Cruising

Circumnavigation – Favorite Place?

19 Jan

We are often asked, “What was your favorite place?” when people hear that we sailed around the world. And while the standard answer is that every country had it’s high points, for us, the best area we cruised, or at least our fondest and most interesting memories, came from sailing the Red Sea. Which is why it is so disappointing to hear that these days, just six years later, cruisers are facing such a tough decision when it comes to choosing whether or not to sail these waters.

For us this area was all about being “out there,” about being ...

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North to Puerto Vallarta

18 Jan

(Jan.13) So what would the problem of the day be on this fine Mexican Friday? We woke up with no problems, everyone was in a good mood and ready for some breakfast. Seeing as how the fridge didn't get very cold the night before because of the engine overheating issue we decided to fire up the engine this morning and cool it down. 

All was well for the first half hour or so, then we both started to think, "Does something sound different?" Pretty soon it was obvious something was making a weird, sort of indescribable background whistling noise. I ...
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The Costa Concordia Story Beggars Belief

17 Jan

It is must be the season of the shipwreck. With the Rena barely broken up, the world turns its attention to the Med, and the Costa Concordia disaster. The story so far:

  • one wrecked liner
  • 6 dead (three found on board and three found drowned at sea)
  • 29 missing, but no one seems to know for sure if that's the right number
  • divers blowing holes in the ship hull to better access flooded cabins in the search for victims
  • mega-insurance claims, lawsuits, and criminal proceedings imminent

The sea will take its due, and that means shipwrecks and lives ...

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Limping Along to Chamela

16 Jan

(Jan. 10) I dove in today with scrapers in hand and found that it was amazing this boat moved at all when we left Barra. The bottom was a giant mass of growth. Hundreds of pounds of fist sized plants, quite beautiful actually, had attached themselves to our fifteen or so year-old bottom paint. Wish I knew what kind of paint it was, I'd Tweet a complaint to the company. I mean really.

Fortunately I'd bought the biggest scraper to be had at Home Depot, unfortunately my in-laws weren't able to find our snorkel gear stashed away somewhere in their ...
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Tenacatita, Mexico. A Few Days at Anchor.

12 Jan

(Jan. 7) We went in and hung out on the beach today, had lunner at the only restaurant, and then went out to dinghy home. One thing about cruising in Mexico is there are a lot of beach break dinghy landings. This is something, surprisingly, that Ali and I almost never had to deal with on our previous sail. I'm not sure why that is, but here on the mainland Mexico coast we get to contend with swells that have traveled thousands of miles and are determined to break right on top of us. Today there were almost no waves so ...

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Battery Woes

12 Jan

Well I thought we were running good again, but apparently not. The fridge is running great now, but the batteries aren't being charged properly. The voltage during the charging won't reach above 12.4v and drops to 12.0 when the engine is shut down after two to three hours. I've got two guesses at the moment. One, the starter battery is bad. That's the battery that the alternator is run through first. Two, that the alternator is bad. Seems more likely that the problem lies in the alternator itself, but seeing as I don't really know anything about the internal workings ...

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Commerson’s Dolphins Video

6 Jan

 

 

This video shows the only friends we made on the Patagonian coast.

This pod of Commerson's Dolphins stuck with us through thick and thin for hundreds of miles of sailing. They are the cutest of all cetaceans at about five feet long. Most dolphins/porpoises swim excitedly off your bow, sometimes for hours, but if you stop the boat they lose interest quickly and drift off. No so with our friends the Commerson's Dolphins. When the weather got nasty we hove too, as we did in this video, and they hung out in the slick we left to windward…for hours. ...

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Remembrance of Things Bashed

5 Jan

The link posted by The Mariner to the Cowes Race Week boat dismating was like replaying what happened to me off the Brazilian coast in 2006. It was nighttime and the ship that hit me was moving a bit faster, but the accident was much the same: A T-bone by an 800-footer, my ketch then sliding down the ship's port side, and the ship's port anchor catching the forestay/roller furler and carrying it away. But my mast stayed up. Isn't sailing fun?

You can read my whole container ship accident story here, and scare your children into keeping a ...

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Barra de Navidad

3 Jan

Turns out we sort of jumped the gun on the big grocery stock up the other day as we still have no strong inclination to leave. We like Barra. It's a nice local feeling town that is just the right size for walking from one end to the other with a two year-old in tow. We've eaten at at least ten different restaurants and despite none of them being overwhelmingly good none have been too disappointing either. Ice cream shop, French bakery, OXXO, and a couple of hardware stores and we're pretty well taken care of these days.

 
The ...
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Where did all the catamarans go?

31 Dec

Something we noticed way back when we were on the boat in California, and which has carried on as true right down here into Mexico, is that there are no catamarans on the West Coast. Of the U.S. or of Mexico. You just never see them. I'm sure they exist, but it's like a rumor that you can't quite prove is true. Right now there are nineteen boats in the lagoon, all monohulls. We haven't shared an anchorage with a catamaran, and back in the marina we only saw one or two languishing in their slips. In Florida you can't ...

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