4/14/2013 – Puerto La Lancha

On Friday we weighed anchor at Bahia Salinas and headed around the NE end of Isla Carmen to Puerto La Lancha. The winds which had been coming from the north were predicted to swing around to the south and, indeed already had during the night. La Lancha, being on the north side of isla Carmen, is well protected from winds from anywhere in the southern half of the compass.

Not much to write about concerning the trip. We had enough time to make enough water to fill our 2 solar showers and add a few gallons to the main tank although it wasn’t yet full when we dropped anchor. The anchorage was completely devoid of other boats as was V-Cove, the tiny anchorage just to the east of La Lancha. Matter of fact, other than the two boats we saw anchored at Punta Perico, around the corner from Bahia Salinas, we haven’t seen any other sailboats since we left Bahia Marquer. That continued until this afternoon (Sunday) when another boat finally showed up here. We also saw one sail into V-Cove so I guess the boat-less spell is over. However, we had Punta Colorada, Bahia Salinas, Bahia Cobre, and, until today, Puerto la Lancha completely to ourselves.

Yesterday we went ashore to stretch our legs and have a look around. We had read in the cruising guide that there was a trail leading from La Lancha to Bahia Salinas. Apparently, supplies and workers from Loreto were dropped off at La Lancha and then went overland to the salt works at Bahia Salinas. The trail was actually more of a road which leads me to believe that supplies for the caretakers may still be brought to La Lancha when it’s more expeditious than going by water all the way around to Salinas, like when the seas are riled up. There are several vehicles at Salinas which, when we were there, begged the question: where the heck do they drive to? This may partially answer the question. However, on our walk we saw numerous other roads leading off the main one so maybe most of the island is somewhat navigable by four-wheel drive. I suspect that the hunters who manage to get permission to hunt the island pay dearly for the privilege and I doubt that these guys want to walk everywhere. Thus, the roads and vehicles.

But I digress. We followed the road most of the way to Bahia Salinas. We stopped when we got far enough to go down to the bank of the huge salt pond to get a closer look. The water in the ponds is very unreal looking. Because so much salt has accumulated through evaporation, the bottom is white. Consequently, the water is a very light blue color. There’s a salt crust around the edge of the pond and places where salt crystals have built up and look just like snow. Matter of fact, just looking at the pond, you’d swear it was really cold, it looks so much like snow and icy water.

During the trip we saw a couple of large lizards and a few small ones as well as a couple of jack rabbits. Other than some birds, that was about it. We also got a couple of photos of how cactus arms start. I’ll post those photos as well as the salt pond ones when we have internet again.

And, on a completely different subject:

The other day I was getting ready to hook up to Sailmail but my SSB radio wouldn’t tune. It has an automatic tuner that simulates different lengths of antenna for different frequencies. You push a button, the word TUNE comes on and flashes, you hear something happening back in the tuner, the flashing quits and the word TUNE stays. You’re done. Well, when I pushed the button, the word TUNE would flash on and then go off. No tuning happening. I vaguely remembered this happening before. But how did I fix it? Well, fortunately, I wrote it down. In the back of the automatic tuner manual was the note that, almost exactly one year ago today, I had the same problem. I tracked the culprit to a slightly dirty antenna connection in the engine room. So, this time I just jumped into the engine room. Well, I’m amazed I had any communication at all. The wires in the antenna connector were completely corroded away from their solder connections. Obviously, I was going to have to cut back to good wire and re-solder the connectors. Now, as I may have mentioned before, I’m a piss-poor solderer. Don’t know what it is. I know the theory, I have the equipment, I was taught to solder in the Navy some 40+ years ago, but I just generally do a lousy job. And now I was supposed to solder a coax cable into a connector and not melt the insulation inside the connector or on the cable? Yeah, right. I bought myself a day by just twisting wires together and taping the heck out of them. But I knew that wasn’t the right way nor was it going to be a very good connection. So, today, I bit the bullet and dived in.

The very first thing I did was to plug in my soldering iron since I think one of my problems is usually that my iron isn’t hot enough. Of course, that meant I had to run the DC-AC inverter which I hate to do since it’s such an inefficient use of the batteries. But we have been having some really good solar days lately so the batteries are full up and sometimes you just have to use the inverter whether you like it or not. Next I assembled the rest of my tools, solder, flux, etc. and climbed down into the engine compartment. My other soldering problem is that it really takes 3 or more hands. One or more to hold the parts being soldered, one to hold the solder and one to hold the soldering iron. Fortunately, the coax wire fits into the connector in such a way that it’ll hold together with or without the solder. Lousy electrical connection without it but, physically, it’s just fine. So that meant I’d only need one hand to hold the parts, plus the other two hands of course. I was able to use a pair of hemostats and a couple of alligator clip jumpers to hold the connector up where I needed it, thus eliminating the need for the third hand. That meant I only needed two hands which, coincidentally, is exactly how many I have. Things were looking up. Vowing to keep a positive attitude, I got started. Within a minute or so the first connector was done and done pretty nicely if I do say so myself. The second connector wasn’t quite as smooth nor quite as pretty but, it did go together solidly. Cool. Put everything together, put my tools away, and tried out the radio which seems to be working nicely. I don’t have a SWR meter so I don’t know how strong my transmit signal is but I got a good, relatively fast connection with Sailmail, in spite of the reported solar flare activity, so I think I’m good to go for now. When we get to La Paz or possibly to Oregon, I’m going to get one cable with professionally soldered connectors on each end and run it from the radio to the tuner, eliminating the connector in the engine compartment altogether.

There. Aren’t you glad you asked?

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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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2 Responses to 4/14/2013 – Puerto La Lancha

  1. Gary Maier says:

    Steve,
    Let me know what type of cable (the manufacturer’s # on the cable is good), the type and gender of the connectors (pictures will do), and the length(s) you need and I will be glad to make some up for you. I’ve been making high and low power RF cables for so long I can do it in my sleep. Getting them to you might be problematic, but I bet it can be worked out.
    Gary

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