6.  Loreto to La Paz

29 Jan 01 to 6 Feb 01


Hi (or hi yous all as they say in south Philly),

I am home.  Got here 1515 on 2-21-01.  Was met at the dock by Lois Watson and Kitty
Horowitz.  They came complete with champagne and orderves.  Home sweet home.  After
3753 nautical miles.  A total of about 10,614 nm on the boat now.

We left off in Loreto with Jerry, Gale, Mike and petty official -  So we did the rest of the port
check in/out.  Paid 280p to the port capitan.  Did the e-mail and shopping.  Got a cab.  
Stopped off for the laundry at Tripui's.  Jumped in the dink and it wouldent start.  Got a tow
back to the boat.  It finally started.  Went back for Mike and the rest of the stuff.  Back to the
boat.  We had 100 gallons of water but decided that we wanted to take lots of showers so we
took the boat over to the inner harbor, where there was a water hose, to fill up.  The water is
piped down from a spring fed by the mountains so it is good, and safe to drink.  No cow
doodoo (vaca vectors) nor human.  Had to use the bow anchor and then back towards the
quay but not too close due to shallow water.  Failed miserably.  Too far off, too windy, too low
a tide, too inexperienced.  We would do better tomorrow morning, at near high tide.  And we
did.

Later wanted to run the gas out of the outboard but it wouldent start, again.  Vent was open,
the carb had fuel, the plugs were clean, but I couldent see any spark at the plugs.  The
manual said to see the dealer.  Oh heck.  

The fresh water pump had been putting out less and less pressure so last week I got on the
SSB and called Bob Stitt to get a new pump and stuff.  Latter this was changed to just a
rebuild kit as a result of further investigation.  Jerry brought this with him.  Now, since the
autopilot wasent working well, it was back onto the SSB to Bob Stitt to get a new power
printed circuit board per the instructions in the troubleshooting section of the A/P manual.  
With a Herculean effort he managed to get this and have it shipped to La Paz by Tue next.  
Thanks a lot Bob, you really came thru for me, in spades.

Departed Escondido, at 1030, a free man.  Took slot number two through Candeleros.  They
should redraw the charts.  Put those islands where they belong.  Steinbeck would agree.  
Anchored in Agua Verdi.  Still as beautiful as ever.  

The next day, Wednesday, we went back to Nopolo, checked out each of it's three
anchorages.  The north one was best - good north wind protection, no refracted waves.  But I
was uncomfortable there with two boats, Mikes and mine. Too close together.  Also, had to
anchor too close to shore since it was deep and steep; a south wind would have put us on
the beach.  The other 2 were even less desirable.  So off to Evaristo again.  Ooh and aah
again.  

Thursday at Isla SF.  Hiked all over the place.  Ended up at the top of the hill that overlooked
the harbor.  Great pictures.  Spent hours looking for the easy way down.  Failed.  Landslides
had wiped out the trail.  Finally retraced our steps.  

Friday at El Cardinal on Isla Partida.  The wind was gusting to 40 knots.  Kyle and Lynn were
there on their boat Chez Penne.  They were there for several days waiting for the wind to
moderate.  We all got together on my boat, between gusts, to sip stuff.  Spent a fitful night.  
Up to check the anchor several times.  Mike was dragging so, unbeknownst to me, he
relocated.  It shocked me to later discover we had changed position relative to Mike.  Quick
sightings to the other boats left me wondering how Mike drug anchor upwind.  That wasn’t
bad reasoning for oh-dark hundred.

Next day Mike and I headed out.  We got to the end of the cove, entered the Sea and
discovered that the wind was quite moderate there.  The cove had been acting like a venturi
and accelerated the moderate winds to 40 knot gusts.  So we called Lyle and told him.  He
departed at once.

Back to Marina De La Paz to get ready for the trip home.  Side tied to the marina sea wall.  
The thruster wouldent work.  Quite rough.  Borrowed Mikes big hippity hops.  Called the fleet
and got a few names for a diver and for the outboard and autopilot problems.

Jimmy used to work for a Honda dealer and was quite familiar with the 15 hp 4 stroke that I
had.  He checked this and that and found no problem.  Conclusion:  the cutoff switch was
intermittent.  So in order to start the thing, when it is acting up, I would have to disconnect the
cutoff switch.  Then it should start.  To turn the thing off, I would have to pull out the choke
and hope it would flood the carb.  Failing that, I would have to drain the carb via a valve at
the bottom of the bowl.

The thruster tube and prop were all clogged up with barnacles.  The hull was loaded with
barnacles on it too.  I will go back to Cayenne pepper in the bottom paint next time.  The zincs
were all gone.  The diver took care of everything.

EEB Mike broke into his busy schedule to look at my A/P.  He said that the circuit board was
OK and that the problem might be with the hydraulic motor.  But the more we played with it
the better the motor behaved until finally it passed the motor test.  He pronounced it restored
but since in the course of his investigation he had cleared the unit’s memory and reentered
the inputs, we had to take it out and redo the sea trial tests/settings. This we did and then
exercised the heck out of it and had no more problems.  

Did I mention that the lazerette bilge pump stopped working?  That was easy.  A wire fell out
of a crimp fitting when wiggled.  Soldered it together.  The whole boat was put together with
non-marine-grade wire and simple crimp fittings, ie not water proofed.  This was just incident
number one of many more to come in the future.  

Made another attempt to weather strip the lazerette hatch.  Gerry Brown made me some
corner guides and got some more weather stripping, so we ripped out the old and installed
the new.  It seems to work OK so far.  Thanks Gerry.

Got fuel.  Had to scrub fuel, to get the crud off the bottom of the tanks that was stirred up
when adding fuel, just to get away from the fuel dock.  This is a continual problem that started
before I took delivery of the boat.  I think that the factory either dumped in bad fuel or else
never added a biocide.  At any rate by the time that I took possession I think there was an
algae colony in residence.  It has gotten progressively worse since so that now I will have to
make a concerted effort to get rid of it.   This is in addition to the hard black vitreous material
that I think was left in the tanks as a result of the manufacturing process (welding).  Thank
god for the RCI primary filter.  At sea, I tap off water and crud every 1 or 2 hours.

Meanwhile, Gale prepared, cooked, and froze several meals for our journey.  They were
great.  Thanks Gale and thanks Jerry for doing the at-sea prep and cooking.

Now we were just about ready to venture fourth.  Gale departed and John Watson came
aboard.  We had to wait until Wednesday morning to get the now unneeded (so we thought)
circuit board and then at 1015, off we went, headed for San Francisco, California, USA.

My goodness, again I am running out of paper.  I will have to conclude this journal in one
more installment.  Until then, I remain …

Nick
Baja '00/'01
Gale Mohlenbrok
Gale and Jerry Moh
At Agua Verdi
Jerry, Gale and Mike Ford
Gale on the trail
Mike Ford
Mike and Kyle
Lynn, Jerry and Gale
Kyle, Mike and John