January 27, 2010

A Grand Start to the Year

Eric Willbur and Emmy Newbould are currently exploring New Zealand aboard their Brickyard Cove-based Flying Dutchman 37 Nataraja. They spent New Year’s Eve at Motukawanui Island off the northeast tip of New Zealand, where they met some new friends.

"Shortly after anchoring, six dolphins came into the anchorage with a powerboat," writes Emmy. "The boat anchored next to us and the dolphins hung out between our two boats all afternoon. They put on quite a show all day long, leaping in the air, swimming around in circles, rolling on their backs, tail walking, and swimming under our boat. It was pretty amazing. We figure it’s going to be a very special year with these dolphins as an opener!"

Familiar Names Halfway Around the World

We recently paid a visit to Raffles Marina on the northwest coast of the sparkling island nation of Singapore. It’s an upscale facility with nice docks, a great pool and a fine restaurant and bar. Unfortunately, it’s also about a 30-minute taxi ride from the dynamic downtown, and there aren’t many stores or shops within walking distance. On the other hand, if it wasn’t illegal, you could easily swim over to Malaysia.

Over the years, many West Coast cruisers have cooled their overheated bodies in the pool of the Raffles Marina in Singapore. Raffles is less than 100 miles north of the equator.

©2010 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

While chatting with the folks in the marina office, we noticed a big blue guestbook. As soon as we opened it, we began recognizing the names of cruising friends from California who had stayed in the marina. Jim Foley and Linda Moore of the Santa Cruz-based SC 38 Dana. David Crowe’s 70-ft M&M catamaran Humu Humu, which has been in Paradise Marina in Mexico for years now. And Steve Salmon and Tina Olton of the Berkeley-based Valiant 40 Another World.

The first entry we turned to in the Raffles guestbook was that of Steve Foley and Linda Moore of the SC38 – actually, an SC40 chopped off to fit in a slip in Santa Cruz – Dana.

©2010 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

One of our pet peeves is when people don’t give complete information about themselves and their boats, both when writing to Latitude and on guest lists. For example, lots of cruisers who signed the Raffles guest book only gave partial information. Such as Osprey, Newport Beach — boat owner and boat type unknown. Stormvogel, Newport Beach — boat owner and boat type unknown. Gigolo, Gary Ward, San Francisco — boat type unknown. Fog City, Ken Coleman, San Francisco — boat type unknown. Pilgrim, Steven Whitmore, San Francisco — boat type unknown. Dream On, San Francisco — owner and boat type unknown. Albatross, Santa Barbara — boat owner and boat type unknown. The list of familiar boats in the blue book went on and on, mostly with incomplete information. The moral is, if you’re going to leave your mark, do it right or maybe it’s not worth doing at all.

The Kindness of Strangers

Jim and Julie Focha of the Stockton-based Westsail 32 Worldwind shared a story that illustrates one reason why Mexico is such a popular cruising ground.

"When we left La Paz bound for home, I’d carefully calculated how much fuel we’d use and took out just enough money from the bank to cover our needs. Julie wanted to get more, but I’m a tightwad and said we had enough — something she’ll never let me forget. We had an exhausting Bash from Cabo to Mag Bay, where I realized that we’d used a lot more fuel than I’d originally calculated. We would need to refuel in Turtle Bay and we wouldn’t have enough money to do it. Since the ATM in San Carlos had been ‘liberated’, we had little choice but to return to Cabo to regroup. The thought of pounding back up from Cabo again was enough to make us cry.

"I called Port Captain Gregorio to see if we’d have to check in again. He said it didn’t make sense to go back to Cabo, and that he would take us into Constitución, where there are many banks. I asked him how much such a service would be but he said ‘Not much.’ I’d normally want a firm price but I trusted Gregorio. He and his wife drove us into the city — the road there is now paved, by the way — and dropped us off at the bank. They even wanted to pay for our lunch, but we insisted on paying as we now had money. Besides, it was only $12 for four people. Back in San Carlos, Gregorio had to go to the office for a few hours before he could take us back to the boat, so we got a chance to explore. When we returned to their house later in the day and told his wife that we’d wait for Gregorio on the patio, she insisted we come inside. She even fixed us machaca burritos before we left. Back at the boat, I asked Gregorio how much I owed him — "Nada." I may be a tightwad, but I’m no cheapskate so I forced 500 pesos (about $50) on him. On top of that, he gave us a deep discount on the 30 gallons of fuel we bought.

Jim and Julie say they will never forget the hospitality Port Captain Gregorio and his wife showed them.

©2010 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

"We’d read about the friendliness and generosity of the Mexican people many times in Latitude 38, but it has to be experienced to be really appreciated. Not once in our two years in Mexico did we have a negative experience with its people. We can’t get back to Mexico soon enough."

Are You One in a Million?

The Coast Guard has been a hot topic in the Letters section of Latitude 38 in recent months, from praise for the dramatic rescue of the J World crew during last fall’s Baja Ha-Ha to criticism for not doing more to salvage the grounded JoJo. What every letter has truly brought home is that the Coast Guard’s primary mission is to save lives.

To honor the brave men and women who risk their own lives to save those of mariners, the Coast Guard Foundation, a non-profit that supports Coast Guard members and their families, has launched the ‘Are You One in a Million?’ campaign. "The Coast Guard has rescued more than one million people since it was established in 1790," a spokesperson for the Foundation noted. "Individuals who have been rescued or assisted by the United States Coast Guard can go to www.one-in-a-million-rescued.org to share their stories."

Five in a million – Crewmembers from J World were very grateful for the Coast Guard on October 28, 2009.

© 2010 USCG / Petty Officer 3rd Class Henry G. Dunphy

Two of the stories posted to the site include those of Barry Demak, one of the crewmembers aboard J World, and Lisa Wright, who was rescued after being swept off a friend’s sailboat by a rogue wave outside the Gate. We encourage any readers who have been rescued by the Coasties to submit their own story as a way to thank those who helped you.

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