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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day 1: Long Beach to Ensenada

The trip from Long Beach was uneventful. Could have done it in my dinghy, although it might have taken a wee bit longer. After fueling up, we left my former USN home port at about 10:30 AM. Seas were almost flat if not totally flat. It was sunny and warm. Well, not warm like I've gotten used to but warm enough. We motored along at 5-6 knots with the main flying for stability, although we didn't really need it.

Chamisa has a SPOT personal satellite locator onboard so we sent a signal as soon as we cleared the harbor so that Lulu, Keith's wife, Kay, and my mom among others could track where we were. We plan to send at least two SPOT messages daily during the trip.

Keith made ham and cheese sandwiches for lunch.

The autopilot, which had been giving Keith trouble before, seems to be working fine (no leaking fluid), with one minor problem: every 8 hours or so, it decides to follow its own path. The fix has been easy: turn it off and back on again. The first time it happened was just as we were leaving Long Beach. Next time it was just before I came on watch at 11:00 PM. Then it happened again a few minutes before we got in position to enter Ensenada harbor. We always caught it within a minute of it "glitching". If this is the worst thing that happens, we'll be doing just fine.

Later in the afternoon, we got a little more wind. It was enough to justify a headsail in addition to the main. Wasn't enough to just sail but, with the added push of the sails we could slow the engine down (saving fuel) and still maintain 6 knots. However. later in the afternoon we rolled the staysail back up as we lost what little wind we had and didn't really want to get caught having to take it down if it started blowing hard during the night.

For dinner we ate the last of the green chile casserole I made the day before. Got some serious mileage out of that: 2 dinners and a breakfast. We started a 4-on, 4-off watch schedule at 7:00 PM with Keith taking the first watch. The deal is, when you're on watch, you wake your relief up 30 minutes before his watch. This gives the off-watch guy a chance to wake up, maybe make some coffee or something, grab a few snacks to stuff into his pockets and still make it on deck in time to take the watch.

Can't speak for Keith's watch but mine was totally uneventful. Well, it was way foggy the whole time and that was a strain. However, Chamisa has radar so that helped some. It was also pretty chilly. Had long johns, sweatshirt and foul weather gear on. I mean, it wasn't COLD but it certainly wasn't warm. Four hours doesn't seem very long but when Keith came on watch at 3:00 AM, my rack looked mighty inviting.

The next morning (Oct. 31), Keith came to wake me for my watch but, since it was 6:30 and he had no intention of going back to bed, he said I could sleep longer if I wanted, which I did, although only maybe another half hour or so. We were scheduled to arrive in Ensenada about 11:00 AM at the rate we'd been going.

The sun started warming things up and helped to burn the fog off and we were able to shed a few layers of clothes. By the time we had dropped the main and were getting into position to enter the harbor, it was sunny and mostly clear. And fairly warm. We decided to go to Cruiseport Village Marina, having gotten glowing reports about it from fellow cruisers. Finding the entrance was a little tricky but we did it. Tied up temporarily to what is called the "Megayacht Dock" and went up to get a slip assignment.

The office was technically closed but there was a guy working there (probably an IT guy - they always have to work during the rest of the office's lunch hour) who told us that the people we needed to see would be back at 12:30 PM. Oh, that reminds me: did I mention that we arrived at the mouth of Ensenada harbor at 10:30 AM? Almost exactly 24 hours after we left Long Beach. The trip was about 140 miles so we averaged 6 knots. Not bad. We had calculated, for planning purposes, to arrive in the late afternoon averaging 5 knots.

But I digress. Back to the marina office:

Jonathan, the young and very competent manager, finally returned at about 1:30 or so. he had been taking some other cruisers through the clearing in procedures with immigration, port captain and customs. When he finished with them he turned his attention to us. We told him that, since the Port Captain closes at 2:30 we'd probably wait and check in tomorrow. He said, "No, let's go do it today. I think we can probably make it." Wow, what an optimist. He got busy with the paperwork and then we jumped in his car and headed down to the offices. It was now after 2:00. The beauty of having a local who knows the ropes with you is that he also knows the language and the people behind the counter. he got stuff done that there was no way we could have gotten done in the same amount of time. What a treat.

By 4:00 or so, we were all checked in, including getting fishing licenses, and were on our way back to the boat (Jonathan had to leave to clear up some minor crisis at the marina) and in search of food. We ate at a seafood place that Lulu and I ate at a year ago when we were here. Good food.

Finally back at the boat we had showers, did a little internetting and hit the rack about 9:00.

Today, having gotten our paperwork done yesterday, we plan to head out whenever the fog lifts. If it's like yesterday, that'll happen somewhere around 10:00AM or so and we should have a window of a few hours before it closes back in again. First stop will be the fuel dock at Coral Marina and then out to sea we go.

I'll try to keep these blogs updated on a daily basis using the HF radio but no promises. Many things can go wrong with communication that have absolutely NOTHING to do with boat or crew safety so don't fret if I don't check in for awhile. The weather predictions right now look like it's going to be a calm, motoring trip the whole way to Cabo.

Meanwhile, back on Siempre Sabado, Lulu reports that she's using her time well. She's cleaned the entire outside (from the decks up) and has now cleaned every nook and cranny inside as well as oiling every stick of interior wood except the overhead, which is varnished. Now she's looking forward to getting some sewing projects done. No barnacles growing on that girl. And NO, you can't have her and she doesn't hire out so don't ask.

Until next time...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good morning, Steve & Lulu: I am glad that you clarified that Lulu is not available for hiring - I was thinking she is the person I need since I don't like housekeeping. Your trip sounds great. Love to you always - Nancy