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 cafĂ© 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.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

First Post

Hello everyone. This is the first post for the Blindsailing blog. Check back here as we keep you up to date with our preparation and journey.