Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Time to Jump

We've been in Puerto Los Cabos for the last 4 days, doing last minute chores, grading final exams and papers, and waiting for crew. We filled the tanks with bottled water,

changed oil, filters, and transmission fluid, and generally fussed over whatever we could think to fuss over!
Justin and Joseph arrived yesterday, and helped with the last minute provisioning of fresh foods.

Justin works for the University of Idaho, which explains the "Vandals" flag flying over our heads in the picture. My university didn't give us a flag...
Justin is doing some science education on this passage, and we have a lot of cool scientific and communications equipment onboard, like a BGAN satellite uplink and a FLIR night-vision scope. You can follow Justin's blog at: alatlatequator.wordpress.com

We got our clearance papers this afternoon (after a half-hour of panic when they "lost" our original certificate of documentation, and so now we have officially left Mexico.

The actual departure will come at first light tomorrow. We're hoping for fair winds and following seas!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Last stop in Mexico

After 11 days traveling along the coast, we've arrived at San Jose del Cabo, our last stop in Mexico before jumping off for the Marquesas next Wednesday. We spent 6 days at various anchorages on Isla Espiritu Santo, then stopped at Isla Cerralvo, Bahia de los Muertos, and los Frailes on our way south. We hiked, snorkeled and kayaked, ran into old friends and made some new ones.

It was great to be finished (at least temporarily) with boat chores and away from the city (as much as we like La Paz). The highlights for me were the deserted sandspit on Isla Cerralvo, a fair-weather anchorage if ever there was one; the school of 500 common dolphins we saw near Los Barriles; and sharing the anchorage at Frailes with 3 other "puddle jump" boats: Buena Vista, Picara, and Chapter Two. Don and Deb gave us our Pacific Puddle Jump burgee, which we are now proudly flying. Thanks to Latitude 38!

Over the course of the week we saw a dozen whales and countless manta and mobula rays leaping out of the water. Despite all the fishing pressure, there is still a lot of sea life here.

Here at San Jose we are tied up next to Wondertime, a young family from Seattle with a 3-year-old and a 6-year-old onboard. They are leaving the dock today, headed for Hiva Oa.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Cruising again

(thanks to Keith and Donna of s/v Victoria Dos for this picture of us leaving the dock)

After more than 2 months in the marina, we are cruisers once again! Provisioning and other preparations for the Puddle Jump are now complete, except for last minute items such as fresh food. We left the dock at Marina Palmira for possibly the last time, at least in this boat. After motoring out to the harbor entrance, we shut off the engine and raised sails in a light NW breeze. We had an absolutely wonderful sail all the way to Bahia San Gabriel on Isla Espiritu Santo. After anchoring, we put the dinghy in the water, went to the beach, and had a great beach walk. There is only one other boat here, anchored at the far end of the bay.
It is great to be back on the water, and in such lovely surroundings.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Provisioning for the Puddle Jump

Vicki has been hard at work planning, purchasing, and stowing the food we will need for our passage to the Marquesas, which is now less than 3 weeks away. This means a big shift in our diet. While we've been in La Paz, we've enjoyed plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, including a fair amount of locally grown organic foods. There are plenty of shopping choices nearby, and we can pick up whatever we want whenever we want it. Plus, there is a tremendous selection of affordable prepared food. There is little incentive to prepare lunch when we can get a tasty fish taco for a little over one dollar.
The passage will impose a number of limitations on us. We won't be able to shop for at least 3 and possibly 4 weeks. We have a very limited amount of freezer space. We may not have enough power to run our refrigeration enough to keep things frozen anyway. We have a limited supply of propane for cooking. Conditions at sea may be too rough for complicated meal preparation. We have a limited amount of stowage; not only do we have to find room for food, but we have to carry all plastic trash onboard until we get to the next landfall.
Based on these limitations, we find that we are loading up on a lot more canned food than we are used to eating. Of course, we have a lot of dried foods too. We'll also stock up on fresh provisions at the last minute, but we have to account for the possibility that much of the fresh produce will not survive for more than a week or two.
Many books have been written on the subject of provisioning, and every cruising boat approaches this challenge in a different way. We hope our plan will provide adequate and reasonably tasty meals for the duration of the passage.
Big thanks to Vicki who has worked so hard on this, even though she will not be along for the ride.