We’re Still Here!

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.

~katie

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