Sunday, December 26, 2004

December 26, 2004 – No Snow for Christmas

Author: Scott and Pam

After arriving in Puerto Vallarta we had a week to get in the Christmas spirit, it really wasn’t happening while at sea. We went about shopping for gifts and planning Christmas dinner. On Christmas Eve we made a traditional dinner (sort of) and had Abe, Amy, Rhea and Stan over to the timeshare. There was no oven in the kitchen at the timeshare and the biggest turkey we could cook on any of our boats was ten pounds, so we opted for rotisserie chickens. It was a very fun evening, ending with a rousing game of Five Crowns, a new favorite card game. I looked around PV for a string of lights or some small Christmas decorations, but I really couldn’t find anything. It certainly is not like the US where there are isles of marked down decorations even before Christmas. Christmas Day is not the significant holiday in Mexico, the twelve days of Christmas is observed ending with the children receiving their presents on All Kings Day on January 6th. Our Charlie Brown Christmas tree was a small felt cutout hung on the door handle of the TV cabinet (Amy’s contribution), it was perfect. We spent Christmas Day with Abe and Amy opening presents, eating homemade chicken tacos (that is what you do with leftover rotisserie chicken), laying by the pool (that was a first) and playing cards. There was no hustle and bustle, cards to send, parties to attend or stress, it was a wonderful Christmas with the focus on our special life gifts.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Journal Entry – December 17, 2004 – Puerto Vallarta 20°39.1N 105°15.0W

Author: Scott and Pam

The last leg of this passage is here. The day started with another potential naked sighting, this time it was Scott taking a shower in the cockpit. Po’oino Roa left early leaving us alone in the anchorage. Half way through Scott’s shower he heard a boat round the bend and whoops from the occupants. It turned out to be our friends Nick and Nikki on Star Gazer. We found it funny and exciting we knew the only two boats we encountered at Isla Isabela. It is very difficult to feel alone while cruising, meeting new people seems to be part of every day. Pam is trying to keep a list of the people we meet and their boat names.

We left Isabela at 9:30 hoping for a nice beam reach to PV. The wind direction had changed overnight and it ended up being a combination of downwind sailing and motoring. It was another beautiful day. As mentioned, stopping at Isabela was part of the plan to arrive in PV on Saturday and during daylight. This allowed for a leisurely sail and no worries if we were only going 2 knots. The trip was pretty uneventful, but as we approached the mainland navigation considerations were staying the required 20 miles off of Isla Las Maria’s (the forbidden prison colony islands) and a channel between Punta Mita and Isla Las Tres Marieta’s (five-mile chain of three small islands). Our watch schedule didn’t work out quite as we planned and Scott ended up only getting three hours sleep all night. We approached PV as the sun was rising (see the scrapbook for the awesome sunrise picture). We made a plan to connect with Eleytheria during the Amigo net, but when we switched frequencies we could not hear one another, they are a couple days behind us. PV is in the state of Jalisco and a new time zone (CT) for us, we are now two hours ahead of CA and one hour ahead of the East Coast. Once in Banderas Bay we radioed Marina Vallarta, our planned destination to arrange for a slip. The “Paperman” responded and asked us to call back when we reached the breakwater (the entrance to the marina). The Paperman (in this case represented by Ceicilia) is an agency that helps with the port check in and out process and is also somehow associated with the marina office. Pam called back at the designated time with hopes of getting specific directions to our slip, M12. The directions given were, when you get to O dock there will be a big white boat named Lunacy, turn right. Then when you see Sea Hawk another big boat turn right again. Ok, the only dock letters we saw were A and E and a big white boat named Invader. Scott made two circles while we considered what to do. You really don’t want to turn down the wrong channel, then you are faced with turning around often in a very narrow dead end space. It would be a good time to mention the marina was very busy with traffic, at one point a power boat was coming at us and a panga driver decided he could also fit, Scott held his course. We were also attempting to communicate with each other using our walkie talkie’s, but the channel we always use had constant chatter. We couldn’t get a word in, so that plan was aborted. After the second circle Ceicilia called us on the radio and said she could see our mast and to continue coming straight and she would be on the dock at M12. When we finally found our slip there were four people on the dock to catch our lines, a very welcome sight. Paperman offered their check-in services, let’s see run all over PV for an entire day or pay a $20.00 fee, hmmmm. We discovered there was no power or water available for our slip. When we checked in at the office, she promised it would be fixed on Monday or we could move to I dock. Moving was not on our agenda, so we agreed Monday would be fine. Our batteries were fully charged and should be fine through the weekend. We went to breakfast and then back to the boat to set about our chores. Scott took a short nap, while Pam started the task of packing to spend three weeks off of the boat. We finished this task together and it felt like we packed half the boat, but the bases are for sure all covered. We left the boat around 3:30 and took a taxi to Villa del Palmar, the time share. The rest of the day we spent enjoying every opportunity to be in water, the Jacuzzi, pool, bathtub and shower. We ended the day by having dinner at Pipi’s, Scott’s discovery of the best guacamole and he is right. We are thrilled to be in Puerto Vallarta, it was our best passage so far and we are on a high. We will probably only post sporadic entries for the next three weeks while we are on land. It is our plan to leave PV on Jan. 11th and continue heading south.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Journal Entry – December 16, 2004 – 22°05N 106°25W, 0610

Author: Scott and Pam

My second three hour watch is coming to an end. I just saw the first two boats we’ve seen in more than 24 hours. One appeared lit up like a Christmas tree, the other seemed to have almost no lights at all. I wonder where they are going? Here today, gone tomorrow would be an appropriate description of the wind. After our excellent day of sailing on Tuesday, we have had virtually no wind since early yesterday morning. It seems to be picking up and hopefully we can get back to sailing. We are now about 110 miles from Puerto Vallarta. We will. decide later today whether to stop at Isla Isabela for the night. We have too far to go to arrive during the day tomorrow, so we will come up with a plan for an early in the day arrival on Saturday. Scott woke up yesterday with a head cold, fortunately he doesn’t feel too badly. I started to teach him how to play cribbage. I look forward to playing again, it brings back fond memories of playing with my family. Fish report, the statistics of flying fish have increased on this trip. We found a fish in the cockpit yesterday morning. I may have heard him land in the night, but I am not sure. If he did come in for a landing while I was sitting in the companionway, he missed hitting me in the head by a few feet. I really hope that doesn’t happen. Minutes after Scott (I have decided it his job) threw that guy over, I came back out into the cockpit and could now smell fish. I looked on the portside catwalk to discover another one had just landed. There was also fish innards hanging from a reefing line, the fish was on the dog house. It really is pretty yucky, we decided we now need a daily dead fish patrol. It is time for my next nap and to listen to and check in on the Amigo Net on the SSB radio at 0700. Will today bring some wind?

Scott here, I am now on watch and taking over Pam’s journal entry. We have 25 miles to go until we reach Isla Isabela or we will fall off to a nice beam reach to PV. The wind has picked up (9 knots) and we may have a nice sailing day. When Pam wakes up (1030) we will make our decision on the itinerary. Good news, we were able to check in on the Amigo Net this morning with a strong signal. We have been plagued by faint transmission, but nothing that a manual and some fidgeting with the SSB radio couldn’t solve. I am feeling rather punky today, I hope this cold passes quickly, but at least it is just a nuisance and not debilitating.

Now it is 2200 and we made the decision to sail to Isla Isabela (20°50N 105°53W) and it turned out to be a great plan. We arrived at the island around 1430. There are two choices of anchorages here, on the south side near the bird observatory (Pam was not interested in anchoring anywhere near thousands of bird nests), and there is an anchorage on the east side near two giant rock spires that tower over 150’ tall. I guess we are building a reputation among the other cruising boats. As we pulled into the other anchorage there was another boat anchored and they quickly deployed their dinghy and drove over to say hello. It turned out to be Jerry from Po-oino Roa, and he was eager to give us tips on the best place to anchor. After anchoring Jerry confessed that when they saw us pull around the corner, Kathy was taking a shower in the cockpit and was naked. Jerry quickly grabbed the binoculars as said “no need to worry honey it’s just Tournesol and they are not going to see you”. We invited Jerry and Kathy over for a cocktail and snacks and agreed to meet in about an hour.

Once we were safely anchored and tidy, Pam and I jumped into the beautiful blue water for a swim, Pam got to try out her new lycra dive-skin. The water was a warm 82 degrees and crystal clear. Although we were anchored in sand, this was our first anchorage with coral and rocks and our boat sat over a coral head, but we still had at least 10’ of clearance. You could also hear our anchor chair rubbing on rocks somewhere near the anchor. After our swim we prepared for company. We did not have much in the way of appetizers, but we managed to put out nuts, cheese and crackers. Kathy and Jerry came over and we talked about our respective trips and where we were going next. Kathy brought fresh jicama in lime juice and canned sausages cooked in teriyaki sauce. They also brought us some of the fresh fish they had caught while staying at Isla Isabela. We can’t remember what kind it was, but it was a treat cooked on the BBQ. We finished our nice evening off by watching “Big” and getting a pretty good night’s sleep (we were both up several times checking on the anchor and our position).

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Journal Entry – December 14, 2004 – Good Bye La Paz

Author: Pam

We left La Paz yesterday for Puerto Vallarta our next destination in Mexico. Yesterday was uneventful. It was a beautiful warm and sunny day, with no wind what so ever. We motored the entire way to Bahia de los Muertos. We arrived at 2100 and anchored for the night. We try to avoid anchoring at night usually, but we knew we would be arriving after dark and we were comfortable with our knowledge of the anchorage from our previous visit. We left Muertos this morning at 1030 and have made excellent time all day. It was another beautiful sunny day and wind has not been a problem. It has been blowing 15-20 knots, with waves of 9-12 feet. We have been traveling at an average speed of 6.5 kts all day, which is excellent progress. Today was our best sailing day since the beginning of our trip over two months ago. We both spent a lot of time at the helm, it was great sailing practice. For entertainment we played a modified version of a game we learned during sailing class. The waves were providing a great surfing opportunity; the challenge was to hit the highest speed. Pam won with 11 knots, a number we had never seen on this boat. We hove to for two and a half hours and made baked chicken and rice for dinner. It was bumpy due to the waves and there was a bit of spilling, but nothing serious. The trip to Puerto Vallarta from La Paz is 383 miles, we are currently 262 miles away. We will arrive on Friday or Saturday. We will be staying in PV for three weeks on land at Scott’s timeshare. We will berth the boat at the downtown marina, there isn’t any where to anchor at the present in PV. We will spend time at the boat working on various projects. We are looking forward to sleeping in a bed that is not moving and endless showers. We are also looking forward to the holidays and to visits from our friends, Andy, Patti, Mike and Randy over the next three weeks. We plan to leave PV on January 11th and head towards Zihautanejo.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Journal Entry – December 13, 2004 – Tournesol’s Face Lift

Author: Pam

During our three week stay in La Paz one boat project after another seemed to present itself. The first order of business was to reconsider how we had organized the storage areas on the boat and to take on the overwhelming task of reclaiming the v-berth. As a side note, during our original packing plan we had decided to bring the v-berth mattress, but with no plans of sleeping on it any time soon. After more than a month of sleeping on the settees, Scott decided we should reclaim the v-berth. It would be difficult to describe how overwhelming this idea was initially, but consider that the v-berth is our largest storage area and we had taken full advantage of this. Long story short, we emptied almost every storage area on the boat and started over again. The goal also included more knowledge of what we needed more access to under way. We unburied the mattress to find it had begun to mold, nothing a bleach bath and a day in the sun couldn’t cure. The mold added fuel to our determination. Much to our surprise we found a home for everything and slept in the v-berth for most of our stay in La Paz. The boat feels in much better order than when we first left, but I am sure there will be more fine tuning as we go.

The next project happened after a man came by the boat one morning and told us he charged $10.00 an hour for varnish work. We had planned to begin refinishing all of the exterior wood in Puerto Vallarta, but who wouldn’t consider this offer. So, after getting a bid and a promise the work could be completed by our departure date in six days, we hired Havier on a handshake (not the original person, we never saw him again). Over a four day period on a sporadic basis the wood was sanded down to remove all of the Cetol that had turned an unsightly orange. We were sure we would not use Cetol again after removing it and seeing the natural beauty of the wood. However, after much debate about Cetol vs. varnish, Cetol won. Cetol will better withstand the sunny hot climates we plan to visit. It is also easier to maintain, it wears from the outside in, where varnish wears from the inside out. We should therefore be able to maintain the Cetol with light sanding and one new coat. Back to the accomplishment of the project, we soon found hiring Havier meant hiring everyone and their brother. In the end we were not sure how many people worked on sanding, but on Saturday morning when there was still half of the boat to sand, we woke up to find four people going to town, including a boy no more than ten. The deadline was extended one more day, due to the addition of the handrails and hatches, otherwise all was on schedule. We paid $3500.00 pesos for this work, which included the Cetol. We have since learned it is not uncommon to make $7.00 a day, but we are still in awe of how this money was shared amongst the at least eight people involved. The wood looks beautiful after four coats of Cetol and we are thrilled to have a better starting point for maintenance.

We had an awesome in the right place at the right time experience. One morning there was a boat parked at the fuel dock that looked a bit like Tournesol from a distance. When we approached the boat we found someone working on the roller furler on the bow, so we asked if it was his boat and the make. He was not the owner, but he was a rigger, and that was something we were in need of. Scott described the problem with our boom and asked if he could take a look. He knew exactly what the problem was and said he could fix it, but not until next Tuesday (it was Saturday). We said that would be great. The next thing we knew he was on the boat, determined a solution and decided to just take care of it. The boom needed to be removed from the gooseneck, then the four bolts attaching the boom to the gooseneck had to be drilled out, and larger bolts with nylocks needed to be drilled and tapped. In a little less than an hour the problem was fixed and his fee was $45.00. Wow! We highly recommend Jeffery from Dawn’s Rigging.

Next enters Chui. We learned early on during our stay in La Paz that Chui is the man to see about canvas covers. Tournesol is now decked out in green sunbrella with new covers for the outboard motor, BBQ, aft hatch, life raft, a winch cover replacement and a bag for the dinghy and our second head sail. Again, the cost of his labor is astounding. We would have paid five times what he charged us for these hand made items. Now dealing with Chui is a completely different story, he shows up when he wants, usually refuses to speak English though he lived in the states for years and speaks great English, and never really lets you know if and when the work will be done.

We were very satisfied with all of the above and ready to leave La Paz when one morning at breakfast Bob (an acquaintance Abe had made) mentioned the guy who does his canvas and upholstery work. Somehow this lead to Bob offering to take us to meet Rafael to discuss the possibility of getting our settee cushions recovered (you see there was an issue months ago that involved tomato soup). The next thing we knew we were in the car with one of our cushions and off to a fabric store. We chose a fabric and headed over to Rafael’s shop. Yes, he could take on the job and committed to deliver them on Saturday, which was in four days. This would extend our stay again, but it was worth it. He quoted and charged us $1500.00 pesos (approximately $135.00), this included fabric and labor. The cushions arrived on Friday and they look absolutely beautiful. We will post a picture in the scrapbook soon.

Since we had a few extra days we finished off our stay by giving Tournesol her much needed bath. This included polishing all of the chrome in the cockpit, waxing the green stripe and many other small details. She looks beautiful, is well organized and even more ready for her trip around the world. Scott also gave the engine an oil change and performed regular maintenance.

At last we are ready to go, but not so fast. On the “net” on Saturday morning a cruiser announced during swaps and trades he had two solar panels for trade for coconuts (you can not sell anything over the VHF radio). We contacted Bill on Shazam. He came over and described exactly what we had decided we wanted to add to the boat to generate more natural power. We got so distracted by considering the solar panels we forgot to check out (you can not leave a port without checking out with Port Capitain). Once we remembered around 4:00 pm the office was closed. Our plan to leave on Sunday was postponed until Monday morning, but we are now leaving with two additional 50 watt solar panels. Mounting the solar panels will be one of our projects during our stay in Puerto Vallarta. More later on how we use solar energy.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Journal Entry – December 8, 2004 – Our Pause in La Paz

Author: Pam

After anchoring for two nights in the Virtual Marina a slip became available at Marina de La Paz. We eagerly seized the opportunity to be at a dock and out of the wild notherlies (winds up to 40 knots) that had kicked up and was causing those anchored to be on guard. We had been warned about the La Paz Waltz, because of the strong current and wind patterns the anchored boats tend to move in different directions and can come within feet of each other (they say and sometimes kiss, but hopefully not too hard), it is advised to give your boat twice the room you would ordinarily when anchoring. Our second night anchored we returned to Tournesol from shore with Abe and Amy to find Fiesta (a very large powerboat) dragging it’s anchor and only ten feet off of our bow. We quickly pulled the hook and moved a healthy distance away from the beast and everyone else. We learned later Fiesta has a reputation for dragging anchor and only has a 45 pound CQR with 20’ of chain for ground tackle. We experienced many more days of northerlies while in La Paz, but safely tied up at the dock. All be it, we had one of the rockiest slips at the end of the marina, it was like being at home in Pier 39. The best thing about our slip (besides being on land and near showers) was the proximity to the fuel dock just a few feet away, we didn’t have to move an inch to get fuel. This was a nice bonus, any chance to not have to park at a dock is fine by us.

We have spent our days in La Paz very busy working on boat projects, more on this in a separate journal entry and eating it seems. Our first lunch was at Super Taco, a street taco stand listed in the Lonely Planet travel guide. They only have fish, but it is everything from octopus to clams. After you get your tacos, which consist of your tortilla and fish of choice you finish them off with over ten choices of toppings, i.e. salsas, onion combinations, cabbage, cucumbers, guacamole (and don’t forget the hot sauce)… Basically by the time you are done, you can barely pick it up, much less fit it in your mouth. See the Scrapbook for a photo of Abe and his creations. Also, after you have stuffed your tacos and yourself you have spent less than $10.00.

As mentioned on Thanksgiving we discovered La Fuente (the fountain), the local ice cream shop. We have visited frequently (there are pros and cons to this), but it is unbelievably delicious ice cream and a fun way to spend time with friends. La Fuente is located on the Malecon (waterfront street). We have been watching as they have spent days stringing electrical wire attached to Christmas lights from one palm tree to the next. No need for Christmas trees here.

Then there are the cheeseburgers and chicken tacos at the Racing Club. Fortunately it has not been open every day, I think Scott is becoming addicted to both. The owner is American and a former cruiser who has settled in La Paz, he certainly knows what makes a good cheeseburger and has mastered one of the best chicken tacos Scott has ever eaten. We have also shopped at CCC, one of the grocery stores and cooked dinner on the boat a number of times, sharing fun evenings with Abe and Amy and John and Joanne from Western Grace. It seems we have a great appreciation for food when we are on land, this will not be true for some of the more remote places we will visit during our adventure.

Playing cards and watching movies with Abe and Amy has occupied many evenings. They taught us how to play Five Crowns, a very fun (and for someone who will remain nameless) competitive card game. One night we went to the Racing Club for the famous burgers and tacos, Monday night football and a rousing game of 31 (another card game). Another evening was spent at the Racing Club listening to the local cruisers jam and meeting new friends (yes there were more cheeseburgers and tacos consumed). We have also discovered the local mall, with a 15 cinema theater. We have seen several movies so far. Thank goodness Abe speaks fluent Spanish, he translated the movie description and helped to make sure the movie being shown was in English. We did buy tickets for “The Eye”, to find out moments later it was a Chinese film with Spanish subtitles, that would have been interesting. We have also had several “movie nights” on Eleytheria. Abe and Amy brought a collection of over 200 DVD’s and share the same enthusiasm for movies. Since we have no room for movies on board, we are thrilled to have a DVD connection, at least for now while we all travel around Mexico. As you can see Abe and Amy have been popping up a lot in the Journal entries. La Paz has offered a wonderful opportunity to get to know them better and spend endless silly times together. We are thrilled our paths have crossed and look forward to a long and lasting friendship.

The cruising community gets very involved in supporting the local communities, especially the children. We learned the government only pays for education up to the sixth grade in Mexico, after that it is the family’s responsibility. This combined with learning about a community just outside of La Paz where everyone lives in houses built from tar paper and other items found at the dump, with no running water and only one electricity line that most people can not afford, certainly makes you wonder how much education these children will receive. One cruiser was organizing a Christmas celebration for this community and was collecting toys, we donated a soccer ball. The other event we attended was Sebasta (auction). It was a live (in English & Spanish) and silent auction with a raffle, small flea market and bake sale thrown in. Most of the items auctioned off were used boating equipment. There wasn’t anything we needed, but Scott contributed by eating his way through the bake sale and discovering the hot dogs and beer. Coincidently Abe and Amy won a gift certificate for four double scoops of ice cream from nowhere other than La Fuente. Now, who could they possibly share that with?

One morning we were visited by Robin, he had just arrived as crew on Necton a power boat from Newport Beach that coincidently was berthed right off of our stern. He wanted to say hi and to let us know he had sailed on Tournesol in attempt to participate in the Trans Pac with the previous owner. As a side note, they did not make it to Hawaii, they were becalmed for four days and had to turn back due to the constraints of their schedule. On another day, we met Fred on the dock and within minutes found out he knew all about us from Arnstein our sailing instructor. He and his wife Jane had sailed to La Paz aboard Merry Dolphin and it turned out Fred had been one of Arnstein’s sailing instructors at Club Nautique in CA. We are finding the world really is small after all.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Journal Entry – December 1, 2004 – Critters

Author: Pam

We have encountered enough critters (dead & alive) to merit a journal entry dedicated to the sorted challenges. I am sure critters will become a thread woven throughout this adventure, unfortunately. As you know, much to my dismay we had two bird visitors on board, including disturbing my beauty sleep. Since then we found a small dead fellow on the bow, he had an unfortunate crash into a shroud. On another bird note, the dominant bird in Mexico seems to be huge pelicans. They are the size of puppies and stare at you as you pass by at eye level in the dinghy. This of course always makes me wish our 4 horse power motor could go just a bit faster. Then there are the birds that make a daily game of target practice for every surface and item on deck on your boat. I spent the entire day cleaning bird _ _ _ _ off of everything in the cockpit today. So, how many points do you think they get for multiple shots at the narrow rail, I am sure it must be more points for the cushions, they are much harder to clean.

Fish? We do not have any gear or licenses yet. This may come later, we haven’t found what we are looking for and well than there is the matter of the idea of Scott cleaning fish anywhere on the boat. As I have said, fish innards, blood and Scott could be a messy prospect. I rather like the idea of buying fresh fish from the fisherman along the way already filleted. We’ll see. Then there is the dead fish factor. We have now found two small dead fish on deck. One was definitely a flying fish, the other was not identifiable. I am sure we will have more flying fish stories, but we have now seen our first one all be it dead. What happened there, a fish with wings. They are REALLY weird looking. We understand they can cause quite a mess if they fly on board full speed into a surface. Yuck, I am not looking forward to that day. On another dead fish note, in Muertos I stepped on a dead puffer fish on the beach. Ok, that was like stepping on a dead porcupine. He was not big, but of course he was puffed up at death, he must have been scared. There was a big (14 inches) puffer fish swimming around the boat the other day, his portrait will be in the scrapbook as soon as Scott has time to transfer some pictures. Apparently, they are edible, but the preparation is very difficult. Not one I plan to learn, they are really ugly and I can/t imagine very tasty. The other night as we were going to sleep we were surrounded by a sound like the snap, crackle, pop of rice krispies somewhere in or on the boat. Ok, what is that? I asked Scott if he heard it, but I was not willing to say my first thought out loud. It sounded like a thousand cock roaches in the walls. Mind you we don’t really have walls, but in the moment that thought was lost. After some detective work and breath holding on both our parts, we determined it was the little fish swimming around the hull. We are not sure if they are killing their prey, eating off of the hull, slapping their bodies or eating rice krispies, but we really don’t care as long as it is not bugs.

Bugs? As mentioned in the last journal entry cock roaches are a big problem on boats. So far, as far as we know we have no new roommates. We have been given the “secret recipe” from a woman who cleaned boats and they apparently never had roaches. The recipe is a combination of sweet cream (yum) and boric acid (oh no). You mix this concoction into a paste the consistency of toothpaste and then put it I am not sure where yet. We have the ingredients and we will be putting up the barriers soon. In the meantime, when we go shopping it is a much more complicated process to put the groceries away. No cardboard is allowed on board, cock roaches love cardboard houses. Last night Scott sat out on the dock and copied the directions for boxed deserts on to index cards so we could throw the boxes away. While he was doing that, I was down below washing all of the vegetables in a bleach solution and rebagging them for storage. We are both hoping we don’t have an epidemic of cock roaches, but we also have been advised it is a huge challenge.

The other big bug challenge would be those that bite. While in Muertos Scott was attacked either by No Seeums or Sand Fleas, we are not sure which since we didn’t
seeum. At any rate, he got more than two hundred bites in one evening. He is allergic to many bites at once and was miserable for several days. The up side, the Lap Paz bugs don’t seem interested in him, but they love me. The back of both of my legs is chewed to pieces. Once again, we are not sure this time if they are no seeums or mosquitoes. At any rate, they itch like the dickens and don’t seem to want to go away.

Finally are the before mentioned Jelly Fish who apparently love me. They are not my friends. I got stung in Muertos several times. I have not been swimming since. However, there is a woman in La Paz who makes tailored lycra dive skins. We now both own one and I look forward to going swimming with some protection. There are at least two kinds of jelly fish. The clear ones and the string of black pearls. The black pearls wrap themselves around whatever limb they encounter, i.e. your forearm, which means multiple quite painful stings. Though vinegar helps (we have been told you can pee on the stings, though this had not been tried yet), it is still quite uncomfortable for several days.

Needless to say the last few weeks we have had many critter encounters.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Journal Entry – November 25, 2004 – Thanksgiving

Author: Pam

We thought we might have pollo (chicken) tacos for Thanksgiving dinner, but alas there is turkey in Mexico. A cruiser’s Thanksgiving dinner was organized by a couple of the cruisers who are living in La Paz long term. The turkey, cranberry sauce and drinks were provided. Everyone was asked to bring a side dish and your own plate, silverware… By the time we signed up, the request was for veggie dishes. Those who know me, know this is not my favorite food group. We purchased numerous cans of green beans and I made up a bean salad. 150 people were signed up for the dinner and when we arrived and went to add our salad to the table it looked like there were 150 dishes (several with green beans). There was more than enough food, even for people like Scott who visited the line more than four times, I won’t say how many. It was a good thing I brought extra paper plates. Unfortunately, there was a misunderstanding about the temperature (Celsius vs. Fahrenheit) between the person hired to cook the stuffing and the organizers, it was not finished cooking until after most people had dessert. We shared the meal with Abe & Amy from Eleytheria, Rhea & Stan from Vagari and Marianne & Drew from Soy Libre. The dinner was held outside at a neighboring marina, it was a warm sunny day. Abe, Amy, Scott and I decided to walk back to our marina, under the pretence we were all full, but truth be told we all secretly wanted to walk by what was to become our favorite ice cream shop. It was open, Thanksgiving is not a holiday observed in Mexico. We all made room for a scoop or two (depending on who you were) and called that dinner, since there was no leftover turkey for sandwiches. It was a very nice day and certainly a perfect example of the cruising community we are becoming a part of.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Journal Entry – November 21, 2004 -La Paz 24°09’N 110°19’W

Author: Scott and Pam

Today feels like it was ten days long. The trip from Los Muertos kept us both up most of the night. We had great wind and traveled most of the way at over 6 knots, but the passage was a little tricky because you have to thread your way through the Lorenzo Channel a five mile wide channel that divides the mainland from Isle and then you make a 90 degree turn to port to enter the La Paz bay while staying clear of shoals on both sides of the boat. Sounds tricky but it turned out to be fairly simple in execution. Another boat (who will remain nameless) actually made the trip on autopilot while the crew watched DVDs in their V-berth with an occasional glance out of the hatch.

It was fun getting the chance to travel with buddy boats. If you recall, we were a little behind the pack during the Baja Ha-Ha and so we did not get the chance to travel in a pack and chat on the radio… We lead the way for most of the trip, but we were finally overtaken by Eleytheria and Amazing Grace as we entered the La Paz bay.

They say that there are two kinds of boats, those that run aground and those that lie about running aground. We considered being the second today, but we are true to our oath to be completely honest in our telling of this tale, and so the truth is we got stuck in the mud as we entered the final channel into downtown La Paz. Those of you who have navigated the channel in Sausalito can appreciate the approach to La Paz. There is a narrow channel that hugs the shore despite miles of open (and very shallow) water in the La Paz bay. As we were just about to enter the channel, squish, we were stuck in the mud. After sailing all night and with just a few final miles to go, we were bummed out. We knew that we were just finishing the tidal cycle and within a few hours the tide would flood enough to free us, but who wants to sit around for others to see. Just then Eleytheria called to see how we were doing, and we sheepishly reported our situation. This is a good example of how helpful the sailing community can be whether you want help or not. With just the slightest mention of being stuck, Amazing Grace overheard the conversation and started seeking assistance for us, and before you knew it there was all kinds of chatter on the local net channel. We wanted to sink the boat and crawl deep in the mud to hide. Fortunately, we were able to switch channels and fend off any further assistance until we could assess whether or not we would need help from the cavalry. Our friends on Eleytheria graciously offered to dinghy out to help us, or at least wait out the tide with us.

Everyone should get stuck harmlessly in the mud now and then, so you can practice all of those techniques for freeing your boat that you learn about when you take sailing lessons or read sailing manuals, today we tried most of these techniques. We actually freed ourselves three times with various techniques just to squish back into a new mud trap. We were finally released from our captivity with the help of a local panga with a monster outboard. The plan was to use a halyard to heel the boat while we drove forward and out of the mud. The plan worked brilliantly and we meekly slunk into La Paz.

Today is Sunday and the marinas were closed. We had to anchor in the “Virtual Marina” which was once a real marina until a hurricane decimated it a few years back. Now you can stay anchored at the Virtual Marina for about three dollars a day, and use their dinghy dock, showers, and other services but there are no slips to tie up to.

Once we were anchored we were anxious to check out La Paz, and we were starving. We got a dinghy ride from Abe and Amy and met John from Amazing Grace and Andrew and Drew from Soy Libre at the Dinghy Dock. Food! We were off on the hunt for food and we sure found it. With complete dumb luck we happened across Rancho Villejo a street café with wonderful smells drifting out onto the street. “Let’s try it” we all agreed.

As I sit here writing this entry, the turmoil of the day has been washed away by the eight scrumptious carne asada tacos that I consumed at Rancho Villejo. The food was excellent and the cervazas were tasty. Our group of six plus one child feasted for less than thirty American dollars.

Tomorrow will be a big day, our first land shower since San Diego. I can hardly wait!

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Journal Entry – November 20, 2004

Author: Scott and Pam

Whew, we are back on the boat after quite a wild dinghy ride back from the beach. The wind has shifted direction and is now blowing from the south. This anchorage is a great shelter from the north and west, but very exposed from the south and east, so the seas are picking up and our gentle anchorage is turning into a roller coaster.

Today we went for a morning swim and Pam was mercilessly attacked by jellyfish again. Pam is now determined to visit the lady who makes dive skin suites in La Paz. It is so strange to us that such beautiful water can be full of nasty creatures. After the swim we got ready to head over to the beach for some Frisbee and relaxation. We broke out our pink (Scott likes to think of it as salmon) cooler bag, threw in some drinks and we were off in the dingy to pickup John from Amazing Graze and head to the beach. We managed one of our first beach landings without a hitch and staked out our spot on the beach near a small tent city of beach campers. Soon we were joined by Abe and Amy from Eleytheria and Andy and Drew from Soy Libre. The guys started talking boat engines and Pam and Drew got busy in a game of Frisbee. When the guys got tired of engines they joined Pam in the Frisbee game. A few minutes into Frisbee and Pam squealed in Pain. Another fish attack, but this one came back from the grave. Apparently, a puffer fish had sacrificed his life so that he could leave is blown up carcass on the beach just to spear Pam’s foot when she returned to earth after a dazzling Frisbee leap. Pam was hobbled and had to hop over to the beach blanket.

Dinghy ambulance to the rescue! Scot jumped into the dinghy and grabbed the first aid kit and returned to the beach for emergency puffer triage. After cleaning the wounds and applying antibiotic cream, it still looked as if Pam had at least two spines left in her foot, this will require further observation to avoid an infection. On one hand we are glad that we came so well prepared for first aid emergencies and illness, but would be nice to have fewer needs for these supplies, at least our medical needs have been minor thus far.

We ate lunch at the Giggling Marlin and by the time we finished the weather had changed significantly. Our calm and peaceful anchorage had a wind shirt and waves with whitecaps were already rolling in from the south. We had to make two trips in the dinghy to return the Alethereans back to their boat and then return to the beach to get Pam and John. We had a bit of a scare because we ran out of fuel, but we had enough fuel in our gas can to complete the trip (just by the skin of our teeth).

Once back on Tournesol we decided to depart ASAP. We spent the next few hours preparing the boat while we rocked, rolled, pitched, yawed, bounced, and basically felt like we were inside of a pinball machine. We are now about ready to pull up the hook and head off to La Paz. Eleytheria, Soy Libre, and Amazing Grace will be right on our heels in about two hours, and Stargazer will be leaving some time in the middle of the night. It will be nice to have a little convoy as we pass through two channels to get to La Paz.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Journal Entry – November 19, 2004 – Bahia de los Breakdancing

Author: Scott and Pam

Hello from Bahia de los Muertos 23°59’.2N 109°49’.5W! We arrived yesterday as the sun was setting and had an easy anchoring in 20’ of pristine aquamarine water with a white sand beach off our port beam. Our trip from Los Frailes was a hard beat into the wind. The trip took eighteen hours to make only 48 nm. From the time we left our anchorage until we dropped the hook in Los Muertos the seas were sloppy and confused making for a turbulent long ride for us. One thing that stands out during the journey is our too close for comfort visit from a large ship. This wasn’t due to a careless lack of attention on our part. The ship closed in on us in the middle of the night. We took the appropriate actions to increase the distance between our vessels, however they seemed to just continue to bare down on us. When the ship came within a mile of our position Scott haled them on VHF and asked “Vessel on our starboard aft quarter do you see us on radar?” They came back with an immediate and clear “Yes we see you and we will continue to hold our course.” Although this was never a dangerous situation, it made us feel very vulnerable and gave us the feeling the ship was just trying to rattle our cage, and it worked. Another observation we have to share is just how bright a cruise ship is at night! You can see a cruise ship from over ten miles away and we are visually impaired. There sure are a lot of cruise ships in Mexican waters making nighttime passages. It makes you think a little about midnight buffets and champagne. Well, we had our gummy sharks to eat on watch.

Today we woke up slowly, completed boat chores and made plans to go to the local market with Amy and Abe from Eleytheria, John from Amazing Grace, and Andy from Soy Libre. Scott swam ashore and met the group as they dinghied to shore. We set out along a long desert road in search of fresh vegetables and maybe something to cook on the barbecue. It turns out our original understanding that the market was about three miles away was just a little off the mark. The market was actually eleven kilometers or about seven miles from the anchorage. Like troopers we trudged in the heat without complaining. We passed some cows walking down the road and passed the time wondering who had put tires on the upper branches of giant cacti. As we entered the small group of buildings that was not large enough to call a village, the first thing we came upon was a sign advertising the Cock Fights on Sunday nights. We also noticed the many roosters we could hear all around us. We were sure in an interesting place, cock fights and tires on cacti, what next?

We found the “Super Mini Market”, and it wasn’t quite what we had in mind. There was a woman sitting on a bucket in the middle of the store watching a television and she never looked away or acknowledged us. The shelves were almost bare and our visions of fresh meat and vegetables were dashed. By now we were parched and they did have cold sodas and beer. We all found a few items and headed outside to consider our options for the return seven mile journey. As we were sitting on the stoop a white pickup drove by and Amy thought the occupants gave us a big stare. The truck made a u-turn and after Amy waved them down, they pulled up in front of the store. Abe negotiated a ride for us in Spanish and the six of us piled into the back of the truck with the cart and groceries. The trip back went much quicker, but the truck stopped at the end of the paved road and we figured we had reached the end of the line and we would have to walk the remaining distance along the dirt road. As we were preparing to climb out of the truck the four occupants told us not to worry, they would take us all the way back to the beach. We figured maybe they needed to use the bushes or something, but they turned up the truck’s stereo and started breakdancing in the road. Apparently they wanted us to see their dancing ability. They were doing handstands, spinning on their backs and knees, and putting on quite a performance. One guy was just standing off to the side and Amy asked why he was not dancing. He told Amy to join in, and before we knew it, she was out of the truck doing cartwheels (we got a great picture, see the scrapbook). Once we got over the shock, we all had a laugh at just how weird and perfect the whole situation was.

Once back at the beach we decided to eat at The Giggling Marlin the only restaurant around. Our group of cruisers grew to nine, including Drew who is four and the first “boat kid” we have met. What an incredible experience life must be for Drew who has never lived on land.

During dinner the subject of cockroaches on boats came up. Now you have to understand that Scott hates bugs. Well, apparently there are three kinds of boats; boats that have bugs, boats that say they don’t but really do, and boats that are trying to get rid of bugs. We have come to learn that bugs, roaches, and lice are endemic among many cultures and these pests usually find their way aboard visiting yachts. They and their eggs usually hitchhike with cardboard and packaging

Once back at the boat, Pam decided to treat herself to a “fancy foot bath”. Scott went along and we both now have peppermint feet. We are both realizing how special the little things in life can be and we are certain this is only the beginning.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Journal Entry - November 17, 2004 - Los Frailes (“Fry-layz”) 23° 22’N 109°25’W

Author: Scott

We took a few days off from journaling, and since our last entry we had a chance to see our first movie outside of the United States (Alfie) . The movie was in English but had Spanish subtitles. We also had a chance to relax and enjoy Cabo a little, eating at a few of Scott’s favorite restaurants. You can find the best homemade lasagna at La Dolce! We also had some time to work on the website and send email to friends.

On Monday evening we hoisted our anchor and left Cabo astern to head around the east cape into the Sea of Cortez. We ran our engine for a few hours to feed our batteries that are still not fully charged after the Turtle Bay situation. We decided on a two hours on and two hours off watch, with two watches each to get us through the night We have seemed to settle into a variation of two and three hour watches when we make passages. If we can hold to a three hour watch cycle, we find we stay well rested. We always time our watch schedule so we are both awake for landfalls. Unfortunately, our ambitious plan to arrive early in the morning was thwarted by winds in our face most of the night. We were only able to sail for about three hours and our maximum speed was 4.8 knots. After we made the turn north we had winds of twelve knots right on the nose, with no hope of sailing. At least our batteries got lots of juice, and our engine performed like a champ!

We are now anchored at Los Fralies in 22’ of very blue water. Los Fralies is 42 miles northeast of Cabo San Lucas. There is a massive 755’ rocky headland that makes up the northern wall of the south anchorage. As you approach, the edges of the shale slabs are what looked to early explorers like friars climbing at an angle (see scrapbook).

When we arrived our first order of business was to get wet. We had already changed into swim suits prior to arrival and as soon as the anchor was set, and the swim ladder was placed on deck, we were in the cool water. We should mention here that in addition to birds, Pam gets a little nervous when swimming in tropical waters (Jaws and stinging things…). No sooner had we taken a few strokes towards shore when Pam was stung by something. A few more strokes and Scott got stung too. It turns out the water here is swarming with these little jellyfish creatures, and to swim you must wear a wetsuit.

We quickly swam to shore and crawled up on the rocky beach inspecting our stings. Now what, we knew we had to swim back and we weren’t looking forward to it. We walked along the rocky sand among the local fishing pangas and the big birds waiting for fish treats. Sitting on a four wheel drive quad was a man staring to sea looking at the new sailboat arrivals. Pam asked him if he lived here. His name is Vern and he lives here in a trailer on a local’s ranch six months of the year. He is from Northern Canada. He told us the grocery truck comes three times a week, but sadly the beer truck no longer comes, the one hotel owner doesn’t like anyone and it has only rained twice in the last year or so. He has a 180 gallon water tank in the back of his truck and drives up to another ranch with a well to fetch water, but he did offhandedly mention the well only has four feet of water at this time and if it dries up the cattle will be in danger. Also, apparently the daughters of the ranch owner where he lives have never left Los Frailes and one of them at 42 has never had a boyfriend. Scott secretly thinks Vern has his eye on her. This was all from a ten minute conversation, it seems like even the most remote places have their share of gossip and drama.

After hightailing it back to Tournesol without further encounters with the stingy things and taking a bug shower we got a call on the VHF from Eleytheria asking if we wanted some fresh red snapper from the fisherman on shore. Considering our lack of fresh food on board, that was an adamant yes. The fish purchase turned into a pot luck plan on Eleytheria. We dined in yummy BBQ snapper, rice and bell pepper salad with Abe and Amy, Diane and Mark (AKA Isabelle and Ricardo) from Con Te Partiro and Pat and Jean from Chalet Mer. It was probably the first of many meals shared with the wonderful people sharing the cruising life.

Pam has now added another vehicle to her short list of motor vehicles she has driven, she is now up two. Scott gave her a dinghy driving lesson this afternoon. It won’t be long before she wants to be in the driver’s seat all of the time, since it can be the drier spot. It wasn’t Scott’s driest ride, but that may have been a little intentional.

As we sit here completing this journal entry we are preparing to go to the hotel on the beach (to meet the owner who doesn’t like anybody) and try the fabled strong and delicious margaritas. We will be setting sail for Bahia de los Muertos tomorrow at sunrise, 47 miles W of Los Frailes.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Journal Entry – Saturday November 13, 2004 – SSB Communication

Author: Scott and Pam

Not much to report today, but we thought we would mention how communication takes place between cruisers. We have two radios aboard Tournesol, we have a marine VHF radio and a single side band (SSB) radio. The VHF radio is used for general communication with a range of up to 30 miles. In the United States the VHF radio is used for communications with the Coast Guard, Vessel Traffic Services, most marinas, to hail other vessels, and to obtain weather reports. Internationally the VHF services many of the same functions, but cruisers also use the VHF to network within a local area, anchorage, or group of marinas. For example, here in Cabo, cruisers are using channel 22A (the Coast Guard channel in the US) for general communications and haling other vessels. In each new location there is generally an agreed upon VHF channel that is selected for a local network.

The SSB radio is a high frequency transceiver that has the capability to send messages across great distances, and is also used for sending email and receiving weather faxes. Group communication or “nets” are scheduled daily with boats throughout a geographic area (i.e. Amigo Net is broadcast throughout Mexico) and cruisers use these virtual meeting areas to keep informed about many aspects of cruising such as weather, customs, facilities, and locations of friends. The SSB radio also functions as a ham radio and can provide licensed users with many more features including patches to telephone communications, and an entirely separate group of frequencies to communicate worldwide.

We are just learning about all of the features our SSB radio offers. We are now monitoring Amigo Net and the Blue Water Net here in Mexico. We also use our SSB radio to send and receive Sail Mail, email that is transmitted over the radio and decoded on our laptop computer while we are at sea.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Journal Entry – Friday November 12, 2004 – TGIF

Author: Pam

TGIF is a concept that no longer has any real meaning to us, we barely mange to keep up with the date and day of the week. Today we did have one errand to accomplish because it is Friday and the rest of the world keeps to that workweek schedule. Since we intend to move on towards La Paz this weekend we needed to checkout with Immigration and the Port Capitain. We also needed to fuel up and take on water. We decided to divide and conquer, so Pam and Amy charmed their way through the bureaucracy while Scott and Abe fueled up Tournesol. Since we had the chance to get water, and the boat was bone dry, Pam had us fill the water tanks, jerry cans, sun shower, and bug shower (equaling 138 gallons of fresh water.

The boat was well fed with fuel and water, and Pam and Amy got checked out in record time, including Pam forging Scott’s signature five times in front of the Immigration officer (a smile goes a long way in Mexico).

Lunch was a real treat. Abe and Amy took us to a little Taqueria that looked like a family added on to their house and run the business in the front yard. Tacos are about one US dollar or 100 pesos. These tacos rank among the best that Scott has ever had in Mexico.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Journal Entry – Thursday November 11, 2004 – One month since departure

Author: Scott and Pam

The day started with tearing the back lazarette apart looking for the funnel to be used for filling the water tanks. Our water tanks are finally empty, so we put in the ten gallons of reserve that has been riding in jerry cans on the bow since San Diego. Tomorrow or the next day we will go in to the fuel dock and get water and fuel for our upcoming departure from Cabo. We went swimming for exercise, it was lovely. Our outboard motor was still acting up, so we got a tow into the Marina from a water taxi to have yet another engine looked at by the boat yard. The minor problemo is fixed and we now have two working engines! We have spent the day hanging with Abe and Amy at the Theory Café working on the Journal and trying to catch up with the backlog of e-mail. It has been a very relaxing day, except Pam has not been feeling well all day. It seems her stomach is getting a welcome to Mexico. We were supposed to have dinner with John from My Turn, but eating is not on Pam’s agenda today. Hopefully she will be ready to play tomorrow. Don’t worry about Scott, undoubtedly he will find lots to eat, including Burger King a little while ago.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Journal Entry – Wednesday November 10, 2004

Author: Pam

Today we finally got the boat to a boat yard and we were able to resolve the remaining issues with our electrical system. We had an extra regulator onboard (thanks to Malcolm Morgan our electrician in the Bay Area). The only thing we didn’t manage to complete today was to have our outboard looked at, so we will bring it in tomorrow.

The rest of the day was spent at the Internet café and running errands. Dinner was simple, soup on Tournesol. We seem to be going to sleep and waking up earlier each day.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Journal Entry – Tuesday November 9, 2004

Author: Scott

We woke up early to meet John for another session of diesel surgery. John brought along a magnetic metal probe and we commenced the search for the MIA engine parts. Today was a new day and with it came some real progress in the mechanical solutions department. John determined our engine assistants in Turtle Bay were not only unsuccessful in machining the missing part for our water pump, but they had actually installed it upside-down, so apparently our cooling system was never working at all since Turtle Bay. After countless trips back and forth between Tournesol and Western Grace with our extremely heavy battery and with the determination of a dog with a bone, John soon had warm water flowing from our boat and a functional cooling system, our wheel had been fixed, and all that stood in our way was the faulty regulator.

It is important to mention here just what kind of person John is. Throughout the distress of our engine problems John would say “Just don’t despair, this is the cruising life and this is all part of it. When you can help someone else out, lend a hand”. John also wanted to be captured in our journal as a person who believes deeply in god and wants others to know that when he turned his troubles over to the lord, his life greatly improved. Although our religious beliefs may differ, John is a great example of how you can glean so much from the wide diversity of those who are out cruising the world in their sailboats.

With our boat almost in tact we made plans to completely splurge in Cabo. We had leaned that Abe and Amy were fighting the temptations of Ruth Chris Steak House, and it was decided we should all sink our teeth into a big fat juicy steak. We are learning that cruising is a series of extremes. There is beauty, excitement, unforeseen calamities, and the complete bliss of eating a steak served with au gratin potatoes and asparagus with hollandaise sauce! We could not remember a meal that taste so good. We have sailed over a thousand miles, faced and overcome challenges, and as we sat there with new friends, dining on our delectable meal, the stresses from our trip melted into the satisfaction of accomplishment and the thrill of the adventure.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Journal Entry - Monday November 8, 2004

Author: Scott

We have now experienced the bureaucracy of the checking in process when you arrive in Mexico from a foreign port by boat. John and Joanne came by the boat at 0830 to head into town to take care of the paperwork and fees required. We set out in our dinghy only to have the motor die a few hundred feet from the boat. Oh no, not another engine issue. John towed us to the dinghy dock and we set off for the Port Capitain’s office. Upon arriving Scott filled out five copies of the crew list which was presented to the Port Capitain. We paid an entry fee based on the tonnage (Tournesol is 8 gross tons) of Tournesol and then we were off down the road to Immigration. After waiting three hours it was our turn. The first agent asked if we came by boat, if yes, you have to talk to him. Back in line. The other guy sent us back to the first guy where we filled out another crew list and tourist cards. Back in line again. He then asked us to bring him three copies of the crew list. Of course there is no way to make a copy at Immigration, so out the door and down the street we go to the have copies made. Back to Immigration and back in line again. As it was our turn another man approached the counter, shook hands with the agent and proceeded to pull our at least ten folders. He was a “paper man” that had been hired by people who didn’t want to run all over town and stand in line. Another side note, John and Joanne were completing the same process, hmmmm they didn’t need to submit three copies of their crew list. They had the other guy. Ah, we are not done yet. Now it is off to the bank to pay the fee for the tourist visa. There are so many people waiting in line at the bank, again for the third time we took a number and sat down in the rows of chairs and waited for our turn. The transaction seemed to go fine we converted some money and paid our fee, we thought. At closer inspection, Scott realized she had only given him the equivalent of $40.00 in pesos, instead of two hundred and ten and our visas were not stamped. It appeared we just made a deposit in the Banamex. The manager tried to convince us we needed to go back to Immigration, this took a bit of sorting out, but her boo boo was resolved. It is now 1300 and we are not done yet. Now it is off to API to pay the fee for anchoring for free, this one really doesn’t make sense, but you need this receipt when you check out. So, it will be back to the Port Capitain and Immigration when we are ready to leave Cabo to pay more fees. Most ports have a check in and out process, but apparently it varies as much as our experience versus John’s and Joanne’s. It is now 1400 and we all need a cerveza, so off we went for beer and tacos.

After our experience checking in to Cabo we returned to the boat and John agreed to come over to have a look at our engine. In the process of examining the water pump, two parts fell below the engine and seemed to disappear; we were also halted because the starter battery had died again. Enough for today, we decided to give it another go in the morning and John took our heavy starter battery back to Western Grace.

With nothing to do without lights and power, we decide to make the most out of our environment and take a dip in the warm Cabo water. The sounds of the three beachfront cantinas mixed with the night air and soothing water. We felt like we were in Mexico. Sleep came quickly in the warm climate.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Quick Note - Anchored in Cabo

We got to Cabo yesterday. We are now over 1,000 miles into our voyage. Tomorrow we will post most of our journal.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Journal Entry – Saturday November 6, 2004

Author: Pam

We were 30 miles from Cabo at 0800, after an awesome night of great wind and making excellent progress. We made our plan for the day and for arrival. We were hoping to arrive in time for the final Baja Ha Ha awards party to at least complete our attempt to participate. We cleaned up the cabin, continued to read Lionheart (we have one chapter left) and took a shower. The day was looking good until the wind died. It took us ten hours to sail those 30 miles. The engine was still overheating and we could only motor every three hours for an hour or less at a time, we had to work with our 1-3 knots of wind. We pulled in to the anchorage just as the sun was going down, we couldn’t believe it was about to get dark. We had turned the engine on for our approach, hoping it would make it. We slowly searched for where to anchor, Pam was on the bow on look out for anchor lights and other boats. Yikes, it got dark very quickly. We finally spotted an anchor light and headed in that direction, to quickly discover there were boats anchored without their anchor light turned on. Ok, the depth worked, time to drop the anchor before we run into an already anchored boat. Phew, we are finally here, Cabo San Lucas, 22°53N 110° 02W.

We had heard on the radio earlier the party was at 1800, which is exactly the time we arrived. So, now how are we going to get there? We tried to call for a water taxi, with no success on the two channels we knew might be monitored. Come to find out later they monitor channel 14. Pam was not comfortable going into an unknown marina after dark in our dinghy. When we thought we were out of options a call came over the VHF for Tournesol from Western Grace offering us a dinghy ride to shore. Our arrival in Cabo was graciously acknowledged when we arrived at the awards ceremony. We were the last to arrive, but we were thrilled to be here and looking forward to resources to get our engine issues resolved. We went to dinner with our friend Jan that evening at the Fish House and had a lovely relaxing evening on land.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Journal Entry – Friday, November 5, 2004

Author: Scott

We are 111 miles from Cabo and we are making reasonable way at an average of 3.5 knots. We are sailing downwind with a full main and partially furled jib. Wind speed is about 6 knots. We are both eager to just GET THERE (to Cabo).

Today started out a little different than normal, as Scott was finishing up his second watch of the prior night and the sun was just coming up, we had a visitor in the form of a small bird who was hitchhiking aboard Tournesol. We were about 25 miles off shore and it just amazes us how a little bird can find it’s way out into the big ocean with no place to land. Supposedly some birds can land on the water and never touch land, but I didn’t see any flippers on this guy, so he sure didn’t look like any kind of water bird to me. However, we did learn that our new friend has cold feet. While I was reading my Steven King novel after already video taping the bird in the cockpit, all of a sudden I heard a piercing scream come from the cabin, and I thought Pam had had a sailing nightmare, where maybe she envisioned the rig falling down or the boat sinking. But no, it was nothing like that, it seems our hitchhiker had made his way into the cabin while I was reading and landed on Pam’s bare shoulder while she was sleeping. The cold feet woke Pam and when she opened her eyes the bird flew up to the cabin hatch with wings fluttering. Now you need to understand while Pam has few fears and has faced all sorts of stresses on the boat, she does have a phobia of birds. This would be my equivalent of waking up in a bed covered with cockroaches. As Pam cowered under the covers and yelled for me to get it out of here, I was torn between video taping the event and trying to rescue Pam from the pint sized vulture. I was surprised at how bold the bird was, as it fluttered down on Pam again and strutted all over her blanket as she hid beneath, and yes all of this was captured live on video tape!

After today’s bird incident I confessed about a week earlier we were visited by another bird while Pam was sleeping. I had decided not to tell Pam about the first visit, knowing it would upset her and create a whole new series of preventative measures to keep any future birds outside of our nest. Now we will probably institute a daily bird watch as we each take turns sleeping off watch.

Other events of the day include spaghettios and fruit cups for lunch, the weather is hot and sunny. We had to use our cabin fans for the first time today and the water continues to turn bluer by the hour.

Our engine seems to be behaving better and not throwing off any water. John from Western Grace thinks this is common for boats that head into warmer waters. We will still have things checked out in Cabo or La Paz.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Journal Entry – Thursday November 4, 2004

Author: Pam

There was virtually no wind from 0530 to 1730. We made very little progress and this was insult to injury as we just wanted to get to Cabo and have our engine looked at. As we continue to read Lionheart, Jessie was becalmed for four days, and so we decided that we could not be too disappointed in our slow progress, we also had a safe boat with a functional rig to get us to Cabo, so our sickly engine and lack of progress were just inconveniences.

We made our first dinner that was not completely from a can. We dined on spaghetti with red sauce and clams, and green beans. Well I guess most of it was from a can or jar, but it was a little more like a traditional dinner. We ate heartily and decided we should use more clams in the future.

At 2000 we talked to Western Grace on the SSB and finally found out Bush won the election. I guess we are destined to stay out of the country for at least four more years.

We both finished Clan of the Cave Bear today.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Journal Entry – Wednesday November 3, 2004

Author: Scott

Not much sleep, as the boat made mysterious new noises, and our paranoia grew that we would have a new problemo.

Today was not a good food preparation day at sea, but it was another good lesson at sea. First, we learned that our standard of eating things after being dropped had greatly changed from the common landlubbers three second rule to the if it isn’t covered in dirt then you can still eat it rule. Pam had a pan of uncooked biscuits slide off of the counter and flip upside down onto the floor, only one of the six biscuits was deemed fish food and thrown overboard. Scott had a similar experience at dinner when he flipped over the new pot with the fancy straining lid and dumped the entire pot full of macaroni into the sink. The macaroni went back into the pan, met the cheese sauce and still made for a great dinner.

We also made good use of calm seas and steady but mild wind. We set out to clean off the 1/8” layer of dirt from Turtle Bay. Absolutely everything was coated in a fine sandy brown dust that when mixed with moisture created a stubborn mud. Pam was indispensable with her vigorous and through compulsion to clean. She even cleaned every tool inside of the tool box. Scott on the other hand made great progress cleaning the boat with bucket after bucket full of salt water. This cleaned off the sand but added to the layer of salt on everything. Then Scott managed to feed the boat brush to Poseidon, though he adamantly alleges that the boat brush just jumped overboard on it’s own.

After cleaning we took our first shower in the cockpit while listening to Jimmy Buffet and watching the sunset. With nothing more than our toilet kits and what we came into the world with, we basked in warm water from our handy bug sprayer shower. We fabricated the shower from a three gallon bug sprayer, adapted with a kitchen sink sprayer hose.

Today also marked a first in our new cruising life, neither of us knew who had won the Presidential election in the United States. There was no word of the results on the Single Side Band radio (SSB) and we were completely cut off from the world. In contrast to our lack of information, we witnessed one of the most spectacular nighttime skies either of us had ever seen. It is not often that visually impaired people are awed by planets and starlight, but for us it was our front row seat at the movies version of astronomy.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Journal Entry – Tuesday November 2, 2004 – Turtle Trouble 4

Author: Pam

The wind at the anchorage continued to blow like crazy throughout the night and morning hitting wind speeds of 40 knots. Our anchor snubber worked well and we never slipped our anchor at all, but this did not stop Scott from getting up throughout the night to check on the anchor.

John our new friend from Western Grace showed up in his speedy dinghy to finish repairs to our steering system. We continued to learn that most problems can be fixed with some imagination and a lot of persistence. It is strange to think that just over a month ago we were busy at work, attending meetings, and today we were curled up in the engine room, covered in grease, fixing problems that most people would solve with the help of a local mechanic. We have much to lean about self sufficiency in the cruising life, but we have the right spirit and some great examples to learn from. Before John had left the boat he repaired the compass light (that was never wired), completely fixed our steering problem, and made preliminary assessments of our overheating problem. If we had left the prior day, when all we wanted to do was leave, we never would have met John and leaned these valuable morsels of information and lessons in the cruising life, and we would have left with a poorly functioning wheel.

Once John was clear of the boat we set out to attempt our fourth departure. We would now sail 400 miles straight to Cabo and skip the second Baja Ha-Ha stop at Bahia Santa Maria.

The wind had not calmed down, we had a sailboat anchored directly over our anchor, the dock was looming, off of our port side and we had rocks aft of the boat, and the dust was still flying and coating everything. We certainly didn’t have ideal conditions for leaving. We managed to escape the anchorage, not without receiving a VHF call from Western Grace warning us of the rocks on our starboard side. We corrected course to allow for a wide margin, and motored out of the bay. Nothing could have felt better than unfurling our jib in 25 knots of wind and streaking off at 7 knots. See you later Tuttle Bay! We never did see any turtles.

Once at sea Scott went below to assess the engine and found the hose to the radiator had come loose, after searching high and low for a hose clamp, the hose was repaired. We had no idea if our engine would continue to function to Cabo, but at least we were sailing. After running our engine for about an hour we were able to use our auto pilot that we decided to name Trooper, for the grueling work it had performed while our steering was not functioning properly. Trooper was greatly relieved!

Another notable event was the discovery of the part under the engine that we suspected was lost by Missael and Armando. This part cost us a whole extra day in Turtle Bay, but had they not lost it, we would never have met John and our steering would still be broken. Strange how things work out!

Who won the election???

As we continued to sail throughout the day, we could only run our engine for about an hour at a time, so as to prevent any overheating. This created a delicate balance of engine use, and battery life. We could only generate limited power before we would need to use the engine again to create more power. If we miscalculated we could run down our starting battery and again be without an engine.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Journal Entry - Monday November 1, 2004

Author: Scott and Pam

We awoke determined to leave Turtle Bay. We would have a fully charged battery from Reel Attitude and a backup charger possibly charging at Rosario’s house. We jumped in the reinflated dinghy and rowed to shore. Rosario met us on the beach and handed over our charger. Upon inspection the charger was not charged and Rosario’s outlet was faulty. Rosario told us that he found an electrical mechanic and he would be here in un momento. Although our mind was made up to leave, we decided to have breakfast at Maria’s and see who turned up. It was our first taste of eggs and bacon in quite some time, and although they had no orange juice and only had sprite or beer to drink, we were well fed. At the conclusion of breakfast Rosario introduced us to Carlos. Carlos was a seemingly knowledgeable and laid back guy and he spoke some English. What have we got to loose, lets give it a try.

We started rowing out to Tournesol to meet Rosario and Carlos and were fighting the wind, when along came a guy in a dingy to tow us over to Tournesol. “Hello” said our new acquaintance in a heavy Dutch accent, “I just dropped off your battery on your boat”. John dropped us off and we set out to work on the electrical charging problem. After three hours of work and after being fed the leftovers of our blueberry muffins Carlos had determined the problem, our regulator was not working. Of course we had to remove, clean and reinstall our alternator before we came to this conclusion. Meanwhile, John showed up in his dinghy again, and introduced himself as the owner of Western Grace a 55’ charter sail boat that he operated with his wife Joanne. John came on board and discussed our charging problem and wanted to investigate our steering issue, moments later he was up to his elbows removing parts of our wheel steering with complete confidence. Carlos finished up with the electric problem by jury-rigging a switch to bypass our regulator and charge our batteries. Carlos was off leaving John to work with us on our steering problem. “Oh this is not good” said John, “I am sure we can fix it”. As John worked we leaned he had owned his boat for three years and charted it out to people who wanted to cruise Mexico, Central America, and the North West. John was patient as he worked and spent time teaching us what he leaned while repairing the wheel. In an hour and half he had repaired what Anderson’s boat yard could not even diagnose and had saved us hundreds of dollars while making Tournesol much safer. We made an invaluable new friend that we were sure would teach us much more about the cruising life.

We now had a functional electric system, a repaired fuel impeller, and a wheel that worked like new, we could leave Turtle Bay! However, while all of this work was being completed the wind had kicked up to 40 knots and a dust storm hit Turtle Bay. We could not leave today. We waited out the storm as Tournesol turned brown in the dust and laughed at the irony of the whole situation. Our spirits were up and not even the dust storm could break our mood.

Dinner was raviolis that we ate holed up in our cabin to escape the dust.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Journal Entry – Sunday October 31, 2004 - Reel Attitude

Author: Scott and Pam

To pry us out of our depression from still being in Turtle Bay Scott decided to attempt to make just add water blueberry muffin mix, and although this is a complex feat for Scott, they turned out to be pretty good. Our new mechanics showed up on time with bright smiles and a newly machined part for the water pump. Up until their arrival we were on pins and needles thinking that we would be deserted again with our water pump in pieces, in the cockpit. They set out to work and immediately determined that the piece “was mucho grande”. They were off to shore to try to machine the piece again. Our optimism left the boat with them.

At 1230 the boys retuned with a new piece to our water pump. The next three hours were spent refining the part with a hacksaw and file, but eventually with a subdued “yeah yeah baby” the part fit and our water pump we reinstalled. Now to start the engine and test her out, rrrrrrrrr, rrrrrrr, rrrrrr, our engine batteries were dead! No problemo, a Panga dropped by with an extra battery. We changed the batty with our starter battery and she fired right up. Concerned with the low battery situation, Scott checked the instrument panel and noticed that although the engine was running, no power was being generated, and now we had a new Turtle Bay problemo. Both of us sank into a deeper funk, “we are never going to escape Turtle Bay”. We had reached the end of our current mechanics ability, Scott paid them for their help and we were off in a Panga to seek out new assistance and charge our portable battery charger for emergency use. Our new plan was to leave with a charged battery and sail with minimal power to Cabo the following day, we are a sail boat after all.

When we got to shore we headed over to Maria’s restaurant to hopefully plug in our charger but alas Maria’s was closed, just our luck. We then met a man at Gordo’s Fuel Dock named Rosario, turns out he was Maria’s brother, and he offered for us to charge the battery at his house. We walked to his house and our first exposure in a foreign residence was not very positive. Rosario’s house was dirty and smelled awful, sort of a cross between trash and diapers. He pointed to a wall outlet with no protective plate and assured us that it would work. We did not have much confidence in the outlet.

Rosario took us back to our boat in yet another panga with no gas, and so he insisted on rowing us. At the boat Rosario boldly asked for ten dollars and left with a promise to meet us with a mechanic to investigate our new charging problemo. We just wanted to leave.

Back on the boat we radioed Reel Attitude, a power boat that we had spoken with earlier in the day on the radio. We figured they may have a generator or an extra battery. It turns out they wanted us to come on over for a cocktail and they would see what they could do. It was going on 2000 and now we had to drag out the dinghy, one of Pam’s least favorite activities. We decided to row because they couldn’t be that far away and headed out to find Reel Attitude in the dark. Just our luck again, they were anchored way out at the edge of Turtle Bay, and to make matters worse in route our dinghy began to loose air. What did we ever do to piss off Poseidon and Neptune? Where were our dolphin charms when we needed them? We arrived in our withered dinghy looking a little pathetic and hauled ourselves and our battery on to the deck of Reel Attitude, a 45’ luxury fishing boat inhabited by six men from Salt Lake City. We also brought them a bottle of wine which they refused, we think they thought we needed it more than they did. The next thing we knew the battery was whisked away to their generator and we were being served grilled steak, salad, baked potato, and red wine at their eight person dinner table. We both appreciated this hospitality more than they could have imagined since the only other food we had had was Scott’s blueberry muffins, thirteen hours earlier. Each of our hosts was unique and deserves further description in the future. Let’s just say they were a collage of men over fifty playing on their power boat. Pam liked Bill the best because he flirted incessantly and said she looked like she was twenty-eight. After stories of fishing, Mexican whore houses, and other colorful topics, and pastries for desert, we decide we should head back to our boat.

Off to bed to face another day in hopes of leaving Turtle Bay.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

From Turtle Bay Mexico

A quick update. We have so much to share, but have had limited Internet access so far. We will post when we get to Cabo sometime during the week of November 6th. Events along the CA coast included seeing dolphins outside the Golden Gate bridge and on the second day, we were thrilled with their playfulness and the luck they are suppose to bring. We were boarded by the Coast Guard outside the Channel Islands for a routine safety check. It was pretty sloppy seas and one of the officers got sick sitting on our boat, guess he is used to his big boat not rolling around too much. We joined the Baja Ha Ha in San Diego, we have met a bunch of really wonderful people. We have faced a few mechanical problems, but nothing that can not be resolved. The weather has been a mixture. We have had beautiful sunny days and rainy days with wind in our face. Those were not the most fun days, that wind direction is the only one a sailboat does not like. We and the boat were pretty wet on those days. We saw an awesome rainbow and have finally sailed by a full moon, got to love that light at night. Time to go, this spanish keyboard is challenging. More very sooon.

Cheers, Pam & Scott

Journal Entry – Saturday October 30, 2004

Author: Scott

Engine starting again, and the steering a little better, we were set to start off with the Baja group at 0800. We pulled anchor and headed out of Turtle Bay with our companions to hit the high seas. We were finally leaving on time with the Baja group!

Five minutes out and Pam noticed white steam billowing from the engine compartment. We had gotten our engine started but had obviously not fixed the over heating problem. Back to Turtle Bay towed by a Panga, again! The Panga owner knew we had a “tempetura problemo” and offered to come back in two hours and take a look. We anchored Tournesol and he deposited us on the dock to use the Internet café while we waited. The Panga driver had tools and said “no problemo”. We decided that a Panga driver with tools was a good start and headed off up the dirt roads with stray dogs and roosters to check email…

Email went well, we used a four year old computer with a satellite link, in a cement shack, but yes there was technology in Turtle Bay! We had even left a post on the Internet site saying that we had “minor mechanical problems”, that was an under statement. Our adventure in Turtle Bay is about to begin!

We arrived back at the dock precisely two hours later ready to meet with the Panga skipper. No Panga, no skipper, no tools, mucho problemo! We patiently continued to wait figuring that it was Mexico and time moves differently south of the border. We waited and waited and waited. Finally, Maria of Gordo’s fuel dock had pity on us and asked what was wrong. We told her that we were waiting for a “mechanic” from Annabelle’s Serviceo. Maria rolled her eyes and pointed down the beach to a red building with a white pickup truck. We set off to find our mechanic. We had to take off our shoes and wade in the surf to get under the dock. We walked down the beach to the white pickup truck and asked the occupants if they knew our panga mechanic. “No, no comprende” they said. Through a very broken spanglish conversation we were told that they knew a mechanic in town and would get him. We waited again, but for only a half hour and the white pickup returned, with no mechanic but they did have a cooling system drawing from the “mechanic” and a set of tools. Off to the boat in borrowed panga, rowing with no gas in the tank. A few hundred yards from the dock we were hailed by a man on a fishing boat who had another panga with gas; this is how we met the man who would become known as “Chicken”. We got into the Chicken’s panga and headed out to Tournesol.

Our new mechanics, or mechanic apprentices, or guys with tools set out with confidence, the time was about 1400. Before we knew it they had taken all sorts of things off of the engine including the heat exchanger, thermostat, water pump, and things we could not identify. “Yeah, yeah baby” screamed Armando, “no problemo” This was Armando’s way of displaying optimism. More spanglish and we think they decided the problem was our water pump impeller. They replaced the impeller and went to connect the water pump, but somehow they were missing a vital piece that was there when they removed the pump. No problemo turned into mucho problemo by 2030. The plan was to return the next day with a new part that they could build. We are off to bed with not much enthusiasm, our water pump lay in the cockpit looking like a piece forgotten from an erector set, and dwindling hope of catching up with our Baja Ha-Ha friends.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Journal Entry – October 29, 2004 - Turtle Bay 27° 41N 114° 52W

Author: Pam

At 5:30 am we were six miles from Turtle Bay, yeah!!! We were struggling to steer and gearing up to anchor under sail, not our usual practice. But we had a plan. Just after 5:30 our wind died and it took us almost six hours to round the point at Turtle Bay. Ok, we are here, now we just have to get in close enough to anchor. Still barely no wind, as we were struggling to stay far enough away of the rocks to starboard a call came over the radio to Tournesol from Eleytheria asking if we would like them give us a tow with their dinghy. This was the best thing we had heard in days. Moments later a guy in a Panga showed up to give us a tow. Abe had intended to come with him, but he took off before he could jump in the boat. Anchored, exhausted, but thrilled to be in Turtle Bay we radioed our engine and steering issues and asked if there might be someone who could take a look. Bill from Siesta responded and was over shortly after we arrived. He had owned a boat yard, this was great news. He bled the fuel injectors which seemed to help, but we couldn’t find out for sure because our batteries were completely dead. Another radio request produced a generator from the boat Dr. John. Once connected to the generator the boat started, much to our relief. Bill also oiled the steering, but this time with WD40, this helped and it seemed as though it would work well enough so we reach Cabo. Ok, time for some fun. Pam made couscous to bring to the Pot Luck beach party that was already in progress. We called a water taxi and headed to shore for the first time in five days. We were greeted by a number of people who had been keeping their eye out for us, it was a really nice feeling. The party ended, but we were not ready to go back to the boat, so off to town in another water taxi to have dinner at Maria’s restarante. There we met up with our friend Jan from the Bay Area and had dinner together. It was nice to hear abut others trip from San Diego. She was not finding it very serene on Serenity, the boat on which she was crew. We climbed down the ladder on the scariest pier we have ever seen back into a water taxi and went back to the boat to collapse into our first full night’s sleep in days. We went to sleep with excitement to get back out there with an engine that starts and a wheel that moved without using all of your body weight to make it budge.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Journal Entry – Thursday October 28, 2004

Author: Scott

Things have gone from bad to worse. We continue to have this wretched steering problem, but late last night our engine temperature shot up to 200° plus and it will now no longer start, so we have no engine and no way to charge the batteries efficiently. We do have a solar panel but we only get two to three amps at the peak of the day. At least we are still able to sail

During the night the weather continued to deteriorate and we both got soaked in a squall. We had to limit our use of radar because of our dwindling power. As the sun rose the weather did improve some, but the sears are still very turbulent.

We are now about 80 miles away from Turtle Bay and we just want to get there! We are impressed with Tournesol’s ability to be a sailboat, we know how useful our engine is but it is Tournesol’s ability to stand up to weather and pass the mile beneath he keel that is getting us to Turtle Bay. We are so tired. It has been hard to sleep well with the current problems and Pam is not able to steer the boat for more than an hour with the disabled steering. On we go…

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Journal Entry – Wednesday October 27, 2004

Author: Scott

We have a problem, it is getting very difficult to turn the wheel and it makes this horrible squeeeeeeeeeeeak. We have checked the steering quadrant, all of the sieves, and pulled off the binnacle to check the chain, sprocket and cables, We also decided to check the rudder, so we hove to so that we could investigate whether we had some of that pesky San Diego kelp wound in our prop. Scott/ came up with one measly piece of grass, definitely not the culprit.

We have decided to hand steer the rest of the way to Turtle Bay, it is getting too taxing for the auto pilot. Ok, we can deal with this, but it is a concern that we could loose all of our steering and that would be a big problem.

The weather is turning fowl. We have up to 25 knots of wind on the nose and very sloppy sears. This is only making our steering problem more troublesome. We are only making two knots of progress, grrrrrrrrrr. We have not been very motivated to cook and we are getting by on Zone Bars and potato chips.

It is going to be a long night.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Journal Entry – Tuesday October 26, 2004

Author: Pam

Another beautiful day at sea, good wind and sunshine. We are in Mexican waters and all is going well, except an existing squeak in the steering has worsened today and the wheel is turning a bit harder. Hmmm, we had this squeak investigated by Anderson’s Boat Yard and they were not able to diagnose a problem, they oiled it which seemed to help some. We didn’t do much today, just marveled in the surreal feeling of our adventure and we continue pinching ourselves (not each other) to try to make it feel real. We ate instant 3 cheese mashed potatoes and BBQ pork for dinner. Scott loves the potatoes!

Friday, October 22, 2004

The Journal is Active

The Journal is now active. We will be working to update the journal so that it is current over the next few days.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Arrived in San Diego

We arrived in San Diego today at 1130. We are staying at the Cabrillo Island Marina.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Journal Entry – Monday October 25, 2004

Author: Scott

It’s here, the day to leave the country. We woke up at 5:30 am with a list a mile long of last minute business to take care of before leaving with the Baja Ha Ha at 11:00 am. We took our last shower in the states and perhaps our last conventional shower for a couple of months. We headed off to the lobby of the Sheraton Hotel in the misty rain to sit in the lobby and connect to the Internet. We respectively plodded through the life details that needed dealing with, how did we still have such a list. After spending time in the lobby and going to the hotel’s business center printing, mailing and faxing we set off for the dock to leave. By now we had missed the 11:00 am departure with the group by three and a half hours, but that was ok we were never keen on being with a pack of 150 boats, which for us would be more stressful than exciting. We left the dock at the Cabrillo Island Marina at 2:30 pm with the sun shining brightly and headed to the fuel dock at the Marina’s entrance. At the dock we ran into (not literally) our new friends Amy and Abe on Eleytheria, they were also getting a bit of a late start. We were not alone after all. We headed out of San Diego Harbor going on 4f:00 pm, not without getting kelp wound around our prop for a few moments of moving at 0 knots. After a couple of minutes we were on our way. Pam was frantically making last phone calls to her Mom and sister with very little battery power left and almost no signal. The moment the cell phone died Pam experienced the awareness from that moment on everything about our life was about to change, including the problem of how to cancel cell phone service from Mexico. Oh well, no worries as they say in San Diego. After two hours into the sail, we heard a radio transmission from the other Valiant 32 Mildred Kane, they were heading back to San Diego with transmission problems. We were sad to hear we would not be sailing with the only other boat just like ours. It was a beautiful evening and night and we were off to Turtle Bay, Mexico.