inReach message from J B

Shallow anchorage with some lobster fisherman camped onshore.

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inReach message from J B

Well, I’ve up anchor from Isla San Martin and sailing south for Bahia San Quintin.

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J B sent this message from: Lat 30.480226 Lon -116.089997

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Friday, 22 November 2019 – leaving Ensenada.

Just a quick update: I’m departing Ensenada Friday morning at 5:30 AM with a favorble wind and with an outgoing tide. Call me old fashioned, but I like the tradition of it. That’s how ancient mariners would chart their voyages, so I tip my hat their way as u venture 100 miles south to a place called Isla San Martin. Hopefully, I’ll be there Saturday morning around 9:00 AM.

And yeah, I’m watching The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou tonight, too!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019, 0900 hours, Baja Naval Marina. Day 13 of the voyage, Day 11 in Ensenada.

     Prepping to leave on Friday morning, most Do-Along-The-Way projects have been checked off, except for a little more painting, replacing the starboard side’s registration numbers, organizing the cabin some more—little things like that. 

     My tactic to get to that magical moment known as Cutting the Dock Lines was to reorganize those never-ending pre-departure To-Do lists into two main categories; What Is Holding Me Back and What Can I Do Underway. Obviously, I completed the first list with a caveat: That column was further broken down to What’s Good Enough vs. Must Be Done. Things like being able to dog down hatches fell into the former (they only need to stay shut if the boat rolls, they don’t need to be secured and armored to prevent thieves from gaining access (also, less damage to fix later)) while the latter was non-negotiable (stern anchor, a means to tow the dinghy, getting the tiller pilot  installed, et cetera).

     Currently, I am charting a course that will take about 24 to 30 hours to sail from 162C139F-D06E-474A-8F47-31AF42975E3AEnsenada to Isla San Martin (for which I assume a 3 to 4-knot average speed, and it’s about 100 miles). The weather looks nice, but the wind might be on the nose a little, and a little light (under 10 knots) which simply means tacking instead of a downwind run. There will be a nasty storm on my heels, so I might depart Thursday. Either way, I will be hunkering down in Bahia San Quintin until it blows through.

     Departing Friday at 0900 hours, I should get to the island somewhere between 0900 and 1500 hours on Saturday. A waxing crescent (11%) moon will rise at 0300, so I hope to catch some of the Leonids Meteor Shower even though it peaked on 17 NOV. Once the anchor is down, and I’ve cleaned up the deck and myself, I should be able to enjoy a sundowner overlooking an extinct volcano! I will have to sail over to Bahia San Quintin Sunday morning and find a good spot to anchor as a 30-knot blow is currently predicted to come through late Sunday afternoon. It will be a quick front, but I am currently too far north and if I don’t skedaddle out Ensenada I might get locked in with winter storms from up north.

Today’s To-Do List:

  • Laundry
    • I found a little laundromat where I can do my laundry. I am actually there right now, kicking back in their, actually nice, lounge. No wifi, and I should have brought a Spanish-English dictionary or the Spanish for Cruisers notebook. It would have helped. A lot! DONE! it took about an hour and cost MX77, or about $3.97.
  • Make my final decisions on grocery items.
    • I’ve been sampling a lot of canned foods (with Spanish labels) and fresh veggies to see what I might like and I think I’ve come up with a 14-day menu. Keep in mind that I have a 30-day supply of freeze-dried lunches and dinners, too, for emergencies (or the deep desire for beef stroganoff!). Today, after laundry, I will make a small pot of chili for lunch and dinner.
      • I am only trying small items as I can only make what I will consume in one or two sittings. I prefer things like thick stews and chilis, things that I can cook and store in the wide-mouth, 64-ounce Nissan Thermos. Again, all breakfasts have already been taken  care of.
  • Rain and some good winds are expected here soon so I have battened down the canvas tent I lounge under at dock. While anchored out, I plan to fold it in half and throw it over the boom for some protection over an open companionway and maybe even a little over the cockpit, too. My version of a poor man’s bimini. While sailing, I have one of those giant, straw lifeguard hats, or I go into sun ninja mode ABD64126-B086-4E29-86A1-5C2AFB8401C4_4_5005_c
    between 0900 and 1500 hours. I’ve also folded up the dinghy and put it out of the way. I didn’t want to find that it sank at the dock if the predicted rains are heavier than expected.

Saturday, November 16, 2019, Baja Naval Marina. Day 10 of the voyage, Day 8 in Ensenada. 

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I…I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

Robert Frost

It’s 0530, and the coffee tastes great! I am getting down to the bottom of what was on board the sailboat before departing ten days ago. The bottom grounds are fresher. The stainless steel, AirScape container does a great job and can hold a full pound of ground coffee – I have a second, smaller one that held the overflow from a 1-lb bag of whole beans, but I am using it for pistachios right now. Anyway, it looks like I will need to go shopping in the v-berth locker. That’s where I store:

  • 180-days of breakfast supplies
    • 16.25 pounds of Italian Roast coffee
    • 21-pounds of Nido powdered milk
    • 25-pounds of Bob’s Red Mill Old Country Style Muesli (about half of my stash)
    • 10 small shakers of ground cinnamon
  • In addition to 24-rolls of toilet paper, 2-pounds of beef jerky and 2, 3-gallon AquaBricks of water.
V-Berth locker

180-days worth of breakfast and coffee supplies.

Today’s To-Do List:

  • Update paper logbook since I didn’t do a great job of doing that on the way south from San Diego. I will keep it honest and note that these are after-the-fact remembrances and not current observations. (Complete!)
  • Clean up all of the other items I didn’t get to this week:
    • Try my hand at baking hardtack with the solar oven.
    • Clean up the cabin.
    • Keep working on waypoints and anchorages every 40-miles or so (day sails) south to Bahia Tortuga. (I’m as far as Bahia San Quintin). (Complete! I’ve charted every anchorage from Ensenada to Punta San Carlos.)
      • Add waypoints to:
        • NOTE: Mark danger areas like Sacramento Reef and Roca Ben!
        • B&G Zeus
        • InReach system. (Complete!)
          • PS – InReach doesn’t have an Anchor icon, so I am using the camping icon as K says that’s what I am doing… So be it 🙂

Garmin InReach Explorer+ screenshot of Bahia San Quintin and a generous danger area for Roca Ben.


Charting due diligence.

Friday, November 15, 2019, Day 9 of voyage, Day 7 at Baja Naval Marina, Ensenada Mexico. 

You know what the first rule of sailing is? Love. You can learn all the math in the ‘verse, but you take a boat to the sea you don’t love, she’ll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps her cruising when she oughta ground, tells you she’s hurting ‘fore she keens. Makes her a home.”

Capt. Malcolm Reynolds

Listened in on the 8:00 AM Cruiser’s Net on VHF channel 69 – every morning except Sunday. It’s a well organized little chat between boaters of various marinas and anchorages (and a good way to make sure your VHF is working!). Going by boat names, you can chime in if you want, or just listen in. Things discussed today included the Baja 1000 that’s this weekend, a potluck dinner at another marina (confused about the name, Seaport Village or Cruiseport village?), and a few comments on the weather (someone was making a comment about which way the flag wasn’t blowing and that the seas are calm).

I also spent the morning at Starbucks for its good WiFi, which is funny since I didn’t use it and instead I took over a large table and went over charts, marked anchorages that I plan to use.

Puerto Santo Tomas at N 30º 32.57′, W 116º 40.64′ is about 8 hours out of Ensenada (assuming I average 3 knots of speed). If I leave on Friday morning, 22 NOV 19, I should be there before sunset. Again, this time of year the sun rises at 6:15 AM and sets at 4:47 PM. Assuming it isn’t foggy, there should also be about 30-minutes of useful twilight before and afterward, too. That gives me a little over 11.5 hours of light to visually navigate by. As I am coastal sailing, being able to see an anchorage is a concern. If I decide to jump ahead several anchorages, (Say, Puerto Santo Tomas to Bahia San Quintin, which is about 80 nautical miles south, that would take me about (still assuming that I am only averaging 3 knots) 26-hours. This means an overnight sail and dropping the hook in the early afternoon. If the weather looks nice I am liking this plan.

The second possible anchorage is Punta Colonet (Colnet?) at N 30º 56.54′, W 116º 17.2′ and about 40-miles south of Peurto Santo Tomas. It’s about 13-hours of sailing, so I would leave before dawn to help ensure a daylight arrival. Short of that, weather permitting, of course, I’d bypass it and sail another 40-miles to Bahia San Quintin (adding another 13-hours), but that anchorage is wide and by all accounts easy to navigate via depth contours if it’s a nighttime arrival.

Then there’s Bahia San Quintin at N 30º 22.40′, W 115º 57.55′, with it’s two main anchorages. That’s the first location I hope to stay anchored at for a few days.

If all goes well, I will depart Ensenada at dawn on Friday and anchor at Puerto Santo Tomas that evening. Depart Saturday morning, again before dawn, say 4:00 AM, and sail south to Punta Colonet. Hopefully arriving before sunset Saturday. If the sailing is great, I may bypass Punta Colonet and sail the remaining 40-miles to Bahia San Quintin for a Sunday morning, early afternoon arrival.

The weather is a slight concern as a low-pressure front will be coming through Ensenada Wednesday 20 NOV 19, or Thursday 21 NOV 19, and I hope to ride the settled winds behind it. Of course, any forecast more than 3-days out is always a concern. I will now when it’s time to leave as the winds will shift from being out of the south (a nice 10-mile beam reach across the bay to the first turn, by then the winds should shift to being out of the west, so another reach as I head south 13 more miles to Puerto Santo Tomas (a little less than 8-hours of sailing).

So, that’s what’s going through my mind these mornings as I drink coffee in Sine Metu’s cockpit each morning. I know that I will not be able to post such a float plan in the future as WiFi south of here is a rare breed of thing to find. With my Google Fe phone, I can write simple posts and post them whenever I have cell and data service.

So, if you want to know where Waldo is, feel free to check-in on me next weekend!


Today’s To-Do List:

  • Scan all Mexican entry paperwork with the phone’s CS CamScanner app. I like to keep a digital copy in the cloud and with K. (DONE!)
  • Update paper logbook since I didn’t do a great job of doing that on the way south from San Diego. I will keep it honest and note that these are after-the-fact remembrances and not current observations. (DONE!)
  • And clean up all of the other items I didn’t get to this week:
    • Try my hand at baking hardtack with the solar oven.
    • Clean up the cabin.
    • Keep working on waypoints and anchorages every 40-miles or so (day sails) south to Bahia Tortuga. (DONE through Bahia San Quintin)
      • Add them to both the B&G (Not Done) and InReach systems (DONE!)

Thursday, November 14, 2019, Baja Naval Marina, Ensenada Mexico. Day 8 of the voyage, Day 6 in Ensenada.

Today’s To-Do list includes:

  • Rigging whisker pole: I want two matching bridals to lift and to keep it down using one of the preventers rigged yesterday – COMPLETED!
  • Try my hand at baking hardtack with the solar oven. Maybe tomorrow
  • Clean up the cabin. Maybe tomorrow
  • Keep working on waypoints and anchorages every 40-miles or so (day sails) south to Bahia Tortuga. Add them to both the B&G and InReach systems. Maybe tomorrow

Got a little sidetracked as Tino of Santana Canvas stopped by with the finished weather cloths for the cockpit and the extra, roaming piece of canvas for as-needed shade. So, I spent a bit of time weaving some 550 cord through the upper grommets to the Dyneema lifelines, and some light twin along the sides and bottom (this light stuff should break if caught by a wave and not the stanchions!


Well, it’s 3:00 PM and I am done for the day on the boat. I’ve located a laundromat that opens at 8:00 AM. I don’t have enough for a load yet, but I will get everything washed and folded before I leave Ensenada next week. I’ve been wearing all of my ‘city clothes,’ but I won’t need those again until I hit Peurto Los Cabos in about 20 days. I will be spending Thanksgiving in Bahia Tortugas, a.k.a. Turtle Bay, and have two cans of Turkey Spam and pineapple to cook in the solar oven. Yay!

So, last night (did I mention the sun sets at 4:48 PM here?) I got all snuggled in the cockpit, covered my feet with a beach towel, poured three fingers of Jameson Irish Whisky and had my single beer at the ready and proceded to watch Dune. By 7:30 PM, the movie was over, but it was still too early to go to bed, so I watched an episode of TV series that I love… Shiney!img_20191113_1940201554235601.jpg

Tonight, if I can complete the download, I hope to watch The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. I thought I had already downloaded it, but alas, not…

Day 5 Ensenada

The oranges down here, naranja monte, are more yellow than orange. They have a light taste like watered down orange juice, but otherwise good and the three of them cost 8.08 mxn (.42¢).Another project tackled today was to add a second preventer so that I’ll have one dedicated to port and starboard. They can also be used with the whisker pole and so forth.

Finished preventers – these are the end where the 8-plait or three-strand rope attach to (and then run to blocks at the bow, and back to the cockpit). The aft ends are luggage tagged around the end of the boom and are only about 10-feet long (the boom is 11.5-feet, by the way). As 1/4″ Dyneema has a breaking strength of 8,400-pounds, you need to add a ‘fuse’ so that you don’t snap neither the boom or mast. Starboard is three-strand and Port is 8-plait rope – both of which are very shock absorbing. They are both run to Harken cam cleats with a safe working load of 500-pounds. I know from firsthand experience last Friday (Lat: N 31°52’13.0656″ Lon: W 116°48’00.7105″), the rope will pop out of the cam cleat in a worst-case scenario (e.g., when you get your ass handed to you surfing down the face of a 15-foot wave at over 6 knots) instead of breaking anything (like cam cleats, standing rigging, the boom or my head).


As a side note, I did download the entire series of…

Day 4 of Ensenada

Today’s to-do list:

  • Getting a 1-year fishing license
  • Walk to Smart and Final and see what they have.
  • Drop the tiller off at Baja Naval and get it stripped, epoxy base coat then five coats of varnish. It’s the first project I’ve outsourced, so I don’t mind the cost ($150). That’s my justification, but the God’s honest truth is I would never be satisfied with how it would turn out if I did it in the cockpit here at the dock.
  • Contact a canvas shop and ask about getting a couple weather clothes made for the cockpit, and a larger one for moving around for shade.

Got everything done by noon, so now I’m having lunch at El Corralito Restaurant, which I’d give a score of 5/5. An XL carnitas burrito and two Bohemias for 180 pesos (less than $10!). I won’t be able to finish it, so I’ll take half back to the boat for an appetizer. I am making rice and beans in the thermos, and I’m going to experiment with making hardtack in the solar oven.

PS – The WiFi password at El Corralito is margaritas.