Friday, April 22, 2022

Intermezzo's 2022 Cruise Ends

22 April 2022 
Marina Puerto Escondido

We pulled into the slip from which we departed here in Marina Puerto Escondido yesterday early afternoon, a bit over four months since we departed on January 16. We sailed a total of 1,345 nautical miles.

I enjoyed this cruise. I felt very at home and comfortable on the boat. Overall, I enjoyed sailing with crew more than on my own, but also appreciated the solitude, silence and focus singlehanded sailing. I made great strides in finding enjoyment in fixing things that break on the boat, rather than feeling frustrated and discouraged.

The cruise ended a bit earlier than I originally planned, but I didn't have crew to continue and have had enough time listening to conversations with myself. I would have like to have explored Bahía Concepcion, just north of here, but it will have to wait until next year.

I'll spend the next week or so preparing the boat for storage before returning to land life until early June. Then I'll return, do final prep and haul out for hurricane season by mid-June.


Nice Sailing, Rocky Los Gatos, Peaceful Monserrat

I wrote this post a couple of days ago, but sent it via satellite to the wrong email address, so it didn't post. Here it is, belated news...

20 April 2021
Isla Monserrat, BCS

The forecasted southerly winds actually materialized and we’ve enjoyed two days of downwind sailing.

Yesterday we sailed from Isla San Francisco to Puerto Los Gatos. The winds turned out to be more east than south, which was fine for sailing but not good for anchoring. Los Gatos is completely open to the east and the swell entering the anchorage rocked Intermezzo uncomfortably until well into the night. I turned in early after two rum drinks and a sizable dinner. From about midnight until dawn, life on board was comfortable.

This morning we raised anchor as the swell returned and continued northward to Isla Monserrat. The sailing started out noisy and uncomfortable, the wind not quite strong enough to keep the sails filled as we rode down short but steep swells, the boom banging away as the main sail backwinded then filled again with a snap. We motored for 45 minutes around noon when the wind briefly died, but then enjoyed a steady 15+ knot breeze that stabilized the sails and moved us along briskly on a broad reach.

We are anchored at the north end of the isla, protected from the swell coming from the southeast, gratefully not rolling like last night. The desert island rises gently from the shoreline, a mix of rock and sandy beaches. Flocks of pelicans are actively fishing for sardines, barely rising above the water and immediately wheeling over to make a plunging dive. The sun is setting over the mountainous silhouette of El Gigante on the peninsula to the west. It is peaceful.

Tomorrow we return to Puerto Escondido, our starting point back in January.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Heading Back to Puerto Escondido

18 April 2022
Isla San Francisco, BCS

We're on our way back to Puerto Escondido, the beginning of the end of our 2021-22 sailing season in the Sea of Cortez.

I took a hiatus from posting to the blog over the past three weeks since arriving in La Paz from Mazatlan. Here is a recap of events on board Intermezzo.

30 Mar - 2 April
I anchored out in the El Mogote anchorage off the La Paz seafront until April 1 when I took a slip in Marina de La Paz. My replacement water heater was waiting for me there, shipped there via Deko Marine in San Diego, a shipping/export agent. It was a relatively easy job removing the leaking water heater and replacing it with an identical new one. It was a bit challenging trying to figure out why the new one wasn't making hot water from the engine coolant heat exchanger, though. After running the engines a few times and adding a bit of coolant in between, I finally got hot water. I concluded that either there was an air lock in the heat exchanger circuit or that I didn't get all the air out of the heater tank before trying to make hot water, or both. Inconclusive diagnosis, but we now have hot water in the galley again.

3-4 April
I rented a car and drove to Los Cabos to pick up Christina, Nate and Maddie, Renee's daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter, respectively. I stopped at one of my favorite restaurants, Hierbabuena, in Pescadero on the west coast of the Baja peninsula. The herbs used for artisanal cocktails and to season the fresh food dishes come from the restaurant's own garden.
I managed to rendezvous with Christina et. al. at the airport, despite there being no cell signal in the arrival area. They were tired from getting up really early in the morning and a long day's travel, but in good spirits. We took it easy the next day, getting settled on the boat, exploring a bit of La Paz and enjoying a couple of nice dinners out.

5-9 April
The four of us headed out from La Paz to Islas Espíritu Santo and Partida for a mini-cruise. We enjoyed swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, beach walking and lazing around in mostly secluded anchorages, though we were driven out of Ensenada Grande by noisy party motor yachts. There seem to be so many more of them than there were four years ago.
The highlight of the trip for me was teaching Maddie, age 6, to snorkel. She took to it quickly and we explored rock and coral reefs, her tucked to my side, enjoying all the colorful fish and other underwater life. It brought back happy memories of me snorkeling with my daughter Hannah when she was about the same age, 20 years ago.
We attempted to swim with some turtles that were swimming around the boat. We never got close to a turtle, but I felt things pelting my body underwater and discovered what the turtles were eating, fish eggs, aka caviar. I captured a few and tasted them. They were quite good, very mild salty jelly-balls, about a quarter-inch diameter. I was surprised when Maddie, who is often fussy about food, asked to taste some. I caught a few more and was even more surprised when she said she liked them, two-thumbs up.
We all got along well on the somewhat cramped quarters of the boat, a test for attitude and relationships. Nate and Christina took good care of the boat and seemed to like the lifestyle and beautiful surroudings. Maddie handled hanging out with only adults for a week very well.
Of course, it can never be perfect on a boat, as I noticed the raw water pump on the starboard engine was leaking during our cruise. Nate helped me replace it. I last replaced this pump in Puerto Escondido back in November 2018. They usually don't last that long, so I couldn't complain.

10 April
I rented a car again and drove my crew back to Los Cabos to catch their flight back to California. I drove back to La Paz along the east coast of the peninsula, stopping in Los Barriles, about halfway, for lunch. I made a disappointing choice of restaurant in this very gringo town. I should have driven a bit further and eaten at a taqueria on the highway.

11-15 April
I anchored out in El Magote again. I don't really like this anchorage. It's usually a wet, bumpy ride to and from the dinghy dock and tour boat pangas rock the boat with their wakes. The current swings the boat around four times a day and there is a lot of noise at night from the waterfront bars and nightclubs. It just never seems peaceful.
It was a good enough place to take care of some boat projects and clean up from visitors, though.
The exhaust elbows on both engines were leaking salt water. When I replaced the port elbow, I noticed coolant in the engine sump and sprayed residue around the engine compartment. That means a leaking coolant pump. I had just replaced this pump in January 2021. Something is amiss, these pumps should last much longer. Replacing these pumps is a pretty big job, requiring draining the engine of coolant, removing the bad pump, switching all the fittings from old to new, installing the new pump, filling the engine back up with coolant and testing. I've replaced these pumps so many times now that I am an expert, but it's still a three-hour job.
My satisfaction with fixing things didn't last long, as the dinghy outboard suddenly acted up, losing power, struggling to propel the dinghy at five knots when it usually can buzz along at nearly 20. I bought new fuel, checked the fuel pickup, fuel line and fuel filter, removed the carburetor, dismantled and cleaned it (even though it was squeaky clean already) and checked the spark plugs. None of this solved the problem. The engine seems to be running very rich, so maybe the choke solenoid is not opening the choke? I don't know. I'm pretty solid with diesel engines, but lack experience troubleshooting gas outboards. Especially since this one has run almost perfectly for almost ten years with no repairs and little maintenance.
I enjoyed visiting Barbara and Johan at their new place further out of town. After five years of living in the center of town, right off the malecón, they grew tired of the ever increase in noiseless of the neighborhood. Their new place is on a hillside with big terrace overlooking an expansive view of Bahia de La Paz. I enjoyed a nice dinner and conversation around their small outdoor fireplace.

16 April
I departed La Paz singlehanded for Puerto Escondido. It was a beautiful day, but no wind, so I had to motor the whole way to Ensenada de La Ballena on Isla Espíritu Santo, where I dropped anchor in the early afternoon. No wind beats bashing into headwinds any day, however.
I had the whole ensenada to myself until a motor yacht dropped anchor right next to me, playing loud music, again. What is it with these people? I surveyed the situation and concluded that they were not going to stay overnight, so I resigned myself to a few hours of unpleasantness. Sure enough, just before sunset the yacht and its music departed and I regained my solitude. I took the kayak for a spin, had a naked swim and shower off the back of the boat and enjoyed the sunset in peace, rum cocktail in hand. The full moon rose shortly afterwards, bathing the steep terrain of the island and the sea in a blueish light.

17 April
We motored in very calm conditions to Isla San Francisco. It was so calm that I turned off the engine and drifted on a flat, windless sea while I ate lunch about three miles south of the island. I was surprised to encounter strong northerly winds as I dropped anchor less than an hour later. It blew a steady 15 knots with higher gusts all through the afternoon and evening. I kayaked to shore and hiked up to the island's ridge, where it was really windy. It was a wet paddle back to the boat, upwind into the chop. About a dozen boats spent the night here, including several motor yachts. Thankfully, none of them played loud music.

I'm spending the day here at Isla San Francisco. Conditions are now very calm, with light winds. The weather oracle/astrologist/shaman koans suggest that there will be decent southerly winds tomorrow, which would allow me to sail instead of motor northwards. I'm fully prepared to be bashing into 20 knot headwinds and steep waves, however, as now the Wind Gods are aware of my intentions.

This morning I heard splashing under the boat, so I went onto the trampoline and bent over the crossbeam between the bows to take a look. A sea lion splashed me in the face as he darted to catch a fish that was hiding under the boat. Funny.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Arrived and Anchored in La Paz

We had an easy trip from Caleta Lobos to the La Paz anchorage this morning. The southerly breeze we enjoyed sailing in yesterday was against us today, so it was motoring all the way but in very light chop. No bashing or complaints.

The sail from Los Muertos to Caleta Lobos yesterday was beautiful. We sailed the whole way, except for a couple short periods of motoring when the wind died.  The winds were with us, the seas calm and the weather beautiful.

Last night in anchored in Caleta Lobos was a different story, though. The weather forecast (why don't I just stop paying attention to them?) was for light 5-7 knot southerly wind. In fact, it blew 10 to 15-plus all evening, all night and into the morning.  Much of the Caleta Lobos anchorage has been closed for marine life preservation, so the only place left to anchor is open to the south. Not a problem if 5-7 knot light winds. A problem in stronger southerly breezes there is long fetch for waves to build and enter the anchorage. We rocked and pitched at anchor all night. Not very pleasant at all.

We'll be in La Paz waiting for Christina, Nate and Maddie to arrive on Sunday and then depart for a trip to Islas Espiritu Santa and Partida on Tuesday. I'm looking forward to showing them my favorite places and introducing Maddie to the sailing life.

Between now and then...boat projects!

Monday, March 28, 2022

On the Way to La Paz

Punta Gorda, Sea of Cortez

We're sailing along beautifully, dead downwind, the sails wing-on-wing. Today's destination is Caleta Lobos, a favorite cove of mine just north of La Paz, about 46 nm sailing distance from Los Muertos, where we upped anchor this morning. We'll overnight there and they head into La Paz tomorrow.

Yesterday's passage from Los Frailes to Los Muertos was very pleasant. We motored in calm seas a bit less than halfway and then, around 11:00, the southerly wind started to build and we sailed the rest of the way. We anchored dropped anchor in Los Muertos at 16:23 and I had a relaxing evening chatting wiht my Dad on the phone, getting some business work done, and continuing to debug my port engine charging system (which is still not behaving properly).

I woke this morning at sunrise to dense fog in the anchorage and the decks dripping wet with dew. It was a great opportunity to mop the salt off the decks while I waited for the fog to clear. I'm happy to report that the mobula rays (Devil Fish) are out and about, launching into their aerobatic routines which I enjoy so much.

I'm so grateful for these southerly winds. No motoring. No bashing. Nice.

Los Frailes anchorage

Hiking above Los Frailes

Finally, downwind sailing!
Foggy sunrise in Los Muertos anchorage

Friday, March 25, 2022

Anchored in Los Frailes

25 March 2022, 18:45
Los Frailes, BCS

We dropped anchor here in Los Frailes at 12:50, making for a 27 hr 26 min trip, for an average speed of six knots. Not bad.

The wind was blowing hard when we arrived- 18 knots at one point. PredictWind said it would be only blowing 5. I don't understand the discrepancy, but perhaps local effects from a cold front in the area.

After neatening up the boat after passage making, I made a nice salad for lunch, opened one of my few remaining Lagunitas IPA's to celebrate and then took a nice nap.

When I woke up, I launched the dinghy to go for a run on the beach. It turned out to be quite a workout, as the sand is too soft for the dinghy wheels and there is only one of me to haul it up on the beach.

The wind has now died down, the anchorage is calm and I'm looking forward to a good night's sleep. I'll stay here tomorrow to rest before heading north and making my way to La Paz.

Long Night, Almost There

25 March 2022, 07:30
Gulf of California, 34nm E of Los Frailes, Baja California Sur

About five hours left to go and all is well aboard Intermezzo. We're motor sailing in moderate rocking seas, the jib close-hauled for a 10 knot wind off the starboard bow.

Last night was not as the weather forecasts led me to believe it would be. Nothing new. All the wind models had maximum predicted wind along our route of 12 knots. It blew over 18 for over an hour. All the wave models predicted 4 foot swell from the south at a comfortable period of over 12 seconds. Swells were 3 feet from the north at an uncomfortable period of less than 6 seconds. Even after the winds dropped around 22:00, it remained a bouncy ride until after sunrise. The seas are only now smoothing out.

The good news is that there was virtually no traffic the whole way. One fishing boat that got within two miles and a couple of ships way off in the distance. With my radar and AIS proximity alarms set, I was able to grab sleep in 30 minute snatches. I'd set the timer on my watch and get up, take a look around, reset the timer and resume sleeping. My watch vibrates when the timer goes off, a great feature for sailing. I stream the radar display to my iPad which sits right in front of me in the cabin. I can open one eye to make sure the boat is on course and there aren't any other boats to worry about.

I'm feeling fairly rested, but also that mussed, greasy, traveled feeling like after a redeye flight or an "all-nighter" studying at college (wow, that was a long time ago.) We should arrive at Los Frailes around 13:00 and I look forward to jumping into the water for a swim and then a nice hot shower.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Bouncing a Bit at Sunset

24 March 2022, 18:30
Gulf of California, 50nm W of Mazatlan

We're about 1/3 of the way across. The wind piped up this afternoon to 12-14 knots out of the WNW, resulting in some decent chop and bouncing. Nothing too bad. Things should calm down soon.

The sun is setting directly ahead, pastel orange hues painting the clouds on the horizon.

I've set a radar guard zone for the night that will alert me of any vessels that get within 4 miles of us. Plus, I set the AIS to alert me to dangerous targets. This will allow me to take short catnaps through the night. I had a pretty easy day today, so feeling pretty rested and alert. It will be a long night, though.

Departed Mazatlan, Crossing the Sea

24 March 2022, 10:32
Pacific Ocean, Near Mazatlan

Intermezzo is crossing the Sea of Cortez from Mazatlan. It's a singlehanded passage for me, about 30 hours of solo sailing.

I waited until today to depart to let the seas calm down from several breezy days. It seem like that was a good idea. There is a gentle westerly swell which we are loping over comfortably. It's forecasted to shift southward, which would be nice. The wind is presently blowing lightly from the southwest, allowing me to roll out the jib and add a half knot to our speed as we motorsail westward. The weather is sunny and fair, pleasantly cool, with a marine layer of cloud on the horizon ahead that I'm sure will burn off soon.

The boat feels good, I feel rested, I'm well provisioned with food and treats. It should be a good trip, although I'm sure I'll be plenty fatigued when I drop anchor in Las Frailes off the Baja peninsula tomorrow afternoon.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Passage to Mazatlan, Goodbye Crew

Marina El Cid, Mazatlan

We had a very nice passage from Chacala to Mazatlan, even if the wind and waves were against us, as they usually are heading up this coast. Intermezzo is secured in a slip in Marina El Cid, Pete and Mary left today to fly back to Montreal, and I am waiting for a weather window to cross the Sea of Cortez to the Baja peninsula.

It took us a little longer to weigh anchor in Chacala on Thursday morning as we had set a stern anchor upon our arrival to keep Intermezzo's bows pointed into the swell entering the anchorage. I wish I had a smaller anchor for this purpose. My second anchor is an aluminum Fortress FX-37. It only weighs 21 lbs but the shank is 40 inches long making it cumbersome to deploy, which we usually do from the dinghy. And the holding power of this anchor is so great that the only way to break it free when leaving is to back the boat down to it and then pull forward on the shortened rode with the engines. A smaller anchor would be easier to deploy and retrieve.

We got underway at 9:18 am on a calm blue sea. The sky was blue overhead, powdery blue-white on the horizons, a light haze along the coast. The light breeze from ahead was pleasantly cool. Mary took the first watch, feeling good, not seasick. I was happy for her.

We motored along all day, the wind piping up to 10 knots on the nose knocking up a moderate chop for a few hours. When the sun set behind Isla Maria Isabella, a full moon was rising over the mainland. The sky was painted with color all around us, 360 degrees of oranges, pinks, purples and blues. The night's passage was in mostly calm conditions.

We saw a lot of whales along the way. Some just surfaced, blew and dove again in a gentle loping arc. Others were more acrobatic, breaching out of the water as they surfaced and landing with a big splash. We had to alter course for one whale ahead of us who was on the surface and smacking its tail repeatedly, making slapping noises and splashes. I don't know if the whale was waving at us, threatening us, or just being a whale. We gave the thrashing whale tail a wide berth as we passed by it.

Pete encountered a mystery vessel during his 21:00 to 02:00 watch. It didn't show up on AIS or on radar and was unlit and invisible until it suddenly turned on bright white lights and headed towards Intermezzo. Before it reached us, it turned away and turned off its lights again, heading towards another boat that was behind us, then turning its lights on again. We figure it was probably a Mexican Navy patrol boat looking for drug boats.

I stood the 02:00 to 06:00 watch and it was a cold, damp one. I had on a light fleece sweater, a light down jacket, a foulie jacket, long pants, wool socks, sea boots and a wool cap. Quite a change from my normal board shorts, t-shirt and bare feet while sailing in Mexico.

Mary took the next watch and I retired into the salon to warm up and catch a nap. A half-hour later, Mary woke me up to tell me it was foggy and she was concerned about a couple of vessels in our vicinity. I got up and was amazed at how dense the fog was. Visibility was well under a mile. We turned on the fog horn, which roused a surprised Pete out of his cabin. I told him all was well, he went back to sleep and I stood watch with Mary until the fog cleared about an hour later.

We entered the inlet to Mazatlan small vessel harbor around 10:45 am. I had forgotten how narrow the entrance is and how the swells, breaking waves and currents push the boat around between the rocky breakwaters. I entered the channel at nearly full speed so as to maintain steerage in the following seas. The entrance was even more tricky this time as there was a dredge pipe submerged on one side of the inlet making the navigable channel even more narrow.  After a few tense minutes we got through the tough stuff and into calmer waters.

We checked into the marina, maneuvered to our slip and celebrated the end of this passage and the week's sailing from Barra de Navidad. Pete and Mary got their flights booked, took care of Covid testing. In the evening, we enjoyed a huge seafood feast and a bottle of wine at a beachfront restaurant.

Pete and Mary left this morning. I am sorry to see them go. They were great, dependable crew and great company, happy spirits that brightened up my life on Intermezzo.  I really enjoyed sailing with Pete again after a three-year break and many miles under the keels. Mary loved the whole adventure, aside from her bout with seasickness, a rite of passage for all sailors that I think makes the good times seem even better.  I look forward to sailing with them again.

I've been looking at the weather forecasts (suggestions) to find a window for my overnight crossing of the Sea when the normal NW winds aren't blowing too hard.  I was originally planning on continuing up the mainland coast to get a better wind angle for my crossing. That would involve an additional overnight passage north and a tricky entrance into the estuary at Altata. I realized that, if I crossed directly from Mazatlan and then turned north along the Baja coast, I could stop at two easy anchorages on the way to La Paz, avoiding overnight sailing. A much better alternative when singlehanding. I like sleep.

Me, Pete and Mary enjoying sundowners in Chacala

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Bashing, Raving Madness


Intermezzo is anchored in Chacala after dealing with several challenging days after departing Tenacatita on Saturday. 

Things started off well with a nice mid-day snorkel among the rocks at the west end of Bahía Tenacatita. Our plan was to depart Tenacatita around 4 pm and motor through forecasted calm conditions to La Cruz. But when we finished snorkeling, a nice breeze was blowing from the southwest and we decided to leave early and take advantage of the wind.

We weighed anchor at 1:30 pm and began sailing downwind with following seas. Nice, but only for an hour.  For the rest of the passage, until we entered Bahía Banderas the next morning, we were bucking headwinds and bashing into head seas.  Not nice.

Fortunately, the headwinds were not strong, less than 10 knots but, unfortunately, they created wind waves that combined with a short period swell from the northwest and a long period swell from the southwest to create a very confused sea state. Intermezzo lurched, bounced and bashed for 18 hours straight.

Mary succumbed to seasickness shortly after the bashing began, but mustered up enough energy to reel in a fat sierra (Spanish mackerel) before being sent to the sickbay, nestled among the bean bag chairs in the cockpit until after sunrise. The bean bag chairs are much loved by those suffering from seasickness as they form a comfortable nest outside the cabin in fresh air.

Conditions calmed after we rounded Cabo Corrientes and made our way across Bahía Banderas towards La Cruz. We spotted several whales and were able to to sail the last hour and half in a gentle downwind breeze and calm seas. A nice ending to a difficult trip.

We dropped anchor in La Cruz at 1:17pm, just shy of 24 hours after leaving Tenacatita. Shortly after we arrived, a large motor yacht anchored next to us. That is always a cause for worry, as the people on these yachts tend to party well into the night. Little did we know how bad things would be.

We took the dinghy into La Cruz to get ice cream and pick up a few grocery items and then returned to Intermezzo to enjoy eating Mary's fresh-caught fish for dinner. By this time, techno-beat music was thumping loudly out of a big sound system on the upper deck of the motor yacht, where people were congregating and dancing. The music was very loud on Intermezzo, 500 feet away. I can't imagine how loud it was on board the yacht. Even though I don't like techno-beat music, it was a high quality mix, obviously spun by a talented DJ and at first we tolerated, even enjoyed it a bit.

The music played on and on into the night. We realized that an Ecstasy drug rave was taking place on the boat and the music was not going to stop.  It would do no good to complain about it. The people on the yacht were not going to turn down the music and since yachts in Mexico are often owned by drug cartels, it is not advisable to go all "Karen" over them. There are no loud music ordinances in Mexico and anyways, the local authorities don't typically pester oligarchs with yachts, cartel or not.

Though thoroughly tired out from our overnight passage, we hardly got any sleep that night. The noise-cancelling feature of my AirPods gave me a few hours of respite from the thumping music, but not enough for me to sleep more than a half hour before waking up again. I was very tired, very angry and lay in bed thinking about how I could sabotage or sink the yacht to stop the music.

When the sun came up and my AirPod batteries had died, the music was still playing, people dancing on the yacht like zombies. I had had enough.  I started the engines and prepared to weigh anchor which brought Pete and Mary out of their cabins, bleary eyed and as pissed off as I was. They had also been lying in their bunks thinking murderous thoughts.

We weighed anchor and I tried to find a place to anchor further away from the offensive music but to no avail, the sound carried so well over the water. As I passed by the yacht, I glared at the dancers like Charles Manson and gave the yacht a two-middle-finger salute, not giving one fuck if I was insulting a drug cartel kingpin.  Mary suggested, "Why don't we just sail to our next destination?" I considered this for less than a second and replied in the tone of voice of a very tired sociopath on his edge, "Yes. We will do that."

We left La Cruz and enjoyed a nice day's sail to Chacala, anchoring here on Tuesday afternoon. We laughed when we arrived as a large Mexican brass band was playing loudly on the beach. Thankfully, it was different music, not as loud and ended before sunset.  We enjoyed a peaceful night's sleep. At last.

Yesterday we had a relaxing day on the boat and on the beach. Chacala is a nice little beach town with a few small hotels and palapa restaurants, not much else. Perfect for recovering from our rave music PTSD.

We decided to stay here another day and sail straight to Mazatlan tomorrow, rather than stopping to visit San Blas. San Blas is an interesting town, but plagued by mosquitos and jejenes (no-see-ums). We'll give the bugs a miss.

I'm starting to plan my passage from Mazatlan to La Paz. I'll be sailing singlehanded overnight across the Sea of Cortez and then turn north and harbor-hop up the Baja peninsula to La Paz. A weather window for the crossing looks like it will open on March 23. If I can depart Mazatlan then, Intermezzo should be back in La Paz by March 28.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Goodbye Barra, Heading North

 Bahía de Tenacatita

Intermezzo left Barra de Navidad yesterday morning bound for Tenacatita. The original plan was to sail further on to Chamela, but strong headwinds made the shorter trip to Tenacatita a more comfortable option. We’ll depart this afternoon for La Cruz, a 25-hour overnight passage in calm conditions.

Pete (as Pierre-Luc is called by his friends) and Mary arrived in Barra Thursday around noon. After orienting them to the boat (re-orienting in Pete’s case), we had a nice lunch overlooking the laguna. Afterwards I washed the boat while Pete and Mary relaxed at the hotel pool. When they returned, I was filling the port water tank and, for some unknown reason, decided that it needed to be filled faster. I turned the valve to increase flow in the hose which resulted in a bunch of yelling from Pete and Mary, “Steve!, Steve!, Steve!”  The increased water pressure had caused the end of the hose to escape from the water tank and end up on the deck, the stream of water aimed precisely into the hatch above Pete’s cabin. I shut the water off pretty quickly but several gallons of water had entered the hatch, thoroughly soaking Pete’s bedding.We spent the next hour drying out the cabin and hanging all the bedding around the boat. Intermezzo looked like the Joad’s truck from the Grapes of Wrath. I felt rather stupid.

Yesterday morning we headed to the fuel dock to top off on diesel before setting out to sea. Fortunately Mexico does not seem to be suffering from the huge increases in fuel prices I’m reading about in the US. We headed out from Barra and motored against 10-15 knot headwinds and light chop. I began Mary’s sailing lessons, familiarizing her with the instruments and controls at the helm station. She seems to be an eager and fast learner who loves boats.  She was very happy when encountered several pods of dolphins, always a nice start to a sailing adventure.

Once we rounded Punta el Estrecho, we were able to unroll the jib and sail the rest of the way into the Tenacatita anchorage on a nice reach.  We anchored, relaxed on the boat and then took the dinghy to the beach to go running and have an evening margarita.  I was missing Robin, remembering the many great days we spent here almost a month ago.

The forecast for our passage to La Cruz is for very calm conditions. Unfortunately, I expect we’ll be motoring the whole way, but at least not bucking against headwinds and seas.

Saturday, March 5, 2022

LIfe in Barra de Navidad

Marina Puerto Navidad, Barra de Navidad

Intermezzo and I have been in the marina in Barra de Navidad for two weeks now. We are scheduled to leave here this coming Friday, March 11. I've mostly enjoyed the solitude of being on my own here and, though I'm living life at a pretty relaxed pace, my time has been fairly productive. 

I spent a good amount of that time getting my advanced engine charging system to work properly. The port engine has been intermittently cycling from charging to not charging ever since I installed the system about a year ago in Florida. Tech support for the Wakespeed voltage regulators thought the solar charging system might be confusing their voltage regulator. So, before leaving Puerto Escondido in January, I installed circuit breakers that would allow me to disconnect the solar system when I ran the engines. This didn't seem to help. Then I started to have alternator belt issues and thought that perhaps belt slippage was the problem. It wasn't. I finally ended up solving the problem by upgrading the Wakespeed firmware and reloading the configuration file. It seems to be working properly now. At last. I hope.

As is common with boats, fix one problem and another one surfaces. Now, my port water heater is leaking. It's not leaking from any of the piping or connections, so it must be the heater tank itself. Fortunately, it's a slow leak, so I can still have hot water for washing dishes while nobody is using the port aft berth and I can periodically bail out the locker beneath it where the heater is located. Before we get underway with crew again, I'll need to bypass the heater to stop the leak and we'll have to make do with no hot water on that side of the boat. I was able to find a marine exporter in San Diego to ship a replacement water heater to me in La Paz at a reasonable price. So, we'll be back in business once we get back there.

I'm most excited by the progress I made writing my Sailing Intermezzo book. I am almost finished with the "Hiatus" chapter, which covers the year and a half between when I thought I had ended The Voyage in June 2017 to when I resumed it again in January 2019 during which I did not post to this blog. A lot happened in that period, it was a tough one for me, difficult to read through my personal journal, sort things out and write about them.  Once this chapter is finished, the writing will go faster as I will have my blog posts for reference and I find writing in the context of my sailing is much easier, even if my personal life was challenging at times. I'm hoping to print and publish the book this summer.

I've enjoyed daily life here in the marina. I run in the hills behind the marina early every other morning, before it gets too hot. I've enjoyed brief conversations and hugs from Sue, wife and mother of the family Lisa and I sailed with on the 2019 Baja Ha-Ha on board their catamaran Winston. I've taken dips in the hotel pool and lounged around it, reading. I've explored the grounds and back roads of the resort on evening walks. I found a great coffee roaster in Barra town, Mokeke's Cafeteria, and love drinking their coffee. I went to a Santana tribute band show in the town square and had a great time listening and dancing to their music, including three encores. All this, plus keeping the boat clean, doing laundry, cooking, washing dishes, grocery shopping, taking care of business,'s a busy low-keyed life.

I spent my birthday on my own, treating myself to a nice dinner in town. I had figured on buying a big slice of cake from a street vendor who is usually near the water taxi dock, but alas, it was his day off. I had to do with an ice cream bar.  Just like last year with Robin. Only this time, no goats. It was a happy enough birthday.

I'm please to report that I have found crew for part of my passage back to La Paz next week. Pierre (Pete), a policeman from Quebec who sailed with Roy and I on the first leg of The Voyage in early 2019, will be joining Intermezzo as crew again! He's bringing one of his colleagues and sometimes patrol car partner, Marie with him. I'm very happy to be reuniting with Pierre, looking forward to sailing with Marie, and glad to be sailing "three-up" instead of singlehanded. Pierre and Marie will be sailing as far as Mazatlan with me. After that, it looks like I'll be on my own from there to La Paz.

We'll sail to Mazatlan over the course of about eight days, weather permitting, with stops in Chamela, Punta Ipala, La Cruz, Chacala and San Blas. Or, more likely, motor. Winds are still mostly blowing out of the northwest, the direction we need to travel. I'm hoping we'll get a few days of favorable winds, anything from northeast to west would be good. If headwinds are too strong, we'll sit them out at anchor or travel at night when winds and seas are usually more calm. I expect we'll arrive in Mazatlan on March 19 or 20, if we aren't delayed by weather or decide that more R&R is needed.

After Mazatlan, I plan on making my way further up the coast to Altata, cross the bar into the estuary there and visit the town, which is off the normal cruising path. From Altata, I can sail directly across the Sea of Cortez to La Paz in all but westerly winds. I'm figuring on arriving in La Paz during the last week of March.

Renée's daughter, Christina, son-in-law, Nate, and granddaughter, Maddie are going to join me on Intermezzo in La Paz on April 3.  Renée might even make it, too.  We'll take a short cruise to Islas Espiritu Santo and Partida. I'm looking forward to showing Maddie all my favorite beaches, swimming and snorkeling spots. Oh, and introducing Christina and Nate to sailing life, as well.

The news of the world is troubling, but it seems far removed from life here. I hope the madness ends soon.

Marina Isla de Navidad, Intermezzo's current home

My birthday sunset

Mokeke's Cafeteria, delicious house-roasted coffee

One of the several of what I take to be an angelfish with foot-long streamers that swim around Intermezzo

Intermezzo looking nice and neat in the marina slip

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Settled and Alone in Barra de Navidad

Marina Puerto Navidad, Barra de Navidad

Yesterday we moved Intermezzo from the Barra de Navidad laguna to a slip in the marina at the Grand Isla Navidad Resort. Today Robin left to attend to family matters. I'm settled in here for awhile, alone.

We enjoyed our week anchored in Tenacatita. Robin mastered her kayak surf exits and entrances. I was violently ejected from my kayak during one attempted landing due to my indecisiveness regarding a breaking following wave. My kayak had a lot more sand in it when we left the anchorage than hers. She wants people to know that.

We motored to Barra on Wednesday, February 16 in light headwinds, picking up a lift towards the end when we were able to roll out the jib to add a boost to the engine. We anchored in the laguna in nice spot between a trimaran and the rest of the boats. This proved helpful when the winds piped up the next day and blew 20-25 knots. We didn't need to worry about other boats dragging down on us, as can happen in this anchorage.

Thursday morning we took the dinghy into the marina to check in and reconnaissance our slip, located in a relatively narrow fairway, a bit tricky for docking. We went for a walk afterwards and discovered an extensive network of roads in an undeveloped subdivision in the hills behind the resort. No houses, no traffic, just miles of nice roads winding through the jungle and connecting to an ocean beach. It's a bit of a mystery. Many millions of dollars must have been spent on the really well-engineered infrastructure, which in addition to the roads, lighting and landscaping, water storage and treatment, includes an extensive storm drainage/rainwater collection system. However, there are very few buildable lots due to the steep terrain and so essentially no houses have been built. I understand there was some sort of political dispute associated with the resort that resulted in the border between the states of Jalisco and Colima being shifted. I'm sure there is an interesting story to be heard.

I had barely enough room to turn the boat and back into our slip yesteday morning, but I made it with a few feet to spare. Thankfully, there was little wind and no current. I'm not sure I would have attempted docking if there had been.

I was sorry to say goodbye to Robin this morning. We have had a great time sailing together and she has taken good care of Intermezzo and me. I will miss her.

I'm resolved to spend the next few weeks getting boat projects completed and making substantial progress writing my Sailing Intermezzo book, a project that I began over a year ago. Hopefully I can maintain motivation and discipline on both fronts. After procrastination, my biggest enemy is heat and humidity. It isn't that hot here, temperatures in the low 80's, but humidity can get up to 90%, which is uncomfortable and makes me lazy. Today I installed the air conditioner I bought in Charleston during a heat wave, prodded on by my crew, Lisa. While heat and humidity might slow down my progress on boat projects, it now can't be an excuse for not writing.

The Barra de Navidad laguna. Intermezzo is the second boat by itself from the left.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Enjoying Tentacatita

Bahía Tentacatita

We sailed from Paraíso to Bahía Tenacatita on Tuesday, February 8 and have been enjoying ourselves in this big calm bay for the past few days. There are lots of boats in the anchorage; we counted 27 yesterday. Fortunately, there is plenty of room and people on the other boats are friendly and quiet, so it doesn't feel crowded at all.

We had a really nice stay in Paraíso. The highlight was snorkeling the rock reef along the north shore of the cove in which we were anchored. There was plenty of healthy coral, forest green and purple, and lots of large colorful reef fish. The water was clear and the surge from the ocean swell made snorkeling along the rocks fun. We would hover over fish and be swept in and out by the surge, the fish below us moving in unison. Even the jellyfish tentacle that wrapped around my arm, stung me and left a big welt, was colorful; bright orange papules spaced along a clear string, like a garland.

As we swam from the reef to the sandy beach at the end of the cove, we passed through huge schools of minnows. Thousands and thousands of little fish. It was like flying through living clouds for a solid ten minutes. I've never swam through that many fish for so long before.

Before we set sail on Tuesday morning, we inflated the kayaks and explored the rugged shoreline and rocky islands outside our cove. We ended our time there with a swim from a tiny private beach.  It was hard to leave such a pretty place.

We had a nice downwind sail to Tenacatita under full main and jib. The wind was around 10 knots when we started out and built to almost 20 by the time we turned towards shore to enter the bahía. I'm really happy to have burned so little diesel since leaving La Paz. We dropped anchor in the middle of the gaggle of other boats, about a quarter mile off the beach.

Yesterday we did boat chores and projects in the morning, then kayaked around the anchorage. Robin practiced her kayak surf entries with, shall we say, "varied results". 

Today we paddled the kayaks about a mile and a half up an estuary to "The Aquarium" beach.  Renée, Marc, Marcy and I had explored this estuary with the dinghjy back in January 2016, shortly after Hurricane Patricia. It was a difficult trip, the estuary clogged with blown mangroves and downed trees. This time, it was a much easier passage and we saw lots of birds- egrets, great herons, not-so-great herons and night herons. The night herons were particularly numerous and would scramble into the mangroves to hide as we approached, scolding us with a chuk-chuk-chuk sound. I really enjoyed paddling through the narrow parts of the estuary, the tree canopy above forming a shady tunnel. 

When we arrived at The Aquarium beach, we had a nice lunch of ceviche, papas fritas and beer at a very rustic beach restaurant and did a bit of swimming before paddling back down the estuary and out to the boat. After cleaning up and resting a bit, we headed back to shore for dinner at the nice little palapa restaurant on shore where they serve a local specialty, rollo de mar, a fish filet rolled around shrimp and vegetables, smothered in an almond cream sauce.

Tomorrow morning we need to make a trip into town, La Manzanilla, to replenish our food supply. It's about a two mile dinghy trip across the bay, requiring landing and taking off through the surf. We'll go early when the waves are smaller and, hopefully, I'll time things better and not soak Robin or our groceries.

Tiny beach in Paraíso cove

Birds on Tenacatita rocks with cruiser fleet anchored beyond
Tentacatita rock formation
Estuary between Bahía Tentacatita and "The Aquarium" beach

Monday, February 7, 2022

Moved On to Paraíso

We left Chamela this morning and motored about 8 nautical miles to the tiny rocky anchorage of Paraíso. We are anchored just off the sandy beach of a boutique hotel, nestled between two rock points. There was one boat when we arrived here, plenty of room. Two more boats have arrived, including a big 50-foot catamaran. It's getting a bit crowded.

We enjoyed our three days in Chamela.

Friday we slept in after our overnight passage from La Cruz, then took the dinghy to visit the small islands in the middle of the bay. Our aim was to go snorkeling, but the visibility was not very good due to all the krill in the water. No wonder there are so many whales about. Still, we enjoyed a picnic on a rocky isolated beach, then a bit more time on a sandy beach with a few daytrippers lounding about.

Saturday we took a long walk along the long crescent beach of the bahía. The beach is over three miles long, fringed with small palapa restaurants, a few modest hotels, a handful of beach campgrounds and an estero lined with mangroves. It was long nice walk on a breezy sunny day. I had run along the beach barefoot the evening before and my feet were well abraded by the sand by the time we sat down at a palapa restaurant for a simple seafood lunch and beers. When we launched the dinghy to return to Intermezzo, I misjudged the surf and shipped a big wave over the bow. Fortunately Robin was there to block the wave from getting me wet.

Sunday we relaxed on the boat and go work done. I did my monthly administrative "paperwork", called my Dad, reviewed my to-do lists.  Robin scrubbed the dinghy and got rid of the sand from the previous day's wave mishap. 

Today's short passage was uneventful, though we did see a couple of whales "commuting" northwards. I'm glad we arrived when we did because I probably would not have stayed if there were as many boats here as there are now. We'll do some snorkeling, swim over to a tiny private beach, maybe inflate the kayaks to explore the rocky islets just outside the anchorage. No complaints.

View from Paraíso anchorage, big catamaran arriving to crowd us

Picnic lunch beach in Bahía Chamela and our trusty dinghy, which I am naming "Intermeccito"

Chamela islet shorelines, our sandy beach stop way off to the left in the distance.

These boobies need tough feet to roost on spiny cacti

Friday, February 4, 2022

Anchored in Bahía Chamela

Bahía Chamela

We arrived in Bahía Chamela at sunrise this morning after an overnight sail from La Cruz de Huanacaxtle in relatively calm conditions. We're anchored off the long crescent beach and will spend at least a couple days here swimming, snorkeling, walking, running, reading and, believe it or not, getting some work done. I have a proposal for some business consulting services due today. Not a bad place for working remotely, though.

The wind steadily increased after we rounded Cabo Corrientes and at 7 pm it was blowing a steady 20-23 knots. Time to reef. Since we were sailing almost directly downwind, we furled the jib completely and sailed under just the double-reefed main. As with our landfall in La Cruz, I had to keep boat speed down so as to arrive in Chamela in daylight.  Yet, even with just the reefed main, we were moving along at 6 knots, too fast.

Only and hour after the winds got stronger, they began to subside. The main started to backwind when surfing down swells causing the boom to bash about. Not good for sleeping. So we dropped the main, unfurled the jib and continued in this more quiet configuration until the winds died at 11 pm, quite a bit earlier than forecast.

We spent the rest of the passage alternating between sailing very slowly at 2-3 knots and motoring too quickly at 5-6 knots despite running the engine at minimum rpms. I think there must be a southerly current running, given the boat speeds.

Robin was on watch when we arrived at the waypoint for our entry into the bahía at 6:30. I woke up when I heard the waypoint arrival alarm and went up to the helm to find Robin miserably tired and cold. I took over steering while she warmed up in the cabin. It was quite chilly out with a decent land breeze blowing from ahead making it feel ever colder.

It was a beautiful dawn as we entered the anchorage, the sun turning the undersides of the clouds on the horizon a bright orange, the sky and clouds above shades of steely grey, the water a sparkling dark grey. The anchorage is fairly crowded, we had to take a spin around it to find a good spot to drop anchor.

It doesn't seem like much has changed since I first visited here in January 2016 , except that the cellular data service is much better, excellent even. When I read my blog entry for that visit I chuckled as it seems like sailing conditions from La Cruz were very similar, too fast then no wind.

Entering Bahía Chamela at dawn

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Whales, Rounded Cabo Corriente, Fine Sailing

Cabo Corrientes, En Route to Chamela

We weighed anchor off of La Cruz at 0930 and motored away under calm conditions under mostly cloudy skies. There were lots of whales about, so we set about watch them rather than steer our rhumbline course.

I'm not sure what sort of whales were were seeing, but I'm guessing they are humpbacks based on the ones I saw breaching in the distance later. They slowly surfaced in a graceful arc to blow and then take a big breath of air, diving down with their tail flukes in the air.

We saw a large group of whale-watching boats off in the distance and then whales breaching around them, their heads coming out of the water and then re-entering with a great splash. We made our way quickly over to the action but, alas, the whales had done whatever number of breaches they had agreed to with the tour operators and were back to their graceful feeding routine when we got there.

We got back on our course and motored towards Cabo Corriente where around 1500 the wind piped up, we raised the sails and shut down the engine.

It's now 1700 and we've rounded the cape and are sailing nicely on a deep broad reach in 15 knots of wind under full main and jib, loping along at around six knots in a gentle swell. The weather forecast is calling for winds to build a bit until midnight and then steadily fade by morning. We'll probably be motoring the final few hours. I'm estimating our arrival in Chamela at around sunrise.

All is well. Boat is happy. Captain and crew doing well. Boat feels a bit empty without Dan.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Leaving La Cruz

 La Cruz de Huanacaxtle

We've enjoyed four days anchored off La Cruz in lovely weather. Tomorrow we set sail for Chamela, about 96 nautical miles (nm) down the coast.

We enjoyed wandering the streets of the town, a tasty meal at Cevicheria La Cruz, a small seafood restaurant along the main highway, watching the 49'ers playoff game (too bad they lost) and relaxing with good coffee in the Octopus's Garden.

Yesterday afternoon, we took a short bus ride to the neighboring town of Bucerías and relaxed at Adauto's, a beachfront palapa restaurant. We pulled three lounge chairs under an umbrella and enjoyed drinks and snacks. After taking a swim, Robin and I enjoyed a fish filet in white wine sauce dinner while the sun set. (Dan had eaten earlier.) We took the bus back to La Cruz and drove the dinghy back to Intermezzo in the dark. It was a really nice day.

Dan left Intermezzo today, flying to L.A. to visit a friend before heading home. I really enjoyed sailing with him. Though we have known each other for over 30 years, we had never spent this long a time together. I'm glad to know we can coexist happily in close quarters.

Tomorrow's sail should be pretty easy. We need to round Cabo Corrientes (Cape Current) which can sometimes be a bit rough but, after that, it should be smooth downwind sailing in moderate winds. It should take us about 24 hours to get to Chamela. Last time I sailed this route, it was with my friends Marc and Marcie in January 2016.

Looking at the bigger picture, our plan is to get to Barra de Navidad for Robin to fly back home to take care of some family business on February 19.  Barra is only 38 nm from Chamela, so we'll have plenty of time to linger and enjoy time in pretty anchorages along this section of the coast.

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Arrived in La Cruz

La Cruz de Huanacaxtle

Intermezzo is safely anchored in La Cruz, captain and crew a bit tired, but happy. It's a hot, sunny day, clear sky to seaward, hazy along the shoreline. The boat is gently rocking on calm waters as we clean up the boat and ourselves.

The second half of our three-day passage was delightful after a tough first half. We sailed almost the whole way after leaving Bahia La Paz and the San Lorenzo Channel. It was one of Intermezzo's highest percentage sailing passages ever. No bashing into headwinds and seas, no becalming. Intermezzo performed well, as did Dan and Robin. Dan now has several night watches under his belt and Robin is getting more confident in making decisions on her watch. I'm very grateful to have had such a great crew for this trip.

Our entry into Bahia Balandra early this morning was exceptional. In the pre-dawn darkness, a planet was perfectly aligned with our course into the bay, shining a guiding, sparkling light on the surface of the water. Then the thinnest crescent moon rose over the mountains ahead, a golden sliver, hanging in the sky ahead like an ornament. Finally the dawn sunlight behind the mountains bathed the sky in a soft yellow-orange glow, a gently changing the night into day. All three sources of light were visible for a bit of time, as if the planet, moon and sun were briefly greeting each other.

We were also treated to three whale sittings as we sailed further into the bay, the whales briefly surfacing before diving again, their tail flukes in the air. A very pleasant welcome, indeed.

We'll have a lazy day today, going into shore this morning, then heading back to the boat for afternoon siestas, I expect. We'll stay anchored here until at least Wednesday. Dan will be leaving the boat and Robin and I will continue southward.

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Calmed Down

En route to La Cruz

We just passed the Tres Maria's islands, located about 70 nautical miles northeast of La Cruz. The weather has calmed, a light breeze from the north and a gentle swell. Captain and crew are much happier, glad that 36 hours of strong winds and steep, uncomfortable seas are behind us.

We're reaching under full main and jib, barely making 3 knots. We might need to motor soon, though there is no need to make any great speed or we'll arrive in the La Cruz anchorage in the dark. Better to go slow and arrive after sunrise.

The sky is clear, powdery blue-white on the horizons,light blue overhead, turning the sea into an appropriate Navy blue. As we approach the mainland, the air has turned more humid, a big difference from the dry desert air of Baja. I haven't got a whiff of the musty jungle scent of land yet, as the wind is blowing from the sea. I find that odor to be a welcoming one for a landfall.

I found half a dozen small squid on the deck this morning. They jumped out of the water at the wrong time last night. Surprising that these little four-inch long mollusks can launch themselves more than four feet out of the water to make it over Intermezzo's gunwales. I thought about cleaning them and having them for breakfast, but was too lazy to recall how to clean squid. Had eggs instead. Squids returned to the sea with brief moment of silence.

Intermezzo has behaved very well, so far. Nothing has broken, knock wood. Looks like we have a small leak from a broken hose clamp for the water maker intake, but that will be an easy repair. Meanwhile, we'll close the seacock when we're not running the water maker.

I'm going to time our arrival in La Cruz for between 0700 and 1000 tomorrow morning. I'm looking forward to a lazy day and a restful night in these calm conditions.

Friday, January 28, 2022

Boisterous Conditions

En route to La Cruz, about 42 miles SE of San Jose del Cabo.

It was a boisterous night. Winds built to 23-25 knots with gusts nearing 30, waves grew to 6-8 feet. We hugged the coast line until about 0300 and then turned southeast towards La Cruz, sailing under just a double-reefed main. It was chilly enough to need layers under foulies, plus socks and shoes, a rarity in these waters for me.

The wind models suggest that we will continue in these conditions for most of the day. The boat is slewing around some, but not uncomfortably. The morning sun is shining through hazy cloud cover, with streaks of light blue sky to the east. Dan is on watch and he's seen several whales, one close enough to make out the details of its fins as it broached.

We're making good speed in these winds. I won't hoist the jib unless the wind falls below 20 knots. The boat is happy as it is.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Nice Day, Getting Windy

En route to La Cruz

Intermezzo departed La Paz around 0930 this morning. It's been a great day sailing under clear skies, a bit slow and bouncy at first. Since mid-afternoon we've been bounding along downwind with steep following seas, fortunately wave heights less than 6 ft. Now the wind has built to over 20 knots and we have rigged for nighttime sailing, main and jib double reefed.

Dan stood his first watch this morning and is next up at 2100 for his first (supervised) night watch.

The trick tonight is to sail deep enough downwind so as to be west of the highest winds tomorrow morning, heading toward Cabo San Lucas before turning westward and heading to La Cruz.

I'm getting my sailing legs. It's been awhile since I've sailed in conditions like this. Glad to have a safe, sturdy boat that I know so well.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Intermezzo's 2022 Cruise Begins

 La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Intermezzo sets sail from La Paz to La Cruz (de Huanacaxtle) tomorrow morning, pending a satisfactory final weather check to begin our 2022 Cruise.  I suppose the cruise actually started on January 16 when we departed Puerto Escondido for La Paz, but I didn't start blogging until now, so I'm calling this the official start.

Intermezzo had spent the hurricane season in dry storage in Marina Puerto Escondido. We launched on November 16, 2021 and spent a month working on the boat and on short shakedown cruises until the holidays. We departed Puerto Escondido on January 16 and took a leisurely week to cruise down to La Paz, with stops at my favorite anchorages, Los Gatos, Isla San Francisco, Ensenda Grande, and Caleta Partida.

We spent the last three days enjoying La Paz, getting some work done, and provisioning for the cruise. It's been sunny, warm when the wind isn't blowing, cool when it is.  The marinas are all filled and the anchorages are pretty crowded. A lot of people seem to be sailing this season.

We'll weigh anchor tomorrow morning around 0900 and head to the fuel dock and Marina Costa Baja to top up with fuel.  It will take us about three days to get to La Cruz. I'm sailing with my longtime friend, Dan and with Robin, who sailed with me in the Bahamas and the Florida Keys last year.  It will be Dan's first multi-day, open water passage and one of Robin's longest.

It looks like it will be a spirited downwind sail most of the way to La Cruz. Winds will likely be 15-20 knots from the north-northwest with gusts up to 30 knots through Friday evening and steep waves up to 6 feet, then the winds will lighten considerably and the seas will get smoother  I expect we'll have to do some motoring towards the end.

 I'll post updates via satellite en route.

The overall plan for the 2022 Cruise is to head south as far as Zihuatanejo, then turn around in March to head back to sail in the Sea of Cortez until May when we'll haul out again for another hurricane season. I'll probably leave Intermezzo in a marina and head back to California a couple of times along the way.

I'm looking forward to re-visiting places I haven't been back to since the beginning of The Voyage in 2015-16.