OK, so here goes:
CAPITANIA DE PUERTO, CAPITANIA DE PUERTO (Port Captain, Port Captain)
AQUI VELERO PACHUCA (This is sailboat Pachuca)
QUIERO SALIR DEL PUERTO LA PAZ POR TRES O CUATRO SEMANAS (I want to leave Port La Paz for 3 or 4 weeks)
I got a response this time and he asked me to go to Canal Catorce (Channel 14). On VHF 14 we managed to get through the exchange OK. He wanted to know where we were going. "Las Islas del Norte" I replied. What marina? "No Marina, Fondear en Bahias." How many people? "Dos Personas." He replied that we were Good To Go and wished us a good trip.
Just after 9 AM Arnold hit the "start" button and the engine sprang to life. I winched most of the anchor chain up by hand and finished the job with the electric windlass to try out the foot switch and that worked fine. We then spent more than an hour motoring slowly down the long channel of La Paz, enjoying the sights in that brilliant sunshine. By the time we got clear of the channel we found that the wind which had been blowing at about 10 knots for most of the night died down. We decided to motor to the nearest good and interesting anchorage which was a bay named Ensenada la Gallina on the west side of Espiritu Santo Island, 25 miles from La Paz. The boat moved well through the calm seas and we got a bit of assist much of the way from our headsail.
I started to get really annoyed at the throttle constantly moving back, forcing me to frequently move it forward to maintain the engine revolutions. ("Throttle Creep") I know that there is a proper way to fix this problem but my quickie workaround was to loop the end of an elastic shock cord around the end of the throttle lever and tie the other end to the bottom of the binnacle, with enough forward tension to keep the throttle in place. This worked well - too well, maybe, because this could well be my fix until I return to Australia.
We motored into the bay at 1 PM and crept to the 4 meter mark very slowly because I knew that the bottom rose fast. I turned the boat around and at the 4.5 meter mark dropped the anchor. The water was so clear that I could see when the anchor touched bottom. I asked Arnold go give the boat a touch of reverse then had the pleasure of seeing the chain drop to make a neat line away from the anchor along the bottom.
Arnold and I liked the bay very much. The water was clear enough for us to see fish and one small ray snooping along the bottom. We were enclosed on three sides, protected from the north, east, and south. To the west were two small islands to give some protection. In any event, the Baja peninsula was only 17 miles to the west, limiting somewhat the seas from a strong west wind. I think that I can speak for Arnold when I say that for the first time we felt like we were in the Sea of Cortez that we had traveled all of this way to experience.
But there was no wind to speak of. After sharing a beer with Arnold I put down the boarding ladder and went for my first tropical swim since Hawaii and I must say that it was great. I visited the anchor and found that it had not bedded down but was confident that if the wind came up it would bite. I had 40 meters of chain in 4.5 meters of water and did not expect any trouble. But to be sure to be sure I set the anchor alarm to go off if we exceeded a .04 mile radius.
After lunch Arnold opened a large package of "Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Miniatures". They are small so I tried three of them. Only in America would somebody think of combining sugary milk chocolate with peanut butter. These miniature belly bombs deliver 220 calories from a serving of 5 of which 110 calories are from fat, and let's not even talk about the carbohydrates and sodium. It must be an acquired taste. After brushing my teeth to get that sickly sweet aftertaste out of my mouth I told Arnold that the rest of that belly cluster bomb was his.
I went for a second swim and did some hull cleaning with a paint scraper. Pachuca is so laden for cruising that her water line is too low, particularly aft. A beard tends to grow on the white paint between the antifouling and the boot topping. Also, I'm not that crazy about "hard" antifouling. Things tend to grow on it too quickly. The "soft" antifouling took me from Australia to Port Townsend with no problems, and this included months in the warm waters of Tahiti and Hawaii. I plan to revert to "soft" or "self ablating" antifouling when I get back to Australia. Anyway, after rinsing myself with fresh water and putting on fresh clothes I stowed the ladder back on top of the upturned Zodiac on the foredeck for a quick getaway at dawn if the wind is blowing.
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