We had about one week to really get everything done in Mazatlan after hurricane season officially ended there - on Nov 1 the rates doubled from $.27 to $.50 a foot. For October 2008, we spent about $200 running an 8000 BTU Home Depot AC unit 20 out of 24 hours. It's real hot in Mazatlan - you can’t stay on a boat there in the summer without AC. Between the upped moorage fees and the AC costs, we couldn't justify sticking around.
So it took one day to get a fishing license [actually, it was more like 2 weeks of misdirection and one day of action - ms] - one day to get a fax sent on another matter, one day to shop and take the bus to get propane, and on Nov 2 we set sail for Baja after five months in port. It was not the summer I had planned - instead of travel, hotels and fine dining, it was 90 degree heat, 100 percent humidity, and all day boat projects.
It was gratifying after leaving Maz and spending three weeks at anchor to have the SSB work so well. MS likes listening to weather forecasts so the SSB was a big hit. I can’t say anything about the Sailomat 760 -it & the SSB were both very expensive items I installed - since we have not have really enough wind to sail by. Or - when we had wind - it was too light or too strong to set up the Sailomat - the more pressing problem was - we almost ran out of diesel fuel….
How did this happen - well, the skipper here had been moving fuel back and forth from the El Cid fuel dock to the boat in 5 gal jerry cans (fuel dock always crowded with sportfishing boats and booze cruises), and he did not want to go back for a third trip. [Oh, the humanity. ms] The gauge showed full - right - well - the gauge - she lies…. Lucky the navigator nagged me into filling the jerry can one last time...
All told, we probably ended up about 10 gals light. Although we were planning on only traveling about 300 miles before a refueling, it seems we burned a bit more than planned given the conditions and how we used the engine. First of all, after about 165 windless miles from Maz we hit Bahia Frailes - a wonderful spot - I looked at the fuel gauge and said - “gee - we’re light!”
Anyway - we set off to the next stop some 42 miles away - Bahia de los Muertos - and by then we were really light. This was compounded by 18 knots on the nose, heavy 4 foot swells with a three foot chop at about four second period. You cannot sail through this - we have tried - you can sail , but you go about 2 knots/hr. and have to sheet off to a 60 degree angle - if we'd insisted on sailing, our 40+ mile day would have just turned into an uncomfortable, sleepless overnight trip…assuming you want to keep going to your intended destination instead of heading to, I don't know, Ecuador?
So we motored - when we hit Muertos, we were on the red line…I poured the emergency 5 gal can of diesel in, and hoped for the best…MS frowned at me…maybe muttered a thing or two....
Well - we had to sail the boat, and the next day we did - we surfed the puffs, flew the geniker, and ghosted along, running the engine at 1500 rpm to get over the opposing current, and turning it off when we could catch 8 knots of wind.
We made it through San Lorenzo Channel and into Puerto Balandra - about 8 miles from the nearest fuel stop at Marina Costa Baja in La Paz. The next morning we were up at dawn to catch the morning wind. We sailed to weather in about 10-14 knots, which shifted 15-30 degrees about every 5 minutes, since it was coming off the land. It was a great sail - we were about ¼ into the red line on the fuel gauge and La Paz was in sight.
“Boat coming astern“ MS said - since I was on the helm - I am a very poor helmsman, I was jogging the boat left and right trying to keep the winds, and we were nipping along at a pretty good rate, 5-6 knots. The boat came abreast of us - fortunately on the leeward side - about 50 feet off, I feathered the boat off the wind to keep the air in her, pointing at the passing boat. Why they thought they should get so close is anybody’s guess - it was a Ha Ha boat under motor - a 41 foot Hunter, on their way to La Paz - they were a bit close to pass a vessel under sail while they were under power, but no problem in the long run - we paid attention to keep out of the way, they moved forward, crossed our bow a little short, and headed up the wrong channel to La Paz….20 minutes later we were approaching the fuel dock and the Hunter was turning back to find the right entrance to the La Paz Channel. Still at 5-6 knots. I saw MS was reading something - which turned out to be a bio of the boat, that was passed to us through other cruisers, from an old edition of Latitude 38 - “Hey - they're ”*****” (someone, from some Southern US Pacific Coast location) - good thing they finally found their charts and guides."
The Hunter passed astern for the last time as we turned in to fuel up at Costa Baja - good people and an easy-access dock - come to find out after all our sweating we still had about 14 gal in the tanks - we have now marked the gauges with our own special signs and made lots of other notes - so hopefully we won’t get caught that short again - at least by surprise. As I'm writing this in November, we fueled up and left for anchorages around Isla Espirtu Santos where we've been now for about three weeks - I can tell because the fridge is almost bare. In fact, when I make linguini in clam sauce, I know supplies are getting a little short - here is the recipe…
Find the last moldy bit of parmesan cheese and scrape any nasty stuff off - parmesan cheese in Mexico is not dry aged like in Italia - its goes bad after about three weeks.
Drain one can of MX whole clams - these clams are great - full clams in a broth, but full of sand - run the contents through a fine mesh strainer, then fully rinse the clams several times.
Boil the pasta - I never really know how much to make but it does not matter, we always seem to eat all of it. MS loves pasta.
Gently fry three cloves of chopped garlic in about ¼ cup of olive oil. Add some white wine - whatever is left in your glass - and reduce a bit - add the clam juice and reduce a bit more - add the cleaned clams and cook for about three minutes - throw in about 2 tbs of butter to thicken the sauce and toss with the drained pasta.
Grate the old cheese on top and serve with dried Chile flakes.