Friday, May 20, 2011

Day 4- clumsy boobies, Isla Soccoro, rig adjustment

Time: 1500 Zulu (noon PV time)
Position 18-deg 43-min N 110-deg 56-min W
At anchor, Isla Soccoro
Wind: NW 10-12-knots
24-hr distance traveled (actually only 11-hrs of movement): approx 55-nm

No better way to break a seasickness fast than gorge on cantaloupe and cottage cheese, a bowl of pork and beans, and celery with peanut butter. Um, yum? We have been trying to continue to make westing as well as hold our northing while the winds aren't too strong, so we've been close hauled for the whole afternoon. Our boat is quite tender, so beating into the wind is, shall we say, a bit less than comfortable. After reorganizing things on the high side, we attempted to entice Grizzly to check out her new litter box spot in the more stable quarter berth. She gobbled up all of the treats, but was not interested in the box. The answer (of course) was falling off the wind. As evening drew near, we pulled the main down and fell off to a beam reach for the night. The ride was much improved and Griz's litter box went back to it's normal spot. After several hours of quasi-comfortable sailing, she gave it a couple of visits. These visits were accompanied by lots of meowing making sure we heard that she wasn't too happy to be getting into a little box to be thrown around while trying to do her business.

The sun is setting noticeably later each day as we continue west. Around 1900 PV time, as the sun sunk lower, Isla Soccoro was just coming into view with rays of light breaking through the low cloud cover to illuminate a majestic volcanic island. As darkness fell, the beacon of the lighthouse on Isla Soccoros' southern tip blinked comfortingly and a few hours further west, a series of lights appeared on shore (which we assumed to be the navy community that is rumored to use this island). The winds were lightening as Shawn signed off and Chris' watch started. Continually trying to understand where each creak and groan of the boat was coming from, Chris still hadn't slept well. He'd expected much more quite from our rig for his post falling-off-the-wind nap. As we are well aware that this is likely the last island we will see until Hawaii, when the groans didn't disappear after turning downwind, the wheels started turning.

While we were discussing whether to make a quick repair stop or not, a boobie alighted on our solar panels. Not a problem, that is, not until it slipped off and fell into the enclosed cockpit with a honking fuss. Inside the enclosure there was not much space for it to spread its wings as it clumsily clopped around the cockpit. Chris tried to gently persuade it to leave ushering it with a folding chair (?), but instead, it headed straight for the light of our cabin companionway. From down below, Shawn stopped its entrance by holding up her hands, which its downy-soft feathery mass bumped into. The bird was then nudged out onto deck and uncoordinatedly plopped itself into the water. Random.

Long story short, we dropped sail just south of Isla Soccoro to await dawn (6 precious hours) and a few hours at anchor to safely adjust the rig. Our theory is that all keel-stepped masts flex under sail and ours has been making contact with the deck on the forward and port edges. This in turn puts pressure on the non-flexible deck, which is connected to bulkheads below. It is these bulkheads which have been loudly talking to us as we have been tossed around through this passage thus far. So, as the morning dawned, we hailed the Mexican Navy base (whose lights we had watched twinkle all night) and requested permission (without permit) to stop and anchor for some repairs.

To reattach Rocky, we had to pull everything out of the starboard lazarette, so Tao already looked like an explosion when we set the hook at 0930. Chris went to work on the rig adjustments; loosening everything forward and port and tightened everything aft and starboard until the mast was more centered through the deck and the rigging was again appropriately tensioned. Shawn tackled organizing the food stores, cleaning, and quarantining any aging produce for imminent use. Three hours later we're still here with everything awaiting re-stowage for passage making. But it's a Friday and it's supposedly bad luck to start a passage on a Friday. We could talk ourselves out of that one as we weren't really starting from here, but really, we're tired. So, maybe we'll spend a little more of our precious time gazing at this volcanic wonder and resting and push off again in the morning.


  1. You two adventurers...great story and as always well written Shawn. I think we all agree it insane to pass up a brief rest and restructuring of your home and you get a swim and view of the very remote island. Good decision. Love DAVE/DAD

  2. A Boobie on board -- what fun! Let me repeat -- hydrate, eat, sleep , move, and laugh -- I love you lots -- tomorrow is a good time to sail forward. Mum