S/Y Nereida sails around the world

Solo RTW Sailor Jeanne Socrates' Adventures On, and Off, Nereida

Underway to La Cruz
Reid Inlet, Alaska05
synereida
Saturday 23 January 2016 Sea of Cortez

It's so good to be underway again - even though it looks as though there's to be a lot of motoring in light winds...

The old solar panels have been replaced with two large new ones, with lots of help from Joseph DiMatteo (and his friend Tony) who drove me back down with them from Tucson to San Carlos just over a week ago - very many thanks for all his efforts and help.

My outboard motor has also been repaired, despite the main part I brought out from England not being correct, so the old part had to be welded together for re-use - it's probably now stronger than it was and certainly the motor seems to be running fine.

I wanted to get away as soon as possible for several rreasons, .... and the cold night air in San Carlos at this time of year was certainly a contributing factor!

As it turned out, there has been a very strong 'Norther' blowing for most of the week, giving nasty short seas. It was due to abate this weekend - which galvanised me into trying to be ready to leave during that 'weather window', so as to meet up with friends in La Cruz soon... It's a five-day passage to La Cruz from San Carlos, with a possible brief stop at Mazatlan on the way.

Tom and Bobbi, with crew Martin, are maknig the passage to Mazatlan on 'Persistence' and we're keeping in radio contact. They left several hours before I did (I needed some sleep before leaving!) and so are about 30 miles ahead of me - useful, since if they see any problem fishing activity, they can let me know. Shrimpers are busy now and other small fishing boats are also a worry on an overnight pasage hereabouts - especially the unlit ones! Unlit fishing nets and the chance of meeting a long-liner (illegal but they're around) add to the worry... So far I've not seen any small fishing boats but I've deliberately kept well offshore in the hope of avoiding most of vthem - but it's early days yet.

Mid-afternoon, it was good to be playing with the sails again, when the onshore breeze strengthened - but a few hours later the sails were flapping in the light wind again and motor-sailing turned to motoring once more - I keep checking on deck, hopeful of making good use of the sails again.

Sunset was beautiful tonight, enhanced by the far away mountain tops of the Baja, loooking for all the world like nearby islands outlined in black against the rosy sky, with a big, orange, full moon rising in the East.

Position is being posted daily on www.winlink.org under kc2iov (as usual) and at 0600 GMT (11pm local time) we were at 26N, 110W.... 53 miles NW of Topolobampo entrance channel - a likely source of small fishing boats and nets....

December 2015 - Rudder nicely repaired ... back afloat!
Reid Inlet, Alaska05
synereida
A lovely, nicely-repaired rudder, freshly Coppercoated, and with clean prop and shaft newly coated with Propspeed - we were 'splashed' soon after sunrise on Sat 26th November.  (I'd been busily sanding the new Coppercoat the previous evening by headlight and again in the half-light around dawn)

That date was the last possible date for launching before next March, or maybe even April, in view of the tides becoming smaller over the winter here in the Sea of Cortez - so being ready in time was critical!

I enjoyed being afloat alongside the dock where the dive boat 'Ocean Sport' was moored. close to the table where freshly-caught fish were weighed, cleaned and dealt with - I received a chunk of marlin one day from one of the generous Mexicans which gave me an excuse to cook some ratatouille later to go with it - lovely!

Cruisers dinghying out to their boats in the Bahia, as well as pangas and tourist boats, regularly passed by and waved - all very sociable!



Nice to be afloat again with an intact rudder!   And the bimini support had finally been installed while on the hard - incredible... only one year later than I'd hoped!

After a trip to Europe over the 'holiday' season, I'll be driven back to 'Nereida' from Phoenix by Joseph DiMatteo of Tucson S.C., ready to instal two new 150W solar panels we'll be taking down with us.  Joseph has been amazingly helpful in talking to Solar World who are generously replacing all four panels under warranty - the old ones had degraded in places and were no longer producing the power they should have been.  I'll be looking forward to seeing a big increase in the amps produced by the new PV panels to charge the battery bank.   Many thanks to Solar World and to Joseph.

Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy, Peaceful New Year 2016 to you all!

5th November 2015 - Back in San Carlos after some excitement in the Sea of Cortez
Reid Inlet, Alaska05
synereida
On my return to Nereida early in October, it was nice to reconnect with familiar people around the marina, which suddenly became far busier with cruisers increasingly returning to launch boats safely stored in San Carlos over the heat of the summer and hurricane season, to ready them for sailing in the far pleasanter, cooler, winter weather.   Days suddenly became pleasantly warm and nights cool.

It was enjoyable also to meet Tucson S.C. members down for their annual ‘Fall Regatta’.  I knew several from last year, met new ones and helped crew on ‘Last Dance’ on the first day of racing.  The nearby large Bahia San Francisco is a perfect venue for such a Regatta, with its several islands forming excellent course marks.  I’d also enjoyed crewing the previous weekend on a friend’s Viper in several Arizona Y.C. races on Lake Pleasant, a large reservoir just outside Phoenix.  (We made a 1-3-1 despite my dubious help!)

I’d been looking forward to seeing more of the Sea of Cortez but first wanted to finish a few more boat projects – among them fixing a hatch mosquito screen in the forepeak, which I needed help with since it needed two pairs of hands, and getting a bimini (cockpit sun shade) support organized.  That last item has been frustratingly difficult to make progress on for several months, with the work continually not being started as promised….   This is Mexico!

I finally got away from the dock at San Carlos around one o’clock on Wed 28th October after a prolonged Internet session at nearby Tequila’s (there’d be no Internet possibility once away) and having spent quite a time securing 3 newly-filled propane tanks in the gas locker, organizing  the dinghy and stowing my fold-up bike.

As expected, the wind was on the nose the entire way, so we motored north solidly, arriving  at Ensenada Chica just in time to anchor and relax before sunset…  Except that I couldn’t turn off the engine – the newly-installed replacement (keyed) start panel refused to respond when switched off…  The motor kept running….  (I realized a day later that I should have pressed the ‘Stop’ button before switching off , not after… obvious when you think about it!)

I had to get into the engine compartment to operate the emergency solenoid fuel cut-off.  Fortunately, I knew where to find it but was worried that the engine was hot and I had to reach down the far side of it….    It was a big relief when it stopped and I was able to relax and enjoy the dramatic view of pink, high, well-eroded-sandstone rocks and hills – so typical of the Sea of Cortez coastline and made even more spectacular as the sun began to set.


                         

Where I’d anchored is reasonably well-protected from north winds – sudden, strong Northers being the main worry over the winter months.   With good, accurate, weather information difficult to come by in this area, it’s best to be safe and head for such protected anchorages, despite the frequent flat calm encountered on the way.

After cooking a meal, I planned my forthcoming passages over to Puerto Refugio and Este Ton, both on Isla Ángel de la Guarda, off the Baja coast, using two pilot books giving anchorages in the area – and also my iPad which I’d loaded, using Tequila’s Internet access, with detailed Google Earth photos of the coast and islands to back up other information.

From weather info given the next morning (Thursday) on several HF radio Nets and also from grib files I’d downloaded, it was clear a Norther ‘blow’ was expected – on Friday, they all said…  So I decided to head to a “textbook” secure anchorage a short distance further north, to wait for the Norther to pass.

Ensenada Julio Villa was certainly very calm, with none of the fair-sized SW swell which had built up entering it, but the cove was a lot smaller than I expected and also rather shallow.  Tidal info is not available for a lot of the Sea of Cortez so I ‘guesstimated’ the time and height of Low Water that evening by reference to a place on the other side of the Sea at a similar latitude.  .  


Rocky outcrops to East and West of entrance....    with sandy beach on North side of cove:

Anchoring in 12 feet (3.7 (m) of water, well away from the entrance rocks, did not feel too good but it was around mid-tide as I checked the depth on display using a lead line – it was over-reading just 8 inches (0.2m) – not normally a problem…  I  snorkelled to check on the seabed below the keel and found sand with lots of small boulders.   But later, when 9ft was shown and not knowing exactly how soon LW was expected, I moved closer to the entrance while there was still good daylight, re-anchoring in deeper water but still protected from the waves outside… But we were now a little closer to the rocks on either side of the entrance and I could not deploy as much chain as I would have liked since it would place us too close to the rocks astern.   When the expected strong NW wind came, the extended chain would place us even closer to them.   I thought about deploying a second anchor but that doesn’t leave much freedom for a quick escape if needed.… and there wasn’t anywhere else close by to make for that would give protection from the NW.

I was, by now, feeling decidedly uncomfortable and very aware that the barometer had been steadily falling and was now very low - at 1002 hPa – but the forecast was for the Norther to arrive the next afternoon… 

As soon as pitch darkness had fallen, before moonrise, the wind quickly began to build and I heard occasional sounds from the bow so I went there thinking maybe I should organize a snubber (closing hatches on the way as I did so!) – but soon realized that the anchor was beginning to drag – and almost immediately felt and heard it dragging a lot…  The high rocky hill astern loomed closer in the darkness.  I dived back to the wheel and turned on the engine – but we were already on the rocks with the wind, now 28-30 knots, trying to push us further on.   I could see one rock glistening black at the water surface close by to port and the rudder would only move a small amount either way, so clearly there were rocks to either side of it or it was already stuck in a crevice - but the water depth (near the bow) was reading 9ft.

Desperately trying to save the boat, I powered the motor to maximum r
evs, hoping to prevent us from being driven further onto the rocks by the wind.  Nothing happened and I was thinking,  “If I have to keep on like this for some time (until after the tide turned, in several hours’ time, maybe), so be it – anything to prevent us getting damaged by from going further onto the rocks.  There’s no-one around to help…”    I could hear occasional crunching under the keel from the rocks there but my impression was that the hull was, so far, clear of danger.

I kept on powering forward, moving the rudder very slightly at times in an effort to free the boat by getting it to change its position…the boat occasionally rocked slightly which I felt boded well – “If the boat would only move a bit more,” I thought, “We might stand a chance of getting away… “

After an age not making any progress, I suddenly felt a small forward movement – and then we bumped away and off the rocks….   What relief! 

Steering us in the direction of the cove entrance proved surprisingly difficult (clearly not helped by chain and anchor being still deployed) and as we seemed to veer out of control and head to the beach, I was fearful we’d end up in more trouble, but she finally responded to my steering efforts and we made it out of the cove and into open water – where the seas had already built substantially – definitely a ‘washing machine’ action…!

The anchor and chain needed to be taken in urgently.  I reduced the revs a little to make it easier and kept us making headway towards deeper water, away from the headland where the cove lay, although only making about 2kt into the 30kt headwind.   Switching to autopilot, I went forward to a bow that was crashing into the rough seas.   The moon had still not risen yet but the navlights I’d hurriedly gone below to switch on showed just how rough and big the seas were – tossing us around like the proverbial cork, with resulting chaos down below.

Thankfully, the windlass gave no problem and I was able to work with the wave action, getting the chain in gradually, in fits and starts, as we plunged into the oncoming waves, having regularly to move piled-up chain clear of the windlass gipsy inside the chain locker  … The anchor came in finally also, although I noticed it was upside down as it came up…   Far too dangerous in those seas to do anything about that – I was just thankful it was in and all seemed secure so I could get back to the wheel - and grab some extra (dry!) clothing to put on…

As we headed south towards San Carlos (a safe haven, for sure), our slow change of direction, as we followed the coast well offshore, gradually brought the oncoming seas abaft our beam – lessening slightly the violent motion.  Eventually we were running downwind – although still being tossed round in rather confused, angry seas.

I was thoroughly relieved that, when headed north, I’d circled a big, high rock (El Acero – the Sword),
partly to look for a colony of sea-lions said to inhabit it and partly because it was well over a mile off the coast, rather than just the ½ mile shown on the chart. If I hadn’t marked its position on my plotter, I could possibly have run into it in the darkness but I was now able to steer well clear of it.

Reaching San Carlos, nearly thirty miles away, took until gone 2a.m. with nowhere else to take refuge.  Entering the Bahia, the seas calmed and the wind died – despite 20 knots of wind and rough seas just outside.  The high twin peaks of Tetakawi – the distinctive symbol of San Carlos – and the other high hills around give the harbour wonderful protection from the north.

On trying to drop the anchor in the tranquil bay to get a much-needed rest, I discovered it was firmly wedged and refused to move, despite prolonged hammering in an effort to free it…. 

I was not inclined to struggle in the dark with readying my secondary anchor at that point – far simpler to get fenders and lines ready and cautiously make my way through the badly lit channel, past mostly unlit boats, piles and docks to the marina Fuel Dock – empty…  Great!

Stepping off onto the dock to tie up carefully alongside was the prelude to a good sleep onboard – I knew Pedro would recognize my boat and kindly move it along carefully if needed, in order to let another one fuel up – as happened early in the morning…   I turned over and slept on….  I was safe and so also, it seemed, was Nereida

Postscript:  The rudder had been damaged – the bottom was broken off (which possibly was the reason for my steering problem immediately after getting free if it was still partly attached for a time) - but the greater part of it was still there.  Being a sturdily-made semi skeg-hung rudder meant I came off the rocks with a rudder to steer with, rather than the entire rudder being torn away and/or bent, as some might well have been.   The propeller (a Brunton’s Autoprop) was fine and had, as usual, performed well and the hull was totally undamaged, as I’d thought.  Some small sections on the base of the lead keel were slightly dented – but nothing major.   “Nereida” is now on the hard in San Carlos - the Mexicans excel at this kind of repair.

To Bahia de los Angeles, Sea of Cortez
Reid Inlet, Alaska05
synereida
Friday 28th August 2015

Wednesday, I enjoyed the cool breezes of Bahia Quemado, just E of Bahia de los Angeles where I anchored this afternoon

I'd motored, in v. little wind, N from Cala Puertocito del Enmedio.. The only drawback to the place, apart from the chart being totally misleading on the approach, was the bees that came looking for fresh water - and found my mug of tea!

On the way to Quemado, I stopped to explore a couple of anchorages - one off Punta Alacrans and another W of Isla Pescador.... both quite different. Alacrans was disappointingly lacking in much sea life on its bare rocks... There were many sting rays in the sand of the seabed and plenty of bullseye puffers but little else and the white sandy beach by Isla Pescador only interesting for the palapas of a luxury resort, now abandoned after hurricane Odile last year, which caused damage as yet unrepaired...

I spent a time yesterday working on getting my dinghy and outboard working. The dinghy floor had deflated after I'd tried to pump it up and so needed quite a time to bring it up to pressure, and the outboard kept refusing to start - but eventually did so and I triumphantly went on a tour of the bay and nearby rocks... Lowering and raising the motor using my handybilly worked fine, although it took a time tying the dinghy alongside 'Nereida' each time.

Before leaving Bahia Quemado, Eric ('Scoots') came on board and got my GoPro camera working and also, while it was charging up, made up the aerial for a little receiver I have to download satellite weather pictures in real time - a useful tool, especially in hurricane season!

More exploring - on the way here today, I went in to Port San Juan - a 'hurricane hole and I also explored the area S of the sand bar to the N of this anchorage - but aborted quickly when I found the depths suddenly getting down to 9-11 feet (Nereida's draught is just under 7 feet!).

As soon as I'd anchored, 'Linger Longer' came on the radio to tell me that a whale shark was close by - I spotted the rounded dorsal fin twice - but got no more sighting of it... They said they'd seen three of these large but harmless basking sharks in the area! Videos shown this evening confirmed their sightings - they're BIG!!

The day ended with a good sociable evening on board 'Scoots' - 'Summer' and 'Azul' joining in for what was, for me, a farewell ... Tomorrow, I'll be making for Santa Rosalia on my way to San Carlos and a visit back to the U.K. in early September.

25 Aug - Good snorkelling as storm brews behind mountains
Reid Inlet, Alaska05
synereida
Tuesday 25th August 2015

This morning I twice heard two short barks followed by a short howl - a coyote? The steep wild mountainsides around this cove are full of all sizes of caves - perfect for wildlife and no wonder I saw a bat last night.

I decided it was time for some house- and boat-work, one urgent job involving the log impellor which had stopped working. I'd been meaning to clean it for a time, and it has clearly been under-reading, but now it was telling me nothing but sea temperature. I protected the bilge area around it with paper towels and old cloths, blocking off the limber hole - I like to stop as much seawater as possible from getting down further into the main bilge - and then pulled out the impellor, blocking up the hole quickly with the blank. That clearly needed more grease around it because a small trickle of seawater refused to stop No worries - I just had to work quickly. It was no wonder the impellor had stopped turning - it had several wormy things together with lots of calcareous tube-like deposits (their 'homes'?) and even the tiniest of shells was beginning to grow in there. It proved impossible to clean in situ so I had to remove the impellor from its housing - nice to be both the chef and bosun - a galley chopping board was useful when banging out the pin!

By 2pm, it was replaced and the area seen to be bone dry - no leaks... so the floor was replaced... job done. Time for a snorkel session on the rocks on the W side of the cove. I saw dark grey clouds and heard frequent rumbling of thunder but we were right on the edge of it. Any rain and worse weather was heading W and keeping out of sight, behind the mountains backing the cove (the Sierras Agua de Soda!!) - out to sea the sky was blue.

Plenty of fish, with several large shoals. Sting rays in the sand on the way. A good-sized vivid all-orange long slim fish - unmissable among the duller fish - a first for me! No Cortez damsels but several large yellow/black/silver banded damsels - seen often before but I've no idea what they're called. The seabed below the rock face was a jumble of large boulders - a wonderful hiding ground for these fish - no wonder they were so varied and plentiful.

I snorkelled eastward out from land to see how far the rocky bottom extended - quite a way...! So then I checked on my anchor - it was safely in nice sand, so no worries there. I continued on towards the E side of the cove - the sandy bottom continued most of the way to an exposed ridge of high, tooth-lke rocks inshore from a small sandy beach and on towards the S shore also, where the sandy seabed was quite steep-to. Clearly, there is quite a large area of safe sandy anchorage at around 20ft/7m well inside the cove - you just have to know it's there, in from the rocks further offshore.

Beautiful starry night ... Bright moon reflected in calm water and lighting up rock faces.. Rays swimming nearby, occasionally jumping... Who would want to be anywhere else??

Sat-Mon 22-24 Aug 2015
Reid Inlet, Alaska05
synereida
Monday 24th Aug 2015 From Isla Partida to Cala Puertocito de Enmedio (Baja California Norte)

This is a very rugged, deserted coastline, making landfall difficult. . We arrived just before sunset today in a small cove bordered to NW and NE by jagged rocks, with sandy beach on S shore, backed by steep-sided, barren, pink mountains and a deep valley, with some greenery, leading off to the W.

It was a very nail-biting approach, rather like approach to Isla Partida after a fabulous downwind sail on Saturday, both times knowing the chart is totally unreliable and there are rocks possibly hidden just below sea level. Correct line of approach, in both cases, was vital but difficult to be sure of... I stayed in deep water for as long as possible and slowed right down a long way out.. Hitting an unseen, uncharted rock at slow speed is more likely to be survivable than at greater speed! But I stayed safe both times.

I didn't feel very comfortable on seeing depths down to 30 ft and less when still well offshore but they suddenly dropped to show deep water again until we were very close to the cove entrance (display was due to either hidden rocks or fish) . I had radar on to show position of land and rocks on Saturday also, but it got very confusing today, with multiple echoes. Once close enough to see the lay of the land (and rocky outcrops) clearly, life became a lot less stressful and I anchored in sand at under 20ft/7m in very calm conditions.

A ray jumped and splashed back into the water nearby... a turtle showed its head twice as it swam out ...and raucous gulls flew from the sandy beach and around the dramatic, rocky headland to roost as light faded...

Surprisingly, with so much overcast, I later spotted the Space Station, shining brightly as it approached the moon and headed on SE in clearer sky.

I'm looking forward to snorkelling around the rocks here tomorrow, hoping the fish will be more varied than off Isla Partida. There, I'd gone snorkelling with "Scoots" and "Azul" - Mike explained how to spot scallops and clams lying on the sea bed or on rocks, often well-camouflaged with growth. I saw what looked suspiciously like a giant squid (Humboldt squid) lying half-hidden in a rocky recess - they're aggressive so I did NOT approach too closely...!! Later, we all got together for a sociable meal on 'Azul' - Mike was a good cook of the seafood that had been gathered that day!

The geology of Isla Partida is fascinating, with clear volcanic rock formations - a caldera? I was reminded of the Giant's Causeway in Ireland, with similar rock structure, like enormous rhombic 'crystals'.

Partida was pleasantly cooled by sea breezes - and there were no bees desperate for fresh water to make life difficult - the island was far too barren for bees to exist there. It also had currents through the anchorage that made the boats swing about a lot - often we'd all be pointing in different directions.

We'll see what tomorrow brings...

Thurs/Fri 20/21 Aug 2015 Pearl oysters...
Reid Inlet, Alaska05
synereida
Lazy day on Thurs, after getting up early to speak on radio - firstly to cruisers' Sonrisa Net and then, for quite a time, to West coast friends (and to station in Sydney, Aus) on 7151 - good clear signals from everyone. Fires in Pacific NW and B.C. are still raging badly - they desperately need sme rain and less wind if fires are to be brought under control. Firemen being killed and burned in efforts to cope.
Went snorkelling over to rocks on S side of bay - plenty of fish, from newly-hatched to usual large ones, some in shoals. Continued around to sandy beach - piles of pearl oyster shells - brought several back - they're beautiful!
Mostly relaxed and read Steinbeck - interesting comments about the sea life hereabouts, in among his typical philosophical ramblings...
Saw Space Station passing over - in N sky, passing W to E - but not very bright - sky not dark enough - a little too soon after sunset

Friday 21st August
Busy most of the day with clearing last of diesel from bilge - took an age but did retrieve 3.5l of good fuel, followed by emulsified bad from further aft. Had to abandon both manual and electric pumps and resort to paper towels held on end of long 'grabber' for remainder - slow, slow process....
Rays are frequently jumping, even at night, and after sunset, dark shapes of pelicans are close by and tonight had a pair of sealions swimming around.
Navy boat from DSanta Rosalia was stationed close by most of the day and overnight - could hear its chain snatching in the slight swell - must surely have disturbed their sleep.
Missed seeing the Space Stn - 'Scoots' said they thought it was not bright and were also not sure if they'd seen it - we'll try again when it passes over on Saturday. The Japanese craft should be closing in on it then.
Spent evening with 'Scoots' - we're both heading for Isla Partida tomorrow. I'm thinking of staying two nights before heading for Animas and eventually over to Bahia de Los Angeles briefly, before heading S again.

19th Aug - More diesel siphoning... bees ... and relaxed reading
Reid Inlet, Alaska05
synereida
Wed 19th August 2015 Bahia San Francisquito
Up late this morning, after last night's socialising.. I decided to sit out in the cockpit and enjoy a coffee while reading Steinbeck's "Sea of Cortez" - this place is too beautiful and unspoiled not to relax and enjoy it ... Dealing with the diesel can wait a bit - no rush!
I did finally get to siphoning out the diesel under the engine and was pleased to see it was also clean enough to promptly filter into the main tank - over 20 litres (several trips with the full 2l bottles). TG I'd left the floor below the engine really clean after a recent oil-filter change!
Into the sea to clean off and then a quick shower - big mistake! The fresh water attracted the bees and all afternoon, until sunset, I was plagued with them. I must remember only to run fresh water after sunset, when they're safely out of the way.
Sunset tonight was spectacular, its rosy glow lingering in the western sky above the dark silhouette of the far hills, lighting up the steep, rugged hillside on long low Isla Lorenzo out to sea, beyond the bay entrance. The dark shapes of some pelicans could be seen in the water astern of 'Nereida', a sealion swam around, its heavy breathing on surfacing clearly heard in the still air, gulls were calling as they settled down to roost and the occasional ray could be heard slapping the water as it landed back after jumping.... Above it all, an increasingly bright crescent moon hung low in the sky and reflected in the slightly ruffled calm sea surface. Just the gentlest of refreshing breezes blowing tonight. I sat for a long time, as darkness gathered, enjoying the scene, as the stars gradually appeared....

18th Aug Whales ... and diesel...
Reid Inlet, Alaska05
synereida
Tuesday 18th August 2015 - Bahia San Francisquito

Forgot to mention the whale that surfaced twice and spouted beside the boat as I was approaching the entrance to the bay here yesterday .... What a great present that was! Been a while since I last saw any whales - Banderas Bay in February, in fact.

More than made up today for the lovely day yesterday - looked for the spilt outboard fuel in the bilge ..... and found instead a vast amout of diesel down there and also under the engine. Grrr!! Eric came over to help me and it turned out that the diesel filter was so rusty it was leaking - it hadn't been changed for ages ... if ever...! Promptly changed the filter and started the engine after some priming - that part went well.

Spent the rest of the day siphoning fuel out of the bilge using a small electric pump which needed to be primed every time to get it to pick up the fuel from deep down and into one of three 2 litre old plastic milk bottles I had in store, ready for oil changes etc. To prime the pump, I had to suck on the tube until the diesel was almost to the end and then quickly place the tube end down into a bottle and be ready to switch off the pump when the bottle was almost full - not always judged too well!. A smelly procedure, despite my carefully cleaning the diesel from the end of the tube with paper tissue each time before putting it between my lips..

Mid-afternoon I took a break and went snorkelling around the southern rocky entrance point to the bay - a good variety of fish by the rocks and it was nice to lose the diesel smell for a time.

Back to work.... The good news was the diesel was looking really clean - so I filtered it back into my main tank - just under 6 litres at a time.... eleven trips up to the cockpit with three bottles of fuel each time, with the tube finally beginning to suck air around sunset - a good time to stop, ready for a change in procedure tomorrow. I checked the fuel tank level - I'd replaced 65 litres and there's still more waiting to be dealt with...

By sunset, I was more than ready to stop - over to 'Scoots' to join with 'Azul' for a combined meal and R&R I felt I'd well-deserved!

The boat 'Tony Reyes' had come in Monday night, towing about eight small open pangas and clearly with a lot of people on board. They went off in the small boats morning and afternoon and seemed to be Mexicans taking 'gringos' out for fishing trips - from the cheerful noise coming from the 'mother ship' later in the evening, they seemed to be having a good time and the boat took off overnight - to another fishing venue or back home? There are a lot of fishing charters in the Sea of Cortez but the size and numbers of the sport fish many are looking for.have dropped dramatically recently - this area and further south is suffering from over-fishing, with long-liners, big nets and 'hookah' divers contributing to a more general problem (previously plentiful squid and scallops have disappeared in many places). Maybe the Mexicans will manage to regulate the fishing before it's too late? I hope so but don't have much confidence in it happening soon enough....

Monday 17th August - a lovely sail past wild coast
Reid Inlet, Alaska05
synereida
17th August 2015

There was strong SW-WSW wind, up to 20+ knots, overnight which combined with an unusual NNE swell to make for bumpy conditions until around 5am, when it died away, but the anchor held fine. Lightning seen well away to the SE late in the evening died away without causing a problem.

Soon after sunrise, Garth took off for Santa Rosalia to get ice for his fish and reported flat calm out at sea, so he was able to make good speed. I raised the anchor and set off N after a relaxed breakfast, watching several rays jumping nearby. The NW wind increased from 7 to 12 knots, with NNE swell continuing to give a bumpy ride, and then died down as it veered to the NE - we were motoring but soon the wind had veered to the SE and increased to 12-14 kt. We had a delightful lazy sail under genoa alone, happily reaching 6.6 kt SOG on a broad reach - an unexpected present! The pleasant sail continued until the headland off Bahia San Fransiquito was in sight several hours later.

Having anchored not far from Eric and Vandy on 'Scoots', I cooked us a lovely evening meal of dorado under a clear sky full of stars with a setting crescent of moon - nice to celebrate the day with friends!

This is a lovely protected anchorage and I expect to stay for several days. One unpleasant but urgent job on Tuesday is to clear away a lot of outboard fuel in the bilge that I suddenly realised was the reason for the constant smell I've been vaguely aware of - from a damaged plastic jerry can whose contents leaked into the cockpit locker a while ago - nasty ....and possibly dangerous! After that, I'll be free to explore the area - already I've seen a ray jumping close by!

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