Sunday, November 28, 2004


We had a pretty good passage yesterday. We left with Loon III and Icarian and had very light wind for the first few hours. We were "unofficially" racing, so we were all tweaking sails and trying to eke out the best speed. Loon put up their spinnaker for awhile (despite my protests... we don't have one! Turns out they didn't go any faster than with the genoa up) The wind slowly built up to about 20kn (fortunately Loon took their spinnaker back down before then) and we all made great time. The wind died when we were about 8 miles out, and we all eventually motored in in the dark. Even though we arrived first, I pronounce Icarian the "winner" because they were well in the lead and turned on their motor last. Loon got in last, but deserves second place because they caught at least three fish along the way and got bonus points for setting their spinnaker. There's a big low coming down the coast causing overcast and even a bit of rain ahead of it... we seem to bring rain everywhere we go! We've all be following the weather forecasts closely, and have to decide whether we should stay put in this well protected anchorage and possibly have not enough wind after the front passes, or catch the ride and make some miles. I'm sure we'll all yak on the VHF radio this morning after the next weather update to compare notes and opinions. We caught up with two other boats here, and they report the town is quite nice. The water temp jumped up another 2F!

Saturday, November 27, 2004

And we're off!

Kellie's Comments-- We've enjoyed our after turkey day leftovers and a nice long afternoon on the beach and now it's time to head south. We said goodbye to Turtle Bay at around 8:45 this morning. Along with Loon and Icarian we're on a course for Bahia de Asuncioun. It's a 50 mile trip. Sailing with other boats really adds enjoyment to the experience. Brian and Marilyn on Icarian have been sailing together since they were 10. That's about 45 years of experience each. We feel that we can't go wrong tagging along, learning as we go. Loon is another Canadian boat, with Ian and Aly on board. They were tomato farmers in Alberta, and he's a real do-it-yourselfer. Pete and Ian have found that they are kindred spirits. Aly was a teacher and they are both great with the kids. On Thanksgiving, they offered to help with the kids while I cooked and cleaned. The wind came up that morning so a dinghy trip was canceled. They came over instead and read stories. Before we left home, we were given a lovely book of children's classics. One of them is a spoof on "The Gingerbread Man." Instead it's the stinky cheese man. Ian has taken on that identity, and the kids have fits of giggling with the name calling game. Ellie has been nicknamed "bird brain" because of the bird that landed on her head in CA. I'm not sure who to send to a time out when the name calling gets out of hand. Ian is 6'6", my authority is minimal. We all monitor VHF frequency 68 and today the smart alec comments are flying back and forth between the guys. "Did you look at a chart?" "No, I thought you did." "No, I'm just following Icarian." Icarian comes back with, "What does it mean when the little arrow on the GPS is pointing towards the land?" Pete- "I don't know but you've probably got at least an hour to figure it out." Aly's comment of "boys are sometimes dumb," was not argued with as Ian sailed to about 50 feet from us to take a picture. The weather makes up a huge part of our experience. We listen each morning and sometimes in the afternoon to Don in Oxnard, CA who seems to have dedicated the better part of his life to reporting the weather to sailors in CA and Mexico. We all rely on him. THis morning the report was an update on the storm front that is making it's way down from Oregon. It should reach into Baja about 100 miles north of here by Sunday afternoon. No one is predicting whether it will come this far down with it's gale force winds on Monday or not. We're enjoying a nice tail wind today, but will tuck in for the night and listen anxiously for another update in the morning. Apparently Asuncion is a nice place with a small town, so we should have a good stay if we're waiting out the weather. We were given 6 lobsters yesterday by Benito, a local that we brought medical supplies to. He's the president of the fishing co-op in Turtle Bay. Apparently the small fishing boats (pangas) were without first aid kids, so Pete's mom sent some along. Ian has caught a tuna today, so we're thinking about a seafood potluck for dinner tonight. If the wind keeps going at this rate we should be happily at anchor by dinner time. It's hard to imagine everyone at home having their first day of the Christmas season. If I were home, I'd be getting out the winter decorations. Here we are wearing shorts in the afternoons and walking barefoot in the surf. I miss home a lot, but I do believe we are finally finding "the fun." The majority of the wives down here are going through some major adjustments and the search for the fun has become a driving force behind our decisions. Pete and I are having serious discussions about alternate cruising routes than the south Pacific in the spring. I'm yet to concede that crossing the ocean with the kids is wise. They are very difficult to keep entertained and I find the sailing and mothering quite tiring. So we've discussed central America, the Caribbean, and/or the Galapagos. Who knows we may spend more time in Mexico like a lot of other boats plan to do. We probably won't make up our mind until Feb or March. You can keep that in your prayers for us. Love to you all, Kellie

Friday, November 26, 2004


Comments from Pete and Kellie-- Being from the Pacific Northwest means that our idea of the holidays involves cold and dark days. Yesterday, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner on our boat with Ian and Ally from 'Loon III' and Brian and Marylin from 'Icarian'. It didn't fit the image because we sat in the cockpit having drinks enjoying the afternoon sun. We brought a frozen turkey from San Diego, and pondered about how many people a 10lb turkey would feed. There's no way to call the "Butterball hotline" to ask! We are also limited in our ability to entertain because we only have 4 wine glasses, 4 dinner plates and just so much seating. Eight for dinner was just perfect and we have great leftovers for tonight. We started planning the dinner the day before, and the kids stayed entertained most of the day cutting out construction paper decorations - turkeys, fall colored leaves, corn cobs, etc. It was really neat to see them take part in the preparation. They even cleaned up their room and themselves with little prompting. The last hour before dinner (at 2:30) was agonizing for them... they kept watch across the water to see if either couple looked like they might be getting into their dinghy. We're feeling like we've suddenly "started cruising". The weather has been warmer (the water is still too cold to swim, 63F). The beach around the boat is at least 10 miles long with lots of shells and interesting critters. Dolphins go by the boat a few times a day and there is a sea lion that swims with surprising acrobatics. Pelicans crash into the water like huge lawn darts falling from 30 or 40 feet. Sometimes they splash down only a few feet from the boat, which is startling. We've also shifted from "getting the boat prepared to go" to "maintaining the boat as we go", which is much less stressful. Ian helped replace the cutter stay and that was it for the day, other than rigging up a swing for the kids over the foredeck and eating. His advice is that you shouldn't expect to accomplish more than one thing a day. Things like boat repair projects, shopping for groceries, or preparing the boat for a sail all seem to take much longer than we were thinking they should. We were often trying to cram three or four things into a day and getting frustrated that nothing was getting done. It's difficult to slow down, and accept that that's OK. One of the reasons we wanted to go cruising was to live life at a slower pace than what seemed necessary, or at least normal, back home. It may take awhile to get used to it! Kellie had a nice talk with Lynn on 'Homers Odyssey' about cruising with kids - they'd cruised for 26 months with 9 and 10 year old kids. She had some good advice on how to keep kids entertained onboard, and assured us that we'll get better at it. Today our "task" is to deliver some medical supplies to a fellow in town we'd met last year here - first aid kits for the fishermen. We'll spend midday exploring the other half of the beach, and if the wind looks favorable, we'll head out this evening. There are a couple anchorages between here and Bahia Magdelana. We're going to try more sailing at night and spend the daylight playing on the beach and exploring. It may be awhile before we can check our e-mail. If you've written to us recently and we haven't responded, don't worry... we'll catch up when we get to La Paz in a week or two. Please do send us your news though, because we really look forward to hearing from everyone.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Bahia de Tortugas

We're in Turtle Bay, and plan on staying here for a few days. We'd hoped to be in La Paz for Thanksgiving, but due to the slow start out of San Diego, we'll have it here instead. I got the boat cleaned up this morning... thankfully squid ink is water soluble! We'd bought a mop head in San Diego, and it makes "swabbing the deck" much easier than using a bucket and scrub brush - just dunk it over the side to rinse! We motored in the last hour to charge up batteries and make some hot water for showers. It's a great anchorage with lots of room and good protection from any direction. Today we're going to head for the beach and run, run, run til we can't anymore! It doesn't look like any "kid boats" are here... so that's one reason to keep moving on. We'd like to catch up with Kanaloa before they leave La Paz. We got an e-mail from them that their kids are snorkling around the anchorage, and the water is WARM!. We're thinking we'll spend a few weeks around La Paz. Several friends/family mentioned they're planning to come to Baja in January, so it'd be nice to meet up with as many as possible. Our schedule is totally flexable.... the only thing driving us now is to seek warm water and stay out of stormy weather. -Pete

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Getting close to Turtle Bay

We should be in Turtle Bay this afternoon. We've been making good time, sailing downwind with the genoa poled to windward and the main prevented. We've broken two sail slides in 2000 miles (happens when the main flops and refills with a bang due to big swell). The ones that came on the new mainsail seem to be pretty brittle. Thankfully I've got a bagful of replacements. Icarian went the inshore route when we left Ensenada, and will pass inside Cedros Isl., while we headed out and around Cedros and Islas San Benito. It was pre-dawn when we passed San Benito, so we didn't stop, but that means we'll probably make it to Turtle bay in the daylight and maybe even have time for a run on the beach before dinner!

Monday, November 22, 2004

Almost half way to Turtle Bay

It's 4am on Nov. 22. We're making 6 knots on a beam reach. There are lots of stars out, and there's a cruise ship about 2mi east of us - lit up like a city! This leg started out rather tough. We did several day hops in light wind, or with it on the nose. Not wanting to mess with fluky wind at night, we'd found places to anchor for the nights. Two nights ago we anchored off S. Isla Cedros in a spectacular little cove (that I'm not sure we would have attempted had it been daylight!). We had a great hike around the island in the morning and it was good to get off the boat and get a bit of exercise. The dingy trip to shore was really interesting, as there are several neat passages between large rock pillars with significant surge coursing thru, sometimes giving a height differential of about 5ft across a channel only 20ft or so wide. The "landing beach" was steep and didn't have any sand - we took awhile to decide on the spot with the most small (baseball sized) round rocks and timed the landing to come in on the back of a swell... then everyone out quick and haul it up the beach before the next wave arrives! I ended up with wet feet and pant legs (note to self - don't wear socks on dinghy excursions!) Getting off was the reverse, except we had gravity working for us. We piled the kids in, and I took up the oars while sitting high and dry on the rocks. When the next big wave lifted the dinghy, Kellie gave a shove from the stern and hopped in... just like we knew what we were doing! The island had spectacular, rugged scenery including lots of rock arches with waves crashing under them. The local flora was reasonably friendly, and Marilyn was the only casualty with some cactus spikes stuck in her knee. The kids found lots of sea urchin shells and other treasures to haul back to the boat! Last night we anchored just north of Punta Banda (the point just south of Ensenada) seeking some relief from the W swell. We'd planned to stay there until some reliable wind filled in. In the morning the wind was piping up from the SW, but it was pouring rain... when the rain let up a bit we decided we couldn't let the wind go to waste. We hollered at Icarian that we were leaving and they said they'd be an hour or so behind. We smoked our way out of the bay ('nother note to self... when the though occurs that perhaps we should raise the main with a reef already tucked in... do it). We flew full main and the staysail and had the rail in the water, but made good progress. As we neared the end of Punta Banda the seas got bigger and bigger and were impeding progress. Rather than tacking back and forth to clear the point we used the motor to help out a bit. It was a relief to get around the corner and run off a bit. The seas remained really lumpy and steep (and coming from several directions), but we made 8kn more or less in the right direction. It's been awhile since we'be been heeled or slopped around and the cabin got pretty trashed (the locker with the art supplies came open, and some of the cans stowed behind the starboard settee kept escaping - good thing we don't have a show-quality cabin sole! Ellie and I each made use of the bucket a couple times - a first for me. I should have taken seasick meds when I first woke up... but we didn't know we were leaving then. We had a great ride for about 3-4 hours with plenty of wind to steady us against the swell, and made 7-9kn with a max speed of over 13! Icarian just missed it, because when they rounded the point they only had about 10kn of wind and were getting slopped around quite a bit. It's crazy how localized some of the weather sytems are. The swell sorted itself out a bit just before dark, and we've been on a reasonably comfortable beam reach all night - the windvane is doing a great job of steering, and it's been hours since we've made any adjustments to course or sail trim. We're heading a bit west of our course, but we're making better speed and it's definitely more comfortable. It's amazing what a difference 10 or 15 degrees makes - we're going about 3kn faster and the sails are staying full (not flopping due to the waves) compared to if we aimed straight for Turtle Bay. Roll the dice and hope the wind clocks around a bit later... The other boats we've been hanging out with are spread out all along the coast - Loon III, Nanoo and Homers Odessy should all have arrived in Turtle bay throughout the night. Wyndeavor is still in San Diego waiting for their computer to get fixed, and a couple boats have already left Turtle Bay for Cabo and La Paz. Christmas plans seem to be driving several boats along - like meeting family in Puerto Vallarta. We've been keeping in touch with the others over the HF radio (Marine Single Sideband) each morning, and it's fun to track each other's progress. We're running a bit behind the pack because we'd rather sail than motor. We got an e-mail from some new friends on Kanaloa (we'd met in Santa Barbara) that are already in La Paz - they report it's warm and their kids are swimming and snorkeling around the anchorage... we can't wait! I'm wearing two pairs of fleece pants, a t-shirt, sweatshirt, fleece vest, fleece jacket, fleece hat and gloves, and wrapped in a blanket - and I'm still chilly!

Saturday, November 20, 2004

We're in Mexico (finally)!

We just spent our second night in Mexican waters. There hasn't been much wind, so rather than slopping around thru the nights, we've elected to anchor. There has been some thermally induced wind during the days, but yesterday it was right on the nose (again!). Last night we anchored in a tiny little cove on the NE side of Todos Santos. It's about 10mi W of Ensenada. Icarian was about an hour ahead of us, and had just finished all the work of getting a stern line ashore (inflate the dinghy, dig the long line out of the bottom of some locker, pile it into the dink, row to shore... find out that the line is 10ft too short (as it always is!), add some more line, row back to shore, look for something to tie it to... oh yeah, it was quite dark thru all of this). We just dropped the hook and tied off to their stern line - Lucky us! (It'll be our turn next time). So, we've each got a bow anchor out, and stern lines ashore, then we ran a line between the boats to keep us centered in the cove to make sure we keep off the rocks on either side of us... I said it was tiny! We've got a 30ft rock wall about 20ft off our stern quarter, and we've got 50ft of water under us. A panga (Mexican fishing boat - about 20ft long with ~20hp outboard) came along and sent a diver down and around near us - it was rather odd to see the light coming up. They must have been hunting lobster (La Langosta). We're off to explore this island. It's amazingly rugged. Lots of birds and seals, and some impressive caves and surge going through gaps between rocks and the island. IT doesn't look like there will be much wind this morning, but the last forcast sounded like it should be picking up this afternoon thru the next couple days.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

and we're off!

Mexico here we come... This morning we made a quick trip to town to get some mail, buy some blocks for the staysail boom, and some alcohol fuel for the heater we picked up (we wish we'd had one up to this point... may not need it again, but we're prepared if we do!). I went snorkeling to check the prop and change the shaft zinc and just check on all things underwater... then we all had a shower at the yacht club. It took awhile to stow all the stuff that had accumulated in the cockpit, stow the dinghy on deck, set up the windvane, etc. etc. Then we motored over to the fuel dock to take on 100g of water, 81g of fuel, and ran across the street for the last wireless connection for awhile to send/rec. mail.... it's amazing we actually made it out of there in the daylight! The position reporting link is up and running... and click on "where are we now" to see our current (or last reported) position. Also, there's a new page in the Log of Imagine with the story and pictures of the San Francisco to San Diego leg. We're heading inside the Coronado Islands, then probably straight for Turtle Bay (Bahia de Tortugas)... should be there in about 3 days.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Leaving San Diego

Kellie's Comments-- Well Pete seems to be keeping everyone up to date on the projects and the "guy" stuff. So I'll try to add a few things about what the kids and I are doing. We had a really nice time in Mission Bay. My mom came to visit and we stayed in an incredible hotel for the weekend. On Saturday, we visited Sea World for a wonderful sunny day of fun. Our favorite was the interactive dolphin tank. All of us touched a dolphin and the kids got soaked from head to toe by a dolphin belly flop. They were a bit shocked, but I assured them that it is a privilege to be the recipient of such a gift. Lesson learned--always bring extra clothes to Sea world. We then moved on (after a very tearful goodbye with Mom) to Shelter Island in San Diego. This last week, as Pete said, was filled with chores, errands and socializing with other southbound cruisers. I bought four cart loads full of groceries. We anticipate about 3 weeks with only minimal access to stores. The West side of Baja is very rural, so every locker, fridge compartment etc is crammed to the brim with provisions. Pray that the refrigeration doesn't give out or else 3 weeks worth of meat will become fish food. On Tuesday, two other cruising gals and I went to downtown to get our tourist visas, customs paperwork and exchanged money for pesos. Then we got a ride from Pete's friend Mary Kelly to the grocery store. It was an exhausting day, but we ended it nicely with pizza and friends. We plan to leave for Mexico on Thursday the 18th. Our new friends on "Icarian" will be buddy boating down with us. With the new link on our website you can track our progress on a map. Hopefully we'll remember to update it daily. We have been averaging 4.5 knots speed so far down the coast, we hope to improve that on this leg and make more than 5. The wind has been fluky so far, but is forecasted to be 15-20 the next few days. That will give us 120 miles per day if we sail 24 hours. I find the prospect both nerve wracking and exciting at the same time. I've readjusted my attitude and decided that so far we haven't really started cruising, just working our way towards it. So far it hasn't been all that we've imagined, but we're getting closer. We plan to get to La Paz within the next 3 weeks (900 miles) and then spend the rest of the year there. We'll stop as often as necessary to rest and let the kids run around, but will probably do it in chunks of 300 miles or 3 days at a time. I'm looking forward to stopping in La Paz for a while and relaxing. We're still waiting to go swimming in warm water, spend the day on a beach and buy our vegetables from a nice local farmer. I've been reading "The Message" which my brother gave me right before we left. I find it gives me the strength to keep going. I've been reminded that focusing on others is of more value than focusing on myself. Ellie will be memorizing the Beatitudes this month for school, and I have made it into a poster for us all to be reminded of the promises found there. Thank you for all your prayers and encouraging e-mails. Keep writing and checking in here for updates. -Kellie

Friday, November 12, 2004

Projects in San Diego

I finally got the SSB radio enabled to work on HAM frequencies so this Blog posting is using my new Amateur Radio privileges over the winlink network... ain't technology great! I got the oil changed in the main engine and worked on radio stuff all day. Our position reporting should be nearly working too, so there will soon be a "where are we now" link on the website that'll pull up a map and have our position marked on it. I haven't had a chance to test it yet, but will do so before we leave SD. It's kinda fun around here... lots of other boats all in the same mad rush to finish up things before our next passages. Boats that we've befriended started trickling out today and should all be off in the next week or so. We're still planning to leave mid next week. -Pete

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

San Diego

We've been hanging out in San Diego for two days now finishing up a few projects. The foam in our v-berth cushions had disintegrated and I'm tired of having my clothes stored in two milk crates loose in the berth. My friend Mary took us to a foam shop and we got a nice new piece of foam. I'm going to pick up a sheet of plywood tomorrow and make some shelves on either side of the berth (we don't need a 7ft wide bed). I also pulled down the headsail furler and replaced the top section of extrusion with one that was 2" longer... it'll allow us to properly tension our big genoa luff. The other things on the list are minor - change the oil in the main engine and both the outboards lower gearcases, get our VISAs for Mexico, buy lots of groceries, as we're planning on only one stop from here to La Paz. We've got some medical supplies to drop off in Turtle Bay, but there isn't much there to buy, so we'll pack 3-4 weeks worth of food. Rough plan is to leave around the 14th. The other boats that we're pal-ing around with have been trickling out of here, a few a day. We're getting pretty excited about heading out "for real". It seem rather funny that we feel that the last 2 months of sailing has been just to get to where we feel the trip really starts! I passed the tests and got my HAM radio General Class license this past Saturday. My callsign is KE7CDS. Now we'll be able to use the Winlink network over our SSB (Single Sideband) radio to do the BLOG updates and other critical e-mail. For general corespondance, and certainly for any attachments, please continue to use the pete or petekellie at addresses.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Mission Bay - Nov. 4th

Made it to Mission Bay-that's 5 miles north of San Diego. It seems that a major accomplishment has been made, as San Diego is a milestone on our trip. We actually sailed most of the way today. Great wind, sun and beautiful blue water. Kellie still maintains that sailing is boring, but at least today there was nothing else to complain about. We're in a nice little anchorage for a few days. There's a beach, a playground and the weather is fine. We're planning a day at Sea World that we're all excited about.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Leaving Newport

We've had a great stay in Newport for the last few days. Don on Stargazer (another CSY44 Walkover) lent us his van for two outings so we could do some shopping. Kellie got some clothes and shoes for Carter, and I got propane, materials to make some adjustable struts for the solar panels and some PVC pipe and fittings to make a pressure accumulator for our freshwater system. We also went to Minnies, one of the best "used boat bits" stores on the west coast. I was looking for a spinnaker to help us move in light downwind conditions, but couldn't find the right one for the right price. I ended up getting a handful of snapshackles for $10 ea. They'll make rigging the pole much easier. The folks in California have been much friendlier than we were expecting. I know that sounds a bit odd, but some of the Canadian cruisers we've met have made the same observation... We're planning to head out this morning bound for Oceanside, then Mission Bay (just N. of San Diego) the next day to meet up with Kellie's mom. Winds are expected to be light... would have been nice to have a spinnaker along! Our current plan is to cross into Mexico probably around Nov. 14th.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Newport, CA

We just had a great downwind (!) sail from Alamitos Bay to Newport. There was only about 10kn of wind, but we still made an average of around 4kn boatspeed. We sailed alongside "Icarian" the whole way, which was a nice confirmation that our big heavy boat really isn't as slow as it seems sometimes! We're anchored out for the night, then have reservations at the guest dock at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club for a couple nights. After that we'll probably hightail it down to Mission Bay (just north of San Diego) to meet Kellie's mom, who's coming down to visit this weekend. It's sunny and warm - I wore shorts and a t-shirt all day! The water is still cold... about 63F, so no swimming (on purpose) yet.