Thursday, March 18, 2010

Muertos to La Paz

We had another layover day in Muertos, waiting for the strong NW wind to abate (it seems that the winds are always the strongest from the direction in which we intend to travel). So we walked over to the Gran SueƱo luxury hotel, strolled around the grounds, and had lunch.

The restaurant is famous for its enormous collection of train sets, and the waiter happily agreed to run them for us.

Wednesday morning, the wind had dropped, and five boats all left at first light. Our intended destination was Playa Bonanza on Isla Espiritu Santo, about 35 miles to the north. We had a nice sail the first part of the way, tacking across the Cerralvo Channel, and getting a slight boost from the flood tide.

Wind abated later in the morning, and we started motorsailing to clear Punta Coyote. Nearing San Lorenzo Channel, seas and winds increased. About half way across the channel, our engine suddenly rumbled to a stop. Being heeled over in rough seas, with very little fuel left in the tank, is a perfect recipe for any dirt in the fuel tank to clog the fuel filter and kill the engine. We had plenty of spare filters, but trying to change them in rough conditions was too difficult. We knew we could probably sail on into the anchorage, but with the wind forecast to go light the next day, and a date to make in La Paz, we decided to change course and head on into La Paz. We let our buddy boats know what was happening, and Murray Grey recommended the fuel dock at Costa Baja as the easiest to approach without power, so that is where we went. After filling the tank and changing the fuel filters, the engine still wouldn't start. I headed up to the marina office to see about getting towed over to a slip for the night. When they told me it would cost $89 per night, I just about had a heart attack. We've never spent more than $38 per night at a marina since leaving Ensenada. The marina manager heard the shock in my voice, and came out of his office to tell the receptionist to give me a free night's berth on an end tie, in consideration of our emergency. Meanwhile, a mechanic who happened to be in the office said he would come down and take a look. After about a half hour of bleeding the fuel lines, he finally got it to start. With enough light to reach the downtown anchorage, we cast off and headed back out of the most expensive marina in La Paz. We put the hook down right next to our friend Geoff on Verdia. We'll be here for the next few days, with friends flying in to join us for a week of sailing around the islands.

1 comment:

Jeff and DeLynn said...

Wow, I never fail to be amazed and delighted by your ability to handle the emergencies that come your way as global sailors. Our little emergencies as landlubbers seem petty by comparison.
Thinking of you two..