With reports this month from
13-year-old Tristan of Delphis on
completing a circumnavigation; from Sanderling
on being hit by a megayacht off Sint Maarten; from Siesta
on Acapulco; from Örnaerie on
having to issue a mayday in the English Channel; from Gypsy
Warrior on a late start on the Puddle Jump from San Francisco;
from Felicity on getting ready to
finally depart New Zealand; from Mystery
Tramp on The Ocean Is A Woman CD; from Alisio
on being lost at Manele Bay, Lanai; from Elsewhere
in defense of Bahia del Sol, El Salvador; and lots of Cruise
Delphis - Cal 39
Tristan McMillan, 13
Notes On A Circumnavigation
Seven years ago - on July 29, 1996 - my family and I started
our circumnavigation aboard our Cal 39 Delphis from our
homeport of Victoria, Canada. Since then we have visited 39 countries,
enjoying all of them. We have been down the West Coast of North
America, across the South Pacific, to New Zealand, Australia,
Papua New Guinea, Southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea,
the Med, across the Atlantic, the Caribbean, through the Panama
Canal and up the West Coast again. We will finish our circumnavigation
in Zihuatanejo, then head up to Victoria to be home after seven
years to the month.
In all our travels we've only had a few major misfortunes: 1)
We lost our backstay in the middle of the Indian Ocean when the
bottle screw broke; 2) We lost our steering on the way from New
Zealand to Niue when the chain broke; 3) We were knocked down
by a huge wave off the coast of Venezuela; 4) We had to replace
our engine in Singapore; 5) We have blown out our main, jib and
spinnaker; and 6) We have been through three computers. The good
thing is that none of us have suffered any harm. Our biggest
medical problem was my brother Fraser came down with a mild case
of malaria in New Guinea.
Some of our favorite places were Niue, Suwarrow, New Guinea and
Australia. We consider a country nice when there is good fishing
and diving, nice people, low prices, and easy cruising. Our fishing
experiences around the world have been amazing. In Canada we
caught salmon, which is delicious but gets monotonous. Tuna are
found in all oceans of the world, and has been our most frequently
caught species. Mahi mahi are beautiful to catch, but our favorite
for eating is wahoo.
My best fish story doesn't involve a fish, but rather a 25-foot
whale. About 800 miles northeast of Trinidad & Tobago, we
were delighted to see two large minke whales. They didn't just
surface and swim away, but came alongside and surfed our bow
wave as though they were dolphins. It was the most amazing thing
I have ever seen. When one of the whales came up behind us surfing
the big swell, our fishing line suddenly went tight, so I grabbed
it. It had a strong pull, but then went slack. I then pulled
it in to find one of the hooks straightened out. I concluded
that we'd briefly hooked the fin of the whale! After two hours
of playing, the whales swam away into the depths of the Atlantic.
Our family has seen and done some amazing things in the past
seven years. While in Egypt, we saw the pyramids, the Sphinx,
the Temple of Karnak, and the Valley of the Kings and Queens.
On our way to the Marquesas, we were as far from land as it's
possible to get in the world. We saw the huge Komodo dragons
in Indonesia. While at Suwarrow we dove with sharks, and while
at Niue we swam with sea snakes. We hunted and ate fruit bats
in New Guinea with a man from the Sepik River. We have crossed
the international dateline and equator twice, and while in Indonesia
we were able to anchor right on the equator and swim back and
forth between the northern and southern hemispheres a few times.
Now that we are almost home - only 2,500 miles to go - there
are a number of things we are looking forward to. My Dad wants
to be able to use his workshop; my Mom wants to have a bath;
my 15-year-old brother wants his own personal space - and I want
all three! I was six and my brother was eight when we started
our trip, so we don't remember much about our home. But since
we have a house with a yard on a lake, we're looking forward
I've learned a lot in the past seven years. Everything from bargaining
in the bazaars of Asia, to opening coconuts, to exotic fishing
methods. I have also learned that people are pretty much the
same all around the world - they only want to live ordinary lives,
have enough food, and have friends. I'm glad to have done all
the things we've done, because they will be with me for the rest
of my life.
- tristan 4/15/03
Sanderling - Cabo Rico 38
Hit By A Megayacht
I've just been involved in a collision with a 148-foot motoryacht!
Last December I left Trinidad to singlehanded my way up the islands
of the Eastern Caribbean to Sint Maarten. On March 11, I left
Simpson Bay Lagoon at the 0530 bridge opening in preparation
for moseying back 'down island' to Bequia where a friend would
join me for a three-week sail. Having anchored in Pelican Bay
for the night, I left the next morning for what I expected would
be a 20-mile sail to St. Barth.
Having been underway for about an hour, at 9:30 a.m. I went forward
to the mast to shorten sail. At the time there was a large motor
vessel approaching from the rear, but it was about 300 yards
away and appeared to be crossing my transom. The next time I
looked, however, he was just 20 feet off my port bow doing 15
knots as he crossed my bow! Since I was reefing my main with
the jib backwinded, my boat was barely moving. Nonetheless, my
bow hit the motoryacht about 10 feet back from its bow!
As I was under sail and he was motoring in unrestricted water,
I had the right of way. That's a small consolation, of course,
when sailing into what amounts to a brick wall. I was wearing
my safety harness, so I stayed with my boat. Although Sanderling's
mast stayed up, things were confused at the bow of my boat, as
the sails were only halfway up, parts of the rigging were broken,
and there had clearly been damage to the bow of my boat. I lowered
the staysail and, after verifying that no water was coming in,
started the motor.
It took the big motoryacht about a mile to turn back to me, but
the skipper immediately called the marina he'd just left to render
assistance. Two young men from the marina soon boarded my boat
to help me take her back to the marina. When I arrived at the
marina, I was able to see that the bowsprit and about a foot
of fiberglass on my bow had been sheared off, and there was a
six-inch hole in the front of my boat. There was also damage
to the headstay, roller furler, woodwork, and stainless steel.
But thank God Cabo Rico makes a sturdy boat.
In any event, I'm all right, and the motoryacht has agreed it
was their fault and will pay all expenses. So here I am surviving
another adventure. While we are waiting for bids and arrangements
for my lodging during repairs, I'm staying at the most expensive
marina in Sint Maarten, where the owners of the motoryacht will
be picking up all my tabs for the restaurant/bar, swimming pool,
Internet, and cable TV. The repairs are expected to take three
to four weeks.
I've since met with the crew of the motoryacht, and we had a
brief discussion about singlehanders lying ahull keeping proper
watch versus the helmsperson of a 175-ton motoryacht keeping
proper watch. It appears that the motoryacht crew had been so
intent on dialing in their autopilot to their computer charts
and GPS that they didn't even know I was in the area until they
heard the collision! I consider myself lucky that it was not
- jon 3/15/03
Jon - We've made the Sint Maarten to
St. Barth trip dozens of times and are a little shocked that
the motoryacht didn't have a better lookout along that route.
After all, it's darn near a nautical freeway with all the ferries,
megayachts, charterboats, cruising boats, fishing boats, and
smugglers travelling between the two islands. On the bright side,
you now get to enjoy the high life at an upper end marina on
someone else's tab. And don't worry about the money, as they
could replace your boat and gear with new for what it costs to
run their megayacht for just a week or two.
By the way, if, as we presume, FKG will be doing your metal work,
make sure you stop by and say 'hi' to our buddy Shag Morton.
For when it comes to characters of the Caribbean, Shag's near
the top of the list. For even in that part of the world there
are few guys who can sail as well, party as hard, or derive such
glee from setting off fireworks as the nearing-50 Aussie. What's
more, you should see him pole dance on megayachts of the rich
and famous on New Year's Eve in St. Barth. We never laughed so
hard in our lives.
Siesta - CSY 44
Ed & Daisy Marill & Crew
As we had been at anchor in Zihuatanejo from December 17 until
March 6, it was very hard for us to say good-bye to such a beautiful
place and leave so many cruising and Mexican friends. Zihua has,
without a doubt, turned out to be our favorite place on the Pacific
Coast of Mexico. We were now on our way to Florida with Richard
and Kathy Cavannaugh as crew. We first met the couple last year
in Mexico where they were cruising their beautiful catamaran
Out of Africa.
As we were coming out of Zihuatanejo Bay, we were amazed to hear
the crews of Priceless and Serafin on the VHF -
for they were about 100 miles away just north of Acapulco. Thanks
to the 'skip', they were coming in clear as a bell. We soon learned
they were both going to bypass Acapulco - which we would soon
find out was a real shame!
After an overnight passage that included several hours of glorious
sailing, we arrived at the Acapulco Bay approach waypoint - 16°48.3N,
99°53.3W - where were found ourselves facing a large, beautiful
bay surrounded by green cliffs dotted with beautiful homes and
a beach with a gazillion mega hotels. We left Isla Roqueta to
port, and once inside the bay saw several sailboats at anchor
in the pass between Isla Roqueta and the north end of the point
framing Acapulco Bay.
We veered to port, looking for the Acapulco Club de Yates area,
which is tucked way into the northwest corner of the bay. We
called them on 16 but were told that there was no room at their
docks. As we approached the large dock area - full of megayachts
Med-moored to the Club de Yates - we saw the PEMEX sign on the
southernmost side. There is a marked channel leading into the
breakwater and into the fuel dock. Although the cruising guides
suggest calling and reserving a spot for fueling, other yachties
on the VHF told us to proceed right to the dock if there was
room. Which we did. The friendly attendant helped us with the
fueling operation, where diesel was 4.88 pesos/liter.
While at the fuel dock, Edmundo, a man who had been mentioned
to us by Tom and Joanne Collins of the Newport Beach-based Misty
Sea, asked if we needed any services. Having just changed
our oil, Edmundo furnished us with a large pail to get rid of
our old oil. We gave him a nice tip. When we asked about a mooring,
he told us that we could use any of many empty moorings directly
across from the yacht club's private docks. He said that the
boats that own these moorings hardly use them during this time
of year. He also advised that in the unlikely event that somebody
approached us to ask for a modest payment, we should ask if they
owned the mooring. The alternative to these moorings was anchoring
in 60 feet of water - with short scope because of the other buoys
around. By the way, we quickly learned that there's a nice breeze
in Acapulco Bay that blows everyday starting in the morning.
The Club de Yates is not a marina per se, but rather a private
club which extends docking and club privileges to boaters when
they have room. Virtually all the boats are Med-moored, and there
are a lot of them, many of them huge megayachts. For example,
Larry Ellison's 192-ft Ronin was moored here. We'd previously
seen Ronin in Zihuatanejo, where she had been at anchor
for over a month.
Jose Maria Marquez greeted us at the Club de Yates office, where
we paid $25 a day for use of the dinghy dock, the beautiful pool,
the clean air-conditioned showers, and the use of the club restaurant
by the pool. We paid a total of $150 U.S. for clearing into Acapulco
and clearing out of Mexico - this included a late penalty since
it was after 2 p.m. on Saturday. When we head south, we plan
to anchor in one of the outer bays at Huatulco, wait for weather
to cross the Tehuantepec, and only go into Puerto Madero - the
last stop in Mexico - if there's an emergency or if we need fuel
to get to Barillas, El Salvador. We're hoping to sail as much
as possible, however.
Nearly across the way from the Club de Yates is the Acapulco
Marina, sometimes referred to as La Marina. This marina was hard
hit during the '97 hurricane, and many of the docks are in disrepair.
Even so, they do have room for a few boats, and you can leave
your dinghy there as well. Tackless II reports that Gilda
will do your check in and out for free if you take a berth at
From the Club de Yates, you can take a 40 peso - about
$4 U.S. - taxi to La Quebrada, where the cliff divers delighted
us with their daring. You pay 25 pesos to walk down 300
steps to the place to view the dives, which go on day and night.
We went to the 7:30 p.m. performance, and recommend that you
get a spot on the wall about a half hour before the start. Don't
leave before the end of the show or you'll miss the dive from
the very top of the wall.
We have enjoyed eating at the 100% Natural restaurant, and then
busted our kitty with an unforgettable dinner at the El Olvido
restaurant. When it comes to an idyllic setting and service,
El Olvido has as good as we've experienced. We are grateful once
again to Misty Sea for the recommendation. Taxi drivers
know where the restaurant is on the southern end of the malecon
just past a rotonda and near some bungie jumps. The newer southern
area of Acapulco, the Diamante, is full of casinos and discotheques,
and is as luxurious as you will find in any top beach resort.
The buses in Acapulco, some of which stop less than a block from
the club, are not to be missed. Since each one is independently
owned, they try a variety of ways in which to distinguish themselves.
Some have colorful paint jobs based on landscapes or themes.
They might also have fancy flourescent lights and music - which
may or may not be very loud. The trip along the malecon costs
3.5 pesos one way, and is well worth it. The buses marked
Wal-Mart will take you all the way to the store at the southern
end of the malecon. It's a great place for provisioning.
Last night we went to the bullfights. We got the cheap 130 peso
seats in the sun, and watched four bulls die. It was a powerful
educational experience. We're glad we went, but we won't be going
back anytime soon.
As we prepare to leave Acapulco, we are glad we stopped here.
It is a big city, with all of its advantages and disadvantages,
and we leave with fine memories.
- ed, daisy, richard and
Örnaerie - Rassy 31
Mayday In The English Channel
Örnaerie and I left Nieuwpoort, Belgium, at noon
on March 7 bound for the English ports of Dover, Portsmouth,
and Falmouth. After that, my plan was to sail to La Coroña,
Spain, then Gibraltar and the Mediterranean coast of Spain.
My grand plans came to a halt a few hours after we started when
a Force 7-8 gale hit halfway to Dover. The steep chop resulted
in Örnaerie pounding severely and her boatspeed to
drop to almost nothing. Then I lost steering, and was adrift
until I could get my emergency tiller rigged. By this time I
decided to retreat to Belgium for repairs. Weather was not my
only problem, as the English Channel is among the most trafficked
shipping lanes in the world.
Just 20 miles from shelter at Zeebrugge, my port jib sheet end
knot came open, allowing it to come out of the block, fall into
the water, and wrap around the prop. So now I didn't even have
my engine. I issued a mayday which was picked up by a nearby
fishing trawler, which stood by and relayed my mayday to Coast
Guard at Zeebrugge.
By the wee hours of Sunday, three rescue boats were on the scene
- three because they'd been told I was either singlehanding or
had 10 people aboard. The first thing they wanted to know was
whether or not I was alone. It seems that yachtsmen have been
caught smuggling illegal aliens to the United Kingdom, as once
they are ashore no identification is required and they are in
a safe haven.
Örnaerie was taken in tow, during which time I got
a little sleep. Three hours later I was awoken in the calm waters
of Zebrugge Yacht Harbor. Once secure, I slept for another 16.5
hours. The harbor has since been flooded with reporters and well-wishers.
The Belgian newspapers have been publishing photos of me and
Örnaerie as well as the story of our rescue. One
television crew spent three hours doing a story on me and I'll
be on another station tonight.
I realize that I was very fortunate, as I was working with two
inches of knowledge and 36 inches of luck. I now know that sailors
shouldn't venture across the English Channel without a sufficient
weather window. In any event, I will be repairing Örnaerie
until about April, so she'll soon be stronger and more beautiful.
I've got some problems with my sails, too. The main was damaged
in the wind and my jib - as well as my hull - got big oils spots
on them. The wreck of the car carrier that sunk in the English
Channel after colliding with a freighter is still leaking oil,
and it's not just the birds that are suffering. There are some
incompetent captains on the bridges of many big ships passing
through the English Channel. At least the damage to my boat is
I learned a lot from the experience, for out of even unpleasant
experiences comes something positive. Anyway, the longer I hang
around Belgium, the better the southbound weather will be.
- ivan 4/10/03
Readers - Many of you will recall that
Rusch didn't learn to sail until his mid-70s - after which he
bought his sloop and sailed her down to Panama and across the
Atlantic to Denmark. Despite the fact that Rusch had lost the
use of his engine, a mayday - which is for situations in which
lives are in immediate danger - was not appropriate. A regular
call on 16 for assistance would have sufficed.
The photo of Örnaerie on
the previous page is from
the '50s when she was owned and raced by her builder, Christoph
Rassy. Originally from Bavaria, Rassy had moved to Sweden with
nothing but a bicycle and a desire to build ocean-going sailboats.
He later joined forces with Karl Hallberg to create Hallberg-Rassy
boats, one of the best known and respected brands in the world
Gypsy Warrior - Freya 39
The Puddle Jump, S.F. Start
As I write this, me and my crew of Randy and Jan Grant are becalmed
at 22°56'N, 125°17'W - or about 850 miles west of Cabo
San Lucas. We didn't join the Puddle Jump until April 8, and
unlike most folks we started from San Francisco rather than Mexico.
We had perfect sailing the first two days out of San Francisco,
broad reaching in northwest winds and sailing in the sevens.
Then a low pressure system hit us from the north, and we had
even more fun under screaming winds and mountainous seas. As
we came out of the low pressure system and into the northeast
trades four days later, we had an interesting early morning.
While half asleep in my bunk during the early stages of my off
watch, I had recurring dreams of smelling the shore and seaweed.
At 0730, after using the head and just before diving into my
bunk, I saw, in the half light of dawn, a peculiar shape on the
floor of the main salon next to my bunk. It turned out to be
a flying fish, about 10 inches long. It had apparently followed
the ILS approach, under the dodger, through the main hatch, and
touched down on the galley sole, ending up in the 'hanger' next
to my bunk. What a landing! Unfortunately, it was his last. I
took a round of the decks to look for any of his kamikaze brethren,
but found no other brave souls. The three of us on the boat are
all private pilots, so we held a ceremony in appreciation of
the fish's flying skills before committing him to the deep.
One of the nice things about our passage is the self-run Puddle
Jumpers' Net, which has been a great source of camaraderie and
information. This is true even though we are the tail end Charlie,
with most other boats near the equator.
By the way, we had no trouble getting 90-day visas for French
Polynesia. Jan simply went to the French Consulate on Bush Street
in San Francisco and - with an application downloaded from their
website, and all the other requested information - got all three
of us 90-day visas in about an hour. Anthony, a member of the
Consulate staff, was a big help. In fact, the biggest problem
Jan had in getting the visas was finding her car in the parking
labyrinth without the aid of a GPS.
A puff of air has just come down the main hatch, and I think
the wind is filling in from the northeast. It's time for us to
go on deck, trim sails, and reset our windvane 'Monty'. May you
always sail faster than your garbage!
- rick 4/16/03
Readers - Rick raced with us to La Paz
in the early '80s when we had a Freya 39. He's had his own Freya
for over 20 years, having raced and cruised her to Hawaii and
Mexico numerous times.
Felicity - Tashiba 31
Ken Machtley & Cathy Seigsmund
Enjoying New Zealand
Kia Ora from New Zealand! It's been quite a long time since we've
written an update, so we figured we should let our friends know
how we've been doing down here before we leave this great country.
Our activities since we last wrote include being volunteers for
the Louis Vuitton Cup (which was the Challenger series for the
America's Cup), touring New Zealand with our moms, crewing with
our friends Jan and Signe Twardowski aboard their Sundeer 64
Raven on their passage from Tonga to New Zealand, Christmas,
and two more trips to South Island with visiting friends. Add
in the excitement of the America's Cup, the opportunity to catch
up with other cruisers who left us here during the winter to
visit the tropics, and some major work to Felicity, and
there's been a lot going on. In fact, for photos and journal
entries on all of this, see the Journal section of our website
Work on Felicity is progressing, and she now sports a
new dodger, bimini, sun awnings, and interior upholstery. We've
made a list of the most critical jobs to finish before departing
New Zealand, and as of today it's up to 97 items. If this is
like when we left Seattle, when one item is completed and taken
off the list, we'll think of another item to add on. Major projects
include rebedding various fittings to keep the boat watertight,
adding a sink pump-out and new galley faucet, re-plumbing our
head - toilet lines, yuck! - painting the bottom, and . . . well,
lots of stuff. Our plans are to finish our projects and possibly
do some local cruising over the next month or so. Cath's birthday
is on June 3, and since she doesn't want to be on passage that
day, it means we'll either leave New Zealand in early May or
sometime between June 4-30. Our plan is to head to Fiji for the
first two or three months, then head to New Caledonia for two
to four weeks, then to Vanuatu for at least two months. We're
most excited about the opportunity to visit Vanuatu, as many
of the islands are quite remote and are not often visited by
typical tourists. Come mid-October, we'll start looking for a
weather window to Australia, and hopefully be berthed in Mooloolaba
- 90 minutes north of Brisbane - by mid-November. Like all good
cruising plans, this is open to change.
- ken and cathy 4/01/03
Mystery Tramp - Roberts 44
Travis Burke & Emily Hansen
The Ocean Is A Woman
Travis is a cruiser, boatbuilder, avid fisherman, and singer/songwriter.
This spring he made his debut as a recording artist with the
release of The Ocean is a Woman. His songs were inspired
by his first year of cruising. I think he'll have you sipping
cervezas and humming along as he takes you south of the
border with his fresh blend of country rock served with a dose
of sea salt and a squeeze of lime.
A California native, Travis hasn't followed a narrow path. He
was a structural iron worker, helping raise skyscrapers such
as the 75-story Library Tower in Los Angeles. Leaving the high
rises for the high seas, he traveled to Southeast Alaska to fish
commercially. He later found himself living the life of an ex-pat
in Costa Rica, running his own kayak expedition outfit. While
there, he met a cruiser who had built his own steel boat. Inspired
to do the same, Travis returned to California, where he met his
mermaid, Emily Hansen, a photographer and aspiring writer. Together
they built their 44-ft Bruce Roberts cutter at Harris Yacht Harbor
in Bay Point. From there they sailed down from the Delta to San
Francisco Bay, then out the Gate where they turned left.
Cruising has given Travis and Emily the opportunity to explore
their love of making music and art. He began writing about the
people they met and his impressions of the cruising life, while
she took photos and hula-hooped as they sailed south to Baja.
After their first year - during which time Travis performed at
the local bars, beaches and boats in Baja, as well as Loreto
Fest - the couple returned to Northern California to create The
Ocean is a Woman CD.
The CD is a collection of Travis's original songs, including
Chasing a Dream, an anthem for the cruisers lifestyle;
Two More Cervezas, a rockin' tale of freedom found; and
Naked Canadian, a humorous true story with an uplifting
bluegrass beat. Also on the enhanced CD is A Visual Voyage
by Emily, which is a digital photo slideshow comprised of 62
photos, each with a description. A Visual Voyage depicts
the couple's first year as cruisers.
With the March 2003 release of The Ocean is a Woman on
their own Mystery Tramp Records label, Travis and Emily returned
to full time cruising and are currently in the Sea of Cortez.
Travis will be performing at the upcoming May 2003 Loreto Fest
in Puerto Escondido, while Emily will be in charge of the entertainment
committee. The Ocean is a Woman CD is available now at
- emily 4/01/03
Alisio - Lapworth 40
How My Boat Was Really Lost
I was included in last April's Puddle Jumpers article, but as
a lot of people know by now, I lost my beloved Alisio
in the Hawaiian Islands. I have received many emails expressing
condolences from people who have heard about my misfortune through
the Southbound and Amigo Nets or other grapevines. While I warmly
appreciate these messages, I have noticed that some contain
inaccuracies about what really happened. Herewith is my account:
I left Wahiawa Cove on Kauai - one mile east of Port Allan
- on the morning of March 10 bound for Manele Harbor on Lanai,
an upwind passage of about 200 miles. As had been the case since
early February, I was singlehanding. There was absolutely no
wind, so I motored the entire distance over a period of 33 hours
in a flat calm. The entire first night I was off the busy waters
of Oahu, which prevented me from getting much sleep. At daybreak
I was abeam of Waikiki. I thought about going in to get some
rest, but the unusually calm conditions offered an excellent
opportunity for me to push eastward.
As I ultimately approached Lanai, I calculated that it was going
to be tight whether I would be able to make it there before dark.
As I pressed on to Manele, I also programmed my GPS for an alternative
harbor on the south coast of Lanai. As I got closer, I decided
to increase the rpms and go for Manele. I made it just before
dark, but the inner harbor seemed too tight for me to maneuver
in and Med-tie alone, so I opted to go to the outside anchorage.
I dropped the hook in 12 feet of water outside the harbor entrance,
where my boat rode very comfortably through the night.
I awoke around 6:30 a.m., enjoyed a long morning coffee
in the cockpit, and then got ready to pay a visit to the harbormaster.
During my onboard shower, Alisio began banging into the
rocks. Rushing on deck, I tried to pull her into deeper
water with the windlass. When that failed, I tried to power off
with the engine. It quickly became apparent that my boat was
trapped inside the rocks.
I got a line to a large RIB that was heading out of the
harbor, but the operator gave up after a couple of unsuccessful
tugs. He yelled over that he had to pick up some daytrip passengers.
By this time there were some other people in the water trying
to help, and they got a line from one of the large day-trip
catamarans to me, which I then attached to my main halyard. I
thought the cat operator was going to try to crab me off, but
his plan was just to swing Alisio stern to the sea.
Unfortunately, by this time she was on her port side and taking
on lots of water. In such shallow water that she was no
longer in danger of sinking, her fate was sealed.
It took only 45 minutes from Alisio's first bang on the
rocks to her being aground on her side with a big hole in her
My first mistake was not going into the alternate harbor, which
would have left me with a safe margin of daylight to get properly
settled for the night. Instead, I arrived at a new harbor right
at dark, and was dog tired to boot. The combination caused me
to misread the cruising guide and anchor in the wrong place.
Secondly, I put out 90 feet of chain, which turned out to be
too much. It was fine until the tide went down and waves
came up in the shallow water, pushing Alisio toward shore.
When she got to the end of her chain, she was in much too shallow
water. Not checking the depth and looking over the side
in the morning were additional errors. After that, I'll leave
it to be God's choice.
I did issue a mayday and spoke briefly to the Coast Guard, but
by that time it was too late for them to help. More than anything,
it resulted in some lieutenant later badgering me over the harbormaster's
cell phone about my responsibility to get the one gas jug and
six diesel jugs off the boat so I wouldn't be subject to heavy
fines. He also informed me about my additional responsibility
- with the threat of more fines - in getting what was left of
my boat out of what was an environmentally protected area. I
was given this information while in the first stages of shock
at watching my lovely boat - which was my nest egg and way of
life - die on the beach. I had no hull coverage on her.
Fortunately, it was at this time that Harbormaster Sherry Menze
took over. She let me sleep on her small sailboat, washed and
folded four loads of my laundry, fed me for three days,
made her cell phone available to me, made all sorts of arrangements
- and introduced me to Pat Ross of Sea Engineering. Ross happened
to be there with a salvage barge to dredge the habor. He sent
two divers over to check out my boat, and they reported
there was a 3 x 5 foot hole in her port side - with a huge rock
stuck in it. I hired his two divers to help get as much gear
off the boat as possible before dark. They worked like maniacs,
and we salvaged lots of gear. Fortunately, most of the electronics
were high and dry on the starboard side. A high tide that night
pushed Alisio broadside to and higher up on the beach
- butting up against a keel, which is all that remained from
a boat that a suffered a similar fate less than a year before.
I was then able to walk aboard without getting my feet wet, and
for the next two days proceeded to take off more gear and personal
Sherry and a few other locals helped me carry this heavy gear
100 yards down a boulder-strewn beach to the road. She also allowed
me to sort the gear out on the lawn behind her office, while
Terry, her cohort, built a shed to store it all in until I could
get it transported to Oahu. As harbormasters go, they don't come
any better or more helpful than Sherry Menze, who is a sailor
herself and therefore has the understanding needed for the job.
More importantly, Sherry has a very large heart.
Fortunately, I did have liability insurance, and Sea Engineering
was hired to dispose of my boat. Yes, "dispose"
of my boat. I did not stick around to witness it. Ross later
told me that it was ugly, but he spared me the details. I was
offered a picture of Alisio on the beach, but declined.
I can assure you that I have the mental image of it in my mind's
eye constantly, and I'm sure it won't go away for a long time.
Will I get another boat and go back out again? I would love to,
but I probably won't. Money is one problem. In addition, I don't
think I have the energy to prepare another boat - and
'camping out' on a bare bones boat is not my style. Meanwhile,
I am staying with my son here in the islands, spoiling the grandbabies.
- ron 4/15/03
Ron - We can't express how sorry we
are about your misfortune. But perhaps your 'lessons learned'
will help keep another mariner from a similar fate.
Elsewhere - Cabo Rico 38
Bahia del Sol, El Salvador
Before writing this letter, I had to verify that Chewbacca
was ever really here at Bahia del Sol, El Salvador, because their
report in the March Changes was so misleading. Not only
is there good grocery shopping, but it's a good place to do a
major provisioning - and you don't need to rent a car to do it.
The preferred method is to hop on a bus right in front of the
hotel and go to Zacatecoluca. This may take a little over an
hour each way, but it's an interesting trip through the real
Central America. The bus stops right out in front of the Despensary
Don Juan, which is a clean and large American-style grocery store
with many American products. They have just about everything
you will find at your local Albertson's in the States. They also
have wonderful meats, including everything from steaks to cold
cuts. You can feel free to load up your cart, because if you
spend more than $100, the store will deliver you and your groceries
- free of charge - all the way back to the launch ramp at Bahia
del Sol. If you don't need $100 worth of food, you can buddy
up with another boat to get the service. Cruisers have done this
again and again over the last year.
The little shops within walking distance of the hotel are kind
of hit and miss, as should be expected. However, you can depend
on getting potatoes, eggs, and some veggies at the little stores
and the pupusaria just down the street. The pupusa is the national
dish of El Salvador, not the hot dog as Chewbacca claimed.
It is true that the meat in Herradura is less than wonderful,
but you can get sealed cold cuts, hot dogs, and frozen chickens
there that are all acceptable. As for the vendors spraying Raid
on the fruits and veggies to keep the bugs away, I don't think
It is a long bus ride from Bahia del Sol to San Salvador, but
anything and everything is available in the capital. They have
shopping malls that equal any you have ever seen in the States,
both in size and quality. And almost any kind of service is also
available. While anchored in Bahia del Sol, I have had a new
stainless steel fuel tank fabricated, and on another occasion
I had my engine block re-sleeved at a shop in San Salvador. Jose
will be your personal chauffeur for a day in San Salvador for
$35, and he is happy to take a second couple for the same price.
After spending $60 at Puerto Escondido, Baja, to go in to Loreto
to check in, we thought this was a good deal. At Bahia del Sol,
you check in right on the premises.
Like other cruisers here, I have been depending on water made
right here in the estero by my Spectra watermaker. I do only
run it within an hour on either side of high tide, so I am limited
to two hours at a shot. If you need to supplement your fresh
water supply, the usual five gallon bottles of purified water
are now available at the dock for $2 U.S. Actually, the water
on the dock is not all that bad. There are no bacterial problems,
it's just a little high in salt content. Quite of few cruisers
put it right into their tanks, although we chose not to.
It is amazing how differently folks view the same spot. Chewbacca
has repeatedly written negative articles about Bahia del Sol,
and the cruisers who have been here for a long time are puzzled
by it. While here, the Winship family seemed to enjoy the place
immensely, and Bruce was heard to chortle that he was living
in this wonderful place while spending less than $3 a day. Most
cruisers who have come here love the place and aren't traumatized
by crossing the bar.
I have been here a long time and have become an advocate of Bahia
del Sol, but I think the place certainly justifies it. It's been
a very good place for me and a terrific place to spend some time.
Update: I've just learned that Despensary Don Juan no longer
offers free delivery to Bahia del Sol.
- matt 4/10/03
Matt - We think you're being overly
defensive about this. Both you and Chewbacca
seem to agree that there are well-stocked stores if you're willing
to make a two or three-hour roundtrip to the city. We think most
cruisers would agree that a place that requires so much travelling
for a good selection of food could not be considered a great
place to provision. It doesn't mean that it's not a terrific
place, just that it's not a terrific place to provision. But
that's not a big deal, as many of the greatest cruising areas
in the world are similarly poor places to provision - such as
most of the Sea of Cortez, Tenacatita Bay and Chemela on mainland
Mexico, most of the South Pacific, the San Blas Islands, all
of the offshore islands of Venezuela, almost all of the Caribbean
except Puerto Rico, all of the Bahamas, and so forth.
No more domestic despachos for Mexico? When we arrived
in Cabo at the beginning of April, we heard some very intriguing
news. According to Enrique Fernandez - General Manager of the
Cabo Isle Marina, and a person who has long been tuned in to
what's happening in Mexico City - Mexico's version of our House
of Representatives has passed legislation that would eliminate
visiting yachts from having to repeatedly check in and out with
port captains and immigration. Boats would still have to check
in once when arriving in Mexico, and once before leaving Mexico
- but not when just moving from port to port inside the country.
Before anyone breaks out the biggest bottles of the best tequila,
Fernandez cautioned that the legislation would have to pass Mexico's
version of our Senate before it became law. If and when that
might happen is not clear. In addition, it's presumed that a
new scheme might involve cruisers having to purchase a cruising
permit, and there's no idea what that might cost. Compared to
the current situation - which is a tremendous waste of everyone's
time and money - almost any change would be a tremendous improvement.
"Our most recent trip to our new boat on the Atlantic coast
of France was much better than the first," advise Ken and
Nancy Burnap of the Santa Cruz-based Amel Super Maramu 53 Notre
Vie. "We had a couple of hours between connections in
Paris, so we enjoyed a sidewalk lunch at a bistro. We finally
made it back to our boat at 6 p.m. - just in time for an early
dinner and a solid 10 hours of sleep. But we didn't suffer from
jet lag - maybe it was the 'No Jet Lag' pills Nancy found in
a Santa Cruz health food store - and were able to start up the
next morning bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Anyway, Nancy's son
Tommy and his girlfriend will be here on the 17th, so we hope
to take off for points south on the 19th. There are a number
of places we want to see along the coast of Portugal, and we
hope to travel up the Guadalquivir River to Seville, Spain, by
May 6 to drop the kids off. From then on we'll be on our own
and not anxious to make many overnight passages. We intend to
stop in Gibraltar around the 10th, then bounce along Spain's
Costa del Sol for a week or so before setting out for the Balearic
Islands. After a week of island-hopping in that area, we'll head
north to the South of France. By the way, we've had some very
pleasant weather so far. Two of the days were rainy and cool,
but all the rest have been sunny and warm. We went sailing yesterday
and it was positively tropical, with Nancy in shorts and Ken
wearing a T-shirt."
The Atlantic coast of France, Portugal, Gibraltar, the Costa
del Sol, the Balearic Islands, and the South of France - does
Ken and Nancy's itinerary make you as green with envy as it does
us? Our only advice to them is not to rush - particularly not
through Mallorca in the Balearics - where there are many great
inland daytrips to be enjoyed while the boat is anchored in places
such as Andratx or Sóller.
While the Burnaps were in La Rochelle, we wonder if they didn't
bump into Rick Fleischman, who spends the summer running Sound
Sailing crewed charters in Southeast Alaska aboard his Catalina
50 Bob. He writes, "It's February, which makes it
the off-season for my Sound Sailing charters, so I'm currently
skippering the new 52-foot Amel ketch Andrea B. from La
Rochelle to the Canary Islands and then Guadeloupe in the Caribbean.
The owner is aboard, but has me along because he doesn't have
that much offshore experience. I spent 10 days in La Rochelle
taking delivery of the boat, as it took awhile to get all the
systems down Andrea B. has just about everything
you could put on a boat: electric winches, electric furling and
windlass, air conditioning, two freezers and a refrigerator,
dishwasher, clothes washer, water-maker, generator, radar, two
autopilots, chart plotter, and so forth and so on. It's complicated,
of course, as 12-volt DC, 24-volt DC, and 220-volt AC systems
try to co-exist with our North American 110-volt appliances.
The boat has four watertight compartments - as well as a crash
bow and a crash keel - so she's a very strong boat designed for
Hampered by strong winds in the Bay of Biscay that had the five-person
crew lined up on the rail puking, followed by light winds in
an area of high pressure, the Andrea B. made it to the
Canary Islands in 14 days. It took her another 19 days in lighter
than expected winds to make the 2,750-mile crossing to Guadeloupe.
Fleischmann advises that the second leg of the voyage - with
its more consistent warm winds from aft - was more enjoyable
than the first leg.
We made our first visit of the year to Catalina during mid-April
to find that the sky was gray, the island was green, and Avalon
had a mere 2,300 visitors. Things change slowly at the island
- except, it would seem, for the cost of moorings and shoreboat
rides. Last year we paid $36/night for a 63-ft mooring, but this
year it's $42 - and we're told that the fees are likely to be
raised again in July. Ouch! Hasn't the news reached the island
it's no longer the late '90s and most businesses are trying to
hold the line on prices? In terms of percentages, the jump in
mooring fees is nothing compared to the jump in shoreboat fees
- which have catapulted from $3/person each way to $4/person
each way. And that doesn't even include a tip for the mostly
very friendly boat operators. So if a family of four were to
use the shoreboat to go ashore three times a day, they would
end up . . . well, in the poorhouse. So make sure your dinghy
is ready to go before you head over to Catalina.
"We are sitting at Barillas Marina Club, 10 miles upriver
from the coast of El Salvador and 50 miles from our next destination,
the Gulf of Fonseca," report John and Susan Pazera of the
South San Francisco-based Tayana 42 Compañia. "We're
here with two other Tayanas - Journey, a Tayana 37 with
Curt and Becky Buchanan from Portland; and El Regalo,
a Tayana 52, with Charles and Teresa Wilsdorf from Las Vegas.
We all did the 2001 Ha-Ha, and we've been buddyboating since
Huatulco, Mexico. Today we went into the nearby jungle and saw
some incredible monkeys. Now I'm sitting under a palapa, complete
with Internet hookup, overlooking the swimming pool, with Compañia
tied to a nearby mooring for $8/night. We've been inland
to San Salvador, and also to visit some Mayan ruins. It's a pretty
awesome country, mostly sugar cane fields and cocoa plantations,
but with volcanos visible in almost all directions. Although
El Salvador is a very poor country - 85% live in poverty and
the average wage is $134/month - it's now free and the people
are very friendly. Not many gringos visit, so we get lots of
stares, but we're glad to have come before hordes of tourists.
Having been to Guatemala and now here, we wish we'd come to Central
America soon, as it's both beautiful and unspoiled."
"We're part of the Puddle Jump - again - but are starting
a lot further south than most others," report Brent and
Susan Lowe of the Walnut Creek-based Royal Passport 47 Akauahelo.
"In the next couple of days we'll leave Panama for Ecuador,
the Galapagos, and then the Marquesas. We say we'll become part
of the Puddle Jump 'again' because in January of 2002 we left
Mexico on a fast track, thinking we'd sweep through Central America
and the Galapagos before joining that year's Jumpers in the Marquesas.
But after we discovered how great the cruising is in Central
America, we had to postpone our trip across the Pacific. There
are great anchorages, beautiful jungles, and much less hassles
than in Mexico. So we stayed for two seasons, and summered in
Ecuador where - unlike Central America - there is no rain or
lightning. The officials in Central America have come up with
an interesting concept - you check into a country, cruise around
it anywhere you want for a few months, then check out. You don't
have to check in every time you move a few miles as in Mexico.
And here in Panama, most cruisers don't even check into the country
for the first few months. As long as you're 'underway' toward
Balboa, it's fine with the officials. Another thing that's nicer
than Mexico is that the fees aren't too high."
"Even in 'paradise' you can have some little problems,"
reports Bernard Slabeck of San Francisco, who is crewing aboard
Jerry Lumbard's Lagoon 38 catamaran Beyond Reason in Belize.
"Yesterday we snorkeled over the reef around Seal Cay. The
water was warm and visibility was in excess of 100 feet, so we
thought that we'd found another slice of paradise. Alas, my pie
had a little bit of bad crust. I assumed that after a month down
here, my buns had become seasoned enough for me to snorkel in
the buff. Mesmerized by the incredible beauty of the reef, I
lost track of time and got quite a burn. It's no fun sitting
down today, and I'm hoping my buns don't peel. While I was sitting,
we moved on down to the Sapodilla Cays, which are the southernmost
four miles of Belize's 350-mile long Barrier Reef that we plan
to explore. Clouds began rolling in late in the afternoon, and
the temperature dropped to a comfy 82 degrees. Around dinnertime
the wind shut down, leaving the surface of the Caribbean perfectly
flat and the water crystal clear. As it became semi-dark, it
was eerie to look overboard, as we couldn't see the water. It
appeared that the catamaran was just hovering eight feet above
the sand and grass bottom! After what looked to be a three-foot
barracuda meandered by, the clouds opened up and washed off the
boat. We ran forward to the tramp with our salty clothes for
a free freshwater rinse. Life was good, as it rained buckets
with absolutely no wind for 15 minutes."
"Sometimes Latitudes are hard to come by in the South
Pacific, so we just finished reading about the controversy of
your cover photo of a lovely young girl," writes Fred Roswold
of the Seattle-based Serendipity 43 Wings - currently
in Scarborough, Queensland, Australia. "Anyway, the woman
at the helm of Wings in the accompanying photo is Judy
Jensen, the most beautiful woman I know. It's hard to believe
from the way she's dressed, but the photo really was taken in
the South Pacific."
"I'm sure you know about the 'protected area' near Loreto
in the Sea of Cortez," writes Mary Shroyer of Marina de
La Paz, "but I'm not sure if you've heard that all the islands
in the Sea of Cortez have been declared an "Area de Proteccion
de Flora y Fauna. As such, a 20 peso - about $2 U.S. -
person/day charge has been instituted for the "use and enjoyment"
of the islands. While the regulations and fees were primarily
established for kayak groups, campers, and others who spend the
night on the islands, the fee is to be levied on everyone
who steps ashore - cruisers included. The government authorized
the fee on January 1, but it hasn't been enforced until now because
they didn't have the means. Now they have the means for at least
minimal enforcement. Proof that fees have been paid will be in
the form of brazaletes - wristbands - which will be issued
when one pays the fee. So, for example, when a cruiser pulls
out of La Paz heading north, and plans to spend two days at Isla
Partida, one at Isla San Francisco, one at Isla San Jose, and
one at Isla Monserrat before putting in at Puerto Escondido,
he/she would need to purchase five brazaletes per person
- for a total of about $10 U.S. per person - prior to leaving
La Paz. By the way, forget about taking a dog to shore for a
run or a poop - dogs are no longer allowed on the islands at
"People under six and over 60 are exempt from the fee, as
well as residents - which includes foreigners who have FM2 or
FM3 status showing a local address," Shroyer continues.
"The fees for the brazaletes can be paid in La Paz
or Loreto. Here in La Paz, they can be paid at the regional office
- which means you don't have to run off to a bank to get a receipt
first as with clearance papers. The brazaletes will probably
also be available from the kayak companies, the tour operators,
and maybe even here at the marina for our clients - although
it's not something we're anxious to get involved in. Although
the brazaletes should be dated, they won't be in the hope
that an honor system will work. The government is trying to be
reasonable with cruisers, understanding that weather and other
factors don't allow mariners to travel a specific route at a
specific time. If a patrol shows up and people ashore don't have
brazaletes, the patrol will sell them rather than issue
fines - at least for the time being."
If the fees for visiting the islands were to remain low, and
were truly used for the preservation of the island environment,
we at Latitude wouldn't have a problem with them. Unfortunately,
clear and consistent prices and policies have never been the
norm in Mexico - as the following letter demonstrates:
"When we left Marina de La Paz last month, Mary Shroyer
of Marina de La Paz had just posted a translation of the new
regulations for the islands in the Sea of Cortez, including the
20 peso per person per day charge," report Monte
and Micha Mohr of the Durango/San Carlos-based Misty Sea.
"Fortunately, there was still no fee for just anchoring
at the islands. But we're now up at Puerto Escondido, where a
giant sign proclaims similar rules - but a 50 peso ($5
U.S.) person/day fee - and not just for going ashore at the islands.
Fees are apparently also due if you scuba dive, sail, kayak,
The Mohrs also report there are other changes at Puerto Escondido:
"You can buy measured amounts of potable water at the pier
at $2 U.S. for 200 liters, or $3 for up to 500 liters. They also
take garbage at $1 U.S. for a big bag. The next trash drop going
north is Conception Bay, while to the south it's Evaristo. With
this in mind, it would be nice if cruisers stopped burning their
trash out on the islands and on the Baja beaches. At every stop
we made, we found burned cruiser - not fishermen - trash. Cruisers
need to remember that one match does not make the trash invisible,
and cans and bottles don't burn."
We completely agree with the Mohrs on the the matter of trash.
When we sailed up to the islands in the Sea of Cortez 18 months
ago, we were dismayed to find many charred piles of rubbish left
by cruisers who didn't seem to think it was worth a slight effort
to leave a pristine area the way they found it. What are these
people thinking? We were hoping to use Profligate for
a big cruiser trash clean-up at the islands of the Sea of Cortez
this year. Unfortunately, the scheduling didn't work out. Nonetheless,
we think that now more than ever it's incumbent upon all cruisers
in the Sea of Cortez to clean up all the old piles of cruiser
crap and dispose of it properly. For if we cruisers aren't going
to be proactive about keeping Mexico's national parks pristine,
we'll soon find that we won't be able to visit them at all -
no matter how much we're willing to pay. So can somebody please
explain what's the obstacle - other than sheer laziness on the
part of cruisers - to putting together a Sea of Cortez Cruiser
Thinking about trying to do a lot of offshore sailing without
a liferaft? Then check out pages 62-63 of the April issue of
Yachting World magazine, which have two spooky looking
photo sequences. One is of the Catalina 42 Never Say Never
sinking under sail near Kick 'em Jenny, north of Grenada in the
Caribbean. She started taking on water for no apparent reason
and shortly thereafter sank bow down. The other sequence is of
the Catana 44 Bad Bad that hit a whale about 10 miles
off St. Lucia, also in the Eastern Caribbean, holing the starboard
hull and breaking one of the rudders. Although the singlehander
abandoned the cat, she was later found partially afloat several
Near the beginning of this month's Changes, we had a report
from John Anderton of the Alameda-based Cabo Rico 38 Sanderling,
who informed us that he'd been hit by a mega motoryacht while
trying to make the 20-mile crossing between Sint Maarten and
St. Barth in the Eastern Caribbean. In a subsequent email, he
had the following to add:
"Sint Maarten is a great place to sail to, as there are
delightful people and excellent parties after the races. Despite
the collision, I've enjoyed my stay. The Wanderer probably knows
the captain of the megayacht that struck my boat, as he's been
working out of here for years. You'll notice that I didn't mention
any names in my Changes about the accident. As I'm self-insured,
I have an agreement with the captain. As long as I don't broadcast
names or file a report, he'll pay the $22,000 in repairs out
of his own pocket - thereby saving his job and avoiding any hassles
with his insurance carrier. He even set me up in a guest house
while my boat is on the hard. It works for me, as I just want
to get my boat fixed. In any event, things work a little differently
down here than in the States. By the way, while down in Bequia
in January, I ran into Ray Jason - a frequent contributor to
Latitude and the author of Tales Of A Sea Gypsy.
He's doing great, having bought back his old San Francisco-based
Farallone 29 Aventura. He was happy to give me some timely
advice about singlehanding. Collison or no collision, all I have
to say is, 'Is this a great way to retire or what?'"
It's easy for folks to be confused as to the difference between
the major Easter Caribbean sailing centers of St. Martin and
Sint Maarten. They are actually two parts of the same rather
small island, with St. Martin being the French side, and Sint
Maarten being the Dutch side. Similarly confusing is the fact
that the nearby island of St. Barthélemy more commonly
goes by St. Barth or St. Barts.
"Reader Skip Gorman wrote in a couple
of months ago asking about the likelihood of southerly winds
in the spring along the coast of Baja, which would make his 'Baja
Bash' much easier," write Tom and Judy Blandford of the
Marina Bay (Richmond) based Imagine. "Unfortunately,
he's not likely to find any southerlies in the spring - in fact,
May and June are probably the worst times to come up the Baja
coast. If he could delay his trip until July, he might not have
to Bash at all. We didn't depart Cabo until July 10, and had
a great time coming north, with very little wind and no water
over the bow. It was hurricane season, of course, and there's
always some risk associated with traveling along the Baja coast
during that time, but good planning and a reliable boat can minimize
the risks. It's a huge generalization, but early season hurricanes
are few in number and tend to travel west away from land, making
a Baja landfall unlikely. The key is to look for a low pressure
system off the mainland coast of Mexico, which can be a precursor
to the formation of a hurricane. If there is one, stay put. We
listened very carefully to the Chubasco Net weather report prior
to our departure. The bad news is that most insurance companies
don't offer coverage during July, so you have to think carefully
about doing it.
"Before heading north, we got our hands on a copy of Capt.
Jim Elfer's The Baja Bash," the Blanfords continue.
"It had a lot of good ideas. Per one of Elfer's - and Latitude's
- suggestions, we avoided Cedros in favor of the more offshore
San Benito Islands. Having anchored at the San Benitos, it's
now one of our favorites because it's full of wildlife. Not only
is there spectacular diving, but we saw killer whales, two blue
whales, and elephant seals fighting on the beach. Finally, it
also gives you a better angle while heading over to the mainland
than if you anchored at the northern tip of Cedros."
We have to agree with your main points, as generally speaking
it is much easier to come up the coast of Baja during the summer
months. The rare exception, of course, is if there were an early
season hurricane that didn't head west and caught your uninsured
boat out in open waters. Speaking of the Baja Bash and alternatives
to it, we don't understand why any shipping companies don't do
a run from Puerto Vallarta to Southern California at the end
of April or May. Many years ago there was a service that put
boats on a ship and delivered them back to Southern California
- but then somebody ran off with all the money. Subsequently,
the shipping of recreational boats has boomed all over the world,
but the service hasn't been offered again from Mexico to California.
Maybe we'll call one of the shipping companies and see if we
can't get them interested.
"Joanie, my sweetie, arrived safe and sound by plane here
in Fiji the day before yesterday," reports Blair Grinols
from the Vallejo-based 46-ft Capricorn Cat. "She
is suffering from the heat and humidity, but after all my time
in the Marshall Islands, I don't even feel it. We are in the
Vuda Point Marina, which is centrally located between Lautoka
and Nadi. After an afternoon of snacks and poolside drinks, plus
a full dinner complete with delicious coconut ice cream at the
beautiful hotel next door, the bill came to just $35 U.S. - including
the tip. You can't beat that. We've since moved on to the famous
Musket Cove YC on the island of Malolo Lailai - which is just
12 miles west of the big island of Viti Levu. We're getting ready
to go to shore to a BBQ with Glen and Glenna of Calafia,
and Tom and Nancy of Equinox. I'm still not as impressed
with Fiji as I was with the Marshalls, but we've still got a
lot of this country to see."
It goes without saying, Blair, that you were missed at the Banderas
What if they gave a week-long cruiser party and hardly anybody
showed up? Unfortunately, that seems to be what happened in La
Paz in April. Over the last year or so there has been considerable
animosity between the Club Cruceros de La Paz and the for-profit
Paradise Found YC. The former wanted to continue running the
20-year-old Sea of Cortez Sailing Week out at the nearby islands,
but seemed to have trouble achieving critical mass in organization
and enthusiasm. Meanwhile, the more energetic folks at Paradise
Found YC wanted to ramp up a bigger and more picante event -
more like Sea of Cortez Sailing Week had been in the early years
- and call it Island Madness. As is often the case when two people
or organizations can't get along, everyone loses. Club Cruceros
finally backed off by canceling their traditional Sea of Cortez
Sailing Week for a much smaller event in La Paz that's wrapping
up as we go to press. As for Paradise Found YC, they went ahead
with their April 7 to 14 Island Madness. On paper it looked as
though it would be nonstop activities, but they may have misread
the cruising community support, for the attendance was reportedly
"After we left Puerto Vallarta, we took Humu Humu
to the Sea of Cortez for a few weeks," writes David Crowe,
owner of the 70-ft cat. "On April 7, we happened to anchor
at Isla Partida, and noticed there were 17 boats anchored for
the first night of Island Madness. We dove the Fang Ming wreck
the next day, and liked it so much that we decided to do it again
later in the week. So on Thursday night we were back, and counted
just 16 other boats for Island Madness, with maybe just six dinks
ashore in the evening for activities. On the first two race days,
we saw no more than four boats participating. The weather was
not as conducive to sun 'n fun as one would prefer, but it was
all right. My view of Island Madness is that it wasn't happening.
Part of the reason is that Loreto Fest has really taken off and
that the Puddle Jump crowd was absent because of the much more
appealing doings down at Paradise Marina in Puerto Vallarta."
The Wanderer - who conceived of Sea of Cortez Sailing Week, and
who was very active in the early days when it was not uncommon
for over 200 boats to participate - is deeply disappointed at
the event's demise and the lack of a major spring event out of
La Paz. We're hoping that in upcoming years everyone can come
together to create an event worthy of that tremendous cruising
Speaking of the Club Cruceros, they'd like it known that they
are not-for-profit, and that their main activities are support
programs for underprivileged local children, and supporting cruisers
having a tough time in Mexico. For example, there's the case
of Chuck and Linda Allen of the Florida-based Ingrid 38 Tumbleweed.
"It was their life's dream to sail to Mexico, starting with
the 2002 Baja Ha-Ha. Unfortunately, Chuck unwittingly became
involved in a fracas on the Police Dock in San Diego where, as
a result of trying to help, he suffered a serious knife wound
in the back by a transient. A local hospital was able to treat
Chuck, and upon his release some time later, he and Linda took
off for Mexico. Arriving in La Paz just prior to Christmas 2002,
Chuck suffered a relapse when it was discovered that his diaphragm
had been punctured by the weapon, infecting his abdominal cavity,
and causing peritonitis. His life in jeopardy, he was admitted
to a La Paz hospital, where he still is, being fed by an I.V.
He still faces other surgeries. Linda has also suffered several
illnesses. With medical bills mounting daily - even in Mexico
it's costing $4,000 a week to be in the hospital - they are so
destitute that they have been forced to put their vessel up for
sale. Both the Club Cruceros and Paradise Found are holding fund-raising
efforts, and a collection will be made at Loreto Fest. Anyone
interested in making a contribution to this very worthy cause
should send a check to: Club Cruceros Tumbleweed Fund,
Union Bank of California, Castle Park #40, 1342 Third Avenue,
Chula Vista, CA 91911."
With the summer cruising season almost upon us, we have some
quick advice: "Life is short, live it to the fullest."