Pacific Mexico

Looking back on the eleven months of sailing, from Seldovia to Mexico, Hawai’i, and back to Washington, probably some of the most pleasant months were January and February of 2020, spent cruising up and down the pacific coast of Mexico. These were also probably the two months of the trip, besides growing barnacles in Hilo, where Darwind covered the least distance.              After leaving the island paradise of Isla Isabel, Darwind and Mamaku sailed in to band eras bay, to the cruiser’s hub of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, which would serve as a sort of base of operations for the next two months of cruising, surfing and preparing for the crossing to French Polynesia. Mamaku needed a new alternator for her engine, and Darwind needed two new battens for her mainsail, so Harry and crew went in search of a mechanic and I set off for the palm-thatched sail loft on the hill above the fancy and very bourgeoisie marina. Over the next week or so, we spent every day ashore exploring the town, disc

Isla Isabella

the southern anchorage at isla Isabella Darwind and Mamaku(L-R) are the two middle boats             After leaving La Paz, the crossing from Isla Jacques Cousteau to the tiny volcanic Isla Isabella was one of the most entertaining of the entire trip. With a strong breeze just a couple of points off the quarter, Darwind flew under reefed main and working jib over the small choppy seas. Raising the island over the horizon was also a thrill, as this was my first island landfall of the trip. Approaching the island the wind died until I put up the gennaker for a bit before resorting to the engine to get in before dark. And just after starting the engine I spotted some fishing buoys marking a long-line, which seemed to perfectly block my path to the island. Following the line of buoys I rounded the last one with a bit of room, but apparently not enough, because the thin almost invisible floating line was instantly caught by the rudder and immediately after passing t

San Diego-La paz

Ensendada             Finally, after almost two weeks sweating in San Diego, all of the paperwork was in order, the new solar panel was cranking out a couple hundred watt hours a day, the batteries were fully charged, the surfboard lashed to the shrouds and everything was ready to go. In the evening I pulled up the anchor and headed to the fuel dock, then to the customs dock, where I said goodbye to Lance and Norene, family friends who had fed me, drove me all over the city, and even taken me out to Costco for provisions while I stayed in San Diego. After they left, I got off the dock and underway with the strong Santa Anna winds pushing me out the channel then flying along on a beam reach towards and across the border into Mexican waters. In the morning the wind died off and I had to motor the last few miles into the marina at Ensenada, with the brand-new Mexican courtesy and yellow “Q” (quarantine) flags flying from the spreader.             Here I was fairly nervous, as this w

Southern California: Channel Islands-San Diego

San Miguel Island On the morning of departure from Half Moon bay, I woke up not able to even see the neighboring boats a few hundred feet away, the fog was so thick, so I settled back to wait for the afternoon sun to burn off the incredibly thick mist, as it always did farther north in Alaska and Canada. However by 1 pm the fog had moved just outside the harbor but still showed no signs of abating, so I decided to up anchor and investigate how thick this fog really was and if it was worth trying to push through. However, less than half a mile outside of the breakwater Darwind and I were enveloped in a thick blinding fog, full of the sounds and occasional looming shadows of sport fishing boats, so I decided to turn back before luck ran out and we ended up on a collision course with one of these invisible hazards.   Just as we were approaching the breakwater again though, we suddenly sailed straight out of the fog bank into the bright sunlight, so I turned around again, this t