Entries from the previous blog.

 

Off the beaten track 05/04/2007

We finally left Mazatlan! After leaving the marina we spent 2 weeks in the Old Harbor. The anchorage there is close to the historical district of Mazatlan, and is walking distance to the plazas and Mercado. We met up with some friends the Northwest (V'Ger) that we had not seen in 2 years, and another boat we met in Ensenada (Momo).  We hiked up the lighthouse, which is the highest lighthouse in the americas. Great view of the harbor and Mazatlan. We had a brief stop at Venados (Deer) Island, then headed north to Altata. Altata is a small town about 120 miles from Mazatlan. The town was first visited by cruisers in 2001, and is not listed in most cruising guides. Information has started to be passed around so now perhaps a dozen boats a year come in, compared to hundreds that go through Mazatlan. There are no good charts to the bay and it is very shallow with an entrance that can be scary, so having information from previous boats was very helpful. We were welcomed in by a pod of dolphins. We are the only cruising boat here and probably the only gringos as well. Everyone seems friendly, and I think we are a bit if a novelty. The Port Captain spoke english and was very friendly, he told me that Altata was a busy commercial port back in the 1800's but a hurricane hit in 1911 and altered the harbor, closing the old entrance and creating a new one 10 miles south of town. The new shallower entrance caused the commercial traffic to stop. We are anxious to get out and do a little exploring, also the water here in the estuary is around 76 degrees so we can do some swimming without being too cold.

 

Snow! and old friends  04/06/2007

Ok, that might need some further clarification. We are still in Mazatlan, moored at the Marina.

We decided to head back to California for a short visit. We thought we could do our taxes and do some work on the rental property and also extend our Visas another 180 days. We figured a week would be enough time. We ended up staying almost 3 weeks. Our mail service screwed up sending our mail and therefore getting our taxes done. The property took up much time catching up on years worth of yard work, hauling, burning and tree trimming. We got a huge amount of work done, but there is more waiting for us the next time we return. While working in the yard it began to snow one afternoon. There was not any real accumulation and it melted by the next day, but it was quite a change for us. Our property is in Georgetown (Population 962), which is between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe, about 10 miles from Sutter’s Mill (for those who know CA history).

Back in Mazatlan things are busy.  We have met up with several boats that we know and haven’t seen in a while. Some we haven’t seen for months some not for 2 years! It has been fun catching up with everyone. It is also Semana Santa (Holy Week) which is a big Mexican holiday when everyone comes to the beach. On top of that we are getting a bunch of spring break visitors as well. It is really crowded downtown and along the beaches. It is more crowded now than it was at carnival.

We plan on leaving Mazatlan soon, we are not decided if we want to head north or south. I would like to see Isla Isabella (south) and Cindy wants to head north into the Sea of Cortez. I guess we will see which way the wind is blowing when the time comes and that is the direction we will go…

 

Carnaval and Mazatlan 03/09/2007

Carnaval was a blast. It took a day or two to realize that nothing gets started till 10 o’clock at night or later. The marina here organized a trip to do dinner and see the fireworks, so we joined in. The dinner was mediocre (I think they tried to do American food), but the fireworks were good. Unfortunately the balcony that we watched from was designed to provide shade from the sun, this meant it blocked some of the view as well. The fireworks commemorate a battle with the French, so part of the fireworks are launched from shore and some from onboard a boat off the shore.

On the same night is also the “Burning of Bad Humors”, where an effigy of some person or issue is burnt. This year the issue was the high price of tortillas, in the past it has been Osama bin Laden, and a Taxi strike. (See videos here)  After the show we went walking on the main Carnaval street, Olas Altas. There were many stages set up each with a live band (competing with each other to be heard), wandering Mariachi bands (competing to be heard), many beer booths, and a huge crowd of people. We quickly learned that you needed to hold on to each other and get in with the flow going your desired direction (sort of a huge conga line). It was crowded and loud, but everyone was having fun. After getting another beer we started heading back but made a mistake of getting too close to the bandstand. The crowd here was very thick and we soon lost any control over our speed or direction. We were being swept along and were only concerned with keeping on our feet, tripping or falling would be bad news. Once past the stage things eased up, but that was not fun.

A few days later we went to the Carnaval Parade. This took place on the malecon, the road that IMG_2390was right on the ocean. Cindy and I went down early to get a good spot along the fence on the seawall. The street rapidly filled up with families coming to watch. The parade started with the sponsor’s (beer, bakery, and automakers mostly) floats which consisted of dancers throwing items and load music. The real parade consisted of some marching groups and lots of floats. The floats all had dancers (male and female), and more loud music usually live. No beads here but lots of confetti, thrown by the dancers or shot from cannons. After the parade we headed to the old town area for some food. It was nearly midnight but the Plazuela Machado and the restaurants were quite busy. When dinner was over we grabbed a pulmonia to take us back to the marina. The pulmonia (literally pneumonia) is an open air taxi unique to Mazatlan.

While in Mazatlan we have been doing work on the boat. We had some help from Rueben and his sons on getting some brightwork done. We stripped off the old varnish and put on some new Cetol. Not all the boat is done, but it looks a lot better. Various other jobs are getting done (decks, cabinetry, wiring) and the boat is clean again.

Some friends (Clarence and Sharon from Lotus) are staying at the other marina, El Cid, it has a hotel and timeshares, which also means a pool and hottub! We have spent a few afternoons as their guests hanging out at the pool, and hitting the Friday happy Hour. There are advantages to being at a marina!

Marina Mazatlan, where we are docked is a nice place to stay. They do quite a bit to support the cruisers community. They facilitate many services like laundry, bottled water, propane, a veggie truck comes several times a week. The cruisers also organize events, DVD swap, swap meet, HAM radio exams, Spanish lessons, yoga, etc… There is quite a bit going on to keep people busy.

 

Long update, check out the new pictures (Cabo, Mazatlan) and the video(some are quite large).

 

Over on the mainland for carnaval! 02.16/2007

Masquerade is now on the mainland of Mexico. We are in Mazatlan and are at a marina for the first time in over two months. We sailed from Cabo San Lucas to Los Frailes, it was incredibly quiet and calm after the noise and bouncy anchorage at Cabo. We had planned on spending a few days here but when we had a good weather window for crossing to the mainland, we pulled anchor and left.  We had a good sail across the Sea of Cortez, we had 15kn +-5 most of the time and made the passage in about 29 hours (some of the fastest sailing we have done).  

Cabo San Lucas is strictly a tourist town, nothing but bars and hotels/timeshares. We spent a few days but the anchorage is very rough and noisy due to the boat traffic, jet skis, and cruiseships. We went into town a few times but tried not to spend too much money. We got suckered into doing a timeshare talk (they offered $225!). Started out okay, but they got pushy, then rude when we said no and we wanted to leave. We later heard that this timeshare was known as a “buy or cry” operation. We did get a free trip over to San Jose Del Cabo for sightseeing out of the deal. San Jose is the real town in the area and has a historical center and an old church. In Cabo we did get to sit on the beach on lounge chairs under an umbrella while they brought us 2 for 1 drinks, not too bad. We hit the Costco for provisions, and learned that you can sample tequila along with the normal food items!

 

Mazatlan is an interesting town, it was an old and established city long before the tourist industry turned up. The historic district has many older buildings and the Plaza Machado, with lots of restaurants with open air seating, music and such is very interesting.  There is a cruising community here, some boats passing though and others spend the hurricane season here. We ran into “Restless” here at the Marina, we met Mark and Brandy in Craig Alaska and see them about every 700 miles (Craig AK, Coos Bay OR, Newport Beach CA, and Mazatlan). We also ran into Brian (downtown in the plaza) he used to work for Port Townsend Rigging, but is now off cruising.

We decided to come to Mazatlan to see the Carnaval. This is supposed to be the 3rd largest Carnaval in the world. It started yesterday but we did not see much but they were setting up for the large street party and parade that are later in the week. We are planning on seeing at least one parade and one firework show. Should be lots of fun. We will try and get pictures for the site.

We are also getting some work done on the boat here. Having some of the old varnished stripped and sanding the decks. Can’t stop anywhere for a few days without trying to get some boat jobs done.

The weather is nice and the people friendly, this is good cruising.

 

In the tropics!  02/01/2007

Masquerade has crossed the tropic of Cancer (23.37 degrees North), so we are officially in the tropics. We are now anchored off the beach in Cabo San Lucas, having arrived yesterday (1/31). There are several boats here that we met in Ensenada and down the coast so we were soon having drinks in the cockpit. This is sort of a culture shock after the unpopulated coast and small fishing villages on the way down. After seeing no boats at all we suddenly came upon two dozen sportfishing boats at a shallow bank north of Cabo. We are currently surrounded by cruise ships, jet skis, harbor cruises, and parasailors.

We had some fun fishing on the way down, we caught a few smaller fish that we released because we wanted a dorado. I then caught something large that I fought with for around 15 minutes trying not to lose all my line. After all that work the line broke so we never got to see what it was. Nothing we had caught previously fought anything like that.  Later near Cabo we did manage to catch a nice sized dorado (mahi mahi) but when we tried to get him in the net, it thrashed about,threw off the hook and escaped. Very disappointing.

Willie the boat cat really likes the fresh raw fish, and has learned the sound of a fish strike. When the line gets pulled off the reel by a fish he comes out to the cockpit to watch and see what we bring on board. He was also quite fascinated by the live shrimp that we traded for from some local fisherman.

We will be here for a few days to sight see and do some provisioning before heading across the Sea of Cortez to the mainland.

 

Panga rides 01/27/2007

Masquerade has moved down to Bahia Magdalena (known as Mag Bay by cruisers). This is just on the other side of the sand spit from Bahia Santa Maria but is about a 30 mile trip to get down to the entrance and back up to the anchorage. There is a small town here with a tourist restaurant and a small store. The store is a small room in the owners house, you can either talk through the open window or walk through the living room if you want to shop inside.

We saw several whales on the way here and one was in the anchorage. They do some whale watching here for tourists bused up from Cabo San Lucas. I think that these tours often stop here for lunch and keep the restaurant going.

The Port Captain came out to check us in and mentioned that he could take us to San Carlos, the main town in Mag Bay about 15 miles north. We said no, but later changed our minds when the 2 other boats decided to do the trip Lotus and Clara Katherine. The next day we climbed into the Port Captain's panga for a high speed ride up the bay. The pangas used around here are open fiberglass boats about 20ft long with high freeboard and large outboards (100hp+). All the locals use this type of boat and we have seen them out in 35+kn of wind. San Carlos is a small town, but has road access and is a port that does quite a bit of shipping. They plan on getting cruise ships to come here so they are paving streets and making a tourist area. I am sure that this will change the town dramatically. We prefer the town the way it is, but you can not blame them for wanting to get some tourist dollars.

 

short-footer

 

 

Bahia Santa Maria 01/19/2007

Masquerade arrived in Bahia Santa Maria early this afternoon after an overnight sail from Abreojos. We had planned to spend a day at Abreojos and do some walking around but the weather forecast made us a little concerned about our anchorage. We decided to up anchor and not worry about a change in wind direction. We had a pretty uneventful sail, starting with light winds and picking up in the early morning.

We were visited by a group of dolphins in the middle of the night. It was very dark with the cloud cover and no moon, but the water was full of bio-luminescence. I could see the dolphins streaking toward the boat from over a hundred feet away. The dolphins were lit up and left a trail behind them as they swam. I moved up to the bow sprit to watch as many as 10 dolphins playing in the bow wave just a few feet below me. Their bodies were outlined by the glowing water, they seemed just inches apart and just inches from the bow of the boat. It was an amazing sight, then they were gone and we never saw anymore the rest of the night.

We plan on spending several days here and at Magdalena Bay which is close by. Hopefully we get some sunny weather so we can do some hiking an exploring. 

 

Eyes Open  01/18/2007

We arrived in Punta Abreojos early this afternoon after a nice sail down from Turtle Bay. We had 15-20 from aft of the beam pretty much the whole way, good sailing. Plus we landed a nice sized Bonito for our lunch! Abreojos means open your eyes, a message apparently due to the multiple reefs, rocks, and shallows on the approach to the anchorage.

We liked the small town in Turtle Bay, it was poor by US standards but clean and well kept. The people were nice and well dressed, they also seemed to drive nicer trucks than we did. We were not sure what to expect as we heard the town was depressed with the closing of the cannery. It was obvious that there is less business than there was previously. Of course we were there with only 2 or 3 other boats. When the Baja HaHa comes through there are over 150 boats in the anchorage. It must be a completely different town then. Through some strange turns of events we ended up attending a birthday party for a daughter of the woman who ran a small restaurant. Along with the family from sailboat Cairngorm who supplied the pinata. It was fun, but no one is bi-lingual so conversation was minimal.

Still getting cool weather and sitting out high winds. We are looking forward to warm breezes and warm water.

 

 

Turtle Baying  01/11/2007

1-11-07: We arrived early this morning, we adjusted our speed so that we would enter the bay after sunrise. We avoid entering any bays or harbors at night. The charts down here are not as accurate as the US and Canada, so you cannot not trust using the GPS and electronics charts as you do up north.

We saw a large pod of dolphin on the way down here. These dolphin were leaping out of the water but had little interest in playing in the bow wave. The dolphins further north did not leap out of the water but did like to spend time playing around the boat.

We will go ashore to check out the little town either later today or tomorrow after we rest

 

 

Fresh tuna for dinner 01/11/2007

Masquerade is still underway heading for Turtle Bay (actually Bahia de Bartolome). It is a little after midnight I finished my shift and Cindy is at the helm. I wanted to do a position report and throw up a quick blog entry.

It is a very calm night with no wind at all. The seas are so glassy that the stars are reflected in the water. The stars are amazing as there are no lights to block them out.

We caught or first tuna today just before sunset. He was on the BBQ within an hour! Good but cleaning fish on a small boat underway is messy.

I think we just crossed into the Mountain time zone. I am going to take a nap now.

 

 

Heading to Turtle Bay 01/10/2007

Masquerade is currently underway from Ensenada to Turtle Bay. This is a good anchorage about halfway down the west coast of the Baja. We are motoring at this time as there is no wind at all, glassy seas with a 3-4 swell. We waited out some heavy winds and now we have none.

Ensenada was a good stop and we met many cruisers on their way south and others who are still making plans to leave. There was a great group of people there and the morning radio net was a lot of fun. There was quite a bit of excitement whenever the wind blew hard, as several boats drug their anchor. Each time Cindy and I seemed to get involved. One boat narrowly missed hitting several other boats as it dragged across the harbor, we boarded the boat to help with the anchor and alert the crew on board. Another day a different boat bonked into us as it dragged down on us around midnight (no damage done). The last boat we helped occurred while Cindy was aboard Masquerade and I was ashore. When the boat started moving Cindy called out on the radio for help. I heard the call and knew the boat's crew was ashore as well. So I grabbed the crew and with some other cruisers (Scotty from Petra, and Adam from Estrella) we zoomed out in our dinghies to help get the anchor reset safely. Nice place to visit but too much work and stress for us! I added a few new Ensenada pics to the photos, including the Black Pearl from the Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

We hope to make Turtle Bay in about another 36 hours. Hopefully we don't see to much traffic. last night we met 2 large and fast moving container ships. One heading north and one heading south, with tiny/slow Masquerade right in the middle. We altered course to avoid the first and hailed the other on the radio to ensure we were both on a safe course. All this was done with the radar as we could not visually see the large ships till they were less than a mile away.

Hoping for a little wind....

 

Getting settled in Ensenada 12/30/2007

We have now been in Ensenada for nearly a week. We have met quite a few other cruisers and are feel we are starting to get into the swing of things. On arrival we were immediately greeted and invited to a Cruiser’s Christmas Potluck and white elephant gift exchange. The potluck turned out to be a lot of fun, but it broke up quickly once the sun went down and the temperature dropped.  There is a Cruiser’s net every morning at 8 o’clock on the VHF radio. This is way for everyone to know who is coming or going, share news, weather, ask advice and buy/sell gear.  These nets are common in the popular cruising grounds throughout Mexico.  Important information like the location of a good happy hour is disseminated (2-1 drinks and free pasta dinner!).

We have since completed all the paperwork for clearing customs for ourselves and getting a temporary import permit for the boat. There is a streamlined process with all the offices you need to visit now in a single building. Now it only takes 3 hours, instead of all day with multiple trips across town.

 

Exploring the town has been fun, things change pretty quickly once you get out of the tourist area. Everyone has been friendly and we are trying to speak some Spanish. We have some language tapes and some books to help us, but wish we had started this earlier in the year.  I am hoping that some of my high school Spanish is locked away somewhere in my brain and can be coaxed out. Several friends have taken Spanish immersion classes (for a week or more) and we may look into that as well.

 

The boats out on anchor are apparently a bit of a tourist attraction. There are multiple boats that load up with Mexican tourists and motor around and out of the harbor (whale watching/sea lions/seals, who knows what). These boats tend to pass very close to the anchored boats (passengers taking pictures and videos) while leaving a large wake. This behavior usually gets ignored or a brief wave from the cruiser.  What is funny is that a boat doing this in the pacific northwest would have elicited some rude epithets and a completely different hand gesture. It is a different world.

 

Mexico!!!  12/24/2006

After many, many delays Masquerade has brought us to Mexico. We have just dropped the anchor here in Ensenada Harbor. It was a fairly short overnight trip from San Diego with light winds and clear skies. We will not be able to clear into the country till Tuesday, so we will most likely not be spending too much time ashore. There is a huge Mexican flag flying over the harbor, to welcome the boats in. We can't wait to get out and explore a bit.

It feels really good to finally make it here after 5+ years of planning. The last few weeks/months have seemed to drag on while waiting for parts and repairs to be completed. We did not expect this last part of the trip to take quite so much time and effort. We were a little apprehensive about leaving the US and traveling where we don't speak the language, but then again, that has been the plan all along.

 

We wanted to wish all our friends and family a Merry Christmas/Feliz Navidad and a Happy New Year/Something Ano Nuevo!!

Obviously, I need to work on my Spanish. My excuse is that we were up sailing all night.

 

 

Last stop in Caifornia 12/17/2006

We have made it as far as San Diego. This will be our last stop in California and the USA. We wanted to get here to sit out the first winter storm of the season. They have made all sorts of dire predictions including waterspouts, but we have not seen much but a few squalls. We are at the public dock (the police dock), this is a nice protected spot (not like Newport where the dock sucked).

We hoped to get out of here quickly, with perhaps a short visit to the Mexican consulate. However we had yet another failure of our Navman instruments. The depth sounder that we just had repaired has failed. We lost out depth readings on our way to San Diego, nothing is more fun than entering a strange harbor without a working depth sounder.  We now need to get this taken care of before we head out. We may also want to set up a backup system in case this one fails again.

We are hoping to get out of here and into Mexico soon.

 

Escape from Newport Harbor 12/13/2006

We finally left Newport!! It was a good stop for repairs, shopping and seeing family, but we did not expect to be there a month. It feels good to be on the move again(even if we only went about 15 miles). We got out just in time. Any longer and I would have started to wear my sunglasses indoors, at night, and Cindy would have become a surgically enhanced anorexic. Also it appears that the Southern California weather is deteriorating, so getting south before the storms and large swells get worse is crucial.

We are in the Dana Point Harbor and will probably sail to San Diego on Thursday. Sounds like a storm is coming in so we want to be safely in a good harbor by the weekend. From there we will go to Ensenada and check into Mexico.

 

 

Still in Newport Harbor 12/07/2006

We have been here for quite a while, getting the boat ready for Mexico. We have been doing a bunch of shopping/provisioning and working on boat jobs.  We have access to a truck thanks to my parents (thanks Mom & Dad!), which makes doing all this much much easier. The downside is that we feel we need to shop for exactly the right part, for the cheapest possible price, and need to get everything on the list.  Without the car we would probably make do with less and save a bit of time and money. However, I am sure that we will be happy that we bought everything later in Mexico,

We had a great party at the dock for friends and family! There was a nice sandy beach with picnic tables, which worked out well as we could not possibly fit everyone on the boat at once. We had a nice warm sunny day, and about 25 people showed up. I know we enjoyed it, I hope everyone else did as well.

Our mooring ball is right next to Balboa Island, this is a neighborhood of multi million dollar houses (some only summer homes). This is not a normal area. Cindy and I walked into a shop on the island while I was wearing a Village Marine t-shirt. I was given the t-shirt when we bought our watermaker from the company. The salesman in the shop asked if I owned the company! Back in the normal boat world he would have asked how I liked the watermaker. I guess being around this kind of money skews your view of the world.  Apparently on Balboa Island you only wear a shirt with a logo if you own it.

 

Still in Santa Barbara...11/02/2006

We are still in the Santa Barbara marina, we had planned to be here for 3 or 4 days but now hope to be out before they start charging us double. They encourage the transient boats to move on by increasing the rates after two weeks.

We had hoped to be down to Long Beach or Newport but had to change our plans. We had started to smell some diesel fuel back in Monterey, but could not find a fuel leak. While warming up the engine so I could do an oil change I once again looked for the leak. This time with the engine running I found that the injection pump was dripping profusely.  Unfortunately the pump is buried by various engine parts, so that the exhaust manifold/heat exchanger needed to come off first. We shipped the pump off to be rebuilt and waited over the weekend for it to come back. We put it back on Wednesday, replacing all the parts that had to be taken off earlier. No joy with the rebuilt pump. The fuel cutoff was installed backwards so the engine would only run if the kill switch was pressed in. Not only that but the throttle control was bad as well, and would only run at full open. So we had to dismantle the exhaust and heat exchanger again and remove the pump to be send back.

Hopefully this can be corrected quickly and we can get the engine running again soon. The dock is going to get expensive starting Friday.

The good news is that we found the issue before we left the US. This would be a much more difficult problem to fix in Mexico. Shipping parts internationally can be complicated and expensive. Once again I am being taught the need to find problems as soon as we notice that something feels wrong. Of course, I once again waited a few more days than I should have.

 

Anchored off of Pebble Beach 10/15/2006

We are now on our way south from Carmel. We were anchored in Stillwater Cove which is just off the 18th hole of Pebble Beach. We had a nice walk into town and looked at some of the art galleries. We had dinner at the "Hog's Breath Inn" (which is owned by Clint Eastwood) and then back to the Beach Club where we left the dinghy. Next stop will either be San Luis Obispo or Santa Barbara, depends on the weather...

 

 

Sitting on a dock in Bodega bay 10/05/206

We have been back at the boat for a while now. We are finished for a while with cleaning garages. Some of Cindy's family came down hear to visit(Bon & Jim and Beth & Danny). Good to see them. Now if we can just get out of here. First we were waiting for some mail, then they closed the office early and we could not check out(get a refund), now the weather has been changing(twice a day). We hope to be out of here tomorrow, with a forecast of light northerlies, but rain and maybe thundershowers.

 

We seem to start getting antsy when we have been at the dock or a single place more than a week or so. I am not sure if this is because we feel we are behind schedule(seems everyone else is in San Diego already), or that we are still not fully into the cruising life yet. Friends have told us it takes a long time to get out of the rush, rush, busy, busy, that was our working life in Seattle. Don't think I am quite there yet. Maybe once I can finally break out the hammock and enjoy a nice sunny day with a cold drink.  

 

Hoping tomorrow is a nice sail down to Santa Cruz, or maybe Monterey, or perhaps Half Moon Bay, or...

 

Listening when the boat talks to you  09/01/2006

We did a short trip inland (Roseburg, OR) to see Cindy’s parents. It was a nice visit and it was nice to see some sun and warm weather after the fog/cold/fog/wind/fog of Charleston, where the marina is. Even a few miles inland is much nicer. Cindy’s parents came out to see us on Sunday and were able to see the boat for the first time. All of us also ended up doing a driving trip down to Redwood Valley/Ukiah area for a memorial service for Cindy’s cousin Erik. Erik was only 37, but had a severe diabetic reaction, unexpected and very sad. Makes you realize that there are no guarantees in life. Cindy and I are glad that we are doing this trip now, rather than putting it off for some unknown future.

 

We had hoped to leave today or Saturday since the weather looked good. However we are now waiting for some parts to arrive. I had noticed that the steering felt odd when we were docking here. A few days later I cleared out the cockpit locker storage so that I could examine the steering gear, and climbed inside. What I found was rather frightening; one of the steering cables had frayed almost all the way through. We were lucky that the bar getting into Coos Bay was calm, as rough water could have broken the last strand. I am sure that the cable would never have lasted till San Francisco, so we are really glad that we caught the problem early. We had drinks on our boat with Brandy and Mark from Restless (we had met them in Craig AK) and talked about learning to listen when “the boat talks to you”. This means being aware of any changes on the boat, no matter how minor, and finding out what it is. The change could be a smell, a sound, the way something feels, or a drip of water. We have been learning the hard way that ignoring these signs can lead to trouble. It is so easy with other jobs and distractions (or being lazy) to want to ignore or forget about it. I think getting a feel for the boat and gaining the ability to notice changes is an aspect of good seamanship that we are still learning.

 

A thriving fishing town.  05/26/2006

We are now in Petersburg, an active fishing town, which is quite different from the numerous abandoned fishing towns/canneries in Canada. The town was founded by Norwegians and you can see some of the art and hear some of the accents. Petersburg is different from a lot of the Alaska towns in that it is not a tourist/cruise ship destination. So there are no curio/t-shirt/jewelry shops and such. Of course that also means the town shuts down at 5:00pm and you can’t hardly find a place to eat.

Cindy and I wanted to go see the petroglyphs outside of town, but decided that it would be a long walk and we would get back late as you need to see the carvings at low tide, which was at 6:30pm. We decided to take the dinghy instead as we could make a couple of miles quickly (as long as the water is flat). Well the water was not flat so it was a rough and wet ride, with some difficulty beaching the dinghy and getting on shore mostly dry. After wandering around for a while and finding nothing we managed to get some directions from a woman walking her dog, then a woman who came out of her nearby house to tell us where to look. We finally managed to find the petroglyphs, take a few photos, and get back to the dinghy before the rising tide floated it off the beach. More fun getting back into the dinghy without falling in the water, and getting back into deep enough water to run the outboard. The ride back was rough, but not as bad as going out. A fun adventure, but next time we might just walk.

 

Ketchikan, Alaska! 05/22/2006

We have made it all the way to Alaska. We arrived in Ketchikan on Saturday afternoon, and cleared customs back into the US.  We had traveled into Alaskan waters on Friday, but it is over 90 miles from Prince Rupert BC, to Ketchikan AK; so Customs has a policy of allowing boats to anchor in Foggy Bay if they call ahead for permission. Normally you are not supposed to anchor in a country until you have cleared customs.

We arrived on a day without any cruise ships so all the tourist spots were closed (must be a dozen jewelry/diamond stores), and the streets were deserted. Today there were 3 cruise ships at once, so although it would be interesting to see the difference, we stayed away from the mobs.

Yesterday in the Marina a flock of Bald Eagles were flying around. They were landing on boats, and fishing for food. One landed on Yohelah’s mast and bent the wind indicator. We saw at least a dozen at one time, and close enough to hear the wings beating.  

We have had to replace our fuel filters twice now. We either picked up some bad diesel, or we may just be sucking up junk from the bottom of our tank. We don’t usually run our tanks this low, but fuel was much more expensive in Canada so we waited. Hopefully after we fill up tomorrow we don’t have any more problems.

From here we will head further north, we delayed our permit date for Glacier Bay, so we have a few extra days to get there. We have till June 6th to get another 280+ miles.

52 days…

 

Prince Rupert, next stop Alaska  05/19/2006

We have been moving quickly and are now moored in Prince Rupert, BC. We crossed from Vancouver Island across Queen Charlotte straits and up into the inside passage. We cruised up through the channels and had the opportunity to see many waterfalls, visit ghost town canneries, and stop at a natural hotsprings.

            

From here our next stop should be in Alaska. We should be in Ketchikan by 5/21.

Perhaps once we get there I can write a better log entry!

 

Heading for Queen Charlotte Sound  05/07/2006

We are going to be heading out from Port McNeill tomorrow, and travel to the north end of Vancouver Island. From there we will make the passage across Queen Charlotte Sound. After this area of open water, we will be into the Inside Passage. From there it will be mostly protected water all the way to Alaska.

We had good weather and made it through Seymour Narrows easily and Johnstone Strait in two quick days. This area can at times be rather rough and make an unpleasant trip.

We spent an extra day at the Pearse Islands, we were in a narrow channel between two small islands. No other boats or houses, but a half dozen bald eagles and a resident seal. We pulled out a kayak for the first time and tried it out. This should be a lot of fun when we have more time to explore, and when we get to warmer water. 5/7

 

On the dock at Campbell River 04/29/2006

We are now above 50 degrees Latitude. Making a little better progress north. We are at a dock for a few days to rest a little and get some jobs done. We want to get the new high output alternator installed and working, since this is the last large town for quite a ways. After this is will be more difficult/expensive to get parts till either Prince Rupert or Ketchikan.  

After many, many years we finally visited Buchart Gardens in our boat. There is a tiny little bay behind the gardens where you can moor and tour the gardens. We had a beautiful sunny day (rare so far), and few tourists since it is early in the year. A very nice way to spend the day, we left in the early afternoon and had a chance to sail a little on the way to North Pender Island.

From there it was up through Dodd Narrows, on the way to Nanaimo. Dodd Narrows was the first of many narrows and rapids that are to come. Large tides in narrow channels causes fast currents, tide rips and whirlpools. These can only be transited safely at slack water between high and low tides when the current is minimal. We will need to time our arrivals at these locations to coincide with slack water which changes daily. Boats and lives have been lost when people go through at the wrong time.

After Nanaimo we hoped to make Campbell River, but a late start and lack of cooperating current forced a stop short at Hornby Island. The anchorage was marginal so when the wind picked up we decided to leave rather than wait out the heavier winds. It proved to be a rough trip upwind to Campbell River. We arrived a little late and missed the slack tide, and had to anchor and wait several hours before proceeding.

We met up again with Yohelah again after almost 2 weeks. It was good to see Rob and Teresa again, especially since they were there to help us dock in the strong winds. From here we head through Seymour Narrows and on towards the north end of Vancouver Island.

 

Canada at long last...  04/23/2006

Three weeks after we left Seattle we finally made it into Canada. Out progress towards Alaska has been pretty slow so far. A week back in Port Townsend to get our cockpit seats rebuilt is now behind us and we have no further business in WA. We had small craft advisories leaving Port Townsend, so it was pretty rough when we started. By the time we had a reef in the main and our sails up, the wind had started to die down, but the seas were still pretty bouncy. We did finally get to sail across the Straits of Juan De Fuca. After at least a dozen crossing with no wind, we finally had enough to sail. Of course it was from the wrong direction.

Getting through customs into Canada, with a minor boat search (but not making us pay duty on the extra alcohol, thank you very much), was pretty easy. We are now anchored outside of Sydney and will be heading towards Buchart Gardens tomorrow.

 

Sitting in the San Juans  04/11/2006

We have been up in the San Jun Islands for a few days now. The boat is starting to look better with things getting put away. Our first major issue was with the heater not working properly. It was pretty cold without any heat, and finding spare parts on a weekend was, pretty unlikely. After stopping at both auto part stores in Friday Harbor with no luck, we had the idea of checking for a lawnmower repair place for a carburetor rebuild kit. Amazingly enough we found some parts that looked about right, and a day later the heater was working again. Much, much nicer now.

We are now at Roche Harbor on Lopez Island, a nice little harbor with a resort that is very busy in the summer but nearly empty now. We need to head back to Port Townsend in a few days, and are trying to decide if we want to wait here or head over to Canada (to visit Buchart Gardens) first.

 Day 11

 

The dock lines have been cut! 04/02/2006

As of April 1st, we are off the dock and have started cruising. Mostly.

After a last few frantic days, working on jobs, packing the boat and getting stressed out, it feels good to have started. A great big thanks to everyone who came to the Bon Voyage Party, and to those that came down to the boat to cut the dock lines (literally) and see us off. It was great to see all our friends and we appreciate all the support and good wishes. Leaving our friends behind is harder than leaving the job, car and house.

The boat has too much gear (junk) on board, and most of it is not stowed properly. We are going to spend a few days in Port Townsend getting things better organized and getting some additional jobs done. After that we will be heading up to the San Juan Islands, and Canada.

Thanks again to everyone for their support!

 

Day 2

 

Down to the last few days 03/23/2006

We are now in the final preparations to leave the dock and head north. The boat is a disaster with jobs half finished and equipment and parts waiting to be stored. However we will pack up whatever jobs we have not finished and leave anyways. It has been rather stressful trying to get the last things done, and we seem to spend our time running around rather than working on the boat. Working for Microsoft was less stressful!

 

We are going to have a Bon Voyage party on March 31. This will be a K-Dock at Shilshole Marina from 6-10pm. IT is a BYOB potluck, stop by and say hello.

 

We are now off to CA, to store some of the few possessions that we kept from our land based life. We are leaving our only car so when we come back, everything left here needs to fit on the boat or be left behind.

 

8 Days to go…

 

Making some progress 02/17/206

The list of boat jobs is not getting any smaller yet.

We are very busy with lots going on so it has been hard to get a full day of work in on the boat. However I did finish my Emergency Responder (First Aid/CPR/…) course, and Cindy and I both passed the test for the Technician class HAM radio license. Thanks to a great class by the MicroHAMS.  I would recommend the weekend class to anyone looking to get a HAM license, intense couple of days but well worth it, and cheap too!  I also passed the General class written test; now I need to pass the Morse code test, or wait till the FCC drops the requirement (could be soon or could be years).

So much to get done, so little time…  42 days…

 

We're Going Cruising!!  01/31/2006

A major milestone was reached last week when I gave notice to my boss that I going to leave work. This was a necessary step so I could work on the boat full time to finish preparing for offshore cruising. We have two months to work on some jobs before we start heading northward to Alaska. After that we plan on heading south till it gets nice and warm. Next winter we should be in sunny Mexico!!

 

This has been a dream and a goal for us for years. We have spent the last several years looking for a good boat, and preparing it and ourselves for this trip. The boat is near the end of a major overhaul. It will never be completed, but we will be ready to go and we can take the rest of the jobs with us!  We have been taking classes in weather, first aid, sail repair, diesel maintenance, electrical maintenance, navigation, celestial navigation, radio operation and more. We know we still have a lot more to learn, but we will get that through experience.

 

 

60 days to go…

 

 

Happy New Year! 01/03/2006

It had been a while since we had been out to a PSCC raft-up, so we were looking forward to the New Years get together at Blakely harbor. The weather reports had been threatening some heavy winds for days, but on Saturday everything looked pretty good with around 15kn.  We had a nice sail down to Blakely harbor but had to motor a bit to get in before it was too dark (which is pretty early this time of year with sunset at 4:30). We spent the evening on Osprey with wine, snacks and about dozen people crammed aboard. The weather was clear enough that we could see the firework display on the Space Needle at midnight.

The next morning the raft-up broke up early due to the wind and waves coming into the harbor. It was too rough for the boats to stay tied together. We expected the winds to be stronger out on the sound so we put a reef in the main. After sailing into a calm spot out side the harbor, we shook out the reef and headed towards West Point and the marina. After a nice sail with the wind increasing in strength, we started to ask ourselves why we were going home so early, especially when Monday was a holiday. So we bore off and set a course downwind towards Port Madison. It was a great sail, smooth and fast with the wind behind us. We dropped anchor in the protected harbor in time for an early lunch.

We sat out the worst of the storm in peace and set off for home the next day in early afternoon. The wind was still blowing from the south and picked up to 12-15kn for a nice beam reach all the way back to the marina. It rained a bit but not too hard. Overall it was a nice weekend out and a good way to relax after the hectic holidays.

 

87 days to go…

 

The fridge is done!!  12/15/2005

The boat was put back in the water, then pulled back out when a (brand new) thru-hull valve broke. An hour later after a rushed drive to the chandlery and a quick repair; we were back in the water again.

 

The project of rebuilding the fridge is completed! The box is all put together and sealed up. We are still waiting on the shelf to arrive, and need to fix the fids and countertop; but otherwise it is all done! We are using it and it seems to be running well.  Now we need to finish the SSB radio and the watermaker.

 

Summer is over!  10/02/2005

After a far too brief vacation, we are back in Seattle.

We had a great time up in the San Juan Islands, with nice weather a few other boats. Going on vacation after Labor Day means fewer crowds, but also means cooler weather and shorter days. We spent time at Sucia, Orcas, Shaw, Stewart, and San Juan Island. It was nice to relax, do some reading, and no boat jobs for a few days. We also did a little hiking, tried a kayak tour, and used the pool and hot tub at Rosario resort. I will get some pictures posted soon.

 

The beginning of October has brought much cooler weather and rain. It seemed that the nice weather is gone too soon. However we plan on keeping the boat is in sailing condition so that we can do some fall/winter trips.

 

Masquerade on Vacation 09/04/2005

We are off for a week or so of vacation. We are currently in PT Townsend, waiting for the currents to be favorable. Last night we went into town for dinner with Mike and Nita from Odessa.  From here we will cross the Straits of Juan De Fuca and head up into the San Juan Islands. We are planning to get to Sucia to meet up with our friends on Yohelah.

 

Masquerade is sailing again!  08/26/2005

After months of being a motor boat, we are now a sailboat again. The new mainsail has been bent on. The new blocks, organizers, and winch are installed. The lines run aft and are in working order. It has been a hard push to get everything ready for our test sail with Carol Hasse and Dan Kulin. We were going up to Port Townsend so that Dan could tune the rig under sail, and Carol could check her sails.

After a few late nights drilling holes and caulking fitting we were able to leave the dock and set sails north.

 

We had a great sail off of Port Townsend in a light afternoon breeze. You can tell from the pictures if we were enjoying ourselves!

 

 

From Port Townsend, we headed south to Port Ludlow to attend the Perry Rendezvous. Although the Union 36 is not a true Perry design, Bob has given us dispensation to attend, It may be related to the bottle of wine we bought him a few years ago!  The rendezvous is a lot of fun. There is a seminar, potluck, checking out each other‘s boats and Bob and his band play music. A great time for everyone.

 

Now back to finishing the fridge…

 

Initial entry  06/27/2005

The blog code is installed and configured. All I need now is an interesting topic to write about!

 

We are setting up this blog so that we can send easy updates to our website when we do not have internet access. This blog can be updated via email, so we should be able to use our SSB (once it is installed) via winlink or sailmail. This should be useful since we are planning on going where there are no internet connections.

 

As for the current status of the boat: The new mast is up, and the new chainplates are holding it in place!

We are scheduled to get our new mainsail July 1st. Once we get that we can actually test out the new rig.

The fridge is still a work in progress, but is moving forward.