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Back to 'Changes' Index Changes in Latitudes
June 2008

Missing the pictures? See our June 2008 eBook!

 With reports this months from Destiny on bargain dinners in Punta Mita; from Mita Kuuluu on the bar conditions being not so bad at Bahia del Sol, El Salvador; from Migration among the moai at Easter Island; from Moorea on almost being 'famous' in Indonesia; from Arabella on ships 'rotting' on the hard in Fiji; from Cocokai on a delightful Puddle Jump; from Swell on Liz Clark's solo surfing safari under sail; and Cruise Notes.

Destiny — Catalina 42
John and Gilly Foy
Delicious and Inexpensive Food
(Punta Mita, Mexico)

For those who worry that it's no longer possible to find the combination of nice ambience and reasonably priced food in the increasingly upscale Punta Mita area of Banderas Bay, we've got some good news. The two of us, along with Barritt Neal and Renée Blaul, who have cruised both Mexico and the Caribbean for many years aboard their San Diego-based Peterson 44 Serendipity, have nothing but good things to say about the newly opened Lupita's Restaurant. It's run by a delightful young woman named Erica, who took over what had been Art's Luna Cafe.

Although Erica was born in Denver and spent quite a bit of time in the States, she has come back to her Mexican roots armed with her mother's recipes for all of us to enjoy. Lupita's offers authentic Mexican cuisine with different specials every night for the unheard of price of 35 pesos, which is a bit less than $3.50 U.S. For example, the four of us had a tamale appetizer, along with carne asada (beef) and carne abodada (pork) main courses, for the astounding price of less than $10 per couple. The fact that we also ordered a couple of bottles of wine brought the price up to $55 dollars, but that's still not bad for four people. Those cruisers on extreme budgets might want to do their drinking before or after dining out.

Anyway, we hope cruisers will patronize Lupita's — and remember that you can dine very inexpensively in Mexico if you eschew the tourist joints and eat where the locals eat. Although the high cruising season is over, we're headed up to Chacala — and perhaps more restaurant recommendations.

— john and gillly 05/10/08

Mita Kuuluu — Irwin 37
Bill Yeargan and Jean Strain
Raising the Bar at Bahia del Sol
(Honolulu, Hawaii)

After a year in Hawaii and nine months in Mexico, we've just returned to beautiful Bahia del Sol, El Salvador. As many Latitude readers know, getting into the estuary where Bahia del Sol is located requires crossing a bar. We and eight other boats this year have had uneventful crossings.

Things have changed some since we first visited in '05. The pilot boat provided by the hotel used to stay on the inland side of the bar and talked skippers across. Now, in a better system, the pilot comes out across the bar, meets the boat, and leads the boat(s) across the bar and into the estuary.

In another change, the Hotel Bahia del Sol now has 12 floating slips — although most boats anchor in the estuary in front of the hotel for free. The holding is very good. The hotel still offers specials exclusively for cruisers. For example, there is a cruiser discount of 30% on bar and restaurant bills. The only exception is beer, but that's only $1 a bottle in the first place. There is a $15/week charge for use of the dinghy dock, but that comes with the use of the two pools, the showers, and garbage collection. What's more, the hotel management makes it clear that they're happy to do whatever they can to make cruiser visits more enjoyable.

Boats can be hauled by Travel-Lift in a nearby yard for just $7/ft. in and out, and labor is only $20/hour. Independent workers in the area also offer services such as hull polishing for $1.50/ft., with bottom cleaning, wood fabrication, and similar services at more than reasonable rates.

There are a number of waterside restaurants where you can dinghy up and have breakfast for $3 or dinner for $4. Bus service to the larger towns, including the capital of San Salvador, is available for around $1, and you can rent a taxi or a van for around $60 for all day. We found these prices to be a refreshing change from Mexico.

But we think the biggest attraction at Bahia is the opportunity to interact with the locals. The people of El Salvador are warm, friendly, outgoing — and happy to see Americans visiting their country. It seems that everyone wants to learn English, and one of the local English teachers is always looking for volunteer teachers to help at the local school. One of the best ways to learn Spanish is by teaching the locals English!

Over the last few years many boats have bypassed Bahia in favor of Barillas Marina due to rumors of boats being damaged trying to cross the bar at Bahia. According to locals, there have only been two incidents at the bar. One boat did hit the bottom pretty hard. Another got sideways to the waves, which allowed the dinghy in davits to fill with water, causing significant damage. On the other hand, in '05, we watched over 30 boats cross the bar in both directions with no problem, and the pilot says no boats have had problems this year. We're not suggesting that crossing this or any other bar should be taken lightly, but we do think that rumors about the dangers at Bahia have been grossly overstated. We highly recommend Bahia as a place for cruisers to stop.

— bill and jean 04/15/08

Migration — Cross 46 Tri
Bruce Balan & Alene Rice
Easter Island aka Rapa Nui
(Northern California)

A crowd of boats at Easter Island, which, because it's more than 2,000 miles from the population centers of Tahiti and Chile, is one of the more remote places on earth? Well, there were six other boats with us at the Hanga Roa anchorage at Rapa Nui — which is the real name for the island, the people, and the language. According to one of the few local sailors, who came out to take a photo of the crowd, he's never seen so many boats there at once.

Three of the boats — Ariel IV, Nightwind, and our Migration — had arrived from the Galapagos. Four others — On Verra, La Flaneuse, Spindrift, and the trawler Egret, arrived from Chile via Juan Fernandez Island. An eighth boat, Pagos, was moored in the tiny Hango Piko harbor.

Located at 27°S, Rapa Nui is in the heart of the variable wind zone, so, unlike in the trades, the wind doesn't blow consistently from one direction. That means you always have to be prepared to leave one anchorage for another. In the three weeks that we've been here, we've twice had to leave anchorages because of changes in the direction of the wind. But thanks to excellent weather forecasting — the GRIB files have been dead on — we've yet to be surprised.

Although the anchoring here isn't really worse than other places, it can still be difficult. You have to set your hook in 50 to 70 feet of water, and you still have to watch out for rocks and coral. We also spent five days at Hotuiti, a spectacular anchorage on the east side of the island after strong westerlies made Hanga Roa untenable. It took Alene an hour of snorkeling to find a patch of sand in which to place the anchor — but it was worth it. There were volcanic cliffs to starboard; waves breaking over a lava point to port; the crater which holds the quarry where the moai were carved to the west; and on shore in front of our bow was a line of 15 huge and upright moai.

It helps that the water is crystal clear and that the visibility is often 100 feet or more. We dove on the north side of the island recently, and it was like swimming through a miniature Bryce Canyon.

We absolutely love Rapa Nui! It's a 12-mile by 6-mile island that features three extinct volcanoes and is home to just under 4,000 very friendly people. It's also home to the 887 famous moai or stone monoliths. Many are still in the quarry, but the ones that have been carefully placed around the island all face toward the sea. Historians say it took an average of one year to carve each moai, and then up to 250 men to drag them to their positions.

Easter Island is held up by some as an example of an ecological disaster caused by the actions of men. The claim is that the building of the moai required the destruction of the forests and other vegetation, so that there was no longer enough food to sustain the then 10,000 residents. Others claim the original residents of Rapa Nui were extraterrestrials and that there are other explanations for what's happened.

We hitchhiked into town today because we had to move our boat to the Anakan anchorage on the north side of the island due to a shift in the wind. We were hoping to send higher resolution photos to Latitude, but the connection at the internet cafe was just too slow. Plus we had to rush, as we'd done all of our provisioning, and the Armada had offered to give us and all our stuff a ride back to the anchorage. After that, we're going to have to ferry various officials to and from our boat in our Port-a-Boat dinghy so we can clear out of Chile. Clearing out is a lot of work, but it's not as bad as it could be because everyone is so nice. Our next stops are Pitcairn Island and the Gambiers.

— bruce 05/10/08

Readers — There is still controversy with respect to the origin of the inhabitants of Rapa Nui. Some believe there were always two very different groups of people; one being the Polynesian 'short ears', and the other being fair-skinned, red-headed 'long ears'. What's this about ears? When Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen stumbled upon Rapa Nui on Easter Sunday in 1722, the first man he met had very long ear lobes that had been lengthened by "round white pegs as large as his fist." In fact, his ear lobes hung down to his shoulders, something that Roggeveen noted was not uncommon among island residents. The drooping lobes were often so long they interfered with a man's labor. In such cases, the pegs were removed, and the long lobes were flipped up and over the upper edge of their ears.

Moorea — Dufour 35
Kelly and Kelly Waterhouse
Off The Beaten Path

Our four-day sail from Darwin, Australia to Kupang, Indonesia, started up with a brisk 17-knot southeast wind. After building for two days, the wind lightened, and we unfortunately had to run the engine to reach our destination. Even though the passage involved 10+ hours of monotonous droning, our spirits were high as we reached port. Having been one of four boats to opt out of the Darwin, Australia, to Kupang, Indonesia, cruising rally, our goals in Indonesia were to perfect our surfing skills and sail some of the less beaten cruising routes of this amazing country. We were to have both good and bad experiences in this country made up of 17,000 islands.

The first indication that we'd stepped into a very different environment was the reaction we received from the locals while walking through the streets of Kupang. If you ever wondered what it would be like to be famous, with endless smiling strangers coming up close and giving you their undivided attention, just drop yourself into a Third World city like Kupang. The people approached, sometimes in a swarming group, and practiced the English phrases they'd learned in school on us, such as, "How are you?" or "Where are you going?" Or, they'd yell from afar, "Hello Mr.!" The latter phrase was used no matter if they were yelling at a male or female.

Many of the locals were surprised to learn that we're from the United States, as most Caucasian visitors come from nearby Australia. Their response was positive. "America good!" was the typical reaction from this country of 222 million, where there is a Muslim majority.

Leaving Timor Island behind, we decided to catch up with our buddies on Roti Island, our first surf destination in the area. We stopped at Nembrala village, where the locals make their living gathering seaweed. We watched small figures hunch over the reef at low tide, collecting the plump green strands, then placing them on drying racks. After the dense water has evaporated, the seaweed is transformed into a feather-light grassy vegetable that's ready to eat. Unfortunately, the gatherers received only pennies per kilo. But the novelty of this location is the surf, which draws intrepid surfers from the far corners of the world. Surfers can view the break from a handful of small surf resorts located adjacent to the seaweed platforms. But we, anchored between the two reef breaks, had the best view of all.

We never realized how big the surf scene was in Indonesia until we'd migrated through the southwestern islands of Lombok, Bali, Sumatra, Mentawais, and Nias, where surf charter boats dominated the anchorages of the well-known surf spots. These islands are home to big wave breaks such as Scar Reef, Periscopes, and Burger World, and are where novice surfers can cut their teeth with the experienced dudes used to riding such barrels.

But as we moved through these places, Indonesia became more than just a place to surf. We were to have many pleasant and exciting adventures. For example, we watched Komodo Dragons eating fish thrown to them on the beach by the fishermen. Even more exciting was anchoring near Anak Krakatoa, where we planned to hike to the crater of the famous volcano. After being dormant for 14 years, she chose that occasion to let loose with smoke and thunderous noises. It was better than any fireworks that either of us had ever seen. And we'll certainly not forget visiting Bali, watching the traditional dances, touring temples, and leaving the tourist island exhausted.

The only negative side to our trip was having to learn how to deal with corrupt officials. One guy, for example, kept our passports until we paid him a ransom for them. And when clearing out of Padang, the officials claimed that our tourist visa from the Indonesian Consulate was somehow wrong. If we paid them $250 each, somehow the problem would go away. Fortunately, Bruce, from Ohana Kai, finally managed to convince the officials that we were tourists and not a charter boat for surfers. After that, the bribe was reduced to just $20/person. By the way, Bruce and Lisa Martin, and their sons Tristan and Matthew, with the Port Orchard, Washington-based Catalina 42 Ohana Kai, have been buddyboating with us.

Nonetheless, we left Indonesia with more pleasant than unpleasant memories. The quiet anchorages in remote locations, interacting with locals in the villages, and a chance to see areas of Indonesia that only a handful of people have the luxury to visit. Get off the beaten path when you can; it's worth it.

By the way, it's true that both our first names are Kelly. We left Puerto Vallarta to do the Puddle Jump in '06 aboard our 34-year-old boat and are currently in Egypt. We plan to cruise the Med, but with a quick stop to Bosnia, another off-the-beaten-path kind of place, then cross the Atlantic. Once back we get to the East Coast of the U.S., we plan to top off our cruising kitty by taking menial jobs.

— kelly & kelly 06/12/08

Arabella — Swift 40
Mike and Barb Fulmer
Six Months On The Hard In Fiji
(Channel Islands)

What happens to a boat that gets left alone on the hard for too long? It's not pretty.

Having left our boat in Fiji, with her keel set in a hole to reduce the chance she'd get blown over by a tropical cyclone, we expected to return to find mold growing on almost every surface. That's because we knew there would be very few nice days for our boat-minder to air her out, and we'd already been informed that the controller for our solar panels had gone kaput, meaning the batteries would be flat and therefore the fans wouldn't work. Since the engine couldn't be started, we expected there would be some problems there, too.

Even though we expected such things, the reality was so shocking that we doubt we'll ever leave our girl alone like that again. The bottom line is what we've always known: the worst thing you can do to a boat is not use her for a long time.

Getting Arabella cleaned up wasn't really too hard. We just wiped everything down with bleach, and she was good to go. And luckily our four golf cart batteries were tough enough to be brought back, because replacing them would have run about $500 each down here. The new controller for the solar panels was a cinch to install, too.

Most of the pumps and various motors still ran, which was good, but the bilge pump float switch had given up the ghost, But we had a spare, so no problem there. Then came splash day. The short trip from the Travel-Lift to the berth would have been comical if it weren't so stressful on poor Barb. There really wasn't a practical way to test the engine before we hit the water besides a quick crank, or at least that's what I thought. So there Arabella was, hanging in the straps, with me cranking the old Isuzu, running down below to bleed some more fuel, try to start her again, and so forth. All the while the very patient lift operator was wishing we'd hurry up and either shit or get off the pot.

It's true, we could have gotten a tow to our berth, but no, I thought to myself, I've gotta get this beast going. Finally there was a cloud of smoke and she sputtered to life. Whoopee! Happy times now that she smoothed out and purred like a kitten.

The transmission, which I tried before we went into the water, seemed to be fine, so off we went on the 200-yard voyage across the little lagoon that is the marina here.

"Why is all that smoke coming out of the cabin?" Barb suddenly shrieked as we pulled away from the launching area.

"It's nothing major," I replied, having taken a quick look and seen that the belt was slipping a little. Just then the engine alarm started buzzing loudly.

"That's not a problem either," I said while reaching for the kill switch, which had become rusted solid and unmovable, "put her in neutral and we'll coast in."

But as you might have guessed, the transmission level no longer wanted to move, so we were stuck in forward, unable to take the engine out of gear or shut her down. And we were headed right for the sea wall.

Fortunately, we were able to do a quick 180 turn before hitting the wall, and I was eventually able to somehow budge the kill switch enough to shut the engine down. After further investigation, I discovered why the engine alarm had gone on: the alternator had rusted solid, and the belt that turns the water pump had melted down on the pulley.

Amazingly enough, after going through an entire can of WD-40 and Tri-Flow, everything seems to be running well again, and we may actually get out of here in a week or do. Nonetheless, I think both Barb and I grew a few new gray hairs that afternoon.

— mike 05/15/08

Cocokai — 65-ft Schooner
The Coco-nuts
The Puddle Jump
(Long Beach)

We had a blast at both San Cristobal and Isabella Islands in the Galapagos during our two-week stay. At both islands we were anchored in bays with sleepy villages and resident wildlife that was fearless. Wreck Bay at San Cristobal was our first stop, and what we first thought were goats bleating on shore turned out to be sea lions angling for their favorite spot in the sun on a rock. Duh! Ducky chased a sea lion off the swim step one morning — and went for a swim herself. Then it was her turn to be chased around by an unfamiliar large animal in its element. She sure got out fast.

Our dive/snorkel trip to Kicker Rock was one of the best experiences, as we swam with schooling hammerhead sharks, Galapagos sharks, white tip reef sharks, manta rays, eagle rays, turtles, and countless schools of other fish. There was so much sea life that we didn't know where to look. Coco was very proud of herself, as it was the first time she'd swum — knowingly — with sharks. After diving, we snorkeled with sea lions on the way home. The young sea lions especially liked Coco, who twisted and twirled right along with them. Three or four followed her the whole time, and one particularly cute one played fetch, picking up a large sand dollar Coco would throw.

One of my favorite moments was when Coco and I were in the cockpit doing schoolwork. Out of the corner of my eye I saw what I thought was a bunch of yellow trash floating by. But when I looked closer, it turned out to be a school of several hundred golden rays. They moved together like a large cloud through the crystal clear water. Fantastic!

After a week, we sailed onto Isabella, where we added penguins, nesting right by the boat, and pink flamingos to our list of unusual animals that we'd seen. After more snorkeling, diving, exploring and general amazement at the quantity and fearlessness of the local creatures, we sadly took our leave for the Marquesas.

Here's an excerpt from our log:

"We're in the middle of the South Pacific, about 1,200 miles from the Galapagos with only 1,800 more miles to go until we reach the Marquesas. We are under full sail — meaning five sails are set — and are sailing along at 8-10 knots in lovely tradewinds conditions. We recently had our best 24-hour run — 202 miles. So far it's been a fairly uneventful passage — except for having to fish the spinnaker out of the water twice. The first time was because the halyard sheave bolt broke, the second time was because the halyard chafed through the splice. It was a challenge to clean things up, as the spinnaker and sock both made effective sea anchors. But there were no worries, as we had plenty of crew to pull the chute and sock out, as well as to send to the top of the mast to make repairs. It was G2 who earned his chocolate rations as an eager volunteer to go aloft. While taking care of business, he actually managed to take some great photos of Cocokai under full sail.

"We've had some sea life adventures out here, too. Two whales as long as the 65-ft Cocokai surfaced near us with a loud exhale. Then they dove in what appeared to be slow motion, their flukes seeming to pose for photos before disappearing. What a tremendous sight! It was also fun to watch the dolphins from the bowsprit when there was lots of phosphorescence, as after dark they looked like green torpedoes. Then Emma, our 19-year-old Dutch backpacker, got beaned by two flying fish and one squid during a busy night watch.

"One of the big challenges has been figuring out all the different ways to serve tuna. We've have tuna salad, peppercorn baked tuna, tuna mac & cheese casserole, curried tuna salad with sourdough baguettes — and are trying to come up with more ideas.

Here's another log entry:

"After 20 days at sea, we made our landfall at the beautiful Bay of Virgins at Fatu Hiva, the southernmost island in the Marquesas. Originally the bay was called the Bay of ­___________ (fill in the name of a prominent part of the lower male anatomy), because of the large erection-like volcanic protrusions surrounding the anchorage. But then the missionaries came along and decided such a name was too racy, and curiously changed it to the Bay of Virgins.

"There's a small village at the Bay of Virgins with about 200 inhabitants — about 80 of them children. About a dozen of them were playing in the water by the dinghy landing when Greg and I (Jen) kayaked ashore. The kids quickly took over the kayak, and had a great time piling on, falling off, and dragging it around. They were laughing so hard that I was sorry when we had to take the kayak back to the boat. One little boy was especially cute. He was wearing a fancy pair of swim trucks — with the behind completely torn out.

"Coco has been in seventh heaven, as there are three other boats around with kids her age. One of them, Maddy, a little girl from a San Francisco-based boat, was even born on the same day! Coco did the four-hour hike to the waterfall with five of the other kids and a few parents. All the other young girls turned back early, but Coco hung in there to the finish with the older boys. That's my girl!

"Tonight we're heading ashore for a dinner to be prepared by some women from the village. I gather that we will be sampling all the best of Marquesan cuisine — taro root, breadfruit, and maybe a roast goat. I just traded a $4 bottle of wine to a couple of men in a panga for a beautifully carved wooden manta ray. It must have been a good deal for them, too, as they threw in a bunch of oranges for good measure. It turns out that Fatu Hiva is a dry island, so I guess that vino is extra precious. But I'm still looking for that bucket of black pearls that one cruiser supposedly received in return for a bottle of rum!"

For those who like facts, here are some specifics on our crossing:

We left Isabella in the Galapagos on March 23, and arrived at Fatu Hiva in the Marquesas on April 12, after 2,978 miles and 19 days and 16 hours of sailing. We were escorted into Fatu Hiva by dolphins, too.

We had two 200+ mile days, which was a first for all of us. We did 206 miles and then 202 miles beam reaching in the trades. Wow! Our top speed for the trip was 10.8 knots.
The most sails we flew at one time was five — main, main staysail, fisherman, staysail, and spinnaker. That was cool.

We ran the engine for just 17 hours, and that was in the first day out of the Galapagos.
We caught nine fish, including three dorado, one wahoo, and one yellow fin.

There were six of us aboard for the trip. Greg 'G1'' King, the captain, from Long Beach; Jennifer Sanders, the owner, from Los Angeles, and her daughter Coco; Nicole Quinn; Greg 'G2' Fish; Emma, a Dutch gal; and Ducky the wonder dog.

We had four significant things that broke, and three of them had to do with the spinnaker:

1) The spinnaker halyard axle bolt sheared — despite having been inspected by G1 the day before — in just seven knots of wind. 2) The fairly new spinnaker halyard parted at the shackle twice. We were able to repair it both times. 3) A spinnaker ripped when the boat rounded up after 'Rocko', our Raymarine autopilot, went into 'Standby' mode all by itself one night. The inexperienced crew on watch wasn't able to catch the mistake in time to save the chute. Our autopilot seems to go into standby mode by itself every few days, and other boats have reported the same problem with theirs. What a great feature! 4) The radar mysteriously stopped receiving targets, which made it more difficult to avoid the nighttime squalls. Curiously, the radar now seems to be working fine.

­— the coco-nuts 04/29/08

Swell — Cal 40
Liz Clark
Solo Surfing Safari Under Sail
(Santa Barbara)

As I mentioned at the end of the last installment, no matter how many miles I add to Swell's logbook, leaving the safety and comfort of port always rattles my nerves. And with me having no more excuse to not head north to escape the tropical cyclone season, I was going to have to finally leave Papeete.

On the third of my four hand-cart provisioning trips from Carrefour, the Tahitian version of Wal-Mart, I began to cast lustful looks at the row of glittering beach cruiser bicycles. In what may end up to have been a hasty purchase, I bought a true beauty of a bicycle the day before I was to set sail. How could I justify the purchase on my tight budget? I'd heard there was a surf spot that took a north swell on the atoll I was eventually headed for, and that spot was a fair trek from the anchorage. I would need transportation. So unlike when I had to walk my provisions with a cart, with my bike I was now able to keep pace with the cars on the Papeete Highway on my way back to the marina — this despite a sack of bulbous, but long-lasting squash, and a case of boxed milk dangling from each handlebar. I deposited the goods at the dock ­— and then took off in a flash around the marina parking lot, happily throwing a shaka and a screeching burnout skid on each lap to Teave, the bored security guard at the entrance gate.

But soon it really was time to leave. The bike was given a temproary resting place in the forward cabin, I gave farewell hugs and high-fives to the boys, had a lovely dinner with the crew of Traveler, and that was it. As Swell slipped out through the Tapuna Pass the next morning, the drone of sportboats and the forest of masts gave way to the whistle of the trades and an uninterrupted horizon. I let out a sigh from deep within — but my relief was short-lived as I came to the realization that I didn't really know where I was going. With no parameters or restrictions on my way to Kiribati, I decided that I would let the wind, weather, and swell direction chart my path.

The passage to my first stop, which I can't name because it had good surf, was pleasantly uneventful. And before long, I had Swell tucked inside the comfortable cradle of a fringing reef. In an impulsive move that characterizes my nature, I'd hardly shut the engine down before I grabbed my new J7 board and attacked the half-mile paddle to the head-high left that had distracted me while I was navigating through the pass. I was so excited about getting to the waves that I couldn't even take the time to launch my dinghy.

When I finally reached the break, there was a single surfer sitting deep. I quickly picked off a series of long and perfectly rippable wave morsels. As the sea continued to smooth out, the size of the waves and the consistency of the sets increased. Before long, there were six of us in the line-up — Tahitians, Californians, folks from the other side of the world — but there were waves for all. The lefts I'd been surfing before had been square and challenging. These were much easier, allowing me to link high-speed drives, exaggerated bottom turns, vertical snaps, and fluffy floaters. My confidence soared. Give me a backside lip to hit, and I wouldn't let you down.

For the next three days, I was in surfing utopia. The conditions couldn't have been better, as not a breath of wind disturbed the surface of the water, and the swell direction was perfect. The waves were so compelling that I never got around to launching my dinghy. All my energy was directed to either riding waves or resting up in order to ride more waves.

In those three days, I shut out the rest of the world and allowed surfing to rule me. I used candles and headlamps so I didn't have to bother with running the generator, and put only enough effort into cooking to replenish the calories I'd expended that day. I felt I’d earned the total mental and physical vacation into this surfing bliss, so I gorged myself. To do otherwise would have seemed sacrilegious.

Then while relishing the delicious simplicity of a grilled cheese sandwich one evening, and silently replaying the best waves of my session on my mental television, I heard a shuffling noise from above the settee bunk. To my indescribable horror, I looked over to see two enormous cockroaches on top of the magazine rack. After finally haven gotten rid of all species of ants, and acquiring a new gecko to keep things under control, I was nearly inconsolable at the sight of these nasty stowaways. I’m not sure why cockroaches are so completely repulsive to me, but they are.

In a hyperventilating frenzy I searched for an object with which to launch an immediate attack, and came up with a found volume of Mark Twain's 700-page Following the Equator. My first blow took care of one of the cockroaches, but his conspirator escaped into the jumbled recesses behind the canvas lee cloth. After disposing of my still-writhing, three-inch-long victim, I gathered my bedding and hauled it up to the cockpit, praying the rain would hold off for the night. I was too exhausted to hunt down the other one, but too disgusted at the thought of sleeping in his company. As I lay under the stars, I theorized that the adventurous duo must have crawled out one of the docklines while Swell was tied at the marina in Papeete.

I ended up sleeping outside for a week, and each day poured boric acid into every nook and cranny, and sealed off all possible sources of food. There were three subsequent confrontations — two victories and one loss — but I am happy to report that 10 days passed without another sighting. In the aftermath of these battles, I would venture to say that Tahitian cockroaches are as proportionally strong and tough as Tahitian men, but the sight of their bronze bodies weakens my knees for entirely different reasons!

Surfing is one thing in my life that I admit to being powerless to resist. Sometimes I look around and realize that I have unconsciously constructed entire agendas correlating to the angle, arrival time, and forecasted wind direction of a swell. I don't think this is a bad thing, as we all need something to prod us in moments of indecision. With the holidays just a few days away, I easily could have stayed and shared a meal with the delightful crew of travellers that I'd met at the left hand break. But I decided that, since I couldn't be with my family for the occasion, I'd dedicate the holiday to surfing. And with the next swell not due to arrive for three days, and the weather only good for travelling for the next two, I knew where I wanted to be next.

When I took off and sailed through the pass that had blessed me with such great waves, Swell sliced through the flattest sea I'd ever seen in the South Pacific. But with a beautiful breeze square on her beam, she seemed delighted to do all the work while I rested my weary muscles in a pocket of shade. Although the wind would gradually back off during the night, I refused to motor. I woke every 20 minutes to scan the horizon, then drifted further off course in the stillness of the night. Once dawn broke, I slept for a full 90 minutes, confident that all other boats would be able to see me.

When I could no longer stand the heat, I pulled the sweaty sheet off my eyes, put the sails in order, tossed my lucky pink lure behind the boat, and filled half a papaya with yogurt and nuts for breakfast. At the moment the papaya skin I'd thrown hit the water, the finishing line screamed. Before long I saw a gorgeous mahi launch his blue-green body into the air in protest. I pulled in the headsail, readied the tail-tie, the gaff, and the 'fish towel', then went to work cranking on the big reel mounted to my stern pulpit. In the time it took me to reel the fish to the boat, he displayed a lust for freedom — leaping, dancing, and shaking — the likes of which I've never seen before. The tenacity of his spirit meant that I couldn't help but feel affection for him.

I usually maintain a reverent, yet practical mindset when faced with killing my own food. When the mahi was within a few feet of the boat, I was awed by the length of his body and the breadth of his bulbous male head. We were easily equal in size and strength. His flanks undulated between neon greens and limey yellows. As far as I could tell he was hooked well and would provide a great Thanksgiving substitute for turkey. Yet a part of me didn't want to deal with such a large fish. With a pulse of adrenaline and gaff in hand, I reeled in the final length of line. He swam on his right side, and I swear he looked me straight in the eye before — in one final burst of instinct and strength, he leapt from the water just a few feet from Swell’s port quarter. He shook the hook free and rapidly disappeared into the blue. I was happy, for neither of us had spilled blood, and because I pictured him as free again, and, like me, roaming the sea.

— liz 10/25/07

Cruise Notes:

While enroute from Ecuador to Mexico, Robert and Ginny Gleser, aboard the Alameda-based Freeport 40 Harmony, found themselves in Costa Rica having to deal with Papagayos. These are the offshore winds that don't quite blow the dogs off the chains like Tehauntepeck'ers do, but are less predictable. "Having studied the Papagayo phenomenon for a week, we started to see a pattern," they write. "The forecasts would call for 15 to 25 knots, which, because there are gusts and lulls, is just the median, so the wind blows twice as hard for part of the day or night — or both. For example, despite such forecasts, we've had 36 knots, and other friends reported 41 knots. So take the weather reports with a big grain of sea salt. Noticing that the wind sometimes lightens a taste in the late afternoon and early evening, we decided to make a 25-mile sail around Punta Santa Elena on April 19. Setting a reefed main and a small jib, we roared downwind between the Murcielago Islands, sailing at 8+ knots, and even hitting a new boat record speed of 8.8 knots. Fortunately, the wind roaring down from the mountains gave us following winds. Once we got the hook down, we spoke with a fellow cruiser who had been coming the other direction, and he'd been miserable because he'd had heavy winds and seas on the nose.

"As a result of major natural events such as this," the couple continue, "we had time to imagine, philosophize, and cogitate. And we decided that we humans have for the most part taken a step away from being a part of nature and many of the cycles of life. We've somehow put ourselves above it all, and taken control, when, in fact, we're just one of the small, new-to-the-scene ingredients in the whole stew. It's been an amazing feeling to be subjected to these winds, to enjoy the phases of the moon, to see the dolphins play with our bow wave, and to have birds and insects sing us to sleep. As soon as we just let go and become a small part of it all, we enjoy a greater appreciation for life and all that the earth has to offer. There is no room for us to pollute, wage war, and do all those other things that wreck the pristine world that otherwise works so well on its own. When you think about it, we humans have amazing arrogance. Becoming aware of our place in this universal cosmos is a humbling and awesome experience."

"Some readers may remember our record-breaking — and infamous — 55-day crossing from Hawaii to Washington, which included Chuck's personal best of 21 straight days of seasickness," write Chuck and Laura Rose, plus Bree the cat, of the Honolulu-based Vega 27 Lealea. "We then spent five months in Port Townsend, re-rigging, re-fitting, repairing and restoring our boat with the help of the Port Townsend Shipwright's Co-Op and PT Rigging. With Lealea then better than new, we set off under power for Friday Harbor, where Laura has been shanghaied by West Marine to manage their WM Express store. The Port of Friday Harbor is a first rate facility, and the staff are the best. We were assigned a slip on G dock, and noticed a familar boat just across from us. She is Mystery, which was moored next to us on the 800 row at the Ala Wai in Honolulu. It turns out that owners David and Megan Gneme were forced to abort their planned cruise to the South Pacific, and ended up buying a house here.

Anyway, we're looking forward to this year's Vega Rendezvous at Maple Bay, British Columbia, on August 20th. As we're starting from a much closer point, we're confident that we'll be able to make it this year."

"I've taken a few more pictures to add to my dolphin photo collection while here in the Sea of Cortez," reports Heather Corsaro, who is cruising the Sea of Cortez with David Addleman on his Monterey-based Cal 36 Eupsychia. "My more recent shots have been of the playful bottlenose dolphins, which fooled around with us for 30 minutes. I've noticed that we saw mostly pantropical spotted dolphins over on the mainland, but in the Sea we've mostly seem bottlenose dolphins. Unlike the dolphins, we'll be doing the Bash soon."

And now this, from an entirely different philosophical part of the cosmos than the Glesers on Harmony:

"Hello again, this time from San Pedro on Ambergris Cay in Belize, where we're anchored in six feet of clear water just inside the world's second longest barrier reef," reports Bob Willmann of the Golden, Colorado-based Fountaine-Pajot Casamance 44 cat Viva! "The tourist trade here is based on diving, and as many of you know, diving puts a lot of pressure on the brain. In a perhaps unrelated observation, an alarming number of the divers here come from Texas, which may account for many of the fraternity-like pranks that get pulled by otherwise fairly normal-looking adults. The Texans seem to love liquids, for when they're not in the ocean, they're consuming the local beer. Speaking of beer, the local bars serve Belikin, Belikin Stout, and Lighthouse Lager, all made by the same company in Belize City. The beer only comes in bottles, all of which have a logo that features a Mayan temple. All the bars charge $2.50 for a beer. The bottles are either 8 ounces or 9.5 ounces, but they make up in alcoholic content — between 4.8% and 6.2% — for what they lack in volume. So life is good for a lot of people."

"There’s live music — usually reggae — in some beach bar every night," Willmann continues. "On Monday nights one of the bars has crab racing, which is a betting game around here. They draw a ring in the sand and dump a bucket of crabs, each of which has a unique number on its back, into the middle of the ring. If the crab with your number makes it outside of the ring first, you win the pot. Everyone is permitted to yell at the top of their lungs at the poor crabs. Apparently this helps, because everybody does it. But my favorite event is the Chicken Drop on Wednesday nights. After many adult beverages are consumed, everyone chooses one of the numbered squares drawn in the sand. Then, at the appointed time, the bar management tosses a similarly fortified live chicken into the area, and people start yelling intermittently. The idea — and we're sure that PETA would lend its full support to this activity — is to literally scare the crap out of the chicken while he's standing over your square. Go ahead and laugh, but a $5 bet can win you $100 — which is the equivalent of 20 small but strong beers. I can only assume that the pressure on the brains of divers must be intense for people to do the things they do down here."

"My wife Sherry and I are former San Francisco Bay racing sailors, but are now ex-pats living here in Belize, where we have the Lagoon 47 charter cat Aubisque," writes Cliff Wilson. "We recently had San Rafael's Tom and Nicky Murphy aboard for a nine-day trip to Guatemala's Rio Dulce and back. This was their second trip with us, and this time the excuse was to help celebrate Nicky's 40th birthday. Tom started the trip back from Guatemala by catching two little tunnys and a cerro mackerel, which naturally became sushi treats. He followed that up by catching a large cobia, which turned into dinner. We then stopped along the way at South Water Cay, a good place to kite sail. Tom is a pilot for United, but he's also an active kite sailor who can be found crashing the big winds and waves at Stinson Beach, Fort Mason, Ocean Beach, and even the San Rafael Channel. He loves his air time, and South Water Cay was a perfect place for him to get high. The accompanying photo tells the story."

In May we had a fun telephone chat with Jan and Ramona Miller, who left Santa Cruz four years ago on their Peninsula-built Odyssey 30 Jatimo, for what would be a four-year cruise across the Pacific that would take them as far as the east coast of Australia. Their favorite spot was New Zealand, where they spent nine months, and would have spent more time if the government had allowed it. "New Zealand is like one big national park," Jan explained, "and, except when they're driving, the Kiwis are really friendly. In fact, they treat you like long lost relatives." The couple might not have come back were it not for health issues with parents and the arrival of grandkids. While in Sydney, somebody gave them a copy of Latitude 38 which noted a sailing of a Dockwise Yacht Transport ship from Sydney to Ensenada last July. So the couple, and a number of other cruisers, signed up for it. But a week before the ship was to set sail, they were informed that the trip was cancelled! This threw the spanner into the works for a lot of cruising couples. A Sydney shipping agent tried to 'help' out by putting them on another ship. The problem was that it would have cost twice as much and the boat would have been dropped off in Panama. Gee thanks, but no thanks. Rolling with the cancellation by sailing up to the Queensland coast of Australia for six months, Jan and Ramona finally got Jatimo on a Dockwise ship that arrived in Ensenada in February. "We got 20% off for signing up five months in advance, and 5% more off for having our originally scheduled trip cancelled," reports Jan. "It came out to $12,000 and change. It helped that we had a smaller boat, because the price quickly goes up with boat size. A number of friends with larger boats couldn't afford to ship their boats, and had to sail them all the way back home."

Once Jatimo arrived in Ensenada, the couple rented a mobile home in the Rancho Mi Refugio campground outside of Ensenada so Baja Naval Marina could paint the boat and do a few other jobs. When Miller last had the boat painted 18 years ago, he stripped everything off the boat that he could, then had Nelson's Boatyard spray it. This time he told Baja Naval to just mask everything off — and was pretty happy with the result. Getting the deck, topside, and bottom painted, as well as some other relatively minor job, came to $10,000. The only thing that bothered Jan was that he wasn't allowed — supposedly because of insurance reasons — to do his own mechanical work on the bottom. As it was, he had to sneak in and show the workers how to do a couple of things.

The couple are soon to head north to their Half Moon Bay mooring, for which they've continued to pay $45/month while they were gone. Before they left, they used to anchor the boat off the Santa Cruz Wharf for free — as did about a dozen other boats — and were then able to get a transient berth in the marina during the winter. They're not sure that's still an option. After all these years of owning the same boat and a just-completed four-year cruise, what's up next for the two? "There's a pretty good chance we'll be sailing south in the winter," says Jan. "We've never been south of Acapulco, so maybe we'll go down to Panama and South America. And who knows, there's always the Med." Jan says their six-ton 30-footer is comfortable at sea, and he's happy with the sailing performance, but admits there is no such thing as modesty on a boat that size. But a smaller boat means they've been able to cruise on $2,000 a month, despite the fact they're been doing all the tourist things and have had to buy plane tickets home for weddings and such."

Market forces win out at Banderas Bay — at least temporarily. After a spring of what most cruisers took to be unreasonably high slip fees at the new Nayarit Riviera Marina in La Cruz, a paucity of tenants, plus the input of marina manager Christian Mancebo, have combined to convince the board of directors to reduce the slip fees. According to Mancebo, the summer rate will be 35 cents/foot/day for stays of one month or more. Check our math, but we think that works out to $420 a month for a 40-footer. Shorter stays will be 50 cents/foot/day. This is a major reduction in slip fees, but we wonder if it's not going to be a case of a little too late for the summer, as most boats are either in their summer slips or have moved on. The folks at Nayarit Riviera Marina don't need our advice, of course, but we're hoping they won't make the same mistake with ultra high slip fees next winter. If they price the slips competitively, we think they'll get a lot of takers — plus lots more activity at their store, restaurant, and bar. The time to raise rates is once the marina is filled or near filled. That was the formula that Marina Costa Baja employed so successfully in La Paz to fill their marina from zero to a packed house — even in summer — in just a couple of years. Well, that yield strategy plus an excellent staff and service.

One of Mexico's chronic economic problems is that the government has long allowed monopolies to dominate business sectors — and therefore charge high prices. Nowhere is this more evident than in the case of Mexico's Carlos Slim, who for a time was being touted as the world's richest man. Slim acquired both Telmex, the fixed-line telephone company, and Telcel, its mobile sister, at such low prices he that almost immediately made billions. As if that wasn't enough, his companies control 90% and 80% of their markets respectively, which — surprise, surprise — has resulted in Mexico having some of the highest calling rates in the world. We don't mind seeing the big yachts of guys who made fortunes — such as many of the players in the computing and software industries — by saving their customers time and money. But motoryachts, such as Slim's, which have been paid for by gouging the poor, just don't look so attractive to us. Fortunately, Santiago Creel, president of Mexico's upper house and a member of President Felipe Calderon's National Action Party, has been charged with changing the monopolistic situation. "We cannot continue to be a country of small elites that benefit from enormous privileges," he said, noting that the lack of competition is one of the reasons the prices of many things are so artificially high in Mexico. We know his battle will be tough, but we wish him success.

"The 12th annual Loreto Fest, held on the shores of Puerto Escondido, Baja, the first weekend of May, was another fun event in Mexico for Ed and me," reports Cornelia Gould of the Half Moon Bay-based Valiant 42 A Capella. "Approximately 250 people attended, with many of them coming from the 115 boats moored or anchored in the area. It was the right number of people to have a good party but not feel overwhelmed by a crowd. For Ed and me, the highlights were the music, provided by cruisers and various locals, spirited sporting and game events, the Saturday evening Toga Party, but most of all the camaraderie. The event began on Thursday, with a potluck and musical jam session. The next morning there was a swap meet followed by games and seminars, and an evening Chili Cook-Off won by Jose and David, sons of Lulu from the local Singlar operation. This was followed by an excellent evening of music featuring Rick and Marilyn of Tortuga, and Michael and Cecy of Ramble On Rose. The Bay Clean-Up — which was the reason Loreto Fest got started 12 years ago — was held on Saturday. This year it was organized by Dave and Merry Wallace of the Redwood City-based Amel Maramu Air Ops, who did the '07 Ha-Ha with us. Despite the prior years of cleaning up, lots of stuff was still collected from under the waters of the bay and along the shore. After more sporting events and games, Kenny Nordstrom, Commodore of the sponsoring Hidden Port YC, prepared a delicious spaghetti dinner. Everyone was encouraged to wear togas to the evening festivities, where Dave and Merry were named the King and Queen of Loreto Fest. Sunday featured a pancake breakfast with bloody marys, a Mexican food fund-raiser for lunch, and more fun and games. Loreto Fest was put together by Connie 'Sunlover' and various committees, and the proceeds will be used to support the education of local children."

Also having a great time at Loreto Fest were Jonesy and Terry Morris of the Chula Vista-based Gulfstar 50 SailMaster Niki Wiki. "After two seasons of cruising as far south as Zihuatanejo, we decided to head north up into the Sea of Cortez for the first time in April," they write. "What a marvelous idea that was! The anchorages in the sea are calm, the weather benign, and the scenery is breathtaking. We are so glad that we listened to the advice of seasoned cruisers here in Mexico and spent these two months cruising the Sea. Our favorite spot? Caleta Partida, where the turquoise waters are clear, the snorkeling is excellent, and the nights quiet. We're now headed back to Paradise Marina in Nuevo Vallarta to wait out another summer hurricane season. Next November we're heading off to Central America."

Quiet nights at Caleta Partida? We presume you weren't visited by Mr. Coromuel — the name for the evening winds that blow out of La Paz and into Caleta Partida and other west facing anchorages — while you were there.

Thanks to some unfortunate medical situation back in the States, John Bean of the Winchester, Oregon-based Catalina 42 Cool Breeze had to do a singlehanded Baja Bash — and continue singlehanded all the way up to Oregon. We'll have more on that next month, along with other stories of this year's Bashes, but John had something surprising to report when he checked out of Ensenada for the States: "My clearing out of Mexico went smoothly — because I'd fortunately purchased Mexican liability insurance at the Ha-Ha party in San Diego last October. Assuming that I wouldn't need to show the policy to Mexican officials when I was checking out in Ensenada, I left my copy of the policy on my boat when I went ashore to clear out. It was an incorrect assumption. The officials gave me two choices before I'd be allowed to check out — I could either show them a copy of my policy or I could buy an entirely new policy!

"I've played a variety of musical instruments — piano, flute, guitar — in my life, but none recently," writes Nancy Potter Tompkins of Mill Valley, who has been cruising the South Pacific with her husband Commodore for the last several years aboard their Wylie 38+ Flashgirl. "But I love music, which is the universal language. So while in Tahiti in '05, I bought a ukulele at the big open air market in Papeete. It was a case of love at first sight with the instrument, as it's also a work of art, having been made from a breadfruit tree and having an unusual carved design. By the way, when compared with Hawaiian ukuleles, the Polynesian ones have the sound box opening in the back of the instrument and an easier action on the fretboard. I didn't know any tunes when I bought my uke, but I enjoy just strumming it and the sounds it makes. The uke is a happy instrument. In fact, I'd often bring it on deck during light air conditions and just strum . . . for fun. When we first went ashore in the Marquesas, I heard music. Recognizing a musical opportunity, I excitedly rowed back to the dinghy to get my uke. One of the local musicians placed my fingers on the keyboard to show me where to play, and then he played along on his guitar. Wow, we were jamming Marquesan music! As I don't speak French and he didn't speak English, music became our language. I was hooked, and carried my uke around and asked musicians I met to show me chords. It always brought a smile to their faces. And what an ice breaker! Before long, I learned that the Polynesians only use a few chords, and that most of the variety in their music comes from the rhythm of the strumming. Once we got to the cooler climes of New Zealand, I didn't play my uke at all. And when we got to Tonga and Fiji, I found they don't have the same musical thing going, so I didn't play there, either. But last month I flew to the Cooks for a wedding, at which time the uke thing started all over again. I've since picked up some sheet music and now have a small repertory of tunes that I hope will grow. I know that as a group cruisers have a lot of jam sessions, but it's just not my thing. I mostly like to play alone during quiet moments aboard Flashgirl, bring lighthearted music to the air and a joy to my heart."

"We're now living in a rented house in the Sabalo district of Mazatlan, and our daughter Phoebe is in a bilingual school program at Instituto Britanico," report Jeffrey and Patti Critchfield of the Pt. Richmond-based Oceanis 423 Paxil. "Because Easter in Mexico lasts for two weeks, and their schools took another day off the following Monday, we had nearly three weeks to go cruising along Mexico's Gold Coast. We got as far south as Chamela, which is 65 miles south of Banderas Bay, and was a good place to practice anchoring and beach landing. In Mexico, it seems that everybody heads to the beach on holidays, so all the hotels were full, the beaches were full of people camping out of cars and in tents, and the restaurants blared music late into the night. It was the same spectacle at all the mainland anchorages we visited for the duration of the trip. Mexico is often thought of as being a place with light winds, but we logged our fastest passage on the 52-mile leg from Ipala to Chamela, as we did it in just under six hours under main alone! It was blowing a steady 27 to 30 knots, and we saw a top gust of 43 knots. The swell was about 10 feet, with four-foot wind waves, the combination of which had us surfing down waves at up to 12 knots! We arrived safe and sound, but what a rush! Actually, we did have one incident, that being when the preventer and traveller sheet failed as a result of an accidental jibe. The main and boom came across with such force that the sail tore when it hit the leeward spreader. The good news is that when we later came into La Cruz, Russ and Debbie, good friends on the Pt. Richmond-based Zephera, were there, and Russ is a rigger/sailmaker who was able to solve our problems in one day. But the highlight of our three weeks was the time we spent at the wildlife preserve of Isla Isabella, about 25 miles offshore some 85 miles south of Mazatlan. Just don't look up when you're on the island!"

Having done a circumnavigation from '95 to '07 aboard their Beneteau First 456 Klondike, Don and Katie Radcliffe of Santa Cruz are still out there. "We spent last summer on the East Coast of the U.S.," the couple write, "then dropped down to Trinidad for Carnival. Next we crewed for Ralwe Barrow at the Bequia Regatta, where we took first place in the cruising division with his Beneteau 38 Petite Careme. Don later won the Singlehanded Around Bequia Race with Klondike. We then moved north to Antigua, where we crewed on a ferro cement schooner — with Lynn Davis of Tiburon — for the Classic Regatta, then did Antigua Sailing Week aboard Stephen Schmidt's unique SC 70 Hotel California, Too, which he has been cruising in the Caribbean for many years. We just arrived in Bermuda on our way to Maine for the summer, but next winter's plans include another Carnival in Trinidad."

"We've been at sea for 15 days since leaving the Bay of Islands, New Zealand," report Dan and Carol Seifers of the Northern California-based Seawind 1160 Caprice. You may remember the couple previously reported they gave up the cozy retired life and sailing on the Delta late last year when they bought Caprice in Australia. "During our passage to Tubuai, the southernmost of the Austral Islands, we experienced everything from near calms to 47-knot winds and 15-foot seas. Nonetheless, cruising in our Seawind 1160 has been a dream. We've found that we can average about seven knots while on a beam reach in 12 knots of wind. Our fastest day was 178 miles, during which time we carried the chute all day and night, but our average has been 125 miles a day.

But forget the speed, it's the comfort that we've found to be marvelous. We can cook, shower, and read comfortably, all because the boat sails level. For example, Admiral Carol prepared a delicious filet mignon meal, finished with 'boat made' ice cream for dessert, to celebrate our reaching the halfway point. We've also been enjoying mahi mahi. We've always been of the opinion that ocean crossings are more adventures to be endured rather than fun — but this trip has proven to be different. Everyone aboard — which includes our fine crew Tom Hanson and Ted Stuart — is truly enjoying the crossing itself. In fact, just the other day Ted was lamenting — ". . . it can't get any better than this, I don't want it to end yet" — that we were coming to the end of our passage. It didn't hurt that he said this on a sunny, 85-degree day, with 12-knot winds. After a few days in Tubuai to stock up on vegetables, fruits, bread (although we've been making our own), and fuel, we'll make the hop up to Tahiti 350 miles to the north. After a few days in Papeete, we'll visit Moorea, Raiatea and Bora Bora before heading north to the Tuamotus."

Nothing makes us laugh out loud more than when owners of mega motoryachts say they care about the environment, or when the Monaco Boat Show for mega motoryachts proudly proclaims itself to have been "carbon neutral since '05". At the Yacht Vision '08 Symposium in Auckland, Russell Bowler of Farr Yacht Design laid it on the line: "Large motoryachts are simply fossil fuel hogs." This was not disputed by Michael Peters, who designs high-speed motoryachts for a living, and who suggested that the owners of such yachts are going to come under intense social pressure in the upcoming years to prove that they actually are 'green'. For a megayacht that burns 100,000 gallons of fuel a year — supposedly a typical amount — Peters claims the owners could plant 3,100 trees a year to be neutral. If that doesn't sound like buying indulgences, we're not sure what would. After all, it's not just an environmental issue, it's also an energy shortage issue.

For the record, a typical 70-ft motoryacht preferred by hedge fund managers in the Northeast, and which wouldn't even qualify as a mini-mini-megayacht, burns 120 gallons an hour while roaring around at 27 knots. In other words, in just one hour, such boats burn about twice as much as the 65-ft schooner Cocokai did in her 20-day passage from the Galapagos to the Marquesas, or nearly 10 times as much as Alameda's Wayne Meretsky used while sailing his S&S 47 Moonduster 3,000 miles from Mexico to the Marquesas.

Missing the pictures? See our June 2008 eBook!


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