admit that it was beautiful, though, as the afternoon sun pierced through the fog. And Avalon, with its houses covering the hills, the boats in the bay, and its quaint streets reminded us of the Caribbean… minus about 20 degrees!

We launched the dinghy and went ashore to check out the town. “We’ll just find out where the services are, and look around a bit, and then go back to the boat for a nutritious dinner of kale and tofu,” I said. Todd grunted something that I thought was agreement.

Well, we got about 10 yards from the main pier, when Todd’s keen vision spotted a sign at El Galleon Restaurant: Happy Hour: 16 oz. margaritas $5. “Time to practice my espanol!” he cried.

Where Do The Days Go?

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

When you quit your job and go sailing, you think you’re going to have all sorts of time on your hands. You pack the boat full of books you’ve been meaning to read. You bring along 20 skeins of yarn (because you’ll need lots of scarves in Mexico!). You squeeze in materials for learning Spanish and Egyptian (well, there are pyramids there!). Oh, and hey, how about a guitar? Throw one of those aboard, in addition to the dozen harmonicas! By the end of the trip, you’ll be the nautical Partridge Family!

Let me tell you, you will not have time for any of it! Tasks that you barely gave a thought to suddenly consume huge chunks of your day. And without the structure that work hours impose, it is all too easy to succumb to laziness.

Take Tuesday for example. Todd and I slept in, then went online to check email, pay bills, buy insurance, and order still more things we think we’ll need. Our internet connection started out strong, but then became very flaky. Oh, the frustration! I mean, it’s one thing when you’re at work, just trying to waste time. It’s quite another when all you want to do is find a nearby Trader Joe’s. And downloading podcasts? Just plain torture! (Plus, I don’t even have time to listen to them anymore!)

So finally, around 2pm, we decided we’d get lunch and go on a reconnaisance mission, to scout out restaurants, the laundromat, and the place that fills propane tanks. Well, we found the shopping center with the laundromat, but weren’t too thrilled with the food choices.

Then I noticed Todd gnawing on his lip; a bad sign, because it meant he was thinking. Or rather, scheming. “Let’s go back to Chipotle, because it is right by West Marine, and I want to buy a folding cart to carry the propane tank,” he said. I was too weak with hunger to argue, so we trudged back to Chiptole.