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 February 2018

 

 

 

 

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Background image - Running downwind wing on wing

 

Saturday February 10th 2018

I opened my eyes and looked the clock. It said 2:00.  I laid there five minutes, then got up and showered. One hour and half until departure and there were things to do. Writing was not one today.

209.8  6.6

I tidied, finished packing, and went down to start the van.  No problem.  I took off the jumper and closed the hood, then backed up out of the basement and parked at the end of the walk.

I had done this a half-hour before actual departure to allow time for surprises -- starting, the deep snow, or a surprise surprise.  Failure to launch was not an option.  My plan was to leave the van running with the doors locked for the remaining few minutes while I finished closing up.  Guess what?  While the battery was disconnected for a day or so, the van had forgotten the remote key fobs and they were unresponsive, leaving only the valet key for getting in and out.  Oh, well.  The ignition still worked.  I can manage.

I closed up the house and returned to the van.  By then, the van had remembered the fobs!  I guess after a long disconnect, the volatile memory is blank, but somehow the essential data is stored somewhere safe and it takes a few minutes running to notice it had forgotten and remember such things.

I arrived at Airdrie at  0430 sharp and my cab was not there.  I phoned and he was still asleep.  His alarm had gone off, but he had dozed.  I doubt he gets enough  sleep.  Twenty minutes later he arrived and I was at security 55 minutes before lift-off. I always build in a screw-up allowance into my schedules.

I touched down at SJD on schedule and had an hour to wait for the shuttle.  My seatmates on the pane were going to La Paz on the shuttle, too, and joined me at my table on the patio to wait.  They were booked on  a later shuttle and hoped to be moved up, but mine was full, so we parted ways.

They had a beer or two while waiting and were looking forward to tequila and drinking generally.  From my perspective, this seemed like a waste of a holiday in paradise.  The prospect did not appeal.  Seems I have lost all interest in alcohol and I find that strange.

On arrival at the Terminal Touristica on the La Paz Malecon, I called Uber and soon was aboard Baja Magic.  We had to detour along the way due to Carnival preparations.

On arrival at Club de Yates, my neighbours greeted me as I went aboard.  Dock 3 is a congenial community and I am right at the nexus, being at the gate where everyone passes.

My sails were missing, so I called the sailmaker and he said he would be over in an hour. I then filled the tank water and started doing laundry on shore. 

The sailmaker and his daughter arrived.  He said he had had to re-cut the main, and looking at it, it appeared like new.

Apparently the previous owners had seldom used it and it had spent most of the last thirty years rolled up inside the mast, exposed to weather only at the thin strip near the leech.  The only damage was the area where it was exposed to the sun.  Bonus!

He was unable to raise the main, however, as the halyard seems jammed and we decided to do it tomorrow.  Meantime, my washing machine on shore was displaying error messages and apparently the marina water system had failed with no definite time for repair.  It seemed to be nearly finished, having quit on the spin cycle, so I put the wet wash into a drier and ran it two cycles and things seem just fine.

Dennis left and I had supper.  I went to bed around eight.

Yesterday's post

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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Sunday February 11th 2018

Today: Periods of light snow ending late this morning then a mix of sun and cloud. Wind northeast 20 km/h becoming light this morning. Temperature falling to minus 20 this afternoon.
Tonight A few clouds. Wind up to 15 km/h. Low minus 27. Wind chill minus 36.

I slept fairly well and got up at 0700.

6.2  121/71 55

I have the whole day ahead.  The sailmaker says he will be here before nine with something he is making up to scour the mast track.

Well he didn't show, but I got to work on various tasks. One was launching the dinghy and when I finished that, I lifted it a bit on the davits to drain the water.  After a while I got in to inflate it further, not realising that being suspended, it was tippy.  I leaned over a little to pump and over we went.

My cell phone was in my pocket and we went down a few feet before surfacing.  I imagine it is toast, but I handed it to a neighbour who promptly put it into a bag of rice.  I swam to the dock and climbed out.  I set the phone and rice in the sun and we will see...

Now I am reflecting on how I depend on my phone. For one thing, I use it for Uber.  For another it is how people reach me.  When out in the Islands, it is my Internet.  And it is my camera, encyclopedia, maps...  I may have to find a temporary replacement.

I would have left it somewhere safer while working except I was using Fit to track activity.  That was an expensive vanity.  Time to get a pedometer, I suppose and leave the phone somewhere safe.

Seems I've had a run of semi-bad luck this last while.  Having a bad cold has not improved my judgment either, and some of the 'bad luck' can be blamed on bad judgment.  The trouble with bad judgment is it often leads to more bad judgment.

Arranging a replacement phone was not easy. I had to use Skype on the marina Internet and the connection was poor making me repeat over and over.  Finally a new phone is being sent for $200, but to Swalwell,  I'll have to figure how to get it here.

Then I realised I can use the 12GB of  Internet data from my plan on the tablet.  I had regretted buying the tablet, but now it is useful even if it is slow and burdened by Samsung software.  I figured I could use the tablet for Uber, too, but I could not sign into Uber because Uber sends a code to my phone and there is no workaround.  I wrote and we will see if they can come up with an answer.  People must lose or break their phones often.  I do it once a year on average.

I then decided to raise the main and spent an hour or two on that with the help of my neighbour.  The halyard and car were free, but under load, the halyard offered resistance, requiring my helper to tug up and down to keep it moving while I ground away on the winch.

By then it was dusk and I cleaned up the cockpit and ate my last can of corn.  I had left a little food when I left last time and bought tostados and refried beans at the tienda, but they were gone, so I decided to soak and cook some dry beans and rice  I have as a reserve.

All went well until I shook in a bit of hot sauce and now they have a slight industrial taste and  smell, but they are fine otherwise. That can of corn would have added some colour. Note self: Buy more spices and garlic.

I ate some, but I think the rest is for the fishes. Too bad.

Yesterday's post

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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Monday February 12th 2018

Today Mainly sunny. Wind becoming south 30 km/h gusting to 50 this morning. High minus 12. Wind chill minus 42 this morning and minus 29 this afternoon.
Tonight A few clouds. Wind south 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low minus 17.

I woke up at six after another typical night of interrupted sleep.  I had been avoiding Dristan but around midnight I needed it due to congestion.  The cold seems to be just about over, though. 

Around midnight the noise of the Carneval music finally stopped. 

Several bandstands are set up on the Malecon and no matter how good or bad they sound close-up, their sounds combine across the water to become annoying rumbling and screeching noises.  Frankly, I have come to think of electronic amplification of music as an unfortunate abuse.

After midnight I slept well and got up at 0600.  I had a vague feeling something is wrong and then I remembered my phone. Don is arriving today.  Without the phone, he has no easy way of reaching me if he has problems finding the boat.  Of course there is email.

6.2  130/74 58

I called my number using Skype to see if there are any messages and did not hang up immediately after the message and guess what, I immediately received an email with a blank voice message (I had not said anything).  Bonus.

The rest of the day was spent tidying and generally getting organised in preparation for Don's arrival.  I had a lot of little things that needed doing anyhow and company on board is a good excuse.

After lunch (of that fish food I made) I called Inflatable Bob (I know -- sounds like a sex toy, but he repairs inflatable boats) and we agreed to meet at the ramp and he would take my dinghy for repairs and leave me a loaner.

I stopped at the office to enquire about waiving the launch fee for such a tiny boat.  No way.  The fees turned out to be 800 pesos or about $42 CAD, and that is four times the cost in Canada, and this is Mexico where usually things are cheaper.

I had stopped with the dinghy at the ramp so I waited for Bob to tell him this was not working.  He arrived a little late and I explained the cost was out of line.  He also had not brought a loaner, so we decided to do this later.

I had been planning on minor work, but for the sake of curiosity priced out a complete repair -- $375 US! What is my dinghy worth fully repaired, I asked.  "$800", he said. Hmmm.

I've considered doing the work myself, but the glue alone costs almost $2,000 (pesos) and I wonder if by the time I am done I will have saved much, and I will have given myself another worry.

Don was scheduled to land at LAP at 4:40 so I am waiting.  His arrival coincided with the start of the parade, which runs the same route he will have to take, so he may be delayed. It is now 5:30, so he should be here if the flight was on time.  I have not heard from him at all today, but he is not one to write or phone a lot.

I returned to the boat and went back to work.

Don arrived and we had chips and salsa in the cockpit

Both of us have colds.  That should be interesting.  I hope we both have the same one.  I'd hate to get a new one.  That would be number three for the winter.

We decided to get provisions and caught an Uber to Aramburo.  The driver avoided the Carnival and overshot by about a mile, then circled back, so we got a tour of downtown.   I checked the receipt online later and the extra mileage did not seem to affect the cost.  He offered to wait and drive us back for forty pesos, "off the meter". We said okay.

Once back on Baja Magic, we ate a little fruit and called it a day.

Yesterday's post

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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Tuesday February 13th 2018

Today Increasing cloudiness. Wind becoming west 20 km/h gusting to 40 this morning. High plus 2.
Tonight Mainly cloudy. 60 percent chance of flurries late this evening and overnight. Wind west 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low minus 8.

I'm up at 0608 after what has become a typical night's sleep. "Music" went on until midnight or later although I noticed the volume was reduced after eleven or so. I'm still fighting congestion.  Don is suffering through his cold as well.

BG 6.2  BP 123/68 Pulse 51

Don made porridge, but I had an omelet. Eggs or no eggs, an omelet hardly raises my BG, but porridge does, right up to nine or more depending on how much I eat. Maybe it is the raisins I cook in with it.  I should check.

An hour after eating my omelet, my BG is 6.1

Don went exploring on foot and I wiped down the interior.  We had a south wind for two days and apparently a south wind blows a lot of dust.

Inflatable Bob called and wanted me to take the dinghy over and I said I had decided to leave it for now.  Later Don and I decided we'd motor over and take the dinghy to him, but he was out of reach and we ever did contact him.

We anchored off the naval base for a while, napped, and enjoyed the afternoon. We wanted to be back in time for the final parade, so we raised anchor and returned to Marina Palmira.

After changing to long sleeves and pants, we caught an Uber to The Peking Restaurant, which I guessed would be a good spot to watch the parade which was scheduled to start at five-thirty from Tailhunter, just north of there.  It was the perfect spot.  The review stand happened to be right across the road from where we stood, and the parade was fabulous.  It was also amazingly loud.

We then ate at the Pekin and returned to the boat. 

Once aboard, we noticed the water pump was running periodically. Investigation narrowed the cause to the hot water tank.  I plugged off the tank cold water line and that solved the problem for the time being.

Next, I researched a replacement and can see it will  not be cheap.

Yesterday's post

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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Wednesday February 14th 2018

Today Mainly cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries this morning. Periods of light snow beginning near noon. Wind becoming north 30 km/h gusting to 50 this morning. Temperature falling to minus 13 this afternoon.
Tonight Periods of snow ending near midnight then clearing. Amount 2 cm. Wind north 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light late this evening. Low minus 23. Wind chill minus 26.

I'm up at 0605 after what has become a typical night's sleep.

BG 5.7

We started work on the hot water tank. Finding a replacement will take a while, it seems.

We pulled out the tank and bypassed it and discovered the leak was in a hose below it.  That saves maybe a $800 (US), but no parts are available here at the marina, so Don and I caught the shuttle downtown, then walked to Ace Hardware. No luck there either, but they sent us down the street.

Ley is nearby, so we bought some bananas and toothpaste and walked to Plomy Ganos where we found some of what I needed.  We then called Uber and went to Home Depot.  After a long search, we found the rest of the pieces I needed.  I bought a hacksaw and water pump pliers and we hailed a cab to the Terminal where I discovered I could not use the two passes I had bought separately, so I now have two seats on the March 6th shuttle and I am only one person.

We walked north on the Malecon and wound up at El Molinito where we had a supper.  The meal was okay, but was saltier and greasier than I remembered.  We walked the remaining half-mile back to the boat and once there we were both too tired to work on the water any further and called it a day at eight.

Yesterday's post

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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Thursday February 15th 2018

Today Clearing early this morning. Wind becoming south 20 km/h this afternoon. High minus 11. Wind chill minus 25 this morning.
Tonight Increasing cloudiness late this evening. Wind south 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Wind becoming west 20 gusting to 40 after midnight. Low minus 16. Wind chill minus 25.

I slept until 0730 and last night's was the best sleep I've had in a while.

The salon was a mess of cushions and water heater parts, so I got to work on fixing the leak.  I had been too tired last evening, but the job went well today. 

That does not mean it did not take a long time, though. The job was awkward, and putting the insulation and the cover back on the tank in the tight space where it sits was a pain, but the job is done and there is no leak.  As a bonus, the hot water taps which had run more slowly than the cold now run normally.  It was after noon when I finished.

The culprit is on the right. One off the black hoses was sitting on the sharp edge of the cutout fibreglas  and developed a leak after vibration sawed it back and forth over time.  This was not an original hose.  Someone had changed the hot water tank at some point, used shorter hoses than ideal and left the hose chafing.  I lengthened the hoses and put padding between the hose and the fiberglass edge.

Don went ashore to get a few things and noticed a poster on our gate saying that the ramp to our dock will be closed for repair tomorrow morning.  We were already thinking of an excursion today and after considering the notice we decided  that this is a good day to leave for an overnight. We'll return sometime tomorrow afternoon or maybe later. 

Maybe.  We don't have a lot of provisions beyond dried beans and that unpleasant-tasting but okay bean chili (AKA fish food) I made a few days back and should have thrown out, but which we have been eating bit by bit.

We stowed everything and left for Caleta Lobos around one. I had not finished replacing all the screws in the furniture, but the drill battery had run down and time was a wasting. 

The winds were steady at 10-15 and we made good time.  We anchored well before dark and had time to swim or go ashore, but neither of us felt like it.

Don made supper and after supper, but still before six, he was done for the day and laid down.  His cold may be getting worse.  I'm feeling better than I have for weeks, but I may be in bed by eight or earlier.

I had run fresh water into the bilge and had added bilge cleaner earlier to clean up the remaining fuel from the return line leak that happened last visit.  I was counting on the motion of sailing to scrub the bilges and that worked well.  Before we got to Lobos, I pumped the bilges dry.

One curious thing, though: the autopilot broke its belt.  We were sailing a bit overpowered when the wheel pilot suddenly threw the wheel all the way over and the force broke the belt. 

Most of the time the autopilot works perfectly, but once in a while it does something odd, but never this odd.  I have a Jekyll and Hyde autopilot.  I have several extra belts on hand, but suspect more may be hard to find for an obsolete unit like this one.  I hope this is a one-time event.

Darkness falls just after seven. I was in bed shortly after eight.

Yesterday's post

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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Friday February 16th 2018

Today Mainly cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries. Clearing this afternoon. Wind southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming north 40 gusting to 60 this afternoon. High minus 4.
Tonight Increasing cloudiness. 30 percent chance of flurries overnight. Wind north 40 km/h gusting to 60 becoming light this evening. Low minus 17.

I slept well and was up at 0445. First light is at 0620.  My nighttime congestion has subsided and I am now pretty well over the cold, it seems.  Don seems to be getting worse.  He coughs and has no energy.

We're anchored at Caleta Lobos.  There are several cats south  of us and a tug and a trawler and a monohull further out.  We have no plans for the day. Maybe go ashore, maybe snorkel, maybe go to Ballandra and look at the famous mushroom rock.  If the forecast and the trends hold, the day will be sunny and 26.  The night  will be 19.  It is 20 now, at 0523.

We sat at anchor until just before noon.  I measured chain and looked at the autopilot belt.  I have no idea why it broke, but I have three spares and see on eBay that it is a ten-dollar item since it is the timing belt for various small engines, apparently.

Around noon, we motored close to the entrance island, dropped anchor, I donned my new snorkel gear, and jumped in. 

I had not expected much, but there is quite a selection of coral, and very different from what I saw in the Caribbean.  The coral appears quite healthy.  There were fewer fish and fewer varieties compared to The Caribbean locations and the water here was murky, but this is just one spot and the current through the pass between the island and shore could explain it.  At any rate, I had a good swim and was pleasantly surprised to see anything more than the sand, rock and gravel I had expected from looking at the shoreline.

We then raised anchor and motored through the gap and over to Ballandra.  We anchored several spots, but the swells were bothersome and the wind was chilly, especially for Don who is down with a cold and huddles in blankets much of the time.

We decided we are running out of water and food and it is time to head towards home, so we sailed back to Pichilinque and anchored.  That puts us closer to town.  We went ashore and had supper and I figured where we could provision without sailing back to La Paz but Uber did not offer cars out this far and I was unsure what  would find at Marina Market, located half-way into the town.

We decided to stay the night here at anchor at Playa Pichilinque and worry about the rest tomorrow.

Yesterday's post

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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Saturday February 17th 2018

Today Cloudy. 60 percent chance of flurries this morning. Periods of light snow beginning late this afternoon. High minus 10.
Tonight Periods of light snow ending overnight then cloudy. Wind becoming north 20 km/h gusting to 40 after midnight. Low minus 19. Wind chill minus 28.

I'm up at 0130, having slept well so far but feeling wide awake for the time being. 

I went to bed very early, around eight and did not take any medications for the first time in quite a while.  My cold seems to have cleared. 

Although there are a few beach parties in the bay, and a hotel with a club, they are not noisy and it is mostly quiet here.  The night is so mild that we left the companionway and some hatches open.  There are almost no bugs around at this time of year, but a honey bee has landed on the boat more than once in the past week and we see the very occasional small stable fly.

I got a note from Jon that 'the three of us' will be down Wednesday at 4:10 PM to Saturday.  Don leaves Wednesday, so I'll have company continuously all this coming week.

Jon is not particularly wordy in his emails which usually consist of one cryptic line. On the other hand, I write in full detail and read and rewrite if there is any ambiguity.  Who is the third person?  And, for that matter, who is the second.  I assume Steph, but???

I caught up on email and it  is now 0250.  Time to go back to bed.  I laid down but didn't sleep, so was up until 0400.  Then I slept until 0600.

I'm up for the day and itching to get underway back to La Paz to get some chores done.  Don is still asleep.


Just after sunrise, Don got up and we got underway, motoring for La Paz with no wind and a flood tide running with us.  We arrived around 0900 and I got to work charging the batteries, rinsing off the salt, and filling the forward water tank. I put a load of wash in and had a shower up in the marina, then dried and folded the load.

We stocked up on drinking water, seeing as that was the one thing we ran short of first and then I had a nap.

I heard more from Jon today and he and Steph and Brendan will be my next visitors, arriving a few hours after Don leaves on Wednesday.

Around two, I called Uber and went to Chedraui, which I had been told is the Mexican version of Walmart.  I was impressed and found it nicer than Walmart and maybe not quite a spacious as Soriana, but with items Soriana does not carry.  It is definitely a winner and much closer than Walmart.

I bought groceries and some more bedding and caught Uber home, arriving at 1700.  I had skipped lunch so I ate some chips and salsa, but Don wanted to go out for supper, so we went to the Dinghy Dock Bar and had soup and a salad.  I could not finish the salad.

We're back on the boat and I think it will be an early night for me. Maybe I'll sleep right thru?

I went to bed at 9:30 and fell right asleep.  A while later, I realised I was awake and laid there for a while, then realised my legs were twitchy.  That is a sure sign I ate something to which I have a sensitivity.  It could have been the salsa.  I could have been the supper, but I know the solution is Benadryl, so I got up at 10:30 and took two.  In a while, I should sleep soundly.

Yesterday's post

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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Sunday February 18th 2018

Today Light snow ending this morning then mainly cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries. Wind north 20 km/h gusting to 40. High minus 14. Wind chill minus 28.
Tonight Mainly cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries. Wind north 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low minus 22. Wind chill minus 30.

I slept well last night after taking the Benadryl and I'm up at 0605 and planning to leave for the islands at daybreak. We are all provisioned up and ready to go.

It's now daybreak and Don is still asleep.  I'll let him sleep though.  He seems to be recovering well from his cold and the extra sleep helps.

At this moment, it happens to be minus eighteen at home and plus eighteen here. We are expecting a cooler trend here, though, down to twenty daytime and fifteen at night, with thundershowers tomorrow.  I see that the days Jon picked to be here will be cooler than recent weeks.

On the Club Cruceros VHF net yesterday someone said that statistically, this is the coldest week of the year in North America. Interesting.  I wonder if it is true. From my climate chart for Truchu (near Swalwell) it would seem unlikely, but when i check the weather at home daily, I see few days where the conditions are above minus ten and that is as cold as I care to choose for outdoor activities.


He woke up around seven, having slept very little until morning, a pattern I had noticed when I had that cold.  He is much better today and I am totally over it as far as I can tell.

We cast off the dock lines, leaving most of them on the dock, and motored out as far as Costa Baja.  I had not paid much attention to the beaches along the way, but today I looked more closely and can see there is a series of very nice looking resorts along the two nautical mile stretch.

We were in no hurry and I wanted to look over Costa Baja, so we went in for a look.  It turns out that there is a large marina blasted and dug into the shore with very high end development along the shores. We motored in and out and stopped for outboard fuel at the fuel dock, then exited and motored out into the Bay.

We found there was almost no wind and although we raised sail, most of the day, we motored. Our destination was Puerto Ballena on Isla Espiritu Santu, about twenty miles from Marina Palmira.

We arrived there after noon and anchored on a sand bottom in twelve feet of water in Ensenada la Gallena near the south shore where I had seen the beach glampers snorkeling on an earlier trip.

We took turns snorkeling the shore and then just enjoyed the afternoon, lounging in the cockpit.  At three, I decided to make soup and that kept me busy for an hour.

I noticed the fresh water pump began running more than usual, even when we were not using water and looked at the hot water tank.  I was surprised to see the hoses I had installed were ballooning.

Apparently the hose material could not handle hot water and I had not thought to ask when I bought it.

Rather than risk a blow-out, I turned off the pressure pump and we'll just have water on demand by turning it on when there is need, rather than have pressure standing in the lines.

When we were tidying up at the end of the afternoon and I started putting my diving gear away, I noticed oil on my goggles and, looking closely at the surrounding water, I noticed we were in an oil slick. 

Clear, heavy oil formed a very thin, invisible layer on the water.  The slick was smooth and had none of the iridescence we usually see.  On casual glance it was only detectable by the smoothness of the water and small bubbles here and there.  Once |I was aware of it, the extent of slick was actually quite visible by the lack of ripples and it covered pretty well all the water and it extended out into the open water beyond in streaks.

I wondered what it would be doing to the wildlife and also if the glampers would notice it and be affected.  They pay big money to ride in a little boat twenty miles out on the sea and live in tents with all the amenities on a remote beach.

We decided to move. Although we were well anchored and close to shore, the wind was turning from southwesterly to northerly and were were exposed from the north.  It was almost five, but I figured we could make Caleta Partida well before dark and that location had a good reputation for shelter. With luck, we could escape the slick there, too.  We had the predicted thunder and lightening to consider, too and wanted to be close to a high shore.

We motored north at six knots and finally escaped the oil slick at Caleta el Candelero where we could see several sailboats anchored near a tall bluff to their north and decided that this spot looked better than what I could discern bout Caleta Partida and this was closer.   The wind had picked up and held strong until we were quite close to the bluffs and we found a good spot in twenty feet of water.  On the beach was a tent city for glampers and as we anchored, we saw a fleet of sea kayaks running back for camp along the cliffs to escape the winds and the descending darkness of the evening.

The anchor caught well without any delay and we let out lots of chain seeing as we had lots of swing room and lots of chain. 

More chain out means better anchoring up to a point due to more weight on the bottom and a lower pulling angle on the anchor.

A modern anchor is actually a big, heavy hook and works best lying flat on the bottom with a straight sideways pull.  A sideways pull digs it deeper into the sand, but an upward pull will lift it out of the bottom. That is how we retrieve it -- by pulling it straight up.

We are sheltered here from the wind by the terrain, but also sheltered from Internet, so I was unable to check the furnace as is my habit morning and evening.  We had a bowl of soup for supper and I hit the hay before eight.

By then, the wind had dropped to nothing.

Yesterday's post

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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Monday February 19th 2018

Tonight Clear. Increasing cloudiness overnight. Wind up to 15 km/h. Low minus 24. Wind chill minus 29.

It's half-past midnight and I'm up for a while.  I slept well, but I went to bed four hours ago and I sometimes like to wake up after four hours and spend a few quiet hours before doing the next four.

We are out of cellular Internet reach here on Isla Partida, so I cannot check my home and cannot post the day's weather. We have one more day before Don has to be back in La Paz for his early morning flight Wednesday. I'll also need time to get the boat ready for Jon and Steph -- laundry and dealing with the hot water line.  I'm thinking I'll have all day Wednesday.

I'd like to continue around the Islands today and tomorrow on the return trip, but we will see.  I had intended to circle on a previous trip, but the winds had proven too strong and I had to turn back at the northern end of Partida, damaging the genoa foot in the process.  I'm still waiting on that repair to take place.

Don is much better, but does not show much interest in hiking on shore, so we'll likely just sail, motor and snorkel.

Thundershowers are predicted for today and being in a boat with a tall metal mast, we want to be near shore with high land, not out on the open water when they come.  In my experience, thundershowers can be seen a long way off and avoided, but they have a nasty way of circling back.  We'll see.

As I prepare to go back to bed now at 0146, the wind is picking up and we are again being rocked gently by swells.  The weather is changing.  Tomorrow will be interesting.

Rain began, wave action increased, and the anchor alarm went off.  That was not unexpected and  I reset it. We have 125+ feet of chain out in twenty feet of water and the alarm was set for 100 feet, so just making a circle would trigger it. Just the same, I like to know if we move much.

I'm up for the day now, at 0555. It's an hour until sunrise and a half-hour  until first light.  I'm wondering how the day will be.

If this rain continues, going ashore won't be much fun and snorkeling won't be good -- no light.  Sailing might be okay, but cool and wet.

I'd like to get out to where I get Internet to check things at home, seeing as it was to be minus twenty-seven there last night.

Being here, it is hard to imagine that.  I know.  I tried to explain temperatures below freezing to a Mexican once and could not convince her how Canadians go outside and drive around and do things when it is cold enough to make ice and snow and think it is normal and okay.

When Don got up, we motored over to Caleta Partida, looked around, then sailed out.  There were about eight boats there and campers on the beach. I think our choice of overnight was good, but this would be okay, too.

We sailed on around the tip of the island and out to Los Islotes where tour boats were shepherding clients who were snorkeling and swimming with the sea lions.   That large boat in the background is a National Geographic Cruise Ship.  It seems NG runs an upscale specialty cruise service.

At Costa Baja the other day, Don noticed two big yachts and he looked them up online tonight.  One was a boat custom-build for Steve Jobs, now owned by his widow and the other was Stephen Spielberg's but apparently is/was for sale because it is too small at something around 240 feet.

We sailed past the tour bots and their clients and on down the sheer east coast of Partida with a decent breeze to carry us at first.  However, the wind soon died and we ran up the kite.  I'd wanted to try out the spinnaker, so we sailed under spinnaker and main for a while until a strong gust convinced us to snuff it.

I was becoming concerned because I could not check my email or cameras last evening or early this morning  as is my habit, and when I had, a chance after we got out of the bays, I noticed the temperature in the house had dropped to five degrees.

I Skyped Carolyn but there was no answer and no answer to the one email I managed to send in a fleeting moment when we saw Internet, so I began to wonder...

We sailed and motored with Caleta Lobos as our tentative destination for overnight, but when we got there, we elected to go to Playa Pichilinque because I knew I would have reliable Internet there and I was growing concerned.  Along our route all day, we encountered some rain but did not see any lightening.

There is a  problem with finding accurate charts here in Mexico and one cannot count on channel markers where there are hazards, even in main channels.  If storms take them out sometimes they are not replaced.

As an example, today, when we came through the San Lorenzo Channel we knew to stay on centre and look for a buoy that marks a dangerous reef.  Some charts showed two buoys. I was using Navionics and also iNavx apps alternately.  We also have forward-looking sonar, so we were prepared.

Navionics is a far better piece of software, but iNavx has the better charts.  Mostly, I was using Navionics since iNavx had lost some charts and was acting flaky.  I was quite confident we were in the right track, but when we should have been passing the buoy, we discovered it was not there and when I switched to iNavx, it appeared we had gone right by the reef, and closer to it than I would have liked. 

I have no idea how deep the reef is.  The best info I could find says it is down 2.6 metres, or deeper than we would draw, but who knows?.  We were at low tide and did not see any obvious shallow water.  Usually such things are visible by water colour and wave action, but we saw no hint.  Were we at risk?  I don't know. iNavx shows the reef as awash, but Navionics just shows a dotted line. Maybe some day I'll take a closer look with the sonar probe.  Maybe not.

I am now becoming familiar with these environs and gaining an understanding of what is where and what each place is like.  Reading and searching online can only teach so much.  There is no substitute for being there.

As we approached Playa Pichilinqua, I received a message from Carolyn that the furnace fire had gone out and she had managed to light it.  Wheww!!!  I looked online and could see the temperature was already back up to normal.  It's minus fifteen in Swalwell and going to Minus twenty-four tonight, so if she had not gotten things in order, I could kiss my plants and plumbing goodbye.

*   *   *   *   *

At the moment, I'm cooking chicken and we'll eat on board.  Tomorrow, we'll return to La Paz.

*   *   *   *   *

I was dead tired after supper, but now it is nearly nine and I am more awake.  Just the same I'll hit the hay. We are rocking fore and aft in small swells.  I tried to pick a place out of the wind, and maybe did, but there is still a fair amount of motion. I set the anchor alarm a while ago and it went off shortly after while I am still up.  A false alarm I think.  I had apparently not given the GPS time to settle down.  We have not budged on the display since then.

Yesterday's post

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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