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.

June 22, 2012

Anchorages in review - San Juanico Bocce Tournaments

We had two tournaments and they were so close.  Styles and techniques varied and for the second event Frank and Margaret supplied a softball and baseball. Cruisers are flexible!  Thanks to the crew of SV Mood Indigo for supply the initiative and the bocce balls, to the crews of SVs Dune and Pura Vida and Content for the fun and games and memories.
Kelly checking out Walt`s technique
Winners:  Tournament 1 - Green Team: Shelley (Dune) and Frank (Mood Indigo); Tournament 2 - Red Team: Mike (Pura Vida) and Carol (INTREPID II)  

Mike, Margaret, Shelley, Walt and Frank admire Judy`s skill
Kelly stops for refreshments

Mike throws down the beach

First tournament winners - Green Team - Frank and Shelley!

Anchorages in review - San Juanico (April 13 - 18)

Anchored facing easterly swells
Saturday April 14th: Happy 6th Birthday Gracie! 
Jester, Jabber and Admiral ashore
Here we are!  On our arrival here in February we didn't put the dinghy in the water and headed south much too soon.  This morning it's time to explore!  We have a 'baby Bruce' anchor for our dinghy and ensured it was well secured before we headed off to stretch our legs. Time to get reacquainted with all that is special about San Juanico.  Kelly headed out on the dry, dusty road around to La Ramada.  Carol explored for shells and set a slower pace.  By noon a light chop has arisen, giving us a bouncy exit out of the dinghy back onboard.  Shades of things to come.
Captain returning from hike

Trail starts here....
Behind the beach...trails and a dusty road inland
Low tide with the Spires on left (osprey nests) and the Hump on right

SV Content crew on beach
Later we puttered around in the dinghy; said hello to Phyllis, Gary and Sophie aboard SV Appolima out of Vancouver and chatted about the 'old days' in Bluewater Cruising.  We met Paula, Bill and boat dogs Max and Emma coming back from a run on the beach  We've have many sociable visits with this crew as our travels continued.

That evening, tuned in to the Southbound Net, we heard the sad news that Don Anderson, SV Summer Passage, had passed away onboard his boat and was found by friends this morning.  Don was a well regarded "weather guru" of the Amigo and Southbound nets; his forecasts and advice were the basis for many cruisers' decisions or at the very least, given serious consideration.  It was a somber moment; each of us had specific moments to recall in our contacts with this generous man who had spent so much of his time giving back to the cruising community.

[Don's obituary in part:  Scientist and long-time sailor, Donald Anderson, passed away on April 13, 2012, aboard his boat, Summer Passage. Don was well known in both the scientific and yachting communities to which he provided many years of leadership and service. His sudden passing was a shock to his family and friends.  More than anything else, Don loved to sail. He built and raced small boats in the 1950s and 60s, and in 1970, acquired his first offshore sailboat, the 32-foot Scotch Mist. In 1973, Don accepted a transfer with Chevron to Southern California where he joined Balboa Yacht Club and continued his racing success. Don, with family and friends, would race and cruise Scotch Mist extensively for the next 20 years. In particular, Don and Scotch Mist were heavy weather animals-the meaner the race, the better they did. Don's name may be found engraved on several major ocean racing perpetual trophies... In 1991, Don married his second wife, Joan. A year later they purchased the Valiant 47, Summer Passage and began outfitting her for globe-circling voyages to fulfill one of Don's lifelong dreams.  In 1998, Don and Joan sailed to Hawaii from Newport Beach, beginning what would become a 30,000 mile cruise through the South Pacific and South America. It was during his time in the South Pacific that Don began sharing his weather observations with fellow cruisers as Summer Passage was equipped with receivers for real-time and forecast marine weather.  Don would say that growing up in the British Isles, "Weather was always the first topic of polite conversation, even between complete strangers." Upon returning to California, Don honed his weather forecasting and routing skills, and in 2002, he and Joan moved to Oxnard, where Don constructed a world-class radio station providing the capability to transmit his weather information to hundreds of yachtsmen throughout the Pacific. Many of these "strangers," some of whom he would never meet in person, became Don's close friends. He kept a regular and rigorous schedule on the "nets" where Don's voice is now sorely missed.]
Summarizing our time at San Juanico:

Walks on the beach, introducing new folks to the "cruisers' shrine" and seeing if our INTREPID II burgee was still holding up from 2009 and 2010. It needs to be repainted for sure.  World class Bocce Tournaments, enjoying the antics of four legged friends, playing Mexican Train dominos aboard Mood Indigo, wondering where on earth the National Geographic ship would anchor and whether we`d all get invited for cocktails (not!).  Kelly and Bill going fishing and not noticing the wind picking up in their sheltered cove; Paula and I each rehearsing "Plan B" if our anchors dragged and the fellows were still focused on the fish!  Watching, as always the ospreys on their nest and soaring around spotting their next meal. Moon rise over the Spires, countless stars overhead.  Hunkering down when the wind blew strong, wet dinghy rides ashore when it died down; planning for the next leg.  Having to head north all too soon.
Max looking for his tennis ball
Emma and Mo - should we go in...
Successful Fishermen heading back
National Geographic arrives
A peaceful evening
A very special place 

Anchorages in review - San Juanico - Arrival (April 13)

Nav station with weather notes, log book and 'to do' list
Friday, April 13th: we often hear that cruisers should not head out on this date.  We rationalize that our cruise is 'in progress'.  We left La Paz ten days ago and our log book records this fact for any wind or sea gods to please take note!

It is 69 F in the cabin, 62 F outside, 67 in the pool and the bar is 1014. Stan's forecast is for W 4 - 6 kms and WSW 12 - 16 kms at night for the northern half of the Sea; NW 14 - 19, with WNW 6 - 8 for the southern half. Saturday could be W 15 - 21. These are weather updates we receive via Winlink from a volunteer weather guru who's full time job is as a vet.  Guru Geary advises for the northern crossing (Santa Rosalia to Guaymas) Friday am NE 6 - 9 with afternoon winds ENE 13 - 17; for Saturday NE 18 - 23 kms.  The Loreto area should see SSE 10 - 13 kms for the afternoon.

Checking out cruising guide enroute

Basically we know the winds will be stronger in the next few days.  We want to be someplace secure where we can spend a few days with some options for moving around as the winds sort themselves out.  36 nautical miles away lies Caleta San Juanico, tucked in behind Punta San Basillio.  This anchorage is a special place and one we always look forward to.  Today we were underway by 08:15, expecting to take 7 hours for the trip.

Heading north we quickly were hit by 2 - 3 foot swells from the north-east. These would continue for the entire trip, building to 4 and 5 feet at times; definitely impacting our progress.  This was a motor sail trip.  The winds finally picked up to 12 knots SE at 14:30, so we got a boost at long last. Along the way we heard SV Salish Sea on the VHF and found that Ian and Diane were heading into Guaymas already for their haulout.  The reception was so clear we thought they were on the Baja peninsula side!

As we headed into Caleta San Juanico, the winds shifted to the east and we wondered what that would bring in the way of swells. The small bay in front of the cruisers' shrine was occupied by one sailboat in such a considerate way no one else could fit in.  Everyone else had lined up further west from north to south. INTREPID II 'parked' between Mood Indigo to port and Content to starboard.

San Juanico neighbours
INTREPID II at anchor San Juanico
On with the anchor snubber, out with the flopper stoppers; with one out off the boom to starboard, anticipating those easterly swells.  By 15:00 we were settled in at 26 degrees 22.001 N, 111 degrees 25.831 W, looking forward to a few days of rest, hiking and catching up with friends.  There were so many things to record that we'll have to have a separate blog posting!

Anchorages in review - Punta Perico South, Isla Carmen (April 11 - 13)

Looking to west shore of Punta Perico
This morning we listened to comments from cruisers around the central Sea of Cortez as they checked in to the Sonrisa net.   Southerly winds clocking round to westerlies occurred everywhere. No one had a good night, it seems.  Diane on SV True Love, anchored at the Coronados, advised things had been 'idyllic until the wind went nuts!"  At Bonanza beach on the SE side of Isla Espiritu Santos, the corumels blew 18 to 20 knots all night; a power boat dragged in Aqua Verde.  Seems we were in good company.  We didn't envy our volunteer weather gurus when the 'localized' conditions turned their necessarily generalized forecasts upside down and they listened to all our tales of woe.

Geary predicted "northerlies in most of the sea for Wednesday and Thursday", so it was time to move on.  We wrote 'who knows?" in our boat log under Forecast.  Our sights were set almost due north of us, to Punta Perico South, on the east side of Isla Carmen, 17 nm away.  This small bay offered good north wind protection and was just under 4 hours away.  At 10:00, in overcast skies promising to clear to blue, and a WSW wind of 12 -15 knots, we checked our depth as we motor sailed past the islets; just 30 feet at one spot.  At noon our sails were filled, engine was off and we enjoyed the quiet, sunny day, making just over 5 knots.  We could see our destination.  Our sail was graced with visits by a jumping ray, dolphins leaping and swimming along side, flights of pelicans and a curious sea lion.

Of course, the wind plays games and we were heading too far to NE.  A quick tack to port, but our speed was dropping to 3.7 knots.  On with the engine and rolled up the jib to make our way in to yet another "new to us" anchorage.  At 13:40 we were anchored in 17 feet at 25 degrees 58.289 N, 111 degrees 04.583 W. The winds filled in from the north at 14 - 15 knots, as predicted.  A quick lunch and then a long nap!  We felt secure and sheltered and needed to catch up on last night's lost hours.

Fishermen's camp on shore
Although the winds continued in the 15 knot range, we enjoyed our chance to relax and observe the small fish camp onshore.  The beach here is a gravel one; the fishermen appear to store supplies in the small cave on the western side of the bay.   A starry, starry night appeared; so different from 24 hours ago.  We were fascinated by the phosphorescence lighting up the water.  Something was swimming swiftly to and fro and putting on a show.  A quiet night.
Soft skies at dusk looking towards Bahia Salinas
Thursday morning we heard on the net that a strong earthquake had been felt on the mainland, near Los Cardenas, north of San Carlos.  Winds were still expected to be NNE 15 - 19 near Loreto, just around the corner.  A good day to stay put and do boat chores.  We also checked in to the Amigo Net (8122) and made contact with SV Picara who were sailing offshore.  It was satisfying to have a quick chat with Mike and wish him and Marnie continuing good winds as they headed towards the Marquesas.  We later determined that the earthquake had been magnitude 6.9, centred closer to the Baja peninsula, but felt strongly in the San Carlos area.  Not all that far away, but we hadn't noticed any impact on the water.

It was a busy day for radio contacts as we heard from folks on SV Charlotte Alane and SV Tamburan.  Today's 'norther' seemed to be staying in the 16 knot range and very manageable.  Towards 17:00 pm we were joined by a power boat who anchored, then re-anchored and put out a stern line.  They quickly dropped their dinghy with a splash and zipped off to fish for the evening's main course. 
North shore - gravel beach
East side of Punta Perico - with reef extending south
Cacti marching up north slope
Later that evening, we listened to the Southbound net for an update on the earthquake but didn't learn anything more.  We turned in with the north wind gusting to 12 kms.  It shifted to the west about 03:00; we ended up rolling in the swell which hit us on the beam.  Dragged ourselves up at 06:30 finally as there was not much sleep to be had. 
Layers and colours and contours

Anchorages in review - Yellowstone Beach, Isla Monserrat (April 10 -11)

White sand and yellow limestone bluffs
Our morning weather update from Geary on the Sonrisa ham net was for winds ESE 15 - 19 knots for the 'northern crossing' some distance away, and SSE 11 - 14 in the Puerto Escondido/Loreto area, which was approximately 30 nm northwards.  We needed to find an anchorage offering SE protection and considered Aqua Verde, Candeleros and the north end of Isla Monserrat.   By 09:30 we were underway, leaving the rusty red rocks of Los Gatos anchorage with blue skies overhead, seas rippled and 70 degrees already.   Kelly had to raise only 40 feet of chain by hand this time, as the windlass still was catching.  Definitely need to fix that problem!

Winds were light, SW 7 - 10;  we motor sailed our way with the jib partially rolled out.  The VHF radio caught our attention as SV Tamburan hailed us as they passed Timbabichie.  They thought Candeleros or all the way into Puerto Escondido would be their target for the night.  A large splash off our beam signaled a breaching whale.  Shortly after that surprise, Kelly spotted wing tips about 10 feet off starboard.  |Then -  just under the surface, a 6 foot manta ray, head flaps very apparent, glided passed INTREPID II.  That was a treat!  At noon we were in the vicinity of Aqua Verde and spotted 2 boats leaving with at least 6 masts in the north anchorage and 1 in the southern. By then we had determined we would try for Yellowstone Beach and add a new anchorage to our experience.  Off we went on a heading of 350 degrees to the north end of Isla Monserrat.
Courtesy of GatoLoco Sailing
The seas were becoming somewhat confused as we rolled out the jib further and revved back on the engine.  Without much warning, we were being knocked  about by steep 2 - 3 foot westerly swells and pondered whether this could be refracted swell this far from shore.  The Tamburam crew called to say they were experiencing the same situation closer to shore near Candeleros.  As we inched our way to the north end of the island and cleared the low headland we spotted a large motor vessel anchored off the white sand beach.  Drawing well around the shallow underwater reef which extends out from the northwest shore we could see the rocky islets known as "Las Galeras", which are known to offer great diving.
Layers of yellow limestone weathered by wind
The shoreline offered white sand beaches topped by distinctive yellow limestone bluffs, offset by sparkling clear green water.  We anchored at 14:45 inshore of MV Safari Quest, in 15 feet, with a scope of 110 feet. (25 degrees 42.533 N, 111 degrees 03.080 W) The cruising guides promised us wind and wave protection from south and southwesterly winds, although we should expect swell wrapping around the point.   Nothing we hadn't experienced at every other anchorage!  The westerly swells were manageable with the flopper stoppers at work on each side.

A big wind event building
As we zipped on our sun shades and were admiring the views we noticed an increase in the wind speed and choppiness of the waves. The dinghy stayed onboard; the winds continued to build but all was secure.  The motor vessel brought in the last of its explorers, raised anchor and headed south.  We had Yellowstone Beach to ourselves.  As the weather deteriorated we were very glad of that fact.  No vessels to drag into us and if we dragged, we'd end up in Topolopampo on the mainland, as the Captain commented the next morning.

This was a stressful and exhausting evening and night.  The ESE winds clocked and clocked again until we were facing west winds.  Mo anchorages were protected in the vicinity from that direction. Checking in with the evening Southbound net at 18:55, we advised winds were gusting to 18 knots and seas were in the 3 foot range in our anchorage.  Others advised they were experiencing W 20 - 30 knots in Bahia de Angeles and 15 - 20 at the Coronados.  More scope let out.  Our highest gust was 23 knots overnight. There was little sleep for us as we checked our position against the GPS mark. Black outside, no lights on the island and the clouds obscured the stars.  One for the 'worst night' scenario books!
Waves building

June 18, 2012

Anchorages in review - Los Gatos (April 9 - 10)

Distinctive red rocks of Los Gatos
Easter Monday:  up and about, checking in to both the Sonrisa ham radio net and the single side band Amigo net.  Geary's weather update wasn't coming in too clear as we prepared to haul anchor and bid adios to San Evaristo.  Engine on at 08:05 and we were underway by 08:20, calling Bill and Linda on the VHF to say adios and wish each other "fair winds".  Our vessels were  headed in opposite directions for now.  The anchor and windlass had worked well, but Kelly was beginning to think the repainting of the anchor chain at various depth intervals was contributing to the problem of the windlass 'tooth' catching.  Perhaps the paint was being flaked off and sticking?

San Jose Channel had a slight swell running southward as we turned left and northbound, with either Timbabichie or Los Gatos as our destination, 26 and 28 nms respectively.  The winds were forecast as NW 6 - 7 knots, but we had light SSE winds most of the way.   That meant motor sailing to keep our progress at 5 knots.  Dolphins passed us heading south.   As we headed in to check out the Timbabichie anchorage about 13:00 hours we enjoyed the company of a few more.  This anchorage is more exposed and open to the east and south east; as as the winds had been "easting", we chose to continue the remaining few miles to Los Gatos.  

Timbabichie - open to the east and south 
Dolphins passing by
We prepared to drop the main and head into this anchorage, which was surprisingly empty.  A sailboat which had been well to our starboard and seemingly headed up the channel, was now changing tack and headed straight towards us.  Strange tactics to employ, as it was obvious we were in the midst of dropping sails.  Did they suddenly decide they wanted first pick of the spots?  Did they want to anchor right on Shawn and Heather's recommended way-point?  In any case, we picked up the pace, secured the main and spun back around to head towards the mid point of the anchorage. Los Gatos has a fairly long and usually submerged reef extending north from Punta Botella on the south side, as well as one further in which separates the southern part of this bay into two lobes.  The rocks were now the distinctive red that warmed up the surroundings and set off the blue of the water and the sparse green vegetation. 
Looking northward with campers on beach and sailboat at anchor

View southwest across sandy beach
We were second-guessing the winds at this point.  Would they continue with a south - southwest flavour?  We decided they would and dropped the hook in the prime spot just east of the red rocks which jut out from the western shore.  Anchor down at 13:40, facing ESE by the time it set.  We will wait and see how things unfold.  That curiously acting vessel continued in to the anchorage, checked out the campers on the north beach, then headed back out and north.  Eventually two other sailboats arrived, choosing the northern side as well.  Perhaps their weather crystal ball had received an updated weather fax?  The vagaries of choosing a suitable anchorage add to the adventure.

The day was becoming hot!  80 degrees F as we put up our sunshades; the water was actually 72 degrees F, the warmest we'd had so far.  It was so tempting to jump in to cool off.  A lazy afternoon, a treat to relax and enjoy the distinctive scenery and contemplate the upcoming days of our trip.  We were only here for one night.  The lethargy that set in decided us to admire, rather than hike the surrounding rocks and shoreline.  On our first visit, we had joined friends on the shore and climbed the smooth faced rocks and walked the extensive beach.

Cattle at the shore - we wondered if they actually drank the salt water?
We did feel the refracted swell which cruising books advise is common here; again our flopper -stoppers smoothed out the motion.  As dusk fell we spotted small 'fins' poking out of the water off our stern;  our thoughts were they might be either small dogfish, or the tips of small rays.  By the time the sun had set and we were settling in for the night, we decided we'd picked the better side of the anchorage.  Our neighbours to the north were rolling considerably more.  Sometimes you get it right!

June 17, 2012

Anchorages in review - San Evaristo (April 6 - 9) Semana Santa

Augustine, Kelly and Linda and Bill (SV Tanque de Tiberon)
Good Friday morning: blue skies, mares tails and wispies overhead and ripples in the water from the breezy night.  Our south side anchorage has served us well, along with the flopper stoppers, as the wind did blow from the south as forecast.  While eating breakfast, we noticed that SVs Dune, Mood Indigo and Otter had hauled anchor already and headed out; we were not in a rush as San Evaristo was our destination to spend the Easter weekend - 9 nm across the San Jose Channel.  We knew it might be crowded but had bypassed it on the way down.

Our engine was on at 09:53, the main was up. Kelly went forward to raise the 110 feet of anchor chain.  This was taking much longer than usual, even allowing for his routine of every 10 feet or so tapping down the chain in the anchor locker to ensure it flaked smoothly.  The windlass 'tooth' was catching on the chain periodically; a new issue.  He finally manually hauled in the remaining feet and we headed out dead slow into the channel as he worked on the windlass.  A compensating treat along the way - a splashing ray!  Never enough time to grab the camera for these fellows.

We motored up the channel with no wind and light south swell.  Bill on Tanque de Tiberon replied from San Evaristo to our VHF call. He advised the anchorage was crowded, but there was room to squeeze in.  By noon we were scoping out a spot, but after two tries near T/T and not finding good holding, we anchored further south in 20 feet where the sand was clear of seaweed.  (24 degrees 54.506 N, 110 degrees 42.389 W).  Eight boats stretched out along the shore north to south. It was indeed crowded.  SV Marionetto had chosen the north lobe and seemed to be secure there; we don't trust the steep drop-off located there when a norther blows.

A very crowded anchorage - looking north
This was another enjoyable visit; San Evaristo is a welcoming place for us.  We joined Bill and Linda for dinner at Cipriana's later in the day; thanks to Charlotte of SV Willful Simplicity for making our 'reservations' with the engaging Cipriana.  The new cantina is still 'in progress', so we sat under the old palapa and watched the catch of the day being cleaned and filleted for our dinner.
Catch of the day being cleaned

Cipriana's - new cantina in progress behind current palapa on beach

Waiting for dinner at Cipriana's

Glad to be back in San Evaristo
Water is warm enough for some!
The village was more active than we'd seen in the past, being Semana Santa - Easter Week.  Families returned to visit; children played on the beach and in the water (although we cruisers felt it was still pretty brisk!); dogs frolicked; the goats bleated and pangas took visitors on tours.  Lively and celebratory.  Our amigo Augustine, whose daughter Cipriana appears to have taken a more active role in running the cantina, came by to welcome us and assure us all was well.  He delights in his grandchildren and had a big smile on his face as he zoomed around on jet ski giving them rides. What would an quiet anchorage be without a jet ski?  It apparently belongs to the actual 'owner' of the cantina property and provided much amusement for all the families.
Jet ski rides for everyone
The northers did blow as forecast.  We spent much of Saturday onboard, foregoing a visit on T/Tiburon to ensure we were at hand if the anchor chose to drag in such close quarters.  The evening brought the sound of church bells chiming for the procession to the church. It would have been a windy and very cool climb up the hill.  Sounds of a more party-type celebration came from the north side of the beach; something for everyone.  The full moon was rising well after 'cruisers' midnight', but we caught a glimpse of it rising during one of our anchor checks.
Full moon rising - almost Easter Sunday
Easter Sunday: bright and beautiful!  W celebrated with an Easter brunch of pancakes. By early afternoon it was calm enough to go ashore to hike south of the village.  We were accompanied by our 'critters':  Jabber the parrot has been with us on all our cruises and Jester the clown fish came along for the adventure this season.  Finishing up our thirsty journey back at the cantina, we met with Tom and Jeanne  of SV Eagle,  who were taking pictures of all the activities.  Jeanne had been taking local family pictures as well and presenting copies back to the pleased villagers.
Short climb behind village

View over San Jose Channel

View over San Evaristo village

Jester and Jabber - where's the beach??

That was a thirsty hike!
Happy Hour took place on Tanque de Tiberon with the two Captains comparing notes on windlass issues, while the Admirals shared stories about stowing gear and provisioning.  Back onboard it was tme to prepare for moving on and sending messages back to family and friends via Winlink.  Life is good.