Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Los Frailes

06:00 - After a rough voyage from Cabo San Lucas, we pulled into Bahia Frailes (pronounced FRY layz) (N23°22.781' W109°25.395') as we watched a multitude of bat rays somersaulting out of the water for several minutes. The Mexican bay was full of them! We later went ashore and Jordan snorkelled as I basked in the sun rays. There is not much here. A few fishing huts along the beach but they appeared to be deserted, a few RVers, and a couple of hotels further down the road.

A few days later, fishermen appeared on the scene and moved back into their huts. Some even had their made-up beds outside where they would sleep under the stars each night. Kind of romantic!

Moon over Sea Turtle in Los Frailes

(The latest photos on our little camera are gone as the camera was dropped in the water. Oops - no photos for awhile unless we pack the larger, heavier, and more expensive camera around with us. New purchase added to the list!)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Satiated and submerged

Cabo San Lucas of Mexico is a very busy place and has been a very rolly anchorage for us. The bay is full of sight-seeing boats, cruise ships, water taxis, and the never-ending jet skis. The shore is lined with hotels as far as you can see.

Very busy bay

We decided to treat ourselves to a glorious dinner called Surf 'n Turf at La Galeria. This treat consisted of plátanos (cooked banana) with almonds, crispy veggies, blackened Mahi Mahi, large coconut shrimp, large mango shrimp (substituted to replace steak), lobster tail, and salad, with 2 free margaritas. All devoured outside along the water's edge where we enjoyed 'people watching'.

Heading back to Sea Turtle in our dinghy, a young on-shore fisherman's line got tangled up in our outboard motor, but after Jordan dismantled part of the prop, he was able to remove what seemed like miles of line. Unfortunately, he dropped a ring of keys that included a padlock key still inserted in the padlock into about 6 metres of water. And of course they all sank because of the weight of the padlock even though they were attached to a floating key ring. Good thing we have spares on board!

All in all, a fabulous day!

It rained all day on Monday which was welcomed as it washed all the salt off the boat. So Jordan rewired the wind generator (no, not the windvane) directly to the batteries. Hopefully, the generator will spin more efficiently and produce more energy.

Topped up the diesel tanks today and decided to check out with the Puerto Capitan as the anchorage is so very rolly and uncomfortable here. It cost the exorbitant amount of $5 for 2 days of anchorage. LOL. Pretty good for such a touristy town.

We left at 17:00 and pounded into the wind for the first time ever (motored directly against the wind). Felt like riding a bucking bronco! Eased up a bit around 20:30.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Cabo San Lucas

Have you ever wondered what it's like to look around and see no land? And how that would feel? It's quite an eerie feeling but I find it also exhilarating! Especially the sound, or should I say the lack of sound - no traffic, no sirens, no voices - just the gentle sound of ocean waves lapping against the boat. It's so peaceful and so beautiful.

Once again, we saw dolphins, spinner dolphins, we think. Something we never get tired of seeing.

We've been trying out some delicious Mexican products from the market - not sure if Chayote is a fruit or veggie - but it is sure good raw. Peeled then sliced very thin and dribbled with freshly squeezed lime juice is our favourite.

We arrived at Cabo San Lucas (N22°53.356' W109°53.919') at 11:30 after sailing past the famous arch. The arch is being touched up with cement as it's starting to deteriorate...

Friday, December 25, 2009

Relaxing day with friends

We went for a relaxing stroll on the beach of Bahia Santa Maria (Mexico) with no one in sight and walked to the sand dunes. And those footprints in the photo all belong to us!

Judy atop sand dune looking out towards Sea Turtle

Another sailboat, SV Adios, pulled into the bay - a family we had met in San Diego. We invited them and their 2 young teenagers to join us for a BBQ fish dinner, and after an enjoyable meal and visit, we pulled anchor at 22:00 to head for Cabo San Lucas which is at the bottom of the Baja Peninsula (about 1,160 km SE of San Diego).

We began by motoring so we could turn on the watermaker as our water tanks were getting a little low.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bahia Santa Maria

Winds picked up pretty good yesterday on our voyage from Turtle Bay (Mexico) so we sailed. Jordan threw out a line and caught a beautiful Dorado (Mahi Mahi) fish. He's doing pretty good at supplying delicious food for our dinners!

Good for several meals

Shortly afterwards at 11:00, we pulled into Bahia Santa Maria (N24°46.855' W112°15.175') and set anchor. We had the bay all to ourselves. There are only a couple of fishing huts at this tiny village. Later in the day, we explored the long sandy beach which is known as Sand Dollar Beach - there were large sand dollars scattered everywhere! We of course collected a few.

Sand Dollar Beach

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Total calm

We left Turtle Bay (Mexico) at 11:00 with very little wind - with sails up, we could only reach a speed of 3 knots. We call it snail sailing! Once again, we had the sailor´s delight of a visit by a school of dolphins playing in our bow. Soon afterwards, we decided to motor-sail.

By evening, the seas were unusually glassy calm. No swells, no waves. Are we lost? Are we motoring on a lake? I never imagined an ocean could be this calm.

Barely a ripple...

Warmest evening ever - first time that I did not need a jacket during my night watch. When doing a check during my watch, I saw that the boat waves were producing a phosphorescent effect and shooting drops of water out that, when landing, looked like stars in the water, or a mini fireworks effect, as all the droplets landed. And the phosphorescence from the churning prop of the boat was trailing about 12 metres. I had to wake up Jordan so he could share these amazing sights with me.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Turtle Bay

With very choppy seas, we motored into Turtle Bay Mexico (N27°41.159' W114°53.355') at 11:30. This is a very desolate village of less than 1,000 people but a very welcome all-weather stop after a long tiring voyage.

We spent time with cruisers that we had met in San Diego (SV Maestro), and after a sunny day of trolling for fish one day in the Bay with them, they invited us for delicious lunch AND dinner aboard their luxurious 72-foot sailboat. Great people, conversation, and food!

A little tricky to go into town if the tide is not high - the steep ladder up to the fuel dock (the only dock) is in no way connected to the wobbly dinghy platform. So if the tide is low, you will have to jump up to 3 feet to reach the first rusty rung of the ladder!

Another option is having fuel delivered to your boat

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Flying fish

We left Ensenada in stiff winds and sailed at 6 knots with the head sail hoisted. During the 3-night passage, Jordan performed a couple of boat jobs. With Sea Turtle's engine stopped and sails down, he stood on the outside of the transom and held on to the windvane to tighten a bolt but ended up getting wet so he next launched the dinghy so he could use it as a work platform to attach a new eye to the transom.

Back on board (both Jordan and the dinghy), he later riveted the spinnaker pole ends to the new pole which was used to sail wing-on-wing by also using the whisker pole. But we can't fly our spinnaker sail yet as a line needs to be run to the top of the mast.

When down below, we heard a bang and then a vibration, a previously unheard type of sound. Jordan immediately went up and with deck lights on, discovered not only numerous small squid but a large flying fish flopping around (we believe that the flying fish are trying to catch the squid). If the fish don´t plop down on the deck, they soar across the boat from one end to the other, which is quite an amazing sight.

Checking out the wing span before returning this flying fish to the ocean

During the next several days, we were finding small squid in all sorts of places!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Heading off again

Today we returned to Mexican shores and completed the check-in process successfully with the beautiful Puerto Capitan. We were expecting the Capitan to be a man so were naturally but pleasantly surprised.

Jordan bought a Hawaiian Sling (a type of spear gun for fishing), we walked around the Global Market some more trying to find a coil for the old outboard so we can sell it, and checked out Gringo Gulch - a touristy strip where we got a lime presser. This fresh pressed lime juice will be used on Jicama and fish, and of course in tasty margaritas! (Jicama is a sweet root vegetable that looks like a turnip and is good in salads and salsa.)

We then left Cruiseport Village Marina at 16:30 to head for Turtle Bay, around 275 miles SE of Ensenada and half-way down the Mexican Baja Peninsula.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Discovering the town

At Ensenada (Mexico). we checked into Cruiseport Village Marina, located behind a breakwater which provided protection from the surge, and the bilingual Harbor Master Vanessa drove us to Immigration and Customs and handled all of the necessary paperwork and copying of forms at 4 of the 5 check-in stations - in and out in less than 2 hours. As the Puerto Capitan (that's Mexican - not a spelling mistake!) station is not manned on Saturday or Sunday, we will check in with him on Monday.

At 1 of the stations, you press a large button. If you get a green light, you pass. If you get a red light, you get inspected. We got green.

We met Andy, an old salt from Alaska, who kindly offered to drive us around and took us to the very large Global Market that covered many, many street blocks. We took the opportunity to stock up on an abundance of different fruits and veggies. We even tried out prickly pear cactus for dinner!

The weather was a bit rainy so we're hoping for more pleasant conditions tomorrow...

Friday, December 11, 2009


We sailed until 02:00, then motor-sailed. Jordan caught a 7-8 lb Pacific Bonito (tuna). We´ve been referencing a book called Ken Schultz´s Field Guide to Saltwater Fish for identification to avoid eating anything poisonous and have found it to be very comprehensive.

Welcome to Mexico! We anchored alongside a few other boats (N31°51.44' W116°37.59') at Ensenada upon arrival in the early afternoon, our first Mexican stop.

Mexico has one of the largest flags in the world

Upon anchoring, we headed up to check in with Immigration and, at first, found this to be a bit more complicated than expected. We finally figured out through speaking limited Spanish that we had to first check into a marina as being at anchor is no longer allowed at Ensenada.

The other boats that were anchored were only allowed to do so as the unprotected docks they had been at earlier had fallen apart during the recent storm, with one derelict boat sinking and one boat sustaining damages. As it was getting late in the day, we stayed at our anchorage for the evening.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Finishing up

We drove to Newport California (southern USA) with some friends yesterday which was a treat as we did not stop there on our journey south and of course went to Minney´s Yacht Surplus. Minney's is owned by Ernie Minney and is a great place where yachties can buy, sell, and trade boating equipment with a motto of "We keep boating affordable".

Jordan has been very busy getting everything ship shape - adjusted the windvane, added 1 last hose to the watermaker, and procured a spinnaker pole. We also got the required 2 Mexican fishing licenses (1 each), checked out of the United States of America, and finally, left the dock at 23:45 for an overnighter to Ensenada Mexico!

The air was quite chilly.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Water spout

We were at anchor by the San Diego Yacht Club and it started out as a normal day. Strong winds were blowing, as forecasted. (Even though the weekend had passed, we were allowed to stay at our anchorage due to the weather predictions of a gale.)

We were watching Notes on a Scandal on our DVD player when all of a sudden Sea Turtle heeled 60° first to starboard and then to port, with her toe rails in the water! Everything went flying.

We found out later that a twister passed through and went right over our boat and a couple of others at 80-90 knots causing the unexpected heeling. The gas dock´s 40-year old sign was demolished as well as the odd tree.

Unfortunately, it also flipped our dinghy, submerging the outboard motor which was not able to be fixed. But we were lucky enough to find a great second-hand one a couple of days later at a nearby shop for a reasonable price - and it runs better than the one we had before!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Playing hopscotch

We could only stay at the Police Docks in San Diego (USA) for a maximum of 10 days every 45 days. After our 10 days, we moved to a free anchorage, available on weekends only, and made a reservation 24 hours in advance as required.

Then we moved to an anchorage at Glorietta Bay at Coronado (about an hour away) for another 3 days, available only during weekdays, and also requiring a reservation 24 hours in advance.

After that, back to our original anchorage for our last 3 allowed days. Quite a hopscotch routine! If you wish to remain longer in San Diego, you must move to rolly waters that have a longer stay-period. PS You can´t buy any boat parts in Coronado.

And leaving the United States, well you can't just go to the Customs Dock as you do when checking in. You have to go downtown to check out, quite a distance away, and then must leave the US within 48 hours. Will sure be glad to get to Mexico, away from all the regulations!

We've spent the last several days doing the last boat stuff, where everything is easily available, before our next stop in Mexico. Jordan has attached dinghy wheels for all the upcoming beach landings. And he removed the boat propeller and had it re-pitched as the RPMs were too high for the speed of Sea Turtle. The test run after reattachment indicated a faster speed with lower RPMs so the re-pitching was a successful manoeuvre. Next big job is to try to find a spinnaker pole so we can fly our colourful spinnaker sail in light winds.

We have also spent several days with family and friends who have been in the area and came for a visit. Here's our smallest and cutest visitor so far...

Abbey, Jordan's sister and brother-in-law's dog

As far as tourist things, one day we visited the USS Midway, a recently decommissioned aircraft carrier of 1927. It used 260 gallons of fuel per mile and 10 tons of food per day. Jordan especially really enjoyed going through it and seeing the engine room...a guy thing...

Communications room - big change from nowadays!

Another day, we toured the non-profit San Diego Wild Animal Park. The Park was not originally intended to have public access but it was later opened to the public as more funds were required to keep it in operation. It's dedicated to protecting and preserving wildlife and habitats.

The Park breeds endangered species as most animals will not breed in zoos and require a natural setting, which the Park provides. It also provides a home to animals that have nowhere else to go, such as the African elephants that were to be slaughtered in Swaziland and 2 injured condors that will later be released from the Park.

We spent 5-6 hours walking all around the 1,800 acre Park and were able to get very close to several of the 3,500 rare and exotic animals. Our photos show only a few of them - check our Photo Gallery in the Past San Francisco album at the end of the set - and I identified all that I could remember.

In the evening, we watched a toe-nail clipping of the moon setting until it was sitting on the horizon - just like a happy smile!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Meeting old friends

At 08:00, we in arrived San Diego after an uneventful evening and morning. We checked in with Customs and docked at the Harbor Police Mooring Slips (N32°42.573' W117°14.047') - should be safe here!

Later in the evening, we heard a knock on the boat and Holly and Denis of SV Tango were also here. We had met Holly and Denis through our Ham radio course in Victoria a couple of years ago. The four of us caught up on adventures over Happy Hour and snacks.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Santa Catalina...

We continued to motorsail until 06:30 when we raised our sails. The temperature got a bit brisk. Two hours later - no wind, nada, zilch, zero. Motorsailed again. The temperature came back up again - hot and sunny.

Arrived at noon at Santa Catalina on the 17th - 1 of the southern Channel Islands which is 40 kilometres from the mainland. We dropped anchor in front of the Avalon Casino (N33°20.972' W118°19.368') which, by the way, is not a gambling casino but a huge gathering/meeting place built by the chewing gum millionaire William Wrigley Jr. It was closed so we were not able to tour it.

Catalina is reminiscent of a Mediterranean-type town and has very colourful tiles all over town that are made right in Catalina. Check the Photo Gallery in Past San Francisco for a few photos.

Weighed anchor at 17:00 for an overnighter to San Diego and motorsailed once again, although we always prefer wind and sailing.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Night lightshow

Night-time...still sailing from Morro Bay towards Santa Catalina (USA). Jordan noticed that the phosphorescence made the breaking waves very visible and we saw streaks of it moving through the water like erratic torpedoes and realized it was dolphins (N34°19.20' W120°36.85')! It was the most spectacular phenomenon that left 23-metre illuminated trails, and as about a dozen dolphins then played on our bow wave, the luminescence was so bright you could clearly make out their bodies, tails, and fins - crisscrossing, coming in pairs, jumping out of the water!

We watched in awe for about 1/2 an hour when we rounded Point Conception at 04:00 in very favourable conditions, and being escorted by these magical dolphins. Wish we could have captured it on film and shared the amazing sights with you.

The wind died out after rounding the Point and we began to motorsail. At about noon, we had another dozen dolphins playing in our bow wave again. As it was daylight, we took several pictures, and a video that is in our Photo Gallery in the folder entitled Past San Francisco.

Even without night-time phosphorescence, it was still an awesome sight!

This time, they were escorting us into Fry's Harbor (N34°03.235' W119°45.265'). The Channel Islands consist of the north islands: San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, and Anacapa - and the south islands: Santa Barbara, San Nicolas, Santa Catalina, and San Clemente.

Fry's Harbor is located on the north coast of Santa Cruz Island where we anchored at 13:30 for a short break after travelling all night - the water was so clear that we could see the anchor 11 metres below. We had the area to ourselves, and after lunch, Jordan put the dinghy in the water and we explored some more neat caves.

Coming out of one of the caves in the dinghy

We saw an abundance of orange starfish, purple sea urchins, clams and mussels, seals or sea lions, and schools of fish. And crab buoys everywhere...we hope our friend Max is getting a lot of use with the crab trap we left in Victoria!

We left at 16:45 to continue south to Santa Catalina Island, with thoughts of what a glorious day it had been - had a great sail through the night and early morning, experienced dolphins not once but twice, stopped at a desolate anchorage, made an awesome supper under sail, and laid back and watched the falling stars with warm wind on our faces.

We motorsailed, but at 22:00 raised the main as wind had picked up. Beautiful warm evening with bright stars but no moon again tonight. A couple of hours later, the wind completely died once again...back to motorsailing.

"They" say that after rounding Point Conception there is a change where temperature is warmer and the colder north climate is gone. We have found this to be true!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Leaving Morro Bay

We did a weather check once again before leaving Morro Bay at 13:30 on November 14th and found favourable conditions for bypassing Point Conception, which can be very hazardous due to unusually strong winds and large seas.

We sailed at 6.5 knots in strong NW winds all through the night - after so much motoring it was enjoyable to finally have a great sail.

Two hours out of Morro Bay, we passed by the nuclear plant (N35°13.15' W120°56.15' - GPS co-ordinates from the boat) at Diablo Canyon which was clearly visible on shore with its 2 distinctive round dome buildings.

Enjoying Morro Bay

When crossing the sandbar and coming into Morro Bay on November 11th from San Simeon (California USA), we passed the landmarks of the huge dacite rock and the 3 tall stacks that supply power. The rock, a volcanic rock similar to granite, provided building materials for several breakwaters but is now an Ecological and Natural Preserve.

Sea Turtle IV in the centre in front of Morro Rock

Dredging the channel in front of the 3 stacks

We spent the first night tied up at the Morro Bay Yacht Club dock and then anchored for the rest of our stay at this beautiful town. There are very strong currents in the Bay so one day Jordan towed the motorless dinghy of Rick and Rosie of SV Abraham (they are from San Francisco and heading for Hawaii). They very kindly reciprocated by inviting us for homemade spaghetti!

We had been told by previous sailors to Morro Bay to visit the Yacht Club because of the great hospitality, so on Friday evening, we went in for Happy Hour. And they were right - the hospitality, free appetizers, and liquid refreshments were all great. Their bar is made to look like the hull of a particular boat (but we cannot remember which boat) and is very unusual - never seen a bar like it.

Morro Bay has many eclectic shops and galleries and is a very active boating community, getting 300+ transient boats each year.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Jordan's creative side

I Am Drawn
(written by Jordan)

I'm drawn with every beat. Is it blood or is salt?
With every ebb a yonder callng, I'm drawn, it's not my fault.
I'm drawn.

Who's there? What's there? Is it a swirling current that draws to the beyond?
Or is it the moon, I've noticed the urge in the quiet shone?
I'm drawn.

On shore steadfast I can stand against the wind from the brine.
But why do I bend and sway when the wind then comes from behind?
I'm drawn.

I must, for best or worst, ride the mighty crests from dawn to dawn.
I relent and set sail for the unknown to realize the imagined,
for I am drawn.

Copyright 2009 Jordan, SV Sea Turtle IV

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

On to Morro Bay

We left at noon on November 9th for an overnighter from Monterey Bay to San Simeon (N35°38.382' W121°11.449'), and arrived at 07:10 the next morning. Under sunny skies, we headed off to see the Hearst Castle. Views from the Castle were fantastic - looking over grassy, rolling hills down to beautiful views of ocean. Apparently, William Randolph Hearst loved to buy things, and the castles and grounds are filled with his many varied purchases from all over the world, including a 3,500 year old statue from Egypt.

View of Hearst Castle on top of the hill taken from Sea Turtle (note the surf)

When we returned to Sea Turtle in the dinghy, we were swamped by the surf and got absolutely soaked from head to foot...good thing we were heading back to the boat instead of going to the Castle!

The next morning we took the dinghy through some caves in the windward shore, then pulled anchor at 11:15 for an approximate 5-hour voyage to our next destination of Morro Bay (N35°21.766' W120°51.173'), arriving at 17:00 on November 11th.

Friday, November 06, 2009

At Monterey Bay

We left Sausalito (California USA) at 16:30 and motored all night and day as wind was on the nose; some fog. Arrived at Santa Cruz the next morning at 08:00 (N36°57.33' W122°00.14'). It was not as warm as San Francisco. We took a bus to Capitola, a quaint little village by the ocean and about 15 minutes away from Santa Cruz.

After spending the day in Capitola, we then left Santa Cruz and once again motored all the way to Monterey Bay (N36°36.34' W121°53.50') as there was next to no wind. On the way, we encountered hundreds of jellyfish! Arrived in the dark and anchored out. There are hundreds of seals and sea lions all around the boats feasting on the influx of sardines.

The next day we walked to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and spent about 3 hours viewing all the sights. The aquarium was awesome! Our favourites were all the sea horse and jellyfish displays. The sea horse exhibitions only just opened in April of this year. We saw marine species that we did not even know existed, such as the sea dragons (check out video in Photo Gallery).

Translucent jellyfish...

...and coloured jellyfish.

Not a feather pen, but a sea pen that emits a bright greenish light when touched...

Beautiful, amazing sea dragon!

We will be spending the next couple of nights at the marina as there are 15 to 20-foot swells with 3 to 4-foot waves predicted which would be a very uncomfortable anchorage.

Too bad we spent so many dollars to buy a dinghy - we could have built ourselves one just like this little beauty...

Another day, we took a bus to Carmel and viewed the sights - found it to be a rather pretty but very expensive town.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Still hanging out

We are back in Sausalito (California USA) after a fruitful excursion to Victoria (British Columbia Canada) - time went by too fast and not able to see everyone and do everything.

We spent the last couple of days with friends from Victoria as they were in San Francisco on a short holiday. We drove out to Sonoma and Napa Valley with them to do a bit of wine tasting. Fun times, hot weather, and great friends.

We are now awaiting a part for the outboard motor which should arrive tomorrow. Spent the day in the hot 26°C sun (80°F) running errands and Jordan made further adjustments to the RVG. Planning on heading out tomorrow after the impeller arrives.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Following days

We set anchor in Sausalito, California (N37°52.09' W122°29.315') and spent the last several days contacting family, catching up on things, doing laundry, meeting new friends, and being tourists.

We caught the ferry into San Francisco one day and walked along Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39, walked up to Lombard Street (the crookedest street in the world), rode a cable car, and had a bite to eat in Chinatown.

Arriving by ferry...

I wonder where the boats dock on Pier 39??

Looking down on Lombard - crookedest street in the world

Taking a cable car...

Transamerica Pyramid - 105th tallest building in the world

Dusk at San Francisco with Alcatraz Island on the left

When we came back to the boat that evening, we decided to move Sea Turtle to a more protected spot as a southerly blow was forecasted to be coming into the Bay area. We had winds from 60 to 70 mph but our anchor held. Wild. Unfortunately, a couple of others didn't and one unattended sailboat ended up on the rocks. All was calm the next day.

Another day, we caught a bus to San Rafael to stock up on supplies for our watermaker. We need to pickle it as we are flying back to Victoria for awhile to finish up things that we couldn't get done before leaving.

FYI: Pickle is a slang term for the process of flushing the watermaker membrane with a chemical used to inhibit biological growth during extended periods of non-use.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Golden Gate Bridge

Cloudy skies, calm seas. 4 days, 3 nights...8 more hours to go, ETA 17:00. Jordan put the fishing rod out once again but no luck this time. We are now nearing the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and the bells are ringing. Seriously. The buoys are ringing from the wave action and the seals are sunning themselves on them.

Approaching the Golden Gate Bridge

We're here! Under the Golden Gate Bridge at 15:48, N37°49.292' W122°28.722' with the sun shining. We approached San Francisco close to shore and did not use the main shipping channel.

Passing under the Bridge

The Blue Angels were practicing above us for an upcoming airshow on the weekend as we entered the Bay. Very impressive.

The following was taken by a web cam (after we went under the bridge) which Aaron, Jordan's son, graciously emailed it to us. That small speck at the lower left circled in red is Sea Turtle with San Francisco and Alcatraz in the background:

Celebrated with a glass (or two) of champagne, a gift for this momentous occasion from dear friends.

Dropped the anchor at 17:05 next to the only other Canadian boat. Time for another glass of champagne...we have to finish the bottle as the cork blew off and into the water beneath the bridge!

From Victoria to San Francisco, Sea Turtle's performance has been outstanding and she has proven that she is worthy of all the confidence that we have in her. Cheers to Sea Turtle, her Captain, and the First Mate!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Almost there

It's been 3 days and 2 nights without stepping on land. No moon or stars, large dark clouds. Waves building and winds forming. Early in the morning, it was quite calm and we crossed the infamous Cape of Mendocino off the coast of California. No high waves or noticeable turbulence. One more day and night and we should be in San Francisco!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

No stopping

We made good time yesterday so decided not to stop in Crescent City as originally planned. We left Oregon behind and are offshore from California (but still close in). As long as the weather holds, we will continue on until we reach San Francisco. We have had a very calm passing of the feared Cape Mendocino up to this point and the temperature feels warmer than on previous nights.

The bus heater fan quit today. This is the unit that kicks out a lot of heat into the boat cabin when the motor is running. Jordan will check it out later. In the meantime, we still have our propane heater and our Aladdin lamp which also emits a lot of heat (and light) when lit. As we did not have time for a 'sea trial' before we left Victoria, we are now getting all the 'bugs' out of the systems.

I have been taking shifts alone at the helm and Jordan is teaching me how to plot our course on the charts. He will make a sailor out of me one of these days!

Tired Jordan at the charts

Almost a full moon, bright stars.

Monday, October 05, 2009


The toilet in Sea Turtle got plugged from all the scum and seaweed around our boat at the Charleston marina (South Carolina USA). But we left Charleston at 10:30, and shortly afterwards, Jordan got it unplugged, good as new. So nice to be with such a handyman - another reason I love him so much!

Spotted 2 spouting whales - no tour guide involved.

All systems are now working! If we don't want to hand steer at the helm (especially at night), we can depend on our RVG which follows a course that Jordan sets when we are sailing.

Or we can use our tiller-pilot that Jordan has adapted to connect to the RVG which then follows a course that Jordan sets when we are motoring.

And in certain conditions, we can do a combo of motoring with the main sail reefed and having the RVG attached to the tiller-pilot.

We plan on sailing and/or motoring all day and night and then stop in Crescent City...

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Bad news

Beautiful day in Coos Bay...but I got some bad news today. My Mom was injured right after we left Victoria and is in the hospital. Omigod Dad, Jordan wants to know if you pushed Mom down the stairs again? JUST KIDDING!!! It's good to laugh when things aren't going so great. LOL. Wishing you a very speedy recovery and sending you lots of love. Our thoughts are with you both.

Here's a picture when Mom and Dad joined us on Sea Turtle when we were still in Victoria - Mom doesn't like sailing very much and was glad to be back on shore!

Weather looks good...leaving today for Charleston (1.5 to 2 hours from Coos Bay) and then through the entrance back to the Pacific Ocean.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Taking a tour

We all wanted a long hot shower after 2 days at sea - badly enough that we paid $5 each for a shower at the downtown gym!

Today Aaron left us as he needed to return to Victoria (Canada) and we will stay at Coos Bay (USA) till we get a good weather window before continuing south. His help has been invaluable and very much appreciated. Travelling in rough seas and cold weather isn't something that a lot of people will volunteer to do, enjoy the trip, and be sad to be departing before reaching San Francisco. Thanks Aaron!

An up-and-coming future sailor

Rob, the Coos Bay Harbour Master, offered us a ride to Charleston to pick up some marine parts and then took us on a tour of the beaches and points of interest. One being the Simpson Reef where there were Northern Elephant Seals, Harbour Seals, Stellar Sea Lions, California Sea Lions, and frequented all year by Gray Whales. Very loud! Too bad we didn't take a camera with us today.

Coos Bay is a great marina that is right downtown with easy access to shopping, theatre, provisioning, restaurants, laundromat, and free internet access. By this time next year, the marina is expected to have showers, a "fisherman's wharf", and a number of other amenities. To thank Rob for his great tour, we invited him over for dinner. Jordan cooked up some of his freshly caught tuna which tasted absolutely delicious.

A display of the bounty

Friday, October 02, 2009

Coos Bay

Continued into Coos Bay, Oregon (N43°22.003' W124°12.706') with an uneventful sandbar crossing and a 10-mile motor up the channel to the downtown Coos Bay City wharfs. Stepped ashore at 13:00 after 2 days on the seas. Time for a rest.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Slow progress

We sailed all night last night from Astoria (Oregon USA) but didn't make too much distance southerly as we were tacking into a 10-knot south wind. So we turned on the motor at 07:30.

The guys (Jordan and Aaron) saw a group of porpoises cavorting all around the boat and playing in the bow wave. Also passed right beside 2 humpback whales and California sea lions. Unfortunately, I was down below sleeping with all my clothes on and several blankets and missed it all!

Sleeping beauty!

The weather was damp and cool but cleared up at noon. We are staying closer to shore, 10-15 miles, in case we have anymore boat problems. Motor-sailed all day with 5-knot winds on the nose. Continued to motor-sail into the night on glassy smooth seas with 5-foot swells and HAND steering as our tiller-pilot is not working. It should auto-steer when motoring, just as our RVG auto-steers when sailing.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mixed bag

Boat repairs done so it was time to cross over the Astoria sand bar again, but in daylight this time. There were bar warnings and restrictions to vessels 30' and under. Once in the bar, experienced 16' breaking steep waves over 45' in depth.

Restrictions were issued to all non-commercial vessels as we were crossing but we couldn't turn back (would have been more dangerous to turn around than to keep going). 3-knot outflow ebb and river current against NW swells and SW winds made for a treacherous crossing. We were burying the bow sprit deep into the trough and next wave face.

It would have made a fabulous video but all cameras were down below and it was too rough to attempt to retrieve one.

We made it safely out of the most dangerous sand bar in the world and motored into 10-knot SW winds on the nose and NW swells on the side (10' swells average). We raised sails late in the afternoon and left full head sail and one reefed main throughout the night.

The RVG thankfully performed great after repairs!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A little close for comfort

Yikes! Almost hit by a cruise ship! Okay, not really - it pulled in 30 metres off our berth at the Port of Astoria in Oregon (USA).

Continued repairs today on our RVG and navigation lights, etc. Weather was a mix of heavy rain, showers, and sunny breaks. Not the best for doing outside repairs. Here is Jordan up the mast.

Heard tsunami warnings for the Oregon coastline for 22:00 after an 8+ earthquake in the West Pacific. The tsunami warning ended up being false.

Have been eating a lot of fabulous tasting tuna.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Major repairs

Went out to a well deserved brunch at the "Pig & Pancake" in Astoria, Oregon of the USA (N46°11.44' W123°51.379'). Great food. Between rain showers, Jordan and Aaron dismantled our RVG (auto-steering windvane) and performed reconstruction and repairs on it.

Aaron and I have been taking Stugeron to prevent seasickness throughout our voyage whenever at sea. For me, it has worked great. No problems at all. Aaron never experienced nausea but did yuck-it-up once or twice but felt great right afterwards. And he can't go below the cockpit for more than a few minutes unless it's to sleep only. Jordan has taken no meds and is not seasick at all. Lucky guy.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Two firsts

With Sea Turtle's RVG dislodged, steering continued to be difficult and exhausting. We were about 60 miles offshore of the continental USA and decided to head into Astoria for repairs.

Jordan decided to test out the great fishing rod that Mark and Alana of Victoria BC had given him and caught our first fish - a 15+ lb Albacore tuna - it took about one hour for the guys to land it!

Jordan displaying the prize catch

Continuing on with 1.5 to 2-hour shifts at the helm for Jordan and Aaron, we arrived at the entrance of the channel to cross our first sand bar. Vessels under 25 feet were restricted from crossing and warnings were issued for other vessels.

Crossing sand bars can be very dangerous in daylight and it was now very dark at 22:00. Jordan notified the Coast Guard of our steering problems about 20 miles out and they monitored our progress every 30 minutes. Using GPS and MaxSea electronic charts, it was a 3-hour trip up the channel.

Wet and wild bar crossing

At 01:00, we arrived safe, but exhausted, at the Port of Astoria (Oregon USA).

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Tough day and night

We left Neah Bay heading into the fog and ship traffic. The wind picked up to 15 knots and we had trouble getting Sea Turtle's RVG to work (the RVG is an auto-steering windvane that we can use when sailing). Winds increased by mid-day to 20-25 knots, and by evening, gusts up to 30 knots - seas large and breaking at 10+ feet.

Through the night, the RVG dislodged and slipped almost out of its yokes and then started to break up and jam, throwing off the helm. After that, Jordan and his son Aaron had to steer throughout the night in 1.5-hour shifts as steering was so difficult, fighting against the broken RVG. I stayed up all night keeping whoever was on shift company.

Blue section at bottom of vane badly bent and barely hanging on

(The above photo was taken later when we were at dock for repairs.)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Neah Bay

We arrived in Neah Bay, Washington (N48°22.5' W124°36.3') today at 18:30 after another day of motoring - no wind but sunny skies.

When we were about to enter Neah Bay, we responded to a boater in distress whose engine had failed and he was drifting away from the diver he had somewhere in the water. We gave the GPS co-ordinates to the Coast Guard and assisted in the search for the diver. Everyone made it safe and sound.

After getting on shore later, we bought hot smoked salmon right off the rocks - so very yummy!

Next to the Halibut Mortuary!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Out to the big blue seas

We had a very successful open boat on September 13th as planned. Thanks to everyone that came and made it a special day for us.

At 13:30 PST (Pacific Standard Time), we left our moorage at Westbay Marina where we had met many great people that we consider our friends. Jordan's son Aaron is heading to San Francisco with us on the first leg of our journey.

Start of our great adventure

We had one lone dolphin escort us out of the Juan de Fuca Strait. We were thrilled as this is considered Good Luck by many sailors. We arrived in Port Angeles (N48°07.555' W125°27.137') at 18:00 where we cleared customs and provisioned with fresh fruit and veggies.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

VA7 YYJ calling...

Jordan did such a great job of installing all the radios (Ham, SSB, and yes - stereo too!) We tested the Ham radio at our previous moorage and everything was working great. Then we moved to Westbay Marina, moved all our stuff onboard, and could no longer receive or transmit anything on the Ham!

So this morning, we motored out a couple of miles, and thank goodness, everything worked. It seems there is just too much interference at Westbay for us. When we contacted the Great Northern Boater's Net, we were being heard loud and clear in Neah Bay, Port Townsend, and even Alaska (all of USA). I was afraid that I had put too much stuff on top of all that copper strapping and was going to have to get rid of a bunch of things.

So for everyone with a Ham, Jordan's call sign is VA7 YYJ (yes, for the Victoria airport) and my call sign is VA7 TAC (you know, like in tacking a boat). Hope to hear from you once we begin our journey.

It was very exciting hearing everyone presently at Neah Bay as they were about to begin their journeys. Made us want to leave right away!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

We did it!

We did it! As our friends on SV Jabula say:
...shaking off your landlubber status to become pollywogging, soggy bottomed, rum swigging water babies.
We finally finished moving onboard and spent our first official night as live-a-boards on Tuesday, August 4th, celebrating with a toast of Painted Turtle red wine. We've been in a state of upheaval for the last two weeks but most things have now been put away somewhere.

We are moored at Westbay Marina until we head offshore mid-September. Dreams do come true! We are hoping to have our "open boat" Sunday, September 13th.

Sea Turtle patiently waiting to leave

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Almost done

Latest projects done on Sea Turtle, our future travelling "home":
  • Finally figured out the continual engine problem. Perkins manufactured a new replacement part that solved the oil pressure drop that, unfortunately, dealers and mechanics were not aware of. Luckily, Jordan accidentally discovered the existence of this new part or else he would still be trying to solve the problem!
  • All ceilings redone - all being vinyl except the salon, which Jordan made as traditional V-joint between beams (so much better than carpet ceilings!)
  • Installed teak and holly sole in pullman, salon, and stateroom.
  • Installed tile and Corion countertops in galley and head.
  • Refinished and installed salon table and built stateroom bedside table.
  • Created galley cupboards with front panels cut from the discarded window of a boat called Marlin II of Seattle - the glass etched sailboats in it are beautiful. I guess all these creative ideas come from Jordan's artistic side!
Sea Turtle has gone from having floors, walls, and ceilings being covered in shag rug to the present condition. Much hard work, but definitely worth it!

Few items left to do:
  • Varnishing of most teak walls and cupboards.
  • Attaching net to lifelines to prevent items from falling overboard.
  • Making and attaching "granny bars" by mast to provide support when handling sails.
  • Painting the blue sections of the deck with tan paint and rebuilding the dilapidated bowsprit.

Friday, May 29, 2009


We took a break from boat work and went to the annual May long weekend Fleet Rendezvous. Our boating friends were back in Victoria and came with us as their boat was still in Mazatlan. Great view from the top of the mast just before leaving!

Jordan up top

This year the rendezvous had a pirate theme and here are the top 2 costume prize winners.

The young...

...and a bit older!

Obviously, a great time was had by all and the weather was super!