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March 2018

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With reports this month from Salt on their many encounters with sea life; Manatee exploring the dichotomy of cruising; Angel Louise's two 'victory laps' around Europe and North America; some thoughtful observations on the cruising life from Carthago; and Cruise Notes.

Salt — Beneteau 393
Nick and Allison Edwards
Scratching the Surface

In our first few months after departing the Bay Area on the Big Cruise, we've met some incredible people and had many amazing sails. This was, of course, part of the appeal of going cruising, and as such, something we expected. What we didn't expect is how much encounters with sea life have captured our hearts.

It began shortly after leaving Half Moon Bay on our way to Santa Cruz last September. We saw a pod of humpbacks marked by a flock of birds circling overhead. Then, a few hundred meters from the whales, we spotted a great white shark! At first I thought it was a buoy marking a crab trap, but when the buoy turned and did a slow circle, I saw it was a fin.

Allison saw the full, huge girth of the shark, seemingly a third as round as it was long and only 25 feet off our beam. Its indifference to our passing reminded me of the lions in Bot-swana, who know they rule the plains.

Thirty minutes after our shark sighting, Allison saw "something dead" floating near the surface. We jibed around to take a closer look. Sure enough, what looked like the front half of another large shark was floating on its side just a few feet below the surface of the water. We approached slowly — and it moved. It was alive!

Although we'd read about sunfish, it was our first encounter with this strange creature (also known as a mola). It was a damn big fish, but as further reading revealed, the one we saw was nowhere near the largest ever documented. That fish weighed some 3,500 pounds, about twice the weight of an average horse!

Farther down the coast (this all occurred on the same day) we saw what, from a distance, looked like a bunch of dolphins leaping out of the water. As we got closer, we could see it was a group of leaping sea lions, presumably in pursuit of dinner. I'd never seen sea lions skip above the water like that in unison.

(Since then, we have noticed lone sea lions often joining small groups of dolphins, leaping out of the water as if they were a part of the pod. Not sure if this is a case of identity crisis or a clever hunting technique.)

The encounters got even better when we left Santa Cruz the next day. As we sailed south in a gentle breeze, Allison's keen eyes caught the telltale spouts on the horizon: more humpbacks. As we approached, we started counting: three . . . six . . . eight . . . fifteen whales in all.

We had seen whales before, but never this many at one time. As we approached, they seemed to sense us and started to play and show off. Several even breached, rocketing their huge bodies two thirds of the way out of the water before crashing back (no small feat; a fully grown humpback can weigh up to 75,000 pounds).

It was awe-inspiring and, admittedly a little nerve-wracking as Allison and I nervously joked about the YouTube video we saw a few years ago of a whale accidentally breaching onto a sailboat.

When we finally parted company, I headed down below to troubleshoot an issue with our VHF — when Allison let out a yelp and exclaimed, "Nick, they're here, they're right here!"

I popped my head up the companionway and saw the massive backs of two humpbacks less than a boatlength off our stern seemingly headed straight toward us. One thing I never fully appreciated is the noise they make when they come up for breath. It's a 'trumpet' sound, kind of like what you'd expect a giant elephant to make.

I fired up the diesel, but left it in neutral. We didn't intend to flee, but had heard that whales sometimes can't 'see' sailboats ghosting along, so the engine noise was sort of a courtesy to our visitors to let them know we were there. (We plan to research the validity of this theory.)

Shortly after this intense and amazing sighting, we were in for yet another treat. We spotted large fins cutting through the water off our bow. Orcas? Doesn't quite look right. Dolphins? Way too big.

Well, turns out they were dolphins — Risso's dolphins (thanks, Google). Also known as Monk dolphins, they range from 10 to about 13 feet and have rounded heads like pilot whales. Apparently they are rarely seen or studied due to their reclusive behavior. (I have sailed the Pacific Coast from Vancouver to Panama starting from before I could walk and have never seen them before.)

The three that visited us zoomed through the water 20 feet from our starboard beam and leapt completely clear of the water. They were so majestic, it made me wish they had the same curiosity in boats or humans as other dolphins so lucky sailors would see them more often.

In the months since these early magical encounters, we've continued to make our way south — and continued to be amazed by the incredible diversity of life we've seen. We accidentally caught a mako shark, which was probably about four feet long (if we didn't have photo evidence, I would swear it was at least eight). Thankfully we managed a successful 'catch and release' and I didn't even lose a finger.

I was glad to have a much less close encounter with a crocodile in Marina Vallarta (Puerto Vallarta). The 15-foot croc was basking in the sun a few feet from the walkway. Apparently several large males had to be relocated recently because they kept snatching dogs off the dock.

During one daysail south of Puerto Vallarta, we spotted scores of sea turtles swimming or basking near the surface. There were so many that eventually Allison stopped bothering to look up from her book when I excitedly announced another sighting. I hope this indicates sea turtle conservation efforts are yielding results.

As longtime sailors even before we knew each other, Allison and I knew we would encounter lots of sea life as we embarked on this adventure together, but the incredible richness and variety has lent a whole new dimension to the experience. Once you throw on a mask and jump over the side, of course, that experience increases exponentially.

Our sail south from Sausalito has been magical. We had a wonderful couple of weeks on the Baja Ha-Ha, made our way north into the Sea of Cortez, across to Topolobampo and the incredible Copper Canyon (a topic for a future letter, perhaps), and south down the coast. We're currently in Barra de Navidad with plans to make our way to Panama over the coming months. We look forward to so many things, but especially more close encounters with the wonderful and wild marine life.

— nick 2/10/18

Manatee – Gulfstar 47 ketch
Rob and Becky Taulman
The Agony and Ecstasy of Cruising
Reno and Long Beach

People who don't sail think the cruising life is either 'crazy' or 'paradise'. They are right on both accounts.

This story starts late last year in Bocas Del Toro, on the Caribbean side of Panama, where Becky and I had been waiting out the end of hurricane season. When the time came for us to leave and start our trek north to Mexico, the weather report noted a cold front pushing down from the States, which meant that conditions were going to be a bit rough for the first couple of days. Our hope was to tough it out and make enough easting to get Manatee out to the northerly winds where we'd make our turn to the WNW. Had the forecast held, it would have made for a fairly pleasant 10- to 12-day passage.

As it turned out, the best parts of the, ahem, six-day passage that ended up in Isla Providencia consisted of a great half day of broad reaching right out of Panama (exactly what was forecast), followed by running downwind for 10 hours, 180 degrees off course in a 25-knot northerly, squalls, and confused, 10-ft seas. In all, it was about 18-20 hours total of "not bad" sailing. The other five days were a shit show.

I can't convey the rest in much of a chronological order because the days pretty much just melded together. I do recall that shortly after leaving Panama, Becky got sick — not seasick (at least not at first), but some flu-like illness.

Now, anybody who knows Becky knows she's tough as nails and can handle anything. Plus she's a woman. So she was still able to take her six-hour helm watches (we run six-on, six-off underway). But they were tough on her.

Her watches became more difficult after another day when she finally did get seasick — likely brought on by being weakened by the other bug. Eventually, she couldn't stand watch, and couldn't even get out of bed.

At this point, we were SSE of Jamaica and 175 or so miles NE of Isla Providencia. Conditions were not forecast to improve and Becky was nearing her wits' end. Seas were running 15-ish feet by now with winds in the 30- to 35-knot range. We ran east for a while to see if the calmer motion might offer some respite. But we were losing a lot of ground, and I couldn't take seeing Becky so miserable anymore. So we turned for the nearest protected anchorage I could find, which was at Providencia. It was 175 miles of 'backtracking', but at least it was downwind.

For those of you who can appreciate it, we made those 175 miles in 20 hours. That's an average of 8.75 knots, which is 'holy crap' fast for an old, heavy cruising ketch like Manatee. (Our theoretical hull speed is 8.6 knots.)
In fact, it was so fast that I realized a little too late that we were going to overshoot the island!

I'm not trying to excuse my poor navigational skills — I'll own that. But remember, with Becky stuck in bed, I was basically singlehanding. The autopilot (we call him Ray) couldn't handle the worsening conditions except in small spurts, so I had been on the helm nonstop for . . . well, as I said earlier, the timeline seems to blend together. After a while, I found that if I engaged Ray during lulls between the biggest wavesets, he could usually steer long enough for me to run down to check on Becky and get her whatever food and drink she might want (which wasn't much), then run back topside before Ray lost it.

And as for Becky's being "stuck" in bed, I wish that were literally the case. With a bed rising and falling and pitching and rolling on those big seas, she was anything but "stuck." She was flying all over that bed so that the five pillows she was using as shoring worked their way out of their pillowcases.

Because we were overshooting the island, the homestretch would be a beam reach. There was no way around it. I picked a spot on the chart where I thought it would be best to turn more to the west, engaged Ray, and ran down to grab some coffee and something to eat. Suddenly, I heard and felt the wind change direction, followed by a very loud BAM! The boat laid over to port and damn near came to a stop. We had jibed.

I ran up to relieve Ray, get us back on track and survey the damage. Luckily, I had rigged a preventer, so things didn't look too bad. But almost as soon as I finally got the boat sorted out and on course again, a cross wave hit the port quarter and — son of bitch! — I couldn't hold her. BAM! Another jibe.

At this point, it was full-on dark and my sense of humor was fading fast. I cussed up a storm and felt like throwing anything I could reach overboard. Then, out of nowhere, the theme to Gilligan's Island popped into my head. "Sit right down and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip..."

Somehow, it lightened the mood.

Once I calmed down, I checked everything again. The rig itself looked okay, but this time something sounded different. I grabbed a light and took a look — and found we had blown out a seam about two thirds of the way up the mainsail.
The tear wasn't a big problem while we were still heading downwind. But when we made the turn onto a beam reach . . .

With Becky (and Ray) out of the picture, and having had no rest in quite a while, trying to get the sail down in this much wind by myself was too risky. I decided to make the turn and see what happened. If the main shredded, I would just cut it free.

It still amazes me that the sail held those last 30-some miles. With the tear spilling wind out of the upper part of the sail, it even made steering easier.
Once we started getting into the lee of the island, Becky was able to muster enough grit to take the helm while I went forward to douse the main. I clawed it to the deck like a fat kid fighting for the last Twinkie on Earth. It ended up in a balled mess lashed to the mast and the boom — not pretty, but it worked.

With the wind down to about 15 knots, we motored the last five or so miles to the harbor entrance, then had a Charlie Foxtrot of a time dropping anchor in the dark, in a place we've never been. On the third attempt, it held.

Holy crap, the hard part was over. Becky made a quick hot meal and I got a cold beer. We ate hunched over, like cats licking our wounds, talking and giggling a little as we relived bits and pieces of the last week. We found those little 'jibe circles' on the chart plotter particularly hilarious.

Before collapsing, we took quick stock of the inside of the boat, which was basically "shit everywhere." Interestingly, things we'd secured before heading out were all over the place, while things we hadn't secured very well were right where we'd left them.

We woke up the next day to find . . . wow — Providencia is beautiful! We decided to stay awhile, get rested, and explore a bit.

We were in paradise. We stayed 16 days.

Crazy, isn't it?

— rob 12/22/2017

Angel Louise — Catalac 42 catamaran
Ed and Sue Kelly
The Great Loops
Des Moines, IA

There aren't many 'firsts' left — in sailing or any other endeavor. That's why an extra special 'Attaboy!' goes out to Ed and Sue Kelly of the Catalac 41 catamaran Angel Louise. In January, Angel Louise became the first known boat to complete both the European and American 'Great Loops'.

The Great Loops are circumnavigations of parts of a continent using both its coastal waters and its rivers and canals. For Europe, that consisted of portions of the Atlantic, North Sea, Black Sea and Mediterranean — along with portions of the Rhine, Main and Danube Canals. The 6,200-mile, London-to-London trek, which they completed in 2012, took 494 days.

They started the American Great Loop in Florida in 2015. Angel Louise sailed or motored portions of the Atlantic and inland waterways, as well as portions of the Great Lakes, the Rideau Canal, the Mississippi River and the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. That trip — which was 5,150 miles — took 329 days.

We should clarify that they weren't out to set any speed records. They took a lot of time to smell the roses, meet new people, and rendezvous with old friends and fellow cruisers along the way. All in all, in 11 years of cruising since they left their landbound 'homeport' of Des Moines, Iowa, the Kellys have visited 49 countries on 5 continents.

As you might imagine, it's not possible to sail the entire way on either of the Great Loops. On the inland portions, there are too many low bridges (some two dozen in downtown Chicago alone) and other potential roadblocks. So on those legs, Ed unshipped the mast and Angel Louise, with her two faithful Yanmar 3-cylinder diesels, became a twin-engine powerboat.

On the ocean legs, the mast went back in and the Kellys were sailors again. Interestingly, Ed and Sue didn't go to Europe with the specific goal of doing the Loop. They kind of fell into it by a happy accident.

"We crossed the Atlantic to London in 2011, thinking we would travel through the French canals to the Mediterranean," Ed remembers. "Two days after we arrived, we learned that our 17-ft beam was too wide for the French locks!

But the rivers were a different story.

"That weekend, the Sunday Times of London ran a giant two-page ad for a River Cruise Ship to travel from Holland to the Black Sea. We did some research, and once we realized the history and the cities we'd be traveling through, we decided then and there to attempt the trip."

On their return to the States, they spent two years cruising up and down the Atlantic Coast. On their way north from the Bahamas, "we got the wild idea to do the American Great Loop," says Ed. "The rest is history."

The Kellys are now soaking up some Florida sun (after encountering their first three days of freezing weather on the last portion of the Loop through Alabama). From there, they'll be heading back to Hope Town, Abacos, their favorite destination in 11 years of cruising.

After that, says Ed, "I'm working on convincing Sue that, even if I am 72, we ought to consider one last transatlantic voyage to Europe.

"She says, 'Maybe.'"

— jr 2/8/18

Readers — For those of you curious about the Catalac 41, Ed will be the first to tell you that this design is not a 'performance' multihull. Which is part of the reason he bought the boat in 2007. By modern standards, her low aspect rig, small sailplan, lack of daggerboards and large wetted surface might make her seem, well, sedate. That actually attracts some people, and we understand why. A boat that's easy to manage is an important aspect for older or less-experienced sailors. Ed and Sue count themselves as both — though Ed learned to sail on small lakes as a kid, Angel Louise's first Atlantic crossing in 2011 was the first time the Kellys had done more than two consecutive nights at sea. Then there's all that storage, carrying capacity, 6'5" headroom, 3.5-ft draft, functional layout, stability, and creature comforts. Kind of makes you wonder why the UK factory built only 27 of them back in the '70s and '80s.

Carthago — Beneteau Oceanis 423
Jose Castello and Gina Harris
Two Years Abaft the Mast
San Francisco

Have you ever time-traveled? Well, I have. This morning. I woke up to a photo of Carthago on my phone that took me back to two years ago, on the dot. It was taken just after we sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge. Two years ago today, we cut the docklines and set off on the adventure of a lifetime.

The photo instantly pulled me back into that very moment. I remembered perfectly the nervous excitement that filled the air; the slightly nauseous feeling of seasickness and homesickness; how, without verbalizing, we wore our feelings on our faces. "What the hell are we doing?" "Are we really doing this?" "I miss my mom already . . ."

The weather got heavy fast — some of the biggest seas we have seen to date — and there wasn't anything we could do other than push aside our nagging nerves and sail. So that's what we did. We sailed and sailed and sailed. We went farther than we ever had, we completed our first night passages, we dove headfirst into the rhythm of life at sea.

These past two years have moved slowly and fast, usually at the same time. The lows have dug deeper than we ever imagined, but the highs have reached heights we didn't know we could reach. Sure, we've learned to sail. We've learned to navigate. We've learned to weather the storms. But more than anything, we've learned a few things about ourselves.

1. Trust yourself — Your gut knows more than you do. I usually think of this when my lactose-intolerant stomach is angry because I've eaten ice cream, but it applies to more than food. On the boat, I am not the strongest sailor. But I spent so long preaching this narrative to myself that I started believing that I was, in fact, incapable of making a decision concerning sailing. That eventually seeped into everything else. It's an ugly place to be. You are capable of more than you think you are. Have faith in your own abilities and strengths.

2. Trust others — You don't know everything. Period. The second you catch yourself thinking you do, take a long, hard look in the mirror: You're looking at a liar. There is something to be said for salty sailors. Those gray hairs come from experience. Listen to them. As for those less salty, they come to the table with life experiences that are also valuable. We all see things through a slightly different lens and bring new ideas to the table.

3. Perspective is everything. I can't stress this one enough. Everything — everything — is about perspective. Our first year as cruisers was, I'll admit it, oftentimes a complete disaster. We screamed, we cried, we yelled. Everything felt so serious, so stressful, so dramatic. When something breaks, it feels like the end of the world. Really. Ripping your hair out would honestly feel better. Going into year two, we spent a bit more time observing said salty sailors. They got stressed, sure. But they also knew that it wasn't the end of days. Shit happens. That's just the nature of the game. Changing perspective allows you to let more things roll off your shoulders; it encourages you to laugh when you'd rather cry. Perspective has the power to change the entire mood, and in turn, an entire year at sea.

4. Privilege does not make you entitled. To live a life that allows you to travel as we do is a privilege. Yes, we worked hard for it. Yes, we made sacrifices for it. But it is still a privilege. We have spent much of the past two years in places without the same resources we are used to in the "\Western world. Some of these countries lack access to education, technology, even electricity. The contrast can be almost overwhelming. This is where perspective also plays a role. This contrast provides an opportunity to feel gratitude. We are lucky to be accepted into worlds unlike our own, to get a glimpse of a different life. And that's the key: different. People are people. Treat each other accordingly.

5. You are who you are, not always who you think you are. Long-term travel, especially by boat, presents challenging moments, situations that put even the most even-keeled characters to the test. Things are breaking, you're tired, your entire world is literally moving, which makes your best and worst qualities come shining through like never before. That reality check can be hard to deal with. "What do you mean I'm not actually perfect?" But even without the bad days, anyone who has spent time in an isolated environment (like crossing an ocean) will tell you: You have a lot of time to reflect on who you are, who you have been, and who you'd like to be.

Despite having sailed over 15,000 miles, we can safely say that sailing is not the hardest part of living the boat life. The human component is. Learning about yourself, how you navigate through life, how you weather the storms, and how you ride the big waves — that's really what you learn at sea.

— gina 10/20/17

Cruise Notes:

After completing the 2017 Baja Ha-Ha, Charlie and Cathy Simon of the Spokane-based Taswell 58 Celebrate spent a relaxing time in the Sea of Cortez swimming with the sea lions at Los Islotes. Then, they charged down to Panama to transit the Canal before Christmas. They're now in Roatan, Honduras, where they're enjoying the excellent scuba diving while they wait for favorable winds to finish their Sail Around North America. If all goes as planned, that will end at Annapolis in late spring.

With the Northwest Passage under their belt (east to west, 2017), theirs will be one of the first US yachts to have completed a circumnavigation of North America. This accomplished cruising couple are also veterans of the 26,000-mile World ARC circumnavigation, 2013-2015.

Last year, John Zeratsky of the Outbound 46 Pineapple sent a note to say he had just installed Google's Project Fi wireless service on his phones in preparation for cruising Mexico and Central America. Three months later, he reports Project Fi has been nothing short of excellent. "Starting with the basics — our phones just work in Mexico," he says. "It has been so convenient to keep the same smartphones and phone numbers we had back home. We use them daily for all the same stuff as we did back in San Francisco —calling, texting, maps, music, etc."

But the best part has been Internet hotspots — with Project Fi, you're always "in" one! "Marina Wi-Fi is always disappointing, but even when it works, our Wirie Pro with Telcel SIM card can't compete with the speed and reliability of our Project Fi phones." In a few remote anchorages where there is no Wi-Fi (and thus no Telcel), Project Fi has been the only way of getting online.

"Had we known how great Project Fi would be in Mexico, we would have skipped the Wirie and the trip to the Telcel store in Ensenada," says John. "We've been telling everyone we meet about Project Fi — and hopefully this letter can help future Mexico cruisers save a little time, money, and frustration."

Pineapple will be in Mexico for another month, then it's south to Central America, where John will file another report on this promising system.

A while back, Aussie sailor Aimee Mitchell of the Rafiki 37 Hindsight had a fortuitous encounter with a sea turtle in the Sea of Cortez. Well, actually the fortunate part was on behalf of the turtle, which had gotten tangled in some plastic flotsam. "We turned the boat around for a closer look and realized she was so badly caught that she was gasping for air," says Aimee.

Aimee kayaked over for a closer look, only to find that strands from a plastic bag had tangled around the turtle's neck and front flipper, binding them together. Armed with pliers and other tools, Aimee went to work. "I was a tad nervous that she might try to bite me, or that I would hurt her, but she was incredibly passive."

As soon as the bindings were removed, the turtle's breathing returned to normal. Aimee hung out with the exhausted animal until she got up enough strength to swim away.

Turtle gender is not easy for lay people to determine. Aimee refers to this turtle as a 'she' because there was a pink flower anemone on 'her' head. There was also an abundance of smaller sea life using her for shade and protection.

Sad news out of Florida last month – a young couple lost their boat only a few hours after embarking on the cruise of their dreams. Like many young dreamers, Tanner Broadwell and Nikki Walsh, both in their early 20s, had no sailing experience. But, also like many young dreamers, they 'went for it' anyway, selling everything they owned in Colorado and buying a Columbia 28 they named Lagniappe in Florida in May.

In early February, they departed Tarpon Springs (on Florida's West Coast) bound for Key West when, according to an article in the Tampa Bay Times, they "struck something underwater" while attempting to enter Johns Pass at about 8:45 p.m. The boat rolled over in the shallow water, ending up on its port side with its starboard rail still above the surface. Neither Broadwell, Walsh nor their dog were injured. They were rescued by a local tow company boat. Local authorities tried to charge them $10,000 to remove the boat, which was not insured.

Don Hossack of TG Wazoo reports that Mazatlan was listed as one of the best spots on the continent to see the January 31 lunar eclipse, not to mention the concurrent super moon, blood moon and blue moon. So cruisers were over the moon when Marina Mazatlan announced an eclipse-watching party at their Beach Club to celebrate the event.

"Despite festivities starting at the crack of 5 a.m., folks from nine different boats showed up," reports Don. Those included Willow, Bloom, Dreamcatcher, Taroah, Tigress, TG Wazoo, Buenaventura, Mia and Allioop. FrutaRica provided a large fruit basket of star- and moon-shaped fruits and chocolate covered strawberries as a centerpiece for the gala occasion.

Unfortunately, clouds moved in just as the eclipse started and the big event got obscured. There were a few moans and groans, but after a minute or two, the party continued on at the same level and, as the saying goes, a great time was had by all.

"By the time the sun came up, everyone had returned to their boats," says Don, "and very little was heard from them for the next several hours."

"Hey guys! Thanks for the Instagram follow!" wrote Adam Nash from the sailing vessel Tuwamish. "We are a proud West Coast cruising family currently easting from Baja toward Puerto Vallarta. Tuwamish deserves a mention for her grace and fortitude for delivering us through three years of family blending, adventure and respite."

The crew — which includes Adam, Laura, Matteo, Lucia, and Jack (as well as dogs Gypsy and Taco) have a website called and an instagram handle by the same name. The crew of Tuwamish explained their vision, written before they crossed the border:

"Well, without giving too much away, let's just say that two soulmates found each other through Instagram in 2014. Both families quickly agreed that they should all live together. They skipped the house thing and all moved straight onto a boat and set sail on the Salish Sea.

"Neither of them had grown up sailing and never could have imagined they would be raising three kids on a 50-ft sailboat. But here we are living the dream and loving life and all the hardships that come with it. The kids have just finished another year of Lopez Island School and we are ready to explore new coastlines. This August we set off for exploring the West Coast of North America while educating the kids through a homeschooling curriculum. See you in Mexico!"

In an October Sightings, we told you about cruisers Robert and Sheila Moran who were passing through the Bay Area (including Sausalito and the Delta) on their Pearson 365 ketch Good Rain. The couple were on their way to San Diego for the Baja Ha-Ha, and unbeknownst to us, they had quite an experience at the start,

"After many months of planning and with great anticipation, we were prepared to enter the 24th annual Ha-Ha with approximately 140 other sailboats. What a flotilla! We had been nearer the beginning but start time was still a half hour or so away so we swung around to about the outside middle of the group, which put us in the middle of the main channel. Now I must interject a question here. Is it us or the proverbial spin of the wheel as to the events that happened next?
"As the sail past began in front of a boat filled with dignitaries from Mexico and San Diego — and as we were sailing along enjoying all of this — we began to lose more and more power. Bloody kelp!

"The radio began to call out that there was a military ship making its way out of the harbor. This was completely unexpected and from what I could understand did not usually happen with the grand exit of the Ha-Ha each year. You don't ask the military to change course, so no problem, we began to move.

"Now here's the bizarre part: great clouds of steam suddenly started to come out the exhaust. The engine was not being cooled. It was getting to be a bit of a nail- biter. We couldn't stay where we were, and if we motored across the channel, there was a chance we would burn out the engine. With zero options, 'captain' put the motor into low and we motored, barely, back to the police dock. We reported that we would be starting late.

"Once we were docked, Captain went over the side, freed the prop of all the kelp and then restarted the engine. Absolutely no steam came from the exhaust. How could that be? Kelp around the prop has nothing to do with obstructing the water intake to cool the engine. Two totally separate situations happened at the same time. Yes, really."

Readers, we are excited to announce that Latitude editor at large 'Banjo' Andy Turpin and his wife Julie have recently arrived at Paradise Village Marina in (or very near) Puerto Vallarta aboard their Cross 42 trimaran Little Wing. The Turpins are preparing for the 2018 Pacific Puddle Jump, which has been a longtime dream of Andy after being chained to the desk at Latitude for 25 years. Are those of us still here at the office jealous? Maybe a little.

Missing the pictures? See the March 2018 eBook!


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