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Thread: Baja Bound Beetle

  1. #11
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    Leaving Avalon

    "Tiger Beetle departed Avalon Wednesday morning and in very light air motored the 76 miles southwards to San Diego. We've been in Cabrillo Isle Marina for two nights now, and will be moving out to the available anchorages.

    In Avalon we had a fun 'snorkel' dive with a cobbled-together hooka rig by taking the Honda generator, plugging in the small air compressor I use for cleaning the boat bottom, putting both into the dinghy along with the hose and regulator and the three of us ran out to the small kelp bed we'd snorkeled on the previous day. That worked out super, as the water was shallow and therefore relatively warm and hadn't lost too much light, and with the compressor running it meant a lot of bottom time (in perhaps 20 feet of water) to watch animals and take pictures. The reported downside was the noisy compressor, so next time bring ear plugs for the people staying topside in the dinghy."




    "Kristen departed Monday evening on the ferry back to Long Beach, and Tuesday Jimmy was up Georgia's mast in an attempt to find out why the Lunasea masthead light refused to produce light, nothing obvious, so he brought down the unit and Ben & Lucie are sorting out what might be going on with it."






    Departing avalon, no wind, sun is rising, nice quiet morning


    "On board Beetle I got busy with labeling up the insect specimens from trips to Panamint Valley (CA) and Rackensack Canyon (AZ), as my Mom would be visiting Beetle when we were in San Diego and she could transport the field boxes back to the main collection in Arizona.

    Wednesday morning we pushed off from Avalon at 6:30AM and found a pretty good north-bound current out around the island; I believe this is some sort of Catalina counter current, as it stayed with us consistently for 40 miles, eventually tapering away to neutral current about half way to San Diego."


    Underway and getting labels completed on some insect specimens


    "And now we're at Cabrillo Isle Marina, the marina was going to leave a key for us in the dock box as we were arriving after marina office closing hours; unfortunately we couldn't find the key and that meant no showers that night (Rats!). Fortunately, a neighbor offered his key and showers were back on the table. A shower felt great, instant new person!

    We've been exploring the docks here, lots of very nice beautifully maintained power boats, sport fishing boats, and a 1965 North Sea fishing boat (Varnebank) that has been refit as a world cruising trawler - very impressive. And super nice people on the dock. I've also been to West Marina (boat parts including fuel filters and stuffing flax) and Vons (heavy groceries) courtesy of Mom's car.

    Today it's chilly, with a grey overcast as the area settles in for what is forecast to be two days of south breeze from a low pressure system, possible drizzle, and cooler temperatures. The humidity has remained high, resulting in impressive fog when the temperature drops below the dew point.

    I'm also attempting to move images files to zenfolio utilizing the marina's wifi network (and avoid consuming metered data movement on the Sierra Wireless cellular modem), and that's not working so well. I may need to look for a better way to do that, we shall see."



    Beetle in a rather nice marina in San Diego

    ~ Rob~
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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  2. #12
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    On The Hook Off The San Diego Yacht Club




    "It's a little bizarre, but Beetle & I are sitting here at anchor inside the Shelter Island breakwater, a stone's throw from the San Diego YC and Southwestern YC - Anchorage A1 as it is known to the SD Harbor Police. You're allowed to be here a couple of days at a time provided it's a weekend, which it turns out to be.

    Had a wonderful visit from Mom, have lots of cookies as a result, and the insect field boxes are back in Arizona at the main collection.

    It's convenient to walk from here to West Marine (procured a replacement dinghy outboard motor lock as the Masterlock bar lock was no longer useful after the Masterlock 'marine' key lock failed after 30 days, plus 2 deceased mackerel fish for use as bait tomorrow), Ben & Lucie & Charlie the Dachsund are over at Southwestern YC at the moment, and I will be visiting them for a shower this evening (at the YC).

    There are quite a few gigantic boats nearby, including 3 sail boats with 5 spreader rigs that have spreader lights that point UP the mast, which are quite spectacular when turned on at night. There's also Lady Lola, a 200'+ power yacht at the police docks or nearby that I have met the owners of when they were in town in San Francisco - super people, not to mention the Nordhaven 92 tied up directly in front of San Diego YC. That Nordhaven is quite the vessel, including a pair of stainless steel hose nozzles that point straight at the bottom of the anchor roller sheaves - I imagine one turns on the gigantic deck/chain washing pump and the goo is blasted off the chain as it is raised."




    "Tiger Beetle was purchased by me in 1996, just before Christmas, from Yachtfinder/Windseeker here at Shelter Island, and I strolled over to their storefront this afternoon, it's interesting to see where the Beetle was at that time, and where Beetle is now - it's been a long road and lot of learning and a lot of fun!

    Elsewise all is good, the mackerel are in the base of the fridge (wrapped up in their plastic bags so as to reduce fishy smell amongst all the food), and life is fine! Plan for tomorrow is to spend an afternoon floating about off San Diego and float the mackerel at the end of the fishing line to see if anything decides to bite. Perhaps something will!"

    ~Rob~


    http://tbeetle.wordpress.com/2013/11...go-yacht-club/
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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  3. #13
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    Beetle Invades Ensenada

    San Diego and Pt. Loma is now behind Beetle as we trundle down the coast (under power again - no wind!) towards Ensenada, which is currently something like 44 miles away (less than one SSS Farallones race - we are moving along rather quickly today). The goal is to arrive in Ensenada with some daylight remaining as I am told the harbor chart is way wrong and the city lights in the background make it difficult to navigate the harbor in the dark as you can't pick out the bouy lights against the background clutter of city lights. It's 9:40 in the morning, I should be there around 4pm which leaves about an hour of daylight to find Baja Naval Shipyard.

    San Diego was a good place to visit, spent a fair bit of time with Ben and Lucie (Georgia) helping with the masthead Lunasea tricolor/anchor/flashing light fixture. Fortunately for Ben the third light that Lunasea gave him as a replacement finally worked, including after we pulled the wiring down out of the mast and inspected it completely before plugging in the new light. There was some corrosion in one half of the very new quick-disconnect coupler that Lunasea uses, so we bypassed that coupler and the light stayed on. My suspicion is internally the coupler was shorting out and blowing the light's circuit board. The new light at Georgia's masthead is hard-wired directly to the wires, no more coupler in the mix.

    Lucie and I went out to the San Diego zoo yesterday, and that is a great place to visit. We saw the pandas getting their dinner, a giant jet black jaguar protecting a large hunk of meat, the lions were out, we found almost all the snakes in the reptile house (and one lizard was also hiding, didn't find him either), and the hyenas came over to the fence to check us out - very interesting to be four feet away from these animals and at eye level with them as they study you. Perhaps the most interesting thing we ran into there was at the gorilla enclosure, where there is a large thick glass wall that the gorillas like to sit close to, and the people are on the other side. The younger gorilla was leaning up against the glass and watching intently a video that was playing on a fellow's iPhone. The gorilla understand that you could make it do things by pushing your finger across it, and he/she repeatedly tried to do this. The gorilla watched until the video stopped, then she made push motions until the fellow made it play again, and she sat down to watch some more. Pretty amazing to watch an animal that powerful looking at the device so thoughtfully.

    On the boat front, Jimmy left Beetle yesterday to make his own way into Mexico (I believe he is planning to be in Ensenada), and I stayed at the police dock again yesterday/last night after dropping him off in downtown San Diego at the fish boat docks. If all goes well, he will hook up again with Beetle when I depart Ensenada.

    Beetle has stayed fairly clean and organized, no major boat projects so far, the stuffing box flax was changed out and has stopped leaking, which makes for a dryer bilge and less time spent pumping out seawater with the mini-bilge pump. It's always exciting to back off the stuffing box nut and watch the water squirt into the boat at a rate that makes the bilge pumps work to keep up with.

    I also have a new stainless steel outboard motor lock from West Marine, and this one came with all the parts (unlike the first one that was missing several of the rattle-dampening foam inserts). That was a bit of a run-around to sort out, but all is good on that front. The lock key lives on the monkey's fist floating key ring that Erica gave to Beetle, which makes it easy to find the dinghy lock key.

    This morning I left the police dock at 6:30AM headed southbound, there's a small rolling swell that causes the boat to roll fairly heavily at times, so all the little bits and pieces that get left on flat surfaces while at anchor have been put away - cutlery, glasses, computer mice, AA batteries (they roll into difficult-to-get-to places and are the worst when they fall on the cabin sole), and the tool boxes are strapped down again.

    The plan is to spend tonight at Baja Naval, organize the haul out for tomorrow, and Guillermo at Baja Naval will help me do the immigration/entry paperwork for myself and the boat in to Mexico - should be fun!

    This note is going out over SSB/sailmail, so no pictures attached. I will update with pictures when I sort out internet connectivity and telephone details in Ensenada.

    It's a good day out here just off the coast of Baja, and now back to reading my book and keeping an eye on the course!

    - rob
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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  4. #14
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    Ensenda Arrival







    Beetle pulled into Ensenada just after 4pm, with some breeze filling in from behind as we arrived, just in time to make docking just that little bit more interesting. Breast lines are a good thing, far more useful than fore & aft dock lines.

    The harbor is roughly rectangular and there is a gigantic national flag of Mexico flying over the harbor, with Baja Naval's docks and boat yard just to the north of the flag - which makes actually finding Baja Naval rather simple as all you do is aim for the giant flag.

    The harbor has a variety of bouys, some red, some green, some yellow... and apparently the yellow ones mark underwater obstructions. I didn't find out, as I stayed away from the yellow ones.

    A fellow from another boat at the dock came out and helped me tie to the dock, I did not know that Baja Naval uses VHF 77 (and does not monitor VHF 16) so I just went for the open end tie and was on the dock, the fellow walked me up to the marina and yard office using his key to open the doors as we went (you have to card-key in and out of everything), and the yard manager was still there. We're all set for the haulout tomorrow, the place is immaculate, and I hope all goes well. And it was helpful to arrive with daylight to see what was going on, it would not be so much fun in the dark. By the time I was all set up with the yard office it actually was dark, so I did not go explore the town much, but rather went back to Beetle and made up a quick dinner.

    Now to keep working on the book, be ready for hauling out in the morning, and check in to the country. Hopefully all goes well! It will be nice to get the bottom paint that I've been hauling around over to the yard, as that will clear up some useful space that has so far been occupied by paint tins and thinner!

    This note is going out over Baja Naval's marina wifi, which is a bit sketchy for large stuff (I have not yet pulled out the big WiFi antenna); I hope to get pictures going tomorrow.

    - rob












    It's been a reasonably busy day today, and a fair bit has been accomplished.

    First off I was up at 6AM re-reading the details of what I need for Immigration, Port Captain, Customs, and Conapesca (Mexico equivalent to US Fish and Wildlife). Seems I need serial numbers of practically everything in the boat; I start. There are a lot of serial numbers on a lot of things on board.

    8AM Rojallio appears with two of his folks, I move Beetle over to the travel lift ways, they start shuffling the boat around for the haulout. They work to solve issues of clearance vs. underbody configuration on their 75 ton travel lift (way bigger than what I'm accustomed to at Svendsens in Alameda) and we get the boat up and out and run across the boardwalk and blocked.

    Jimmy arrives and picks up his remaining gear and clothes and heads north; he has decided to not join up for traveling further south, especially as it's too expensive for him to hang about Ensenada. It was fun to travel down the coast with him, hopefully he will continue to have good adventures on his own.


    the giant fold-up door at the yard, once open a really big boat will easily run in and out (as will the entire travel lift.



    Back at the yard office I get instructions from Rojallio regarding how to check into the country and import the boat. You want to import your boat into Mexico if you want to leave the country while the boat is left behind, and also for bringing in parts from the USA as you won't be paying duty on parts - so something pretty much everybody does this. I head off to the CIS office/building, which is actually a smallish single floor single room that houses Immigration, Customs, the Port Captain, a bank, plus a bathroom and Conapesca. Everyone speaks English quite well, and there's lots of Brownian motion back and forth across the room as there are several other folks here doing what I'm doing.

    Example: The fellow behind the glass labeled 'Immigration' examines the passport, stamps crew list, sets up tourist visa (after he tells me how to fill it out as I can't particularly read it given the Spanish I do not know), then stops and says, 'OK, now you go to the bank and pay the Mexico entry fee, then come straight back to me' and he points at the glass-covered counter directly behind me. I turn around and walk 4 steps and I'm at the bank. Two people examine the paperwork, all is in order, I pay them, they stamp things (lots of official stamping is going on) and xerox things and say to me, 'You are paid. Go back to Immmigration' and point behind me. I turn around and 4 steps later I'm back at Immigration. I am first in line as no one else in the room is at Immigration at the moment. The Immigration fellow reviews the stamped receipt from the bank, he stamps my tourist visa. He stops. I ask him what to do next? He says, 'Ah - you have a boat, you need to visit the Port Captaion' and points to the glass-covered counter next to him. I take 2 steps sideways and I'm at the Port Captain's office, and take a number from the cardboard box of printed numbers (I am number 9, though that doesn't seem to matter as numbers 1-8 had already been helped and had moved back to the bank or on to Customs, but the Port Captain wanted me to have a number anyway, so I did). Other people are now doing the same slow dance across the room, flitting from fishing licenses to importing their boat, to the bank to pay for things, to getting their passports stamps, and the port captain is examining insurance paperwork and the crew lists. All quite fun, really, as everyone is working together, and it is very well organized.

    Upshot: I have a lot of official-looking documents with many many ink stamps on them, and even have my first stamp in my passport, which is fun! I've been to Canada and Mexico on the passport, and while it gets looked at nobody bothers to stamp it, at least not until today.

    It has also been raining much of the day, a drizzly wet rain that is somewhat warm, and the rain kept most of the people off the streets. They also have really tall curbs here, and the waiters or owners of the restaurants like to stand out on the sidewalk and wave their menus at the people passing in their cars. I don't know if that technique works, but there does seem to be a lot of parking around so I imagine if you desperately felt the need for a fish taco breakfast and the fellow waived at you suggesting he had some, you might be tempted to pull over on the spot!



    Later on I sorted out the cellular telephone details and elected to go the simple route: switch from AT&T US plan to AT&T Viva Mexico plan, which means the telephone number doesn't change, the service continues uninterrupted (unlimited minutes starting at 7PM). That took an hour of conversation with AT&T International Customer Service, who then passed me along to AT&T not-International Customer Service to handle the billing details. So now my phone works just fine, the USA is a local call, as is all of Mexico. Pretty cool and the cost was $10 more per month than I was paying before; Telcel would be less expensive, but not when factoring in any calls back to the USA.




    the view alongide the yard, the office is on the left, a rather nice one. the concrete is very clean, especially for a boat yard. there are four trash barrels at most boats (on a pallet), one each for regular trash, solvents, sanding dust, and paint.



    And then I fiddled with the propeller a bit, pulled the MaxProp zinc that was looking a bit eaten up, located the replacement zinc in the spare bits box (had to drill out the holes in the zinc that had flashing left in them), and will order up two more boxes of zincs from PYI in Washington state.

    And now it's evening and dark, I now reside in a tall tree house of sorts in the boat yard, and several other cruiser folk in similar circumstance have stopped by to say Hi and let me know there is a regular Ensenada Cruiser's dinner tomorrow night at TJ's. 4pm computer discussion starts, and 5pm everyone else shows up - something I might do tomorrow evening.

    All is good, the boat yard is immaculately clean, I have good WiFi connectivity, there are no unexpected issues with the underbody of the boat or the haul out, and it's time for a cerveza!


    **************************************************



    the McDonald's in town, it is used as a 'major landmark' when providing directions to the grocery store.



    A bit of Ensenada
    by rob macfarlane


    I was out and about yesterday in the town, primarily to get to the Banamex bank to get pesos from the ATM machine at the bank (it is strongly recommended to only use an ATM at a real bank, as opposed to, say, using the ATM at an OXXO store (equivalent to USA 7-11). Also to TelCel to sort of the cellular data modem, and find the grocery store.

    The streets are darn dangerous to walk on as the sidewalks are full of holes, tripping hazards, have abrupt elevation changes, and generally would not be safe to walk on at night if for no other reason than to not break an ankle. Also explains why so many people here walk around with lit flashlights at night.

    The people themselves are nice and courteous, everyone stops at the ALTO (stop) signs, and some of the roads actually have street signs (though most cross streets seem to not have signage, which makes knowing latitude simple - read the sign - the knowing longitude is darn near impossible - is this 1st street or 2nd street? I don't know.

    Banamex went fine, it's odd to pull out $2000 until you realize it is in pesos, and $2000 doesn't go that far at the Calimex grocery store.

    TelCel Centro (main TelCel company store, not a mom & pop 'authorized distributor') was an interesting lesson in frustration at not knowing the language, and it does appear that I was charged for services that I did not need or want; this morning I will telephone the English help desk line for the Amigo plan and we'll sort out what the transactions were. If there's an issue or duplicate charge then I can walk over to the store and sort it out there. At least I will then know exactly what I'm supposed to be asking for! Nice people at the store, the first lady (technical representative) indicated my AT&T (GSM) Sierra Wireless aircard would not work on TelCel network, the second lady (in a suit, behind the customer service counter, not technical) said it would all work fine and she was correct. But I do not know what I purchased for $200p twice, nor do I know why a $399p data plan cost $649p... (p=pesos)

    The haulout continues, albeit slowly as there's not much for me to do. Perhaps I will do some cleaning on the hull, as otherwise the yard is just doing a sand/couple of blisters repair/apply new paint and we're done.

    The yard is located essentially at town center for Ensenada, and I took a couple of pictures yesterday while walking the couple of blocks to/from Calimex, Sears (no tools there), TelCel, and Banamex.



    the main courtyard/plaza in town, large gold painted heads of important people. i've not seen anyone in the plaza yet except for the cruise ship passengers as they walk through on their way to First Street and the curio shops that abound there. I haven't been into any of the shops as there is nothing here I wish to purchase. perhaps i will go into some when kristen arrives later today.

    Should be a nice day weather-wise here today, the sun is out, is is somewhat chilly. Ben and Lucie are here from San Diego, as is the beautifully built catamaran from Canada that I met at the San Diego police docks.


    http://tbeetle.wordpress.com/2013/11...t-of-ensenada/
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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  5. #15
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    Beetle Back In The Water

    It is Thursday evening (Turkey Day) and Beetle is back in the water at Ensenada, currently on a side-tie to the docks owned by Baja Naval. There is a fair surge running here, which means the boats are pulling back and forth on the dock lines as the wrap-around from the swell outside the breakwater moves through the harbor in a fairly subtle way. There are no waves in the harbor, yet we bounce around rather than stay nicely still in the center of a slip. It's also funny to here the crackling of the shrimp through the hull, and you can sometimes catch someone up by telling them they are hearing the fiberglass mites working on the outside of their boat hull...




    Today was launch day for Beetle, Guillermo had his guys put two new egg zincs onto the prop shaft (good Reliance zincs from Canada), I installed a new Maxprop zinc on the propeller, greased the prop, checked that the thru-hull valves operate (mostly to make sure no bottom paint had entered the works), and all looked good. The travel lift rolled up, hoisted the boat just enough to clear the keel and the guys ran on a coat of Tropikote bottom paint on the underside of the keel (a place that is normally not accessible during your average haulout).



    An hour later the gates were open, the tide was up, and Beetle was plunked into the water. And then there was a pause while the youngest guy on the team hopped below to check for leaks and he promptly came back on deck to point his arm into the air, and Beetle quickly rose from the water... hmmm... not so good. I was able to get on board and find that the stuffing box nut was not as tight as it needed to be and the fellow did not like the amount of water coming into the boat. Never mind that I had the whole thing apart not too long ago and we had lots and lots of water coming onboard. We tightened the nut down, went back in, undid a bunch of lines, cleared the travel lift, and powered out of the ways and over to the dock. And now Beetle is side-by-side with Georgia (Ben & Lucie).









    Yesterday was wine country day. Ben and Kristen were keen to see the wineries in the area, of which there are a surprising number - who would have thought? I rented a small car from the Fiesta car folks which run their local operation from a desk in the lobby of the nearby Hotel Corona. Armed with a map we headed north-east from Ensenada and drove the Ruta del Vino in what I believe is the Guadalupe Valley, stopping at several wineries of varying sizes (ranging from gigantic to tiny) and Ben and Kristen acquired several bottles of wine. The wineries also produce olive oil, so some of oil was picked up as well.


    An interesting winery was Bibayoff, founded by one of 104 families that emigrated from Czarist Russia and fetched up in the valley. One room of their winery tasting room featured pictures and artifacts from the time, and I found it quite surprising that folks would have wandered so far from home and all appeared here. The old parcel maps under museum glass had lots of Russian last names throughout the area. And a newspaper clipping from 1956 indicated that 22 of the families were still in the area, 50 years after arriving. Another 50 years have passed since that article was written, I wonder how many families continue to remain?




    We had a super lunch at an outdoor restaurant/campsite - which didn't sound like much when the people at a winery told us about it, but when you get there you realize this is an upscale beef-oriented grill with beef and pheasant (and bone marrow was on the menu, that was an interesting one) plus a goodly variety of wine to choose from. As I was designated driver I had a coca cola in a glass bottle and the food was good. They also had a pig in a small pen, the lid was open, and Kristen and I were able to reach in and give the pig ear scritches, he (or she) seemed to like that.



    Overall it was nice to get away from the city of Ensenada, which is reasonably densely populated, there is a constant background noise from the traffic, and I would call it not a particularly nice place to spend a lot of time. By contrast, 20 minutes out of town by car one finds a large valley with greenery and lots of boulders containing a couple of small villages and lots of open space, some filled with vineyards and olive tree orchards. The valley was quiet, perfect temperature as in not too warm and not too cold, and just enough breeze flowing to be really pleasant. I'm glad we rented the car as otherwise there would be no sense of anything like that in the surrounding area.



    On the people front, one does meet quite a few characters while in the boat yard. The Canadian gentleman is having his Tayana 37 repaired after it was run into by a chartered Beneteau 45, leaving a large hole in the starboard side and the nav station was reduced to match sticks. He has been hauled out for a month now and has pretty well sorted out the town, and has another month or so to go - he thinks. There is Fred on his new-to-him Nordic 44 sailboat, he's trying to figure out how much solar power he needs; he went back in the water day before yesterday. And we met Troy, a younger captain of a 60' or so sportfishing twin 12 cylinder engines power boat that cruises at 10 knots and burns 17 gallons per hour doing it (at 22 knots they are burning 71 gallons per hour, he said). On the way out of the yard the other night Kristen and I bumped into him and I asked if he played pool, he said yes. So we went off in search of a Mexican pool hall. Troy is in the yard as the 300 gallon center fuel tank failed during their run south to Cabo San Lucas and they pulled in here. Turns out that is the one fuel tank that cannot be isolated from the engines (in fact all the fuel burned is pulled through that tank) so when it began to leak it was a big problem, and it's going to be another 3-5 weeks before the new tank is constructed and installed. So he's stuck in Ensenada, and joined us for to search for a pool hall.




    The first place we went into was one of the many many dingy dark bars that has 'Billares' painted on the exterior wall. Entering, you are faced with a dusty black thick curtain, and pulling it aside to step in brought us to the bar, lined with 4 or 5 locals and the bar keep lady. The locals all stopped and stared (gringos in their bar!), we waived and walked past to inspect the four forlorn bar-size tables. The bar keep lady came around and suggested we wanted to play pool there, but the torn felt and wonky tables suggested otherwise. Back out on the street we went looking for the next pool hall (earlier Kristen and I had seen two places that were nothing but pool halls, wide spaces filled with 20 or more tables and well-lit), and we were directed to one of them by a fellow Troy had met at another bar a couple of days previously. A great find! Lots of real billiards tables (all rails, no pockets) and a half-dozen regulation size pool tables with pockets that were level, good slate, good rails. So for 18 pesos we played pool for an hour or so and had a super time. In the background the locals were playing cards around a small table in the back, and another couple were mixing it up at dominos, along with the occasional crack! as we broke the rack open on a new game.




    Tonight everyone is tired, Kristen is already asleep, and I will be so soon as well. The weather forecast is calling for warmer days through the weekend, and there's not too much to do. Tomorrow is fuel day, Arturo from Baja Naval has brought down a 55 gallon drum of filtered diesel for Beetle (he also brought down two other drums for other boats), and it turns out there is no fuel dock suitable for small boats in Ensenada; nearest fuel dock is 2.5 miles up the coast at Marina Coral, which we now do not need to go to. For gas we get to roll our gas cans over to the Pemex station up the street, Ragellio said we could use one of the yard's dock carts for that run.

    ~Rob~
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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    Beetle Arrives In Turtle Bay



    Well, the first overnight (or over two nights, actually) hop across Baja Mexico is complete, appearing this morning around 6AM some 15 miles outside of Turtle Bay, and came on in with the sun as it rose in the background. It's always nice to arrive with daylight to an anchorage you don't know well. I have been here before (twice, in 2009), and there is a semi-marked reef to the south of the entrance and lots of rock and kelp to the north of the entrance, so I wanted daylight to see what was going on before coming in. Anchor is down now, and it turns out that I can submit this post via cellular modem and Turtle Bay has a substantial cell tower network in place (though using EDGE as compared to 3G/4G for connection - so relatively slow speed but blazingly fast compared to SSB).

    Turtle Bay is a super quiet place to be as compared to, say, Ensenada. I'm anchored directly off the mostly-abandoned fish pier, though the pier is heavily used as a pseudo-fuel dock (though you don't really dock to the pier as far as I know) and some of the pangas use it, though most pangas are based on the beach to the east of the pier.






    And here's the view from my front porch, as it were, of the fish pier, which is also the sort-of center of water front activity. Behind the pier are the gigantic communications towers, there is a decent size hospital right there, the turquoise wall to the left is one of the restaurants that serves really good fish (fresh from the pangas on the beach!), and a portion of the abandoned fish plant is to the right in the image. When the fish plant failed as a business it hit the town hard, but some of the fisherman stayed on and the place keeps going.

    I'm pretty tired from the overnight motoring, as there wasn't much wind to work with for this 300 mile jump from Ensenada to Turtle Bay. I catnap during the past 48 hours, maximum sleep was 30 minutes at a time, and then was up at 4AM until arrival as it's usually not a good idea to point the boat at a land mass and then go to sleep!

    While under power I prefer to sleep in the cockpit (assuming it isn't raining) as this gets me away from the noise of the engine and then I can hear changes in the sails, wave action, anything that would signify a reason to wake up and see if something needs attending to. From my vantage point in the cockpit, I can look down into the companion way, and see what's going on around the boat. The view looks like this:




    Red night-lighting is on, radar is on the right with screen brightness turned way down but it still looks really bright, laptop/navigation on the left also with brightness turned way down (it's possible to also make out the blue triangle AIS targets on the laptop screen, in case a new target shows up), boat performance and wind/depth instruments are the red gauges across the top of the frame. In one glance from where I'm sleeping, it's possible to get a pretty good idea of what's going on around the boat.



    And here's the whole nav station, at night, with the other stuff I'm paying attention to, when I go below to see something specific (usually looking for AIS targets or checking my course as there are a lot of eddies and counter currents along the coast):

    AIS transponder & display is the bright white square upper center, GPS information (mostly interested in distance/bearing to a waypoint, and my latitude/longitude) is lower left green display, the battery charging circuit is upper green display, VHF radio is the amber display next to the AIS, in addition to the laptop information. And on the nav station table is the small keyboard I use for sailmail and the Rains Mexico boating book - lots of information there to reference as needed.

    Had one weird occurence last night that could have been bad but appears to not have been a problem - the alternator suddenly started kicking out 16volts at 65 amps, which means the external Ample Power V2 regulator had told the Ample Power 105 amp alternator to start producing power in a hurry, or else the EMon II display was incorrect about the voltage. It's nice to know the alternator can do that kind of work, but that's way too high a voltage for a 12vDC boat! Dropping engine RPM to idle causes the alternator to cut out to zero output, so I did that in a hurry, fiddled with several settings on the EMon II display/controller (upper green horizontal display in the nav station image) to disable 'AUTO' mode and force the system into 'float' mode, and that didn't work - bringing engine RPM back up brought up the voltage again. One thing I simply tried as I was interested was to bring in the engine start battery to parallel with the house bank, and that did the trick for some reason; alternator output went back to normal float (AUTO was still disabled), and I could rev up the engine without sending the voltage sky high. It's possible one of the house batteries is bad (that would be relatively easy to fix - just replace batteries), or something else is going on. My money is on the SSB RF output confusing the V2 controller. I've tested everything out here at anchor, and the V2 is back to its normal self, handing power correctly at a variety of engine RPMs. Something to keep an eye on... Still need to check the house batteries' water level, they may want some topping up after that high output they were hit with.

    More squidlings on deck this morning (four total). I wonder if there is a special anti-squid light one could use that squids don't see or don't like (similar to using a yellow porch light to avoid attracting insects) that would make them not jump on your boat? Something a light bulb inventor and squid expert should get together on. I'm not sure how it would go to replace running lights with anti-squid lights, but anything is possible.

    And now it's quite black here, a small landing craft has arrived and they are tinkering with some large equipment in it, a couple of boats that I met at the marina in Baja Naval have pulled in, Ben & Lucie radioed in that they are on their way. That would make something like 7 boats in the anchorage when Georgia arrives. It's real quiet, real peaceful.

    Tomorrow will be set up the dinghy and visit the town, sort out fuel for Beetle, and work out when I want to head south for Bahia Santa Maria. Tonight it's dinner time on board, then a good long sleep in my own bunk. I don't mind sleeping in the cockpit in my foulies and clipped in to the boat, but it just ain't the same as being in your own bunk. And it's actually raining a teeny bit right now, that's pretty unusual for the desert - but goes with all the grey clouds we had all day.

    - rob/beetle


    ************************************************** *****



    A fine Tuesday evening on board Beetle
    by rob macfarlane


    It's been a pleasantly quiet day on board the good ship Beetle, conditions have stayed mellow (in fact, too mellow - the Yanmar is still running at 1850RPM), the sun stayed hidden behind the high overcast and clouds and that was no fun as bright sun is a good thing, but mr. sun did pop out just before setting and provided some nice heat while shining through a blue patch of sky that appeared in the clouds.

    A really big big pod of porpoise came over to the boat this afternoon, lots and lots of jumping leaping porpoises all around the boat, there would be a dozen or more in the bow wave all at once. They were here for about ten minutes and then moved off. Also found the first deceased squid on deck, starboard side about middle of the boat. It's amazing how high a 6" long squid can propel themselves out of the water. He was pretty sticky when removed and not completely dried out yet, leaving no ink stain (a good thing in my book).

    The water temperature has climbed substantially; yesterday it was 61F out here, this morning it was 63 and now it has increased to 65. It's still chilly at night, even without a lot of wind, so going into the evening I have on my thermal underwear, the insulated Musto boots, lightweight yellow foulie bibs, sweater, a jacket, and my fuzzy wool hat. Later on I will also put on the lightweight yellow foulie jacket over everything, with the harness and tether going on over that.

    Heard from Ben & Lucie briefly this afternoon, and then the long range VHF communications abruptly vanished; I'm no longer hearing USCG Los Angeles and San Diego, and the number of AIS targets has dropped from 134 this morning to 11 at the moment. I don't recall which specific atmospheric conditions enable VHF ducting, but whatever that is we had it until about noon today and now we're back in normal VHF land.

    Plan for the evening is to skirt Isla San Benito and pass to the west (any kelp will be more likely to the east given prevailing swell and wind direction), actually passing well to the west to open up space between the boat and the island and to keep clear of some vertical pinnacles nearby. I was watching the cruise ship routing and they avoid the pinnacles, so I figure I can go the extra four miles and do the same. Then it's a left turn to the east and run down the south side of Cedros Island and approach Turtle Bay from the west (as opposed to coming in on a more direct route from the NW). I want to arrive with daylight, so there's no value in going fast right now, nor in passing close to shorelines to save distance; much easier to keep running slow-ish and stay out until visibility returns in the morning.

    Ben has a brand new Yaesu radio installed on his boat, and he and Lucie are trying to figure out how to operate it. We had agreed to try SSB 4A at 6AM and 6PM, and tonight I'm going to turn on the SSB and see if they show up, as I believe they are too far away now for the VHF to work between us.

    Enjoy the evening on shoreside, it's a pleasant evening out here, and I'm looking forward to arriving in Turtle Bay tomorrow!

    - rob

    rob macfarlane

    ************************************************** ************


    Good morning from the north end of Bahia Sebastian Vizcaino
    by rob macfarlane


    It's morning now, around 9AM, I left Ensenada at 10:15 (away from the dock) and it's now 23 hours later and have made good progress towards Turtle Bay. Plan is definitely to stop there for fuel as the wind has not done well for sailing 'round these parts lately. Current conditions are 8-9 knots from well behind (NW) which would make for painfully slow progress southwards, so I'm motoring along at 6.6 knots at 1850RPM on the diesel, mainsail is double reefed and out to port to help push a bit and stabilize the boat. There is a low two foot swell running, a bit of wind chop on top of that, the decks are staying dry and the sun is up. There is some high cloud cover, so not quite hot yet.

    Saw a lot shooting stars last night while lying in the cockpit working on 20 minute sleep-naps, interspersed with checks of the AIS receiver (two ships took avoiding action during the night, so I know my AIS transponder is working), the radar (local fisherman do not seem to use AIS, perhaps they cannot afford one?), and the charting system (this close to the shore there are a variety of back eddies and counter currents that push the boat around so course corrections are desirable). All in all a good evening, I got in enough sleep to not feel particularly tired this morning, and plan to take a longer sleep this afternoon while we have good visibility. It's also nice to be 25 miles off the coast as the pangas don't seem to come out this far. Did see a big squid boat fishing this morning, enormously bright lights that attract the squid are easy to see from 20 miles off - at least that's how far away he was according to the radar.

    I've been reading Rains' Mexico Boating Guide as I go by the points, as the book contains bits of information about what is going on at each of the points as regards anchorage, shoreside services, where the towns are, that sort of thing. It is nice to have some context to what I'm seeing as dark shapes with shadows on the horizon.

    Currently I'm 78 miles from Islan Benitos, and there is supposed to be some good fishing at some offshore pinnacles in the area. I will be taking the island to port prior to turning eastward towards Turtle Bay as there is a lot of kelp in that area and the prevailing wind and swell pushes the kelp to the east, which means there should be fewer gigantic kelp paddies to the west.

    And for those looking for news of Ben & Lucie, they and Georgia are about 46 miles to the north of me, likewise motoring and motor-sailing towards Turtle Bay. Lucie is excited to be free of Ensenada and she told me she knows where all the restaurants are in Turtle Bay! (actually, I think there are something like 5, so the choices, while limited, are really quite good as all of them have good food).

    Now it's time to make some breakfast!

    - rob


    ************************************************** **********


    Southbound from Ensenada
    by rob macfarlane


    It's Monday late-afternoon (4pm) and we're out of Ensenada, off the coast, and headed southbound towards Turtle Bay and Bahia Santa Maria. Conditions today are very light, 0-4 knots of wind, a very low rolling swell from the north west, and generally pretty flat. Motor is ticking over at 1870 rpm, boat speed is in the 7 knot range and we're out far enough to be clear of the coastal back eddy that slows one down.

    A bizarre thing I ran into (literally) was a gigantic fishing net, or perhaps a fish pen of some sort. It happened about 10 miles south of Pt. Banda, I was tooling along quite happily and could see up in the distance a series of large metal buoys with radar reflectors on the perimeter buoys. In between were the same size metal buoys but without the reflectors, and interspersed were floating blue 55 gallon plastic drums. Neraby were two 80-100' fishing boats, and working the area was a panga with 3 folks in it. I figured I was seeing a longline operation and those usually have the longline down 30 feet or more. I poked along through the buoys (each buoy was perhaps a quarter mile away from it's neighboring buoy) and came upon a big fat polypropylene line running across the surface between two buoys, the line could have easily been 2" in diameter - quite large.

    I stopped, inspected the area and realized all the buoys were connected to each other with these big polypro floating lines, quite invisible except when they broke the surface and caused a strange looking line across the water. While slowly turning around to thread my way back out a fellow came motoring over in a small 3 meter metal net tending boat and he told me that it was 'peligroso propeller' and pointed at the lines. We agreed that I would go way around to the west and would clear their line or net. The whole structure was huge, several miles each way. I wonder how many south-bound sail boats they catch?

    Ensenada was an interesting place to visit, I do not particularly like being in a boatyard, Baja Naval was a good enough yard, they did a decent job. I did not like their policy of 'the owner may touch nothing below the waterline', as this prevented me from applying the bottom paint the way I would like to, and also caused problems as regards filling a fairing a few fiberglass blisters that needed work. I think in the future I will plan to haul at a yard where I can do my own work, even if (such as Svendsen's in Alameda) you are not allowed to sand the bottom paint due to the yard's agreements to meet EPA rules.

    And now we're on into the evening, or will be shortly. The plan is to arrive in Turtle Bay in two days time, stop and refuel, then push on to Bahia Santa Maria. So far the breeze has been very light to non-existent. There is a forecast that boats are repeating suggesting 20-25 knots of NW breeze out here tomorrow afternoon; if that happened that would be super as sailing would occur. However, nothing I have seen in the GRIB GFS and NAM forecast models suggests anywhere near that much wind, more like 10-15 knots tops. I shall find out!

    - rob/beetle
    31 21'N x 116 49'W, course 175 true at 7.1k


    *************************************************


    Ready to roll south to Bahia Santa Maria
    by rob macfarlane


    At the moment it's a fine Sunday afternoon here at the two-dock marina in Ensenada, I'm dog-sitting for Charlie the Dachsund such that his people can run out for a bit of lunch.

    I've been buttoning up the boat, stowed the dinghy and outboard, tools are tied down in place, and the fresh food shop was completed at the Soriana Super (big supermarket) in town. Later on I will do the non-fresh food shop at the closer 7-11 and Oxxo stsores.

    The general plan is to sail south 550 miles to Bahia Santa Maria, I'm hoping for a 5 day run. Winds so far are very light off Baja, which means either slow sailing downwine in light air, or slow motoring in no wind to conserve fuel. It's another 170 miles from Bahia Santa Maria around the corner to Cabo San Lucas, or 200 miles to San Jose Del Cabo. Both places have fuel docks, and I'd like to have fuel in reserve to get there should the wind really shut down.

    From San Jose Del Cabo it's a northwards turn up to La Paz, with good-sounding anchorages at Los Frailes and Los Muertos, which leaves a last 57 mile hop up through channels Cerralvo and San Lorenzo to arrive in La Paz. I'd like to be in La Paz my December 21 (winter solstice!), as there's a marina there that will host Beetle for a bit.

    Tomorrow morning Ragellio said here would be at Baja Naval to start the exit paperwork for the Port Captain, the Port Captain opens at 9AM, and I should be on my way shortly afterwards. I will have to remember to return Charlie to Ben & Lucie, as they might miss their dog otherwise. Plus I don't have dog food on board. (actually, according to The General, that's not true; I have plenty of dog food in the form of canned goods.)

    Off to finish up provisioning!





    there are a lot of fish boats here in the harbor, they are clustered together in the northwest corner. A bunch of them are being worked on, and a few look to be in rather good shape.



    And there's a whole set of identical-looking tug boats, I haven't seen them go out as there are three other ones that seem to manage the container ships that come and go. But here are the boats that look to be the newest and in best shape. Wouldn't be at all out of place on the Oakland Estuary.

    - rob

    rob m
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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  7. #17
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    It’s Friday, moving on towards Bahia Santa Maria

    It's Friday morning here in the Turtle Bay anchorage. Very calm this morning, not much breeze to speak of, the big blue fish boat departed at 5AM after spending yesterday taking on large amounts of fuel via 55 gallon plastic drums that were rolled down the beach to their shore boat, piled in to the shore boat, slowly motored out to the fish boat on its mooring, and laboriously lifted up and onto the aft deck via two huge swinging derricks. It takes a lot of people to do all that, which makes me wonder if the fish boat is a collective operation, lots of people were involved, all seemed to be having a good time, they were at the operation for a solid 24 hours (they worked all night last night).

    Beetle will be heading south today, departing the anchorage hopefully by 3PM. Most of the other boats are also heading south today, so there will be a little armada of boats poking down the coast. There are perhaps two or three fair to poor anchorages along the way, so most boats (if not all) are planning for a 36-48 hour run to cover the 230 miles to BSM (Bahia Santa Maria). Leaving Friday afternoon means that by Sunday morning boats should be within striking distance of making the anchorage some time Sunday during the day.

    The weather picture looks to be either moderate 10-12 knots NW wind, or no wind, depending on which models you prefer.

    Last night Ben and I decided to forego dinner ashore at Vera Cruz, as it got dark, the fuel pier landing was not available to us as the folks operating the fuel pier lock a substantial gate at dark and go home, which made dinner out a beach landing which meant wet feet and chilly. Instead we had dinner on board Beetle. I got the little Honda generator to the foredeck, fired it up, did some battery charging and fired up the heater such that by the time Lucie was on board the chill had been knocked out of the interior; made for a pleasant discussion of sailing and weather over pasta.

    Plans today are to do a bit more looking at the high current DC power cables around the motor to make sure something hasn't gone wrong with a connection or wire insulation, take a walk through town again, get in a nap, stow the dinghy, and pop the nose out of the anchorage to see what's going on out there on the big blue. It's weird to realize that looking out the entry is the entire Pacific Ocean; I seem to think of Baja as some sort of inland place, mostly as it is so calm here so much of the time - completely unlike San Francisco. So I forget that this is not a lake!

    And now the sun has popped out through the broken high clouds, there are sea lions roaming around chasing fishes that then hop out of the water nearby, a smallish pod of harbor porpoise are moving past, and it's going to be a very nice day here.

    - rob
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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  8. #18
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    En route to Bahia Santa Maria

    Well, true to form, I elected to be part of the cruising community yesterday (Friday) and remain on the beach at Bahia Tortuga with the other folk that I met at the palapa with the comfortable wooden chairs and chilled Negro Modelo. It was mucho fun to meet everyone in the anchorage, and it was a completely random occurrence that we met at all. Lucie and Ben went ashore and I was going to meet them at noon at Vera Cruz for lunch, only I ran into Lucie at the palapa as she had lost Ben, so we waited there. The couple from Las Vegas and Seattle were ashore from their ketch and were walking back from town (they told us Vera Cruz was not open for lunch) and the palapa is a place you walk through to get to the fuel pier where the dinghies are so they stopped to say hello. Lucie's friend delivering Aventura northbound stopped by on his way to somewhere and noticed the proprietor of the closed palapa was standing there, so he asked if the place would open, the proprietor said yes! and we promptly had beers in our hands. About this time the couple from the steel boat from Nanaimo, BC made their first trip ashore and, as luck would have it, they walked through the palapa as well. So we all sat there on the chairs on the b each and told stories about how we got to be here and where we were all headed next.

    Which leads an example of just how small this world can be. The fellow delivering Aventura northbound to San Diego... from La Paz... mentioned it was a Hunter, I asked if that wasn't the same Hunter that John owned (John the Truck Driver?) and he said yes! Turns out the boat was a neighbor of mine in Grand Marina for several years, in 2009 he and I both did the Baja HaHa run south in our respective boats, friends John and Dawn helped to sail Aventura (with John) around from Cabo San Lucas to La Paz, I had returned north, and now I'm headed southbound and run into exactly the same boat! I was informed that John liked LaPaz so much he had bought a place there and didn't need the boat any longer, so it was off to San Diego.

    After all this discussion and talk story we realized it was a super day in Turtle Bay, sunny for a change from the general overcast, it was observed to be a Friday (many sailors determine that departing on a Friday brings bad luck), and I had nowhere in particular to be the next day (other than in transit to somewhere else), so I stayed as well. Found the town bakery and had a Mexican folded bread semi-sweet flat thing that was quite tasty, a couple of fish tacos with rice and salsa and guacamole and macaroni & cheese (which was weird, I had no idea mac & cheese went with fish tacos), a pleasant evening on the boat, and now we're all caught up on what happened.

    Today it was up and out early, the forecast was for breeze offshore and breeze I've got, 12-20 knots from the NW which works pretty good if you're headed to the SE, except that I'm sailing more or less really deep and the boat rolls a lot in the swell. For the first time on the run to Cabo there's real sailing going on, running deep on poled out genoa (partially furled) and double-reefed main (super comfortable control with small main) and making 6s and 7s over the ground, aiming to a point not far west of Cabo San Lazaro - an outer beach/sandy island that is the outside of Bahia Santa Maria, currently located 140 miles in front of me. And it looks like I'm seeing the Easterly shift the grib files had talked about, might need to jibe in a bit. But I digress.

    Good day sailing, nice to sleep down below without the engine running (though it's running right now to recharge batteries and to supply power for the SSB radio that I will use to send this note out, and one squid must be a super jumper cause he made it all the way into the cockpit; all the other squids only made it as far as the side decks.

    So that's the up to the minute shock news, headed south on very pleasant if rolly evening, the moon isn't really visible but the overcast cloud layer is thin enough that the moonshine gets through and sets up a horizon, which is nice to have.

    Enjoy!

    - rob
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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  9. #19
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    75 miles to Bahia Santa Maria

    It's been a most pleasant 24 hours more or less since I departed Bahia Tortuga and the wind has cooperated and stayed fairly steady through the night, keeping Beetle propelled down track (at times in even the desired direction!) to arrive here at 25 38'N x 113 20'W, some 50 miles off the coast and rolling on with one reef in the main and the no. 2 genoa partially rolled out. The cross sea that was possibly a reflection of the swell coming back from the coast died away about Bahia Ballena (watch for whales!), leaving a nice solo swell train that involves less rocking and rolling and we weeble wobble down hill. That's one thing IOR designs like to do is weeble wobble roll (or more affectionately known as the elephant roll, aka death roll should you happen to be flying a big spinnaker DDW in San Francisco Bay).

    The bilge has stayed dry and therefore I suspect the stuffing box flax replacement was a success. As a result my tennis shoes have stayed dry.

    Current conditions are 18-20 knots from behind, puffy flattish pancakes clouds up above with plenty of space in between for the sun to shine down through. I'll be coming onto what is apparently a large area of underwater pinnacles and banks that are close to the deep water canyons, and that brings up pelagic fish, which brings fisherman; part of the game today is to watch for fish boats containing fisherman and avoid them. I did pass a 60-80' sport fishing multi-day party boat (Adventure? Adventura?) that was northbound from the area, and they had literally hundreds of fish rods sporting gleaming gold Penn reels. Must have been a lot people on that boat, though they were crashing to weather on their way northbound while I was gliding the other way southbound. There was only one person on deck on the fish boat, and he didn't look all that happy as the spray would fly by. He might have been cleaning fish, I wasn't sure.

    So today's plan is to continue making miles towards Bahia Santa Maria, hopefully arriving there not too late in the evening. There is a good amount of moon out in the first half of the night, so if there are minimal clouds then the moonlight should help in finding a nice anchoring spot in the bay. The bay itself is huge, something along the lines of Drakes Bay in San Francisco, only not so cold. Plus they have a mangrove tree estuary to explore, provided the surf hasn't closed out the estuary entrance. And lots of sand dunes.

    Should be a fun day! And Ben and Lucie are pulling up on me, they are now even in latitude and perhaps 5 miles to the west. They are working out if they want to stop in BSM or push on to Cabo San Lucas directly (another 185 miles down the road from BSM). I'm more interested in timing a weather window in the south end of the Sea of Cortez for purposes of proceeding to La Paz, and the current long range weather models suggest a window may be opening up Friday. I will be keeping an eye on the forecasts to see what transpires, and will depart BSM accordingly.

    - rob
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    At anchor in Bahia Santa Maria

    It's now Monday afternoon, and Beetle is at anchor here in Bahia Santa Maria. This is a fabulous play to show up, it's an enormous wide bowl with two tall mountainy bumps to the west and ringed with low-lying sand dunes all the way around to the south. I arrived (ahead of Georgia by perhaps 20 minutes, but it wasn't a race, right?) last night after dark, and used the radar to verify that the charts were accurate, and the charts are - the electronic charts I am looking at are from Maptech and are labeled as confirmed by NDMA, so they have been corrected to work tie to GPS.

    I heard over the VHF from Captain's Mistress, a Nicholson 55 already anchored, saying that the bay was good, good holding, wind was way down from the 20 knots I had offshore, and if I wanted any information to call back. That was quite nice of them, I asked if there were any fish pens in the area and they hadn't seen any. Neither have I, though I have read there are lots of unlit fish pens down the road at Magdalena Bay - but none here it seems.

    The not-quite-half moon was also out plus a clear sky made for easy visibility on the way in, a big commercial fish boat anchored out deep (they departed early this morning) and five sailboats anchored in a line along the mountainy bit to the west. I motored up towards the estuary and dropped the hook on hard-pack sand in 30 feet of water, Georgia pulled in adjacent and did the same.

    In the morning it was fantastic, sun came up, green hills lit up, and all the sand dunes are there stretched out to the horizon. Beetle was mostly clean despite the dust from Turtle Bay, so I did a bit of washing with fresh water on the dodger windows, made breakfast, Ben & Lucie & Charlie stopped by in their dinghy on the way to the beach to poop Charlie.

    I got my dinghy up and running, loaded up the bug gear and headed over to the beach where I found small (6") beach break and a lot of butterflies plus a neat tiger beetle with white markings.

    I also discovered that the town of San Carlos is just across the low sand dunes to the east and as a result I have better connectivity way out here in the middle of nowheresville than I did anchored directly in front of the giant antennas at Turtle Bay. I have excellent AT&T telephone coverage, and the MiFi Telcel system supports 4G - way faster than EDGE. So I can post a picture of what you see from the cockpit.

    I'm going to take the dinghy over now and check out some other dunes, and a fisherman came by and bartered with Georgia for beer & bubble gum & $3 US for 6 live lobsters. I'm not a lobster person but Ben and Lucie sure are, and the lobsters are interesting to observe. So plan is to have barbecue on Georgia this evening.

    All is good! Best sail of the trip so far, 240 miles of good running, an hour of motoring to get out of Turtle Bay, and now we're all tucked in here. Also found that Libertad (the Down East 38 from Baja Naval) is here, as is Test of Time is also here. Seems that boats moving south do so at rough equivalent speeds going to roughly equivalent places.





    Looking to the west from the cockpit, the fishing camp - now greatly enlarged since 2009 - is in in the middle on the shore, the hill behind rises something like 1200', and the mangrove and then sand dunes extend off to the right. The water is super-blue, 70 degrees, and very nice.

    - rob
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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