Monday, June 21, 2010

Broken this, broken that... Leaky this, creaky that...

Before I start... apologies for no pictures on this one. We're at an internet cafe and I'm not on my own computer... I'll add pictures when I can!!

Halfway up the Baja! 400 miles to go...!

This trip has been an incredible learning experience.

Eric finally coaxed me into buying an over-the-ounter prescription drug called "stugeron," which is recommended in sailing books to relive effects of seasickness. The drug is actually made for people with vertigo, but taken in 25 mg tablets, it works like a charm to dispel vomiting, fatigue and the other symptoms of seasickness. Thank goodness, because this trip would have been (literally) hell without it.

I have a new respect for fiberglass hulls, and the sturdyness of our boat. As we slammed into waves and were worked by the wind, we could hear the boat flexing and could feel our own bodies cringing at the feeling of being tossed over the edge of another wave... but Nanu has stood strong. I'm very glad that I have a good captain though.

Aside from the miserable sea conditions, the trip has been splendid! The outside coast of the Baja is a barren desert full of adventures and secrets that we've been enjoying on our stops.

When we stopped in Magdelina Bay, we had all kinds of adventures. There used to be an old whaling station ashore, so we went on a mission to find some whale bones. The station had actually been inhabited- by shark fishermen, and we got to talk to them, and see their catches of bull sharks, hammerheads and other mean-looking people eaters. I even pet a dead one! We found whale bones further down the beach, athough most of the bones had apparently been taken into one of the closer cities to be put on display at a museum. We almost lost the dinghy there... the tide came up and swept it away. Had the fishermen not come to the rescue, it could have been a not-so-great situation...!

In San Juanico we saw some AWESOME longboard surf places, although the water is so unbearably cold here that neither of us are exactly excited about jumping in... even with wetsuits. Eric found a gigantic old lobster carcass that must have belonged to a lobster well over 15 lbs.

In Asuncion, we went to town and finally got some much-needed provisions and were impressed at how well-groomed the town was. Grape vines hung out onto the sidewalks and locals watered their orange, lime, and other trees on their front yards. The sidewalks were clean and lined with everything from sunflowers to pink poppies to beautiful flowering catuses... we were very impressed.

Here in Turtle Bay the streets are gravel and sand. The little stores sell more american food than Mexican, and people race out to your boat to be the first person to sell you fuel, water and to take your garbage...

One of the biggest challenges of this trip so far is cooking underway. Things on the stove often end up on th floor, we find carrots in strange places sometimes, and the motivation to carry out a meal under such annoying circumstances turns into a dread. But does it ever make the meals in harbor wonderful!! ...I made cabbage rolls one night that were heavenly. My lasagna tonight tasted like it was straight from Italy.

There is certainly no slow in widlife, even though the water temperature is so different compared to the mainland. Sea lions that think they're dolphins jump up and spin ahile they take curious looks at the boat. Dolphins that must be more comfortable in colder water (we never saw them on the mainland) still play along the bow with their grey backs, white tummies and half-grey, half-white fins. Boobie birds still try to make crash-landings on the boat and the amount of fishing boats off of the coast here makes me think that there's plenty of good fishing... although Eric is apprehensive (understandably) to catch anything while we're underway.

So we are now officially 1/2 way up the Baja...

We've been having engine problems that have enabled me to learn a bunch about engines. Whether that's good or not... Not really sure. It started off that our hot water maker was not working (which sucks in the cold weather!). When Eric (with me hanging over his shoulder) did some further investigating, we found salt water in the aux. cooling tank. Which meant a hole in the heat exchanger. With the hole, it means that the water is rapidly replaced with more water (from the hole) and makes the overflow spew out extra (salty) water into the bilge. Yesterday when I grabbed our mainsail cover, I found it to be SOAKED, and after digging out everything in our rear quarterberth, we found everything sokaed. The aux. overflow was leaking back into the boat onto our sails and cloths, rather than into th bilge. Hmph. The boat looked like a garage sale after we laid everything out to dry... Now we've got the overflow piped in so it is directed into the bilge. We have to pump it out every half an hour or so now... there's ALOT of water that runs through that engine!!

A few days our autopilot kicked out, which has left us manually steering the boat outside in the elements. It{s miserble work and both Eric and I have talked it over and are not down for doing 400 more miles without an autopilot to steer the boat while the engine is running.

We have decided to sail 200 miles NW out to sea to Isla Guadalupe (the furthest west in Mexico you can go) and then turn back east and do another 225 miles NW to (hopefully) San Diego. This will allow us to sail rather than motor straight into the wind. Well be able to use our windvane rather than our electronic autopilot. It adds on almost 75 miles onto the trip, but other wise, we would have to sail back down to Cabo to get aother autopilot. Bum business I tell yah.

I cant wait until I can sit on a toilet and not have to hold on for dear life so I don't fall off!!!

So we'll be here in Turtle Bay until we can find some water (no available water in town) and fuel up. Well have to provision and plan for about three weeks at sea. Isla Guadalupe has nothing on the island. The weather looks favorable, and with all the hurricane activity south of us, we're even hoping for some south wind.

The thermometer is reading 21*C right now, and I've got a teeshirt, hoodie sweater, wool socks and wooly jogging pants on. We're southern chickens now, and in addition to not being climatized to the chillier weather, the ocean wind freezes us to the bone. At night I wear full foul weather gear (heavy gortex waterproff/windproof bib pants and a jacket), wool socks, shoes a toque... in the afternoon if the sun is shining I'll still have my wool socks and bib pants... but maybe a tee-shirt on a good day!

So keep tuned into SPOT to see where we are. We'll give you a happy next blog (hopefully) with pictures from our trip to San Diego!!


Anonymous said...

Hey you two,
Keep on truckin'. I enjoy your amazing adventures.
Do you have an email address for Carmelo?
Seabird, now in Ventura for summer and back to Mexico in October

Anonymous said...

Hi Eric and Rachel! We've been following your adventures--don't envy you the "Bash" one! We've moved from San Diego up to Northern CA, to Auburn, and are land-lubbers now. We are on a lake though with sailing friends all around. PLEASE let us know if you're ever headed this way! GREAT blog, I love your optimism! Take care of each other! Sheilagh

Anonymous said...

Hey you two....nice blog! We sure miss sharing anchorages with you!!
Joan & Chuck
S/V Tender Spirit

Anonymous said...

Hey, it's 9/23 and your last blog was in June. Hopefully, you are home (wherever that might be this summer). If you are in the Long Beach area on your trek home, give us a call....562.522-4165

Saw Lion's Paw at Catalina about a month ago....

Hugs to you both, and travel safe,
Cheryl & Ron
Lazy Days