With reports this month from
Dreamcatcher on being able to respond
to injuries offshore; from Moonshadow
on the relative merits of 'primitive' and 'First-World' cruising;
from Carmelita on a Puddle Jump
Reunion at Suwarrow; from Anonymous
a report in disgusting cruisers' behavior in Baja many years
ago; from Patagonia on a very lucky
passage from Cartagena to Curaçao; from Kellowyn
on Indonesia; from Always Another Horizon
on the jittery start of a circumnavigation; and Cruise
Dreamcatcher - Passport 42
John Gage & Luise Marchi
(Perth Amboy, N.J./Ramona)
If you were doublehanding with a partner or spouse, and he or
she became incapacitated, would the other of you be able to singlehand
the boat hundreds of miles to port? And if they were in pain,
would you have the medication appropriate for the situation?
I ask these questions because I know from firsthand experience
that people can become incapacitated offshore. John, the boat's
owner, and I, the crew, were just over five days into the passage
from New Caledonia to Australia when it happened. We'd been sailing
along at seven knots in 20-knot easterly trades with eight-foot
seas when a large wave hit the boat as I was getting dressed
for the dawn watch. The impact threw me across the cabin and
into the companionway steps.
I was able to stand after hitting the steps, but felt a severe
pain in the area of my pelvic bone. I was afraid that I might
have fractured my pelvis. Slowly I made my way to the settee,
where I lay down and kept as still as possible. John hove to
in order to rest and evaluate the situation and our options.
When I sat up a few hours later to go to the head, the pain was
excruciating. As I stood up clutching the mast, John asked if
I was all right. He told me to sit down if I felt I was going
to pass out. I said I was fine, but I might not have been, for
when I next opened my eyes, I found that I'd slid down to the
cabin sole. I ultimately managed to make my way to the head,
but by the time I got back to the settee, it was clear to me
that I shouldn't try to move again. I never thought that I'd
want to ever wear Depends, but if they meant I didn't have to
get up to go to the head, I wanted them!
Some good pain medicine would have been very helpful. All we
had was codeine. John gave me two, and before long I had dozed
off. He then logged onto the SSB Seafarer's Net, informed them
of my medical situation, and asked for the weather forecast.
It wasn't the most encouraging forecast, as for the next two
days it was supposed to blow to 25 knots, and when we approached
the coast near Bundaberg in three days, it was to blow 35 knots.
John set up a twice-daily SSB sked, and it gave me some comfort
to know that people were aware of my situation and willing to
help if needed. I felt that I was going to be all right as long
as I didn't have to move, but John was going to have to singlehand
the last 400 miles because I was useless as crew. Having gotten
the rest he needed, he got the boat underway again.
The forecast proved to be accurate, and we indeed had 35 knots
of wind on the beam with 12-foot seas for the last 40 miles.
As we neared the coast, we were contacted by the Australian Coast
Guard, which stayed in contact with us the rest of the way
- and even sent a plane to check us out. We assured them that
I was not in any immediate danger, and comfortable as long as
I didn't move much. By then I was pretty sure that I hadn't fractured
my pelvis, as the swelling had gone down.
Thanks to a good boat and John's skill, we arrived safely. Fortunately,
we'd been given the VHF frequencies of a marina and Immigration.
The latter actually started our paperwork over the radio. When
we arrived at 6:30 p.m., they had an ambulance waiting. The Immigration
folks were also on hand to complete the paperwork while the paramedics
checked me out.
I was also examined and X-rayed at the hospital. Fortunately,
I hadn't broken any bones, and just suffered some bruised ribs
and soft tissue damage. Although it would require nothing more
than time to heal, the pain was extreme. That first night in
the hospital I was given three different pain medications, including
morphine. Nonetheless, I could still feel the pain when I moved
the wrong way.
Happily, I have since recovered completely. Nonetheless, it proved
to me that accidents at sea can happen to anyone at any time.
Since most cruisers sail with only two people aboard, it
should raise several questions. First, if something like this
happened to either of you, would the other be able to singlehand
the boat to port? Second, do you have the necessary pain medications
aboard? These are good questions to consider before you take
- luise 09/12/05
Moonshadow - Deerfoot 62
George Backhus & Merima Dzaferi
Primitive Or First World Cruising
In an October 'Lectronic, you asked cruisers which they
preferred, 'primitive' or 'first world' cruising. In our opinion,
variety is the spice of life.
Over the years, we've had the opportunity to visit many very
interesting remote areas, including the San Blas Islands of Panama,
Palmerston Island in the Cooks, Beveridge and Minerva Reefs,
parts of the Lau Group of Fiji, the outer islands of Vanuatu,
and the Northern Territory of Australia. While it can be challenging
cruising in these more primitive areas, there is an indescribable
feeling that comes from being so out of touch with the 'real
world', and from experiencing those 'National Geographic moments'.
It never ceases to amaze us to see people, who by our standards
are living primitively or in sheer poverty, yet are so happy
with the simplicity of their lives. It's inspiring to see that
it's not 'stuff' that brings happiness.
'Primitive cruising' also tends to be very inexpensive, because
the further you are from civilization, the less opportunity there
is to spend anything but coconuts.
Since we're avid divers, and few of the best dive sites are near
major metropolitan areas, we've had another reason to cruise
to primitive areas. Having gotten around a bit, I can report
that it's getting increasingly difficult to find reefs that haven't
been adversely affected by the impact of humans. Of the ones
left, many of the best can only be reached by private yacht.
On the other hand, too much of anything can become boring. Folks
laboring away in office buildings in San Francisco may not believe
this, but that's even true for white sand beaches, palm trees,
azure oceans, and warm weather. So after a few months in the
outback areas of the world, we long for a bit of civilization,
concrete, and hustle and bustle. As such, I don't think that
we could survive without spending a big chunk of each year in
the First World, soaking up all the excitement, enjoying the
technology, arts, cuisine and nightlife, and not having to do
everything for ourselves.
Our solution has been to try to spend about six months a year
'primitive cruising' and about six months a year 'first world'
cruising. In some cases, it only requires travelling a few hundred
miles. For example, it's not far from the jungles of Borneo and
the rice paddies of Indonesia to the beautiful, modern, cosmopolitan
and impeccably clean city/island/country of Singapore. There's
no shortage of bright lights in Singapore, as seen by the accompanying
photo of the 'Little India' area during Deepavali, which is sort
of an Indian version of Thanksgiving.
Singapore is a very vibrant city with gorgeous architecture,
lots of waterfront wining and dining, excellent food from every
corner of the world, great marinas, and an excellent public transportation
system. In addition, they've got not one, but two six-story shopping complexes
that sell nothing but consumer electronics! No wonder many of
us yachties are spending on new toys, with flat screen TVs,
AirCon units (a necessity here), laptop computers, and iPods
the top picks. It's going to be fun to have them when we're in
the wilds of Malaysia before too long.
For the last three weeks, we've been berthed in Raffles Marina
in Singapore which, like so many modern marinas in the world,
offers high-speed wireless internet access. As such, we've been
able to catch up on 'Lectronic Latitude. We're glad to
hear that the official clearing procedures seem to have gotten
much easier in Mexico, as we're giving some thought to spending
another season there in a couple of years. We might even do another
Ha-Ha if we ever decide to go north to San Francisco for a summer.
Good luck to everyone in this year's Ha-Ha fleet!
- george 10/15/05
Carmelita - Peterson 44
Paul, Carol, and Kate (13) Reid
Suwarrow Puddle Jump Reunion
This is a little dated, but thought folks might get a kick out
of some photos we took while having a Pacific Puddle Jump reunion
at Suwarrow Atoll in the Northern Cooks. (The atoll is also known
as Suvarov after the Russian who discovered it.)
There were seven of us Puddle Jump boats in the lagoon for the
'reunion', and we were joined by a number of other boats from
around the world. Our Latitude 38 Puddle Jump flag is now proudly
displayed for the Suwarrow YC - along with another one from the
Class of '02.
Suwarrow is a logical stopover point for those boats leaving
the Society Islands on the Northern route to Tonga via American
and Western Samoa. The atoll is a bird sanctuary for the Cook
Islands, and is uninhabited except for seasonal caretakers. John
and Veronica were the 'hosts' this year, and very welcoming and
gracious to all the cruisers. They hosted a weekly potluck for
the yachties that included fish, coconut crabs, and coconut-based
dishes. The yachties reciprocated by erecting a volleyball net
- made from discarded fishnets - and helping John fix his SSB
The holding at Suwarrow is not the best, and there is thin sand
over a coral hardpan and lots of small coral 'bombies'. It's
also like the atolls in the Tuamotus in that you have to be aware
that a shift in wind direction doesn't leave you on the lee shore
of a reef. But the weather in Suwarrow was settled while we were
there, so it was fine. The entrance to the pass in the reef is
not marked, but it's easy to negotiate.
The fishing at Suwarrow is amazing, And if you're lucky, you'll
find lobsters by walking on the edge of the reef at night. There
are a number of sharks in the lagoon, so you have to be careful
when spearfishing, but the sharks don't bother regular swimmers.
Suwarrow was one of our highlights this year, so if anyone is
bound for Samoa from the Societies, don't miss it!
- the reids 07/21/05
The shameful story I'm about to tell is true, although it happened
many years ago. Before it was over, neither participant was proud
of what they had done. One of them, now deceased, told me that
he regretted it for the rest of his life.
The story took place back in the early '70s near Loreto in the
Sea of Cortez. This was in the days before the TransPeninsula
Highway, when Baja was a true frontier. Cruising was much different
back then, as during the summer there were perhaps only a handful
of cruising boats in the entire Sea of Cortez. Wooden boats were
common, and everone had to navigate by sextant because SatNav,
let along GPS, hadn't been invented yet. Nobody had today's common
cruiser conveniences such as watermakers, refrigeration, inverters,
SailMail, and SatPhones and stuff. The cruising life was less
complicated but more challenging.
There were so few boats sitting out the long, sweltering hurrricane
season near Loreto that it was very quiet and lonely - maybe
even boring. That, combined with the following ditty of the day,
perhaps best explains the motivation for the misdeed: "Down
Baja way/Where life is sweet/If the meat is tender/You can be
sure it ain't beef."
Dying for some good beef, our intrepid 'Great White Hunter' and
his friend decided they would get their beef by matching brains
and brawn with the most fearsome beast of the parched Baja desert
- the cactus-fed, long-horn, free-range Baja cattle. Just because
an animal was free-range in Baja didn't mean it wasn't a poor
rancher's prized possession - and perhaps his primary asset.
But this didn't weigh heavily on the beef-hungry hunters. Besides,
they had a plan. Rather than being greedy and taking the full-grown
steer, they'd take a baby calf. The fact that calf meat may be
easier to chew had also entered their minds.
So the Great White Hunter and his assistant set out during the
day to find their prey and get the lay of the land. It wasn't
hard to find the calves, as they never strayed far from the small
family that owned them. In Baja, the cattle's only natural enemy
- beside the heat and thirst - were the coyotes, so they associated
humans with safety and weren't afraid. So the GWH and his assistant
found a 90-pound calf that would be suitable for their dietary
desires, they noted its location and made plans to return after
the moon had set that evening.
The thing to remember is that no matter how poor some cruisers
might have felt down in the Sea, they were many times wealthier
than the poor Mexican family that was trying to scratch out a
living there. For what cruisers spent on entertainment was about
equivalent to a rancher's household income for the year. While
many would call these sailors greedy gringos, or maybe even cattle
rustlers, they preferred to think of themselves as 'hunters'.
Indeed, the GWH was truly a hunting fool. For example, when this
singlehander went diving for lobster, he didn't take just one
for his dinner, he took 12. When asked why, he'd say he did it
because he could. After all, he was the Great White Hunter.
Anyway, the prey had been chosen, the plan had been set, and
the hunters had thought of everythng - right down to shooting
the calf with a bow and arrow so as not to awaken the family
that owned it. So the hunters rowed their dinghies ashore and
flitted through the darkness to the spot where they had last
seen the calf. There in the distance was the calf, appearing
as a black shape against an even blacker background.
Taking aim, the GWH let loose a single arrow from his bow. Since
he was an accurate archer, the arrow passed through the chest
of the animal, killing it instantly. As the cruiser-hunters scrambled
over to pick up the carcass, they made a horrible discovery -
the arrow hadn't killed the calf, but the poor family's prized
Killing the wrong animal was a disaster on many counts. First,
they realized they could never butcher such a huge animal. In
fact, they could barely lift one of its hindquarters. Second,
they had inflicted a serious economic hardship on the Baja rancher
and his family. Calves were sometimes lost to coyotes, but a
bull was another story. Third, they had killed something so huge
that there was no way they could conceal the evidence by dawn.
They had really screwed up, and they knew it.
The original plan called for them to carry the 90-lb calf back
to their boats and they would sail away. But since they couldn't
carry the bull's half-ton carcass, the truth would be obvious
that they were indeed cattle rustlers. And nobody in Mexico likes
rustlers, not even the inmates in the jails.
As the magnitude of their stupidity and the severity of the problem
sank in, the two gringos were in great dispair. Their 'discussion'
about what to do had to take place in near silence, as sound
travels a long way in still Baja nights, and the last thing they
needed was for the rancher to awake.
After an hour of tormented thinking, the two hunters decided
they simply had to make the best out of a very bad situation.
They would butcher one hindquarter, bury the rest of the bull
as best they could, then get their boats out of the area as quickly
as possible. What they didn't count on was how much work it takes
to butcher even one hindquarter of such a large animal. Nor did
they realize how many rocks it was going to take to bury what
they were going to leave. Digging a hole for the carcass was
out of the question, as there were too many rocks and they didn't
As dawn broke, the two were just finishing about the hardest
six hours of labor in their lives. As they threw the last few
rocks on the remains of the bull, they know their pathetic attempt
to cover the remains wasn't going the hide their crime for long.
The vultures would be around quickly.
As soon as the sailors got back to their respective boats, they
weighed anchor and left. They didn't want to wait around for
the poor rancher to make his dreadful discovery and figure out
who had done it. After all, the GWH's arrow was still embedded
in the bull's chest.
- anonymous 10/15/05
Readers - To us, the really disgusting
part of this story is that the two cruisers didn't work day and
night until they could repay the rancher for his loss.
Patagonia - Passport 40
The Klenk Family
East From Cartagena
After spending five months in Cartagena, Colombia, we - Ricardo
aka 'Tincho', Gloria, and our daughter Tatiana, set off on October
3 on the 460-mile passage along the dreaded coasts of Colombia
and Venezuela for Curaçao. We did so in company with four
other boats, Pizazz, Seafari, Von Voyage, and Katie
We departed Cartagena with a good 72-hour weather window - northwesterly
winds of 5 to 10 knots with less than 3-foot seas. This was good
enough to get us started, and we hoped it would eventually extend
itself for the entire passage. To our surprise, the good weather
and conditions not only held for the first three days, but
continued for our entire six-day trip. We also had favorable
currents up to 1.5 knots for the duration, and the wind was always
out of the east or northeast at a maximum of 15 to 20 knots,
so we had a lot of good sailing as evidenced by the fact that
we only used 33 gallons of fuel!
Our first stop and overnight was at Punta Hermosa, a very beautiful
and protected anchorage just 50 miles from Cartagena. Unfortunately,
it has a bad reputation because of some violent incidents against
cruisers in recent years. The main reason we stopped was to avoid
hitting the mouth of the Rio Magdalena after dark. This is very
important, as there is a tremendous amount of debris - such as
entire trees - that flow out of the river. Although we passed
five miles offshore of the river mouth, we still had to dodge
all kinds of debris for about two hours!
Our proposed second leg was 67 miles to Five Bays, but as we
wouldn't have made it before dark, we stopped at Rodadero, a
more upscale resort town on a very scenic bay. Although the anchorage
was a little rolly, it also turned out to be a very pleasant
stop. We didn't get off the boat, but the town seemed to be alive
with people and music. In fact, we could hear the music until
the wee hours.
Early the next morning we continued on to Five Bays, anchoring
in Guayraca Bay, which is the middle one. We spent the rest of
the day there enjoying the water, the quaint village, and the
very friendly people.
At 125 miles, our fourth leg - from Five Bays to Cabo de Vela
- was a little longer, and took us 36 hours. Due to the westerly
winds - the direct opposite of the easterlies which blow almost
all the time - we had a hard time finding a protected spot in
which to anchor. So we ended up dropping the hook at Bahia Portete,
which is 15 miles past Cabo de la Vela. We assumed that we'd
be given a hard time because it's a commercial port, but the
officials were very nice and accommodating.
After a good night's sleep, we set off for the last leg of our
passage, a two-day sail to Curaçao. If necessary, we could
have stopped at Los Monjes del Sur or Aruba, but the conditions
were so unbelievably good that we did a straight shot. We arrived
in Spanish Waters, Curaçao, at 7 a.m. on October
Our message is that anyone who is considering going from Cartagena
to the ABC's (Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao), or even vice
versa, is that while it's definitely considered one of the most
difficult and dangerous cruising passages in the world, it's
not impossible. The key things to keep in mind are that you don't
want to be on a schedule, you only want to do it at the right
time of year, and you need to be patient enough to wait for a
good weather window. If you follow the 'rules', it's possible
to complete the passage.
We strongly recommend travelling as part of a group of boats
- three or four seems like a good number. We established a radio
net for both SSB and VHF, so we knew we wouldn't be alone. We
checked in with each other every three hours, and it gave us
a lot of confidence.
Even though there have incidents when cruisers and cruising boats
have been violently attacked along this coast, and we presume
that there will be similar incidents in the future, we don't
think it's as bad as most people think. And it's not like there
aren't similar incidents elsewhere in the world. We believe that
if one takes the necessary precautions and monitors the weather
before and during the trip, there is a very good chance of a
- the klenks 10/20/05
Kellowyn - F9RX Trimaran
Ben Ronninger, Crew
Bali To Johor Bahru, Malaysia
"We're anchored at yet another place I never dreamed I would
venture to - Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Judging from what I've seen,
this place must feel its competition to stay as clean and modern
as Singapore, the mecca across the Johor Strait that the Malaysians
lost to independence 40 years ago.
Our sail here from Bali aboard Curtis Nettleship's trimaran was
fairly routine, as early on as we plowed through books and games
of cribbage while the Indian Ocean sent her winds and swells
to push us along the southern coast of Java. We had a big decision
to make when we came to the western tip of Java - should we continue
along in the Indian Ocean, or should we go northeast between
the big islands of Java and Sumatra and on up to the Malacca
Strait? Both routes were fraught with perils, whether from the
big ocean or from the shallow sea. We chose the scenic route
northeast. This took us past Java Head, where the last Javan
rhinos live; past Krakatoa, site of the huge earthquake of 1883;
past Sumatra's mangroves; and past a thousand islands along the
We only sailed during the day to avoid collisions with supertankers,
oil rigs, floating bamboo huts, fishing stakes and nets, and
local boats that were anchored unlit despite the moonless nights.
We made it safely, but just barely. All the days were great,
but I'll tell you about one of my favorites.
I awoke before dawn - which comes at about 7 a.m. in these equatorial
waters, AND where the days are 12 hours long. We had crossed
the equator the day before while off Lingaa Island, where I paid
homage to Neptune/Poseidon with a cup of fresh water. (He's gotta
be thirsty, don't you think, as there's water, water everywhere,
but not a drop to drink.) I also threw in some seashells, as
I'm sure he needs more of those. My final offerings were some
sweat and urine - and I had an excess of both. My offerings seemed
to work the last time we faced a similarly risky situation.
We hadn't seen any rain on this leg of the passage, so when the
skies looked black and ominous, we anticipated 'sumatras' - which
are strong rain squalls from the west. They are common at this
time of year, and we were actually looking forward to some fresh
water. Despite the approach of the first Sumatra, we decided
to keep Kellowyn's biggest headsail up for as long as
we could in order to clear a small island to the east of us.
When the rain came, it came hard. And then it came even harder.
The wind whistled through the rigging as the rain put dimples
in our skin. That's when everything started to go wrong. The
big headsail wouldn't furl, so I had to go out on the bowsprit
to sort things out as the wind began to build to ludicrously
high speeds. Curtis eased the tangled line through the choke
to me and took over the helm from our autopilot - while the light
tri took off in excess of 20 knots! She was surfing down the
waves with me perched on a three-inch diameter pole just two
feet off the water. I had nothing to hold on to except a little
wire and the luff of the headsail.
In retrospect, I should have been scared, but I wasn't. I was
too busy being in awe of the sound of the water rushing past
the hulls and the speeds that we were travelling. Perhaps it
helped that I couldn't see very well, and the tremendous amount
of rain hitting the surface of the water created a two-inch higher
layer of something that looked like fog. As precarious as my
position was, it was the sweetest, most fun ride I think I've
ever had. Curtis kept the boat as smooth as possible so I could
solve the problems up forward. When I climbed back onto the bow
of the boat, I felt a rush of the good stuff. We furled the screecher
as much as we could, got it down on deck, and crammed the bag
into an ama - as the wind gusted in excess of 60 knots!
While the fury lasted, we had no choice but to sketchily navigate
through the hundreds of islands around us. We even nearly claimed
one as the tri's permanent home. The wind and rain continued,
so Curtis stretched a tarp out in the cockpit, and soon it had
filled enough for us to take a proper bath! We'd have been quite
a sight had anybody seen us, sailing over the waves at breakneck
speed and having a bath as though we didn't have a care in the
The squall eventually ended, as all of them do. We anchored for
the night just shy of the Strait of Singapore. We celebrated
by played hacky-sack on the shore.
The next morning I paddled ashore to a trippy little community
of shacks on stilts, seeking gas with jerry jugs. Meanwhile,
Curtis sailed in circles in the light air waiting for me. Walking
ashore at low tide, I was mesmerized by the community of creatures
that live on the reef. I was even more flabbergasted by the cool
way these folks live.
Having gotten fuel, we made our way across the Strait. I felt
like a frogger, skipping across the busiest part of the busiest
channel in the world. We nearly met the Deiulemar - does that
mean 'sea duel' in some language? - head on, but then she gave
way, all 4,000,000 tons of her to the two-ton underdog Kellowyn.
As we attempted to enter the Johor Strait and thus continue on
to Malay Peninsula, we became lost in a complex of jetties and
reclaimed land that didn't agree with our charts. Apparently
the folks in Singapore just up and reclaim more land daily. And
damn if another of those sumatras didn't hit as we were wandering
aimlessly through the megatanker anchorage and shipping yards.
We were more than a little ready for this sumatra, and came through
the blow all right, finally finding our way out of the confounded
district and continuing on to good ol' Malaysia.
I don't know about the rest of you, but I love coming through
situations such as the one described above. The adrenaline is
great, and the laughs when you survive are the best! I guess
what I'll miss most about the sailing life is that sometimes
Mother Ocean throws some unexpected fun your way, and the only
thing you can do is embrace it and ride it out.
Some of you know that I'm giving up sailing for now. After all,
I'm more of a mountain man than a salt, and more and more clearly
feel the land calling me. Yet sometimes I wonder what I'm thinking,
as this cruising is just too interesting and fun. After all,
we're basically ambassadors wherever we go, and we're usually
treated as such. I can't remember going to a place where Curtis
and I didn't fall in tight with an eating or drinking establishment,
and truthfully, what more does a man need than a bit of nourishment
and imbibery? This was, of course, except when we were in places
without such establishments, in which case we had to provide
for ourselves. And that wasn't so hard, because we're actually
not so bad at it.
Take the place we're at now. We've made friends with the administrator,
who owns the juice bar across from the anchorage. He rarely lets
us pay for fresh carrot juice, or watermelon, or starfruit, or
honeydew melon juice. He watches our inflatable kayaks all day
- well, he sits there playing cards, watching the weather, and
napping in his gold chains. Plus, he's taking us on a tour of
the mountains tomorrow to show us the rubber trees, oil palms,
monkeys - and I'm sure a ton of more interesting things he knows
Maybe it's the dilapidated, disheveled, disgruntled, and destitute
way we look - let's face it, you ain't gonna see us on the cover
of Yachting World - that encourages locals to show us,
real travellers, as opposed to those who came off airplanes for
booked tours - the very best of their village, town, city, or
what have you. But yes, I'm gonna put this kind of cruising aside,
take to the mountains, and start my own thing.
I've sure gained a lot of knowledge from Curtis in these two
years, and because of that I feel as though I can fix anything
with what's at my feet. After all, we've kept this toy boat going
for two years now - and she's taken a real pounding - with just
what we brought along. It's really quite amazing, and I know
the problems I face back home will be easier than this. So I'm
gonna have to give it a go. Besides, I'll be broke soon.
- ben 06/10/05
A Typically Tough Beginning
[In 1993, then-Berkeley residents Steve Salmon and Tina Olton
began what would turn out to be an eight-year circumnavigation
featuring visits to 61 countries. Tina has just published an
account of that adventure titled Always Another Horizon,
the name of their second Valiant 40. We're excerpting a chapter
from her book - available from the usual bookstores and online
sources - to prove that challenging and rewarding cruises don't
always start smoothly.]
As we sailed between Santa Cruz and Morro Bay, the wind was near
gale force, the seas were high, the engine was overheating, Stephen
was seasick, the auto-pilot had stopped working, and it was a
very dark night. There was also a dense fog. It made the dark
night darker than dark. There was no ambient light from the shore
or from the sky, so it was impossible to discern the horizon.
We couldn't see where we were going, where we'd come from, or
if the next wave would swamp us or slip under the hull. It's
not unusual to have these conditions along the California coast,
but they were not conditions anyone would hope for. I hated all
We were both on deck grappling with the sails to reef them. It
was my watch, and I had waited too long to wake Stephen to get
his help with this task. The wind was whistling and it was difficult
to get the sails under control. We were being flung from side
to side by the confused seas. In the dark, we couldn't anticipate
the wave action, and were readily thrown off balance. With no
horizon to focus on, it was easy to become disoriented - although
with all the sea action flinging us about, it was pretty hard
to focus on anything.
And then the foghorn boomed off our starboard side. Oh, man!
He was close, he was big, he was going fast, and no doubt he
didn't have any notion that we were out there with him. We blew
our own horn, which resulted in a puny, tinny sound. I rushed
to the radar to watch his blip marching closer and closer to
our path. Stephen called on the radio: "Ship travelling
south at about latitude 35 degrees 52 minutes north, longitude
121 degrees 39 minutes west, this is the sailing vessel Another
Horizon off your port bow. Do you copy?" There was no
We had little time to plan a way to avoid the ship. Our usual
policy was to assume nothing and get out of the way of any vessel
bigger than ours. This ship was definitely bigger; we could tell
by the tone of his horn. It was possible that he was blasting
away because he did know we were there. But unless we could raise
him on the radio to confirm it, we had to steer clear.
We turned into the seas. The sails slatted and crashed, the bow
pumped up and down, and the waves rolled over the deck. We were
drenched by seawater and at a near standstill. We watched his
radar blip slide past us as we floundered in the trough and crashed
through the crests of the waves. We never saw even a shadow of
his hull. Oh, how I hated this!
The next morning the wind had abated some, but the fog continued
to swirl around the rigging in wet tendrils as we approached
Morro Bay. We could barely make our bow from the cockpit, the
fog was so thick. Because of the shallow water and long breakwaters,
Morro Bay is a tricky entrance even in good weather. In the fog,
with the sea running, it can be impossible. We called the Morro
Bay Harbormaster to ask for their advice.
Was the entrance passable? "Yes," they replied. "The
seas are not bad at the entrance." Well, that was something.
But we could see nothing, good or bad, as we approached. The
radar was on to help us 'see', and the engine was on to give
us more control. Stephen took the helm, and I watched the radar.
On the radar screen the breakwaters appeared as two eerie greenish-yellow
lines with a narrow gap between them. This would be an 'instrument
landing'. We surfed down long rolling swells as we came to the
gap between the breakwaters. I began to wonder what the Harbor
Patrol's definition of "not bad" was. We stared into
the grey void as I gauged our distance from the gap on the radar.
"A quarter mile . . . ah . . . less than that."
"How much is less?" Stephen complained.
"I don't know," I replied. "We should be right
there . . . now."
"There, there, there!" Stephen yelled. And I could
just then make out the gray rocks of the breakwater rising from
the gray water, appearing through the gray air. At the last moment,
a green marker gave us the key to the channel entrance. I heard
a pounding. Was it my heart, or the waves on the rocks?
Slowly we chugged our way up the channel. With the warmth of
the land and buildings close by, the fog was less dense, and
we could make out the channel markers leading us to a calm berth.
With Another Horizon tied at the dock, we both sank into
the cockpit. We looked at each other and, I'll have to admit,
small begrudging smiles appeared.
We solved most of the problems that had developed on that passage.
The engine overheating was traced to a disintegrating pump belt,
easily replaced. The autopilot remote control had been switched
on somehow without our knowing it, causing us to believe that
the autopilot was broken. We vowed that we would learn more about
avoiding bad weather as the weeks progressed. And we agreed that
we would reef the sails earlier when the wind came up.
Stephen's seasickness, however, would never be solved in the
eight years we'd be at sea. It was his cross to bear. And me?
At the moment I couldn't believe I was submitting to this way
of life. Did I really want to go through more nights like this?
I knew it would not be the last, that even with more diligence
to the weather, we would have many nights like that - and even
worse. Was I crazy? We were only two days into our eight-year
odyssey, and I wondered what on earth I had gotten myself into."
- tina 10/15/05
Based on the following letter from Chuck Baier and Susan Landry
of the Norfolk, Virginia-based Mariner 40 Sea Trek, not
all port captains on the Caribbean coast of Mexico are aboard
with the new clearing regulations:
"We sailed south from the States in June, just about when
the new clearing rules were going into effect. At that time,
some port captains on the Caribbean side were still refusing
to follow the new regulations. Since then we have spent four
months in Guatemala, and are now on our way back north. According
to the regional SSB net, the skippers who have tried to clear
into Mexico at Puerto Morales are being told they need to hire
an agent - who apparently charges $200 and does very little for
the money! In addition, the port captain at Isla Mujeres is also
said to make cruisers use an agent. Who can we contact to complain
about this? We are currently in Belize and heading north whenever
the winds will allow. I guess you might say we're doing Mexico's
It's illegal for port captains to require the use of agents or
to charge to be 'informed' that a boat has arrived or is leaving
port. Please send an email immediately to Tere
Grossman, President of the Mexican Marina Owners Association.
She will alert Jose Lozano, the Executive Director of the Merchant
Marine in Mexico City. The boss of all port captains, he will
reportedly get on their case for not following federal law. It's
important that cruisers report all port captains who don't comply
with the new federal rules.
"While anchored off Tigre Island one morning recently, there
was a call on the VHF from 52-foot trimaran saying that they
were on the reef just off Puyadas Island, about two miles north
of us," report Ha-Ha vets Joe Brandt and Jacque Martin of
the Alameda-based Wauquiez 47 Marna Lynn. "Knowing
how nasty the reefs are here in Panama's San Blas Islands, we
got Karl and his daughter Kelsey from the nearby Arclyd II,
and headed over to see if we could help. When we arrived, it
was clear the trimaran was really stuck. We tried to pull her
off a couple of times, but had no luck. But while coordinating
our effort over the VHF, friends John and Susie aboard the motor
vessel Cabaret broke in and asked if they could help. After I
explained the situation, they said they would be with us in less
than an hour. The first time, they tried to pull the tri free
with a 5/8-inch line from the trim. It broke. So John pulled
out a 3/4-inch line. After a couple of pulls, they succeeded
in getting the tri off the reef. Fortunately, she'd sustained
no real damage, and was able to continue on her way. Nonetheless,
it was a typical example of how cruisers - even powerboating
cruisers - help each other out. It's our understanding that this
wasn't the first time John and Susie have pulled a sailboat off."
If you're reading this issue in a timely manner, chances are
the 20th anniversary of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, the
granddaddy of all cruising rallies, will still be in progress
from the Canary Islands to St. Lucia. It started on November
20, and the last boat should arrive 2,900 miles later in St.
Lucia in the Eastern Caribbean no later than December 17. Happy
Birthday to the landmark event and its founder Jimmy Cornell.
The maximum of 225 boats has signed up, and probably about 200
will actually sail the course. Organizers made a big effort this
year to get rid of the big and gaudy boats in an attempt to return
the event to its cruiser roots. Well, it didn't work. So there's
an Invitational Division for big Swans and Oysters mostly, an
Open Division for the R/P 92 Leopard of London, an IRC Racing
Division, and an IRC Invitational Racing Division. There's also
a 21-boat multihull division, which may be a record.
In recognition of the 20th anniveesary, Matthew Sheahan of the
United Kingdom's Yachting World came up with an interesting
feature by determining the 10 most-entered boat models in the
last five years. The results were 20 Amel Super Maraumu 52s;
16 Oyster 56s; 15 Beneteau Oceanis 473s; 15 Beneteau Oceanis
50s; 14 Beneteau 40.7s; 14 Hallberg-Rassy 42s; 14 Oyster 53s;
8 Beneteau First 47.7s; 10 Swan 48s; and 10 Westerly Oceanlords.
The most represented manufacturers? Beneteau, 22 models for a
total of 96 boats. Nautor Swan, 27 models, 81 boats. Hallberg-Rassy,
16 models, 76 boats. Oyster, 18 models, 75 boats. Jeanneau, 21
models, 57 boats. Bavaria, 11 models, 45 boats. X-Yachts, 13
models, 23 boats. Two companies are tied for 8th place, Amel
with 3 models and 22 boats, and Moody with 12 models and 22 boats.
Westerly is tenth with nine models and a total of 20 boats.
In any event, we wish them all a safe and pleasant voyage.
"Okay, okay, okay, last month I wrote that I thought the
streets of Colon, Panama, were not so bad," writes Kevin
Stewart of the 45-year-old Arthur Robb 35 woodie Vixen. "That
was on Saturday. On Sunday I went into Colon and everyone looked
at me as if it was dinnertime at an anteater's house and I was
an ant. I took a cab back to the yacht club, and am now thinking
Colon isn't so nice after all.
"By the way," Stewart continues, "freaking Bonaire
- way to the east in the Caribbean Sea - raised their mooring
rates to $10/U.S. a day. The shopkeepers are the ones who are
going to lose. I first arrived in Bonaire in '63, a purunchi-faced
boy with a peeling nose. The island has changed since then. As
you might know, all the waters around the island are a marine
park, so there is no anchoring. My bitch is that the mooring
fees have been doubled to $10/night, which for me is the difference
between visiting and not visiting. So far there has been a decline
in the number of boats that have visited, so doubling the price
didn't double the park's income. And the local stores have lost
a lot more. Bonaire is the island where you use your car horn
to greet friends in the street - and then you also do it 10 minutes
later when you pass them again. P.S. I anchored in Sausalito
for 15 months, and I can tell you the water in the Caribbean
is a lot clearer."
Susan Meckley of the Alameda-based Challenger 32 Dharma
is not your average female senior citizen. In addition to being
one of the leaders of last year's Puddle Jump, she did a solo
34-passage to Hawaii. But that was just the beginning of the
73-year-old's cruising aspirations. An enthusiastic amateur radio
operator, she plans to broadcast from 23 seldom-visited locations
in the Pacific. Meckley spent the summer in Pearl Harbor Navy
Marina, and was a volunteer on the USS Missouri 'radio central'
almost every day. And now she's received permission to visit
Johnston Island, which just last October was abandoned by the
U.S. Air Force in preparation for being turned over to the U.S.
Fish & Wildlife Service. We can remember when William F.
Buckley sailed to Johnston aboard a chartered Ocean 71, and figured
his friendship with the then-President would be enough to have
him welcomed to the restricted island with open arms. To the
eternal credit of the local commancer, Buckley and his crew were
told, metaphorically speaking, to suck some sea slugs. Anyway,
Meckley reports that everything on Johnston has been torn down
and even the swimming pool was filled in. But the center of the
channel, which is wide enough to tack a sailboat in, is still
clear. "I should be arriving there around December 7 for
a solo ham 'DXpedition'. I expect to remain on the island for
a week or so before continuing on to Kwajalein."
"We're finally headed south from Rhode Island for the Bahamas
and then on to South America," reports Christine Watson
of the Wickford, Rhode Island-based Cal 36 Clarity. "It's
been a tough year for heading south from New England, as more
often than not, the winds have been out of the south at a pretty
good clip. The only window we could get was a 35-knot northwesterly
accompanied by near freezing temps. These were not the greatest
conditions for regaining sea legs after a long period of working
rather than sailing on the boat. Nor was it a good offshore introduction
for my mate Curtis Garren, who joined me from inland Oregon.
My two harbor-bound Jack Russell terriers Dodge and Aspen
were less than impressed with conditions as well. Luckily, that
first leg of open ocean sailing was not much more than 200 miles.
The gale abated after 36 hours, enabling us to finish the passage
with bright moonlight, calm seas, and a spectacular sunrise.
Fortunately, we managed not to lose any limbs to frostbite, and
my mate and dogs were troopers. But if anybody had asked at that
point, I think they'd have said they'd rather live on land. My
Cal 36 performed beautifully. I'm glad I've had the opportunity,
means, and the know-how to restore such a classic. We're currently
in the northern Chesapeake, visiting my family scattered along
the length of the bay, working our way south. I'm trying to be
patient, but can't wait to bury the long underwear and put on
my birthday suit next to some balmy beach. Having left home,
I'll miss my regular dose of Latitudes - but at least
I'll be one of those people out there living the dream rather
than sitting around the harbor reading about it."
"Bula!" write Kurt and Katie Braun of the Alameda and
New Zealand-based Deerfoot 74 Interlude. "We're now
on a passage from Fiji to Kiribati and reading up on all the
World War II history. Almost 6,000 Japanese and Americans died
in four days on Betio Island, Tarawa Atoll. The losses were similar
to Guadalcanal, but they happened over a much shorter period
of time and in a much smaller area. Betio is only half a square
mile! We had a lot of fun while in Fiji and made two new movies
about kava drinking. The first is Grog Day Afternoon, the second
is the Night of the Vagona. Just kidding."
Girls Gone Wild Island exposed as a fraud! If you have a television,
you've no doubt been assaulted by ads for the Girls Gone Wild
videos. You know, the ones where alleged college girls on Spring
Break, fueled by alcohol and dying for attention, shed their
inhibitions and clothes for the cameras. Unable to sleep at 5
a.m. the other morning, we flicked on the television to see nonstop
ads for a title called Girls Gone Wild at Girls Gone Wild Island.
The pitch was, "Ever dream of having your own private island
full of hot young girls battling each other for your viewing
pleasure? Well, dream no more. You're invited to the Girls Gone
Wild Island where absolutely anything goes with the hottest,
sexiest young girls you've ever seen!" Well, after following
the bouncing breasts and butts for a few minutes, our eyes drifted
to the background - and we had a revelation. Girls Gone Wild
Island isn't an island at all, but rather the north shore of
Banderas Bay, about a mile east of Punta Mita. We know because
it's our favorite anchorage/surf spot in Mexico. That GGW guy
should be ashamed of himself, trying to mislead his audience
We don't know that we've ever met Robert Case, and we aren't
sure where he's from, but we're pleased he decided to advise
us that by reaching Noumea, New Caledonia, he's completed a circumnavigation
aboard his sloop Lala Salama. "Not too bad for an
old girl and an even older boy," he writes. His best 24-hour
run was 174 knots, his top speed was 12.4 knots, and he averaged
five knots while underway. Well done!
Whenever possible, dear readers, try to include the boat name,
boat type, hailing port, and full names of the principles in
any report. It makes the reports more precise and authoritative
when in print. But trust us, we know how hard it can be to get
the full information. For example, we've been in frequent contact
with a woman at the Hidden Port YC in Puerto Escondido who always
just refers to herself by her cruising names of 'Connie' and
'Connie SunLover'. When we asked for her full name, we got a
short story in response.
"I can understand why you'd be confused," she responded.
"I am Connie SunLover, but when I came down here nine years
ago I wasn't married. I got involved with the Hidden Port YC,
then met Elvin of the 42-ft Cross trimaran Western Sea.
We eventually got married in the States, and again here in Juncalito
Beach with all our friends. Then we got a panga, which Elvin
uses in the harbor. But while we were using the panga to rescue
all kinds of boats after hurricane Marty, the panga started to
sink. So when there was an alert broadcast over the VHF that
"Western Sea is sinking", five dinghies rushed
over to our tri. But it was the panga that was sinking, not the
tri. So now Elvin uses "SeaLover", a combination of
Western Sea and SunLover. But my real name is Connie McWilliam
If you're still as confused as we are, have Connie clear it up
for you in person when you get to Puerto Escondido for Loreto
Fest in early May. She says it's going to be really big this
Speaking of really big, on November 19, Panamanian President
Martin Torrijos announced to officials from the States, Europe,
and Asia that Panama would be building a megaport at the Pacific
Ocean entrance to the Panama Canal. This has long been expected,
but if you think it bodes well for cruiser anchorages and small
boat Canal transits, think again.
What's the market for berths like in Cabo San Lucas? Let's put
it this way: they are charging between $3-$4 a foot per night
for transient berthing, and having no trouble getting it. What's
more surprising is that Victor Barreda, who has been a ship's
agent in town for 40 years, says it was as crowded as he's ever
seen it in the marina over the summer. Fortunately, there's a
big and lovely anchorage in the bay, where you can drop the hook
for free - and where you won't be asphyxiated by several hundred
sportfishing boats at 5:30 a.m. each morning. Nonetheless, it
will be interesting to see if the 500-berth marina being built
down the road at San Jose del Cabo will have an effect on berthing
prices in Cabo when it opens next year.
The other place in Mexico that is dying for berths is Banderas
Bay. For years people have been threatening to build a marina
at La Cruz, which would be an excellent site. The word is that
construction has begun on a facility that will one day accomodate
300 boats. We'll believe that when we see it, which should be
by early December, and we'll give you a report. If things are
as advertised, Banderas Bay would clearly become the sailng center
of Mexico, as it would not only have the most consistent wind
and flat water, but have four terrific marina/anchorage bases
around the bay - Puerto Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta, La Cruz, and
The completion of Marina Costa Baja in La Paz doubled the number
of berths in that southern Baja town overnight. What's the effect
been on older marinas such as Marina de La Paz? "We've got
10 Ha-Ha boats coming up from Cabo," Mary Shroyer told us,
"and when they get here, we'll be completely full."
"Can you hear me now?" Some of the folks in the Ha-Ha
were saying that familiar phrase into their regular old cell
phones at very remote places - such Bahia Santa Maria and as
much as 90 miles northwest of Cabo San Lucas. And they were getting
good reception most of the time. Depending on what billing plan
they had, the cost could be very low. The Grand Poobah, for instance,
has a Cingular plan - reportedly no longer available - in which
a call from the wilds of southern Baja to Sausalito is a regular
call, just like one from San Francisco to Sausalito. That's telecommunications
Speaking of modern communications in Mexico, we received the
following report from Jay Hall of the Punta Gorda, Florida-based
Pacific Seacraft 37 Orion: "Much to our surprise,
we've been getting very high-speed WiFi out here at the east
end of the Cabo anchorage. It looks as though the router is from
the hotel just up the beach. It's fast, and the price is right
If you're cruising around Mexico and get WiFi at an anchorage,
please send us an email and let us know where. We'd like to pass
the news along to other cruisers.
Rick Carpenter advises that he reopened Rick's Bar, which is
cruiser central in Zihua, on October 31. "Yes, internet
WiFi is up and operating, but we won't have the exterior antenna
up until next week to provide high-speed to the boats on Zihua
Bay. We have formed the Zihua Cruisers Club. The $50 annual membership
gets you free use of the Internet system, dinghy valet service
on the beach, and I'm mounting a remote camera for surveillance
of bay and boats. I just need a little time to get it all done."
Like most yachtie centers in Mexico, Rick's will be having special
dinners on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, and will be having
a raft of activities during the Zihua SailFest February 1-5.
SailFest is an outstanding fundraiser for the school for indigenous
children, so if you're in Mexico, we encourage you not to miss
it. We expect to be there with Profligate, and hope you'll
join us in raising money for the excellent cause.
"My wife Cheryl and I will be shuttling from our Nashville
home to our 53-ft sailboat Blue, which is our second home,
in Mexico this winter," writes Ken Sears. "We hope
to be seeing as much of the Mexican "Gold Coast" as
possible. We already have reservations at Marina de La Paz for
our first hop. We've stayed there before and love the staff and
marina patrons. Do you have suggestions for any similarly cordial,
safe marinas further south? We've never liked the cost or feel
of Cabo as much as La Paz. We draw 8.5 feet, so our access to
Paradise Village in Nueva Vallarta is typically limited to one
passage over the bar per 24 hours."
The 'Gold Coast' of Mexico is generally considered to be between
Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo on the mainland, a distance of
175 miles. The only marinas within that area are Isla Navidad
Marina at Barra Navidad, and the small one at the Las Hadas Resort.
The Gold Coast is mostly a place for cruising on the hook, with
Tenacatita Bay the most popular spot. There are two marinas at
the north end of the Gold Coast, Marina Paradise at Nuevo Vallarta,
and Marina Vallarta in Puerto Vallarta. They will be absolutely
packed during the high season, so get on the waiting list as
soon as possible and work on your groveling. The closest marina
north of the Gold Coast is Mazatlan, the closest to the south
is way down at Ixtapa.
Chris and Carolyn Bridge and their three young children - Tristan,
Ethan, and Cheyenne - of the Corona del Mar-based Outremer 55
Cheval report they made it across to New Zealand. They
are now back home for a few months so the kids can enroll in
regular school. The Bridges bought their cat from the factory
in southern France, sailed around the Med, and sailed across
the Atlantic to the Caribbean where we first met them. Subsequently,
they sailed to the Canal and as far north as San Francisco. After
returning to Newport Beach, they cruised all the way across the
Pacific. C'est bon! as the French would say.
Each time about this year, a group of Southbounders begins to
form, these being the folks who have been in Mexico and are continuing
south to Central America. Ten years ago, the Southbounders were
outnumbered by Puddle Jumpers heading across the Pacific. But
with Central America no longer having civil wars and having opened
up in ways older cruisers never would have imagined, and with
the cost of living so low, many sailors are heading south instead
of west. If you're part of the organization of this group, please
be advised that we at Latitude would like to recognize
you. To do that, we need the name, type, and hailing port of
each boat, and the full names of the skipper and first mate.
When you've assembled a pretty complete list, we'd be happy to
publish it the way we do the Puddle Jump List.
"I recently spent five weeks in Puerto Vallarta, during
which time I visited dentist Dr. Adan Michel," reports Ken
Robinson of Petaluma. "Dr. Michel was mentioned in a recent
Latitude letter where a reference was made to "cheap
dental work". At age 75, I've seen a lot of dentists in
my life, both here and in Ireland where I was born, but Dr. Michel
is without a doubt the finest I have come across. I discovered
him after buying a condo in Puerto Vallarta several years ago.
He speaks perfect English, having done much of his training in
Marin County. "Cheap dental work" has a negative connotation.
It would have been more accurate to associate his name with 'inexpensive
dental work'. His wife is also a dentist. Their office is just
a short distance from Marina Vallarta. Any taxi driver could
take patients to Aldanaca 170 Colonia Versalles, Puerto Vallarta.
His phone number is (322) 224-97-61. When dialing from the U.S.,
first dial 011-52. He can also be reached by
email. If a person needs dental work done, they can actually
save money by flying to Puerto Vallarta to get it done."
While in Turtle Bay during the Ha-Ha, we were approached by three
men in uniforms who introduced themselves as being from Semarnap,
which is the National Ecology Institute of Mexico. They explained
that Turtle Bay was part of a national marine park, and as such
they were required to sell user bracelets to all visitors at
a price of $20 pesos - about $2 U.S. - per day, per person. The
law regarding this had been in effect for four years, they told
us, but in previous years they'd always missed the Ha-Ha fleet.
In fact, they'd gotten the dates wrong this year and driven four
hours over a washboard road to find the 500+ Ha-Ha sailors wouldn't
be coming for another week.
There are a number of these park and preserve areas around Baja
and the mainland. For instance, all of Baja's islands are a part
of one, as is the reef at Los Frailes. The truth of the matter
is that you can usually visit most of these places and not have
to pay for the simple reason that there isn't an efficient system
for collecting the fees. It's hit or miss. Some cruisers seek
out Semarnap offices in towns and buy their bracelets in advance,
while others make appropriate or even larger donations when they
return. In any event, these guys and the charges are legit -
assuming they have the badges, bracelets, and brochures. We think
$2/person/day is a small price to pay to try to preserve these
valuable resources. According to the pamphlets, the fees collected
are used as follows: 50% for signs and rehabilitation of public
services and information programs; 25% to increasing the number
of park rangers; and 25% to conservation and sustainable development
"This is a letter of thanks," write Jerry and Kathy
McGraw of the Newport Beach-based Peterson 44 Po Oino Roa.
"First, thanks for us being able to come south with the
Ha-Ha Class of '99, and then again with the Ha-Ha Class of '04.
Having enjoyed a great summer in the Sea of Cortez, we're now
starting our fourth winter season in Mexico. We also want to
thank the Poobah for leading a new group of cruisers in the Ha-Ha
on the start of their new life of adventure. Right now we're
sitting in La Paz with some of the just-arrived Ha-Ha folks,
and it's wonderful to see the smiles on their faces as they settle
into the new lifestyle. Their smiles bring smiles to the faces
of those of us who have been here awhile, for it means it's time
for us to get moving over to the mainland and then stike out
for new cruising grounds further south and/or west."
All we can say is that you're very welcome, it was our pleasure.
Here's to hoping everybody has a great cruising season. We encourage
everyone to make the best use of it by being curious and mentally
active. You have a great opportunity to see and learn new stuff.