I was up at 6 M to get a head start on the final tasks. I didn't mind getting up early because it would ensure that I was sleepy at my early bed time while Arnold took the first pre-midnight watch.
I wrote a card to a friend then left the premises to mail the card and to visit the fuel dock to check out the layout of the place and to plan our approach. By the time I got back to the boat Arnold was up and he joined me in some of the tasks.
I made a very modest adjustment to the upper end of the mast by backing the starboard upper shroud a modest one turn of the turnbuckle and tightening the port turnbuckle one turn. This was an attempt to eliminate a very slight bend of the mast above the second cross tree. I then checked the tension of the forestay and it looked fine to me, so I left it alone. It seemed unwise to tighten the forestay because of policy rather than physical evidence. If I see the forestay flogging while under sail I will take that as a definite sign that the forestay is too loose.
I telephoned Nancy at Port Townsend for a farewell chat and asked her to pass my regards to her partner Lynn.
Then I went walkabout and purchased a can of WD40 at Downwind Marine went on to the Seabreeze bookshop and finally West Marine where I found an international distress flag (orange with black circle and square). After reading Reanne Hemmingway-Douglass's "Cape Horn, One Man's Dream, One Woman's Nightmare" I could see the value of a distress flag in certain circumstances which I hope never arise. On the way back to the boat I had a last shower then visited the SDYC office to formally notify them of our departure and to hand in the plastic key to recover my $100 deposit. We folded and packed away the bicycle and placed the Zodiac in the cockpit. Arnold had filled the water tanks He retrieved the shore power electrical cable and I rearranged our lines for departure. I placed a farewell call to dear friends Jean and Burl in Port Townsend and we had a short chat.
We started the engine and backed out of the slip at about 12.30 PM. The fuel dock was only a few hundred meters away but as we approached it we could see a large launch at the jetty that I had scouted out. On the other side of the jetty there was an unoccupied red boat preventing an approach from that side. We started to stooge around in circles and eventually there was a queue of 4 boats waiting for the launch to clear out. After he cleared out we moved in far enough for the second boat to tie up behind Pachuca and use the outer pump. There I learned that the guy in the launch wanted a pump out, then gas, then water, then finally fuel, all at his leisurely laid back pace.
Anyway, we took on 10.7 gallons (22.6 liters) which represented a fuel consumption of 2.3 liters per hour. The fueling operation must have taken over one hour because it was 1.50 PM before we were on our way. As we were passing the SDYC I telephoned John and Priscilla and they told me that they had been watching us from their house all along. Arnold waved to them in case they were looking through binoculars. Soon my telephone rang and it was Brenda, Stephen, and friend Barbara who was visiting from Canberra. They must have woken up early in Fremantle and managed to telephone at the perfect time. I was able to describe the wonderful scene around us.
It was a crisp and brilliantly sunny day. There was a good wind and the entire bay and its approaches were teeming with sail and power boats of all shapes and sizes. It was an aquatic playground reminiscent of the Sidney Spit area of the Gulf Islands in Canada. What a contrast to our entry two weeks earlier across post-gale roiled and desolate waters.
We soon rolled out the headsail and found ourselves doing over 6 kt with the engine barely ticking over. Once we were clear of the shipping channel we shut down the engine and enjoyed magnificent sailing for the rest of the day. We were on a broad reach being pulled by the jib and doing over 6 knots initially. San Diego was fast receding and Tijuana was getting bigger. I struck the USA courtesy flag and raised the Mexican flag. The I set up Jeff the Monitor wind steering and we switched off the autopilot which had done a good job of steering us out. At 4.30 PM we were 1.3 miles west of Middle Coronado Island, well inside of Mexican waters and heading south at 5.1 knots. My plan was to cook rice with carrots, and onion, and chili beans. I would then have an early night and be ready for my post-midnight watch. If the wind held up we would reach Ensenada soon after daylight.
At 7 PM just before serving dinner Arnold and I were pleased to see that the new depth sounder had read to a depth of 117 meters before ceasing reporting depths, as we crossed over the continental shelf to depths of more than 1300 meters. 117 meters is not bad for an in-hull transducer.
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