We spent a week at Schoonmaker Marina. We got together with Bill Godwin a childhood friend and shared a delicious meal at Poggio a tasty Italian restaurant across from the passenger ferry terminal in Sausalito. The next day we had dinner with new Nordhavn 60 owners Brad & Kelly Drury. They brought two extra bicycles and gave us a bike tour around Mill Valley. What a treat for us!The traveling Big Top “Flynn Creek Circus” happened to be in town and was walking distance from the marina. We attended the R-rated version so the humor was a little raunchy and the costumes a little skimpier than their standard show but the acrobatics were amazing. We saw knife throwing, juggling, pole acrobatics, rope climbing and one of the best slack line artists in the world. They also had a trampoline wall that was spectacular. This type of event ranks high on my list of things to do and I admire the conditioning of these incredible athletes. Emmy spent a couple hours photographing the colorful houseboats while I spent the time in the SF Bay Model Museum. The model was built beginning in 1953 to understand the tides and tributaries of SF Bay. Now it is all done with computer modeling but this was state of art when built. Funding first came after the proposal to put two dams in SF Bay. One dam would be south of the Bay Bridge and the second would have been north of the Richmond Bridge. The idea called the “Reber Plan” was to keep the saltwater from mixing with the freshwater coming into the bay thus creating two large freshwater reservoirs providing drinking water for Bay Area residents. This model helped to determine all of the potential outcomes of this proposal. We spent another day taking the ferry from Sausalito to SF and walking the waterfront. We visited friends condo overlooking the Bay Bridge and walked to Fisherman’s Wharf. After all the days in small places, Emmy and I decided Fisherman’s Wharf was way to much humanity for us. We left Sausalito to catch some good weather heading north and were rewarded by a clear day leaving the Bay. Thanks for the memories!
It took a bit of time to put things away but we decided to leave the evening when we arrived because we found out that Santa Barbara would have a place for us that we could stay through Fourth of July. As we were going through our tests I found the generator would not start. It was 1830 and we wanted to be in Santa Barbara around dusk so we decided to check it out once we arrived. The 2 ½ hour trip was uneventful and we approached the entrance around 2100. I checked in with he harbor master, we got secured and called it a night after the long travel day from Seattle.
After checking in with the NOG (Nordhavn Owners Group) I determined it was the starter motor for the gen. Of course it was 24 volt so not in stock anywhere but Seattle. I had one shipped to Santa Barbara and decided to stay. The fireworks show was spectacular. If you are ever near Santa Barbara around the Fourth it is a must see.Repairs went well other than the new starter case was slightly thicker and one mounting bolt was too short. It was a 10 by 1.5 metric bolt and I needed 35mm long. I found Santa Barbara Fasteners only a mile or so from the marina. A short walk on a Friday afternoon would do me good. I wish I had a bike. That is going on the list. We were supposed to meet friends in Sausalito on July 10 but that wasn’t going to happen. Brad and Jane Brown flew into Sonoma, rented a car and drove to SB. The weather on the coast for the next few days promised to be great so we headed north. We stopped in Avila Beach (San Luis Obispo), San Simeon and Monterey. Avila Beach was the biggest surprise with a calm anchorage, cute town and fun shopping. We especially liked watching all the kids on the beach doing lifeguard training. They were as young as 10 up through high school. They were doing running, swimming and paddling drills. Great exercise and it looked like they were having a great time. Monterey had some fog but we still managed to go for walks and see the sights of Cannery Row. The browns headed back which left Emmy and I with a couple days before we would head to Sausalito. Em rented a bike and we went down the bike trail. I went by Hopkins Marine Station where I spent some time while at Stanford helping friends with experiments. It gave me a chance to dive while helping out. We kayaked from Monterey Marina up to Hopkins passing by the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Cannery Row. A highlight of the kayak trip was when we stopped in the kelp bed outside of the aquarium and saw 16 sea otters laying on their backs in the kelp taking a break. More later…
We had a great time at the Nordhavn 40th Anniversary party and then headed to my childhood stomping grounds. We are on a buoy in Avalon Harbor on Catalina Island. We have a great spot near the Casino. We took a great tour with Frankie from Avalon, not to be confused with the other man with a similar name. I started coming here in 1958 and it never gets old. Here are a couple of pictures:
This is a long one to catch up so have a cup of coffee…
Sea of Cortez
With slow or no internet in the Sea of Cortez I have not posted anything lately. We have spent nearly a month cruising up and down inside this area. In the beginning we had some 15-20 knot northerlies that made for some bumpy but not unreasonable seas. We have seen many flying rays, a mom teaching her calf how to breach and many sea lions.
We made a stop at Los Islotes just north of Isla Partida to snorkle with the Sea Lions. Unfortunately, the law was change last year when a swimmer, probably doing something stupid, was bitten. Now, all swimmers, snorkelers or divers must be accompanied by a guide. It was Easter Week so we could not find a boat that wasn’t full. The officials were very nice and said we could stay as long as we like and be in our dink but no swimming. Nevertheless we had an incredible encounter. We putted upwind then drifted down the sides 4 times and all the sea lions came to us. They came right to the dink with one even resting his head on our tube to say hello. As we drove upwind at 1 knot they followed and jumped and played. They loved to swim through the bubbles of the prop wash. One rule they have here and El Pulmo Reef is no two stroke engines. I know when I swim behind a PWC or 2-cycle outboard I can smell and taste the fuel in the water so this must be why.
Cameron and I had to head back to La Paz to drop Emmy off so she could fly home and “fix kids” at Woodinville Pediatrics for a couple weeks. While in La Paz Cam and I went with Punta Baja a tour company to swim with the whale sharks. My friend Jim Champoux and I swam (in a cage) with Great White sharks in South Africa so my expectations were low. The Great White encounter was brief and murky but still very fun. This time was completely different. Mario our guide and Mica our captain found whale sharks and we swam or “jumped” as they call it twice. The first Jump was with a 7 meter youngster mostly dark with white spots. We swam alongside for more than 5 minutes close enough to touch (though not allowed). The second Jump was with a very young almost white and spotted 5 meter beauty. We were with this whale shark for more than half an hour. It stopped several times to feed where it went almost vertical opened its mouth and strained the tasty plankton flushing water out through his gills (vents?). This is one of those times when swimming eye to eye wondering what it is thinking. I was thinking this is unbelievable and we need to protect them. Another interesting fact is that the pattern on every whale shark is unique like a fingerprint.
Cam and I without our admiral and buddy Emmy, decided to head back north stopping at Bahia San Gabriel and Isla San Francisco. This time the winds are 2 knots, seas like butter and temps around 78-84f. For me that is just perfect. I stood on the bow of our beautiful N62 chariot Roxia and thanked God for my good fortune. I still am not sure I am worthy but I am trying to live my dream gratefully.
We made it as far as Puerto Escondido which is a beautiful and protected marina 12 nm south of Loreto. They have a great deal where you can rent a car brought to the Marina at 9:00am each morning from the Loreto airport. The cost was $40 US including all taxes and insurance for Mexico. We decided to check out the town of Loreto and stock up on a few food items.
We are now back in San Jose del Cabo an found our great boat cleaner Gomer. He washed the boat and today we are going to splurge on Roxia and have her hand waxed. I can’t tell you the price because it is so low.
We pulled into Puerto Los Cabos Marina 1030 on 3-19 after a 23 hour run from Bahia Santa Maria. We had about 24 kt winds in the morning and thought it would be a bit rough. Turns out after a couple hours the winds eased to 12-15 and the seas calmed to 3′ swell on about 10 seconds. That was way better than the forecast and we had a comfortable run. We made the turn and the sun came up. 85 degrees! We finally feel like we are in Mexico.
The first slip they had us try was 20′ wide for a 19′ beam. We would have been fine if we removed the fenders. We tied up and they decided we should move to the high rent district. It is very nice on S dock. Power, water and room to move. I think we will stay a few days.
Our neighbors in Turtle Bay
We had a rider.
Now that we have our paperwork in order and time on our hands it is time to find the captain some warm water again.
Pointing south again we head back to our friends at Marina Coral to clear back into Mexico using our new hard earned TIP (Temporary Import Permit). We will spend a couple days in Ensenada and then head to La Paz with a couple stops on the way.
Emmy and Cam have never done an overnight so we will have to work out procedures and watch lists. I think we will start with them working together and me alone. Once they are a little more comfortable we can start more standard watches.
Upon our return, we met two delivery captains bringing a 58′ Solaris (I think) sailboat made in Italy. It was a gorgeous blue hull with carbon rig. I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture! We spent the day swapping stories and lying about how cool we were. Normal captain stuff. They are from Charleston South Carolina and really fun and knowledgable. Alex and Dan. Dan calls himself jokingly the worlds greatest sailor. He has more than 200,000 miles delivering boats all over the world. What fun!
Will taking a turn at the helm on the way from Ensenada to San Diego.
Roxia made it back to the USA for the first time since 2011. We were able to find a good slip location thanks to John Russell on NordSail One at Point Loma Marina. We learned we would have to leave Mexico because of the existing TIP’s in my last post about a week before Yacht Express arrived. I decided that since we had to be in San Diego I would purchase 12 new Lifeline Batteries at my supplier in Seattle and drive my truck down south. Because I was driving anyway, we totally loaded my truck with all the gear from our previous boat stashed in my garage. I left my truck at my brother’s house near Dana Point and Devin drove me down to San Diego airport to pick up the Admiral (Emmy), my son Will and nephew Cameron. Going way beyond the salesman relationship Devin drove us to Ensenada to meet Roxia. We could not take my truck into Mexico or we would have to pay duty on all the batteries.
Now that we were in San Diego we (mostly Will and Cameron) unloaded 2,000 pounds of batteries (old) off and 2,000 pounds of batteries (new) back on Roxia. I spent most of the time in the battery bay up front cleaning and rewiring everything. With everything out I could scrub the bilge then apply dielectric grease on all the connections. I hope I don’t have to do this again. The three of us couldn’t move the next day.
I made a wood lever to help move my through hulls and it also worked perfect to tighten the wing nuts on the battery hold downs.
With the tanks now full of water and fuel our waterline is down to the anti-foul. This is almost 8″ lower than when everything was close to empty for transport.
Being in San Diego was also fun because Will had friends from California visit and a friend visiting from Seattle, Mari Rossi also stopped by with friends. Will had to leave back for graduate school and all the visitors left so we are down to three. We used LimeBike electric bikes to tour San Diego and pick up last minute supplies.
We had an amazing experience with the “sinking” (on purpose) ship DYT Yacht Express. After the great load process onto the ship in Brisbane we headed to Ensenada for the offload only one month later. Not only was the shipment quicker than we could have done driving Roxia it was a little less expensive. The big negative is you don’t have the experience of crossing the ocean or visiting the remote islands of the South Pacific. I think given the choices for us this was the right decision. We will spend time on the west coast from Mexico to Canada and be able to visit friends and family along the way.
This picture was taken in Papeete Tahiti while Yacht Express was making a stop on the way to Ensenada.
You can see Roxia on the Port side behind a 150′ vessel.
These pictures show the process to re-float the boats prior to driving off.
When we arrived in Mexico we found that two previous owners of Roxia had active Temporary Import Permits (TIP). You cannot obtain a new TIP with an existing one so the customs officials did not know how this could happen. Because we could not be in Mexico on another persons permit, the only remedy was to apply for exit papers which proves we were leaving Mexico. At that point we were able reprint the newest active TIP first then cancel the TIP. Then we started over with the second permit. Because it is “not possible” to have two active TIPs in the system we spent a great deal of time in the customs office. With exit papers in-hand, two canceled TIPs we were able to obtain a new TIP under our name. However, because we had exit papers we had to leave Mexico and clear back into the USA. Fito and Juan at Marina Coral were invaluable in helping us through the process all for $60 US!
While waiting between customs office visits we met through a mutual friend Tomas Fernandez. Tomas with his two sons Tomas and Diego own and operate two shipyards in Ensenada. Baja Naval is for vessels under 85 feet or 75 tons and Gran Peninsula is for larger vessels up to 200′. Tomas (Sr.) and Rocio own N6219 Alamir. We became fast friends and spent the better part of two days with the two of them. We had tours of both shipyards and then were treated to three hours at the location of their passion, a center for Downs, deaf or Autistic children. The downs children bake Empanadas which they sell to markets and earn money for their families. Tomas provided the warehouse and the necessary improvements for a bakery and rooms for learning. Also in the facility children from all backgrounds learn to play orchestra instruments and give concerts. We attended a practice session and spoke with the instructors on one of their breaks. About 200 children are active at the facility. The gifted teachers were a pure joy to meet and we could easily see their love for Tomas.
To top it off Tomas and Rocio joined us for dinner and visit on Roxia. We made friends forever and confirmed again how close the Nordhavn family is.
After all the formalities of customs were complete we headed to San Diego and 8 hours later we were back in USA and then able to return to Mexico on our TIP for ten years.
I thought we had a pretty cool ferry system in Washington until we started spending time in Australia. On our last trip in October Emmy and I spent a week in Sydney and spent a good bit of time on the water. Now after loading Roxia onto (into?) the good ship Yacht Express, Devin and I spent the day on the River in Brisbane riding ferries taking in the sites.
Roxia was celebrity of the day making the local Moreton Bay Cruisers Facebook Page as we were headed to meet Yacht Express.
I saw this sign on the ferry and thought it might be a good Nordhavn option.