First, I can’t believe it’s been 10 days since I’ve updated the blog. Shame on me!
We actually are getting ready to leave La Paz. As I wrote awhile ago, we bought o whole bunch of dry goods to see us through the areas where provisioning isn’t as easy as here. We’re putting off the final produce/eggs/beer/club soda (or, as we say in Mexico: agua mineral o agua mineral con gas) until the day before we actually head out. As it stands right now, we should be making that provisioning run tomorrow, which means we’ll be heading out on Wednesday. And where, pray tell, are we going?
Get out your map of the Sea of Cortez. What? You say you don’t have a map of the Sea? Well then, go to Google Earth and bring up a picture of the Sea. La Paz is that hook way down on the inside coast of Baja California Sur. From there north, you will notice that there are a whole bunch of islands. Almost every one of those islands has at least one, and usually several, anchorages. Most are either uninhabited or have, at the most, a small fishing village. Besides the anchorages on the islands, there are also a whole bunch of great little bays and coves on the peninsula itself. We plan to stop at as many as we can fit in. If we don’t hit them all this year (unlikely), we may come back and do it again next summer.
How far north will we go? You see the prominent hook on the Pacific Ocean side of Baja? Well, opposite that bay (Bahía de Sebastián Vizcaíno) on the Sea of Cortez side is Bahía de Los Angeles. This will be our northern destination. The idea is to lay low there until after hurricane season is over (November 1 in theory).
During our summer in the Sea we plan to do a lot of fishing, napping, reading, napping, swimming, and, if we get tired, napping. We’re told that it gets brain-meltingly hot up there in the summer so we’re gearing up for it. We’ve installed fans over our bunks as well as moveable fans. We also have fabric covers to provide shade in the cockpit, the cabin and most of the foredeck. We bought some shade material for side curtains as well. It’s more of a screen material that you can kind of see through and might let a little bit of breeze through. It’s supposed to block 90% of the sun. Lulu did the sewing but I still have to install grommets for hanging the curtains up. All of this shade has to be easily deployed and removed. The Sea is famous for sudden chubasco winds in the evenings. These are short, violent squalls that generally come on suddenly at night. It’s a good idea to have your awnings down when these hit.
Lulu also made a multi-directional wind scoop for the forward hatch.
The lower portion is simply a square chimney with a big screen on the bottom. The upper portion is actually 4 v-shaped openings. And then there’s a lid. No matter which direction the wind comes from, one of the 4 openings will catch it and divert it below via the chimney. Although it seems like this set-up might be inefficient because the amount of air directed below is only 1/4 of the open area of the chimney, in actuality, the wind catcher is cut large so that the wind hitting it will actually push the vertical sections back until the opening is almost as large as the chimney itself. Hard to explain but easy to see if you happen to catch it in action.
All in all, we’re about ready to scoot. I’m trying to set up a deal so that our position is tracked on our blog whenever I log in to Sailmail to download e-mail or weather faxes. Once we leave La Paz, the only e-mail we will receive or send will be via Sailmail and our SSB radio. Because the connection is so slow, we have to be very careful what e-mail comes and goes. The messages need to be text only and with absolutely NO attachments. No forwards either as they are generally just silly things that we don’t want to use up our bandwidth on. Also, if you do happen to send us an e-mail via Sailmail, please strip off all the previous messages before sending. But enough. More about all that later.
Oh, one more thing. Once we leave La Paz, and until we reach someplace where cell service allows us to use our banda ancha card again, all blog updates will be done via Sailmail. That means there won’t be any photos until we have internet access again.
OK, wish us luck on getting our butts out of here Wednesday.