Photos of the Day: Revillagigedos
February 7 - Revillagigedo Islands, Mexico
Tired of the relatively murky waters of the Pacific Coast of Mexico? You might want to try the Revillagigedo Islands, where Pete Boyce of the Sabre 42 Edelweiss III reports he could clearly see his anchor in 65 feet of water. Visiting comes at a steep price, however.
The Revillagigedos are a chain of volcanic islands roughly 250 miles southwest of Cabo San Lucas, which puts them out in the middle of nowhere. Formerly a popular spot for long range fishing charters out of San Diego, the islands are now a protected preserve. It's a good thing, too, because they are home to lots of whales, huge rays, sharks, and countless other forms of sea life.
You can't go to the islands without a permit, and in the past getting a permit has been an uncertain endeavor. But Boyce reports that he got one in just 90 days - hey, it's Mexico - from John M. Riffe of La Paz. Here's the catch: The permit cost $600 for about 10 days, so it's not for economy cruisers.
Boyce sailed to Isla Socorro from Puerto Vallarta with Stef and Marilyn Tyhordarson, who cruised the Tacoma-based Tayana 37 Circe in Mexico for years, and Sue Strembitsky of Calgary, Canada. It took the foursome 2.5 days, mostly under sail. It was predominantly close and broad reaching in winds under 17 knots and gentle three to six foot seas. One hundred miles from the islands, they hooked a 50-lb yellowfin tuna.
Fishing is not allowed at the islands, neither is going ashore. And the Navy, which maintains a base on the islands, checks in with the boats each day. They are very friendly. Boyce reports the snorkeling was excellent, as they saw many tropical fish, white tip sharks, dusky sharks, a whale with two calves, and lots of other interesting stuff. The water was pleasant, in the high 70s. The anchorage is always a little rolly, however.
Also at the islands were Steve and Barbara Cambell of the Leadville, Colorado-based Valiant 40 Blue Chablis. Apparently they sail out to the Revillagigedos every year.
If you're looking for tiendas, restaurants, hiking, and white sand beaches, the Revillagigedos are precisely the wrong place. But if you want to get away to great diving that few experience, you might consider digging deep into the cruising kitty and applying for a permit. Boyce says he hopes to return.
Their return sail to Puerto Vallarta was a beat followed by a close reach in winds up to 20 knots. It took three days, about 30% of it motoring.
The islands are volcanic.
The colors at the isolated islands are vivid.
Edelweiss III at Isla Socorro.
There's only one anchorage in most conditions.
Stef and Marilyn pull in a 50-pounder
on their way to the islands.
Pete, in Zihua, recalling his trip to the Revillagigedos.
Equator Crossing Ritual aboard Kingfisher2
February 7 - South Atlantic Ocean
Kingfisher2's latest position report came in from 1 56' S 26 48' W (approx. 121 nm south of the Equator). In her Jules Verne around-the-world record attempt, she is nine minutes behind the record and 24 hours and 21 minutes behind Geronimo, which is still battling harsh conditions south of Australia.
After being gripped by the Doldrums, the southeast Trades are bringing some relief this afternoon as Kingfisher2 sails at 16-18 knots in a building breeze. "The SE trades will hopefully increase more over the next 24 hours and hold for two to three days," said skipper Ellen MacArthur. "We're more west than we'd probably like but on the wind and just aiming to get south as far as we can in this breeze."
Following the crossing of the Equator this morning, Equator 'first timers' Andrew Preece and Kevin McMeel initially thought they may have escaped the King Neptune initiation ritual. But they were not too surprised when they were hauled on deck to make an offering to Neptune. Peerce reports, "We crossed at 0121 and 59 seconds on our eighth day at sea. It was something of an anticlimax after a long and frustrating day trying to work the fitful breezes; at one stage we were headed right back where we came from. But then how can crossing a notional point ever be truly sensational. The only difference is that now subconsciously the countdown to the South has begun. As I arrived on deck Youngster, the most recent person to have undergone the King Neptune ritual when he was initiated on the northbound leg of the recent Volvo Race, appeared from the starboard hull with a silver freeze dried food bag as a crown, some netting as a beard and a toilet plunger as an instrument of torture. Kevin and I were lashed to the martingale strops by Ellen as Hendo circled menacingly with a bucket of brown lumpy liquid. It wasn't being beaten with the plunger that was difficult. It wasn't having the brown slime rubbed in my hair that was hard or even having it poured down the inside of the back of my shorts. But having to drink a mouthful had me retching much to the amusement of the assembled crew; I could even see Guilllermo, on the wheel a hundred feet away, heaving with laughter.
"It feels great to have survived after four salt water washdowns and it is great to have passed one of sailing's great milestones and I hope that it brings us great fortune for the future; sailors are highly superstitious and asking Neptune for permission to pass across the Equator has humorous overtones but a very serious underlying purpose, just as many of them will not whistle on a boat, carry anything green, leave on a Friday or mention that small cuddly animal that breeds frequently and has long furry ears.
"I asked Ellen about her first Equator crossing when she brought Kingfisher back from New Zealand as a new boat. 'First I dressed up as Neptune and quizzed myself to the camera,' said Ellen. 'Then I doused myself in a combination of old food and diesel. I tried to make myself as hard on myself as possible,' she laughed. Superstition is a serious business, especially when you are dealing with a force as mighty as the ocean and its elements; you need all the help you can get." See www.kingfisherchallenges.com.
USA Tops ISAF World Team Racing Championship
February 7 - Auckland, NZ
Team USA 2 will take home the gold from the 2003 ISAF World Team Racing Championship, held in 420s in Auckland Jan. 31 through Feb. 7. GBR 2 won the silver, and defending champions NZL 1 get the bronze. Sixteen three-boat teams from nine countries participated. For complete results, see http://www.nzteamracing.com.
February 7 - The Pacific Ocean and Cyberspace
Who is out making passages in the Pacific and what kind of weather are they having? The YOTREPS daily yacht tracking page has moved to www.bitwrangler.com/psn.
February 7 - Pacific Ocean
San Francisco Bay Weather
To see what the winds are like on the Bay and just outside the Gate right now, check out http://sfports.wr.usgs.gov/wind.
The National Weather Service site for San Francisco Bay is at www.wrh.noaa.gov/Monterey.
California Coast Weather
Looking for current as well as recent wind and sea readings from 17 buoys and stations between Pt. Arena and the Mexican border? Here's the place - which has further links to weather buoys and stations all over the U.S.: www.ndbc.noaa.gov/Maps/Southwest.shtml.
Pacific Winds and Pressure
The University of Hawaii Dept. of Meteorology page posts a daily map of the NE Pacific Ocean barometric pressure and winds.
Pacific Sea State