Mom and Molle at the Beach...

Mom and Molle at the Beach…

Ahh, Willow’s in her new slip for the next 10 weeks, and it’s nice to be so much closer to both my mom, and the boat. Mom’s doing great; she’s driving, taking good care of Molle, her dog, and helping us help her in her home. I’m able to spend a little more time on Willow, catching up on things that need catching up on.

This week was, well, let’s just say I’m very happy it’s Saturday, and tomorrow brings a whole new week. It began with some controversy about me closing my Facebook account. Really? That extended into some more not real fun conversation, and I’m hoping I’m done with that. Frankly, I’m kind of, almost, ready to give up all of our relatively newfangled necessities: social media, smart phones, blogs, computers, etc… Remember, I said almost! With that in mind, the afternoon of these conversations found me losing my phone (again, for the ninetieth time). Subliminal something in there?? Well, crap. After putting my account on hold, I went into the Verizon store and explained my situation. I told the clerk I would like the cheapest, stupid phone available so I could at least keep my phone up and working. I didn’t need all of the other amenities of a smart phone. The clerk informed me it would cost at least several hundred dollars to put a non-smart phone on my account. Huh? Gotta keep those contracts going, right? Oh, and if there’s a new phone put on the contract, that contract gets extended another two years, right? Oooo, I was steaming. Knowing I could do better anywhere else but here, I left. Lucky for me, I remembered my sister had recently upgraded her phone, and since she also phones through Verizon, I asked her if I could borrow her old one until my contract is up and I can change without paying more money. She was agreeable, and I went to a real Verizon store, not one of the independent ones. They were able to activate her phone with my number, and I was back in business. Whew.

After running some more errands with my mom, I dropped her off and went down to Willow. Unloading some of my recent Trader Joe’s purchases, I slid open my food locker, and a few tiny little buggy-type flies flew out. I decided it was time to remove the potatoes that had begun to grow. After I did that, I noted one of the cartons of chicken broth had swelled, and that one needed to go, too. Then more of those buggy flies flew out. I guess ya don’t have to hit me over the head with a 2 x 4, but I kinda figured I had a problem. Turns out, 3 cartons of cream of corn soup had exploded, and said explosion supported various life stages for these buggy-type flies. Yuck. These cartons were not old, but they weren’t packaged in the US. I looked closer at other packaged goods, and noted my non-US cans weren’t holding up well, either. Unfortunately, bags of contaminated or nearly so food went to the trash. Everything was removed from the lockers and I cleaned it well with some bleach. At least it doesn’t smell of curdled cream of corn soup. Yuck. Oh, I already said that. After two and a half hours, I was done and ready for a tall glass of ice water. Actually, it was good to really clean that all out. In Mexico, it’s strongly advised that if you’re leaving the boat for the summer, you remove every single piece of foodstuff you have aboard. Aromas that we can’t detect are delectable to bugs, and the high heat has caused various food packagings to fail. I didn’t think it was all that hot here in Southern Cal, but it seems obvious to me that the foreign packaged foods don’t hold up to time, let alone ambient temperature. Lesson learned.

Memories Of Sunrise Over Banderas Bay

Memories Of Sunrise Over Banderas Bay

This past week has brought a bit of a heat wave to the area, though here at the coast, a cooling marine layer helps to keep us comfortable. A friend sent me a message about 3 boats blowing up on the beach in the Bahia Concepcion area of the Baja after a strong Chubasco hit. Other friends blogged about downpours and lightning in La Paz. Sheesh! Though the excitement and challenge would be fun, the relative quiet here is nice for now. If I can just keep track of my (sis’s) phone, and keep the bugs on the outside of the boat… Best Fishes!!

So Cal Sailing

Avila Bay


I’m about 20 nm south of Dana Point, and feeling wonderful out on the water again. I’ve found a slip to sublet until October, and by then, hopefully my regular slip will come up in Dana West. I’ve heard of other folks doing the sublet to sublet dance for up to 3 years, but they finally get a slip. I hope this doesn’t go on for 3 years for me…

I left San Diego at 0000, and it’s amazing the number of vessels out at that hour. I’m not the only crazy one. I only had to dodge one other sailboat between Mission Bay and Pt. Loma, and I think they were sleeping at the switch. Hopefully they didn’t find themselves engulfed by the boat-eating kelp field off the point. I’ve had a couple of blue whales accompany me for a few miles, and their seemingly leisurely pace is calming to me. Then they let loose with a long, slow blow, and you’re surrounded by plankton breath. I just moved under the protection of the dodger as big fat raindrops began to rinse me off. Scattered thunderstorms are forecast for the day, and the sky is many different shades of gray, ranging from off white to black. Think I’ll stay away from the black areas…

There’s a light but steady north breeze, and I’m fortunate to be sailing up the coast pretty much on rhumbline. Yay, me! After a few hours of the lovely quiet, I decided it was time for some Eagles on the Jambox. Chores are done after breakfast, and I’m just standing watch until my arrival. The rain feels nice (ooh, lightning!), and I’ll take Mother Nature’s deck wash any day. I just hope it rains enough to rinse the rig clean instead of leaving mud streaks. Hate that.

Being away from Willow has caused me to let a few repairs go un-repaired. My steaming light went out just below Turtle Bay on the way home from Mexico, and yesterday was the first time I had a chance to go up the rig. Aside from the dove’s nest in my radar reflector, everything looked pretty good on the way up. When I got to the light, I quickly changed the bulb, keeping my fingers crossed. I could’ve crossed everything on my body and it wouldn’t have helped. After unscrewing the entire light from the mast, it came off in my hand. Um, I think it needs to be connected to those wire thingies, and there ain’t no wire thingies to be found. The motion of the Bash was the last straw and the wires sheared off right at the back of the light. I can run new wires to the light itself, and then I’ll need to re-run the wire that’s down at the base of the mast. I just want to figure out a chafe-free method of running those wires through the sharp hole in the mast… In the meantime, a flashlight gets duct-taped to the whisker pole in front of the mast, pointed forward, to show my good intentions. Worked on this trip just fine. My sump pump that drains my shower sump runs, but I think the diaphragm is history. So that’s a taker-aparter. I need to replace the electric bilge pump completely, and get my wind generator back up and spinning. I’m thinking of purchasing a special sewing machine so I can build Willow a new dodger, and repair sails and other boat covers. I’ve done some shopping, and the quotes for a dodger are pretty proud. I can buy the machine and canvas for less than half of what I’ve been quoted, and I have some other projects I can practice on leading up to the dodger. The dodger’s a complicated piece, but I feel if I take it apart piece by piece, do the measuring and make my pattern, and then sew it back up according to the fit of the old one, I should be okay. There no doubt will be many cuss words invented and re-invented throughout. After, I can decide to sell the machine, or keep on learning and perhaps use it for some sushi money.

Rolle and Niesen Just Gettin' Along...

Rolle and Niesen Just Gettin’ Along…

Speaking of sushi money, I’ve been helping out my sister and her husband by watching their two dogs. These two ain’t no lil’ chihuahuas, nope. They’re a 4 year old and a 3 month old Bernese Mountain Dogs. They are beautiful, fun, smart (too smart), lovable, oh, and big! During the week from 1100 to 1300, I stop by their house to let the little one out of his crate to play. Play usually means him jumping on his brother, generally annoying the crap out of him. The big boy takes it well and wrestles for awhile, and then just rolls over for a nap. After a lunchtime feed, the little one goes outside for a potty break, and then goes back in his pen. These two make me giggle and try to remember how long it’s been since I’ve had a puppy. I think it’s been just after high school…

All is well in my neck of the woods, and I hope the same goes for you all. Enjoy the summer, take care of each other, and keep doing good things! Best Fishes!

Okay, Enough!



I’ve been back for two and a half months.  I know I’ve been helping out Mom alot, and her home shows it.  She’s doing well, making tracks, and is even enjoying physical therapy!  I’ve been working hard to get some good protein in her and making sure she stays hydrated.  If I don’t, some of her old habits come right back.  But she’s moving on along and getting stronger, healthier and more independent day by day.

Me?  Well, that’s another story.  I’ve been getting fatter, poorer, and out of shape-er day by day, and it’s got to stop!  When I cook for two, I cook for two of me when it should be just one and a quarter.  So, guess where that food goes?  And everyone knows how much I hate food…  I was hauling my ISUP between the boat and here in San Juan Capistrano, but I’d always wind up leaving the pump at the place I wasn’t.  Some kind of subliminal denial in there somewhere??  I’m spending money like I had it, going in to Target (yes Nancy, it is like Nordie’s after you’ve been in Mexico) and getting things Mom needs, and then a shiny, pretty thing goes by, and I buy it.  Oh, and who the heck invented credit cards?  Curses, damn you!  Some of those curses need to be shared with whoever invented TV.  I haven’t had a TV since 1994.  I now have become an HGTV aficionado, and find myself giving suggestions to my sister on how to ‘demo that wall for that open concept feel’ in her home.  I HAVEN’T LIVED ASHORE FOR ABOUT 30 YEARS!!!  What the heck do I know?  Then there’s Animal Planet’s Cat From Hell show, and I use some of the tips for Makani, although he’s not from hell, yet. 

It’s sensory overload whether by taste, sight or sound!  I need the peace and quiet again, as well as the simple, whole foods I ate while traveling.  I need to keep my needs simple, thus cutting down on spending, keep my priorities simple (health, Mom, and Willow gear), and my sensory stimulus simple, as in lose the TV!  Last year during the heat of the Mexican summer, I’d pick the hours between 1200 and 1400 for my walk to town for groceries, supplies, sightseeing or just plain exercise.  I’d plug in my earphones and make phone calls or listen to music while I walked, and it gave me a great sense of health.  I paddled the ISUP where I needed or wanted to go, and it was a blast.  Things just have to change for my sake, and for Mom’s sake.  She does well by example, and I’m not setting a very good one right now.  So, enough!

I’m back to more simple foods, riding my ‘clown bike’ for errands, and writing and exercising for my health.  The extra el-bees will slowly go away, and I’ll be in a much better place.  Purchases will be researched for cost and options, and I may even pick up a part time job to pay off those dastardly credit cards quickly.   I applied for a slip in Dana Point, and with Willow closer, I’ll be able to keep up with her maintenance, as she’ll be five minutes from Mom’s house.  That’ll take 4-6 months of wait time unless a sub-lease becomes available sooner.  I miss that dang boat, and want to give her the attention she needs.  Having the boat close by, I can help out the Moms and take good care of Willow at the same time. 

I’m back on track and look forward to more calm instead of chaos.  Yippee!!!


NOT a handprint, a raccoon print...

NOT a handprint, a raccoon print…

Hi Everyone! I’ve been back in the states about 5 1/2 weeks now, and it’s been action packed. Not the same type of action I’ve been used to, but pretty interesting all the same. I came back up to California to help my mom out for a few months. She was hurt in a fall, and just needed a hand to get back on her feet. She’s doing well now, and I think I’ll be able to spend more and more time down on Willow soon, and that’ll be good.

Willow’s doing well, but my time to work on her has been greatly decreased. Shortly after I arrived in San Diego, the boat was invaded by raccoons. What a mess! All of my linen on the v-berth was destroyed, and my settee cushions were so dirty. There was a very strong and gamey aroma throughout that was really pretty bad. I had to replace all of my bedding, as the varmint(s) urinated and defecated numerous times, and it seeped through to the foam mattress topper. I removed and laundered all of the upholstery in the cabin, and then sterilized all flat surfaces, as there were tiny ‘handprints’ everywhere. To add insult to injury, the masked bandits broke in again after all this work had been done. I phoned the marina office and told them of the second violation and they just laughed at me. Unfortunately, I wasn’t in the laughing mood looking forward to repeating all of the work I had just done. I requested to be moved far away from the dock I was on, as I felt the varmints had my boat’s scent hard-wired on their brains. I was moved two docks over and all the way at the opposite end of the finger, making the critters really have to hunt Willow down. I felt much better.

After moving the boat to the new slip, I could finally wash off all of the offending ‘handprints’ from my deck and gelcoat. I put Willow’s interior back to the fine way it was, and I enjoyed a few nights of sleep in my new and re-cleaned bedding. Walking the dock one day, I spotted a dockmate from the first dock I was on. Chuckling, he told me that the raccoon had finally been trapped that morning. He said there was a new boat on the main walkway that had been trailered down from the California Delta area. I guess the boat had been in the owner’s driveway for awhile. Once the boat was here in San Diego, the owner splashed the boat and put it in its side-tie and left. Two weeks later, he came down to step the mast and put the boat back together. When he opened up the tiny cabin, 5 sets of eyes were staring him down and chattering at him. A momma raccoon had pupped four babies, and they’d been living down on his boat here for the past few weeks. He called the marina and told him his story, and they found a ‘raccoon guy’ who lives in the local foothills. The expert came down and trapped the five bandits, telling the boat owner he’d keep momma and the babies together for eight weeks and then let ’em loose up in the mountains. Turns out, the momma raccoon foraged on 4-5 other boats during this time period, and the marina finally figured I wasn’t a crazy, hallucinating new tenant. Just a crazy one… Even better, I re-located Willow back to the original dock finger today, as the new slip was larger, and if I stayed there, I’d be paying more in slip fees. In the second slip, it turns out the varmints HAD actually found me. On the port side of the boat, I found new ‘handprints’ signaling the raccoons had found Willow. Good thing she was buttoned up tight! Now that they’re gone, I’m relieved to know the boat won’t be damaged anymore.

Another funny thing happened this morning, as I was moving Willow back to her original dock. Just as I was backing the boat out of the slip, a good friend returned an earlier phone call. Rather than not answer, I just decided to do a harbor/bay putz while we caught up on the phone. As I was motoring around San Diego Bay, I noted how nice it was to be out of the slip and get the engine running. I remembered a friend of mine was to haul his boat out of the water this morning, and maybe I could see him under way. I looked in the direction of his mooring, and saw a small sailboat with a mainsail only up. Probably was him. Then my phone rang again, and sure enough, it was Tony, and he was wondering if I was in the San Diego area. Seems his engine had just failed, and he was looking for a little help. I asked him if he was the little boat with the main only up, and he said he was over by the large bait barge. Yup, that was him! I offered to long-tow him over to the shipyard and ‘whip’ him into the side-tie where the travel lift was. Sounded good to him! We accomplished this without a hiccup, and after, I wondered at the Providence that just made me go out on a harbor putz this morning. Thanks for calling me back, Sally! I think Tony thanks you, too!

Willow and Peace

A December Sunset Shadowing Santa Cruz Island

I’ve been back in the States for about 3 weeks, and boy, it’s a hectic place. Whether it’s the maddened drivers, over zealous snake oil salesmen on late night TV (Buy this holy water, 4 oz, for $140, and you WILL receive $27,000 in 3 weeks, IF you apply it properly to your body…???), crazy TV, period(!), or what I perceive to be outlandish rudeness, I’m a wreck. I try to hang on to the slowed pace of sailing through incredible places, and the feelings it left me with. I try to hang on to the feeling of gratefulness for all I have and all I have seen. The absolute glut of invasive advertising makes that difficult. I can’t possibly be happy unless I have one of these, or twenty two of those, unless I look like her or drive one of these. I strive to hang on to my peace, and the peace of mind I finally attained.

One of the best ways I have found to get back into that feeling is to get back aboard Willow. I am so lucky to have this boat, to have maintained her in the way I have, and sailed her to the too few places I’ve visited. She is in fine shape, and this allows me to walk away from her for the next few months and leave her essentially untouched. Within 18 hours of arriving in San Diego, after a thousand mile bash up the Pacific coast of Baja, she was surveyed in order to have the required insurance in the States. She passed with flying colors, aside from a hose clamp here and there, and the need to put in GFI outlets for AC power (she was built before they were invented…). Of this I am immensely proud. She has taught me over and over, you get what you give, and when she’s maintained and sailed well, she will protect you and let you travel safely. I have owned her for 17 years now, and with the upgrades she’s received over the past 3 years, the insurance company doubled her payout value in the event of a total loss. How often does that happen with a 31 year old boat?

Aside from the monetary value, Willow’s been my home for all of these years. When I get within 5 miles of the harbor, I feel a huge weight begin to lift off my shoulders, and my face lightens with the beginnings of a grin. This was true as I drove the 65 miles home from work for the fire department 12 years ago, 30 miles home from the harbor patrol 2 years ago, and 72 miles now from San Juan Capistrano. I anticipate stepping aboard and being enveloped in her beauty (in my eyes), her quiet, her solitude.

Willow is my place of peace, and I am so very fortunate to have her…

Turtle Bay to Ensenada

The Hans Christian 43 Betty Jane, Beating Up the Coast

Well, the weather looks unbeatable for another step up the coast, so I’m up and off at 0700. There’s weather due in by the weekend, so I’m hopeful to be up in San Quintin, a good anchorage, before it hits. Then, I’ll bug on up to Ensenada. If I didn’t leave now, I’d be in Turtle through next week. NOT.

The kids on Bonita made it safely in to port last night after a day and a half tow by Betty Jane. They’ll be figuring out their game plan and staying put through the weekend and gathering transmissions, etc… They are some really nice kids, and I hope they stay in touch.

I got a couple of replies from Jeanne and Leah about sleeping in the head/bathroom. I was laughing, and not understanding, and then it hit me. The ‘throne’ isn’t the toilet, at least on this boat, it’s the reclinable, cushy chair I use in the cockpit, and then drag down below to rest on when it’s either night or punky weather. The lowest, most centered place in the boat (salon floor) is also the most comfortable, so that’s where I hang. Makani and I duke it out daily over who gets squatting rights, and it’s usually 50-50.

I have to go do a bit of navigating as I approach the islands outside of Turtle Bay. I’ll try writing again later today. You all have an outstanding Thursday. Kevan and John, leave some money in Vegas for the rest of the poor losers… Mom, hang in there, keep up your PT and eat some good stuff!

I hope everyone’s looking forward to the end of the week today, and looking forward to a fine weekend.

I’m about 70 nm out of San Quintin, after a gooey, foggy night. I made tracks out of Turtle Bay yesterday in very fine conditions. It got a little sporty right off the tip of Cedros Island, but it was very short-lived. A few hours later, the sky fell, and we were down to zero visibility for awhile. I moved out of that, and now it’s 100% overcast, and I’ve got about 4 nm of viz. Conditions look good to continue on truckin’ today, and depending on what Tony offers up weather-wise, I may truly bash a day to get into Ensenada to beat a weather system this coming week.

That screw! Remember that screw I found on deck a few months back on my way back from the mainland? I finally found where it came from, and it wasn’t the rig! It was from the cam cleat on one of my fiddle blocks for the preventer. I know, for the non-sailors, what in the heck is she talking about??? For me, it was very exciting to find the source of that screw, and now I know!! Oh, the excitements of a sailor… I know you’re envious…

You all take care, have a great day, and an even better weekend.

The weather’s fine this morning, but it’s forecast to get up to 15-18 knots this afternoon with a mixed swell. That’s not bad, but it is bumpy and tiring. If all things hold, I’ll be in Ensenada tonight for a day or two of much needed sleep.

Just off Rio Santo Tomas, I was making tracks with reefed main and stays’l. The point there affected my progress, and then Betty Jane, just off my starboard bow, wanted to come up to make some sail changes. I fell off from my course and got caught in the current mixing things up at the point, and just couldn’t get back in the rhythm afterward. At least for a good hour or so. I’d been staying with Betty Jane just fine until then, but they took off and left me in their wake. It took 2-3 more hours and an offshore tack until I made Punta Banda, the entrance to Bahia Todos Santos, or Ensenada Bay. I was trying to rush and make the harbor entrance before nightfall, as the navigation lights on the buoys melt into the traffic lights on the main drag of Ensenada. This I knew from experience while racing the Newport to Ensenada Race in years’ past.

I made the navigable channel entrance to Ensenada harbor just at dusk, and could make out the buoy lights. Of course, then a ginormous freighter was exiting the harbor, and I was hauling a@s downwind and downhill on a collision course. Curses! You can’t let exhaustion and emotions dictate in times like this. Tonnage rules, and the freighter wins. I gybed around and headed upwind for a mile out of the channel to let the ship get on her way. After gybing again to the channel, a cruise ship then left the harbor. Curses again! I figured if I stayed out of the channel, the cruise ship would have the channel to herself and all would be good. Until the ship turned to starboard outside of the channel, and on a collision course with me. I hailed her on the radio numerous times, and one of the officers finally answered. I asked how he would like to pass, he stated his intentions, and all was good. Ten minutes later, I was in the relative calm of the harbor. After dousing sails and preparing docklines and fenders, I pulled into Cruiseport Village Marina and was tied up by 2030.

Jim and Mark from Betty Jane and I showered up (not together) and walked into town for a late dinner. I tried to sleep, but kept waking for a ship check as if I was on watch. One time, I woke to find a powerboat on a collision course with me and jumped out of the bunk, raced to the helm and swung it hard over to avoid the vessel. Only then did I notice it was far too quiet for any boat to be underway, and the ‘offending boat’ to be my neighbor in the next slip. Urging my heart to calm, I put the tiller back in its storage station, closed up the cabin and went back to bed. Needless to say, not much sleep was had after that…

Bahia Magdalena to Bahia Tortuga

Breezy Sky…

Good Morning, Everyone, and what a fine morning it is!

Okay, you can’t tell how happy I am to be under way, can you? I weighed anchor at 0505 this morning, and comparatively, the seas are relatively flat (okay, there’s about a 7′ swell, but the period’s nice and long…), no windwaves (yet), and the breeze is about 8 knots on the nose. Perfect!! There was a boat that left Bahia Santa Maria yesterday afternoon, and they got pasted in 24-28 knots. Thanks, Tony!!! We should get the afternoon NW breeze up to around 16-17 knots, and then it’ll die on down. One of the prognosticators in the fleet does a more detailed reading with isobars, etc…, and he believes that with the Norther going on in the Sea of Cortez, we may see a nice shift to NE, which would put some wind in our sails and not on the nose, and that should take place perhaps tomorrow. So I think we waited well, and are bugging out while the bugging’s good.

I’ll continue writing at least once a day, but the disclaimer stands: If you don’t hear from me, DON’T WORRY! I’m traveling in some great company, and we’re all watching each other’s backs.

I’m happily truckin’ on up the coast, though yesterday afternoon and evening was a true bash. That’s eased some, and I’m making 4.9 knots right on the rhumbline. That’s AWESOME for Willow. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE my staysail?? I’m not at the back of the fleet, which is amazing, but the boat that is, a Hans Christian 43′, is 2 nm off my starboard quarter. I should arrive in Turtle, prospectively, tomorrow afternoon. With the wx forecast, I’d really like to press on after fueling up, but my arrival time may not be before the fuel dock closes. So, a good nights sleep may be in order…

I’ve dodged longlines, turtles, pangueros, and Indonesian fisherman. It’s more crowded out here than when I came down, as I recall. The cruise ships march on down about 10 nm outside of us, but you can’t miss their lit up city lights. You never know where the fishermen are, but they sure are on the radio! As the evening goes on, I can’t understand them, but the singing starts, rants against the Mexican Navy, pornographic dreams are broadcast, and all sorts of other silliness, and not just in spanish. I think I heard tagalog (sp?) and some asian dialects. It increases with the hour, and level of borracho-ness… Yup, it’s not the quiet Pacific coast anymore…

Today, conditions should continue to ease for us all. We’re in good radio contact, and keeping track of each other. There’s a professional big boat captain in the fleet, and he had fun testing me all night long. He didn’t think I’d be responsive to his radio calls. Got him! Hee-hee…

I hope you all have an outstanding Tuesday, and keep on taking good care of each other.


Tiger Beetle Passing Willow to Starboard...

Tiger Beetle Passing Willow to Starboard…

Conditions have settled beautifully, settled enough that there’s even fog 5 nm out all around. So really, really settled. All of us in the fleet had greeted each other this morning, and were making plans about weather, fuel and Turtle Bay. Turtle’s so close (105 nm), I can almost smell it! Then it happened…

Ryan from Bonita called out that he thinks their transmission is shot, and they were out. Such a bummer. All of us had a few suggestions for him, but they were all to no avail. Their transmission was shot. This is where Providence comes in. Jim, who’s taking the owner’s boat, with him on it, up to Seattle, used to do a bunch of work for Vessel Assist. Jim and Mark are aboard the Hans Christian 43, Betty Jane, and they offered to tow the kids on Bonita on up to Turtle Bay.   This is what I love about sailing!!  I was right there with them, so I hung out and sent moral support their way. You know, “can I just slip Willow between you two boats real quick???” It took both vessels about an hour and a half to gather required gear and get things settled for a safe and manageable tow.  At 1600 hours, we’re off.  They’re carefully making about 4 knots, watching closely for chaffing and gear failure. I’m moving on up the line and getting out of their way, but maintaining radio contact with them. The next challenge will be finding repairs in Turtle, or maintaining the tow to Ensenada… Stay tuned.

Aboard Willow, all is well. Going downwind is no test for a boat. Going UPWIND, I have found more little things I never would have guessed, but all are easily remedied.

My 1600 local position: N 26d 10′ W 113d 38 SOG 5.1 kts COG 305d mag BRG 309d mag

I’m in! I’m fueled! I’m safe! I’m tired! I’m going to bed! I’m going to write you all tomorrow. There is internet here, but it’s waaaaaaaaaaay slooooooooooooooooooow. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

(Tony, bad idea to head out early and keep going?)

I arrived at Turtle Bay around 1700, fueled up and dropped the hook.  (For other Bashers information, the fuel dock in Turtle Bay is open 24 hours a day.  You just need to hail them on VHF Ch. 16 when you enter the bay, and they’ll meet you at the dock.)  My original plan was to stay a day or so with the great kids from Bonita, and perhaps go up the rig to change out my steaming light bulb. But the weather forecast was far too great to hang out, so after a night’s sleep, I decided to head out early Thursday morning for Ensenada, another 290 nm up the coast. Buenos Noches!

Bahia Magdalena

Whoever invented sleep should get a Nobel Peace Prize! So very restorative…

This morning, I woke at 0900 and felt a little punch-drunk. Nothing coffee can’t fix, so I made up a cup or two. Instant recovery. Nectar of the gods… I fueled Willow up with 18.75 gallons, started her up and made my way 4 nm up the bay to Man O’ War cove and Puerto Magdalena. Good rumor says I can get some diesel here for a few extra pesos if I ask nicely. Apparently, the Capitania del Puerto will take his panga into town for you with your jerry jugs. With the next leg around 250 nm, I’d REALLY like to have that fuel aboard. He’s not answering the radio, but I’m anchored right in front of his officina. Since it’s Sunday, he may not be working unless for an emergency, and this ain’t one…

I had a bit of extra water in the bilge and on my bunk. Turns out my anchor locker leaks, and that’s right at the foot of my bunk, so the water runs along the bunk to the sole right at the head. Took a little figuring out, but that one’s an easy fix. The only thing is I need to keep using the anchor, so it’ll be a temporary fix, for the moment. My other repair isn’t so easy. I’m trying to figure if I can make a temporary fix, or just the pull the whole thing down. The ‘thing’ is the wind generator. It’s a pretty heavy object sitting on top of an 11′ pole, an aluminum pole at that. The base for the aluminum pole is stainless, with a large stainless bolt going through the pole, only. No protective bushing, nothing. Well, as that heavy object on top of that soft-metal pole gyrates in the swell, it’s been sitting on this large stainless bolt. Finally, it’s been wearing the aluminum into quite a bit of a larger hole, allowing more movement, and thus, more wear. Can I use a few large blocks and anchor the pole better, using a couple of un-used winches? Do I take that chance, making a cat’s cradle of a support using spare sheets, or do I just take it down? I don’t feel the aluminum is a wise choice for this use, but I understand why they did it. Its lighter weight lends it to an easy application. But the act of beating to weather in moderate conditions has tested the mounting greatly, and it could be much better. The thing I don’t want is for it to come down under way. But, I really like the additional power it gives, especially at anchor. I think I know the answer, at least what my gut tells me, but my brain is disagreeing right now. Tired? Poor judgment? I think my gut will win out, especially after more rest, and the whole thing will come down…

I’ll stay here until I can get some fuel, and then make my way up 30 nm or so to Bahia Santa Maria. There, I’ll wait out the oncoming breeze for a couple of more days. Then, it’s off to Turtle Bay!

All is well aboard Willow. The cats have eaten and hydrated, and I’m looking forward to a fine meal this afternoon, and some more rest. I hope you all enjoy this beautiful day, and heal up and be well, Mom and John!

Take care and keep doing good things!

I’m sitting on anchor at Man O’ War Cove, and the wind came up today as predicted. I can hear the roosters crowing from shore as I make my coffee and Cream of Wheat. Yum. Gregorio, the Capitania del Puerto, has been by and filled half my jugs with diesel and had to go back ashore for more fuel. There’s one more boat in the cove, S/Y Best Explorer, and it looks like about 48′, steel or aluminum, with 6-7 people aboard. Looks like they’re from Italy(?), and they’re making their way down the Baja. They should be here for 3 days or so, and I’d love to hear their story. Maybe I can entice them with a Shoreboat Coffee or two…

The Mexican Navy has made it’s rounds through the cove. They looked closely at Willow. When I cleared out of Cabo with the Port Captain, he wanted all the descriptors of my boat, especially when he heard there was only one person aboard. He wanted my name, Willow’s length, spelling, doc. number, etc… No other Port Captain has wanted that info. I choose to think it was out of concern for the ship’s welfare, as it’s a long hike to be making alone. We’ll see if they come in for an inspection…

After fueling, I think I’ll work on my wind generator stabilization plan for the 30 nm trip up to Bahia Santa Maria. If it’s not doing the trick, I’ll pull it down there. I do believe I’ll be here for a day or so, giving the breeze a chance to wind down a little. Motoring against those conditions just uses up precious fuel and you’re not moving all that well.

Gregorio explained to me how his wife was having a lot of pain in her neck and shoulder area, and asked me if I had a liniment or medicine for it. I told him I had no salve, but I did have some ibuprofeno that could help. I also gave him a pair of silver earrings to give her. They’re quite pretty, and I hope they help her smile. I don’t want to give him any of my vicodin, especially with the Navy nearby. I think that’s just looking for trouble. Additionally, that’s for emergency use only.

I made an error yesterday when I gave you all Tony’s information. He does the wx on the Chubasco and Baja Nets. If anyone wants some wx info under way, he’s your man. Let me know if you want to play with him. This is one of his most favorite things to do, and he’s made passages worldwide. Better yet, he’s free! Like I said, it’s a huge amount of fun for him…

That’s about all I have to report this morning. I’ll probably post again this evening. I hope you all have an outstanding week, and keep doing good things! I love and miss you all.


What an Amazing Shoreline Decoration!

I’m up early today, looking to get a few chores done. Yup, and pull that wind generator down. I played with my jury rig yesterday, and just can’t cinch things down as tight as I’d like, so, as my gut, as well as a bunch of you all said, take ‘er down. This also needs to be done in stages: 1. Disconnect and isolate the wiring, shielding both ends from arcs; 2. Tie off main pole to support it when you remove the two supporting poles; 3. Remove the two supporting poles; 4. Lower the main pole and generator to the deck, not allowing the blades of the wind generator to pierce the dodger (or a cat); 5. Take it all apart and stow. I think I’ll be sleeping with a wind generator for a while…

Tomorrow, I plan on heading up early to Bahia Santa Maria, giving me a closer jump off point for when the breeze dies down. I won’t be worrying about a giant, swinging, piercing thingie coming down and taking out the dodger, mainsail, or a cat. Or me! Nor dealing with sheared electrical wires coming from the batteries. I ran down some scenarios in my head, and along with the physical damage done by the generator, the electrical hazards were pretty daunting, too.

This morning as I look outside the cockpit, I see a broad, red stripe along the shoreline. I mean, bright red. We’ve been having some pretty big tidal changes with the new moon coming, and something obviously washed ashore at high tide. I’ve gotten a few photos, and I think I know what the red is. While weighing anchor at Belcher’s Point, I saw some maybe 2″ long red shrimp/crab/lobster-like thingies flowing by with the tide. I remember about 12 years ago during a delivery back up from Puerto Vallarta, seeing the same type of thing, though the critters were much bigger then. Langostinos, perhaps? They add a beautiful blaze of color to the shoreline, but I’m guessing with the seabirds and the non-survivors, it’s gonna stink!

Gregorio, the Capitania del Puerto, got me all fueled up yesterday afternoon, and enjoyed a cerveza afterward. He and his esposa live in town at San Carlos, and he comes out here 3-4 times a week. He does work 24/7, but at times won’t be here at Puerto Magdalena. So if any of you are needing fuel before Turtle Bay, stop on by, fill your tank with your jerry cans, and call the Port Captain. He’ll happily fill your jugs. For 80 liters, I paid 1200 pesos, or about $100. In Cabo, I bought 60 liters and paid $96. Gregorio told me to tell my friends of his service, so there ya go. Of course, a propina (tip) is always welcomed!

Take good care, Everyone, and know how much I love and miss you! I’ll be outta here soon, a couple more days, or so. Mom and John, keep doing your ejercicios and PT! I’ll be chasing you two down yet!

I don’t have any foolish thing to report, but want to thank those who had input for helping me do another non-foolish thing. Andrew, John and Tom, yup, I took it down. The wind generator, that is. The trickiest part was getting it down before the wind came up, and before the pangueros sped by Willow. I braced it as best as I could while it was no longer supported by its stainless ‘arms,’ and was able to lower it precariously to the cockpit. I tied it off to the dodger while I removed the blades of the generator, then the generator itself. Now, the stainless arms are in the garage, and the main pole is tied to the lifelines. All of the bracketing parts are with the blades and the generator.

Once done with that, Gregorio came by to see how things were. I thanked him once again for helping out with fuel, and told him I was going to head back down to Punta Belcher, giving me a pretty quick exit from the bay once the time is right. I may be here until Friday, or I may get out early in the morning on my way to Bahia Santa Maria. I’m getting to think I may, once again, bypass Bahia Santa Maria and just make tracks for Turtle. I keep needing to remind myself that I’m not necessarily in a hurry, and don’t need to beat up the boat, cats, or me. I’m not ashamed of waiting for a little more of a favorable window to head out. I’m beyond the need to race or impress anyone. But please don’t think I’m just sitting here eating bon-bons. Once the decision was made to head back up, I just want to be there. My engine work is done, my batteries are in good shape, Willow’s doing well, as is her crew. I’m thinking Friday morning will be a good thing…


Looks Like the Armada de Mexico is Waiting This One Out With Me…

The Next Day…

Not much going on here but us waiting out the wind. Wait, that’s just me, everyone else is leaving, but they’re going south! That’s the direction to go. My friend Tony reaffirmed my gut telling me that it’s no fun bashing in this weather, and though I want to move, why? Why do something stupid when you know you really shouldn’t. Anywho, I’m finding little things to do around and on Willow. It may be the weekend, or longer before I get out. Please don’t worry. All is well aboard.

I must admit, this morning when I wrote, I was a bit frustrated by the weather. I need to be moving! But it’s all good, and I was obviously where I needed to be when I needed to be there. Shortly after I sent off my post to you all, I ALMOST turned off the radio, but decided, what the heck. Ya never know. I was still anchored at Punta Belcher, and the wind had definitely arrived. Not twenty minutes into my pity party, I heard “Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!” A boat was calling mayday, and he was in the northern end of Mag Bay. Hey! I know where that is! So I answered, after hearing no one else answer. The operator stated he was out of fuel, en route to San Carlos for fuel, and he was unable to anchor. Oh, and it was howling out. I asked if he could sail to one of the anchorages, and then arrange for fuel (like I did), but he answered he was a motor yacht. Doh!

I got his position, and then called mi amigo nuevo, El Capitania del Puerto Magdalena, Gregorio, to see if he could help. Now picture this: me spanglishing this boat’s position, and seeing if there was some way Gregorio could understand. I plotted his position about 4 nm from Man O’ War Cove, and pretty much right between Punta I-don’t-remember and Punta Stearns. Gregorio plotted him in Bahia Santa Maria. I called the (Oh! There’s a baby grey whale about 50′ off my beam! Where’s mama???) vessel to confirm his position, and I had it right. I gave that to Gregorio, and he said, basically, it’s pretty windy out there. Did I know that? I answered Si, Yo se, pero el otro barco necessito ayudar. Ya see how bad my spanglish is? After a bit more conversation, Gregorio agreed to go out to help, if I’d handle radio comms. I told the other boat that help was on the way, and he answered they were finally able to get an anchor down, and asked if I realized how windy it was? As spray is coming over my bow, at anchor. Really??? I asked how many people he had aboard, and if they all had lifejackets. Who do I sound like now??

I just got a radio call from the vessel, and Gregorio and the Navy had delivered fuel. He was just trying to bleed some air out of the fuel lines so he could get under way to San Carlos and fill up. In the meantime, I motored back up to Man O’ War Cove. If it was gonna be this blowy, I wanted to have people watch me drag ashore. Just kidding. My anchor is well stuck, I’m watching whales, and I think the Navy is gonna wait this one out about 100 yards off my port stern.

So all is well. I’m not pouting anymore. I helped someone, and there’s really nothing better than that. I’m now watching for Gregorio and the Navy to return in the two pangas they left in.

Sometimes, you never know. No more whining from me.

Following Day…

I’m still anchored at Man O’ War Cove, tucked in as close as I was comfortable. Yesterday evening, the winds died down for about a half an hour, and the peace was deafening! But Mother Nature came back with a vengeance, and I’m glad I’m sitting here instead of flailing out there. Not much sleep was had due to the noise and bobbing, but my gear held Willow quite well, and is doubtless digging itself in even more as time passes.

Aside from reading, one of the things I’m endlessly enjoying is watching the young grey whales come into the cove, dive in the shallows and come up for air, over and over. I don’t know if they’re feeding, or scratching an itch on the bottom, but they remind me of that youngster who would come to the sandspit each year in Santa Barbara and drive the locals and tourists wild. Here, there are no annoying pangas or other whale watching boats damn near on their backs, following them wherever they go. Just me, and I’m just peekin’!

As for getting out of here, last night’s forecast showed Sunday/Monday as being a possibility. I’ll keep you informed on what’s shaking with all of that as the time gets nearer. You all take good care, keep doing good things, and enjoy the rest of the week.

Next Day…

Good Morning, Everyone!

And it’s a still one, at that! First time this anchorage hasn’t moved since I got here. So why am I not moving? A 35′ sail, Bonita, just arrived yesterday as I was napping, and asked if we could buddy-boat up the coast together. I agreed, though they have much faster hull speed. That’s not a bad thing, as I would rather have them ahead of me, than alongside or behind. So at o’dark thirty Sunday morning, I am outta here!

A nice couple, the kids on Bonita. They came over for some spaghetti, veggie salad and brownies last night. Elena and Ryan came down from WA state. They met each other (again) in Sacramento, CA, and decided to do a little traveling. Turns out, they knew each other as kids, so that’s a pretty fun thing in my book! Anyhow, they were down in La Paz for a bit, and it’s time for their adventure to take them in a different direction. Once they get back home, they’re thinking of selling Bonita and living ashore. I wish them well, and we’ll see how long we’re able to keep up with each other.

This morning is just amazing. There are some pre-frontal clouds above, some striped, and some swirly. We’re supposed to have more wind again today and tomorrow, and then perhaps it’ll be done for a while for the trip to Turtle. There are a couple of grey whales moving lazily through the cove, and the seabirds are being noisy. I’ve wiped down the condensation from the deck, and the salt goes with it. Willow’s in good shape, my navigating is done, and now it’s time for some rest. That’s the tough part. I’m just not sleeping like I should be. Tonight, maybe a Benadryl will help.

From here, it’s 260 nm on the rhumbline to Turtle Bay. If I’m lucky, conditions’ll allow me to stay on rhumbline and cut some time. Otherwise, it’s one foot on the beach, as Tony puts it. Once there, I hope to get a little fresh food, just some onions and other veggies if I can. Obviously I’ll be re-fueling, and hopefully I can put an extra mil pesos in my pocket, just in case. After a night’s rest, I’m hoping the weather stays fair for another good 260-270 nm shot on up to Ensenada. I’ll check out of the country there, get the last bit of fuel, and get to San Diego as quick as I can.

One Final Day…

I hope today’s a beautiful day for you all, with some rest, a little relaxation, and some laughs and giggles. I’m giggling more now as I know I’ll be leaving overnight for Turtle Bay! Woo-hoo! When I arrived here in Man O’ War, I was the only boat, and thinking I was really on my own. Over the past week, there have been an ingress of boats, and now it looks like there are four of us who will be heading north in some loosely formed fleet. We have a one-off racer, a Hans Chris 43, a Columbia 35, and me. You know where I’ll be in the pecking order! You guys sound like there’ll be a light Santa Ana this week, and that makes for some FINE weather for us!

I’m excited to get moving again. Today I’ll be making a big pot of some bean chili to last me up to Turtle, maybe share some with Bonita. At Turtle, as long as the weather’s holding, I’ll be fueling up, and trying to head on out again. I should have regular internet there in Turtle for a very short time, and then it’ll be sailmail again. I hope to get another post out later today.

Baja Bash, Part I Cabo San Lucas to Bahia Magdalena

Hi All!

It’s 0820 your time, which is the same as my time, and my location is: 22d 55’N 110d 03’W
my speed is: 3.9 knots
my course at the moment is to stay within 1.5 nm of the coast.
Local conditions inshore- wind NW at 15 knots, seas 4′ with a very short period. It’s a bit ickier outside…

It’s kinda yucky out, and the cats are calling me very bad names. I’ve been trying to go offshore a little, but it’s REALLY yucky out there. Being so close in, I won’t be writing long notes for the moment, but know all is well. I’ll just short tack on up the coast, and Willow LOVES her staysail.

Take care everyone, and I’ll write when I can.

About an hour after I wrote this, conditions abated dramatically. Local effect… At 1000, I’m in less than 10 knots, with a larger, but much longer sea swell. Double reefed main and staysail doing nicely, making about 4.2 comfortable knots…

1200 position: 23d 03N 110d 11W SOG 3.7-4.0 kts COG 307d mag. Wind WNW 9 kts Bar 1020 mbs

Later in the day…

Hi Everyone!

I know the first post was a little whiney, WAAAAH-like and such. It truly was icky out for a lil’, short waterlined boat like Willow. I’ll admit to whining, but I don’t regret it. I just couldn’t eat cheese with that whine, or it woulda been on the floor. Icky (nautical term).

Now things have smoothed out a bit, and Willow’s moving out. I’m still using my staysail and a single reef in the main, and I’m short-tacking along the rhumbline, as the conditions let me. I hope to arrive in either Magdalena Bay or Bahia Santa Maria sometime tomorrow night or early Sunday. Then, I’ll be sitting there for a number of days waiting for some weather to pass. My little introduction this morning has taught me much patience for waiting it out. But I should have sailmail running…

The monsters are doing a bit better, looking like they’re from the land of the living. They were NOT sporty this morning. So, all is well aboard for now, and I’ll send you out my position.


At 1600: lat/lon 23d 15’N 110d 22’W SOG 4.3 kts COG 277d mag 124 nm outside of Mag Bay

All’s well, I love you all, and ain’t no fishin’ goin’ on…

Have a great evening!

Day 2

Things are looking a bit rosier here on Willow this morning. I was able to get some rest last night, unlike the night before, with the constant ‘Cabo Boom-boom’ literally playing from speakers around the marina all night long. I feel much better today, especially after coffee and an apple. I look forward to some good meals tomorrow after a full night’s sleep tonight. After I get in, that is. I’m thinking of heading into Mag Bay for the night, refuel Willow from my deck jugs to see what her fuel consumption was, and then make a decision of whether to push on to Turtle Bay, or ask the port captain to shuttle some fuel for me in May Bay. Once I’ve figured my fuel situation out, I may head up the 20-30 nm to Bahia Santa Maria, and sit there for the weather that’s supposed to come down the coast. That may be a good 5 days’ worth of a wait, but it’s all good. As I recall, the last time I was there in 2004, there were miles of beautiful beach and lots of sand dollars. I’d love to collect some!

Once that blow comes through, I’ll head up about 230 nm to Turtle Bay for a final re-fueling and weather window before heading out to Ensenada. The nice thing is there are some nice hidey-holes between Turtle and Ensenada that I can duck into. Everything is weather based, and my friend Tony DeWitte is helping me out with that. Knowing my rough route, he’s able to provide me with a forecast along that particular route. He doesn’t tell me where and when to go; those are my decisions and responsibilities. But if any of you sailors want some info, he’s now broadcasting on the Chubasco and Baja nets. Tell him I say hola and that I sent you!

I hope to be on anchor by midnight or so, and I have about 63 nm to go to the entrance of Mag Bay. Have a wonderful weekend, Everyone, and know I love you all!

1020 local position: lat/lon  23d 42’N 111d 25’W   SOG 4.9 kts   COG  285d mag

Day 3

It’s 0400, I just dropped the hook at Punta Belcher in Mag Bay. All’s well. Need some sleep, some fuel, and to make some minor repairs. If you REALLY want to test some things on your boat, do a bash. That’ll do it! Anywho, I’m off to bed. Talk at you later…

Frailes to Cabo San Lucas

This morning confirmed the great reasons I am out here. I left Frailes around 0330, heading toward Cabo. As there is an un-charted rock about 1.25 nm offshore about 5 nm in the direction I’m headed, I decided to stay 3 nm off the coast. Just at sunrise, as the tug Defender was passing to port of me, I got my own whale show. Obviously humpbacks based on their antics and fin slapping, they breached, spy-hopped and tail slapped for me for a good twenty minutes. Of course, with the short, bumpy NE swell behind me, all I got photo-wise were pictures of their splashes. But they were big splashes! Just as they swam off to the horizon, I looked forward and saw the spiky dorsal fin of a marlin move lazily right in front of my bow. (That’s just for you, Mike!) I’ll put a line out shortly, hoping for some sierra or dorado. Yellowtail, if I’m lucky!

I should arrive in Cabo in around 6 hours or so, at 1300-1400. I’ll fuel up, and do a little provisioning. All is well aboard, and I’ll leave either Thursday or early Friday morning. I’ll be playing with watching the weather and timing. It’s a 700 nm or so run up the coast, so if I’m lucky, I can average 3 knots in the slop, and 4.5-5 knots in the not-slop. If it’s 3 knots, I’ll have just enough fuel to make Turtle Bay for a re-fuel. If I can’t hold the 3 knots, and that would be ugly, then it’ll take me a bit longer… We’ll just have to see…

I hope all is well with Everyone! I’ll be on regular email after this post for a day or so, then it’ll be back to sailmail. Have a GREAT hump day, and keep doing good things!