Today we did last minute things and packed up all our stuff before we fly out tomorrow. The Airbnb was a great space for us while we were in La Paz but now on to the boat!
Today we woke up early and headed over to a friends street to park and leave the vans while we were out to sea!
We met up with the crew at the airport and got settled at our gate. The flight was quick, maybe only an hour and half flight to Hermosillo, Sonora, main land Mexico. Then we drove another hour and half to San Carlos Sonora where the boat had been in dry storage for about 4 months.
Once we arrived we checked in with the yacht sales office and started to get things in motion to get the boat in the water. Finally around the corner came Alex’s boat. Currently named Strider but soon to be called Safina de Emunah. The boat looked great and we were all very excited. The trailer used to lower her into the water was very cool! It was fully hydraulic and looked like it could adapt to most boats. She splashed in and floated! So that was good sign!
Next step, get her started. Oops she won’t start… Most likely a clogged fuel filter but we did not have any fuel filters that looked right. We opted to call a local engine mechanic to just double check things and possibly bring a fuel filter… He took a while to get there and we almost got kicked off the dock, although there was not much we could do given the circumstances.. Finally Omar showed up. A really great guy and spoke great English. If you ever need a boat mechanic in San Carlos, Sonora his number is 622-112-9544! He got her started quick and as expected it was only a fuel filter. Soon she was underway. A bit harry, as none of us had really docked a boat of this size, but we took it slow and figured it out and soon she was home in her slip. The strong winds in the harbor that day did not help matters 🙂
After the boat was settled and we were all on board we broke into teams. A few people did inventory, others cleaned up and took items that were wrapped up out of storage.
Then we all headed over to a local spot for dinner. Great food! After dinner we all piled into a taxi and headed to Guaymas. Guaymas is the closest big town and it is quite big! Large parts stores, grocery shops and a Walmart. We loaded up on oil and more fuel filters at the marine store then across the street to Walmart to get previsions!
After this adventure we were all pretty exhausted and went to bed!
We underestimated how many systems we needed to figure out on this boat. So we spent the day getting sails ready, figuring out the water tanks (which we over flowed by accident), sorting through the wiring harness to figure out how all the gear turned on.
The previous owner was DYIer and he had switches and wires running every which way, working on everything from 12volts to 250 volts. The boat had been around the world and had a mix of all the different types of wires and connectors going every where. With the winds not looking great, we decided to spend the night and motor out early the next day and raise the main sail to just get our systems in order before making the crossing.
The toilet was also a major issue and no longer worked. I spent a few hrs with Alex dinking around with it, trying to swap out parts but after much swearing, sweat and covering my hands in old dried poop and urine we decide to call it quits and just say no toilet for the trip… A bucket will do.
After another long day we were all soon fast asleep!
We woke up to a calm day. Started up the boat and headed out for a practice run. We got the main sail up, we figured out how the furling jib worked. Then headed in by 10 am before the winds started to pick up. We did some last min errands and headed to the fuel dock before leaving port!
It was about 10:30 am and we were headed for Baja. We knew we would be sailing/motoring over night. So we took shifts and when the wind was good we raised the sails. Unfortunately we mostly motored due to strong head winds 🙁
Although in the middle of the night at about 2 am Alex and I hauled up the sails and had a great sail under the starts on the Sea of Cortez. To make it even spectacular there was a new moon and meteor shower! Pretty special with the stars over head, bioluminescent in the water and pitch black all around!
I took naps here and there but was woken around 4am to pull the sails down as the wind had died. I saw a gorgeous sun rise out over the horizon.
Still awake. Still gorgeous but a bit cool in the am. I had to actually put on a sweat shirt. I guess I am getting soft in the heat 😉 We made it to a nice anchorage by around 11 am right off Coronado island. We took some cat naps and ate some food. Over all just rested from the night before.
Alex and I pumped up the Zodiac to test it out. It held air well and we got the Yamaha 8hp on the back. We speed into shore. The beach was nice. Not smooth sand, lots of shells but absolutely beautiful! We hopped back into the Zodiac and the motor was giving us issues… Stalling and the pull start was not retracting… ugh oh was the motor peeing any water?? hmm nope. I guess it was overheating, the pistons were starting to seize… Not good. Needless to say we rowed back to the boat.
Soon we were pulling up the anchor and heading south. We made it about 7hrs motoring before Pedro came up from down below and noted that it felt hot.. I headed down and opened the engine door to a plume of steam and an engine thermostat reading 110degrees F. Water was gushing all over the place. I promptly shut down the engine. However, water continued to gush, soon we realized it was the bilge line that had burst. So we waited for the engine to cool. It was getting late maybe 9:30 or so. It took about an hr and half for the engine to cool down enough for us to continue on. We knew we only had about 20 mins more to go to get to our anchor at Isle Del Carmen. So off we went but the engine was slowly being to raise in temp again. I knew something was wrong but didn’t dare to open the heat exchanger. I assumed the worse and thought maybe we had a bad impeller. By the time we had our anchor set it was midnight. I had enough for the day and the engine needed to cool off anyway.
Woke up to a beautiful anchorage. We were right off the coast of an abandon sea salt factory and there was a ship wreck near by. Sure glad we did not drift during the night!
With the engine cool I opened the hatch. Look what I found! A leak in the main radiator hose… Next I pulled the radiator cap. No surprise here, we are bone dry…. Well this explains a lot and finding the problem is one step closer to a solution. I found some rubber in the bow of the boat. This berth has been set up as a work shop. I also found some rubber gasket maker/sealant. I cleaned the hose the best I could, sanded it down and then applied a liberal layer of the sealant to the new rubber. Wrapped it up tight, put three hose clamps on it and we waited.
We had about 4hrs to kill as we wanted to be sure the sealant was dry before we added more coolant.
In the mean time we swam and ate and enjoyed the bay. It was so pretty and so fun to jump off the boat into the torques water!
Times up. Here goes nothing! Alex and I poured in the coolant and water mixture. It seemed to hold with the engine off. This is a good sign. We waited a bit, just to be sure.
So in the mean time we pumped the bilge into bottles as we did not want to pump antifreeze into the ocean… With that done there was nothing left to do but start her up and see how it goes. Pedro had a good idea to wrap the repair in duct tape for good measure. I couldn’t argue with that! She came roaring back to life and no leaks. One hour later still no leaks. 4 hrs later still no leaks. Looks like we will make it to Loreto after all!
We came cruising into the harbor at Loreto as the sun was setting. Very very pretty. We radioed in and were informed to pick up a mooring with a yellow tag. A friendly neighboring boat radioed us and he explained to me all the best available moorings. We soon found one and we were home for the night.
We had a yummy dinner and drank lots of bottles of wine and mescal to celebrate our successful crossing!
Woke up around 8am. It felt good to get a full nights rest! We took a boat taxi into shore, as we need to head into Loreto to get some supplies incase our engine springs another leak!
The small boat here are called pongos. Great vessels that are very versatile and good in open water.
The marina was very fancy. Restraints and modern shop fronts. Far from Loreto, about 20 mins. I had been here once before on my drive down in search of a place to camp. It was cool to see the beach I wanted to camp on from the ocean!
We grabbed a rental car and all 6 of us piled into a VW Jetta. We headed to town and had a delicious lunch ( Thank you Alex!) then we grabbed some supplies at the marine store and Auto zone before heading back to the boat.
We left the marina at about 5:30 pm and made one final push. To San Fransisco island. Well we did not make it that far but we found a nice place off the cost.
Another great day. In the morning we were visited by a fisher man. He sold us some fresh fish in exchange for some gasoline and Pesos. Soon we pulled anchor and headed for San Fransisco island. We attempted to sail again but there was just too much of a head wind. So back to motoring :/ Hard to get where you want to go when the wind is not cooperating…
Along the way we were visited by lots of wild life. We saw two small wales! Lots of Dolphins who liked to play with the boat and swim in front and all around. We also saw lots of jumping Mobula (manta rays).
Along the way I fixed the impeller in the 3hp Johnson. Not sure why but all the motors on this boat seemed to have cooling issues. My guess is the heat. I hear it is brutal here in the summer and heat will destroy rubber… Anyway, I got it all back together with out loosing any parts. I felt pretty accomplished given the boat was going all over the place due to swells!
We arrived at the island of San Francisco at about 2 pm. A few other boats were there, it seems to be a destination from La Paz. We headed into shore and checked it out. It was very pretty as the sun was going down. Back on the boat we celebrated our last night with a bit more wine and mezcal. Then off to bed. We still had about 5hrs to go tomorrow.
On our way back to La Paz. Again no wind 🙁 Motoring all the way. Pretty easy trip and very pretty as we wove our way through the islands back to La Paz. We pulled into port at about 4:30pm. Said good bye to the crew and Alex and I headed off to get our vans. They were safe and sound, except some kids decided to pile gravel on my windshield? Although this was annoying no damage was done and I was soon on my way! We parked close to the marina and headed into town for some food!
Given it is Thursday I think I will stick around La Paz till Monday. I prefer not traveling on weekends!
Today I helped Alex sort through some boat stuff. We also went to Home Depot to get supplies to build Zoe a ramp for the boat. Zoe is now a boat dog! Zoe doesn’t quite like the ramp yet but every time is a learning experience! Tonight we hung out in La Paz and grabbed some tacos for dinner
Today Alex and I tackle the overwhelming task of going through all the gear in the bow of the boat. The previous owner was very very prepared and some what of a collector. We figured the best way to go about it would be to get everything out of there and only put back what Alex wanted. So everything went up through the hatch! This you can imagine is a lot of work and given its 85-90 degrees out, it is very exhausting. We did it though and have much more room and know exactly what he has and what he needs to get. So overall this was a great accomplishment!
Off to the Malecon to walk Zoe and find some food.