Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mexico to Seattle - Day Sixteen

Yesterday, 24 hours ending 0630 turned out a little over 90 miles.  Today is not going to meet expectations.  We rounded Cabo Baha.  Like all the other capes, it had currents and wind and waves.  It did not appear to be a challenge, but it was and I don't expect 50 miles today.  Very disappointing.   Our present position is 29 deg 52.4 min north 116 deg 11.0 min west.  Will close for now.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Mexico to Seattle - Day Fifteen

As promised, we are at 29 deg 13.6 min north, 115 deg 09.7 min west.  Left this morning at 0630 and have completed the crossing of Bahia Sebastian Vizcaino on a true north course.  We are presently following the coast on a northwest course to Punta San Antonio at which time we turn north again.  At that point we will be about 145 miles from Ensenada.  I am hopeful that my ETA will hold.  Will close.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Mexico to Seattle - Day Fourteen

We made it out of Turtle Bay.  This morning, we cleared the entrance at 0800.  It was not perfect conditions, but not bad at all.  With the reduced sail plan, we were able to keep level.  However, the sail modification did not affect the rocking motion.  We are now at Cedros Island near the main harbor, Lat 28 deg 06.3 min north, Long 115 eg 11.1 min west.  We had planned to go a little further knowing that the weather is to build early this evening.  As we motored along, white caps and a strong breeze hit us.  Assuming that it was the expected weather, we ducked in early.  Of course, the winds subsided in a very short time.  Tomorrow, we expect the weather to ease around daybreak.  The plan to really push hard - hopefully 100 miles, but we will settle for 80.  No stopping on this leg.  Tuesday is supposed to be the best day.  Between the two, our wish is to be far enough along to avoid the serious weather and sneak into Ensenada Wednesday or Thursday.  Reports may be brief tomorrow and the next day, but I will write.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Mexico to Seattle - Day Twelve and Thirteen

Except for dinner ashore last night, we have been pretty much boat bound.  Yesterday, we changed the oil and topped off the batteries.  This morning, we made some revisions to our sail setup.  The staysail was replaced with the storm staysail and the main was reefed to the third reef point.  This is in anticipation of the weather window which is to appear within the next few days.  Monday, the winds are to fall substantially, but the seas are expected to take a little longer allowing for a run across Bahia Sebastian Vizcaino.  The seas are supposed to build from the south, a wonderful concept which has been predicted but, so far, has never materialized.  If so, it should make our voyage much more pleasant.  Tomorrow (Sunday), we will be seriously looking for an opportunity to make a dash for Cedros Island.  There, anchorages on the lee side will allow us to have a 40 to 45 mile leg up on the trip later on Monday.  We are expecting to motor the entire way using the sails for stabilizing and a slight lift.  Our immediate destination will be Cabo San Quintin or Isla de San Martin which are very close together.  Of course, if can, we will go for Ensenada.  But, there is a good chance that we may have couple of days layover.  Hope tomorrow to report some progress.  Will close for now.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mexico to Seattle - Day Eleven

Don on "Summer Passage" prepares a HAM radio weather forecast daily (except Friday) for cruisers.  On the West Coast, he is legendary.  Today, he reported that the system in the Santa Barbara Channel and down the Baja, is the major weather system between Canada and Chile.  And, that south of the Tehuantepec, it is expected that the first tropical storm of the season would be forming within a few days.  The good news is that the tropical storm should provide benefits to those heading north. We will see.  We decided today, to provision and explore the town of Port San Bartolome'.  We ended up at Carlos' Palapa Restaurant, the place we visited in December on the way south.  There we met the crews of "Darling" and "Sun Baby".  "Darling" (an 82' Oyster) is being delivered from South Carolina to San Francisco Bay.  They spent a few days in La Cruz while we were in the States.  They did say that "Odessa" was the first sailing vessel they had encountered at sea since somewhere in the Bahamas.  The crew has some great stories making for a very pleasant afternoon.  Please note that I would rather be reporting on our progress north, but for the present it just is not possible.  So, for today I will not try to create any more "news".

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mexico to Seattle - Day Ten

A very lazy day.  We did repair the navigation light which failed on the last night of passage.  It was a short which "toasted" the connection post on the port light.  After several attempts to solder the wire to the remainder of the post, we put out an APB to the fleet.  Fortunately, "Psyche" (with whom we visited earlier) had kept a similar Aqua Signal fixture when it was upgraded years ago.  We were able to make a few adjustments and completed the repair.  Ralph did an inventory and tomorrow we will go into town to fill the cupboards.  Kirk spent time cleaning the interior.  For myself, I shaved and made cornbread to go with Ralph's lentils.  The weather still looks like Sunday/Monday/Tuesday before it lets us go.  We have been analyzing and discussing but it does not seem to make it any better.  All for now.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mexico to Seattle - Day Nine

Present location 27 deg 41.0 min north 114 deg 53.4 min west, also known as Turtle Bay.  We arrived at 0430 and fell into the rack.  Some details about yesterday and the night before.  After our discouraging tack on Sunday night we tacked back around midnight.  Just before midnight we got good news, "Psyche" was under power crossing our bow.  Her fuel problem was initially thought to be bad fuel, but turned out to be loose fittings which allowed air into the systems.  We had a very discouraging tack back out; could not find a satisfactory sailing or motoring direction; the boat just was not cooperating.  Our conclusion is that there are some really challenging currents in that area.  Once free, we established a regular tacking pattern.  The winds increased as did the seas.  We worked with sail combinations.  Monday morning, we dropped the staysail and sailed with the Yankee - sloop rig.  For these conditions, it was very efficient: it eased the motion of the boat and maintained the speed but did not keep us off our ear.  Twenty-four hours sailing with the boat at 20 degrees and more makes every move a challenge.  Little tasks become big.  Just putting on your clothes requires extensive planning and constant effort.  As we got closer to our destination we reduced the time between tacks to about two to three hours.  It required all of us to execute them properly.  So those off watch trying to sleep were awakened frequently.  Now we are in Turtle Bay, the boat requires no special handling and we are level.  Small things make us so happy.  Unfortunately, the weather outlook is lousy.  Today and tomorrow there are some bright spots, but after that we would absolutely have to pull in and hunker down.  Here we are protected and have limited services and have lots of cruiser company.  We will continue to monitor, but right now it seems that we are at least ten days from San Diego.  That will push back San Francisco to about June 13th.  Will close for now.  We have lots of maintenance projects.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mexico to Seattle - Day Eight

We are rapidly approaching Turtle Bay.  Our position at 1830 is 27 deg 08.3 min north 114 deg 38.8 min west.  Sea conditions force me to make this brief.  We hope that it calms so that we can motor in the last few miles.  Will provide detail tomorrow.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mexico to Seattle - Day Seven

Today began with incredibly calm conditions.  We motored until 1500 at which time the winds began to increase.  Again concerned about fuel, we set the sails.  Turtle Bay was only 90 miles away at the time.  We tacked out hoping that our return tack would place us close to our destination.  But, the winds changed from WNW to NW, enough that our return tack is putting us only a few miles ahead of our departure point.  Sometimes these things happen.  At least we are not going back to Cabo San Lucas.  Otherwise, everything and everybody is fine.  It does look like though that we may have a coffee crisis.  The French Press is reported to be cracked.  Each major voyage seems to reduce our coffee making options.  Will close for now.  Our current position is 26 deg 24.4 min North 114 deg 02.0 min West Mike

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Mexico to Seattle - Day Six

It is 1800 and we are located at 25 deg 16.7 min North, 112 deg 35.4 min West. My how things change in a day.  Last night the wind died and we turned on the motor.  It has not stopped since - the wind is light and the seas pretty good.  We have the main and staysail up and heading about 20 degrees off the wind.  At the moment we are making 6.5 knots.  Most of the day it has about 5.4 knots. The winds are predicted to have increased which will allow us to turn off the motor. We will see.  The good news is that all the other boats have been accounted.  "Tapatai" and "Sun Baby" are very close behind.  "Brisas" and "Blue Sky" got around Cabo Falso this morning.  Another boat "Darling" is five miles from us.  "Psyche" has fuel issues and is considering returning to Cabo San Lucas.  That is a very tough call; we wish them well.  On board, Ralph developed an abscessed tooth.  First chance to really use the medical kit.  Got him on Ibuprophine for the discomfort and have begun a series of Cephalexin for the infection.  He is doing great.  My best guess is that we will arrive at Turtle Bay around midnight Monday night/Tuesday morning.  That is all for today.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Mexico to Seattle - Day Five

It is 1830 and our coordinates are 24 deg 08.9 min North and 111 deg 40.5 min West.  Last night we tried to motor with poor results.  Today, we continued sailing with good results, but it is a tough ride with the world ("Odessa") on a constant slope.  Tonight we are dropping the yankee and sailing with reefed main and staysail.  We have decided that sailing is far better than bashing to weather.  One of the advantages of sailing is that it almost eliminates the fuel issue.  Another is the ride is much steadier with a reasonable motion.  So, we will not be stopping until we reach Turtle Bay.  The big news is that last night I reported that "Psyche" was out performing us.  I was wrong.  This morning we visited on the VHF and their position put them about ten miles behind us.  The rest of the fleet has not been heard from.  We assume that they decided to wait a little longer.  Will close for now.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mexico to Seattle - Day Four

Morning started at 0100 exiting the marina at San Jose del Cabo.  At 0600 we began to approach and experience Cabo Falso.  The winds and seas were on the nose.  We adjusted our engine but soon were at 3000 rpms and making about 2 knots.  Winds were 30 knots.  I am sure that there were some currents in the mix.  For four hours we worked our way around the corner.  We were advised that staying close to the land in about 100 feet of depth was preferable.  So close to land in those conditions was questionable, but it worked.  "Psyche" was behind us and flew a reefed main and staysail along with motor through the whole rounding and was doing much better than us.  When conditions improved, we put up a similar sail configuration.  Later, we added the Yankee, turned off the engine and got the wind vane going.  For the rest of the afternoon we enjoyed an excellent sail. Given the course, weather conditions, etc, we have just turned the engine on, lowered the head sails and are heading toward Bahia Santa Rosa.  Presently, it is 2200 and our position is 23 deg 36.0 min North and 110 deg. 29.6 min West.  We are running at 2500 rpms and making 3.7 knots.  At issue is our fuel burn which we continue to monitor.  It is desirable to make it to Turtle Bay with our existing fuel supply.  If necessary we will stop at Magdelina Bay but that stop will cost us valuable time and money.  All in all, it has been an exciting day.  I think I need some sleep, so will close for now.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mexico to Seattle - Day Three

Clean boat, clean crew and rested.  We will be leaving tomorrow morning at 0200 with a projected rounding of Cabo Falso at 0600/0700.  "Psyche" with Steve aboard will join us; it will be leaving Cabo San Lucas.  Later tomorrow and early Friday, "Brisas", "Blue Sky", "Tapatai" an "Sun Baby" will follow.  We have created a mini-net meeting twice daily at 1530 UTC and 2230 UTC on frequencies 4417.00 LSB and 6227.00 LSB.  So, if you have a HAM/SSB radio, please feel free to listen in.  The conditions are good for this time of year, but will be challenging.  We are hoping that the seas being from the SW and the wind from the NW will be better than wind and seas coming from the NW. I will report on that tomorrow.  Until then- Mike

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mexico to Seattle - Day Three

We made it to San Jose del Cabo at 0930 and checked in at Marina at Puerto Los Cabos, Lat 23 deg 03.7 min North, Long 109 deg 40.4 min West.  Following my report yesterday evening when the seas were very calm, we had another evening of unpleasant conditions.  The wind picked up to 15 knots from the Northwest and the sea state increased.  The result was that for about five hours we struggled to keep a 5 knot pace.  Things calmed down about 0300 and the rest of the journey was uneventful.  In the marina there are three other boats waiting for proper weather conditions to go around Cabo San Lucas and head north.  In addition, "Psyche" with Steve aboard contacted me from San Lucas to tell me that he too would be making the journey.  At this time, it still looks like Thursday is the magic day.

Marina at Puerto Los Cabos is a very interesting place.  They had only a single slip available when we arrived.  I was anxious to share the art and story of Leonora Carrington.  She is a Surealist still living in Mexico.  Even those that don't particularly enjoy her art seem to find it thought provoking. Her two sons are involved in some financial way with the marina/resort development.  They have used the marina as a venue to recognize their mother. You may find more information about Leonora through Google.  Tomorrow, we are going to explore some the features of this development that I missed the first time through in December.
Today was kind of a work day.  We changed the oil and the primary fuel filter.  Ralph (who has entirely too much energy) washed the outside of the boat.  Kirk worked on the inside with other cleaning projects.  At least tomorrow we can feel good about our clean boat and clean crew.  By Thursday evening, I expect that it will become only a memory.

Will close for now.

Monday, May 16, 2011

La Cruz, Mexico to Seattle - Day Two

Today has been beautiful.  The sea state that developed last night continued to slow our progress until about 0300 this morning.  Since then, we have made excellent time.  At the moment, we are making 6.7 knots and expect to complete the crossing in a total of 48 hours.  During the first 24 hours we traveled about 135 miles leaving 145 miles to be covered in the final 24 hours.  This mornings HAM net weather predicts a favorable change for the outside of the Baja on Thursday.  We will continue to monitor the situation closely.  We did check the oil after 27 hours of motoring, and there was no appreciable change in level.  We have been running at 3000 rpms which is 200 rpms faster than I normally run but well short of the 3600 red line rpms.  The difference in speed is significant, almost 3/4 of a knot, and it help get us through the increased sea state.  I will be interested in the fuel consumption results when we get to San Jose del Cabo.  This morning Ralph prepared scrambled eggs with olives, black beans, onion and jalipenios (sp?)on flour tortillas.  Last night Kirk prepared a pasta dish made with real wheat flour which was a treat both of us.  In the afternoons, Ralph has been preparing sliced fruit.  Bottom line is that we have been eating well, even though it has been pretty bouncy until now.  Tonight, when it should be easy to work in the galley, no one seems interested.  We have been visited by dolphins on both days.  Today, Kirk was able to get some video.  Will call tomorrow from San Jose del Cabo.  On the agenda is the location of the pot hold downs for the stove.  Will close until then.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

La Cruz, Mexico to Seattle - Day One

Mike, Kirk and Ralph
at the marina in La Cruz, day of departure

Departed at 1000 hours from La Cruz, Mexico which was one hour later than expected.  After an immediate adjustment for Mountain Time Zone, it was decided that we departed on time at 0900.  Our position at 1830 is 21 deg 02.8 min North and 106 deg 17.1 min West.  The weather is clear with winds from the West at 9 knots and a westerly swell.  At the moment we are making 4.9 knots, speed over ground.  Most of the day, we have been able to do better.  We are on schedule to arrive at San Jose del Cabo on Tuesday morning for refueling and a study of the weather before continuing on around the cape.  At this time, we are expecting a weather delay.  Ralph Hemphill guided us past Punta Mita during the morning.  He is new to Odessa, but is learning the systems.  At the moment, Ralph is driving the boat while Kirk Hackler is preparing a dinner.  It was a little lumpy this morning and has continued so.  I have taken some mecilizine for the motion and feeling the better for it.  Must close for dinner.  Will report tomorrow.