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Back to 'Changes' Index Changes in Latitudes
July 2007

Missing the pictures? See the July 2007 eBook!

With reports this month from Cat'n About about the physical dangers of wifi addiction; from Wanderlust 3 on the trip from the Galapagos to the Marquesas; from Swell on a surprise crew for the passage across the Pacific; from Genesis on being the victim of a hit-and-run; from Harmony on a trip from the Sea of Cortez to Ecuador; and Cruise Notes.

Cat'n About— Gemini 3000 Cat
Rob & Linda Jones
Wi-Fi Sluts
(Whidbey Island, WA)

Prior to leaving Washington three years ago to start our cruising, my wife had spent years working on a computer. As a result, she developed bilateral humeral lateral epicondylitis — which is the $10 term for tennis elbow. After many appointments with several specialists, they all agreed it was caused from spending so many hours on the computer keyboard. She also suffered from GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disorder), which seems to be a common thing in the States. Well, after cruising for one year both issues went away, and she hasn't had a problem since.

Unfortunately, while in San Diego prior to our starting the '04 Baja Ha-Ha, she discovered wi-fi. Now, three years later, we have 'wi-fi-ed' all over Mexico and Central America. We'll even admit to cruising an anchorage with our laptop and antenna out looking for the best wifi spot in which to anchor. You'd be amazed at the number of anchorages that have wi-fi. Off the top of my head, some of the places that come to mind are La Cruz, Loreto, Concepcion Bay, San Sebastian, La Paz, Tenacatita Bay, Punta Chivato, and Zihua. I know there are many others.

But all this brings me to my real point, which is that Linda has developed a new medical malady called wifi acromioclavicular joint inflammation — or wi-fi shoulder. Seeing how litigious the U.S. is, all we can think is that wi-fi antennas should carry a warning.

For those not worried about getting such a condition, we currently use a $60 EB Genus antenna, which uses a USB plug. However, we also have a hyperlink antenna that attaches to it, which is supposed to increase our range by five miles. It worked well from the middle of Zihua Bay.

By the way, we recently helped Roy and Marlene Verdery take their new Manta catamaran down the ICW on the East Coast, and we had no trouble accessing wi-fi there.

— rob and linda 06/15/07

Wanderlust 3 — Hunter Mariner 49
Mike Harker
Galapagos To The Marquesas
(Manhattan Beach)

During our 3,125-mile, 16-day sail from Isla Isabela in the Galapagos to Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas, we experienced all the different types of weather you can have on a sailboat — except for winds over 40 knots. When there was wind, it came from the east to southeast, and ranged from almost nothing to a consistent 35 knots. Since we wanted to sail due west, it was perfect.

We left the Galapagos on May 22 after a forced delay of 20 days caused by my waiting to get a replacement Balmar alternator. Hunter had the replacement delivered to Ecuador in two days, but customs sat on my package for two weeks. About a dozen boats departed Isabella for the Marquesas on May 12 and 13, and we should have been among them. It was terribly frustrating for me to have to watch them sail away.

Up until two days before I left, I assumed I would be singlehanding. Then I met Jaime and Ben, two California guys who were travelling across the Pacific, but at the time were working as servers in an Italian restaurant. Jaime has a construction business in Santa Cruz, but he's also a surfer, so he had six boards with him! He met Ben, a former Army Ranger, while rock climbing in Yosemite, where Ben was on the search and rescue team. After three years of survival training and living in a Yosemite cave for two years, he decided he'd had enough of isolation. Although neither had sailed before I met them in the Galapagos, they'd decided to try to hitchhike across the Pacific by sailboat. Neither had any idea what to do or what to expect. But they were motivated and seemed adventurous enough to take along as crew.We studied our routing option. Some of the dozen other boats that had left before were following the advice of the so-called 'expert' on his big 85-ft catamaran. He recommended going straight south to about 08.S, then turning west when the boats hit the wind. Others elected to do the rhumbline course to the Marquesas. I read a book. On page 372 of Jimmy Cornell's World Cruising Routes, he states, "'An area to be avoided, if passing south of the Galapagos, is between longitudes 90.W and 95.W and latitudes 03.S and 08.S, where several yachts have reported unpleasant weather conditions. The area appears to be an extension of the doldrums with little or no wind, thundery squalls, and a heavy swell, which makes conditions very uncomfortable . . . The average length of this passage (Galapagos - Nuka Hiva) is from 15 to 30 days."

When feasible, I always try to follow Cornell's advice, so we headed west along 02.S. Four years ago, aboard my Hunter 466 Wanderlust II, I left Nuka Hiva and headed north for Hawaii. At about 02.S, my rudder broke. I drifted west at 2.2 knots for three days before I could construct a 'make-shift' rudder using my spinnaker pole and a broken door. I know now that at 02.S degrees I would at least have a strong current going my way.

We made good time and, at about 100.W, we turned southwest to cross down to the 08.S line, which I then followed directly into Nuka Hiva at 09.S. We listened to the Southern Cross Net on SSB radio as other boats reported their positions and weather. With 1,500 miles still to go, we'd passed 10 of the 12 boats that had left before us, and only trailed two large boats that had good breeze.

I can't say enough about a favorable current. The first couple of days out of the Galapagos we had wind of six knots or less, but we were in a 2.2 west-setting current. When our speed dropped to five knots over the bottom, I used the motor, as, in addition to raising our over-the-bottom speed to seven knots, it would allow us to charge the batteries and make water. We got about two hours of motoring per gallon at 1,500 rpm and, with the current in our favor, a total of seven knots over the bottom. The cost of fuel wasn't a consideration, as it's only $1 in the Galapagos, thanks to a Ecuadorian subsidy.

When the wind increased to over 12 knots from the ESE, our speed over the bottom was between eight and nine knots. We mostly sailed wing-on-wing, with the genoa poled to windward and the staysail out to fill the slot between the genoa and main. The wind on the main kept Wanderlust heeled over slightly to starboard, and also kept the boat from rolling in the north-setting 8 to 12-ft swell that was coming up from the Southern Ocean.

We had rain squalls with winds of over 35 knots for two days, but for the most part we had good sailing, with 12-15 knots from ESE, and maintained an average of over 7.5 knots. When the winds increased to 15-18 knots, our speed over the bottom, aided by the current, was 9.5-11 knots, and we had three days of over 200 miles in a 24-hour period. The new Hunter Mariner 49 Offshore version really moves. I figure she's 1.5 to 2 knots faster in similar conditions, but tracks truer and is more stable.

We made landfall at Taipivai, Nuku Hiva, at 11 p.m. after 16 days at sea. Taipivai is the little bay made famous by Herman 'Moby Dick' Melville. He'd been a 19-year-old cabin boy when he jumped ship to hide in the "valley of the cannibals," and wrote of his adventure in Typee, his first novel.

After a wonderful night of sleep in calm waters, and no longer having to stand '3-on, 6-off' watches, the three of us awoke to the most wonderful green valley that you can imagine. Our plan is to stock up on food and diesel, rest for a few days, and then split for American Samoa. I won't be staying long because I was here for four months on my previous boat four years ago, and because I need to have my boat on display at the Sydney International Boat Show in early August, which means I've got a lot of ground to cover quickly. I'm a little behind schedule because of Customs in Ecuador, but I have a fast and safe boat, so my resolve is undiminished.

— mike 06/05/07

Swell — Cal 40
Liz Clark
Not Magic, Maintenance
(Santa Barbara)

My time in Panama City was challenging, but I checked nearly every item off my lists, made many new friends, and grew to appreciate that city. I love Panama! And now that my escapades in Central America have almost come to a close, I've already become nostalgic for Latin America. With my window to cross the Pacific calling, I'm sad that I won't see any of South America on this tour, but I guess I should save something for my next circumnavigation.

I'd never been anywhere that played host to such a slew of serious cruisers as Panama City. And it's not only a crossroads for traveling sailors, but for world commerce, too. Massive ships from all parts of the world, carrying every sort of commodity and product, pass close to anchored cruising boats on their way to or from the Canal. The size of the ships is humbling, but the notion that they are essentially the 'veins' of world trade give them an aura of even greater significance.

I was amazed by Panama City itself. It has gourmet markets, fine restaurants and museums, and massive malls. The public transportation is cheap, but was often frightening. 'Red Devil' buses hugged corners as though they were competing in the Indy 500, while the taxi drivers used their horns in place of their brakes. For not being much of a city girl, I delighted to find some of the luxuries of home.

After good-byes with Heather, who had been sailing with me for awhile, I found myself among close to 100 cruising boats, as this was the high season at the crossroads for boats about to cross the Pacific. Most had just come through the Canal from the Atlantic, a smaller number were preparing to pass through to the Caribbean, and others, like me, had stopped to refit and reprovision.

When the United States built the Canal, they connected Flamenco and Perico Islands to the mainland on the Pacific side with the Causeway, and built a road on top of it. The two places for sailboats to stay on the Pacific side of the Canal near Panama City are at the opposite ends of the Causeway — a mooring at the Balboa YC closer to the Canal or at the free Playita de Amador anchorage. The only drawback with the latter is its reputation for outboards being stolen. I spent three weeks at Playita and pulled the 25-hp Yamaha off my inflatable every night. I finished up my time in Panama at a Balboa YC mooring, shuttled to and from shore by the guapo drivers of the lanchas.

The VHF 69 net at 8 a.m. is the information source and communication lifeline for the international collection of cruisers. It was on the net that people asked each other questions, told of bargains they'd discovered in town, and tried to sell, trade or buy things from each other. The crews spoke many different languages and flew many different flags. There were boats from Poland, Austria, Germany, Australia, Ecuador, England, France, China, Sweden, South Africa, New Zealand — I even saw a boat from Budapest, Hungary.

On my sail down to Panama City, my 'To Do' and 'To Buy' lists had grown to intimidating lengths. What's more, everyone had me convinced that this would be my last chance to get anything I would need for many months. Veteran South Pacific cruisers warned of exorbitant food prices and limited boating supplies as I headed west. So I not only had to get Swell ready for a very long passage, but had to purchase everything I thought I might possibly need. "What if all my pens run out of ink?" I worried, tossing a 12-pack into my basket.

At the top of my list was installing a water bladder in the forward cabin, which would give me 20 extra gallons of emergency water. I optimistically dove into the project, installing the bladder, then heading to the hardware store for hose and fittings. The project seemed nearly complete when I made a disturbing discovery while fishing the hose under the sink in the head. A small amount of seawater was entering from somewhere and trickling into the bilge. I initially blamed it on the leaky manual toilet pump that was begging for new O-rings, but it soon became obvious that the source was in the area of the head's seawater intake thru-hull.

That discovery postponed the bladder installation, and I spent half a day becoming extra intimate with the space under the head sink in hopes of finding the source of the leak. First, I tried tightening all the fittings and reclamping the hose to the barb — but it wasn't easy. The one-foot by one-foot opening to get at the thru-hull was just big enough to squeeze my upper body into so I could get enough leverage to pull, twist, or yank on the fittings and hoses. After a lot of awkward contortions, I had retaped and retightened every junction fitting and reconnected the hose with an extra clamp. But when I turned the thru-hull handle, it was back to drip, drip, drip.

Returning to the cavern beneath the sink, I took apart everything that I had just reassembled, and resumed my search for the source of the leak. I finally managed to get my fingers around the thru-hull valve — and felt a sliver of a crack on the opposite side. Ah ha! After carefully turning the valve with my vice grips, I found the cause of the leak — a crack in the cheap plastic valve. Seawater would continue to seep into Swell for the next two days while I tracked down a replacement valve. Steve from Soulmate offered one of his spares after I made a request on the morning net. He wouldn't accept a penny for it — and even threw in the latest copy of Latitude!

Replacing the old valve meant plugging the opening from the outside so the entire ocean didn't come in when I made the switch. I shoved earplugs deep in both ears and plunged into the murky Playita water. Using a hammer and a wooden plug, I sealed the hole. Once back on the boat, I could hear Chariots of Fire playing softly in the back of my mind, as the project was surely nearing completion. I gloated that I'd fixed the problem myself with only a little advice, and hadn't even had to haul the boat. In fact, I was doing a little victory dance as I boiled some hot water to soften the still old hose to make it easier to slide on the new thru-hull fitting.

Once back in the head cavern, I dipped the hose into the water for a minute, swabbed it with grease, and assumed it would slide right on. It didn't. As I put every last ounce of my strength into getting the hose on, the sound of Chariots faded. No matter how much I dipped the hose into hot water, and no matter how much I wrestled to get it on, I eventually had to admit defeat. My image of self-sufficiency was no longer as bright as it had been, and one of my father's favorite sayings came to mind: 'Sometimes there's no substitute for brute strength.'

But what stronger person could I find to crawl into the hole and get the hose on? Then it dawned on me. I'd needed a ride to my boat two days before, and a woman in a local charter business sent by a fellow named Marcos Villegas to help. He told me to give him a call if I ever needed help with anything again. I very much didn't want to need anybody's help, but at that point it would have been stupid not to accept it. Before long Marcos, using a combination of brute strength and a little creativity, bullied the hose over the barb and onto the fitting.

As I gave Marcos a tour of Swell, he explained that he was from Colombia, had captained a boat in Panama's San Blas Islands for five years, but now lived in Panama City and worked on charter boats. As we climbed back into the dinghy to head to his parent's boat for dinner, he asked about the little Nissan outboard that had clung to Swell's stern rail for nearly 4,000 miles without being used once. It needed some work, and since I hadn't used it, I planned on selling it in Panama. Soon Marcos and I had made a deal — he'd help me with some more boat projects, and I'd give him the outboard in return.

With Marcos to help, I figured the boat projects would be completed in half the time. But while we were working together the first day to change the engine oil, Marcos suddenly looked up at me as though he'd seen a ghost. "Your motor mount," he gasped, "it's broken!"

"No," I said, shaking my head in disbelief. "It can't be." But the jagged edge of the metal mount told me that it was true. The one on the other side turned out to be broken, too. Thanks to the universal joint on the V-drive, nothing else had been damaged when the mounts broke and the engine dropped two inches. But my morale had been damaged, as I knew it meant a major new project that would add a couple of weeks to my already delayed departure.

Marcos helped me with my boat projects for the next two weeks when his other job allowed. We worked well together, always taking care to do things correctly. He was patient, intelligent and resourceful. When we'd hit a roadblock, I'd often dramatically lose hope, but he'd offer up a flurry of solutions. For instance, when the Yanmar dealer quoted me $350 and up to three weeks to get new motor mounts, Marcos introduced me to Olly, an eccentric German welder who had been on his sailboat in Panama for eight years. Olly rewelded and reinforced the mounts for $80, and did it in just four days. Knowing Panama City inside and out out, Marcos eliminated many of the hassles of trying to find parts and supplies. His mom fortified us with marvelous Colombian cuisine in the evenings, while her husband Gary told tales and complemented his beloved wife from the hammock on their boat. At the end of the second week, I told Marcos' mother that, without her son, I'd probably still be on the first project. "We all need an angel sometimes," she said. "For now, Marcos is your angel."

She couldn't have been more right. As we neared the completion of the projects, I asked Marcos why he'd done so much for me. "I want to help you toward your dream," he said. "I dream of sailing to the South Pacific one day also, but now is not my time. It's yours." Unlike many other men I'd encountered in Panama City, he wasn't looking to crew for me or marry me. He was just a good person. His manners, patience and integrity dispelled the stereotype of Latin machismo. I can't say enough good things about him, but know that all the good he did for me will one day come back to him.

On the days when Marcos hadn't been able to help, I caught up on emails, writing obligations and other internet business at the TGIFridays on the opposite end of the Causeway. They offered free wireless internet and an unbeatable three-course $14.95 lunch special. When I'd accumulated enough hours there to start getting paid overtime, the servers and I began to share pity for each other. While they whispered about the disheveled and lonely gringa working on her computer in the corner, I withheld mentioning how ridiculous they looked in those dignity-robbing outfits. When I finally couldn't take another B-52's song, I'd kick my way towards Playita on my skateboard under the orange streetlights of the Causeway, finding stairs to bump down or anything my mind could mold into part of a wave. These rides are the source of some of my favorite memories of the city. I'd be rolling along with the cool north wind in my face, the lights of the dramatic Panama City skyline winking at me from one side, while the span of the Bridge of the Americas glowed on the other. I imagined myself flying along the divide between North and South America, free as a fallen leaf tumbling on the wind.

On Monday nights the notoriously frugal cruisers gathered at an outdoor pizza place near Playita for the two pizzas for $4 special. By my third Monday in the area, I was feeling a little guilty for not having visited more with friends on neighboring boats. I wasn't being antisocial, I was just overwhelmed with things to do. Finally, I figured I'd stop at the pizza place and say 'hello' to everyone at once. I made rounds to the crews of Dolphin, Muktuk, Hoorah, Bereuvet, Ironie, and Plan B, and was introduced to some of the people behind the voices I'd been hearing on the radio. I then pulled up a chair with the crews from Seabird and Hibiscus, and ordered some pizza.

While I waited, kids darted between the tables like reef fish among coral. Then they declared all-out spit-wad warfare, and not five minutes passed before I was hit square in the forehead with a juicy gob. I had tried to maintain an adult conversation, but the kids' mischief was magnetic. I sprinted after the kid who had nailed me, pinned him down, and tickled him until he begged for mercy. Then I brushed the grass off and attempted to return to the adults at the table — but by then had made myself an even more tantalizing target. Little Ollie and his brother were professionals, so we adults had no chance. When the spitwad war had deteriorated from funny to obnoxious, I pulled my skateboard out from under my chair. "Ollie, you ever ridden one of these before?" His eyes bulged. For the rest of the night I was the ringleader for kids skateboarding an obstacle course around the block. I can't say I did much mingling with the adults, but I did save the fleet from being bombarded by more soggy spit bullets.

For the month before I reached Panama City, I had fretted about who was going to crew for me on my passage to the Marquesas. My brother had hoped to, and that would have been great, but he'd gotten engaged and was busy with work. Having already hosted so many personalities aboard Swell, I knew that a 30-day passage with the wrong person could turn a potentially amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience into a month-long incarceration. My crew would have to be someone that I really knew and trusted, but I couldn't come up with any perfect candidates.

Lying under the stars on the foredeck one night, it hit me like a gong. "Alone. I'll do it alone!" I rolled the idea around in my mind as though it were hard candy on my tongue. I loved the idea of being alone at sea. And if I crossed the Pacific by myself, I knew I wouldn't think twice about sailing alone again. Once I'd committed myself to the idea, I notified my parents. My dad didn't share my enthusiasm, nor did the company insuring my boat. Two weeks later, my dad sent me an email titled, "I found you crew for the crossing."

'Great,' I thought sarcastically, 'who's he gonna stick me with so he won't have to worry so much?' I opened the email and read in disbelief: "Your mother has decided to join you for the passage. She is very serious." That's all it said.

My mom's as loving as any mother could be, down-to-earth, totally genuine, and as practical as toilet paper. But there isn't an adventurous bone in the woman's body! She even avoids driving on the freeway. We love and appreciate each other, of course, but our approaches toward life are direct opposites. She is cautious while I charge ahead full-tilt. She finds contentment in the simple joys of life, while I'm always seeking some adrenaline-producing stimulus. She enjoys golf, good books and a casual pace, while I ping-pong between my desire for surf, never saying 'no' to an invitation and setting lofty goals. I'd been looking forward to the day my mom would visit and sample my life aboard Swell — but in some quiet anchorage, not for a passage across the widest stretch of ocean in the world. No way! She must have gone mad.

But after thinking about it for awhile, I came to the conclusion that her coming would actually be great for two reasons. First, I'd essentially still do all of the grunt work, proving to myself that I could do it. Second, and even more important, I would get to experience the crossing with the person I wanted to get to know better more than anyone else in the world. That she was even considering the crossing made my heart leap.

"Mom? Hi, it's me," I said over the phone the next day. My voice sort of trembled because I was nervous that she might have changed her mind.

"I want to do it," she said firmly. "It's just a time in my life that I need to do something like this." "Is dad making you?" I asked.

"No," she assured me. "We've talked it over and I'm not changing my mind."

So that was that. My mother was going to sail across the Pacific with me.

— liz 05/15/07

Readers — Liz and her mother set sail on June 16.

Genesis — Hunter 34
Brad Artman and Rob Sanders
Hit 'N Run At Los Frailes
(Redwood City)

We're now about to round Punta Santa Marcial for the anchorage at Agua Verde in the Sea of Cortez. We've covered quite a few sea miles since we left Redwood City on April 9, and have had a great variety of experiences.

Acknowledging that I was neither young nor sexy enough to illicit the sort of generosity necessary to get a boat by direct appeal to the public — besides, I don't even know how to surf — six years ago I started a lifestyle plan that I hoped would allow me to enjoy some kind of lengthy cruise. I didn't think I had much chance of succeeding, but, while in grad school at Stanford, I bought an older boat to liveaboard and began to refurbish her. The rehabilitation work I did on nights and weekends provided the relief I needed from the angst generated by the often bizarre temperments of my advisors. But before it was over, my stipend had paid for a cruise-worthy 34-ft sloop rather than feed the Palo Alto/San Francisco rent whirlpool.

During that time I met Rob Sanders, a like-minded accomplice for the trip, finished my Ph.D. in geophysics, and saved enough money to finance at least a year of cruising adventures. Maybe during the coming months I'll come up with some idea of where I'd like my life to take me next.

So far the fish have been biting regularly enough to keep us well fed. In fact, the only real bad thing that's happened so far is that my boat was the victim of a hit-and-run while at anchor at Los Frailes on May 22. As I was cleaning the dinner dishes in the galley at about 8:30 p.m., I looked over my shoulder to see a red nav light and anchor light in my cockpit! Sanders and I rushed up on deck to fend off what appeared to be about a 40-ft heavy displacement cruiser. The couple on the boat had had a large and bright moon behind them, and my anchor light was on, so I don't understand how they could have motored into us while looking for a place to drop the hook.

I asked them to set their anchor and we'd deal with the damage in the morning. Alas, when I awoke at 6 a.m., the boat was gone! Through the grapevine, I found that they sailed for Mazatlan that night, and have since gone to P.V. The boat's name is In The Mood. I've tried to get contact information for the owners, but haven't had any luck. We were able to fix most of the damage in La Paz, and it cost hundreds rather than thousands of dollars, but I sure would have liked the owners of the other boat to have taken a little responsibility. If anybody knows how to get in touch with them, I'd sure appreciate it. I can be reached by .

— brad 05/15/07

Brad — In The Mood is not that uncommon a name for a boat, and there have been several in Mexico in recent years, so how about a more complete description of the boat that hit yours?

Harmony — Islander Freeport 40
Robert & Virginia Gleser
South To Ecuador

After six years of 'six-months-on, six-months-off' cruising in Mexico, we finally headed further south. But we can assure everyone that the Baja Bash has nothing on the passage we did this season from San Carlos, in the Sea of Cortez, to Bahia Caraquez, Ecuador.

For starters, the facilities and services for cruisers start to become few and far between once you get south of Puerto Vallarta/Banderas Bay. The possibilities for haul-outs are practically non-existent, and parts, when you can find them, are geared for home use. That's not to say that much sailing gear is available in Baja, but at least you can bus it to San Diego to find whatever you need.

Once we headed south from Zihua, there were far fewer cruisers, but the ones that were there were a hardy and serious group. We never appreciated how long the Pacific Coast of Mexico is until we made it all the way down to Huatulco. It's as far as between Juneau and San Diego! By the way, Hualtulco is a delightful place, with nine enchanting bays in the area, each one of which reminded us of some of our favorite spots in the Sea of Cortez and on the Mexican Riviera. It also has Enrique, a gem of a harbormaster.

Heading south — actually east — from Huatulco, you are faced with the dreaded Gulf of Tehauntepec. Thanks to weather reports provided by Enrique and Don Anderson of Summer Passage in California, we ended up having ans easy crossing in relatively calm seas. After the five-day passage across Tehuantepec to El Salvador, we headed in over the bar at Bahia del Sol for a much-needed rest and some inland touring of Guatemala. We found both El Salvador and Guatemala to be wonderful, and at some time in the future will do more extensive land travel there. The only reason we didn't do it this time is because it was getting to be a little late in the season. The dry season in Central America usually ends sometime in March or April, although it varies depending on the year. This year's El Niño brought squalls and rain earlier than some years, so by mid-April we were having to dodge the thunderstorms. We'd heard too many stories of lightning hitting friends' boats for us to want to stick around. The reason so many cruisers are heading to Ecuador? To escape the wet season lightning and storm belt that extends as far south as Panama.

Leaving Bahia del Sol, however, proved to be no easy matter. You have to cross a bar to get back out to the ocean, and large and often dangerous waves close the entrance for days at a time. After five days of waiting, we were ushered out through the largest breaking waves we've ever been through! Several times Harmony plunged into what seemed like bottomless pits, only to come up for more. And then suddenly we were out on the open ocean — where we immediately ran into a Papagayo. But we hugged the shore, so everything was fine — at least until we reached the entrance to the Gulf of Fonseca. The Papagayo winds come blasting through the notches in Central America and funnel down wherever they can, with one of those places being the Gulf of Fonseca. It wasn't too bad, as it's only 20 miles across the gulf, and the winds were never more than 40 knots. Amazingly enough, there were fishermen out working in that stuff. We figured if they could handle it, so could we. Nonetheless, we ended up with a small tear in our main, and the boat got covered in salt. Once across Fonseca, we again hugged the coast, and the next morning pulled into Puesto del Sol Marina, Nicaragua.

Puesto del Sol, which was developed by well-known and well-liked San Diego cruiser Roberto Membrano, is a first-class operation, but Nicaragua is a dreadfully poor country, so as soon as you leave the guarded gates of the resort, you know you're in the Third World. Nonetheless, most of the people seemed happy — even though they all grumbled about the corruption and how difficult it was to make a living. It would be hard for most Americans to understand how little basic infrastructure there is in Nicaragua. For example, every morning people push their handcarts to the manually operated community well to fill their water jugs, outhouses served as restrooms, and a hog in most yards took care of the trash. Provisioning involved a two-hour bumpy bus ride over unpaved and potholed roads to Chinendega, the nearest town. We were definitely an oddity there, but were able to stock up with good quality produce.The night we left Puesta del Sol for Costa Rica, we got hit with 50 knots of wind, so we were happy to crawl into the No Name anchorage at 3 a.m. It blew 50 knots or more all day the next day and into the night, but after that it was back down to a manageable 20 to 30 knots. So we continued to hug the Nicaraguan coast until we jumped off on a broad reach to the lovely but isolated Costa Rican anchorage of Santa Elena. The water was so flat there that we imagined that we were back in Baja. We spent several days in this secluded anchorage, with just our buddyboat and a panga fisherman who traded us some red snapper for some wine. Hopping down the coast of Costa Rica was a joy, with a pleasant anchorage to stay in every night. We would like to have spent more time in Costa Rica, as it had nice anchorages, is very beautiful, and we could hear howler monkeys and see parrots and toucans in the jungle. Plus, the water was a perfect temperature, being neither too hot nor cold.

While I was raising the anchor to leave Playa del Cocos, there was a terrible screeching sound when Virginia put the engine transmission in forward. I quickly put the anchor back down, because it was obvious that we were dead in the water. Lucky for us, we were still close to civilization as opposed to being in the boondocks or out in the middle of the ocean. The next day I went down into the engine room and started removing the transmission. Because I'd never done anything like that before, and because all the bolts were rusty, it took me all day. I figured the transmission was shot and that we'd be in Playa del Cocos for months. But it turned out to be nothing more than a stripped spline on the flywheel plate. The next day Olivia, my daughter, who is fluent in Spanish, accompanied me to the town of Liberia, a two-hour bus ride away. After walking just two blocks, we came across the Precision Machine Shop, whose workers did a beautiful job of rebuilding the plate. Total cost? Just $40. The next day I put it all together again and tested it. Voila, we were back in business.

A week later, having continued down the coast, we provisioned at Golfito for the 600-mile trip to Ecuador. It's possible to follow the coast around to Panama, but then you have to go along the Pacific Coast of Colombia, which is known for pirates. The other problem with that route is that you have to battle the north-flowing Humboldt Current. As such, we opted for the open ocean passage straight down to Ecuador. This passage began with headwinds, gloomy skies and choppy seas, and then squalls harrassed us for two days and two nights. The seas kept getting rougher during this stretch, as the Humboldt Current met a southbound current and got churned up by the squalls. But on the third day, we awoke to calm seas, light winds and sunny skies. We thought we'd made it through the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), but by the end of the day there were more squalls. Things eventually settled down after we passed the island of Malpelo and approached Ecuador. In the wee hours of our fourth night out, with calm seas and the diesel purring, King Neptune heard us blowing on the conch and joined us for a toast while we watched the GPS click down to 00.00. We'd made it to the Southern Hemisphere! It was fairly uneventful from there to crossing the bar at Bahia de Caraquez.

So far we love Ecuador! The people are friendly, and, with things like diesel costing just $1.03/gallon, the living is cheap. We're eager to return, but right now we're back in California living our other life — seeing the kids and grandkids for six months.

— robert & virginia 06/09/07

Readers — There may not be a lot of boatyards south of Puerto Vallarta, but there are some: at Ixtapa, at Barillas Marina in El Salvador, at Puntarenas in Costa Rica, three places on the Pacific Coast of Panama, and at least one in Ecuador.

Cruise Notes:

"We just read the June Sightings on 'the boys and girls of summer', meaning the folks who sail locally in their 70s and beyond," write Dorothy Taylor and Larry Hirsch of the San Diego-based Hylas 45 Shayna. "We wanted to let you know that there are senior sailors such as ourselves out here cruising, too. We won't admit to how old we are, but we were born in 1929 and 1927. After 14 years of wandering — including across to the Med for several years and then back across the Atlantic again — we're now based out of Mazatlan. However, we haven't ruled out a possible cruise to New Zealand and Australia. We were in Mazatlan for the Thanksgiving festivities last year, then headed south to revisit our favorite spots in Mexico. We were amazed at the growth of the cruising community since we'd been there last, as Tenacatita Bay and the Barra Lagoon had 50 boats each in January and February. Everyone found places to anchor, but it wasn't like the old days. And we won't even speak of what's been done to La Cruz, what with the big new marina being built and the whole area being covered in condos. We're now in San Diego for the usual off-season family obligations, but we did buy a condo in Mazatlan to use as a base. The condo elevators weren't done when we were down there, and since we find it easier to climb the mast than six flights of stairs, we haven't furnished it or moved in yet. Our message to all: Keep smiling and keep cruising."

The number of seniors out cruising — we mean long distance cruising — might surprise many readers. When Jack van Ommen of the Gig Harbor-based Najad 30 Fleetwood was in Durban, South Africa, he came across a group of five senior singlehanders, two of them who were in their 70s, and two who were on the verge. The oldest, as reported in a previous issue of Latitude, was Georges Prat, 75, of the Bayonne, France-based 39-ft Lerges. He'd lost four fingers on his left hand before he took off cruising, and is now on his second circumnavigation. Then there was Phillippe Blochet of the Brittany-based 35-ft Ar Skerder, who is also on his second circumnavigation. He suffered a stroke in the middle of the South Atlantic during his first time around, but nonetheless didn't see a doctor until back in France. He was put on the beach and took up trailer camping, but after a couple of years developed an irresistible urge to return to the sea. As for singlehander van Ommen, he's getting up in years, too. All he has left to complete his circumnavigation is the passage from Trinidad to Santa Barbara, but he's going to be doing it the long way — to the East Coast, back to the Caribbean, over to Holland for a few years, around the Med, and then back to California. By the time he's done he'll be close to 80. As for the rumor that all sailors become rejuvenated one year for every year spent at sea, Van Ommen is a believer. We'll have a report on his visits to Brazil, French Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad in the next issue.

And let's not forget former Northern Californian Pete Passano and his much-travelled Wittholtz 37 Sea Bear. After sailing across the Pacific, from New Zealand around Cape Horn, and crossing the North Atlantic more times than you have fingers, he and wife Marina had an easy winter, sailing from Maine to the Caribbean, then back up to Maine. They make it sound like an afternoon sail from Alameda to the Golden Gate Bridge and back. Passano is 77, and we'll have more on his adventures in the next issue. Now for some 'good news, bad news'. The bad news is that the transit fees for the Panama Canal — as rumored by some cruisers — go up on July 1. The good news, as reported by Diana E. Vergara G, Gerente de la Unidad de Arqueo, Autoridad del Canal de Panamá, is that only the fees for ships went up. Small boat fees have stayed the same — at least for the foreseeable future.

Steering problems? Jan and Ramona Miller of the San Francisco-based Odyssey 30 yawl Jatimo spent the last several years cruising across the Pacific to Australia, and made a reservation to have their boat shipped to Mexico aboard a Dockwise Yacht Transport ship in July. But then the trip got cancelled because the Dockwise ship failed her sea trials — something to do with the steering — in Hong Kong. Miller says that Dockwise is giving them a discount on next February's trip because of the cancellation, and that he and Ramona will take advantage of it by cruising from Brisbane to the Whitsunday Islands."Every once in awhile something happens to renew your faith in mankind," writes John Lorentzen of Second Kiss. "After a nine-year absence, my wife Diana and I had returned to visit the Sea of Cortez on Second Kiss. Seven of those nine years we spent in the Caribbean between Venezuela and Trinidad, and the East Coast of the United States. I can count on one hand — without using my thumb — how many times something similar happened to what we're going to tell you happened in Mexico. We'd anchored Second Kiss off the breakwater at Loreto to provision and take care of emails. I took Diana to shore in the dinghy and returned to the boat to wait for her. She was done in less than two hours, so when she waved from the taxi at the water's edge, I picked her up. Once back on the boat, we raised anchor and took off for the Waiting Room anchorage at Puerto Escondido. It wasn't until we got into the dinghy again, to have dinner with friends at the Tripui Hotel/Restaurant, that we realized Diana's purse was missing. Mentally backtracking, we realized she's left it the taxi. We didn't have a particularly festive dinner, and that night neither of us slept well because of the ramifications of her lost purse — credit and debit cards to cancel, I.D.s to replace, and so forth. The next morning Diana and a girlfriend took a taxi to Loreto to try to find the taxi driver. All they had to go on was that he was older and it had been a blue and white vehicle — like all the others. Their new taxi driver did his best, taking the ladies all over Loreto looking for a driver that matched the vague description. It wasn't until they returned to the taxi stand by the Super Mercado El Pescador that the blue and white taxi 06, with the same driver at the wheel as the day before, pulled in. As Diana ran to the taxi, the driver recognized her, and, with a big grin, pulled the purse up from his side to show her he still had it! He explained that he'd gone back to the waterfront when he discovered her purse, but we'd already gone, and he didn't know what to do. He was hoping she would come back. The driver was insistent that Diana go through the purse to see that nothing had been taken. She declined, knowing that it would all be there."

Look for positive changes for cruisers at Isla Isabella, the well-known nature reserve off the mainland Mexico, reports Norm Goldie of San Blas. "I had the pleasure of meeting with biologist Jorge Antonio Castrejon Pineda, the Director of Isla Isabella, and he told me that mooring buoys for cruisers will be installed at the NNE side of the island near the pinnacle rocks known as Las Monas. The installation of these buoys should be good news, as a number of cruising boats have been lost at the island due to less than ideal anchoring conditions. The buoys should be in place prior to the start of the winter cruising season. Jorge also wants cruisers to know that no pets are to be taken ashore, dinghies are to be landed only at a specific location on the SSE side of the island, no dinghies are to be landed on the pinnacles sides of the island as the reef has been damaged, and that smoking and the consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited.

Moorings at Isla Isabella would be a good thing — assuming they are properly made and installed.With the dollar having declined so much against the euro, are American sailors fleeing the Med? It would almost seem so, as 12 Yank boats, an unusually high number for recent years, having already signed up for November Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) from the Grand Canaries to the Caribbean. Interest in the event is as high as ever, for by June 1 they already had 12 entries in excess of their self-imposed limit of 225 boats. The multihull contingent will be at a record high, with 23 signed up. Actually, we don't think American sailors are fleeing the Med, they're just spending their money more carefully.

Also in Europe is George Backhus aboard his Sausalito-based Deerfoot 62 Moonshadow, who has been out for 10 years now. "We just popped out of the Suez Canal a month ago, and have been hanging out in Cypress. Hey, have you heard the one about the pink pelican that went into the seafood restaurant?"

"We just got the June issue Latitude with the It's Only Money feature on us," write Pat and Ali Schulte of Chicago, who recently completed a circumnavigation aboard their Wildcat 35 Bumfuzzle. "Great stuff. We love it when people 'get' us. It seems amazing to us that our tongue-in-cheek humor seems to go right over the heads of some of the serious armchair sailors. Andy Turpin's article captured us perfectly. We hope that Latitude will keep following our travels. We're thinking about a charter in Chile — if we can find anybody who will hand over their boat. We don't have any certificates from sailing schools, but we think we've proven ourselves. P.S. When we get the Bumfuzzle book published, we'll send you a copy — and expect a glowing review."

Reader John Reimann of the Oakland-based Catalina 36 Y-Knot 'got' all of what you did but for one thing: "How on earth can they sail round the world and still think that McDonalds and Taco Bell serve good food?" As for us, our only question is how far your tongue was in your cheek when you said you didn't realize that a two-speed winch had two speeds until you were halfway across the Pacific.

Which was the first gay couple to sail around the world? We're not sure, but Dr. Craig Wiese, who did a nearly five-year circumnavigation with his then partner Mark Spanjiian, reports that friends Bob Lynn and Kleon Howe of the San Diego-based Peterson 44 Rhiannon did a 12-year circumnavigation. "There are more of us out here than some people think," he said.

We know that there are a number of lesbian sailors out cruising, too. Have any of you gone all the way around?

Don't try to tell the folks cruising in the Sea of Cortez this spring that the earth is experiencing global warming. According to several sources, it was so cold in April and May that "nobody was swimming" in places like Loreto and Agua Verde. The water temp is reported to have been 66 degrees, about 15 degrees cooler than most years. The afternoon air temperatures were said to be pleasant enough, but still cool. As for the evenings, it was downright cold, even as far south as La Paz. And then there's Catalina, where the water temperature was 63 degrees, also close to 15 degrees cooler than last year. Before anybody claims this as proof of anything, remember that Aristotle famously said, "One fine day doesn't make a spring", and that last year's water temps at Catalina were as high as anyone could remember.

"Latitude asked about XM radio reception south of the border," write Cheryl and Ron Roberts of Lazy Days. "The XM radio service you get in Mexico is the same one you have in the States — they just don't tell you that it works in Mexico. Unlike you, we had reception all the way to Guatemala. We bought the special marine antenna, but discovered that the car antenna that comes with it works better. We held back on buying XM service before we left the States because we couldn't get confirmation that it worked. But when we spent the summer in P.V., we found out that lots of folks were using it. So we picked up a car unit the next time we were back home. We eventually lost service in Guatamala, at which point I just called XM and canceled the service. A lot of folks say they go cruising to get away from the news back home, but we thoroughly enjoyed having some news and entertainment on the overnight and long passages."

Very interesting. We seemed to have good XM reception on Profligate years ago, as we distinctly recall following the start of the Iraq War while crossing from Banderas Bay to Cabo. But for the last several years we haven't had much luck while trying to listen to Cal football games during the Ha-Ha. If there's one thing worse than not getting any reception, it's getting intermittent packets of audio — so maybe we'll try a car antenna.

What are the most important things to remember for a successful Baja Bash? Myron and Marina Eisenzimmer of the San Geronimo-based Swan 44 Mykonos, who did the Ha-Ha in '00, '02 and '06, and who have done the Bash three times, have some recommendations: "Don't be in a rush, make sure your boat is prepared, and have at least three people aboard so that everyone gets plenty of sleep. Other than waiting in Cabo for two days for a weather window, our latest Bash, from May 13 to May 23, was most enjoyable. We had nothing over 15 knots from Cabo to Turtle Bay, although the seas were lumpy. From Turtle Bay to San Diego, we had light and variable winds. We spent nights at Bahia Santa Maria, Asuncion Bay and Turtle Bay. P.S. For anyone considering a Ha-Ha, we really enjoyed each one we did, as the participants and organizers are the best of breed."


Once Northern California boats get to San Diego from Mexico, the rest of the way to San Francisco is a breeze, right? Unfortunately, it's not. The trip from San Diego to Point Conception is usually a cupcake, but from there north it can be very difficult.

"We finally arrived in Brisbane on May 26, three tries and 38 days after heading north from Newport Beach!" report Wayne 'Mango Man' and Carol Baggerly, the new owners of Capricorn Cat, the 45-ft cat that was owned for so long and cruised so far by Blair and Joan Grinols. "Most of the time we were in Santa Barbara which, when you think about it, isn't all that bad. Blair stayed with us for two weeks, teaching Wayne the in's and out's of the cat he built 12 years ago. After two failed tries at rounding Point Arguello, just north of Conception, Joan missed Blair so much that he had to take the train home. Fortunately, he gave us his famous buttermilk pancake recipe before taking off. On the up side, we managed to spend $3,000+ refreshing equipment on Cap Cat at the West Marine store in the Santa Barbara Harbor. John and Gabby, who work there, are our new best friends. Another is Ha-Ha vet Wendy Cummings of the Avalon Harbor Patrol, who let us use her car for shopping and other errands on the mainland. We're hoping she can arrange her harbor patrol schedule so she can join us for the Ha-Ha — which we're committed to."

"As for the trip north," the couple continue, "when the weather laid down on the morning of the 23rd, we took off motoring in flat seas and anchored every night to avoid a mutiny by the crew. We encountered many whales, dolphins, sea birds — and even four yellow finches lost in the fog seven miles offshore. They were completely trusting, and managed to walk all over us and the boat before settling down to nap. They jumped ship at San Simeon. Two whales came up on either side of Cap Cat within 40 feet of us just outside the Gate to, we think, inspect us. Our timing was impeccable, for as we approached the breakwater in Brisbane, the wind whipped up to 35 to 40 knots on the nose, giving Wayne a good test of his skills with the dual engine controls. Falling off the wind to the dock, we had no trouble planting ourselves against the end-tie. Luckily, we had five fenders and two huge round fenders on the dock, which we did our best to pop. Once against the dock, we need not have bothered with docklines, as the wind held us in place. We're now scrambling to put everything in order in time for the Ha-Ha and to be south in warm weather for the next 10+ years."

We at Latitude are thrilled that a boat with such a great history as Capricorn Cat has ended up in the possession of Wayne and Carol, as we know they are going to use her to the hilt, and follow Blair's tradition of often taking lots of guests along for daysails. Hendryx's old boat, the Cross 42 MkII trimaran Little Wing, was snapped by Latitude Senior Editor Andy Turpin and his wife Julie, which means their "bulletproof Mariner 40 glass ketch with a beautiful teak interior" is now on the market. If you're interested, you can reach Turpin by .

Speaking of multihulls named Little Wing, Eugenie Russell, veteran of the last two Baja Ha-Has, the world's most innocent-looking aggressor, and Commodore of the Punta Mita Yacht and Surf Club, confirms that John Haste's San Diego-based Perry 52 cat of that name will be squaring off against Profligate in the First Annual Banderas Bay Blast on December 7, 8 and 9. This new three-day event, which will include the Pirates for Pupils Spinnaker Run, will be a joint production of the Punta Mita Y&SC and the Vallarta YC, and will feature pursuit rally-racing from Paradise Marina to La Cruz on Friday, where the fleet will be hosted by the brand new La Cruz Marina, and party at Philo's. Saturday will be a pursuit rally-race to Punta Mita, followed by surfing and a party at the Punta Mita Y&SC. Sunday will be the Pirate's Costume Lunch, followed by the Pirates for Pupils Spinnaker Run back to Paradise Marina, where there will be an awards party, with prizes for all boats that participate.

"The beauty of this event is that there are so many ways to participate," says Commodore 'Eug'. "Folks who have to work on Friday can motor over to La Cruz on Saturday morning and just do the last two rally-races, or they can even just join one of the boats on Sunday for the Pirates for Pupils spinny run home. Another way to participate is to be crew on either of the big cats, which will be taking groups of people who contribute to the Pirates for Pupils fund. No matter how you do it, it's gonna be a Blast!"

"We arrived at Ambergris Cay, Belize, on the morning of June 5," report Marlene and Roy Verdrey, who recently replaced their Pearson 36 Jellybean in Mexico with the Manta 42 catamaran Damiana in Florida. "We were greeted warmly and the check-in was quick and free. We eventually reached Placencia on the mainland, and went to the Purple Space Monkey restaurant for the special — conch steaks with mashed potatoes or rice, salad or tortilla soup, plus dessert. It was delicious — and just $10. We're now up in Guatemala's Rio Dulce. We lucked out and got the last of 20 berths at the Monkey Bay Marina, which will allow Roy to return home to work for the summer. The slip fee is $240/month. About half the boatowners stay with their boats through the summer, while the other half take off until the fall. Monkey Bay is a family-run marina with a great atmosphere, and it's surrounded by a jungle populated by howler monkeys. We've been having a ball! As for having made the switch to a cat, we absolutely love it! The spaciousness is awesome, we love the way she sails — in fact, there's nothing we don't like about her." The Verdreys, who initially had hoped to jam and reach the Sea of Cortez for the summer season, have seen the wisdom of a slower pace. In fact, they now think it will be another year before they get back to the Pacific.

According to agent Christian Mancebo, the slips for the new 400-berth La Cruz Yacht Club, which is actually a marina and surrounding development, will be ready for occupancy by December of this year. In fact, he's taking reservations for 15-year renewable leases — the slips can't be sold outright because the marina is a government concession — but it's mostly typical short-term slip rentals. He can be reached via email at for details.

Nobody should get their hopes up that the La Cruz prices will be cheap, because there was a lot of work required to build the marina, and even more so, because the north shore of Banderas Bay has been transformed. The seven or so mile stretch of coast from just east of La Cruz all the way west to Punta Mita is now very high-end real estate, and a favored getaway for the very wealthy, folks in the entertainment industry, and other such riffraff. The good news is that, even if the marina and/or waterfront lots are beyond your budget, that seven-mile stretch of coast surely isn't, because you can anchor there for free. Thanks to the prevailing winds and generally flat waters of Banderas Bay, it's like one gigantic anchorage — with surf. In other words, you can live like a millionaire without having to be one. The limitation is that the only two places to go ashore for provisions are Punta Mita and La Cruz, but you can never be more than three or four miles from either.

It seems as though the Publisher/Changes Editor really made a mess of Jeanne Socrates' sailing history with her Najad 361 Nereida, so we're lucky she was nice enough to take the time to set him straight. After sailing mostly solo from Bonaire to and around the Western Caribbean, and then up to Fort Lauderdale, she shipped the boat to Vancouver, B.C. in June of '04. That fall she, sometimes with some Scottish cousins, cruised around British Columbia. Later that year, she sailed offshore to San Francisco, then down to Mexico. In May of '05, she shipped her boat from La Paz to Ketchikan, singlehanded in Southeast Alaska, then down to Vancouver. She wintered over in Puget Sound. She arrived in the Bay in May of '06, and was a last-minute entry in the Singlehanded TransPac. Shortly after arriving in the Islands, she sailed back to Sitka, completing her solo loop of the northeast Pacific. She made her third trip from the Pacific Northwest to San Francisco in November of last year, then continued down to Zihuatanejo, Mexico, where she started her circumnavigation.

"I'm not too surprised my travels have caused some confusion," Socrates says, "as I've done quite a lot since February of '04. I arrived at Vuda Point Marina, Fiji, this morning, and found it to be full of friendly Kiwis. Today's big news is that I went to the top of the mast by myself — although I can't say that I enjoyed the experience. I went halfway up on the steps without a harness, but felt so vulnerable that I went back down and put one on. Then when I got to the top, I couldn't get the bulb out. Grrrrr! But I did change the steaming light, which had gone out, and the port nav light, which had gone out also. I had spares, but they actually have a pretty good chandler here."

"I've been in Mexico for the past five months and always look forward to receiving Latitude," writes Jim Barden of No Me Quitto Pas. Every so often a cruiser comes back from the States with a handful of Latitudes and announces the fact on one of the nets, and we all get them. I still had a month of cruising to do on my current boat when the May issue arrived with an ad for my favorite catamaran, which happens to be a real oldie — a '77 Iroquois 32 MK II. I was so excited that I flew up to Oakland to view her. It turns out she was being sold by her original owners, and was perfect in every way. The survey was good, and I bought her for a great price. Thanks to an ad in Latitude, my 10-year search is over. Most of the Iroquois 32 MKs are in England, Europe or the East Coast. I think I have the only one on the West Coast. I've researched all the catamarans, and the Iroquois is the only one, besides the Edel 35, with just 15 inches of draft. With less water resistance, they push through the water easier, and would be more compatible with electric propulstion powered by an array of solar panels. I'll let you know how the project turns out."

We hope you will.

Rob and Lorraine Coleman, who are originally from Berkeley, but who have been based in Honolulu for the last eight years, have finally headed south aboard their wood Angleman ketch Southern Cross. After four years of cruising in Mexico and the South Seas, the couple sailed to Hawaii where they were shorebound by family illnesses and other issues. Now they are free. Their destination? "Anywhere between the Marquesas and Suwarrow, depending on the wind." As can be expected for anyone who has been ashore for a few years, the first few days were rough. And as for anyone headed from Hawaii to the South Pacific, it wasn't an easy trip. Actually, they haven't even made it to the South Pacific, as they made landfall at Fanning Island, 250 miles north of the equator, when they spent six months on their last cruise.

"We got our you-know-whats kicked badly again in the ITCZ on June 18 and 19," reports Admiral Lorraine. "But then we caught a 60+ pound yellowfin tuna at the south end of Fanning on our way in. It was a gift from the gods and goddesses. I'm ecstatic with the sailing, navigation and the fish — which was almost as big as me. The accomplishment, the fatigue, the magical atoll island where we spent six months on our previous cruise — I have tears in my eyes from the awesome blessings."

The summer cruising season is in fully swing, so we'd really love to here from you, no matter if you're in Alaska, down in Ecuador, over in Europe, doing the east coast of Australia, hanging out at Santa Cruz Island, up in Halifax or even in the Caribbean.

Missing the pictures? See the July 2007 eBook!


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