Author Archives: Caroline Spott

All Sea Turtles are Crush… (Thanks Pixar)

Here we have Crush, the sea turtle, giving Waponi Woo some fin.

Here we have Crush, the sea turtle, giving Waponi Woo some fin.

The weather is warming up and the sea life is appearing in full force. We ran into this gentleman while just south of Isla San Francisco. Much to our delight, he decided to hang out with us for awhile while we put the engines in neutral and just drifted. He got some shade and we got a fin bump from a sea turtle.

On Being a Boat Dog

Me and my girl leaving Puerto Escondido. This is where the blanket monster lives.

Me and my girl leaving Puerto Escondido. This is where the blanket monster lives.

You have lived your life on land. Existence is good. There is yard, a nice bed, and a readily available, steady supply of food. Your humans take you for walks, you get to bark at the squirrels and reclaim your territory each new day. Then one day, your humans start putting stuff in boxes.

It happens fast. There are more boxes and strange humans coming to the house and leaving with things that all smell like your humans. A few months go by and you are loaded into the truck and driven to a new den surrounded by water and new, unfamiliar smells.

This den never stops moving. We will go days without shore. The first time this happened, I was scared to pee. They wanted me to go on the den but I didn’t want to be a bad dog. After two days, I finally gave in. My humans were happy, so, now I have a place to go without shore. There have been times I could not smell shore for days. There were strange water dogs that jumped and moved beside the den; I peed on them and they went away. When the den moves a lot, it gets really loud and my humans let me sleep with them. It makes me sleepy and my tummy sometimes hurts.

When the den is tied to land, my humans still take me to shore and on walks. There is a small water car tied to the den I like to ride in. There are a lot of new smells and sounds. I keep my humans safe and play with my girl.

Time to make sure the blanket monster isn’t causing trouble.

– Rover

The Dangers of Mexico

My parents traveled down from Sandpoint, ID towing their Airstream with the Baja Winters caravan. The caravan disbanded in Los Barilles for about eighteen days to give everyone some free time. It was here my mother encountered one of the most dangerous tasks one can undertake in Mexico. We warned her to be careful; she was told it wasn’t safe and to keep her guard up but she didn’t listen. She was fortunate; she escaped with bruises and a broken bone. It will be six to eight weeks before she really starts to recover from the surgery; she will dance again.

What happened?

She walked on the sidewalk.

A cover was missing from a utility hole and she walked right into it. To be fair, I did the exact same thing in Cabo San Lucas and was lucky enough to walk away with just a few bruises.

After two days of futile waiting for the swelling to go down, my parents drove to La Paz to get an x-ray. Sure enough, it was a broken ankle, which required some plates and pins. The surgery was performed within a few hours in a private hospital. The quality of care was wonderful. It is now four days post surgery and she is getting around La Paz with a combination of crutches and a borrowed wheelchair.

My mom being rolled down the dock with her newly repaired ankle.

My mom being rolled down the dock with her newly repaired ankle.

Tonight we are going to view the Carnaval parade. India is trying to talk me into joining her on some upside-down rides. I am going to attempt to bribe one of our other current guests (we have multiple visitors right now) into doing this with her in my stead. She is young and recovers more quickly.

The Baja Ha-Ha: We Made It!

The morning of October 31st we left San Diego for Cabo San Lucas with the Baha Ha-Ha Rally. Captain Paul Wright joined us as crew for the trip. We were incredibly grateful he was able to join us as this was India’s first overnight passage and we were quite sure how she was going to handle it. (She handled it like a pro)

The fleet leaving San Diego Bay.

The fleet leaving San Diego Bay.

Leg One: San Diego to Bahia Tortugas (Turtle Bay) 376.5nm 50hours 36minutes

There was a rolling start in San Diego due to light winds. A few hours after the official start they stopped the rolling start and everyone turned off their engines and started putting up their light air sails. We hoisted the Parasailor in light wind and headed almost directly to Turtle Bay under sail.

As the evening progressed, the winds picked up a little. The swell picked up but remained consistent and on our stern or quarter. Paul took the first watch, I took the second and Ryan took the third. When Ryan was on shift he noticed our brand-new Parasailor was damaged. He snuffed it and we continued on with white sails. The weather continued to give us a nice push all the way to the anchorage in Turtle Bay.

Anchoring in Turtle Bay was quick and easy compared to some of the places we have attempted to drop our hook. We only had to set it once. There were two Fountaine Pajots in the bay. We lowered the dinghy and buzzed over to them to ask them about their boats. It’s still a little odd seeing all the catamarans around us. We are so used to be the only cat around. After our little detour to see the other Fountaines we headed to shore.

Turtle Bay (Bahia Tortugas)

My first land fall in Mexico was on the beach in Turtle Bay. The surf was pretty mild and there was always someone willing to help you land your dinghy for a dollar or two. The rule was $1 for landing the dinghy and another $1 when we return for watching the dinghy. This system seemed to work well for each landing.

The highlights of Turtle Bay:

  1. India played catcher at the Ha-Ha baseball game.
  2. India and I landed our paddleboards on the beach in a not very graceful fashion. We were both flipped in the surf.
  3. The kid boats all went on a hike and got to know each other a little better.
  4. Paul and I went to the grocery store to purchase more fruit, veggies and bread.
  5. Ryan walked to the fuel station to get diesel.

There were a lot of restaurants in Turtle Bay which appeared to exist only for the Ha-Ha.

The morning of the November 5th we left on Leg Two.

Leg Two: Bahia Tortugas to Bahia Santa Marina 235.3nm 37 hours

Turtle Bay to Santa Maria was a partial motor. We lost our wind over the first night and kicked on an engine to push us the rest of the way. While we weren’t moving as fast as leg one, we made good time and Ryan and Paul managed to reel in a few fish.

Wahoo!

Wahoo!

Another Ha-Ha boat and a spectacular sunset as we made our way to Bahia Santa Maria.

Another Ha-Ha boat and a spectacular sunset as we made our way to Bahia Santa Maria.

Ryan enjoying the view and smooth seas.

Ryan enjoying the view and smooth seas.

Our friends from Black Watch trying to catch some wind.

Our friends from Black Watch trying to catch some wind.

The first fish was a tuna. Fish number two was a giant wahoo. (we threw him back because there was no way we could eat him) Fish three was a marlin. The marlin outran the boat, turned back and took 180 yards of line with him before we lost the line. We discovered fishing is really useful for breaking the monotony of a long passage. We also decided we are going to need more fishing gear.

Bahia Santa Maria

We approached Santa Maria at night. The bay is surrounded by shoals and fishing boats. Paul and I stood on the bows with lights to make sure we were visible and weren’t going to catch any lobster pots. This process was made more nerve-wracking by the flying fish whizzing by. After an hour we cleared all charted obstacles and dropped our hook.

Upon waking we discovered a large bay with warm turquoise blue water. I was the first to jump in. Ryan followed soon after. The water was wonderful. It felt like I was on vacation. We swam that morning before India invited all the kids over to swim. Before we knew it, Waponi Woo was overrun with kids.

The gaggle of kids swimming at Bahia Santa Maria.

The gaggle of kids swimming at Bahia Santa Maria.

The next morning Ryan replaced some zincs and we headed to shore for the beach party. India spent most of our time here making new friends. I could have stayed longer.

On the last night we picked up two additional crew members. Kelly and Bill were on a boat with some engine and electrical issues. They had a plane to catch in Cabo and were concerned they would miss it so we invited them along.

Sunset at Bahia Santa Maria

Sunset at Bahia Santa Maria

Leg Three: Bahia Santa Maria to Cabo San Lucas 184nm 37 hours

Our final trip to Cabo San Lucas was a long motor with no wind. We did catch some additional fish. Fish four and five were tuna that we reeled in at the same time. Fish number five, and the final fish we caught, was a dorado. We threw the dorado back before he lost his pretty color.

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Tuna and dorado

Tuna and dorado

The afternoon of day two we were anchoring in nine feet of crystal clear water and white sand off the beach of Cabo San Lucas.

Cabo San Lucas is just around the corner. The water really is that blue.

Cabo San Lucas is just around the corner. The water really is that blue.

Cabo San Lucas

Cabo was like Vegas. After the first day, the anchorage became really rolly. We swam to the beach on the second day and had a very exciting panga ride back. I have bruises from getting into the panga and just about had to leap back onto the bucking boat. We decided to head out after two nights in Cabo; there was a storm coming we wanted to avoid and none of us were really impressed with Cabo.

Unofficial Leg Four: Cabo San Lucas to La Paz: 187.1nm 32 hours

We left Cabo under sail. After completing our first tack, we turned on an engine as we were headed into the wind. Our SOG was 1.8nm/h. We were going to have to run both engines to get through this; my fuel numbers had assumed we would be running on one engine the majority of the last leg. I decided we needed to head back to San Jose Del Cabo for fuel.

A few hours later we pulled up to the fuel dock in San Jose Del Cabo and filled our tank and jerry cans. The marina here was pretty quiet and empty. In just a few days the marina would be rafting boats together to get out of the weather. At this point we lost about five hours from doubling back and were ready to head out. It was also at this point the port engine decided not to start.

It was hot; there was no wind in the marina. Paul did some trouble-shooting in a hot engine compartment while a marina employee paced in front of us. Forty-five minutes and a hammer got the engine started. We headed out back into the weather. The rest of the trip was a beating.

Rover being done with passages.

Rover being done with passages.

The wind was 20-25 on the nose. Paul and India had an opportunity to become intimately familiar with bridge slap and we all battled varying degrees of seasickness. We pulled into La Paz ready for rest.

We would like to give a special thank you to Paul for all of his help!

Morro Bay

We are currently on a mooring ball in Morro Bay. We will most likely be here until Saturday morning. Originally, we were going to leave today, but there is a bit of a storm coming in. Please see the below image:

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This is the conservative forecast. By Saturday morning it should blow through giving us a nice weather window for the remaining 290 or so miles to San Diego. If we average 6knts/hour we will be on the water for a little less than 48 hours. Ideally, we will be in San Diego Monday morning.

Morro Bay is really pretty. As far as places go to be stuck for a week, this one is good. There are a lot of little shops, places to hike and just about everything you might need is within biking distance. As a bonus, the sunsets have a definite Goonies feel.

morro-bay-2

A quick recap…

August 14th at 8:30AM we left a foggy Port Townsend, WA; our destination was San Francisco. Our captain joined us the night before (Captain Paul Hubble, whom I highly recommend). The departure ceremony was brief. Libations and a prayer were given to Neptune and the spirits of the four winds before cutting the ceremonial dock line and we were off.

Calm, still water soon turned into 4-6 foot seas coming straight at our bows. We spent the entire length of the Strait of Juan de Fuca bashing into the waves and wind. Ben did not fare well. He became quite friendly with a bucket and his cabin. Our ride smoothed out significantly once we turned south. I took the midnight to 3AM watch. Upon waking we were surfing down waves.

Unfortunately, Ben continued to feel ill on day two.

The morning of day 3 we reach Newport, OR where we stopped for two days. We were able to talk the Embarcadero Resort Marina into giving us an end tie. Rover was extremely grateful to be back on solid ground.

Our reason for stopping was twofold. One, Ben needed to get on solid ground and reset his system a little. Two, the engines weren’t charging the batteries and the generator stopped working. We pulled into Newport with 14% left on the batteries. We ended up staying there for two nights to wait out a storm south of Coos Bay.

While we were stopped I took the opportunity to get a refill on motion sickness patches. At this point I discovered the limitations of being in a spread-out, small town with only my feet for transportation. (Uber has spoiled me)

Newport is a nice little town with some nice little shops and a lot of loudly barking sea lions. One can only walk the same stretch of road so many times before you start to get a little stir-crazy. By the end of day two, I was ready to get back on the water.

The rest of the journey was fairly uneventful. There was not enough wind to fill the sails and there was a lot of fog. We were graced with the moon above us. Three days of motoring and a refueling stop in Crescent City and we were passing under the Golden Gate Bridge.

We plan on spending a few weeks in San Francisco to rest, restock and visit some friends.

Another big thank you to Captain Paul Hubble!