Monthly Archives: September 2013

And the Chores Begin (Did They Ever End?)…

Last week or so, I made the decision to head for Hawaii in the spring.  At the moment, I’ve compiled a list of things to finish before I leave.  The list, subject to constant revision, looks something like this: Haul out, new bottom paint.                Repair two large blisters.  Consider extending the rudder stock in order to tolerate the extra weight/torque of the current extension (may require dropping the rudder).  Clean, tune rig.  Try to fit a used spinnaker.  Replace electric bilge pump.  Rebuild the manual bilge pump.  Add saltwater pump to the galley. Repair termite damaged turtle.  Add switch to desulphator.                  Replace watermaker panel gauge.  Improve refer efficiency. Check portable generator.  Refinish tiller.  Refinish caprail.  Get HAM license.                                    Check Wx/Routing/Timing.

That’s about all I can think of for the moment.  I must admit, I ordered new refrigeration for the boat.  The current system, an Adler Barbour Cold Machine, worked flawlessly in So. Cal.  The ambient air temperature rarely got above eighty degrees.  It’s at least that when I wake up in the morning here.  The workload this older system and the heat puts on my batteries is phenomenal, with a constant cycling at 10-12 amps at the start of each cycle.  I did some homework here, and have decided on the Cool Blue Technautics system.  It uses a holding plate instead of an evaporator, and gives me a greater surface area to remove the heat in the icebox.  Tom Brown of La Paz Cruisers Supply is giving me a hand with a lot of advice on the unit and installation.  It should arrive in 2 weeks or so, so I’ll let you know how things go.

I’ve begun work on the teak companionway turtle that was ravaged by termites.  That warrants a pirately arrrrrrggh!  They were particularly hungry.  I gave the wood to someone who was taking it out to be precisely cut, as this section of board has a curve to it.  I got it back pretty quick, but the millworker didn’t take into account the bend, so it was too short.  Back to the drawing board on that one.  My caprail has 4 new coats of varnish on it, and the tiller 6, and I’m hoping the weather’s cool enough in the morning to get the final coats on both of those items.  If I’m successful there, I’ll be able to rebuild the manual bilge pump in the afternoon.  I just got my Yankee back from Snug Harbor Sails, and Doug and Meri did a great job of re-stitching the sacrificial Sunbrella cover back in place.  The only thing I’d recommend is not dropping the odd-shaped shackle overboard when reattaching the sail to the furler (Insert appropriate cuss words HERE).  For the moment, the tack is lashed to the furler until I can replace that dangfurnabit shackle…

My plan is to continue whittling away at the project list through December.  Then I may head back over to the mainland to Punta Mita/La Cruz for a bit.  I haven’t decided if I’ll haul in La Cruz or Mazatlan.  The big ticket items are the haul out, refer, and spinnaker.  I’m working on my creativity and bank account for those.  Everything else is just part of the ongoing maintenance to keep Willow safe and her crew happy. I hope you all are enjoying the beginning of Autumn!  Take care, and know I love and miss you all.

Predictions, Decisions, Transitions, and Doubts…


Hi Everyone!

I hope this post finds you all happy, healthy and enjoying life as best as you can.  I think it’s the first day of Autumn, so enjoy!

I’m sitting here in La Paz, thinking about this morning’s weather forecast: rain, heavy at times, for a total of 1-2″ by tomorrow, clearing tomorrow afternoon.  I took my long walk this morning, getting it out of the way before the rain hit.  It’s now 1630, and there’s not a cloud in the sky.  Anywhere.  It’s pretty incredible, actually: warm, very light southwest breeze, and the promise of a bright moonrise once evening falls.  Just goes to show ya, pay attention to predictions, plan for their forecast, but always leave room for Plan B.  For me, today’s Plan B was making the decision for the next number of months.  I’m so fortunate to have the ability to try these things, acknowledging completely how many people can’t.

For me, the next few months involves getting Willow ready to cross half of the Pacific to Hawaii.  For some of you, I can imagine the eye-rolling why-wouldja-wanna-do-that; some of you could be pretty excited for me; and some of you probably want to have my head examined.  Well, that’s been done, at one point extensively and literally, and no one can really explain me, especially me.  I’ve sailed from Hawaii back to the continent, and now really want to sail the other way.  It’s where I first saw Willow, nee Miladi, and knew she was for me.  Additionally, I have been enamored by outrigger canoe paddling after spending years watching Dana Outrigger paddle the harbor where first Samgeo, then Zapatito, and finally Willow rested while I worked.  I watched those paddlers, wondering if I could ever do that, and being quite envious.  Once I got Willow to Avalon and was working there, a group of nine of us trained for the US Championships, a race from Newport Beach to Avalon.  Needless to say, my apetite was whetted for more, and I got that after arriving in Ventura.  I saw a poster up in the local Starbucks advertising Hokuloa Outrigger Canoe Club.  The particular time I saw that poster found me in a serious funk after mentor and very good friend John Callahan died unexpectedly, with my former recent boyfriend following three weeks later.  Joining that club changed my life.

The ‘ohana’ this club showed to me was phenomenal, and none of them knew me or my story from Adam.  Even more, we put together a pretty good old ladies’ team, and took trinkets home from just about every race we entered.  Whoo-ee, I’m hooked!  I fell in love with my team mates, the physicality of the sport, the connection with the ocean, the strength required, the rhythm of the stroke (or stoke?), and the necessity for us all to work together to move this heavy, ocean-going craft across the sea.  We all were doing it for fun, but the early Pacific Islanders knew outrigger canoes as we know our automobiles, baseball, and ipods.  I want to learn more, want to paddle where they paddled, sail where they paddled, and stay connected with the ocean.  The solution?  Sail to Hawaii!

I love Mexico!  The locals have such a gracious hospitality, giving to you whatever they can for nothing more than a smile.  I’ve slaughtered their language to their delight and laughter.  I’ve spent time in some of their large coastal cities like La Paz and Mazatlan, and sailed to some really quaint small working towns like Tembabeche, Agua Verde, San Evaristo and Santa Rosalia.  Everywhere I’ve gone, the scenery has been stark, amazing, beautiful and awe-inspiring.  And I have nothing less to say about their people.  I find the time has come to move along and explore new places for me, give my space to a new adventurer.


I’m doing my homework with pilot charts and world routing books, learning the best times to make a trip like this.  The tricky part is coinciding the best routing weather to the greatest outrigger races in the islands, and then giving me the opportunity to sail back to the continental US in safe weather.  Where in the US, or even Canada I haven’t decided yet, relying on the best times for the appropriate destinations and weather to dictate my movements.

What the heck does all of this mean?  I wanna sail to Hawaii, paddle an outrigger race, and then come back knowing safe spots to keep a boat in Hawaii are scarce.  The best, absolutely best part?  I’m dedicating this passage and subsequent race to the organization known as “Oceans of Hope.”  In a nutshell, this non-profit asks participants to gather donations to support The Sarcoma Alliance, which helps people get second opinions for support in dealing with this uncommon killer.  I’ll have more details about this, and another webpage, as I move along in the realization of these goals.

Even more, I’m hoping we can get together a group of paddlers from my favorite ohana of Hokuloa to meet me at the race location so I can move another ocean-going craft in Hawaiian waters, this time with my favorite people with me.  As I suss all of this out, fellow paddlers, think about it.  Family members, think about a nice trip to the islands.  And those who can’t join me, consider helping me along by contributing to this cause, Oceans of Hope.  Committing to this organization helps me wipe away any doubts I have whenever I untie my docklines.  My boat, she’s a good and seaworthy one.  My skills, they’re sharp and competent.  My doubts, they’re always my worst enemy.  Help me along the way, won’t you?

Visit Home

Hi Everyone, and Happy Labor Day weekend.  Used to be, this was the last weekend of summer before all of us kids went back to school.  Now kids are in school for 2-3 weeks by now!  Whew! At least their first holiday weekend comes quick!  I hope you all are enjoying this day, thinking of what the weekend means, and staying cool.  I think it’s hot everywhere…

I flew from La Paz to Tijuana on Volaris Airlines the first week of August, and it was a good experience.  At TJ, I caught a shuttle to the border, walked across after checking back in to the US, and walked to where another shuttle would pick us all up.  Since the driver decided to go to Otay Mesa instead of San Ysidro on account of the waiting lines, the shuttle on the US side wasn’t there.  It showed up after about an hour, an hour I had the pleasure with which to meet my fellow shuttle-mates and hear their stories.  It was alot of fun, and an adventure.  Oh yeah, the monsters got to come, too.  Now THAT part was an adventure.

It was 111 degrees at La Paz airport the day I left.  With the cats in the carriers, I wanted to stay with them as long as possible, trying to shorten the amount of time they sat in the baggage area or on the tarmac in that heat.  Being the good passenger that I am, of course I arrived 2 hours early, and boy, am I glad I did.  I checked in at the counter, and this entailed Security going through any baggage that will be checked.  That meant the monsters’ carriers.  So, the monsters came out of the carriers and leashed, just sat on the table while Security inspected the carriers. After paying their fees ($10 less than my seat, each), I went through another screening.  This one is where I get radiated to my eyeballs.  Of course, the monsters had to come out of their carriers for this, too.  They did without issue, and pretty much impressed all who were watching.  The rest of my baggage was carry-on, and now had to be inspected.  Computer, carefully packed, iPad, carefully packed, camera, carefully packed, all had to come out, as did that suspicious looking chart plotter.  No problem.  The cats were sitting calmly as I took everything out of the bag, trying not to spill my underwear and bras on the table.  Wait, I had to take my belt off, too, as I was wearing my blue jeans because they took up too much space to pack.  I slowly walked through the ‘radiator’ and of course, all the bells and whistles went off. The cats, too.  As I was scanned by the giggling female attendant, the cats sat, bored.  I was motioned forward to explain that suspicious GPS, and said it was going home for repair.  They nodded, and let me pass.  As I was trying to herd the cats back into their carriers, a supervisor arrived and said in no uncertain spanish terms that the cats could not be there. As my jeans fell down, I apologized, explaining I just went where the ticket agents directed.  He again told me to leave.  Then he softened up a bit after seeing how calmly the cats were staring at him.  My jeans continued to almost my knees, as I was afraid to move until he said I could.  Flashing all the Security team my burgundy chones, I got the cats caged and gathered up the rest of my stuff. Since I would have to do this all over again, I asked if my computer and other stuff could wait with them.  The staff, now giggling as hard as the female attendant, agreed to watch my stuff.

Escorted back to the main terminal, I put my belt back on so as not to offend anyone or cause a laughing fit.  I grabbed a wall, slid down and sat on the oh, so cool marble floor.  Soon after, the monsters begged to be let out, so I opened their carrier doors.  Makani immediately did the sprawl, extending every inch of himself on the cool floor, a look of happiness on his face.  Kai was a bit more nervous and just wanted to sit in my lap.  For the most part, dogs and cats serve a purpose in Mexico.  Dogs often guard a house or yard while cats are varmint catchers, and the skinniest creatures I’ve seen.  So to see the vieja loca gringa with not one, but two of these things, one pretty dang fat, who were going on an airplane, was an entertainment to the locals. Makani and Kai had their pictures taken, coats petted and ears pulled by Mexicans old and young, large and small. The fat red boy cat of course was in his element, but Kai could’ve done without it all.  Everyone had a smile and a kind word for the monsters.

Twenty minutes before boarding, I went through Security again, and the cats and I sailed through.  I turned them over to the baggage attendants and waited to board.  The flight was pleasant and uneventful, and I was excited to be nearer to home as we landed.  At the baggage carousel, all of my flight mates cheered when they saw the carriers come on up the track, around the corner, and made their way to me.  It was a fun time.

Mom picked me up at San Diego airport and we stopped and picked up some pizza to eat on the drive home.  Lucky for us, the cats weren’t hungry, but I was!  Mom and I talked about everything we could squeeze into the two hours time before we got home.  I drove the monsters on up to my sister’s and brother in law’s home in Laguna.  After a quick greeting, we all crashed.

I spent three weeks settling my recreational use tax issue for the boat in Ventura, got some items for friends in Mexico, got some items for Willow in Mexico, visited with friends, checked in at the doc’s, change-coached a couple of outrigger races (FUN!), SUP’d once or twice, flew with Andrew to SLO (WAY FUN!), and got to spend some quality time with family and close friends. None of that sounds too expensive, but right now I’m broke, so September will be a slim month for me.  My trip back to La Paz was pretty uneventful, except for when the drug-sniffing canine found two items in the baggage area he was very interested in.  Can anyone guess which two items???

Enjoy the weekend, Everyone, and there’ll be more posts soon. Take good care!