Adventures in Cabo San Lucas
April 14, 2016
Cabo San Lucas (really Los Cabos – including San Jose del Cabo) is where we round the tip of the Baja peninsula and head into the Sea of Cortez. Stopping in Cabo San Lucas was a nice (and fun) break from the long passage down from California. If you haven’t been to Cabo San Lucas, it is a pretty much a tourist mecca!
Everything in Cabo San Lucas is catered to the vacation crowd. Although we may look like we are on vacation, we really aren’t (or we would be broke pretty quickly and have to end this little adventure). So, we did our best to take part in some of the fun, craziness of Cabo San Lucas without going too overboard.
We spent the first three nights at Marina Cabo San Lucas, which was nice for us to be able to utilize the water, showers, laundry, etc. But then we headed out of the harbor to anchor the next three nights in front of the white, sandy beaches where the hotels line the beach. Our cruising guide books told us to expect to be charged to anchor, but apparently that wasn’t the case. Nice!
On Wednesday, after finishing our chores (laundry and boat cleaning) and cleaning up for the day, we decided to head out for dinner to a local restaurant we had seen a few blocks off the main strip earlier in the day. Unfortunately, we didn’t take very good note of where the restaurant was and ended up wandering the town for a bit. It was getting late for dinner, so we stopped at one of the restaurants by the marina, where Mike got the special with two grilled lobster tails at a great price!
After dinner we decided to check out El Squid Roe, which is a cheesy club, but definitely entertaining people watching. You can see that we got into the spirit of things…
On Thursday, we decided to reprovision the boat as our fridge (other than the fish in the freezer) was getting lean. We took at taxi to the Walmart, which actually had a great selection of produce and other items including homemade, warm corn tortillas. We got a pretty good haul! (Side bar: I never shopped at Walmart at home. This was a lot nicer than the ones I have seen in the US.)
We had gotten some recommendations from friends to check out The Office, so we headed there for dinner. It is a great outdoor place right on the water. We were lucky to get a table right up front on the sand in perfect time for the sun going down. They put on quite a show with mariachis, a luchador (wrestler) as MC, some traditional dancers, a pinata for the kids and some silly games on stage. The food and margaritas were great too!
Our next adventure was on Friday when we decided we needed to fill our propane tanks. (We have two 20 lb refillable tanks that are mounted to the stern rail of the boat. We use propane for the stove, oven and grill.) We stopped at the marina office to ask where we could the tanks filled. Apparently the taxis near the marina charge “tourist” prices, so the office recommended that we take a bus to the Soriana (local grocery) and then pick up a “local taxi” to take us to Caligas where we could refill the tanks.
We had to walk a few blocks with the tanks to find the buses. (I’m glad Mike did most of the heavy lifting with the tanks. Those things are heavy!) But, we got on the bus and found the Soriana. We bargained with a taxi driver to take us to Caligas, wait for the tanks to be filled and take us back to the marina for $200 MP (a little more than $10 US!)
We then got the boat ready to leave the marina and anchor out at the beach. We had a bit of difficulty getting out of the slip as the wind kept pushing the bow of the boat the wrong way, but eventually we made it out of there!
We followed the recommended anchorage in Charlie’s Charts (one of our guide books) and found a great spot in 20-30 ft of water about 200 yds off the beach. The beach is a public beach where there is a break in the line of hotels that dot the coast. The sandy shelf extends quite a way off the shore before dropping off to deeper water.
Here is picture of Adagio at anchor with the iconic rocks in the background.
And here is our view from the boat at sunset. Not too bad!
It was afternoon by the time that we dropped anchor and pretty busy all around us with jet skis, parasailing boats, water taxis, etc. We waited until later in the afternoon until the traffic died down (mainly the jet skis!) to put the paddleboards in the water. Not a bad paddle to shore, but it was still a bit windy and choppy. We walked down the beach and checked out a couple of the resorts before paddling back to the boat.
On Saturday we dropped the dinghy in the water to see the arch and the rock formations. We tied the dinghy up near Lover’s Beach, which is a neat beach in between the rock formations where you can walk through and over to the Pacific side. We put our snorkel gear on and did some snorkeling and free diving off Lover’s Beach. We saw lots of angelfish, pufferfish and triggerfish!
Very cool to swim among the rocks, but you really had to watch out for all of the water taxis showing people around. A really large cruise ship showed up this morning, so there were a lot of people out.
Later in the afternoon, we paddled to shore again and wandered into one of the resorts. We had some pina coladas and got a great shot of Adagio from the resort!
We did some more paddling and swimming on Sunday before taking off Monday after breakfast for San Jose del Cabo. Monday morning there were THREE cruise ships that arrived, so we knew it was time to go. We had a nice sail to San Jose del Cabo, but more on that next time. Still working on the sailing videos, and stay tuned for adventures in bicycling in San Jose del Cabo!
Sailing Log – Ensenada to Cabo San Lucas
April 6, 2016
Thursday 3/24 – Ensenada
We arrived in Ensenada around 10:30 a.m. after the overnight passage (about 120 miles) from Avalon, Catalina. We called Marina Coral on the VHF were we had made a reservation online. They didn’t appear to have our reservation but a guest slip was available. The marina had dock handlers waiting for us at our slip and got us in securely. We proceeded to the marina office to check in and determine what we needed to do to clear immigration and customs. (We had already tried to obtain the temporary import permit with the boat online with no luck.)
We didn’t realize that the entire week of Easter is a holiday in Mexico and the government offices were closing at noon today. The marina put all of the paperwork together that we needed (in Spanish) and had Juan drive us to the offices to walk us through the process. Normally you have to clear immigration, customs, the Banjercito (for the boat permit) and see the Port Captain. Considering the number of forms, copies, etc. you need to have and our pretty bad Spanish skills, this was extremely helpful.
We left the marina office with Juan at 11:30 and raced to immigration. Immigration and the Banjercito were open, but Customs and the Port Captain were closed. Go figure. Juan said not to worry though, so we didn’t worry. Immigration took a while for some reason, and we each had to pay roughly a $50 fee (of course immigration conveniently had no change). The temporary import permit for the boat was much quicker, but we did have to pay another fee. The marina took care of the paperwork to both clear in and out with the Port Captain, who wasn’t going to be open until Monday after we left (for another fee, of course).
The marina had very nice facilities with showers, laundry, a hotel, pool, clubhouse and restaurant. After a long, hot shower, we got lunch and a couple of cold drinks at the bar. They were apparently doing work on the docks, so we didn’t have shore power or wifi at the dock. However, they did have wifi at the clubhouse. The tap water at the docks was not potable, and unfortunately, the guy who delivers the purified water was out until Monday due to the holiday.
Friday 3/25 – Ensenada
Today we just took care of a few items like laundry and washing down the boat to get ready to sail to Isla San Martin. Because we needed the water, we filled our tanks with the tap water and added a bit of bleach. We have a pretty heavy duty Seagull water filter that will filter out anything so that the water is drinkable. We also got our Mexican fishing licenses (for another hefty fee) which are required since we have fishing gear aboard.
This was my view while waiting for the laundry. Not bad!
Saturday 3/26 – Ensenada to Isla San Martin
We were able to provision a few additional items from the supermarket not far from the marina pretty cheaply. We filled up on diesel at the fuel dock and headed off. We saw a large pod of dolphins (never gets old) right off Ensenada. They were putting on a good show jumping out of the air and doing belly flops back into the water. So fun! Unfortunately, the wind was pretty much nonexistent on this leg of the trip, so we motored most of the way to Isla San Martin. It was about a 100 mile trip, and we arrived the next morning.
Sunday 3/27 – Isla San Martin
Happy Easter! We had our own sunrise Easter service communing with nature as we sailed up to Isla San Martin. Mike tried to do a little fishing, but no success yet. The island is the remnants of a volcano and has that iconic cone shape on top. It is uninhabited except for a fish camp on the other side from where we anchored. We found a nice anchorage in a beautiful spot in about 50 ft of water. We put out the flopper stopper to try and control the rolling, which did a pretty good job. We were able to call our families on the Iridium Go! to wish them a Happy Easter. After resting up and cooking a nice dinner, we settled in for a nice evening and watched Chocolat. A great movie that of course ends on Easter!
Here is a shot of the fishing poles ready for action in front of Isla San Martin.
Monday 3/28 – Isla San Martin to Islas San Benitos
Not long after leaving Isla San Martin, we spotted a couple of whales off our starboard side. We got the binoculars out and watched one of the whales repeatedly slap his tail down on the water. We have no idea what he was doing, but it was fun to watch for about 20 minutes. Not sure what kind of whale it was, as it was too far away, but his tail was black with white markings on it. Unfortunately, it was too far to capture with the camera or GoPro.
We had quite a bit of wind and swell with gusts up to 28 or so. It had pretty much been a downwind sail from Avalon, so the strong winds really aren’t that rough. Adagio really likes that 20 knot wind range. It was a bit of a rolly night with the swell, but we were making really good time. Our Hydrovane had been such an awesome addition to the boat. It has steered us really well through the wind and swell and kept us on course without drawing any power!
We made really good time sailing through the night on the 140 mile passage to Islas San Benitos
Tuesday 3/29 – Islas San Benitos
Islas San Benitos are three small islands right off of Cedros Island. We anchored off of Benito Oeste, which is the only inhabited island with a small fishing village. We initially anchored a bit offshore because there was some swell breaking on the rocks closer to shore, but it was incredibly rolly. Some of the local fishermen came by and advised us to anchor closer to the village where it is more protected. We really need to work on our Spanish to communicate better, but it is amazing how people can effectively communicate even with language barriers!
The fishermen were extremely kind and gave us some tips on places to look to catch yellowtail (which we heard were abundant in the area). They also invited us to come ashore to the village.
We anchored the boat closer to shore, which made a huge difference and relaxed and rested up for the remainder of the day.
Wednesday 3/20 – Islas San Benitos
Today we decided to do some fishing! As were were getting the dinghy and outboard launched, a couple of fishermen and their young sons stopped by the boat as they were on their way to do some fishing also. They were very friendly and introduced themselves, and were genuinely curious about who we were and what we were doing there. They island and village is pretty remote, and I’m guessing they don’t get too many visitors.
The three islands make up a bit of a bay. There are crashing waves on rocks at several points, which showed us the shallow areas. We tried to find the sweet spot where we might catch fish. There was no action at the first spot, so we moved the dinghy a bit closer to a large rock near Benito Central. On his first cast at the second spot, Mike hooked a huge one! It took some time of wearing the fish down, but we finally caught site of the monster yellowtail. He measured 4 ft long, and so we estimated 45 lbs. Mike has done a lot of fishing and said this was definitely the largest yellowtail he had ever caught!
Mike got him close to the dinghy and I had my lasso ready to grab the tail. After some effort getting his slippery, flailing tail in the lasso, Mike got the jig out of his mouth. We were going to drag him back to Adagio, but we were worried one of the many sea lions around might try and snatch him from us, so we wrestled him aboard the dinghy. As the fish was gulping for air it clamped down on my leg as we were getting him aboard. Mike thought it was hilarious that I said it bit me. Ha! I’m serious, it’s mouth was strong.
Anyway, we got the fish aboard Adagio and Mike went to work filleting the beast, which was a huge job. When we were finishing up, the fishermen returned from their outing, clearly not as successful as we were. They kept asking where Mike caught the monster. We gave them some of our catch, as we had more than enough to fill our freezer!
Later in the day, we decided to head out again in the dinghy to see if we could catch anything else and to see the other islands. We were hoping to find the sea lion colony and stop by the village. Unfortunately, a squall came up on us, and we got drenched. So, we high tailed it back to the boat.
We had a delicious dinner of yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño and edamame. Yum!
Here is a picture of Mike with the yellowtail.
Thursday 3/31 – Islas San Benitos
We worked to get the dinghy and outboard back on board so that we could depart for Bahia Santa Maria, about 300 miles away. Unfortunately, the wind and waves were just not cooperating with us. Getting the dinghy and outboard back on the boat was quite a challenge and took way more time than we expected. It looked like the wind and waves were building, so we decided to stay put for the night and head out in the morning.
Friday 4/1 – Islas San Benitos to Cabo San Lucas
We left Islas San Benitos after looking at the weather report. It looks like the winds are going to be favorable all the way to Cabo San Lucas (about 500 miles away), so we made the decision to skip Bahia Santa Maria and just go straight to Cabo, which is a 3.5 – 4 day trip. It was a sunny day with lots of wind. Throughout the night, the seas picked up a bit, but we reduced sail and made really good tracks! At one point we just had the main up with two reefs in it and were still making over 6 kts. Incredible!
On the overnight passages, we take turns on 3 hr watches, so we can each get some rest. On watch, the main job is to watch out for other boat traffic. (Of course, we have to watch the wind and course as well.) We have radar and AIS, which help tremendously. The AIS really shows the large cruise ships and shipping traffic with their speed, course and closest point of approach, so that we can determine if there is an issue. It also makes us visible to them!
For the most part, we have had no issue with coming close to the large ships. We see a lot of the cruise ships at night and some fishing boats. However, tonight Mike actually had to hail one of the large ships while he was on watch to alter course and not run us over! Thanks guy. Try and pay more attention next time.
Saturday 4/4 – Passage to Cabo San Lucas
Today was a nice sunny day with about 15-20 kts of wind. The seas are a bit confused with some large swell hitting us on the beam now and then, but we are sailing downwind wing and wing. The Hydrovane is steering great and allowing us to relax while on watch. As the winds have generally been consistent, we usually do not have to make sail changes that regularly. The exception has generally been when the wind really dies off for us. We had to adjust things a few times during the night.
The highlight of today was catching two yellowfin tuna! We had two trolling lines out and hooked up at the same time, we must have sailed through a school of them. They weren’t huge, but they were delicious!
Sunday 4/3 – Passage to Cabo
We’re about one day out! Unfortunately we emptied our water tanks (oops!). We really need to get the foot pumps and the water maker installed (more projects). We do still have a supply of drinking water, so we’re fine, but it means no washing dishes or showers. Eek.
It is another sunny, beautiful day on the water, but some light winds. We are flying the reacher to try and make some tracks. Over night the winds were pretty much nonexistent and we just bobbed around for a while. We finally turned on the engine about 4:00 a.m. to try and make some forward progress. The good side of this was that the swell was also gone, and it made it so much easier to sleep when not on watch!
The nights are really quiet, and checking out the stars out on the water has been awesome. As the moonrise has gotten later, and the moon at a waxing crescent not putting off too much light, we can see all of the incredible constellations that you just can’t see near the city.
The sunsets and sunrises over the water have been fantastic too. Here is a great shot Mike caught of a sunrise over the Pacific.
Monday 4/4 – Passage to Cabo
The winds are still really light today. We’ve tried making some progress with the reacher, which is really made for light wind sailing. It is like a huge parachute that we hoist. But, even the reacher wasn’t helping us too much, so we had to crank up the engine. We have enough diesel to motor to Cabo, but we really don’t want to if we can help it. We are a sailboat and are meant to sail!
Given the slow progress with the winds, we determined we just weren’t going to make it to Cabo today. We don’t want to come into the harbor at night, so we’re trying to time things to arrive tomorrow morning.
We got a bit of sail time in this afternoon and then just bobbed around a bit. That wasn’t a bad thing, as we don’t want to arrive in Cabo yet anyway. However, by the middle of the night we had to crank up the engine again. It let us make some forward progress and controlled some of the swell that was rolling us a bit when we were bobbing around.
Tuesday 4/5 – Cabo San Lucas
We finally arrived just before dawn, but the harbor was already buzzing with the exodus of sport fishing boats going out for the day. In fact, the harbor was an absolute zoo! We decided to tie up a the fuel dock, not knowing if it was open, until the marina opened. Well, the fuel dock was open and busy as I’ve ever seen any fuel dock! All of the fishing boats were filling up before heading out for the morning.
Apparently, to tie up at the fuel dock there is a fee, regardless of whether you are getting fuel. And, there is one price if you are staying at the marina and a different price if you’re not. You just have roll your eyes and pay whatever the guy tells you. There is no point in trying to understand the logic of the fees, taxes, etc.
We filled up on diesel and radioed the marina for a guest slip for a couple of nights. The marina prices are higher than US prices. Go figure! The marina is mainly sport fishing boats, tour boats, parasailing boats, party day boats, etc. We are one of the only sailboats here. So weird.
We haven’t had too much luck with wifi at either marina, despite the fact that they “have wifi.” However, we found that all of the gringo bars along the tourist strip have free wifi. My favorite was the bar who named their wifi access “get beer free wifi.” And, the guy outside trying to get people in by saying “free weefee.” Awesome. We had some delicious Indio beer (at 10:00 in the morning, which is apparently part of happy hour) and caught up on a few messages.
Later in the day we found some great street tacos and hung out at Hooliganz (more free weefee) and listened to some great music. We planned to go see the nightlife in Cabo but fell asleep at 8pm. I guess we were tired.
Today! Cabo San Lucas
After some desayuno delicioso (seriously awesome Chilaquiles) we are working on some chores. I’m doing lots and lots of laundry while I sit here and write this by the pool at the marina. Not too bad! Mike is washing the boat, which needed serious cleaning after the trek down here. We might spend another day in Cabo San Lucas, but then we are headed to San Jose Del Cabo, about 30 miles away, where we might spend a couple of weeks.
As you may know, we are headed up into the Sea of Cortez to explore for the summer and wait out hurricane season before heading down south again.
I did take video of the trip on my GoPro. I’m still learning to use IMovie, so it may be awhile before I actually get video up.
That’s all for now! We’ll keep you updated on our progress. When we’re at sea, following us on Twitter or Facebook is the best way to get real time updates. We can update those via text from our Iridium Go! satellite phone. Such a great tool!
Finally sailing – San Martin Island, Baja California Mexico
March 27, 2016
Happy Easter from Adagio!
It’s been quite a while since my last post and as anyone following this blog knows we have finally cast off the dock lines and headed south. I am writing this post while anchored off of San Martin Island which is about 100 miles south of Ensenada. We arrived here at first light this morning and dropped the hook with the anchorage all to ourselves. The trip here from Ensenada was an overnight one that took about 20 hours so we were a bit tired and took advantage of the opportunity for a long morning nap.
The anchorage here is a bit “rolly” today (meaning the offshore ocean swell is running through the anchorage causing the boat to rock quite a bit from side to side.) so we implemented our “Slow your roll” device otherwise known as a “Flopper Stopper”. What a difference that piece of gear makes. Without it, doing any kind of cooking or other chores becomes much more difficult because you are first trying to keep your balance and then hope you don’t lose control and make a huge mess.
The delay in my posting has been caused by the tremendous amount of work it took to complete all of the projects necessary to get the boat ready to go. And there are still some that need to be completed. Here’s a list of the things that we have completed in the past few months.
” Installed new custom mast steps
” Installed new door latch with custom removable security bars
” Finally finished the galley with new counter tops, sink and custom top loading fridge/freezer box. ” Installed new Seagull water purification
” Built custom rail mount for the new outboard engine for the dingy
” Installed new custom bracket to hold the dingy in place on the foredeck when at sea.
” Installed our Iridium satellite system that allows us to send and receive e-mail, text messages, phone calls and also download weather data for the areas we are traveling.
” Installed new Hydrovane which is a hands free steering device that doesn’t use any electrical power. It steers by the wind which is way cool.
” Installed a new electric auto pilot that gives us another option for hands free steering especially when motoring long distances.
” Installed an AIS transceiver which displays other boat traffic near us when we are at sea. A great piece of collision avoidance gear because it provides some critical information like the speed, course, length, name, closest point of approach on current course, time to closes point of approach and more.
” Modified the anchor chain locker to hold more chain by adding a new bulkhead and drain.
” Purchased all new sails (Main, Staysail, Yankee jib) and added roller furling for the staysail which allows us to fly and douse the sail without leaving the cockpit. Also added all new running rigging to control the staysail.
” Installed new Lofrans windlass on the bow. A critical piece of gear for lowering and raising the anchor.
” Purchased and installed new batteries. One dedicated for starting the diesel engine and six for running all of our other electrical devices.
And as Forrest’s friend Bubba would say “And that’s about it”. I’m sure there are some that I have failed to mention but you get the picture.
Well that’s it for now. Hope to be posting more regularly now that we are on our way and add some more pictures once we get to a stop with wifi. Next stop is the Islas San Benitos about mid-way down the Baja peninsula.
Leaving the Dock
March 22, 2016
We finally departed Newport Beach last Friday. It was six weeks passed our planned departure date, but schedules kind of went out the window. After waiting out a few storms that rolled through and deciding to do a few last minute projects, we sailed out of Newport Harbor.
Our first stop was Avalon on Catalina Island. We’ve been to Catalina dozens of times, but it seriously does not get old! A couple of reasons we wanted to head out this way first were to test out the outboard on the dinghy and do the sea trials for our autopilot. These were things that we just weren’t able to do in the slip, and we wanted to be able to buzz back over the mainland if there were any problems. When we first picked up our new dinghy and outboard, the outboard just didn’t seem to be running all that smoothly. However, in the harbor you really can’t run it very fast. We had to get it out where we could actually get it up on plane to see what was going on. We weren’t sure if it was just a matter of it being new and needing to be broken in or if there was actually an issue. Luckily, everything seems to be running smoothly!
We left Newport in the afternoon and had to bash upwind and into to some swell. We put a reef in the main and pulled out the staysail and were able to make some tracks. It was a bit slow going, but we literally sailed off into the sunset! We made it to Avalon about 9:30 on Friday night, and crashed as soon as our heads hit the pillows.
On Saturday we took the boat out to dial in the autopilot. After a few tests, it looks like it’s going to work great! We have two forms of self steering – an autopilot and a hydrovane. The autopilot runs off a drive unit and computer which steer the rudder when set to a compass course. The hydrovane is non-electric. It has it’s own rudder and actually steers to the wind. Both systems are a must. You can imagine how tiring hand steering would be for hours or days on end!
We started plotting our course to Ensenada and working with our satellite phone/wifi to get our weather (GRIB) files. Unfortunately, what we saw was pretty ugly. Although it will only take us about 20 hours or so so sail to Ensenada, doing so in gale force winds is just not that smart. Right now the gale flag is blowing here in Avalon, so we’re staying put.
While we have a couple of days here at this beautiful island, we’re having a little fun. We blew up our inflatable canoe, which is pretty cool. We also met some great new friends in the harbor who also have a Cheoy Lee and invited them for dinner tonight.
I’ll leaving you with pictures of me jumping in with Ukelele Eddie, who we met the other day, and a picture of Adagio in front of the Casino in Avalon. Hopefully the next time I will be writing you will be from Ensenada!
Don’t Mess with Mother Nature
March 3, 2016
We’ve been working hard to get the boat ready to depart Newport Beach. Our planned departure date is (was) tomorrow. But, mother nature has decided to make other plans. After weeks of just beautiful weather here in Newport, there is rain forecasted for this weekend that will sweep through Southern California and onto to Baja – our exact route south! So, we’re going to wait out the storms and look for a good window to leave next week.
In the meantime, that gives us a few more days to provision some additional items and finish up some projects that we thought we were going to have to do in Mexico. I’m also going to work on a video tour of Adagio to post for you all to see our floating home and what we have done with her.
We were able to take the boat out on Sunday to try out the new sails, which worked beautifully! Adagio was a sloop rigged boat, but we added a staysail to make her a cutter. This will give us more options in different winds and make the boat a bit easier for the two of us to handle in strong winds.
We also just added mast pulpits around the mast which will make it much safer for us to work around the mast especially if the boat is heeling. We had these custom made to include holders for our scuba tanks! We are really excited about that, because our rails around the cockpit were becoming a bit crowded with the outboards, grill, propane tanks, stern anchor, etc. This is going to be MUCH nicer. You’ll see what I’m talking about when I get the video posted.
Speaking of scuba, I did finish my certification! I can’t thank the instructors enough at Dive and Photo in Costa Mesa. They were wonderful! I’m so excited to be able to dive in all of the beautiful places we are going to visit!
So, one of my last minute provisions that I’m going to include are seeds for sprouting. I met a guy recently who was into farming and suggested that we could grow our own sprouts on board, because they don’t need any soil. So cool! Do any of you have any experience with sprouting? I’m excited to try it, and I’ll let you all know how it goes.
I really am planning to post more often once we get underway. Right now has been project after project. We’re so over the projects (and so is our bank account!). One of the cool things we installed is the Iridium Go! It is a satellite hotspot that will let us make satellite calls, text, emails, and update the blog, Twitter and Facebook. If you want to be notified of updates to the blog, please subscribe. You can also get our updates on Twitter and Facebook @adagiosvoyage.
Ok, mother nature…. it is time to let us go!
We’re Still Here!
February 1, 2016
Well, the plan was to leave California for Mexico by the end of January. But, it is February 1st, and we’re still at the marina in Newport Beach. Today I’m grateful that we’re in the marina, because the so-far lackluster El Nino has decided to show up in the form of some rain yesterday and crazy winds with gusts up to 50 mph. It is not a day to be out on the water! All that being said, we’re both anxious to get this show on the road and head south.
They say that you should never sail to a schedule, but we do have a rather loose time frame that we really do have to leave within. We have to depart for Mexico with enough time to get down the Baja peninsula and up far enough into the Sea of Cortez to be out of the hurricane zone before summer. We also don’t want to be rushed on that journey as there is so much to see along the way. If we leave this month (February) we should still be on track for where we need to be.
The unexpected haul-out and delay in San Diego for six weeks (see Mike’s posts below) really set us back getting all of the boat projects done. Even though Mike has been renovating Adagio for the last 8 years or so (a little at a time) we had a list of things we needed or wanted to do to the boat before taking off on this adventure. Although we accomplished a bit last year, we were both working our day jobs and could not spend as much time as we would have liked getting all of the projects completed.
So, we are still here with our long list of projects that are still not done. Right now we are in the process of prioritizing the list as (1) must be done before we go, (2) get the supplies and we’ll do it in Mexico and (3) forget about it. That is a hard list. Some of the things that are must complete are things like finishing to install the new autopilot and hydrovane (another form of self steering). Anytime you try to do something new on a boat or install new equipment it is a learning process. Every boat is different and there is not a set of instructions that can fit all boats. Inevitably, there will have to be custom parts that have to be made just to make a pre-made piece of equipment work or fit on the boat.
There are also some things that we thought would be fairly straight-forward but we’re finding are a bit more difficult. For example, one of our goals on this trip is to be as self-sufficient as possible. We’re expanding the battery bank and have both solar panels and a wind generator to recharge the batteries that power all of our electronics. (The alternator on the diesel engine also recharges the batteries, but as sailors we of course hope to use the engine as little as possible.) We also have plans to install a water maker, which is our own desalinator. The reverse osmosis system will allow us to making drinking water out of sea water. Well, here comes the difficult part. Of course there is motor that powers the water maker, and that requires power. The power required is a bit more than we anticipated. So, we either have to upgrade our inverter (which converts DC power to 110) and run the diesel engine to get enough power to the batteries, or we have to purchase a gas powered generator. Ugh. We really did not want to be those people who are sitting at anchor burning a gas powered generator! So, we’d be more self-sufficient water wise, but it is going to cause us to burn more diesel or gas (the opposite of what we want to!) We’re going to have to make some decisions pretty quickly on how we are going to make this work.
I would really love to sound like I know what I’m talking about with all of the equipment, etc., but honestly I am relying tremendously on Mike’s knowledge of boats, research and experts we’ve met along the way. Sometimes I wish I had received a degree in electronics or engineering. I certainly never learned any of this in law school! I’m trying to be as helpful as possible, but I’m doing a lot of errand work while Mike does the serious stuff.
In the meantime, I am also working on getting my open water scuba certification. I’ll admit that I was a bit nervous to do this, but it has been more difficult for me than I expected. Physically, I can do all of the tasks no problem. However, breathing underwater has to be about the most unnatural thing I’ve ever done, and being deep underwater without a way to immediately surface has definitely created some anxiety for me. How can you be in an open ocean and feel claustrophobic? Weird! If anyone has had this happen and learned to overcome it, I would love to hear from you! I am determined not to let it beat me! So, after my aborted ocean dive last week, I’m going back into the pool tomorrow (for the third time) to try and get a bit more comfortable before giving the wide Pacific another go. Sigh.
Merry Christmas from Adagio!
December 24, 2015
So much has happened in the last month that we haven’t had time to write about it! Adagio was stuck in the boatyard in San Diego for much longer than we anticipated. Once she was pulled out, the guys got to work pealing the hull. As Mike mentioned, he took on the task of modifying the rudder to get the new prop installed. Whew!
While Mike was down in San Diego, I was home in Costa Mesa still working my day job and trying to pack up the house. We were scheduled to close escrow on December 8th. So, getting Adagio back before the house sold was imperative. Otherwise, I guess we were going to be homeless. (Actually, we had offers from friends to stay with them…)
Anyway, Mike got the rudder installed with just five minutes to spare on the Friday afternoon before Thanksgiving. The boatyard guys were calling it quits at 4:00 and weren’t going to wait for anyone! Mike’s hard work paid off and the boat was back in the water on Friday. I took the train down to San Diego after work to meet Mike and get ready to sail back to Newport Beach on Saturday.
We had a nice trip from San Diego to Newport Beach that weekend, other than one little snafu that I’ll let Mike write about at another time. We stopped overnight in Oceanside on Saturday night. We could have made the trip in one day instead of two, but that would mean sailing part of the time at night. Although we don’t have an issue sailing at night, right now is lobster season! That means that getting in and out of any harbor requires dodging all of the lobster pots. They are hard enough to see in the daylight let alone at night. We unfortunately learned this lesson the hard way a couple of years ago when we missed a pot entering the harbor and wrapped the prop. Ugh!
We got back to Newport Beach on Sunday with time to clean up all of the dirt that had accumulated on the boat while sitting in the boatyard for over a month. We were so glad Adagio was back, because Monday we got married and Tuesday we flew to Texas to see my family for Thanksgiving. I don’t think we could have squeezed anymore into that week!
Once we were back from Texas it was crunch time to get everything moved from the house. Mike previously lived on Adagio for several years, so he literally moved into my house with a suitcase full of clothes. I, on the other hand, had accumulated an entire house full of STUFF over the last eight years I lived there. I don’t think you really understand how much STUFF you actually own until you have to downsize to living on a boat! Two walk in closets, a two car garage, a ridiculous number of cabinets, drawers, etc. You get the idea. My packing strategy involved putting everything into three piles: (1) Boat; (2) Storage; and (3) Donate. The boat pile was obviously the smallest of the three.
We donated, put stuff and storage, and finally moved aboard Adagio with the house sold! Unfortunately, because we were so delayed in San Diego, the interior boat projects did not get completed before the move. Let’s just say that it is like moving into a house under renovation, only smaller!
The biggest of the interior projects, which is still not done, is the galley. I feel a bit responsible for getting us into this mess of a galley remodel. Earlier this year, I suggested that maybe we should consider replacing the 30 year old formica countertops in the galley which were a mess. That sounds easy enough, right? Well, the new countertops turned into a new sink, new fridge box insulation and ultimately a new custom fridge box. Not to mention installing a new stove/oven.
The fridge box project has taken on a bit of a life of its own. You can’t just go down to home depot, buy a new refrigerator and install it. The fridge/freezer box is actually built into the cabinet in the galley. Mike has done almost all of the work himself, which has been a huge project. It is going to be fantastic when it is completed, but right now we are living without a kitchen! For those of you that know us well, you know we love to cook and make healthy meals. Eating out every meal is getting bit old.
Here are some pictures of Mike working in the galley chaos.
We are headed out of town for a week for Christmas and New Years, but we’re hopeful all of the projects will be completed in January, so that we can finally begin this adventure!!
A ship with a rudder
November 6, 2015
Well here’s an update from the boatyard. Yes the boat is still out of the water having her bottom peeled to ensure the strength and integrity of her hull for the rest of her life. A very costly repair but necessary for our peace of mind when out voyaging the world’s oceans.
So why the rudder reference in this post? Well whenever the boat is hauled out of the water it’s more cost effective to attack as many of the upgrades and maintenance tasks as possible because hauling the boat is expensive and unpleasant to say the least. So to extend the period between haul-outs, it’s best to get as many below the waterline maintenance tasks completed as possible when hauled out..
So while we are waiting for the hull to be repaired it makes sense to attempt to install the new feathering propeller I purchased a while back (almost two years ago) and haven’t installed yet. The challenge is that the new propeller doesn’t fit because the space for it to operate is restricted by the rudder. As a result, the rudder needs to be removed and modified to accommodate the new propeller. You may say, why don’t you just return the prop and purchase one that fits (Duh)? Well that makes perfect sense in the everyday world, but in the world of boats, the one that fits won’t provide the benefits/features the new one will.
This feathering propeller has three important features/benefits.
- It has four blades instead of three which will give us more power at lower rpm’s and enable us to push the boat through certain unpleasant sea conditions faster to get to a safe harbor.
- The feathering feature will allow us to sail faster because the blades will feather while sailing and eliminate the drag experience when using a fixed blade prop.
- More control in reverse by enabling us to stop the boat more quickly and reducing the “prop-walk”.
Removing the rudder is quite a chore and it took me most of the day just to get it removed. After removing it I had to cut it open and remove some of the outer fiberglass covering. The good news is that Cheoy Lee built this rudder like a tank and the bad news is that because of the stout construction it’s going to need a custom metal fabricator to modify it properly for the new prop. As is always the case, boat projects have a life of their own and usually take four times longer than anticipated.
Hopefully I’ll be able to find a custom metal fabricator in the area that can make the rudder modifications for us quickly so we don’t have to spend more time in the yard than originally anticipated.
Hopefully my next post will be about sailing instead of these huge maintenance projects.
Till next time.
Here are some pictures that can give you an idea of what’s happening.
Here’s a picture of the rudder after being removed and cut open to reveal the inner structure (“yes it would be green” reference for all those Spinal Tap fans).
This shot shows the stout inner structure. It’s stainless steel and more than 3/16 of an inch thick.
Here’s a close-up picture of a (ship without a rudder). Fortunately it’s on dry land at the moment.
Picture with the rudder still intact and the bottom completely peeled.
Picture waiting to be hauled out before the peeling of the hull.
The Dog Days of Boatyard Delays
October 23, 2015
Don’t they say that good things come to those who wait? Well hopefully we’ll get to cash in on that sometime as we continue to wait to be hauled out to have some work done on Adagio’s bottom.
Adagio has been side tied next to the pens that the Driscoll Mission Bay boat yard uses to haul and launch boats for almost two weeks. Two weeks of delays that we really can’t afford given the large list of preparation tasks still to be accomplished before we cast off sometime in January of 2016.
In the meantime, I have been able to accomplish a few things while we’ve been waiting.
- Replaced the fuel pump that I use to prime the fuel system after changing the spin-on fuel filter on our Yanmar 4JH5E four cylinder diesel engine. The old one failed for some reason and I had only used it three or four times.
- Wired the new cockpit speakers so we have music in the cockpit again woot woot.
- Cut the hole in the foredeck where our new windlass will be mounted. Determined that we need to make a base for it to raise it up off the deck enough to keep the chain from jumping off the gypsy.
- Had the backing plate for the new windlass modified.
- Removed all of the old auto pilot hardware, electronics and wiring.
- Re-connected the power to our chart plotter that I inadvertently disconnected while removing the old auto pilot wiring.
- Researched interfacing AIS data to our chartplotter to warn us of approaching ships. Wouldn’t want to be run down by one of those mammoth container ships.
- Daily keeping the yard grime off of our newly painted decks.
So I have been able to keep myself busy waiting for the eventual haul out of the boat. Also keeping up with my paying work by utilizing the free WiFi at the local Starbucks.
Why the haul out you say?
Well during the recent previous haul out to paint the topsides (area of the hull above the waterline) we found out that we have a minor blister problem. Blisters occur when sea water is able to permeate the outer layer of fiberglass and as a result draw in more water until a blister forms on the hull. These needed attention and we opted for the more permanent (aka more expensive) long term fix and that is why we are in Mission Bay waiting to be hauled out. This more permanent fix involves peeling the outer layer of fiberglass (about 1/8 inch) off of the entire hull and then re-glassing the hull with new fiberglass using a vinylester resin instead of the original polyester resin. Probably more than you wanted to know but there it is.
I’d tell the story of what has been causing the enormous delay but I’m sure your attention span has already been stretched enough with this dry post about yard woes. The good news is that it looks as though our waiting will come to an end tomorrow and the boat will finally be hauled out so the work can begin.
I’ll post a list of the tasks we hope to finish before we take off another time and update it as we complete each one. In case you’re really interested in that kind of thing. Probably more for my benefit in the future looking back on all we went through to get ready for this adventure.
Till next time.
October 6, 2015
Ok… so, I’m just trying to get a handle on this website/blogging thing. My intention is to have this website updated for friends and family to follow our journey as we travel around the world in Adagio, our 1979 Cheoy Lee Offshore 41 sailboat.
We are planning to depart Newport Beach at the end of January 2016. So, we have a few more months to get the boat ready to go. This year has flown by, and now it is crunch time to get everything ready to go. Our goal is to make the boat as safe as possible, but also as comfortable as possible. After all, this is going to be our home!
Right now Adagio is down in San Diego getting ready to be hauled out. We hauled out in Newport Beach to have the bottom painted and discovered that we have some blisters on the bottom of the boat. We could do a temporary fix that would last us a few years, but we decided we wanted a more permanent solution. We found a guy in San Diego who invented a technique to get rid of blisters permanently on older boats. (I’ll save you the description of what exactly blisters are on boats and why they occur.) Essentially the bottom of the boat will be stripped down to the fiberglass with a new layer of glass with a different type of epoxy will be applied that is supposed to keep this from happening again.
So, we’re down here in San Diego waiting to be pulled out of the water. It is going to be about a 3 week process before we can be back in the water and sail back north to Newport Beach. This is a delay we weren’t initially expecting, but we are going to make do. In the meantime, the galley is still torn up as we are putting in a new stove, sink, fridge box and countertops. (I mentioned being more comfortable, right?)
I am so looking forward to the projects being done so that we can take off on the voyage. I know Mike is too…especially because this has basically been a full time job for him for at least the last six months!