May 4, 2005

El Gato Bound

Hello Everyone -

In our last episode, Raptor Dance was snugly anchored in the middle cove of Ensenada Grande. Sunday night, May 1st, the first Coromuel wind woke us up at about 2 AM. There was no danger, but the swells were very uncomfortable, so we didn't sleep much the rest of the night.

Coromuel winds are specific to the La Paz area and blow as far north as Isla San Francisco. These come up in the La Paz area as early as sunset and work their way North. The problem is that these winds come from the southwest and blow directly into most of the anchorages on Isla Espiritu Santo and Partida. We were blocked from the wind in Ensenada Grande's middle anchorage, but the waves (short, steep chop actually) refracted around the point and into our anchorage.

So we left later that morning after the morning radio net. We had a nice motor up to Isla San Francisco, but as it was also exposed to the Coromuels, we continued on to the anchorage just south of Punta Evaristo off the tiny village of San Evaristo, only a few miles further up the Baja.

The Isla San Francisco bay is gorgeous! Big white sand beach, clear water (only 75 Degrees F though) and great rock formations. The anchorage itself is formed by a hook shaped landmass at the southern end of the island. Looks quite inviting. Except for the risk of Coromuels...

San Evaristo has only a few families and one Tienda (store), no Palapas (Restaurants). It's primarily a fishing village with salt pans a few hundred yards over the ridge to the North. We stopped in the Tienda and bought a ripe avocado and a bag of potato chips. We also bought a large pargo (around 4 lbs.) from the local fisherman for 30 pesos ($2.70 US). Mary filleted it and we had it for lunch, lightly sautéed in butter, Yum!

Ah the joys of cruising. Yesterday morning, I fired up the water maker and noticed a bit of oil in the bilge. Hmmm, where did that come from. It had the purple color of synthetic oil. Now what uses that... More brain wheels turning. Oh oh! The only equipment that uses that is the high pressure pump on the water maker. Feeling under the HP pump, OIL! I quickly shut the water maker down. Looks like we'll need to get the pump serviced, I don't want to tackle this
one myself. Fortunately, there are factory trained service folks up in the Seattle/Vancouver area, where we'll be by early June. In the meantime, I'll top the pump up with oil and monitor the leak. If it gets really bad, I'll flush the water maker and keep it offline until we can get her fixed. We have more than enough water to last us until our planned return to La Paz early next week.

Geeky details: Our water maker is a Village Marine MPW 400, running on 115VAC (meaning we need to run the gen set to make water). It can produce about 16 gph (gallons per hour), which is about all we use in a day - so 1 or 2 hours per day is all we need to run it (hey, we take long showers, wash wet suits, do hand wash, and the dishes - all with fresh water). We probably have 170 Gal. of our 215 Gal. capacity left.

Also, I got to get rid of this genetic? conditioned? habit of waking up at 2 AM worrying about stuff. The Water Maker was the latest episode of my life time effort to get rid of this non-productive behaviour. Now that we're retired, it happens a LOT less often, but it's still annoying. Mary is very understanding ;-}

We stayed in Evaristo until this morning, Wednesday, Mar 3rd, catching up on sleep, hiking and chatting with the other cruisers and a couple of kayakers from the Canadian Yukon, who are padding their way south from Loreto to near La Paz.

Now we're off on a short motor (still not enough wind to sail only 6 knots, right on the nose) of about 4 hours up to Puerto El Gato. In spite of the "Puerto" in the name, it's just a small bay with no port, or anything else for that matter, except some fisherman. One is reported to sell huge langosta (lobsters) for very little money. We'll report what we find.

That's the news from Raptor Dance!

Warmest Regards,
Bill and Mary
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