Clipperton Island Still Uninhabited

26 Mar

I’ve just returned from Clipperton Island, a French atoll lying 800 miles off the Mexican coast. I went as part of the Clipperton Project, an art/science/environmental/documentary expedition, but I was involved more with boats, landings, and communications. They tasked me with a survey of sea turtle nesting sites, but I walked around that whole island (about seven miles) and there didn’t seem to be any nesting sites, or I’ve got really bad eyes.

Masked Boobie with chick

I left La Paz on the mother ship, the Lucia Celeste, a 48-foot expedition dive boat. I returned to Baja on a Downeast ...

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Questions for Cruisers

18 Mar

A while back I asked my blog readers to submit any questions they might have so that I could answer them here on SAILfeed. One reader sent us a list so long and detailed that I thought I'd just go ahead and attack a few of them in one go. So here goes.

How do you get weather information, and how often? What information do you use and why?


I answered this question during our first cruise and the online cruisers forums got all in a huff about it. Some called me a liar, some just claimed it as ...

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There is Light at the End of the Marina Dock

12 Mar

10-Mar-2012 puerto vallarta, mexico.
Bathroom shower is finally up and running properly. I installed a much bigger bilge pump that can push the water six feet up and out of the boat with ease. That along with the nice fresh water aboard again and we've got ourselves a semi-luxurious place on the boat to clean up.

A proper windlass fuse got installed today too. A little something to keep us from burning down the boat when the thing overheats. And also got the lazy jacks finished up. All that remains is to go up the mast to install a couple ...

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Baja Single-Handed

6 Mar

I sailed around the world without ever once sailing single-handed. Not even fifty yards of that circumnavigation were completed without Ali onboard. So when we made the decision last June to fly her and our daughter, Ouest, to Puerto Vallarta ahead of me while I sailed down from San Diego it wasn't made lightly. But weather and life had conspired to put us behind schedule and she was now closing in on eight months pregnant. So the idea of sailing south together as a family sounded less and less appealing. Or safe.

So one fine San Diego morning I dropped ...

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A To-Do List Ass Kicking

6 Mar

(Feb. 29, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico) Spent the day on the boat plugging away at the list. The water hoses are all replaced, the tanks were cleaned just recently, and the whole system is smelling and tasting wonderful again. Feels good to start fresh.

During that project I learned something new. I was just about finished with the job, I just needed to go out and buy two more hose clamps. But I was anxious to see if everything was working properly so I flicked the water pressure switch on and stood back. What I failed to remember to do was ...

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Move Off Boat, Get Boat Work Done

2 Mar

28-Feb-2012 puerto vallarta, mexico.
Work commences. We moved the whole crew off the boat and into a condo this morning, leaving me to get a long list of work done. And today was a success. Eight hours of work with tools all over the floor, engine lids left wide open, water shut off all day long, and countless other things that would not have been possible with little fingers on the boat.

I started the day off with a ceremonious toilet removal. Then came the crappy part, pun intended, of replacing all the toilet lines. On the catamaran this was ...

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Out of Office Reply: Gone Cruising

29 Feb

I am off for 3-1/2 weeks on The Clipperton Project, a scientific/artistic expedition to an atoll in the middle of nowhere, and not on the way to anywhere…or I might be the unwitting participant in some bizarre social experiment or new reality show. At any rate, about twenty of us are off on three boats, leaving from La Paz, with the goal of having eight days on the island to carry out various studies on the island, the lagoon, and the surrounding reefs. Clipperton is a French possession, but closer to Mexico/Central America.

I arrived at about 10 p.m. ...

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Life Aboard: New Davits and New Teeth

23 Feb

22-Feb-2012 puerto vallarta, mexico.
Okay, seriously this time, the davits are done. Done done. The guys came by today to add a couple more hooks and a cleat on each one as well as clean up the caulk. They are done and they are awesome. Even Ali likes them and she was not into this project at all. I hauled the dinghy up with the motor on and the davits do everything I wanted them to do. Meaning basically that they hold the dinghy nice and tight and there is absolutely no movement side to side, back and forth, or ...

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Ultimate Cruiser’s Skill? Welding.

17 Feb

16-Feb-2012 puerto vallarta, mexico.
Here's a hot tip for the would be cruiser: Learn to weld stainless steel and you'll never be wanting for money or work in your travels. In all of our years aboard we have hired welders seven times that I can think of off hand. Mechanics, twice. Refrigeration guys, twice. Nope, welding is where it's at. If you can weld stainless you'll be working in every exotic anchorage the world over.

The davits are coming along nicely. They are big strong beasts and I'm pretty sure they bring Bumfuzzle's overall length to over fifty-two feet. We'll ...

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Davits, Refrigeration, Almost Cruising Again

16 Feb

14-Feb-2012 puerto vallarta, mexico.
Welders were out today to get started on the davit install. They basically came out, lined them up, tac welded them to the mounting plates, and took them back off to the shop to finish up properly. Back in a couple of days to install those and fit the two reinforcement bars. Hopefully a couple days after that this project will be in the books.

Bumfuzzle Davits

Lowe got himself a play station stand-up toy thing-a-ma-bob the other day. He's digging it. The house continues to be overrun by brightly colored Made in China toys. The nice thing ...

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