Friday, February 28, 2014

Preparing to say Adios to Mexico

As planned, I brought Luckness into the marina last week, Feb 19th.  Since then I've been working on preparing her for our upcoming passage to the South Pacific.

I've now added a fresh coat of varnish, waxed all the surfaces, rearranged the reef lines slightly, adjusted the length of the monitor hub line on my wheel, added dyneema chafe sleeves to my sheets in areas they were starting to show wear, examined all of my sails and did some minor sail repair, replaced the tell tales on my sails as needed, changed the oil in the engine, changed the transmission fluid, changed the impeller, climbed the mast and inspected the rig, polished and examined the rigging at deck level, filled my main propane tank, bought gas for the dinghy, washed the entryway carpet at the base of the companionway ladder, serviced the primary winches.  The list goes on a little longer, but you get the idea.

A note on a few of those items.  I was only carrying 22' of dyneema chafe sleeve and so the chafe protection on my genoa sheets is a little short on each side.  This is an experiment anyway - if the sleeving seems to help, I will try to find more in New Zealand.  My sheets are relatively new, I bought them in Seattle before leaving this season.  They both had some chafe appear on them, I believe from my genoa car's.  The sleeve is an attempt to slow this down, but with only a 9-10' length of sleeve I may end up chafing the sheets in areas that are not protected.  Its an experiment, what I did shouldn't hurt and may help...  I changed the engine impeller again - the last time I changed it was two years ago.  The old impeller looked perfect as I took it out - I've yet to see any wear on this item, however the conventional wisdom is to change it yearly or something like that.  I have two more spares and will keep the old one as a spare as well.  My propane tank is a 20lb tank.  I last filled it in San Diego in late November.  There was around 2 lbs of propane left in the tank when I took it off to have it filled, so I burned through this tank faster than I expected.  The primary winches were in pretty good shape, as I serviced them in Seattle before leaving.  However the port side winch sounded slightly dry and so I serviced them both.  They both spin nicely now, with the well lubricated sound they have after a service.  All of the secondary winches seemed fine.

I started shopping today for provisions and cleaned the boat up, stowing all my project tools and supplies - the boat is starting to look like she may be ready to leave soon.  I was originally planning on leaving La Paz on Saturday (March 1st) but will push that back by a few days.  I'll shop one more time, buy a few last minute boat supplies and try to find some time to enjoy the Carnival that is happening in La Paz right now.

I've been reviewing passage details to get to the Marquesas (Hiva Oa) as well as some anchorages for the first part of my stay there.  I'm expecting internet to be poor during my stay in French Polynesia (probably for most of my stay in the South Pacific, until New Zealand...)  I've been downloading all of the cruising information I can find while I have a fairly decent connection here in Mexico.

One of the cool pieces of software I discovered through s/v Estrellita 5.10b's blog, is something they talked about in one of their recent postings, SAS.Planet.  Andy on s/v Discovery has been organizing the local Pacific Puddle Jumpers meetings in La Paz.  Some of the cruisers have been passing around information earlier Jumpers found useful - thumb drives full of cruising information, etc.  This trove of stuff included many Google Satellite images of remote islands, anchorage, atoll's and so on.  However you end up with a big collection of images - you need a way to organize them.  SAS.Planet takes this to a whole new level.  You can cache the satellite images in the program very easily, simply by zooming and panning to the area you are interested in.   Then, later, when offline you can zoom/pan to areas you have already visited and see all of the cache'd images.  The images remain registered and are GPS accurate - so you can zoom in and out across the images  you've downloaded and place waypoints or otherwise get the GPS coordinates for anchorage you want, examine passes, etc.  Its a cool piece of software - thanks Estrellita!

I expect to be leaving La Paz on Monday and then travel a few miles to a local anchorage where I will clean the bottom of the boat, change her zinc's and perhaps grease my Max-Prop.  When the hull work is done, I'll make my way down the coast to Puerto Los Cabos, where I'll contact an agent to facilitate my checkout out of Mexico.  I may be able to have the paperwork done on the 7th and then leave Mexico on the 8th, although those dates are still flexible.

More later!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Was: Explored the islands, Now: back in La Paz working on projects

I've been neglecting the blog lately.  I'll try to catch up with where I am now and what's going on.

...The story continues from the last posting, which left me in Puerto Escondido, many, many miles north of La Paz.

After provisioning in Puerto Escondido and admiring its views, I headed over to Honeymoon Cove which is a short hop.  s/v Discovery was here as well.  I remember reading the 'Sea of Cortez' cruising guide years ago, back in Seattle, in my armchair, and reading about Honeymoon Cove and marveling at the pictures.  Its a beautiful spot and its nice to have been there in person now.  I had a little goal to make it there on my last cruise, but I didn't get any further north than Isla San Francisco - which is still my favorite anchorage in this area.

Luckness in Honeymoon Cove.
There is good hiking on the island as well.  The Luckness/Discovery gang went for a hike.

Going up and up and up...
We could see for miles.  Here Andy and Betty are pointing out where the Marquesas are.
The visit to Honeymoon Cove was around January 21st.  The next day I left and started making my way back toward La Paz.  I decided to go north around Isla Danzante where Honeymoon Cove is, and then head south.  Here's my track:
Oops!  Sailed across land again.  The chart is approx 1/2 mile off here...
I've been holding back posting photos of tracks which cross land, it happens continually.  This is good practice for later this trip when I'll be in another area which are known to have poor charts - most of the South Pacific I think.  I'm looking forward to it!

On the way down the coast I stopped at Bahia Agua Verde for a couple of days:

I eventually made my way back to La Paz, stopping at a few more anchorages along the way.  It was just more of the same. Spectacular, beautiful spots, good swimming, good hiking, bug free, easy anchoring, blue skies and sunshine.

I arrived back in La Paz on Feb 1st, just over two weeks ago.  When returning to La Paz I had intended to pull into a marina to work on 'boat projects' but as I approached I realized that I didn't need to be in a marina for many of the projects, and so I have been anchored out, off of the town again.  The day after arriving I started back into boat projects and pretty much every day, with one of two exceptions, since then has been dedicated to projects or more generally making progress trip planning for my journey to and through the South Pacific, which is coming up.

I'll try to post a project post or two in the next little while.

Luckness and I will be back in a Marina starting tomorrow, Marina Cortez.  I'll start working through a few projects that I've been deferring until I was at a dock, such as varnishing, waxing, some minor sail repair, washing my lines, etc.

With luck, I should be able to depart Mexico in the first week of March.  French Polynesia, here I (almost) come!