Month: September 2015

Paying it FORWARD!

We had a really nice afternoon back at San Evaristo, light(er) winds and a glassy anchorage. I got to put my improving¬†mechanics skills to use when a call came over the VHF. A cruising couple was stranded on their boat. They couldn’t get the engine started and they thought the batteries might be dead. Being the guy that I am, I said “honey, grab me some bailing twine, duct tape, and¬†a voltmeter!” I made my way aboard their Islander 36 and proceeded to get dirty. We removed the companionway to access the engine and battery compartment. This engine room would not be winning any “Captain Clean” awards anytime soon. To make matters worse, the battery box was half full with water. Even the average Joe would think, “hmmm…battery (electricity) floating in water…prolly not a good thing here Odell!” Mr. Stranded told me that his water pump was leaking. It just happens that it sits directly above the battery box. No bueno. I put the voltmeter on the battery and it was actually just fine…full charge at about 12.6 volts. Upon closer inspection, the battery terminals were highly corroded due to the drip-drop of the salty water. I removed both cable terminals, pulled the battery out of the box, dried out the box, cleaned the posts, and the terminals. After the battery was re-secured in the battery box, I reconnected the cables and told him to fire it up. Like magic, we had a running engine. The No-Longer-Stranded couple was quite impressed with my mad skills and attempted to reward me with a fist full of cash. I told them to put it away and grab me a brewski! I also advised that they fashion a little water diverter below the leaky water pump until they could get that repaired. This is one of the things that sold me on the cruising community. People are always willing to help a fellow cruiser out, and I was finally able to return the favor.

We rousted up the next morning and headed north for the next anchoring hot spot – Los Gatos. We had a good sail with just enough wind to keep the boat moving. After setting the hook, it got windy and choppy and more windy. Terrapin, who arrived the day before, had organized a little beach outing, complete with fun and games. Unfortunately, the wave action was just too sporty to drop the dink and go to shore. We ended up having a movie-thon aboard. The kiddos didn’t really seem to mind.

Come morning, CoCo was determined to get off the ship. Fortunately the conditions were such that we could do it, no problemo. We had some amazing hikes through the red dirt, sand and rocks of Los Gatos. Much of it was strangely reminiscent of Sedona, AZ. After completion of our exercise, we made ready and headed for Agua Verde!

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This was our ridge-line trail. Notice the cross at the end of the trail and YOLO anchored in the distance.

This was our ridge-line trail. Notice the cross at the end of the trail and YOLO anchored in the distance.

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San Evaristo, Bahia Salinas, Amortajada – A Glorious Trifecta

After our aforementioned hike at Isla San Francisco, we ship shaped and shipped out, bound for San Evaristo, a quick hour or so jaunt away. We had chosen San Evaristo because it is known as a great, protected anchorage when the Coromuels are active. After our previous night’s experience, this is just what we needed. We were able to hail Terrapin on the VHF and let them know of our intentions. They chose to make way for San Evaristo as well, as the forecast was showing strong winds for the next night or so.

Upon our arrival, I thought for sure we had made a wrong turn and ended up in a watery version of a Wal-Mart parking lot…the place was packed! We ducked, dived, and dodged our way in and dropped the hook in about 9 feet of water. The holding was good so we felt confident in our chosen parking space. Two more boats arrived within 10 minutes and found a small patch of real estate. Then poor s/v Terrapin came on the scene. After a few passes they were able to nestle into a spot, albeit it with a few nasty looks and comments from their cozied-up-to neighbors. During Terrapin’s quest to get anchored, giant (and I mean GIANT) bee/fly like creatures started showing interest in our cockpit. One landed right near the companion way and I definitely did not want this thing making his way down below so I donned my fishing glove and gently encouraged him to fly away. Yes, I had thoughts about just smashing him with an object but he was literally so large that it would have been a terrible mess to clean up. Anyway, as I begin my shooshing method, the damn thing gave a me a sting on my finger that caused an immediate outburst of strong language. The photo doesn’t do justice to this thing and I never got a positive identification as to just what this insect is. Feel free to comment below if you know. After my tears of pain dried up, we dinked over and had a few sundowners with the Turtles and then returned to our mothership. There were two large sea lions cruising the anchorage until sundown. It was pretty fun to watch them cavort around.

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The night was uneventful but still breezier than the average sailor likes. It did prove to be a great anchorage as the winds just couldn’t get the water churned up enough to be uncomfortable since we were anchored so close to shore. After breakfast, Terrapin advised us they were on their way to Los Gatos…still in search of a windless, good night’s sleep. Court and I had made plans to go tour Bahia Salinas, an old salt mining village as well as do the Amortajada estuary dinghy tour. We are so glad we did!

It was a 3 or so mile motorboat ride over to Isla San Jose. It is worth mentioning that we spotted a pod of 4 or 5 orcas as we were nearing the island, but we couldn’t get the camera out in time to capture the moment. We anchored in front of the old abandoned mine operation at Bahia Salinas.

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We then got back aboard YOLO and motored to the southern tip of Isla San Jose. Again, we dropped the hook, boarded Fast Blast and made our way to the estuary entrance for our self-guided Amortajada tour. This is a very unique geological experience as the island features a natural mangrove estuary that ends in a lagoon. You could swear that the piled up rocks that create a dam from the open ocean were placed there by heavy equipment. Nature never fails to impress!

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And now for some UNEDITED video footage. Please watch at your own risk.

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