6/20/2010 – Bees! GAH!

After I wrote the last blog entry, the bees started coming out to visit us for real. Fortunately we got the mosquito net draped over the dodger before too many got down below. But, now we were pretty much trapped below. I ventured out once to quiet a slapping halyard or something and the bees were very annoying. I suspect they probably were looking for fresh water. Don’t know what else would bring them out unless it was just plain orneriness. Fortunately, they apparently all had a curfew because, as the sun set, they split and stayed gone all night. Yesterday morning, when I got up a little before 6:00, they were already busy out in the cockpit. While I did my engine fluid checks, I even managed to get stung. Felt something on my foot and looked down. Sure enough, a bee. I shook him off and then killed him as he staggered around. I used the edge of the flyswatter to flick the venom sac away from the stinger and then removed the stinger with my fingers. Upshot: I must have gotten to it quickly as I had absolutely no effects from the sting. An hour later, I couldn’t even locate the exact location that I was stung.

However, these guys were pissing me off and I decided to hasten our departure. I fired up the engine and, while it was warming up, hollered down at Lulu that we were outa here, and pulled the anchor up. Put the engine in gear and headed out. No big deal as we weren’t all that enamored with Refugio. Of course, we didn’t go ashore or do any snorkeling except right around the boat so we didn’t really give it a chance. But the water visibility was poor and it was very hot. We both slept with our fans on all night after also having our fans blowing on us while we were watching “Big Bang Theory” and “Heroes”. And still it was hot. I got up once during the night to go outside and take care of some business and there was a HOT wind blowing across the bay. HOT! At 2:00 in the morning! I didn’t note the direction of the wind but I remember that in Bahia de Los Angeles, whenever they got a west wind in the summer, it blew hot.

The trip down to Isla Estanque off the southern tip of Isla Angel de La Guarda is about 40 nautical miles. So it would take us anywhere from 8 to 12 hours and, what with the strong tidal currents, 8 hours was pretty unlikely. The sea was dead flat when we headed out and there wasn’t even a breath of wind. We motored along at 2000 RPM making about 4 knots, occasionally higher and often lower. We would be going against the tide until about 3:00 in the afternoon. We had a brief period of about 2 hours in the early afternoon when we actually got to sail in 7-10 knot winds. Unfortunately, they were almost on our nose so we didn’t make a lot of progress as we tacked back and forth across our rhumb line. About the time that I decided to say “screw this”, the wind died off anyway. We arrived at our anchorage and were anchored in 30′ of water at 1830 making this a 12 hour trip. Let’s see, 40 miles in 12 hours equals an average speed of 3.3 knots. Man! That’s flying!

Along the way, I noticed that the alternator didn’t seem to be putting out any juice. I’ve noticed this occasionally before but it usually corrects itself eventually making me think that maybe the regulator is sensing voltage from the solar panels or something but this time it never did correct itself. Fortunately, I have a spare alternator on board.

In the Heather and Shawn book, this anchorage is called Isla Estanque even though it’s not actually on the Isla but rather on the mainland. That said, Isla Estanque is, so far, a vast improvement over the conditions we experienced at Refugio. I can’t speak to the water clarity yet although I suspect it’s the same level of murkiness. But we had a sweet, cool breeze out of the south all evening and all night long. And so far, no bees. Lots and lots of birds, mostly pelicans and seagulls, but no bees (so far – fingers crossed).

Our next leg, to Isla Partida, is only 15 miles. Our plan was to have a slow, sleep-late morning, change the alternator, and then head out this afternoon. But, looking at the weather, it looks like we may get a few days of moderate southerlies starting tomorrow. That means we could be stuck in Isla Partida a few days waiting for them to blow out. And, just looking at the charts, Isla Partida is tiny. And there might be bees. So, if we’re going to get stuck somewhere, we choose here. Works out well because it’s already 10:00 and I haven’t even started making my breakfast yet. I chose to write to you all first. No, no, that’s okay. Please hold your applause. It’s just the kind of guy I am.

So, the plan now is that we’ll stay here a day or two or three, but today for sure. After breakfast, I’ll change alternators. We ran the generator when we got here last night to make up for what the alternator didn’t do yesterday. We had planned to charge the computers and make water while the engine was running but the un-alternating alternator changed that. So we did it all last night with the Honda 2000. So today I have to change oil in the Honda and restow it. Then I’ll check my engine fluids so we’re ready to head out whenever the time is right.

Looking forward to a lazy-ish day with a nice cool breeze blowing.

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About sryoder

Steve & Lulu... retired. Had enough of the cold wet dreary fall/winter/spring in the Pacific Northwest. Bought a boat, fixed it up, sold our home and sailed to Mexico in November, 2010. Been here ever since except for occasional forays to the States (summer only, thank you) to visit the kids, parents and siblings. If you're looking for a sailing blog, this is the wrong place. This is a traveling, hunkering in, eating blog. Sailing is just how we get from place to place when we can't walk.
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9 Responses to 6/20/2010 – Bees! GAH!

  1. s/v Eolian says:

    Steve –

    The voltage regulator on an alternator is just that – it endeavours to keep the voltage at it’s sense wire at a set value. When the voltage it sees is below that setpoint, it cranks up the current. When it is at (or above!) the setpoint, it shuts down.

    If your batteries were up to snuff and the solar panels were holding the voltage at or above the setpoint, then yes, the alternator is going to think its job is done.

    Now what is the setpoint? That is the question. It varies from alternator to alternator, or more accurately, from voltage regulator to voltage regulator. The voltage regulator is a chip inside the alternator – if you have a Delco alternator, it is the chip whose prongs stick out the side for the connector. At least for the Delco alternators (which is where most of my experience lies), voltage regulators with a host of different setpoints can be had on the Internet for just a few bucks (watch out – some of the new ones may have setpoints as high as 16V, which is probably more than your onboard electronics want to see…)

    But I ramble…

    Bob
    s/v Eolian
    Seattle

    • sryoder says:

      So, the alternator/voltage regulator is/are probably doing it’s/their job(s). This is one aspect of the electrical system I definitely need to learn more about.

  2. Joan/Raymond Yoder says:

    Aaah, if you weren’t so sweet the bees wouldn’t bother you. Love, Mom

  3. MWhite:LittleCunningPlan says:

    What she said. Maybe you should have put out a little sugar water at the bow of the boat and they would have gone there. Like when we picnic in the late summer and put some meat somewhere for the yellow jackets. They will come anyhow, so we may as well attract them to the area we want.

    • sryoder says:

      I’ve considered doing that. But, being one who wants what he wants, I want the bees to see there’s no water and then get the hell away from us. But NOOOOOOOOOO.

  4. sailmama says:

    HI guys…we have been hearing “bee problems” here/there on the morning nets, as I’m sure you have, too. The general consensus is that they are always after “fresh water” and some people in anchorages share a schedule for re-filling water pans/buckets/whatever on shore to keep the bees happy. I don’t know about that!

    Maybe you could use Melissa’s suggestion above and put a pan of water somewhere on deck for them to congregate, but you might draw too many, so probably best to haul anchor and relocate as you have done!

    The water here in San Carlos had beautiful but deadly jellyfish – small, blue – the day AFTER Keith scrubbed the waterline in his short wetsuit. When friends stopped in their kayak to chat, he dunked his foot to cool it off and one wrapped his shin! Miserable stinging!!! Keith: quick, VINEGAR, quick TONGS”! So he can wash the area and remove the offending stringer!! We felt so bad for him…and the vinegar only stops the spread of the venom, not the sting – the gift which really keeps on giving. Ay yi yi.

    Hauling next week so doesn’t sound like we’ll re-unite until fall?

  5. sorry–we forgot to mention all the bees we encountered while in refugio–we did put a bowl of fresh water on the bow, altho they seemed to like it better when Bill put a fishing lure into the boat, which allowed them to sit on the lure, while getting their drink. It did help alot, tho, but i had already gotten stung before we thought of that. We had the same problem in LABay, altho not as many bees, and they didn’t seem as interested in our bowl of water by the 2nd day.

    • sryoder says:

      I wouldn’t have expected bees in BLA. Since it’s a town, there are lots of places ashore for them to get water. They probably just enjoyed harassing you.

  6. oops–meant to say he put the lure into the bowl–lol

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