Saturday, June 23, 2007
Sunday, June 17, 2007
We fueled up at Cabo San Lucas, and took off a little bit later. We motored into the wind for a couple of days and pulled into
Turtle Bay (Bahia de Tortugas). A small outboard met us on the way into the bay and asked if we needed diesel. We did!
There is a pier with fuel available at turtle bay, but it's hard to tie to in a bigger boat. Instead, the guy we met took us to an
old stripped fishing boat with a 2500 gallon diesel tank in back. We tied to the boat with a single rope and they passed a hose to
us. We filled up at a very reasonable price and got on our way in just a few minutes. That's my kind of fuel stop!
Around 1000 people live in the town at Turtle Bay (I forgot its name). There is a 135-mile dirt road from there to the nearest
highway. The land there is barren. No trees, and almost no green whatsoever.
From Turtle Bay we came to Guadalupe Island, where we are now. It's about 140 miles off the west coast of Mexico. There are some
HUGE rocks and cliffs here, with really interesting formations. Isla Afuera is a giant rock on the south end of Guadelupe, with a
600+ vertical cliff on its south end. It's very impressive. The highest mountain on Guadelupe is 4000-5000' high (I think so,
anyway -- one map we have says 13,900' but that seems a little high).
We headed into a sheltered cove at the south end of the island, where a meteorogical station is. We didn't have any details charts,
so we weren't too sure where to go to avoid the rocks sticking up here and there.
We headed into this gap between a giant rock and a bunch of small ones. Mike was on front of the boat looking and I was driving.
Since he's blind and I can't drive worth a dime, we were in fine shape. He pointed out an underwater right next to the boat. I
reversed out of there straightaway, and we anchored in a more open cove about a mile or so away.
There are seals or sea elephants or some sort of sea monsters along the shore here. They do some loud trumpeting. They play in the
water, chase fish, and generally have a grand time.
Mike and I went kayaking. Sometimes the big sea elephants acted a little threatening when we got close. We kayaked around this cove,
and then up to the cove with the meteorological station. It was really windy on the way up there. On the way back to the boat we
held the paddles up and "sailed" almost the entire distance (a mile?) back to the boat.
This place has over 100 species of sharks. We haven't seen any yet. I'm trying to talk Mike into diving tomorrow.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
On Sunday we went to Manzanillo, and anchored off the resort where they filmed the movie "10". We planned to do some diving, but the
water was murky. More red tide. It was pretty wavy around the rocks. We ate (at a restaurant with metal utensils), slept, and took
We arrived at the Marieta Islands a little before sunup. I was driving, everybody else was sleeping. The radar showed islands a mile
or two away from where the maps did. That was really strange. I thought our radar might be broken.
Eventually I figured out that the maps were wrong. There is one book that had a different GPS location for these islands. That one
was correct. Good thing we slowed down to wait until we could see.
We anchored at West Marieta Island. I lowered the anchor at about 25-30 feet, then backed up to make sure it was set good.
While those lazy bums were still sleeping, I kayaked around the island. It was really neat and a little scary. There are a lot of
rocks sticking up around this island. There are a lot of caves and holes.
There were big swells coming in from a couple of directions. Sometimes it would sound like an explosion when a wave would hit a hole
just right. They would splash up 50 feet high sometimes. There were birds all over the island. Sometimes they'd dive-bomb the kayak.
I think they were just being friendly.
Later on we scuba dived at the boat. I followed down the anchor chain and found the anchor at 50 feet, next to a big rock formation.
It had slid off the rocks into the sand at 50 feet before it held.
Then we headed 20 miles to Nuevo Puerto Vallarta and stopped for the night. The next day Adam and Patty flew back to Oklahoma. That
meant we had to do some paperwork with the port captain because they like to keep track who's on the boat. Then we got diesel and
headed toward Cabo San Lucas.
It's now 8:00 am Thursday, and we're about 1.5 or 2 hours from Cabo San Lucas. We've been motoring against the wind almost all the
time since Puerto Vallarta. Last night we moved from 83 degree water to 66 degree water. That is a huge difference! I guess we're
into the water coming down from California now.
Pictures coming soon!
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Saturday, June 09, 2007
It is night time (or early in the am). We are in a thunderstorm. Someone (me) didn't get the windows closed in time, so some of the
inside of the boat got washed. The water temperature was 78 a few minutes ago, but is now 81. The wind was 30+ knots a few minutes
ago but is now 13 knots. The wind direction has been all over the place. Earlier today there was little or no wind. We're in 3000
feet of water, but in a few minutes we'll be in 120 feet over (hopefully) an underwater mountain.
Last night and tonight there has been phosphorescing or fluorescing or glowing water. The is a wake of light behind the boat and the
water glows where fish, porpoises, and sea monsters stir up the water.
Today (Friday) we decided to go scuba diving. As we got close to our dive spot, we noticed the water looked a little murky. It was
dark red, kind of like the water in the Everglades sometimes.
We anchored off Sacramento Reef near Ixtapa, Mexico. The anchor didn't hold very well so I stayed on the boat while Mike and Adam
dived. They stayed in about 3 minutes. They had about 3-foot visibility. Those guys will never be cave divers.
We were wondering if this is a red tide or algae bloom, and if so, where it came from.
Mike caught a 23 lb shark Wednesday. I'm not sure what kind of shark, but it had teeth. I'll upload photos when I have a chance.
We've been motoring most of the time, occasionally with the sails up. About a day out of Acapulco we started running both engines so
we could get there early enough to get out on the same day.
I went outside shortly before sunup Thursday and noticed that the right engine had died. Diesel engines don't normal quit running
all by themselves. So I checked the fuel gauges. Above a quarter tank. I put a stick into the tank to see if they gauges were lying.
They were. The tanks were almost empty.
So real quick, I started pouring diesel from the 5 and 6 gallon plastic jugs into the left tank. That's so that engine would keep
running. When a diesel engine runs out of diesel, at least on this boat and most tractors, you have to bleed the air out of the fuel
lines before it runs again.
Luckily, our Volvo 78hp engines are advanced enough to have an easy way to bleed the fuel lines. You just loosen a screw and press a
small manual pump until the air stops coming out. It's pretty messy, but it's better than doing each injector one at a time.
So I did it, according to the manual. It wouldn't run. I did it again. No luck. After four times Mike was awake and he used his farm
tractor technique to bleed each injector. It ran!
I happened to email David Renouf about something else during this, and mentioned we had to bleed the bleedin' engine. After we got
it running, I read his reply that said that it's been his experience that the bleeding method in the manual doesn't work, you have
the bleed each injector. I thought that was pretty funny.
About that time, the generator stopped generating, which killed the air conditioner. Apparently some sediment from the bottom of the
fuel tank stopped up the fuel filter. Mike cleaned it (we didn't have a replacement), then spent time time bleeding the fuel system
in the generator before it would run. He claims he was hot, but I think he's just out of shape.
Eventually we made it to Acapulco. We drove in, cleared customs, immigration, got our zarpe (clearance), got diesel, had the boat
cleaned (top and bottom), picked up Patty and Adam, ate dinner at a restaurant with metal utensils, and took off. That's pretty good
for one afternoon in Mexico.
On the way out we saw the place they dive off cliffs. We didn't stop and dive.
Patty asked if I had ever seen a stingray jump clear out of the water and turn flips. I said no. She said she saw one. I said she
was hallucinating again, and that it was probably a dolphin.
A little while later, we came upon a whole school of rays jumping out of the water. It was weird! They were dark colored on their
backs, light underneath, and about 3 feet wide. Then Adam caught one on the fishing pole. We turned it loose and it flew away
(underwater). Mike said if we tell anybody we saw that, they'll never believe us.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
We took off from Guatemala yesterday morning. The day before we headed about 50 miles inland to Antigua Guatemala, the old city,
with three other people and a taxi driver. I thought it was going to be Mayan ruins, but there was a slight inconsistency in my
comprehension. I'm used to that, even at home. Antigua is a tourist / market center, with some big marketplaces. We bought some
vegetables that look like giant green beans. We saw people collecting bugs to eat called something like sonpopo de Mayo.
We're off the coast of Mexico, just outside the Gulf of Tehuantepec. It's famous for the high winds funneling in between the
mountain ranges from the Gulf of Mexico into the Pacific. I was reading a book about The Speedwell, a privateer vessel of the
1700's, a couple of days ago. Even they had trouble with the Teguantepec gales. We have close to 8 knots of wind on the nose.
We caught and ate a Spanish mackerel (or something close) yesterday. Lots of lightning last night, but it most of it was 5 or 10
miles away. We're 80 miles offshore. Water depth is 12,000 feet, and water temperature is 84.9F.
Mike does not appreciate water in the vacuum. How else do you clean the shower???
Saturday, June 02, 2007
More pictures! http://xpda.com/minnow07/guatemala
We got into Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala this morning about 8:30. We planned to arrive about 9:00 or 9:30 to make sure everybody was up
and around. I called some people about hour before. Unfortunately for them, I didn't realize it was really 7:30 am on Saturday. I
thought they sounded a little groggy. I was surprised to learn that Guatemala is an hour behind Pryor time.
Coming into Guatemala we got to within 100 miles or so of Tropical Storm Barbara. It is now fizzling on shore in southern Mexico,
but we'll wait a day or two to let the waves die down before we continue.
As we got close to the storm, the swells got bigger and bigger. They also got a little steeper, but not steep enough to cause a
rough ride. The water looked surreal yesterday evening, kind of like rolling hills.
This morning we got into some strong wind for a while, blowing toward the storm and against the big swells. Some of the swells were
12 or 15 feet high. The swells were steep enough that waves didn't form in the opposite direction, but there were whitecaps on the
tops of the giant swells going backwards. It looked pretty funny.
We came into Puerto Quetzal past a huge surf on the breakwater, managed to park at the fuel dock without breaking the dock or the
boat, cleared in, bought diesel, and parked again at the regular dock. Again, no major damage to the boat. But there is this one
pole on the dock...
Clearance into the country involved immigration, customs, port capitan, an agent, 4 copies of our boat papers, and $165. It was
pretty easy, though, because the agent (required for recreational boats) handled all the details. They searched our boat a little,
looking for contraband. Contraband is a group of musicians that played for the Nicaraguan rebels.
Tomorrow we plan to take a taxi to a Mayan city with our neighbors on the dock, and possibly run a few errands on the way. I think
the Mayans left the city some time ago. I'm not sure why.
Friday, June 01, 2007
It's 84 degrees, the water temperature is 81.8, the wind is 7-8 knots from the southwest, and we are headed northwest. The water
depth is in the neighborhood of 30,000 feet. I wanted to stop and swim, but the boat is liable to get away from us in the wind and
The water is medium wavy (that's a technical sailing term) with big swells. The swells are 8-10 feet high, and a few of them are
higher. It's a pretty smooth ride, though, because the swells are coming in at an angle and the boat just rides over the top of
The big swells are coming from tropical storm Barbara to our northwest. Or maybe it's still a tropical depression, I'm not sure.
Yesterday it was forecast to be a hurricane, but today they say it will only be a tropical storm. Either way, we'd like to avoid it.
So we're headed to Guatemala instead of Mexico until the scary weather goes away.
Last night we were sailing along at a good clip. I was sleeping. Mike was wondering why the wind got up over 30 knots. Since then
the wind has gradually decreased. This morning I started an engine to help out the sails. Shortly after that, I heard the line
pealing off a fishing pole. We had been dragging a lure all night.
I tightened the drag. Line kept going out. I stopped the motor. Line kept going. I tightened the drag a BUNCH, and figured out that
something pretty big was on the other end. It was moving, too. I finally could start reeling it in, slowly, when the fish was coming
down a swell.
Mike got up to see what all the commotion was about. The fish jumped a few times and we could see it was some kind of bill fish --
sword fish, marlin, etc. Eventually we got it up to the boat.
The birds Mike was fighting yesterday managed to get the gaff away from him and deep--six it. So we got the fish alongside the boat
and Mike tried to get a rope around its tail. We had to be careful because those fish can slice you up pretty bad when they're
flopping around. At this point I was guessing it was six feet long. We thought it was a sailfish, because it had a big dorsal fin
like a sail.
After several unsuccessful attempts, Mike managed to get a rope around the tail and winched the fish part way up the steps at the
back of the boat. It was BIG. Our scale only goes to 50 lbs, and we weren't tall enough or brave enough to lift it up to be weighed.
So Mike got the tape measure. The fish was a little over nine feet long, from the tip of the sword to the tip of the tail.
Mike got brave and pulled the hook out of its mouth with a pair of needle nose pliers. Then we turned it loose. It stayed on top of
the water for a few minutes, and eventually swam away. We checked the books and confirmed it is a sailfish.
Now we're back on track for Guatemala!