Tag Archives: svshawnigan

3 weeks of sailing heaven!

A 3 week intermission from refilling the kitty was all it took to feel like I was back in sailing heaven again. I decided to extend my travel nurse contract in San Francisco for one more month under the stipulation that I get 3 weeks off to go back to my family and sail with them down the Sea of Cortez. It was just what we all needed; to be back together in warm weather, warm clear water and good family sailing time.

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Free diving mamma.

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Nina’s triumphant pose as she completes a 40 foot deep fin-less dive.

I met up with the family in San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico. I got there by driving 11 hours in a rental car to Phoenix and then taking an 11 hour Tufesa Bus ride across the border from Phoenix to San Carlos all in a matter of 30 hours. Upon arriving to Mexico, my spirit was lifted. I was so excited to spend this time with my family after 3.5 months of working in San Francisco and only seeing them a handful of days during that time. It was time to get some family lovin’.img_7613

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Free-Diving Daddy

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Ellamae’s touch down at 20 feet.

After a few days in San Carlos, we were stocked up and ready to head out.  The weather window looked great for heading across the Sea of Cortez, so we opted to leave while we could get good wind.  On Sunday, Oct 15th, after our morning in the anchorage and grocery re-load, we sailed off the hook and out of the anchorage. We quickly realized that sailing under jib alone was going to work just fine.  We set our course  on a nice downwind reach toward Isla Carmen, just off of Loreto on the Baja side of the Sea of Cortez. See our short post of pictures and videos here. 2 hours into our sail we hooked 2 Dorado (Mahi Mahi),one male and one female!

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Male Dorado, 2 hours south of San Carlos, Mexico.

The rest of the sail was relatively peaceful, with winds up to 30 kts and a furled jib. The wind maintained strength overnight and had us make landfall by 8 am the next morning. We dropped the anchor under sail at Perico anchorage on the east side of the area known as Bahia Salinas on Isla Carmen. With a few hours of rest after not sleeping so well over the night, we found energy in just having the excitement of being out on a deserted island with no one else around. We had the anchorage to ourselves and we were all together as one family unit!

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A little home-school art.

Screenshot (105)After a few days at Perico, we decided to head a few miles north to an anchorage called Painted Cliffs. Again, we had the anchorage to ourselves. Christian and I started to get in a morning routine of waking up at 4:30 am, drinking our bulletproof coffee and conversed under the stars and into the sunrise. I would then go for a 40-50 minute swim and Christian would go for a 5-10 mile stand-up paddle board excursion. The kids would wake up, start school and by lunch time we were all ready for a free-diving / fishing break.  Painted Cliffs had this amazing ledge to dive on. The visibility  was about 55 feet and the water was 84 F, even at 65 feet deep! After spearing a decent size grouper, we played around with going deep. Nina made it to 59 feet! I was surprised at how much easier it was for me to make it down to the bottom (65 feet) and stay down there for a little bit.  I thought for sure that it would take me a while to re-acclimate to diving since I had been on land for so long. I guess there’s muscle memory for that sport too. Having the water temp so warm and the visibility so clear, made a huge difference as well.

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Isla Carmen

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Nina’s fantastic effort at SUP handstand.

The weather forecast wasn’t looking so good for wind taking us anywhere, so we decided to head for the more southern anchorage on Isla Carmen known as Punta Colorado.  The view from there was stunning.

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Punta Colorado, Isla Carmen. East of Loreto, Baja California, Mexico.

The next day, after our morning routine, we were able to sail off the hook and head toward Isla Monserrate. Another sail onto the hook, and a swim in the water. Unfortunately, one hour after we fell asleep, we woke to our swim step clanking around. Christian went on deck to take a look and noticed the wind had switched onshore and was blowing 15 kts and quickly picking up speed to 20. It was pitch black and we had to get out of there fast. If you’re reading this and wondering what the heck I’m talking about… it’s not safe to be anchored on a lee-shore. Meaning, that you don’t want to be anchored where the wind is blowing toward shore, due to the chance of dragging anchor and having your boat end up crashed on the reef or on shore. There were submerged rocks and reefs on the chart that we had to make sure we stayed clear of.  Instead of sailing off the hook this time, we could not take any chances at being blown toward shore or the reef,  we used our engine to help motor us into the wind while Christian brought up the anchor.   With our RPM well above 2,300, we were able to make a clear path just out enough past the rocks to unfurl the jib and turned the engine off.  We made a quick 7 mile reach to Agua Verde, a familiar anchorage to come in to at O-Dark-30. All of this while the kids slept peacefully. We woke up to the familiar, lovely bay of Agua Verde having the northwestern anchorage to ourselves and our kids asking how we got there.

Agua Verde always holds a special place in our memories. There is just something about it we can’t quite describe. We’ve blogged about it before (here and here again), so I won’t go into it too much more. About mid-day another boat came into anchor by the name of Katie Gat.  Here are a few photos from the one full day that we spent there:

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S/V Shawnigan and S/V Katie Gat in Agua Verde, Baja California.

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Hydration station: Christian packs his Camelback everywhere, so we don’t risk getting dehydrated in the hot desert Baja environment.

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The local tienda (market) in Agua Verde.

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This is how we pack out our groceries in Agua Verde.

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Eating bags of frozen “agua de piña” we bought in Agua Verde for 10 pesos per bag. (That’s about $0.50 for a huge bag of frozen real fruit juice.)

From Agua Verde we had a nice sail off the hook, a down wind sail out of the bay, and the wind so nicely cocked around to keep us on a down wind run heading south to San Everisto.  We ended up staying one and a half days there, swimming, schooling, and stand-up paddle boarding. We were hoping to do a little more fresh produce shopping, but the tienda that was normally open was closed. We were guessing that we were a little early in the season for regular hours.

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Taj loves his magnet toys.

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Pizza making aboard S/V Shawnigan #tinymess

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Taj is mommy’s helper in the kitchen. We made gluten free bagels out of Pamela’s gluten free baking mix.

Next stop, Isla San Jose.  Another lovely, mostly beam reach, sail eastward across the channel to the old salt mine area on Isla San Jose. Again, we sailed onto the hook with the anchorage to ourselves. Shortly after dropping the anchor, we paddle boarded to shore for a walk along the shallow salt ponds and along the beach to the lighthouses and back. The walk ended up being 3 hours long!IMG_1857

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Terra the xterraboard with S/V Shawnigan anchored out of of Isla San Jose salt mine with the Sierra Gigante mountain range in the background.

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Above two groups of photos taken by Nina for her photography elective.

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Holding hands and sportin’ the gear on our salt mine walkabout. Photo by: Nina Lauducci

The next morning we sailed just south and dropped the hook for a short stop at the mangroves. We were apprehensive to stay longer with rumors of the no-see-ums being really bad. Our stop including a dingy tour of the mangrove. What a blast! We all jumped in and got a tow behind the dinghy.

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Isla San Jose Mangrove Dingy Tow

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Dinghy Tow

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Nina and Ellamae @ Isla San Jose Mangrove

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Taj steering the dinghy for a family mangrove tour at Isla San Jose.

Once done with our tour of the mangrove, we sailed around the east side of Isla San Francisco (a first for us) and passed it on by (another first). Alas, our time was starting to become limited, I had to get to La Paz to fly out by October 31st and the weather was predicting a drop off of wind. As many of you know, we like to sail as much as possible and avoid using the engine,  so we used to wind that we had that day, waved to Isla San Francisco and went straight to Ensenada Grande on Isla Partida.

As predicted, the wind was null the next day, so we were excited to take the opportunity to go dive with the Sea Lions at Los Islotes! When we woke, we were double excited, because our friend and fellow kid boat Waponi Woo showed up in the middle of the night and anchored next to us! We had basically been alone for almost 2 whole weeks, except for the one boat in Agua Verde. We were jazzed to see friends and even more jazzed to see a kid boat!

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Waponi Woo at Ensenada Grande

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As soon as everyone was awake, we motored our boats over to Los Islotes. We anchored in 58 feet of water where the Shaun and Heater guide shows to anchor. Waponi Woo anchored just west of us.  There was hardly a breath of wind and the water visibility was about 55 feet! We had the most amazing time swimming with the sea lions.

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Ryan from Waponi Woo
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Christian down at 25 feet.

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After an amazing morning with the Sea Lions we ventured back to Ensenada Grande for the night. Then next day we sailed to Caleta Lobos for one last relaxing anchorage to ourselves before heading into La Paz. We had 13 full days of no cell or wifi service. It was GREAT!!!

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Christian checking in on the Amigo Net.

The kids were happy to arrive to La Paz for a little kid boat action with S/V Secret Water.

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After a few days there, it was time to fly out for Ellamae and I. Ellamae was flying out to spend time with her Papa and I needed to go back to work in San Francisco for the month of November.  We took the Volaris flight from La Paz to Tijuana, then hopped across the border into San Diego. From there we parted ways at the airport. Next time we will all be together will be in the Puerto Vallarta area on December 1st.  Christian is single-handing it, with some help from Nina, until that time. Super dad!

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Looking down on Isla Espiritu Santo and Isla Partida. One the very left you can just barely see Los Islotes (where we swam with the sea lions).

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Navionics working on the plane.

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7 weeks of separation

We are making our way back to the boat, well at least 3 of the 5 of us are.  After just over 4 months of being back in the US, leaving our boat in Mexico, its time to start heading back to our cruising life.

This morning, November 4th, we all woke up at 4:30 AM. Christian and the 3 kids left in a rental car to drive to Phoenix before making their way to the boat and I went to work. Once Christian gets to Phoenix, Ellamae (the middle boat kid) will fly to Florida to spend some time with her Papa Jason. Christian will be taking Nina and Taj back to the boat via the Tufesa Bus that runs from Phoenix to Guaymas, Mexico.After a 12 hour over night bus ride, its a quick taxi ride to the boat in San Carlos.  I will be staying in San Francisco for another 7 weeks to finish up my contract. It’s been a bit of an emotional day for me, to say the least.

The kids are super excited to get back to boat life and meet up with all their boat friends that they have met, and hopefully meet that many new ones that are sailing down to Mexico this season. Christian is super exited to get back on the water, fill the sails with wind, and do some free diving/ spear fishing. I am excited that as well. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. All the hard work will pay off. I’m most looking forward to being back in the warm air, swimming/surfing in warm water and being back in the cruising mode with my family.  I also am looking forward to meeting the new cruising families that make it to Mexico this year.

I will be flying down once during the 7 weeks to visit in La Paz. I will be bringing Nina back with me to San Francisco for a few weeks for her to spend her 14th birthday with friends and family up here. I look forward to that time with her and know that it will help me with my “homesick” feelings.  Thankfully I will be heading to the boat just before Christmas to get some quality holiday family time.

We had a great last week together!

Halloween 2016

Happiness is a clean bottom: 3 day Haul Out!

It all began on a nice Monday night romantic sail from Sausalito over to Berkeley Marine Center haul out slip. The girls went with the Kiddoo Grandparents and Taj was asleep in the aft cabin.  I think this was the first time in too long that Christian and I actually sailed together, sans kids. We took 2.5 hours under full sail from anchorage to dock. The wind was perfect, but we were fighting a pretty strong ebb, so our average speed was 3.8 kts.

First thing on Tuesday morning the Berkeley Marine Center crew hauled us out. As soon as the boat was positioned on it’s stands, Taj and I took off for the day and Christian went to work. He finished sanding before noon and the first coat of bottom paint was on by 3pm.

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So happy to get her bottom cleaned!

First time Josie’s parents have seen a boat hauled out!

        

Wednesday included another coat of paint and the engine/propeller coupling removal to make some needed adjustments. We also put in another thru-hole for the water maker.

Water maker thru-hole

Thursday: another coat of paint, filing of the coupling for a slightly looser fit,  shaft removal and replacement to get the previous summer’s caught trip line fully removed, the drip-less stuffing box removed and replaced with traditional packing gland. We also installed a “tranny saver”, said a few words that shall not be repeated, and realigned the engine.

Shaft entry point damage from last summer’s trip line getting caught. Yikes!

                

                          

Friday: We were the first to splash for the day! After we came off of the stands and in to the slings, a few coats of paint were added on the areas where the pads were, a few moments to dry, and voilà, splishy splashy in 3 days! Captain Lauducci is AMAZING!!!

                                     

As soon as we hit water, all possible leak points were checked and all was good to go. Well, we thought all was good to go. After some fine tune engine alignments, we started the engine. To our disappointment the area around the new packing gland was getting too hot. Urg!!! … many other words….

After 2 days of wrenching on the engine at the guest dock in Berkeley Marina, Christian figured it out, phew! We were worried we would have to haul back out and go back to the drip-less system (which we really did my want on there). The culprit of the hot spot around the packing gland: aligning the engine and shaft on the hard. When the boat was returned to the water, the haul settled, therefore changing the position of the alignment by a whole half of an inch!!!  Having the alignment off that much caused way to much friction around the packing gland. Moral of the story; wait till your boat is back in the water to do your engine alignment.  Now I think it’s safe to say that we are pretty much good to go!

To Do:
We are just waiting on floating ground cable for our SSB (single side band) radio to finish installing out SSB. We need to finish connecting the water maker and start it up.  And we are also going to get the iridiumGo before we take off. Yay!