S/V INTREPID II - Cape Dory Intrepid 40

My photo
Intrepid II is a Cape Dory Intrepid 40 sailboat, hull #2, designed by Chuck Paine and discovered by the Captain in Blue Hill Maine in 2006. The crew are Kelly (Captain) and Carol (Admiral and Blogger). In 2009 INTREPID II embarked on her West Coast journey from Victoria to San Francisco, the Baja Sur Peninsula and into the Sea of Cortez. In 2010/2011, we sailed ifrom Guaymas, south to Bahia Banderas and back. In 2011/2012 she left Guaymas, headed south to La Paz, spent three weeks at anchor on our northward journey and rested on the hard in San Carlos. Her 4th, 5th and 6th seasons were Boat Projects related. Season 7 - we are hoping to cruise again at long last.

January 28, 2011

Planning to set sail soon - Friday January 28

It's Friday evening.  We hope the 'red sky at night' fabulous sunset tonight is a positive sign for our planned departure tomorrow morning.  The Captain still has to dash to a marine chandlery for a part, but we should have time for last minute organizing, stowing and a trip to the marina fuel dock before heading 'up the road' to nearby Caleta Lobos anchorage. 

If the southerly corumuel winds don't blow, we should have a calm anchorage; if they do blow, it will be a rocky, restless one.  However, this will cut our planned trip south to Bahia de los Muertos by several hours, as it is roughly 60 nm from La Paz and would be a 10 hour trip in good conditions.  By Sunday late afternoon we hope to be settled at anchor at Los Muertos, watching the weather and deciding if conditions are favourable to head out Monday for our anticipated 48 hour crossing to the mainland.  Los Muertos and Los Frailes are the two most common 'jumping off' spots for cruisers heading towards the mainland and we won't be reinventing the wheel.

Our crossing will be a 2 day, 2 night passage and one many cruisers have done countless times.  Still, it is new for us.  We think we'll head towards Isla Isabella and the San Blas area, rather than crossing to Mazatlan, then make our way along the coast and into Banderas Bay and the La Cruz anchorage.   We are following in the wake of several cruising friends and there are several more boats planning to cross soon (eventually?)

I can't locate a chart to show the East Cape over to the San Blas area, so this one will be a useful reference to follow our travels as we sail south towards Banderas Bay.   The next posting likely won't be until we reach San Blas area, so stay well and stay warm!   (Request sent to use this map with thanks.)
San Blas to Banderas Bay is our tentative itinerary this journey

January 25, 2011

Let's stay in La Paz a few more days

It's Tuesday evening and we've booked ourselves a few more days at Marina Palmira.  We realized we were a bit too ambitious to think we could arrive, decompress, have a few quick visits to Club Cruceros and catch up with friends, get healthy and leave all in 4 or 5 days.  The flu 'bug' that almost every other person had in Guaymas and San Carlos is also here in La Paz.  It is that annoying cough and upper respiratory thing that tends to sap a lot of energy.  This morning included a bit more rest for the Admiral and I ensured I was in our cozy cabin before dark. The cooler night air seems to have a negative effect as on my coughing as well.

We have enjoyed these first few days in La Paz, with a shuttle ride to Club Cruceros and catching up with people we met last season who are either at anchor or managed to find spots in Marina de La Paz. Linde and Ken of SV Rosebud fame joined us for a Bandito burger Saturday evening and we caught up on news and their plans for this cruising season. 
SV Rosebud folks with Kelly
For BCA folks reading this, we were welcomed by Jay and Anita of Karina C and enjoyed catching up on their adventures.  We checked out the chandlers, found the missing bits and pieces we needed and a few more things we hadn't known we'd needed.  We've met some new folks on the dock through first meeting their friendly dogs and it's nice to say 'hola' and compare plans for the day. Across the way on Dock 5 is an incredibly annoying piling which chooses the oddest times to emit a high pitched sound somewhere between a small fog horn or high pitched creak...at 3 am in the morning our first night we had no idea what it could be. 

When we initially thought we'd be ready to leave by today, we did a provisioning run first to the Bravo Market for bacon (ticino - cut thick the way Kelly likes it), some fish fillets and camarones (shrimp).  The La Fonda restaurant was nearby, so we had an economical 'comida' (lunch of the day) for $50 pesos,  which provided a pasta soup, chicken mole, rice and frijoles, as well as a colourful bowl of jello for dessert.
A favorite lunch spot in La Paz

Brilliant flowers at La Fonda

Determining which way the colectivos (local buses) run towards our next destination was a challenge at which succeeded. The names of major stores or streets are painted on the bus front windows and we hopped aboard one bound for "CCC" - which is now Chadrawai's supermarket but doesn't abbreviate so well.  This is a large grocery store which is carrying 'international' foods in one section and now have a much more elaborate wine selection.  Kelly didn't find his extra old cheddar as hoped, but will make do with Tillamook sharp cheddar. (Michael and David...you could have left some for the rest of us!).  It was an 80 peso cab ride back to the marina and then considerable marking, stowing and sorting into the lockers.

Enjoying lunch with a good friend
We were pleased to reconnect with our friend Henry, who has made La Paz his home for several years and is active in its vibrant music scene.  He treated us to another tour of La Paz and drove out to a favorite open air restaurant near the ferry terminal at Pichilingue while we caught up on the events of the last year.
Baja Ferries located at Pichilingue north of La Paz
Today was a morning to rest up, once we decided to add those few days on, then go into town for some supplies.  We've read about how the 'jejenes' or 'no-see-ums' in parts of the mainland can be quite aggressive.  Rather than avoid places like San Blas, we thought we'd make some additional screens to go over the portholes from the outside.  We've purchased a very fine mesh 'tul' or tulle - used for wedding veils and belly dancing outfits,  managing to find some very plain stuff.  None of the glitz and glitter fabric seemed quite right!   After a bit of experimenting we should be able to hand sew some screen covers along the way.

There are also some good online instructions for making dinghy chaps which are canvas covers to go on your dinghy when it is right side up and in the water.  A great suggestion was to use a light-weight vinyl (plastico crystal) to drape over the dinghy to make a pattern.  This would allow you to mark the various cutouts and darts with marking pens.  A project for later - before we return home, and then 'whip up' the cover in all that spare time we might have?

We've been checking out our cruising friends' blogs and enjoying their adventures.  Many of them are in the Tenacatita and Barra de Navidad areas which are destinations we won't reach this season.  Fair winds to you as you make your ways south!  To family and friends back home in the cold and wet -- we're trying to send you sunshine and warmer days.  Spring should be around the corner.

January 22, 2011

We've made it to La Paz! January 17 - 22

Wonders of wonders - all our plans worked out to leave Guaymas last Monday (January 17th) at 8 a.m.  We bid 'adios' to old and new friends at Singlar Marina and to the helpful marina staff who have made our stay a good one.  INTREPID II and crew are now resting up at Marina Palmira in La Paz as of late yesterday.  Same Dock 4 as last season, just a bit further down the dock.  It is almost like coming home!
Guaymas lies on far right, across from Santa Rosalia
we sailed south to east of Santa Catalina and inside San Jose to Isla San Francisco
Our crossing from Guaymas went smoothly, with only minor inconveniences and little sleep.   We motored out through the harbour, raised the main with one reef and waited for those north-west winds which had been forecast.  They never materialized.  There were mainly south, south-west winds so we made the best of it.  We rolled out the jib shortly after we reached open water and kept the motor on at low revs to maintain a 6 knot speed most of the journey.  The Captain observed that one of the benefits of our recent delays was that we had a nearly full moon to light our way.  It was a bright one, setting not much before false dawn.

By dawn we were nearing Isla Catalina, east of Puerto Escondido and the town of Loreto.  It's possible that we spotted a whale shark in the distance.  We like to think so.  There wasn't as much marine life on this crossing; a whale sighting from a distance, frigates and a few playful dolphins. Each one is a special treat.

Our latest whale sighting
Tuesday continued sunny, still south winds, but we encountered a strong current nearing the San Jose Channel.  Kelly tried to find some back eddies to make up lost time.  We decided to carry on to Isla San Francisco and save a visit to the village of San Evaristo for the journey back.  Peeking into its anchorage there were no boats anchored that we could see.  By 5 pm we had the hook down in the bright blue waters of Isla San Francisco.  Looking around the inviting crescent shaped bay it was as special a spot as we remembered. Hot showers (as we'd had the engine on), a hot dinner and to bed!  It will take awhile to recover from only 'cat naps' on the crossing, but it was a fairly restful night.
INTREPID II at anchor - far right - Isla San Francisco
Wednesday morning proved to be a choppy one with westerly and south-west winds, but we felt we were secure in our current spot.  Kelly tackled a few of our new-found projects, including why wouldn't the auto-pilot in the cockpit work (we'd had spent our crossing popping into the cabin to adjust course).  Later we were tempted to the beach by the crews of SV Adagio and SV AKA.  Nice to get off and stretch our legs and compare cruising stories.  Thanks for the dingy taxi rides Jeff! 

SV AKA and Adagio crews with INTREPID II captain on the beach
At some point we also decided since we hadn't had enough anchoring practice we needed to move closer into the SE side of the bay.  Our idea of using 2 way radios to communicate between the helm and the foredeck still needs some work.   We found we were clipping each other's  words and the Admiral felt she needed three hands to steer and use the radio.  However we took time to to enjoy the peace and quiet of the approaching sunset and the beauty of the bay.

Yesterday was still breezy and winds were from the south east - right on our intended course to La Paz.  We raised the main and motor sailed.  The wind didn't shift to the north until just before the La Paz channel, so no chance to raise the jib.  Along the way, while trying to raise the marina on channel 16, we were hailed by SV Salish Sea - hi Ian!  Hope to catch up with you and Moonraker before we leave of La Paz.  The Full Moon Regatta was also underway around the north end of Isla Partida as we were passing to the west.

INTREPID II was given a royal 'dolphin' welcome just as we entered the channel - two large bottle-nose dolphins came swimming up and around for several minutes - how special is that!  Motoring in to Marina Palmira and tying up on Dock 4 we received a warm welcome from the reception staff.  Once again, hot showers, a good dinner and time to rest before enjoying the sites of La Paz.

January 14, 2011

Groceries and Inventories

When I arrived on board INTREPID II after our relaxing week in Mazatlan, I was set to sort and organize our existing provisions, combine the ones Kelly had brought down, then prepare an updated inventory complete with locations, quantities, weight, brand name.  A proper provisioning inventory! Well, I made a promising start and everything was stowed, dated and on various hand written lists. Some items are even on the excel spreadsheet according to categories:  baking goods, spices and herbs; canned goods - seafood, meat, poultry, canned veggies, canned fruit; galley supplies; paper products; pastas, rice and noodles; sauces.
Municipal Mercado in Guaymas
However, maintaining the spreadsheet has become much more complicated and of course there have been more pressing boat chores to attend to.  I don't keep my computer set up all the time, so it's back to the hand written lists when we use something, followed by an update to the inventory spreadsheet when there is time.  But the intent is there and we will give this a valiant try again this cruising season.  When you start off with things in logical locations that only lasts so long due to limited storage space. You do need to know that the extra coffee beans are sitting next to the water maker (because they are soft) in the middle cubbyhole on the port side settee!  We have attempted to do the same thing for all the technical and mechanical items - spare parts, tools, boat equipment, safety equipment, etc.  The Captain is working on a new system as he turns the quarter-berth into a garage or "bodega".  Perhaps he'll expound on that project sometime soon.

As a matter of interest I've listed some of the items on our latest grocery receipts.  We've been using a conversion of 12 pesos = $1 Canadian, give or take the increasing strength of both the Mexican peso and the Canadian dollar.  We find that prices are reasonable for many items and even more so if we shop at markets rather than in grocery stores.  When we bought a bag of juice oranges from a street vendor, we got 26 good size oranges for $25 pesos - just over 8 cents an orange.  We can't get fresh squeezed OJ here, so are squeezing oranges ourselves.

These prices are from either WalMart or the Super Del Norte grocery stores:
- Ocean Spray cranberry juice - 1L $17p
- C cell batteries - Duracell (2 pack) - $55p
- Mexican Rum - 1L - $100p
- Powdered whole milk - $50p
- bunch of Green onions - $4.9p
- 4 nectarines at $24.9/kg - $8.59p
- Knorr's quick cooking rice -$8.50p
- Bag of Potato chips - $25p
- Fruit sodas (sangria) cans - $6p
- Broccoli - $24.9/kg - $4.61p
- Avocados - $33.9/kg - $14.58p
- Tomatoes - large - $14.9/k - $6.55p
- 18 large brown eggs (can't find just a dozen) - $27.95p
- Multi gran loaf of bread - $26p
- Flour Tortillas - 1/2 kg - $9.45p
- Package of cinnamon buns (6) - $21p
- Halls cough lozenges - $5.5p
- Robitussin DM - 150 ml - $99p (from a local Farmacia)...quite pricey, but  necessary at the moment.

And of course, cervezas:  a six pack of Bohemia is $66p - approximately $6 Canadian, and an 8 pack of Pacifico is $70p.  Kelly is enjoying his Bohemia in bottles while he can and we will be provisioning with cans of Pacifico as they are lighter and easier to store while underway.

January 13, 2011

Fire at the fuel dock - January 13

Suddenly there was an explosion and smoke billowing by the fuel dock
This afternoon we had some excitement on the dock.  Carol and I were in the cockpit, measuring and cutting some cushioning for standing at the wheel, when we heard what sounded like a couple of cannon shots in the distance.  We decided it was just a truck going over a tope, the killer Mexican speed bump.  A minute later, we looked up to see clouds of smoke, then a fiery boat drifting out of the fuel dock area.  The winds were keeping it well away from us, but we were glad they had cut it away from the fuel dock, as there are two 40,000 litre tanks there. 

The Mexican Navy, whose docks and patrol boats were in harm's way, and the local bomberos (firemen) responded quickly.  We watched as the boat drifted, then was caught by a Navy boat and towed away from their other boats, then back closer to the dock so the fire trucks could spray it.  A total loss, as you would expect, but the actions of the fuel dock personnel here at the marina and the bomberos and Navy kept the situation from being much worse.  The explosion happened while the boat was being fueled and the fire was not able to be stopped, despite quick action by the marina staff.  The skipper is in the hospital, but the Cruz Roja (Red Cross) ambulance crew said he will be OK.

January 10, 2011

A few more days at the dock - January 2011 is unfolding

Singlar marina and shrimp fleet at next dock
This Admiral is in need of some real 'down time' to shake her cough and cold; the weather has other ideas.  We had two options:  either to leave this morning (Monday) across to the Baja California Sur peninsula to be close to a protected anchorage before the northers pick up again.  Or, to wait until later this week.  After much consideration, we've chosen to stay a few more days to ensure we both have time to take breaks, rest up and hopefully catch the next weather window.

Yesterday the Captain suggested a trip to the Sunday Market at Empalme to get us off the boat. Empalme is a small town about 15 minutes south of Guaymas and originated as a railway community, whereas Guaymas is a larger port city.  This market town is set out in a grid pattern with wide streets, well maintained and a surprising amount of greenery, including some imaginative topiary.
Entrance to the commercial port of Guaymas
Driving to Empalme

Whimsy in greenery
Once we located the market, we parked in a nearby shady spot.  We walked along the stalls which offered everything from fresh produce, which we purchased at the end of our stroll (a large bag of onions, squash, garlic, peppers, cilantro for 20 pesos), to clothing, tools, toys, dvds, fresh squeezed orange juice (10 p for large glass).  Lunch consisted of tacos and a refresco and we treated ourselves to ice cream - good for sore throats!  The sun shone and this was a welcome break.
Everything looks fresh and tasty
On returning to our dock, we purchased a kilo of scallops harvested from Bahia Kino for $200 pesos. Not sure if that was much of a bargain, but Kelly sauteed half of them them in butter and garlic and with rice and fresh squash we actually had our first cooked dinner on board.  Getting into the routine now!  In closing, a photo of a lovely snowy egret who has kept us intrigued by his/her fishing techniques, balancing on one of our dock lines while trying to spot just the right fish for dinner.
Ballance - Snowy Egret on dock line

January 7, 2011

Captain Kelly's Page

With a 'hats off' to Captain Claes of SV Whiteshell II (and the ever imaginative Lue who inspires me with all her blog innovations) we've set up a page for Captain Kelly to add his thoughts and musings from time to time.  If you click the tab "Captain Kelly's Page" it will bring up his first posting.  You can then toggle back to the INTREPID II Updates for the more day to day highlights.  We've tried to enable the 'comments' section as well if you have anything to add.

Cheers to all.  The northers are still blowing strong, but hopefully easing off soon. There are many of us are still at the dock but working through "that list".  The Admiral has caught a chest cold and is somewhat out of commission until several cups of hot lemon tea, lots of herbal remedies (perhaps just a wee tot of rum ?) and a bit more rest perk me up to tackle the less taxing sorting, inventorying and other tasks.  Thanks to all the family for their well wishes and recommended remedies!

January 4, 2011

Challenges and successes so far this 2011 New Year

We are keeping busy with a somewhat flexible 'must leave by' schedule as unanticipated projects have to be dealt with, then added to 'the list' so we can then feel productive by crossing them off and getting back to the ones we had planned for...does that sound familiar?
Our most recent challenge was determining how to fix our wind speed instrument at the top of our 56 foot (above the waterline) mast as it had suddenly developed a very tilted, droopy aspect.  We have both climbing gear and a bosun's chair onboard which we hadn't used as yet.  Over the past three days we tried various combinations using this equipment to ensure the safety of the person being hauled to the top. We took our turns being hauled up as well.  Carol surveyed the issue and was able to take pictures. One bolt out of place, one loose and one holding on.  But there is a need for at least three hands, if not four, to hold on, hold the metal fitting in place, put the bolt in and use an Allen key. 

Kelly went up from both the back of the mast and later the front and had success tightening the the front bolts. Thanks to the SV Castaway folks for helping on the winches - much appreciated!
We then called on Francisco, who had worked on INTREPID II's hull and deck over the summer.   We mentioned needing 'quatro manos".  As he is more agile and likely less concerned about heights, he managed to get that third bolt in and tightened - success!  It took a team effort and now we can put on the main and jib and replace the Dutchman mono-filament line which allows us to drop the mainsail and keep it from falling on deck.

In between these efforts, the work continues in the cabin.  The 'garage' in the quarter berth is taking shape. We took out the cushions and are trying various combinations of storage bins and smaller bins or tool boxes inside.  This is an exercise to ensure we can find the right tool or part in a more efficient way than before.  However, we still have our dive gear and bags of books and the school supplies for village schools children and the bag with the sextant and reference material, so a few more challenges to meet before we are completely organized.

More boats have arrived at the Singlar marina dock from Gabriel's dry storage yard across  the harbour.  We expect a 'second wave' of cruisers heading south soon and we had a spectacular sunset at day's end.