Jun 27, 2012

Good Bye La Cruz, Take Two

Do good and throw it in the sea.
Arab Proverb 

This is what a night of no-wind looks like on our radar. 
We basically go in 'circles' clocking about 15 miles but ending in the approximate same place by morning.... 
We tried to leave for the Sea of Cortez (nearly 600 nautical mile trip) on June 1st but on the sail outbound of La Cruz in Banderas Bay near Puerto Vallarta, the head of our jib blew apart under 17-20 knots of wind and many choppy waves. We had to return to the marina so I could fix it. Did I mention June 1st was a Friday? Many sailors believe that one should never attempt the beginning of a passage on a Friday so maybe – well who knows…

It’s amazing to think that we just spent two whole weeks fixing or upgrading many things on the boat with all the parts we brought back from the US to have this happen on our first day back on water. But we made the best of it and since we came back to fix that portion of the jib, I decided to also fix the tack (forward attachment at the bottom) so that all 3 points would now be like new. We had fixed the clew (rear attachment at the bottom) in November in Bahia San Quintin, towards the beginning of this trip. On top of carrying huge pressure loads, these 3 points usually stay in the sun, continually assaulted by UV rays even when the jib is rolled up so it’s quite natural they need extra attention.

It felt a little like we were going back to the marina with our tail between our legs but as Blanca, the person checking us in at the marina said: “Better now than at night in the middle of the ocean.” Yes, better to be happening only 9 miles off shore at daylight than 25-30 miles away at nighttime. Agreed!

That night, Octopus Garden, a nice restaurant/coffee shop in town, had a special evening of entertainment to celebrate their having finished a roof over a new area of their business – an area for salsa dancing! We took that opportunity to sample good food while watching aerial silk acrobatics, belly dancing, fire dancing, and listen to flamenco music played by two Germans. It was a nice way to say goodbye to the town of La Cruz.

On our short sail where the jib’s head blew apart, we realized we needed more sun protection in the cockpit. We already have sun lotions and clothing but that in itself is not sufficient in such heat and direct sun. Mike and I designed an extension to the dodger that partially shades the cockpit to the steering pedestal (Mike likes to call it a dodger thong). Due to our extremely long low boom (older boat design), we do not have the luxury of having a bimini to protect us from the elements while sailing. We tried it out and it turns out to be very helpful at keeping us much cooler. The neat part about making this was that we were able to use up all the extra fabric I had saved from making a cover for our dinghy. Sun, rain, and heat sure make us do a lot of covering and creates a lot of additional work, especially in the desert and the tropics.

We truly enjoyed La Cruz (staying there 10 weeks speaks for itself!) but hurricane and rainy season are just beginning there, it is time to go from jungle back to desert. Just last night over three inches of rain fell in Puerto Vallarta… Glad to be out of there.

It took us 4 days to reach Mazatlán. We typically find ourselves with very good winds for about 8 hours/day and then nothing for the rest of the 24 hour period so it is slow going back up the coast of Mexico.

Ensenada Grande, water, beach then water again
We see many dolphins, hear whales ‘speak or sing’, odd looking glow in the dark jelly fish or worms, etc. One of the dolphins we see has some strange white fish attached to his back and side. They look like bloodsucker type fish but it turns out they are remoras hitching a ride. They do not suck blood despite their looks. I still can’t help feeling a little creepy when seeing this. What we do not see in 4 days of sailing are cruise ships. The season is over (they are now visiting Alaska, Vancouver, Victoria, Seattle, San Francisco, etc) so it is very quiet out there and we don’t have to dodge as many boats, which we truly don’t mind.

We realized that our beautiful Déjàlà just turned 40 years old and that she is nearly always the most noticed boat in any anchorage, harbor, or marina. When we arrive in new places people approach us who have heard of Déjàlà both for its classic well kept lines, its colors, and the fact that she is all ‘electric’ (no diesel or gas engine on-board). It makes us feel proud to keep her that way even though it takes a lot of effort, time, and money.

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