OUR CRUISING PLAN
Left Seattle in late August and to sail down the coast to Mexico. Prevailing winds and hurricane seasons largely dictate our itinerary and schedule.
August 2000: Seattle to San Francisco
September 2000: San Francisco
October 2000: Monterey Bay and the Channel Islands
November 2000: Dana Point, San Diego and end of hurricane season, allowing us to enter Mexico. We left San Diego on Thanksgiving.
December 2000: Coast of Baja and Isla Isabella
January to April 2001: Puerto Vallarta, Tenacatita (Mexico)
May to July 2001: Moved up into the Sea of Cortez and left the boat in San Carlos for the summer. We went to the us to beat the heat and are now (October) in Boston.
End of November 2001: We will be going back to the boat and will spend a large part of December painting the bottom and re-varnishing the wood (with a modern wood treatment product which is supposed to last longer than varnish). We will start moving down through the sea of Cortez in late December or January.
During January, February and March, we expect to sail down the Mexican mainland coast, stopping in Mazatlan,Puerto Vallarta, Tenacatita, Zihuatenejo, Acapulco and Puerto Madero, and many coves and harbors in between. The big challenge of this trip is crossing the gulf of Tehuantepec between Huatalo and Puerto Madero (200 miles) where sudden gales lasting several days can do serious damage to a sailboat. The gales, called the Tehuantepec’ers, start suddenly with wind increasing from nothing to 40 to 60 knots in minutes and waves increasing to 15 feet. They happen 140 days of the year on average. We expect to have to wait up to 2 weeks to get a weather window to cross this gulf.
By end of March, we hope to sail by Guatemala and stop in one friendly marina in El Salvador. We may leave the boat there for a visit by bus to Antigua Guatemala.
The next sail, past Nicaragua, is another challenge due to the Papayeyos which are sudden gusty gale force winds which occur when reinforced trade winds blow in the Caribbean. They affect about 300 miles of coastline. However, the worst of the Papageyos is supposed to be over by end of March, allowing us to enter Costa Rica in April.
April, May and June 2002: Cruising Costa Rica and Panama
Summer 2002: We will probably leave the boat in Panama and come back to the United States for a few months.
We have decided to skip the South Pacific and pass through the Panama Canal and back to the United States (east coast somehere) for a few years. Anyone have a suggestion where we should land? We are looking for good weather and a nice place to live and keep a boat? We found that we have had enough of waves. We had a hard crossing to Hawaii a few years ago and have been rolling a lot on the west coast of Mexico. We also might be a bit young for this life. Birgitta is missing work and I am getting a bit bored myself. Maybe we should have waited another 10 years or so. Now, after the September 11th terrorist attacks, we are extra glad we made this decision. Doing the South Pacific means either putting the boat on a ship and sending it back or going all the way around the world. This could mean dealing with the Suez Canal and I don’t really want to be in that part of the world for the next several years.
August 23, 2000. Neah Bay
Today was a motoring day on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It was very calm until late afternoon. We plan to leave tomorrow morning to enter the ocean. The forecast is good with wind 5 to 15 knots from the west, so we could sail on a reach. I hope you will receive all our emails soon. We have not yet been able to establish a radio link probably because of the Olympics mountains behind us. Also the marina in Port Angeles had many sources of potential interferences.
October 30, 2000. Oceanside, California, N 33 deg. 12′, W 117 deg, 23′.
The trip from Catalina to Oceanside was uneventful. The sky had cleared after the heavy rain of Sunday and was sparkling with bright stars as we left the island. We motor sailed most of the way because we wanted to arrive before dark and before the marina office closed, and the wind was just too light to allow us to maintain a 5 knots average. Of course, if we had had the energy, we could have set up the spinnaker and moved faster under sail. But we are a little lazy and the seas were still pretty rolly from the storm, so we used the “iron genoa”.
We tied Temptress in a slip in Oceanside Harbor after more than 2 months at anchor. The boat feels strangely still and we are suddenly missing the snapping shrimps we had grown used to. These creatures stun their prey with a very high speed water jet and in the process create a snapping crackling sound in the water (due to cavitating air bubbles) which gives you the impression that your boat is in a bathtub full of alka-seltzer (effervescent tablets). We will be here for about a week, visiting our friend Joan.
Sailing in Puget Sound
Sunday August 20,2000. Port Angeles
The good news is that the spare autopilot computer seems to work. The bad news is that we need a new injector pump for the engine. This morning,we were motoring from Port Townsend to Neah Bay on a remarkably glassy Strait of Juan de Fuca. However, at about midday,we emptied our first diesel tank long before it should have been emptied. This clue along with an increasing odor of diesel,convinced Clark to look into the engine compartment where he and Jay found a large leak on the return fuel line from the fuel injector pump. Fortunately, it did not affect the engine itself. We had passed Port Angeles about an hour earlier and decided to go back there to initiate repairs since the fix did not look easy. It took us 2 hours to get back because the tide was now against us and we filled the bilge with a fair amount of diesel fuel. After further inspection of the engine at Port Angeles, it appeared that replacing the injector pump would be the safest repair. The pump block had been corroded previously by a saltwater leak from the heat exchanger and there was not enough metal left to reseal the line.
Clark and Jay cleaned the bilge (and disposed of the diesel from the bilge at the Port). They also found a diesel mechanic willing to install the pump. Bert (good friend of Clark) offered to find a pump in Seattle and drive it to Port Angeles on Monday. Thanks Bert!
If all goes well, we will leave Port Angeles Tuesday morning. So our trip will be a couple of days longer. In the meantime, it is diner time and Linda is serving a fresh roasted chiken with baked potatoes and green beans. So we are being well taken care of!
Hope you are all doing well.
Port Angeles, August 21,2000.
There was no injector pump in Seattle, so we had to order one from Houston. We are counting on Fedex to deliver it tomorrow morning. If all goes well, the mechanic will install it in the afternoon and we will continue our voyage Wednesday. In the mean time, we are walking in town, playing card and dominoes games,and reading books.
Jay is teaching Clark to relax like a cruiser and giving us information about ports down the coast. He was also kind enough to go up the mast to add height to the wind indicator which tended to get stuck on the new navigation light.
We hope the good weather continues to hold. We are all impatient to enter the Pacific ocean.