S/V Nereida sails around the world

Days 7&8 Sun/Mon 1/2 April

SundayWas promising myself a shower today - visions of sitting on hot deck, taking my time....  well, I got a shower OK - a heavy rainshower not long before sunset!!Saw
grey clouds but didn't heed warning until too late - had genoa on pole for far too long, and when wind backed madly I had to act in a hurry - in heavy rain!! Course
went from 245 to 180 as wind backed to WNW from NE.. had some work to do to sort everything out, ending on a close reach for quite a time! Got quite cold in wind.
Good news is it washed boat off.

Overnight

Kept being woken up by genoa flapping - tried to convince myself it could wait until daylight, but by 2am just had to act - put pole up again - peace & quiet at
last! At least full moon through thin cloud made it almost like daytime!! Big swell kept coming through now & then - disturbed night..

Mon morningWas heard by 'Jade' at sunrise (1320 GMT) on SSB - for first time well enough to chat.  'Wyntersea' are NE of me, within VHF range (~15mls apart) - saves SSB power!

According to Don A., the good 20-25 kn NE Trades have given way to 15kn for foreseeable future, & Doldrums are beginning to develop E of 130W, between 5-10N, which
is reason why I shall keep heading towards 5N,130W for time being

3p.m.Finally got cruising 'chute up - speed had been up & down around 4kn - now nearer 5kn - is it worth it, I ask myself??!! Probably is, if it stays up long enough....
Hot afternoon... just had a nap.
(5pm: Actually - speed up to around 6knots - so worth putting up the 'chute!)

7.15pm (0115 GMT)  Think I should change my 'local' time... sun is not anywhere near horizon yet... will wait a bit longer.  'Chute flying well, but raincloud on
horizon off to port - changed course to try to stay well clear of it - will keep a good eye on it - maybe will need to take down 'chute for overnight...
8pm  Yes - decided to take 'chute down - got difficult - wind was up & big grey clouds all over horizon ahead...!

Noontime position (1800GMT): 11deg 54' N; 114deg 02' W .  24hr distance run by log: 118 n.ml.


Days 6&7 Sat31stMarch & Sun1stApril : Wind playing silly games!

Saturday

Wind was VERY light all morning - I'd poled out the genoa to weather again & was sitting having a lovely mango after lunch, as a reward for having changed the generator oil that morning, when it suddenly occurred to me that just accepting a boatspeed of 2-3 knots really wasn't good enough.... I should do something more! So I got out the cruising chute (being on a run) & ages later we were going along nicely - at 5 knots, with the wind having increased a bit. It continued up over the afternoon, but
eventually backed into the north - so down came the pole and the spinnaker - we were broad-reaching, and continued so in the usual overnight lighter wind. Lots of cumulus around at sunset.

Contacted the Pacific Seafarers Net at 0325GMT - one of them actually heard me on the radio trying to check in..!! As a single-hander, I'll be first on the roll-call in future. Find that around sunrise and sunset seem to be good times to try to make radio email contact on 18 or 21 Mhz- still often difficult, if not well nigh impossible, though.... bad time in sunspot cycle isn't helping.

Beautiful full moon...

Noontime position (1800GMT): 13deg 27' N; 110deg 46' W . 24hr distance run by log: 111 n.ml.

Sunday

'Wyntersea' managed to hear me this morning & get my position - they are only about 45 mls away to the N and 'Jade' about 90mls to the NW. I'm hearing everyone else perfectly....

Light winds again - poled out the genoa and we're almost on a dead run downwind, going at about 4-5knots. Wind still only NNE, around 10 knots at best - either the NE Trades are light or they're being elusive!! Boatspeed well down, most of the time, making for very poor daily runs. Seems to pick up a little usually, in the afternoon, & then die down again overnight

Spending some time reading while sitting out in the cockpit - keeping out of the sun!

Seeing more gannets regularly, as well as the occasional dark petrel (white-rumped - Leach's?) and shearwater. A good-sized flying fish presented itself for a bit of a Sunday meal.

Light overcast most of the day. Air temp around 30C - very pleasant! Swell fairly small (around 1m) Every now & then, a larger wave comes through & knocks us about - but not too bad.

Noontime position (1800GMT): 12deg 43' N; 112deg 27' W . 24hr distance run by log: 103 n.ml.

Day 5 Fri30March: N wind picked up again - beam reaching

Can't understand why I can't make myself heard to 'Jade' and 'Wyntersea'who are also headed to the Marquesas (they left from Manzanillo, Mon & Tues respectively) who arranged to keep in contact on a radio 'net' each morning. I can hear them as clear as a bell, but they can't hear me - and yet my signal, I've been told, is strong & I'm getting out to Winlink & Sailmail regularly - puzzling. 'Skip zone'..?
OK - so I poled out the genoa to weather early, hoping the light wind was veering to NE from NNE - I should have known better than to tempt fate like that - the wind backed, into the north - so down came the pole - BUT the wind picked up nicely soon after midday so now we're humming along nicely on a beam reach again with Hermann, the Windpilot, steering...!!
All very relaxed on board - about to get down to some reading. Tea-time has become a regular feature - I'm glad I stocked up on biscuits! I sit sipping my tea, gazing at the sea & sky & watch the occasional boobies - sometimes a gannet. Also on the wildlife side, there's always the regular early morning job of clearing away the flying fish that have inevitably landed on deck overnight.
On the jobs front, I need to change the generator oil... but I have mended that broken live lead on the 12V connector. Meant getting out the soldering iron (I decided to use a fine-tipped butane-powered one) but all went quite smoothly - maybe I learned a little watching Ray Marchetta do so many soldered wire connections in San Diego where he helped me with my electrical problems..?

Noontime position (1800GMT): 14deg 12' N; 108deg 54' W . 24hr distance run by log: 111 n.ml.

Days 2-4 Tues-Thurs 27-29March07

Tuesday 27th March '07   Day 2   Communication difficulties....

I'm having great difficulty connecting in to Winlink to send & receive emails & weather faxes - it's just not happening, despite repeated efforts throughout the day & night. It means I cannot post Position Reports on the Winlink website. An alternative would be to post reports direct to Shiptrak & Yotreps (using my Sailmail backup - although that's not working too well either!) - but I'm not sure what email address to use for them. My other back-up of Inmarsat C has also decided to play up - I'm getting the message 'modem not seen', so the unit itself may be faulty - I need to investigate that further. And I'm still not seeing the Nobeltec World charts - despite a phonecall whilst in Zihuatanejo which supposedly resolved that...

Otherwise, everything is fine on board. The AIS alarm is working fine and there aren't too many big ships around so I'm able to get good periods of sleep in between keeping an eye on the wind conditions and sail-trim. The good W wind of last night has died down & become NW 10kn - so we're just ambling along at 4-5knots, not too far off our preferred course. Have had several groups of dolphins keeping us company from time to time - always nice to see them! One green bell pepper has already gone bad so I'm into cooking my usual ratatouille before any more go off.

Noontime position (1800GMT): 16deg 28' N; 103deg 34' W . Noon-to-noon distance run by log: 126 n.ml.

Wednesday 28th March '07 Day 3

Had several boobies fly around at sunset last night, hoping to roost in the rigging. One sat in the bow on the pulpit for quite a time but after it fell off abruptly onto the deck, with a big wave crashing unexpectedly into the boat, it finally gave up - was quite funny to see...

Restful night although, having set Windpilot into action to steer boat earlier, had to get up to adjust things a couple of times because wind veered into the north, as expected.

Ambling at around 5kn SOG. Can expect to get to the 20 kn NE Trades in 2-4 days, according to 'weather guru' Don Anderson who I spoke to on the SSB radio this morning. Sounds like a good run to the Marquesas - "No Doldrums, just a few squalls in the ITCZ, which isn't very wide", he says.... we'll see!

(Later) Feeling very relaxed. Have just spent some time over a mug of tea with plotting 1800 UTC (local noon) positions on both a chart of this portion of the Pacific and on a Universal plotting sheet - interesting exercise. Also looking over relevant charts and pilotage info for possible landfalls over next few weeks, once this passage is completed. Will clearly have lots of time to look at those in detail and also to read some of the many so-far-unread books and magazines on board!

7.15pm (sunset) Wind seems to be getting a touch lighter, but still sailing nicely - seas calmed down - just the odd bit of swell. About to have dinner while there;s\still some light!

Noontime position (1800GMT): 15deg 45' N; 105deg 29' W . 24hr distance run by log: 137 n.ml.


2pm Thursday 29Mar07 Day 4

Another gentle sailing day in bright sun - clouds beginning to line up along direction of wind which is presently just edging E of N, soon to become NE Trades. Picked up usual few flying fish on side-deck - tried giving one to resident young booby in bow but it took fright & flew off - temporarily.
Finished grapes mid-morning and fancied ham & tomato sandwich for lunch - bread was completely mouldy! May yet get into bread-making mode!! Made quesadillas with ham instead (while tortillas still OK in fridge!).
6pm Getting into mending mode - chart-table 12V connector has a broken live wire so need to deal with that & have also just replaced cockpit 12V outlet with new 
one.
Was sitting in cockpit enjoying afternoon mug of tea afterwards when we were suddenly surrounded by countless dolphins - many with small ones alongside - stayed for a good half hour & gave a great display!
Booby obviously got fed up with falling off his pulpit perch & has left - without too much mess to be cleaned up...

Noontime position (1800GMT): 14deg 57' N; 107deg 09' W . 24hr distance run by log: 117 n.ml.

Sunday 25th March07
The bay here is full of pelicans with quite a few boobies and skimmers also competing for the many fish. A booby seems to have adopted the water around 'Nereida' and regularly dives in right beside the hull for his prey. The pelicans are amusing to watch as they 'dive-bomb' with open bill to catch fish.
I got to bed very late in the wee hours of Sunday morning from 'El Canto de Las Sirenas', after enjoying a Mexican farewell by way of lots of great singing & playing by Jose Luis & others (including a great Cuban singer named Javier), so I was clearly in no fit state to deal with lifting & stowing of dinghy & outboard later that same morning, together with removing & stowing the awning & a few other miscellaneous items, ready to leave soon after midday, as previously tentatively planned. So a slight
change of plan seemed in order .... i.e. sleep until 1230(!), then do everything necessary - including a lengthy non-scheduled cleaning from the dinghy of Nereida's water-line to remove her 'green moustache. All to be done in relaxed mode, ready for early bed with a view to leaving for the Marquesas at first light tomorrow (Monday) morning - I feel far more comfortable with that plan and "Nereida" is better prepared to leave now!
Winds are forecast to be good once 50mls offshore - so I might have a reasonably fast passage (around three weeks, instead of four) with any luck. Time will tell... Keep an eye on my website: www.svnereida.com for updates!

4.30pm Monday 26th March: Well, as expected no useful wind for quite a time after leaving the anchorage, so motored and 'made' water and used SSB. (No contact made on each attempt to speak either to other boats who started out from Manzanillo this morning or to Barbara, VE7KLU, on the Great Northern Boaters Net, out of Sidney, B.C.) The speed/log impeller wasn't working when I left, but finally decided to behave around noon - JUST as I was about to make a log entry - good timing!! Now the wind has kicked in
nicely - but on the nose (W 17kn), so I've come off my intended course of 245T (making for a waypoint of 5N, 130W which should be vaguely around the ITCZ northern limit) to sail closehauled at around 6.5 kn on starboard tack.

8.30pm Beautiful halo around the moon overhead with stars around - a long distance from it & quite spectacular. Having a bumpy ride in WNW wind, decreased to 13kn, still on a close reach.

Leave Zihuatanejo for Marquesas - 26Mar07

Sunday 25th March07   Day0: Slight change of plan - leave Zihuatanejo early Monday 26Mar07

The bay here is full of pelicans with quite a few boobies and skimmers also competing for the many fish. A booby seems to have adopted the water around 'Nereida' and regularly dives in right beside the hull for his prey. The pelicans are amusing to watch as they 'dive-bomb' with open bill to catch fish.
I got to bed very late in the wee hours of Sunday morning from 'El Canto de Las Sirenas', after enjoying a Mexican farewell by way of lots of great singing & playing by Jose Luis & others (including a great Cuban singer named Javier), so I was clearly in no fit state to deal with lifting & stowing of dinghy & outboard later that same morning, together with removing & stowing the awning & a few other miscellaneous items, ready to leave soon after midday, as previously tentatively planned. So a slight
change of plan seemed in order .... i.e. sleep until 1230(!), then do everything necessary - including a lengthy non-scheduled cleaning from the dinghy of Nereida's water-line to remove her 'green moustache. All to be done in relaxed mode, ready for early bed with a view to leaving for the Marquesas at first light tomorrow (Monday) morning - I feel far more comfortable with that plan and "Nereida" is better prepared to leave now!
Winds are forecast to be good once 50mls offshore - so I might have a reasonably fast passage (around three weeks, instead of four) with any luck. Time will tell... Keep an eye on my website: www.svnereida.com for updates!

4.30pm Monday 26th March  Day 1
Well, as expected no useful wind for quite a time after leaving the anchorage, so motored and 'made' water and used SSB. (No contact made on each attempt to speak either to other boats who started out from Manzanillo this morning or to Barbara, VE7KLU, on the Great Northern Boaters Net, out of Sidney, B.C.) The speed/log impeller wasn't working when I left, but finally decided to behave around noon - JUST as I was about to make a log entry - good timing!! Now the wind has kicked in
nicely - but on the nose (W 17kn), so I've come off my intended course of 245T (making for a waypoint of 5N, 130W which should be vaguely around the ITCZ northern limit) to sail closehauled at around 6.5 kn on starboard tack.

8.30pm
Beautiful halo around the moon overhead with stars around - a long distance from it & quite spectacular. Having a bumpy ride in WNW wind, decreased to 13kn, still on a close reach.

DAY 3 28 March'07 Ambling along on a beam reach

Wednesday 28th March '07`
Had several boobies fly around at sunset last night, hoping to roost in the rigging. One sat in the bow on the pulpit for quite a time but after it fell off abruptly onto the deck, with a big wave crashing unexpectedly into the boat, it finally gave up - was quite funny to see...

Restful night although, having set Windpilot into action to steer boat earlier, had to get up to adjust things a couple of times because wind veered into the north, as expected.

Ambling at around 5kn SOG. Can expect to get to the 20 kn NE Trades in 2-4 days, according to 'weather guru' Don Anderson who I spoke to on the SSB radio this morning. Sounds like a good run to the Marquesas - "No Doldrums, just a few squalls in the ITCZ, which isn't very wide", he says.... we'll see!

(Later) Feeling very relaxed. Have just spent some time over a mug of tea with plotting 1800 UTC (local noon) positions on both a chart of this portion of the Pacific and on a Universal plotting sheet - interesting exercise. Also looking over relevant charts and pilotage info for possible landfalls over next few weeks, once this passage is completed. Will clearly have lots of time to look at those in detail and also to read some of the many so-far-unread books and magazines on board!

7.15pm (sunset) Wind seems to be getting a touch lighter, but still sailing nicely - seas calmed down - just the odd bit of swell. About to have dinner while there;s\still some light!

Noontime position (1800GMT): 15deg 45' N; 105deg 29' W . 24hr distance run by log: 137 n.ml.

Busy getting ready to leave Zihuatanejo for the Marquesas - Pt 1 - Navy came to visit!!

Well - I'm beginning to get really excited at the thought of starting out on the 'big adventure'!! I'm definitely starting on Sunday - early - the forecast is for reasonable wind once I get a day or so offshore. Will check out tomorrow (Friday) to be ready - winds could well be good Saturday onward (nothing near offshore just now!) At the moment, if I were to leave, I'd probably have to motor for two or more days.... good reason to relax and prepare for the next few months. I'm provisioning for three and a half months (to Australia in July) so I don't have to worry about French Polynesia - anything fresh there will be a bonus!

I'm in Zihuatanejo where I caught the last two nights of the Guitar Festival I came here for - some fabulous classical, blues, 'slide' and 'jazzy' playing.

The local 'Armada' came by on Monday to fill in a long questionnaire on the boat and my travels - very friendly and an excellent test of my Spanish!!

Wheels on the dinghy have already proved their worth several times, especially yesterday when I had several full fuel cans in it to bring back out from beach to the boat. Fuel is fully loaded now, so just food to finish getting, last phonecalls & emailing/Skype & then I'm off!

I 'mended' the outboard starter - it got really bad Wednesday afternoon, although luckily it just about managed to start when I left the beach in biggish surf loaded with fuel!

Went to go over to La Ropa beach to pick up a couple of Tuamotu & 'Puddlejump' CDs from another boater who'd NOT missed the 'Latitude 38' "Puddlejump Party". Outboard wouldn't start without me opening cover & holding cord wheel in place while I pulled - cogwheel kept coming away (i.e. disengaging) from other cog. Got it going for there & return but then had a good look at it back at 'Nereida' - was really loose - all it needed was a good tightening of the bolt holding it all in place - now starting beautifully again!! (NO squealing & rattling!)

I was lucky in that cruisers who invited me over for dinner on Tuesday night (partly to introduce me to a Japanese singlehander also headed to French Polynesia on a 10-yr circumnavigation) offered to help with my re-fuelling on Wednesday. We went later to 'El Casa de Las Sirenas' to hear Jose Luis Cobo (whose CD I've been playing on 'Nereida' for the last 2 years since the Guitar Fest of '05), and others, playing. As a result, I took Jose Luis with his daughter and grandson for a 'sail' around the bay here today (Thursday) & had a very pleasant afternoon, as a short rest from preparing the boat for my forthcoming passages.

It's also been very time-consuming catching up with missing parcels and items sent out from England which missed me in San Diego - I still don't have the Musto outer gear nor the Navtex unit/antenna - both sent as I was leaving the States for Mexico. Neither got to Vancouver in time for a friend to bring down to me on a visit here recently ... Australia, maybe??

I'm hoping the 'Migracion' lady is helpful here tomorrow when I go to check out personally from Mexico before heading to the 'Capitania' to clear 'Nereida' out - I've been hearing that she can make things difficult....

Overnight to Isla Grande & Zihuatanejo

Thursday:
As expected, mostly a motoring passage off the coast, although had a very nice sail over the afternoon once the sea-breeze kicked in until just before sunset.
Met up with 'Jade' & 'Wyntersea' in Las Hadas marina, Manzanillo, as expected - interesting architecture at Las Hadas - looks like an Arabic village tumbling down the steep hillside.
Found 'Impossible' nearby at anchor (Stan & Linda + son & daughter) - also making for Zihuatanejo - found thought of Guitar Festival attractive when I mentioned it to them in Barra!
Saw several turtles swimming in the sea nearby over the day.
Had a bit of a worry around 9pm when the coast looked rather too close for comfort - it was very nice to be able to run my radar and chartplotter screens side by side on my new Raymarine C70 - the Mexican charts are so out of position compared to my GPS position ... depth seemed to be disappearing where rocks were marked off a headland, so headed out to sea rather abruptly to be safe...!!

Friday:
Some sailing but mostly motor-sailing or motoring with just main up to reduce rolling in slight swell. Manageed to forget to check fuel.. so ran out on starboard tank - had to bleed engine - used little electric pump in fuel feed line to speed up process. Lots of water & crud in fuel filter sight glass to be removed. Got to Isla Grande by 5.30pm - in time for swim & shower off deserted N beach. Very pleasant evening.

Saturday:
Balmar alternator bracket loose - belt taken off until get to Zihuatanejo to try to fix more solidly. Running watermaker on way. Bilge pump intake found to be clogged - cleaned. Engine compartment blower fell off yesterday..! Something else to be dealt with in Zihuat... plenty to do!
Should arrive Zihuatanejo Bay shortly, to anchor & prepare boat for Marquesas passage.

Boat jobs

Jobs completed over last few (highly productive!!) days:
Dinghy inflated - beautifully! (Despite 1yr 5mth gap since serviced in Vancouver & kept deflated!)
Outboard working - beautifully! (Despite 1yr 5mth gap since serviced in Vancouver and stored on stern rail!)
Windpilot - generally cleaned, eased and adjusted to make sure free movement of vane & pendulum
Seine twine attached between mast steps out to shrouds to prevent halyards fouling
Fold-up wheels attached to dinghy for landing through surf on beaches
Sun-degraded bungies replaced in several places
Inmarsat C power supply problem solved - working fine
Shower attachment leak on stern mended - no wonder the water tank got low..!!

Bahia de Navidad has been a very pleasant stop - the marina ("Isla de Navidad") has been luxurious - with a lovely pool and water slides to play around in (in between jobs, naturally!). The town of Barra de Navidad is a very pleasant Mexican seaside place with not too many non-Mexicans around - lovely 'jugo de naranja' (fresh-pressed orange juice) for sale and plenty of local restaurants to enjoy the occasional meal in company with cruiser friends.

Took a bus into Melaque Saturday evening - & found they were busy celebrating their forthcoming local Saint's Day of San Patricio (next Saturday) - all the townsfolk were gathered in the square in front of the church and eventually a tall wooden and string structure appeared with fireworks attached - let off around 11 o'clock with great gusto but little regard to safety - fireworks shot off into the crowd at regular intervals as the many Catherine wheels did their thing. The small girls and family
beside me enjoyed it all thoroughly! The highlight for me, though, came at the end of the firework display - a guy held the 'bull' over his head & shoulders and rushed around the crowd in the square with the 'bull' spewing fireworks every which way - great screams & yells as everyone scattered in good-humoured 'panic'...!! The local band on the central bandstand made 'mooing' noises on their instruments as he rushed around - excellent fun!

Sunday saw a lovely sail over to Tenacatita where dropped anchor close to shore in the inner bay and on Monday landed the dinghy through the surf successfully (and again on way back - I love those flip-up/down wheels!) and did the 'Jungle River Trip' up to the big outer bay - and a tasty 'ceviche' late lunch overlooking the crashing surf on the long sandy beach there. On way back to Bahia de Navidad now (midday, Tuesday), ready to check out with the Barra de Navidad Port Captain at the Capitania,
a short walk out of town... Expecting to have a farewell meal with cruiser friends ('Kokopelli' etc) tonight before making for Las Hadas, Manzanillo, tomorrow to meet up with more cruiser friends - 'Jade' (OCC) and 'Wyntersea'. Then it's on to Zihuatanejo for the end of the Guitar Festival this coming weekend....

Tidying boat in relaxed mode after passagemaking....!

Well, it's into cleaning, tidying, relaxing .... and socialising with other cruisers... now that I've arrived in Barra de Navidad!

Chamela was a pleasant landfall after the 1100 n.ml. direct passage from Ensenada. Just over six and a half days, averaging 6.9 kn!!! Wow! My fastest extended passage ever, I reckon!

I was lucky to meet up with good English friends (on 'Shilling of Hamble') about to pass the anchorage by... called them on VHF16, knowing they were somewhere nearby, & caught them in time for them to divert into the bay so we were able to spend the afternoon and evening together before we both moved on in opposite directions the next morning.

I came on down to Barra de Navidad with its safe lagoon and marina. I actually opted for the marina because I wanted to catch up with Canadian friends on 'Kokopelli' who are in here - I'm living in luxurious surroundings for a couple of days!!

Weather is very warm (28-30C) but on many days a stiff breeze kicks in at around midday, so the nights are usually cool, making for a good sleep. Barra is a nice little town, not too touristy, with a well-organized water-taxi system for crossing the lagoon entrance or for getting in & out to the lagoon if you're anchored out and feeling lazy! I'm hoping to visit close-by Melaque - patron saint is St Patrick so they must be getting ready for their yearly fiesta!

I have some outstanding boat jobs to do before making for Zihuatanejo and the Guitar Festival. I'll probably make for Tenacatita in a day or so and then come back here to check out before moving on south..

At anchor in peaceful, warm Bahia de Chamela, Mexico Sun04Mar07

What a wonderful fast passage I've had! 1100 n.ml. exactly (by the log) from Ensenada to here in under 7 days - excellent time! So lucky to have been able to sail all the way, until the last four hours as I approached close inshore overnight.

The wind picked up around midday, as it usually does with the land effect of the sea-breeze kicking in to reinforce the NW wind I already had. It then increased around sunset and I had to reef the main a bit but an hour later it began to die (land effect again - land-breeze killing any prevailing wind) and by 9pm I had to put on the motor. Just under 30 mls and 4 hours later I was in Chamela Bay getting ready to anchor under a full moon in a calm peaceful setting - not too many others at anchor

to have to avoid. Chart was completely out of place, so really glad to have my own lat/long info & previous knowledge as I came inshore in the dark...Asleep before 2 a.m. (4 a.m. local time)....

The friends on 'Shilling of Hamble' who I was hoping to catch on their way north are on their way here from Tenacatita, so I'll stay put for tonight and then probably move on to Barra de Navidad tomorrow.

About to have a swim & shower after breakfast and then tidy boat and relax - it's always nice to make landfall!!

Day 6 of passage SE from Ensenada, Mexico

Lots of ships around before midnight - I counted 16, one or two up to 150 mls away - not sure how the AIS is getting info from that far away - must be repeater stations somewhere..?? Spotted the Southern Cross above the S horizon around 1.45 a.m.

7 a.m. Woken up several times overnight with waves crashing into boat. Generally swell is down a touch in size, but still a
bumpy ride - & expect it to remain so over the day. Got up eventually before 5.30am ship's time with sunrise. Will wait to
change clock (2hrs!) until get into anchorage. Haven't yet decided where that will be since I'm waiting on a response from
British friends to let me know where they are. They're heading north so I don't want to go shooting past them on my way
south if it can be avoided!

10 a.m. Violent rocking & rolling has almost stopped now... just gentle bouncing most of the time. Let out the two reefs
I'd put in the main last night. Now 55ml WSW of Cabo Corrientes and wind has died to F4 so only making 5.5-6.0 kn, instead
of 6.5-7.5! Daily runs by log so far: 176(!!), 170, 170, 164, 155... not bad!! Have actually stripped off my long-sleeved top
and trousers - it's warming up nicely!

A lovely, relaxed afternoon, sitting out in the cockpit in the sunshine and breeze, enjoying a pleasant sail... wind got up nicely after midday so we were up to a good speed (around 7 kn) again. Daily run by log to midday (PST) today: 158 n.ml. - not bad considering I thought we'd slowed down for a bit! Keeping an eye out for land - but I think I'm much too far out still. Presently 26 mls off land, just over 30 mls SSW of Cabo Corrientes- probably had a diurnal wind effect this afternoon, so it
may die right down again overnight as I close the coast more. Looking at pilotage info on possible anchorages - it's nice to have been to them all before since I have exact lat/long coordinates from my logbook - the Mexican charts are way out of position and not to be relied on!

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Originally uploaded by svNereida.

Been well & truly knocked about, especially this morning. Was awoken before 6am to strong motion of the boat. We'd been motorsailing since 3am, in only 7kn (true) of following breeze... I had to reef hurriedly as the already strong winds increased rapidly to 25kn on the beam...! Big quartering seas built up from N (the Sea of Cortez, a.k.a. the Gulf of California) so every now & then we have shipped water - very noisily!

Slightly smoother sailing later in the day but still nice & fast. Occasional big wave still catches me out - used the 'bumstrap' to good effect in the galley earlier for washing up from last night and this morning. Caught up on some much-needed sleep this afternoon.

Warming up: air is 22.5C now - I've discarded my socks!

Spoke to Don Anderson (N6HG, 'Summer Passage') on the ham Baja Net early this morning. He's a fantastic weather 'guru' for the Pacific (and, he tells me, beyond) who spends most of his days collecting & analyzing weather info and giving forecasts over the SSB radio several times a day to yachts mainly S and W of California, where he lives in Oxnard. I shall almost certainly benefit from his advice as I sail to the Marquesas and beyond later this month. He told me that my radio signal is good & strong

but there is something amiss with the radio (an ALC problem) because it's distorting my voice... Good to hear that my newly-installed extra ground plate & new 3" copper strip to the ATU (as well as the cleaning up of the corrosion on the terminals ) are working well!

My daily run by the log today was 155 - down on the previous days of 164, 170, 170 & 176, but they were exceptional!!

Must organize myself for the night...

Day 5 from Ensenada - Thursday 1st March: St David's Day- daffodils & leeks!!

0900 Calmer seas, bright sunshine - and it's definitely warmer! I just HAD to take off my fleece layers top & bottom...! Let out all reefs in main & genoa with wind well down to just F4-5. Expecting it to die a bit more as I head SE because of 'wind shadow' effect S. of Cabo San Lucas but it's expected to pick up again once I get halfway across towards Cabo Corrientes on the mainland - so I should get a continuing excellent sail! Feeling pretty good & relaxed after another good night's sleep -

not so many ships around to worry about, as I'd feared, after my close-encounter incident with the tanker "BRO Premium".

12 noon - Officially in the tropics since about 6am: south of Tropic of Cancer! Daily run by log to midday (PST) today: 164 n.ml. Still going well - not too much down from yesterday's 170 n.ml. Wind now N & down to around 15-20kn (F4-5). Sea has changed colour to a lovely mid-blue, instead of darker green-blue of further north. I'm just under 60 mls WSW of Cabo San Lucas & Cabo Falso, at the southernmost tip of the Baja peninsula and about to cross over to the mainland S of Cabo Corrientes - where

there'll be a two-hour time zone change! ETA Sunday.

2.30pm Very relaxed, calm feeling to sailing today - speed down and just the very occasional big wave catching the boat on the port quarter. Enjoyed yesterday's flying fish for lunch - fried in virgin olive oil - very tasty without anything else added (not even lemon or salt), although lots of fine bones. Lots of thin, high, white cloud around but mainly still fairly sunny. Air temp 20.7C (69F) - pleasant! Barometer has dropped quite a bit to 1011. Wind NW5 (~20 kn). Swell down to 8ft at 6sec.

5.30pm Lovely sunset - see so many at sea but they're always good to watch. Spent some time this afternoon trying to sort out windsteering - but needs easing - too stiff to adjust easily so will continue with autopilot for tonight. Result of not checking it out before leaving...

Time to get some food & send this off via SSB radio & Winlink. Lovely view of bright Venus high above remnant of sunset - and nearly full, bright moon high up in the eastern sky.

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Originally uploaded by svNereida.

Another good night's sleep - it definitely helps having the AIS** with a warning zone - means I can sleep for longer periods than previously, especially now that the autopilot doesn't keep going down as it did last time I came down this way. (A stronger system was installed in Vancouver 16 mths ago) Saves putting on the radar so often - which saves on battery power.

**(Automatic Identification System - IMO has made obligatory for ships over 300 tons and, I believe, for all passenger-carrying vessels)

My first flying fish!! Picked a good-sized one off the deck early this morning - big enough to cook for lunch. Doing well on seafood so far!

Wind got up again overnight and this morning - easily force 6, getting up to force 7 at times, with corresponding increase in seas, but "Nereida" is coping well, as usual.

Off to wash up - sink full of dirty dishes etc is calling...

(Later) My InmarsatC terminal seems to have no power - haven't yet got around to investigating. Didn't turn it on while in SD - but there'd been no problem with it previously - should have thought about it, with all the re-wiring at the chart table, & checked it before leaving. Means I don't get easy downloads of the ocean forecast so have to 'order it up' on Winlink or Sailmail.

7pm.... Big tanker was predicted to be within 2 cables when several mls off - most of the time only showed his MMSI no and no other details whatsoever, so was difficult to call him.. I couldn't turn more to starboard and he kept not responding on VHF so I didn't want to turn to port without knowing his intentions... Not funny in these conditions in the dark!! I put nav lights and deck light on to shine on sails & be more visible - he eventually said he'd 'keep an eye on me' - thank you very much!!

Couldn't see him until he was really close - he finally passed by less than half a mile away.

It feels as though it might be getting a touch warmer - but, as yet, I'm still in my fleeces. I've really appreciated the Musto underlayer - really comfortable next to the skin - and the warm fleecy trousers and top have been really comfortable as well. All very thoughtfully designed.

Well, it's off for food and rest - still lots of ships about so may not get a lot of sleep tonight. I've one to starboard and a tanker ahead coming north due to pass very close by.... I hope he keeps clear - or at least responds to my call when I check to see he knows I'm here! (I see their transmissions, but they have no way, apart from their radar, of seeing me)

Day 3 of good sailing off the Baja California coast

10.30am Slept well overnight - but battery voltage dropped too much so had to recharge, using generator, despite wind generator putting in quite a good amount with the strong following winds. Probably due to use of electronic autopilot which has been having to work hard with the big seas on passage so far.

I've been trying to get more offshore this morning & fortunately the wind had swung more into the N so that has made it just possible - otherwise I might have had to gybe onto starboard tack again to avoid the sudden shoaling of the seabed we were heading into nearer the coast further south. With the seas already big, that would have meant even bigger waves - something to avoid in strong conditions, if possible.

In fact, the wind is now lessening a touch - force 5, rather than the 5-6 previously. All the more reason to stay well offshore to keep the wind and not get into the coastal 'dead' zone. Boat speed is down to mostly under 7 kn. rather than the mid 7's I'd got use to seeing.

Midday... (Just had a 1 hr nap....no ships around) 24hr run by log: 170 n.ml. - almost as good as yesterday - I'm definitely not complaining at daily runs this good - will cut down passage time nicely! Sun shining, almost no cloud, air temp 16.6C. 65n.ml. due S of Turtle Bay (nr. Punta Eugenia), about halfway to Cabo St Lucas at the S. tip of the Baja. At least 4 days more to go. My course to Bahia de Navidad takes me close to Chamela, so that remains an option for anchoring in a nice big bay when

I get nearer.

1545 Life is never dull out here!! Just before 3pm, spotted 'Cielo di Genova' heading north directly for me, 16miles away - but no name or details, apart from MMSI no., showing on AIS display. Had great difficulty contacting them - didn't know whether they spoke English (may have been a local?) so tried in my bad Spanish as well. Eventually, got a response to lat/long position I gave - and they suddenly switched on their name & other details (but I noticed it all disappeared againlater). They

finally altered course a bit to starboard when I pointed out they would be getting too close (within half mile - too little in my book!) & told them I was sailing in difficult conditions. All ended well, with them passing a mile off my port bow - for which I thanked them & we wished each other 'bon voyage'. I mentioned that I was about to take off around the globe - and was promptly called up by a cruise ship 'Norwegian Star' who had overheard the VHF talk - they wanted to chat and asked me about

my sailing plans - very pleasant guy from the Phillipines who wished me well.

I was about to clean a fifth squid I'd obviously overlooked when I picked up four from on deck earlier ... they were going to make a late lunch - now looks more like early 'tea'..! I've lemon, so I'm about to fry them..... here goes! (Later) I never realized how much work was involved in cleaning off the outside skin of squid...shouldn't have cut them up so soon! (Later still) Sat watching the sunset as I ate those squid - yummeeee...! I had actually found a sixth one as I went to the aft deck

to get some potatoes from the crate there, so it all made a very good-sized dish.(Present from Poseidon? Or maybe from the Nereids..)

Will say goodnight as I head for the SSB to send this and my position report off - seem to have written rather a lot today!

Another day of good sailing - & good-sized seas!

Apart from a small shower just before sunrise today, it has been mainly sunny with just some cloud. Wind has continued at around 20-25 knots, occasionally more, from the NW-NNW! - distance run by the log over the 24 hrs midday to midday was an excellent 176 n.ml.! I gybed over on to port tack just before midday, having continued on starboard tack rather longer than originally intended to get a good wind angle - we're just managing make a course keeping us well off the Baja coast.

The AIS system is continuing to prove its worth - I just called up the 'Neapolis' to make sure they knew I was 15 miles S. of them - the captain assured me he'd already spotted me on his radar - & would stay well clear of me as they passed by in 1-2 hrs time - always good news! When I have the computer on, I run it within Nobeltec - which shows me exactly where it is in relation to me and the coast, also giving lots of useful info such as name, plus time & distance of closest approach. When I shut

down the laptop, I run the Nasa Marine standalone unit - which has a very useful alarm which goes off if a ship comes within a given range.

I spotted a lovely white tropic bird skimming the waves earlier, as well as the odd booby. We are rolling about quite a lot in fairly big seas - up to about 3m (10ft) easily - always difficult to judge size, but they're definitely big & I'm having to hold on very securely as I move about so as not to be thrown around! Every now & then, "Nereida" gets caught by a big wave and really heels over suddenly.

At 5.30 pm, we're 55 ml W of Cedros island and 85 ml NW of Turtle Bay - but I'm passing that by on my way directly to Chamela &/or Barra de Navidad, hoping to arrive Sat, maybe Sun...

Time to get some food organized.... the light is going fast...

On passage at last!

Up early and away from Ensenada in total calm & bright sunshine! Spent quite a time trying to check the alignment of my radar before I realized that the problem I was having was due to the scanner being offset to starboard, so 'boat heading' wasn't the same as what the scanner was 'seeing'. I aligned it using a couple of buoys in the calm of the harbour near the entrance. Noticed what looked like a tiny harbour seal pup with its mother close by on one of them!
I also raised the mainsail before the swell outside the protection of the harbour made that difficult - as I was tidying up the lines a fast, grey Mexican 'Costa Garda' boat came by and then turned and headed back to me. I could see several military-looking guys on board and just hoped they didn't want to board me (as they had 'Nightwinds' when they came towards Ensenada harbour entrance recently). Fortunately, my Spanish was just about good enough to gather they just wanted a routine check over
the VHF on my name and boat details. They were very pleasant and soon went on their way, once they gathered I was headed south after clearing in to Mexico 3 days ago.
As I headed out, thinking this was to be a day of solid motoring, I was delighted to find that close to Las Islas de Todos Santos the wind suddenly picked up - there were even lots of white horses ('white caps') out to sea. With the engine running, I'd started up the watermaker to top up my tank on leaving the harbour but soon I cut the motor to sail in a strong NW wind. The swell got fairly large (6-10 feet) but we were making excellent speed with full canvas downwind - it got up to force 6-7 by
mid-afternoon but has been mainly force 5. There has clearly been a helpful current, so I've ended up seeing mainly 7-7.5 knots SOG up to now - excellent!
One job I felt obliged to do this afternoon was to raise the wooden slats & clear the cockpit drains - something I'd not got around to before leaving, but the big seas reminded me of the need to do so - having shipped water into the cockpit in big following seas off Cape Mendocino on the way south from Port Townsend last October, I didn't want a repeat of water slopping about and not draining away...
Well, I'll sign off now for food and to start my sleep routine - I just called up the 'Santos Express' headed my way 15 mls away at 24 knots - nice to be warned of big boats coming close via the AIS system - the captain used the position I gave him to locate me - so hopefully, he'll avoid me!!

Arrived in Ensenada, Mexico 22Feb07

Left in a flat calm from San Diego Y.C. soon after 9pm on Wed21Feb. While still in protected water, I raised the mainsail - difficult to raise completely - looking up the mast by torchlight, I realized that the halyard was outside the lazyjacks (thought I'd been careful, as usual, to get that right!) - so down with the main, removed the shackle from the head of the sail - raise the mainsail again (had the boat going around in slow circles all this time!). Still not going up easily - why?

Out with the torch again - halyard now caught around a step high up near the mast top - lower the sail AGAIN & grab hold of the halyard - wave it about until it comes loose from the step & quickly take up on the halyard, raising the main - still a problem as it goes up! I decide to leave the main with two reefs in - since no wind anyway, the point of having the main up was to reduce rolling in the expected swell and just in cast some wind came up later in my passage. Made a mental note to check

raising the main once I'd arrived. Finally, all was OK - lucky no boat traffic around at that time in the darkness - so I finally got going out through the main channel seawards.

A very uneventful motoring passage, with almost no other boats seen and so I was able to get some catnaps (about 20-30 mins at a time). Early in the morning, I was able to make good use of my AIS input into my Nobeltec display - seeing two big, brightly-lit tankers well ahead, the AIS system told me that they were stationary (at anchor, in fact) so I was able to steer a course midway between them, safe in the knowledge that they weren't moving. The night air temperature was really low, as usual after

a clear sunny day, so I was happy to be warm & snug in my new Musto fleecy trousers and tops...!

Mike helped me in to my slip - not too much manoevring needed in a slight breeze - I'd arrived in Mexico!

The marina staff helped with getting my paperwork prepared ready for clearance in to the country and I jumped on my bike to go & clear in - got there about midday and was finished about an hour later ... not bad!

I then celebrated my arrival with a British couple I met while clearing in- fresh fish tacos at the local fish market were very tasty!