KK39 #1, Number One's, Cruise to Mexico!

Mexico Cruise: Nov. '00 to May '01 - excerpts from the Log of M/V Number One, KK39001

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October 25th, '00 - San Francisco to San Diego:

The trip to Southern California was made mostly in company with another Krogen yacht: Brut, K39. The 1st leg south from S.F. started about six in the morning, and conditions were pretty good until we reached the upper Monterey bay area, where we encountered confused, heavy seas from both the NW and SW. This was no fun so we headed for Monterey Harbor to wait for a window which opened at the end of the second day there.

Getting about 6 hours sleep, we left Monterey Harbor a little after midnight with conditions much improved, and had a very tolerable trip down the coast past Pt. Sur, making good time downhill. Conditions were peachy around Arguello and Conception, and we arrive at the Coho anchorage below Pt. Conception about 10 p.m. that night- a 22 hour trip. Not Bad!

After a good rest, we pulled the hooks the next morning and headed east. I parted company with Brut later that day as they proceeded on to San Diego, and I headed into Channel Islands Marina (Oxnard) to layover. The next day I made the run to Long Beach, there to attend the West Marine Trawler Fest being held at the Long Beach Downtown Marina Nov. 1st thru 4th.

On the 6th of November I made the leg to San Diego, arriving after dark and at that time experienced my first boarding by the U.S. Coast Guard as I was entering the channel (a story all by itself). Later, I found refuge at Driscoll's Boatyard where Brut, K39 was preparing for an imminent departure, and where I laid over for a while to get an electronics tune-up and a bunch of miscellaneous items resolved, and generally prepare for the trip south.

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Friday, 12/8/00 to Thursday, 12/14 - San Diego to La Paz:

I left San Diego midday, wanting to time a 48-hour/7-knot trip to Turtle Bay. Started out at 1900 rpms, but soon slowed down to 1600, and then 1400 rpms in order to time my arrival off Cedros Island's north end at 5:30 a.m. two days later, and off turtle bay that noon. Originally intending to layover there, upon arrival I decided not to stop as things were going well, and figured I could be at Bahia Santa Maria in time for a full night's sleep by the end of the next day. Worked well except for bad timing: I encountered rough seas due to strong offshore winds that evening, and the stopover at Santa Maria turned out to be very rolly due to a so. west squall that rolled through the next night. No moon that night, but had a good moon all the other nights when I was at sea (which is very nice when you're out there all by yourself in the middle of nowhere). The only whales I saw were earlier, near Cedros Is land. I didn't see any at all down around Mag Bay. I was switching tanks every 12 hours during the trip, which worked well to keep the boat in trim. Departed Santa Maria bay at 5:30 a.m. for the 24 hour leg to Cabo Falso and arrived off the Cape at 1st light the next day. Passing "Cabo San Tinsel-Town", I continued east to the Los Frailes anchorage and arrived about noon. Fixed my running sidelights - both had loose bulb contacts, and got a good (continuous) sleep until midnight when I weighed anchor for the final leg, which I thought would take about 12 hours. Head seas slowed me down the first few hours, and it took 14 hours to arrive in La Paz (with a sense of accomplishment and relief) at 2 p.m. on Dec. 14th.

A very satisfactory trip all in all! Read a couple of books along the way which helped to pass the hours. The "cat naps" were no problem combined with the two 12-hour stops I made. No problems at all with the boat, except for the sidelights, and with the exception of the evening hours below Turtle bay (steep, confused following seas from both quarters), and the head seas above Los Frailes, the sea and weather was nice to supernice - spent some quality time on the flybridge (remember, it's December!).

There's a 42' Nordic Tug here at the Marina de La Paz. Other boats of note: a 62' & 46' Nordhavn, a nice commercial trawler conversion, a Beebe design passagemaker and, of course, two gorgeous 39' Krogens. Have a nice slip on the outside facing the anchorage & channel. Have been to visit Len Lee on his boat, and Nick Kluznick on his K39, and have met some nice people here too. Finally got off my butt & cleaned the boat up a bit. Has been windy, but settled down some now and the weather is very nice. Warm, balmy & breezy.

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At anchor, Puerto Ballena, Isla del Espirito Santo, Dec. 31st, 2000:

While the Marina de La Paz is a nice place to spend your time, I had a "hermit attack" this morning, and the weather was perfect, so I cast off the lines and headed out to the islands to spend New Year's Eve on the hook. Spent the day doing a little exploring, and ran into Len on K39 "Brut", who was returning to La Paz from Isla San Francisco. We circled each other taking pictures of our boats, being of the mutual opinion that ours are one of the most photogenic boats afloat! Then I went seeking a secluded anchorage, and now I'm tucked into the northern bight of Puerto Ballena, on the Isla de Espiritu Santo, in 12' of transparent water. I can see the anchor chain strung out across the bottom: sand with a little bit of bottom growth scattered around. But where are the fish? (PS: they came around late night, with much luminescent display!) The water's a little too cold to go swimming, but took a quick dip anyway; a little colder than it's supposed to be here. It's 5:30 pm and the sun will be setting soon. I'm pecking this out on my Apple iBook laptop. Not another boat or sign of humanity in sight. I know there's a Nordhavn 62 in the middle bight just south of me, but he's around the point, and I can't see him. The Baja mainland far to the west across Bahia de La Paz is silhouetted by the setting sun. All is still and silent except for some bird calls, and an occasional fish jumping. Just the slightest breeze, which keeps shifting around. Hope it stays like this! (PS: it did.) There's a high overcast that may screen out the star display tonight, but then you can't have everything. Anyway, I know I'll remember where I was at the birth of 2001.

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At La Paz, 1/13/01: Returned yesterday from a 3-day "mini-cruise" of the islands north of La Paz in company with Sea Horse, K39006. The weather, except for a so'west blow the first evening, was just fine. First anchorage was at El Cardonel, a deep fjord-like cove at Isla Partida where, along with two other boats, we spent a secure afternoon and evening in spite of the 30+ knot winds blowing thru during the early hours of the night. By first light all was quiet, with a light breeze from the North.

Later in the morning we made the 3-hour trip north to Isla San Francisco, to anchor in its quarter-moon shaped cove on the southern end. Once there and after lunch, courtesy of Sea Horse's dinghy, we hit the long, deserted beach and took an exhausting hike up the high southern ridge of the cove - unfortunately I forgot to take my camera, and missed some great pics. The conditions were superb all that day and night, with the added benefit of a full moon. Our two K39s shared the cove with a few ragbaggers and the M/V Dream Weaver, a large, sleek motor yacht.

The following morning, the crew aboard Sea Horse wanted to go exploring, so we headed west over to the east coast of mainland Baja and followed it south back towards La Paz, observing the extraordinary geology of that coastline. Sea Horse wanted to return that day to La Paz where they had an appointment early the following morning with a dive boat excursion. As we neared La Paz, flat calm perfect weather persuaded me to take my leave and head east back across Bahia de La Paz to anchor one more night in the "Caleta de la Isla" Cove at Isla Espiritu Santo. There I observed a strange, deep red sunset that reminded me of some old science-fiction movie where the sky had caught fire. I spent the final night in total solitude, setting out for La Paz the next morning.

I arrived at the Marina de La Paz by noon, and proceeded immediately to "The Dock" restaurant for a plate of delicious chicken enchiladas and a couple of ice cold cervezas. Such is life in January in the Sea of Cortez...

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The next excursion is a 9-day cruise north into the Sea of Cortez to Loreto/Puerto Escondido and back. Explored some new places and anchorages and had a good time. New equipment: a small kayak to carry on the boat for exploring, etc. Much easier to launch and use than the dinghy, and good exercise, too! Nice weather going north, but a little too windy on the return trip.

1/27/01: Going north from La Paz, I spent a windy 1st night at Isla San Francisco, where Pete and Dee aboard their 49' Albin Trawler, "34 Dee", treated me to a great BBQ chicken dinner. Leaving early the next morning, I had nice traveling weather to my next stop at Bahia San Marte, a nice little cove a few miles south of Puerto Aqua Verde, which I had all to myself. Calm, quiet and still all night!

Next day I "scouted" Puerto Aqua Verde and Bahia Candeleros on my way to Puerto Escondido. Upon my arrival there about noon, I sighted Nick on "SeaHorse", K39006, anchored in the "Waiting Room". Took a tour around the inside of Escondido to satisfy my curiosity and then returned and anchored in the Waiting Room with SeaHorse, which is really a better spot with a good clean sand bottom. Nick dropped by in his dinghy for a cerveza, and later brought over some ground beef which was fried up for dinner. Next morning I accompanied Nick into Loreto where he was picking up his new crew, Jerry and Gail, before heading back to La Paz.

Loreto is a great little town; more than I was expecting! They have a better grocery store than I've seen in La Paz for selection, and a nice, neat mall-type street with all kinds of shops, and a beautiful new hotel ("Los Flores") downtown that inside looks like something from 100 years ago. I'd like to return when I have more time to look around. Before departing the area, helped SeaHorse take on some fresh water, which is very good here, being piped down from springs high up under the cliffs to the west. On a windy day it's quite an operation to get a hose from the spigot on the concrete bulwarks over to the boat while avoiding bumps & bruises, as we learned!

Returning south in company with SeaHorse, I spent the next night at beautiful Aqua Verde. Only one other boat there, so was able to get up into the small, well protected northern bight for a very comfortable night despite the northerlies that were blowing. After exploring some options going south the next day, we wound up at San Evaristo. The windwaves had been pretty bumpy outside (no problemo going downhill), but Evaristo was calm & flat, and unbelievably deserted, so another quiet night in the choice spot! Where are all the sailboats now that there's some wind and they could actually use those tall sticks in the middle of their boats instead of "stinkpotting" around all the time? :-)

Next morning we weighed anchors for a laid-back 90-minute trip over to Isla San Francisco. After setting the hook I had lunch and then went ashore with Nick and his crew for a long hike to the north beach and then up the "path" (if you can call it that) on the northern ridge of the bay. Sunny & warm. This time I remembered to take my camera & capture the panoramic views of the bay from on high. Back on the boat about 3:30. Never did an ice-cold cerveza taste better! Strong northerlies later in the evening & through the night, but calm waters in the anchorage.

A bumpy, but thankfully downhill 3-hour cruise the next day got us south to El Cardonel bay at Isla Partida where we anchored well up inside in calm water. Cocktail hour was observed aboard the SeaHorse with Lyle and Linda of the "Chez Penne", a big Californian Trawler, also in attendance. Except for one fairly quiet period just before sunset, the wind really howled through the anchorage all that night. After some careful observation I came to the amazing conclusion that my 64-pound SuperMax was actually dragging slowly to leeward. This was unprecedented! I can only theorize that I had anchored too close over the rock shelf at the side of the bay, and the cover of sand was too thin there. Anyway, I retrieved the Max and reset it towards the middle of the bay and had no problems the rest of the night except for lost sleep.

Had a nice ride back to La Paz the next morning, entering the marina at slack water to discover that Russ and Donna on their new N46 "Four Seasons" had arrived from So. Cal. during my absence. Don't know what I'll do next - just relaxing at the Marina de La Paz for now. The weather has been OK - great compared to N. Cal winters - but it has been cooler and windier than normal. Still having some great days though!

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3/1/01:

Decided I'd set around the Marina long enough and so went out to the islands for a few days tagging along with Four Seasons, N46, and explored a couple of new anchorages as well as a familiar one.

First destination was the familiar Isla San Francisco. Flat seas, light breezes and lots of sunshine on the way over. Passed two Nordhavn 46s headed for La Paz: Gold Eagle and another from San Carlos that I didn't get the name of. It was so nice on the Sea that a few of those funny looking powerboats with the tall skinny sticks in the middle had spread some white material from them - looked to me like it might be intended as some sort of supplemental propulsion. Spent the first two nights at S.F. with generally beautiful weather. Pelicans diving all around the boat. Read a book. Invited to dinner by Russ and Donna on the Four Seasons: Herb chicken with rice, biscuits, and home made chocolate chip cookies for desert. Delicious!! The first night was calm & still, but we had a little bluster the 2nd night with a couple of boats shifting position and resetting their anchors. I've noticed quite a buildup of bottom growth there since January for some reason.

Departed Isla S.F. Tuesday morning for the Ensenada Grande anchorage on Isla Partida. Dropped the hook in the innermost bight on a clean sand bottom. This is a very nice place. Beautiful and secluded. Launched the Dink and took a spin around the area (Nick: lost my J.D. hat - same way!). Nice beach way up inside the cove where you can wade out several hundred feet- but watch out for StingRays. It was calm and still all night with an almost full moon. Doesn't get much better than this!

Early next morning we ran down to the Partida anchorage a couple of miles south. Experimented with towing the dink - no problemo. Partida is a very popular spot, but I've always looked for the less crowded spots, so it's my first time in here. After setting the hooks, the Four Seasons hosted their "traditional Beer Pancake" brunch: Scrambled eggs with cheese, sausage, orange juice, and Russ's great beer pancakes hot off the griddle with lots of butter & syrup. It was sooo good.... Man, I've got to learn how to cook!!

Departed Partida about 10 a.m. amid gusty winds in the cove. It's hard for me to stow the Dink when it's blowing, so I rigged a bridle, and it towed just fine all the way back to La Paz. Also, it was a lot less windy outside than in the anchorage - I think that's a common situation around here. Anyway, I had a nice trip back, although the wind was blowing pretty good by the time I arrived at my slip about 2:30 p.m. - luckily there was several volunteer linehandlers on the dock!

As I'm sitting here in the pilothouse finishing up this report, several Dolphins are swimming by just outside the Marina. They rarely come up into the bay. A couple of their brothers/sisters have been trapped in a pen here near Marina Palmira, supposedly for some kind of tourist attraction, and there's been quite a stink about it.

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3/14/01:

Have pretty much decided I'd be returning to the U.S. around the first of April buddy-boating with N46 Four Seasons, and so it was time to get one more good cruise under my belt before heading home.

Wednesday, 3/14: Underway from the Marina about 8:30 a.m. in partly cloudy mild weather, headed for San Evaristo about 7 hours away. Had a nice trip up; there was just a little chop on the head for a while. Was still towing the dink, so shortened up the tow ropes. Saw a whale in the distance off Isla Partida along the way. Put out a VHF call to the Four Seasons, N46, to find out where they were lurking; found them in the Partida anchorage where they planned to spend another night. Arrived and anchored in Evaristo about 5:30 p.m. and watched the show put on as hundreds of pelicans engaged in a feeding frenzy over the many schools of small fish that seem to be everywhere in the huge aquarium called the Sea of Cortez. It was clear and quiet all night, except for the seemingly excessive amount of vehicular traffic after dark over in the fishing village on the beach, where there's really no place to go!

Thursday, 3/15: Dead calm at dawn when several Dolphins visited the cove and passed close by the boat. Later in the morning Four Seasons arrived and anchored up. Spent a lazy day not doing much of anything. Some Northerly breezes during the day, but calm & quiet by sunset when the pelicans put on an even bigger show than before. It seemed like clouds of birds raining into the water all around the boat. They're magnificent divers, but it seems miraculous that they somehow manage to avoid midair collisions! Another quiet night with shifting breezes - aahhh!

Friday, 3/16: Underway at 6:30 a.m., bound for Puerto Escondido. A little wind and chop from time to time during the day, but generally fine conditions all day. Wind and waves shift around often in this area, and quickly when they do. Arrived at Puerto Escondido about 3:30 and found a nice spot to anchor in the "Waiting Room". Four Seasons entered the main harbor and found a spot near the NE "window". I dinghied in there later to have a cerveza. The cliffs west of Escondido are magnificent! The fleet was treated to yet another calm, quiet night!

Saturday, 3/17: Shared a cab into Loreto and spent some time sightseeing. Bought a cooking pot for the galley and a few provisions, and returned to the boat in the afternoon. That evening I dinghied into the harbor for a great spaghetti dinner on board the Four Seasons. During the course of the evening, some fishermen strung a net across the inner harbor where someone was bound to hit it, and sure enough, your truly ran right across it when returning to my boat. Stopped the dink dead in the water. Luckily, I was taking it easy because it was very dark, otherwise I'd have been thrown right out of the boat! So there I was, without a flashlight or knife, trying to free the monofilament net and line from the outboard's prop. It took about 15 minutes and a cut hand, but finally got loose, and luckily the shear pin was intact (?), so I didn't have to row back! More about that later.....

Sunday, 3/18: Another blessedly peaceful night proceeded a beautiful morning with light breezes and a clear sky. Russ and Donna from the Four Seasons, having heard of my misadventure the night before, stopped by the boat with a present: a nifty knife to carry at all times henceforth in the dingy.... Thanks, guys!! After laying around all day, I dinghied in to the dock at sunset and walked up the road a mile to the RV Park/Store where there is a restaurant I'd heard was pretty good. Had a grilled steak dinner with the trimmings - was pretty good! Needless to say, I had a flashlight and the knife in the dink with me going back to the boat! Another peaceful night - and I don't say that with a "ho-hum". After a few white-knuckled, sleepless nights with howling winds stretching the anchor rode drum-tight, I never take the calm peaceful nights for granted!

Monday, 3/19: Pulled the hook about 6:30am and headed north in company with Four Seasons. We anchored in the open roadstead off Loreto about 9:am. I picked up Russ in the dink, and we went into town to check our boats in and out of the area with immigration and the Port Captain. Remember the "intact" shearpin on my outboard? Well, as we left the breakwater for the trip back out to the boats, it decided to give up the ghost, and we had to get a tow from a friendly fishing boat out to Russ' boat, after which I rowed the dink back to Number One, which wasn't too easy against the 20+ knot winds that had come up in the meantime. We pulled our hooks and headed east to Puerto Ballandra on Isla Carmen to spend a couple of nights. Very rolly during the crossing in near-beam seas & 30 knot gusts, and very rolly in the anchorage when we first set the hooks that afternoon, but true to luck this trip (weather-wise, at least), it quieted down & had a nice night!

Tuesday, 3/20: A beautiful morning, and up early for a good reason: Four Seasons has a "Beer-Pancake Brunch" planned this morning. Have described this feast in an earlier post, so sufficient to say, it was heartily enjoyed by all - the crews of "slick", a trimaran, and motorboat "Sundance" were also in attendance! Calm and peaceful in the anchorage all day so I hoisted the dingy aboard and replaced the shear pin on the motor (whaddya know....I'm a mechanic!). Another peaceful evening.

Wednesday, 3/21: About 7:30 in the flat calm perfect morning we up anchor and head south. Investigated "Honeymoon Cove" at the north end of Isla Danzante, but was not unduly impressed - lots of insects in evidence, and so we continued on. Later on I had some whales right in front of the boat! But as soon as I overcame my excitement and got the camera ready, they took a powder. Sighted more later on, but never as close. Decided to spend the night at Aqua Verde, and arrived there about 2:30 in the afternoon. The temperature has warmed up noticeably! Got a nice picture of the Monk-designed 38' ketch-rigged motorsailor "Martha Rose", with whom we shared the anchorage. Continued quiet & calm conditions the rest of the day.

Thursday, 3/22: A beautiful sunrise at Aqua Verde. Underway at 7:30am, and rounded Punta San Marcial headed south in flat calm conditions; destination undecided. After a nice cruise all day we thought we'd go to San Evaristo again but VHF contact with some other N46 cruisers caused us to alter course for Bahia Amortajada, a previously unexplored (for us) anchorage at the southern end of Isla San Jose. This is a relatively unprotected anchorage, but the weather has been so nice... well, what the heck! And we weren't disappointed! Arrived about 3:pm, and now there's 3 N46's here (Four Seasons, Grey Spirit and StormHaven) in one anchorage! Including the impounded one at the Navy yard in La Paz, there's 7 known to be here in the southern Sea. A regular convention! Where are my fellow Krogenites?? Another attraction: The Tall Ship "Californian", a huge two masted schooner out of Sacramento is anchored here, so before anchoring I circled around it to get a better look & some pics. Well, here comes another calm, quiet evening with a special treat: Whales in the anchorage after dark, so close that some could smell their bad breath, and in the stillness we could all clearly hear as they would first blow, and then loudly inhale with a sound like huge wheezy bellows. Very excited chatter over the VHF! But too dark to see them, darn it! This night the water was so still that later someone on the radio remarked that it looked like there were two starry skies - the one above, and the one reflected from below.

Friday, 3/23: Another beautiful sunrise, and I'm underway about 7:am for the return to La Paz. Four Seasons is returning also, and we will both begin preparing for the "Baja Bash". The weather has been fantastic the whole time and doesn't let us down today either. Hope I haven't become too spoiled for what may come during the trip up the coast! Tied up in Marina de La Paz a little after 2pm to finish off a very successful trip!

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4/1 to 4/15 - La Paz to San Diego:

After a lot of fuming and fussing and preparation, I departed La Paz in company with Ensenada-bound "buddy-boat" Four Seasons N46, on Sunday, April first at 5:30 a.m. on the ebb tide. Had carefully cleaned and WD40'd the paddlewheel transducer and the knotmeter actually worked! Engine hours: 986 - FloScan Gallons: 1734. Weather varied during the day between windy/choppy, and calm/flat. Arrived at the Los Frailes anchorage about 7:30 p.m., and since the wind & chop was from the SE, we anchored on the north side of the point. At that time Four Seasons discovered that their watermaker was making no more, and this would drastically affect the way they managed their routines on the coming passage! Had a quiet but rolly night with a one-half + moon. I was looking forward to a lot of moonlit nights on this trip, but didn't get as many as I hoped for.

Next morning (Mon.-2nd) was warm & muggy, with the breeze shifted to north. Underway for Cabo San Lucas at 7:30 a.m. It got pretty windy/choppy during the course of the day, and the Pacific swell became apparent for the first time. Sighted some whales on the way, and arrived at Cabo about 2:30 p.m. and anchored in 35' of water off the beach and hotels. Gusty winds all afternoon and night except for a brief period near sunset.

Tuesday, 3rd: Departed Cabo San Lucas at 4:30 a.m. and was off Cabo Falso at first light. Seas lumpy and bumpy in the Cape area, but improved later in the morning. Waypoint set at 10:30 for Punta Tosca below Mag Bay - ETA: 17 hours. Changing tanks every 12 hours to keep the boat in trim. Nice afternoon, sunny and warm, but got real bumpy again the 1st half of the night.

Wednesday, 4th: Seas were still pretty lumpy upon arriving off the entrance to Mag Bay about 7:00 a.m., but a nice morning otherwise. Proceeded on to Bahia Santa Maria, anchoring there about 10:00 a.m. for a rest and a hot meal. Then off again that evening about 8 p.m. rounding the cape and taking the inshore route north, first heading towards San Jaunico. A long night in rough weather! Almost the least fun part of the trip.

Thursday, 5th: Rough going all morning long on the San Jaunico tack, but moderating in the afternoon after we had changed course to a NW heading up the coast. At 5:30 p.m. we have 18.5 hours to Turtle Bay, bearing 300 degrees, if we can maintain 6 knots against the weather. The first part of the night was a real relief, with glassy seas and good visibility in the moonlight.

Friday, 6th: 1:30 a.m. and here comes the wind again, blowing 40 knots + and whipping up some nasty wind waves. The weather has been crazy and unpredictable. Some moderation later in the morning, and we arrive in Turtle Bay and set the hook well off the pier in 19' before noon. Later, I took a 12 hour "nap" through a blessedly quiet night.

Saturday, 7th: Time for a little R&R, starting with a very much appreciated "Beer Pancake" breakfast aboard Four Seasons. Later we all dinghied into town to explore a little and stop by the church to leave a little donation with the Padre for the Ninos & Ninas. Read and relaxed the rest of the day & evening. Full moon tonight.

Sunday, 8th: A lot more of doing nothing, and then kayaked over to Four Seasons for dinner and a strategy session where we decided to leave early the next morning to brave the crossing passed Cedros Island to San Carlos on the upper side of the bight.

Monday, 9th: Left Turtle Bay at 4 a.m. Although it was nice in the bay, and this is supposed to be the best time to pass the cape, it is high wind & waves outside. Four Seasons' wind indicator showing 40+ approaching Punta Eugenia. Later in the morning it's pretty decent in the lee of Cedros, but as expected it's rough north of Cedros for about the next 20 miles, and then moderating somewhat. Generally a pretty rough ride all the way to San Carlos, where we arrived about 1:30 in the morning for a short rest.

Tuesday, 10th: Up and away at 6:30 a.m. - not a lot of sleep, but things have settled down quite a bit, and we made good time to Bahia San Quintin during probably the best weather (in the Pacific) that we've had so far. Anchored about 3:45 p.m. in 16' of water. This is a big place - there must be two square miles of anchorage: pick your spot and pick your depth. A little rolly though, but not bad! Hot turkey and dressing for dinner (so what if it's microwave Dinty Moore's)! Early to bed for a quiet night.

Wednesday, 11th: For the first time ever, my John Deere said "No" when I hit the start button. Went down in the engine room & looked around - No clue! I put a little pressure in the fuel line with the transfer pump and tried again: started after a momentary hesitation. Let it run for a while and everything seems o.k., but I'm uneasy. Pulled the hook and departed San Quintin about 6:30 a.m., destination undecided. Four Seasons wants to stop at San Tomas or Collnett. Four Seasons anchored at San Tomas for the night, but I decided to go on to Ensenada, which was less than 4 hours further anyway, and I was still uneasy about the problem I'd had that morning. I wanted to be in a safe harbor the next time I turned the engine off. A fortuitous decision because as I neared the entrance to Marina Coral about 10 p.m. and begin throttling back, the engine almost stalled, and the throttle behaved very erratically. Thought to myself: "I'm in deep do-do!! But I gently coaxed it into an idle and got into the marina to my assigned end-tie. After the boat was secured, I ventured to play with the throttle again, then bringing it back to the idle-stop whereupon the engine died and refused to start again regardless of standard efforts to resolve the problem!

Thursday, 12th: Not to make too long a story out of it, I contacted Dennis Ray, with Western Engine, a John Deere distributor in Huntington Beach, who I'd met at the Long Beach Trawler Fest last November. Dennis saved my bacon by dispatching a Deere-savy mechanic to Ensenada with a new injection pump to replace mine, which was diagnosed as containing a faulty solenoid associated with the "kill" mechanism. I will have the faulty pump analyzed and rebuilt to keep onboard as a spare! Moral: Get to a safe harbor ASAP if you suspect anything is going wrong - it may be something that cannot be fixed at sea. (note: Dennis informed me that invasive surgery on the pump requires "special tools" - and how many cruisers carry a $1.5k spare injection pump aboard, anyway?)

Easter Sunday, 15th: After a 3-day layover in Ensenada, having checked out of the country with a well-again boat, I left about 6 a.m. bound for San Diego. Had a pleasant trip in mild weather. Entered U.S. waters at 1:20 p.m., and after dodging a bayfull of sailboats arrived at the Customs dock on Shelter Island at 3 p.m. Engine hours: 1139 - gallons: 1991. Total average burn of 1.7 gph for the whole trip if my FloScan can be believed. I'll be in San Diego for a couple of weeks or so taking care of miscellaneous stuff before heading north towards San Francisco & home.

This "Baja Bash" was more taxing than my previous experience, but I'm not surprised since the weather has been nastier in general this year. Besides, what goes down must come up, right? Well, maybe not.....we'll see next time around.

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5/2 to 5/11/01 - San Diego to Alameda:

Spent a couple of weeks in San Diego at Driscoll's Boat Yard. Hauled & painted & zinced, repaired the bowthruster, plus some other miscellaneous stuff, and had a second/backup autopilot and wind sensor/indicator installed. I was really antsy to leave- boatyards aren't a lot of fun!

Wednesday, 2nd: Departed San Diego for an 8-hour trip up the coast to Dana Point, which is a pleasant place to stop over. Lots of transient slips available up to 40'. Had a huge spaghetti dinner at one of the eateries there.

Thursday, 3rd: After breakfast took on 302 gallons at the fuel dock here (the first since La Paz), then departed for the short hop up to Newport Beach, where there's a big powerboat show going on. There I found a very small slip at the Harbor Patrol's guest docks where the boat stuck out about 10', but it was better than nothing; dirt cheap, and I got to view some of the most expensive Real Estate in the world in the bargain! Stayed over through Saturday and walked over to the boat show twice, running into some old friends there including Tom Button, who is now doing the Customer Service for Kadey-Krogen Yachts. Tom and his wife Sue, along with crew Paul Richey (also at the show) had buddy-boated with me aboard their K42 "Unbuttoned" to & from Mexico in the '98/'99 season.

Sunday, 6th: Underway again at 5:45 a.m. for a ten hour leg up to Oxnard (Channel Isl. Marina) in good weather. After some routine maintenance at the transient slip, I found a great hole-in-the-wall pizza place, and then got some rest.

Monday, 7th: Cast off at 6 a.m. in a calm, clear sunrise bound for the Coho anchorage, but ran into thick fog later in the morning. It was just clearing when I dropped the hook at Coho at about 2 p.m. A sunny afternoon with a light breeze. Early to bed to rest up before venturing around the corner. A little rolly here, but OK.

Tuesday, 8th: Off again at 2 a.m. to round Point Conception in very tolerable conditions, with a light breeze and full moon. This is my 6th passage in these waters, and it has never been the "wild" ride it's supposed to be. I suppose I've just been lucky. A few miles offshore, one of the oil rigs was burning off a huge torch of natural gas, giving off the light of a small city. Wonder how many homes could have been heated with all that gas. What a waste -- especially during California's "energy crisis"! Off Point Arguello at 4 a.m., wind NW at 5 knots. Set a waypoint to San Simeon cove, and later had a clear sunrise over a glassy sea. Around Noon the wind was blowing 15 from the West, and had some bounce for a while. Anchored in San Simeon about 1:30 p.m. with Hearst Castle looking down from on high. This is a really nice place to stop over at and spend some quiet time on the hook. Bled the Racor, cleaned the raw-water strainer, and switched tanks. Rested up for another early departure after some yummy pizza reheated in the microwave.

Wednesday, 9th: Weighed anchor at 2:15 a.m. bound for Monterey in clear and calm conditions, with a leftover chop and a full moon. Nice in the early morning hours, but the wind increased to 20-25 knots off Point Sur for a very bumpy ride as I passed there around 10 a.m. and provided, as usual, the worst conditions (in my experience) between San Francisco and San Diego. This area deserves the reputation that is given to Point Conception. By the time I arrived off Carmel the wind had backed off to about 10 knots, and the weather continued to moderate until I arrived at Monterey around 2 p.m. I'm staying over an extra day at Monterey Marina in order to visit with my 95 year-old Uncle who lives in adjoining Pacific Grove. It's a friendly, accommodating Marina here, and a nice place to lay over with lots of stuff to do & places to go.

Friday, 11th: Underway at 3 a.m. for the last leg of the trip. ETA Alameda: 4 to 5 p.m. depending on conditions. Clear & calm at first; still have an almost-full moon. Anchored right outside the harbor was a huge fleet of trollers who have congregated in the area for a hot salmon run. I hear it's been a dismal season for them so far. Also had to dodge a lot of Commercial traffic inbound to Moss Landing. Thank God for Radar! Thick fog set in by 6 a.m. for most of the rest of the day. Visibility had improved somewhat by the time I reached the vicinity of Half Moon Bay at 10:30. Here (from about one to two miles offshore from the middle to the top of the bay) I encounter the thickest and largest field of crab pot buoys I've ever seen.... so thick that a boat passing through this area at night could not help but hit a dozen or so! Was wholly occupied for over an hour just dodging them. Not one flag on any of them, and they're hard to see in any chop. If you pass by this area in darkness, be well offshore! Have had a breeze/wind and following wind waves on my tail all morning (and for the rest of the day), and am making good time. Off Mile Rock at 1:15. Very unusual conditions outside the gate: Virtually flat with wind & small wind wavelets running south to north. Also have the flood tide working in my favor, and so passed under the Golden Gate doing 10 knots over the ground at 1:30 p.m., and finally found some sunshine. Secured in my slip at Ballena Isl. Marina at 2:45, at least an hour early! Burned 141 gallons from San Diego to Alameda.

Well, that's it for a while. I hear the weather's been perfect in La Paz. Have to get my car running and go see if my house is still standing, and then try to remember why I ever left La Paz in the first place.

Mike Ford, aboard
Number One, K39
Alameda, CA