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Docpal last won the day on April 7

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About Docpal

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    Advanced Member
  • Birthday 07/17/1945

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    Puerto Escondido,Baja, Mexico
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  1. Docpal

    Island cruise

    Rattus, I will gladly embrace the suckiness of Baja.... This might be my last cruise of the season due to our untimely displacement into the Puerto Escondido marina mooring field. I am easily the smallest boat in the marina. The moorings are about 3-400 yards away, and usually upwind of the dinghy dock and I only have my 2.5 hp Suzuki down here this trip so it's a case of motoring out to Petunia, swapping the motor over to her, motoring outside ( they don't "allow" sailing in/out of the marina so I have to motor through the channel which isn't always easy due to the narrowness and velocity of tides), and then reversing the process when I get back into the marina. Royal PIA... However NEXT season the plan is to rig a tabernacle for the masts to facilitate raising/lowering them, and then taking Petunia for a "tour" of the peninsula. Lopes Mateos lagoon on the Pacific side with it's sand dunes on one side, and mangoves on the other is particularly interesting as long as I get there before the gray whales do and it is then closed to private boat traffic. And then there's Bahia Concepcion which could be a week or more of beach hopping, and Cabo San Jose down off the tip of the peninsula, etc., etc. I am fortunate to have a good friend down here who was the sailing master for NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership Schools) for many years so he knows every small boat beach within 300 miles. Winter winds can be limiting since the entire Sea of Cortez side becomes a lee shore, and beach landings aren't always graceful depending on how much gravel/rock has been deposited after the Summer storms/hurricanes. That also limits beach launchings in many areas as you have probably learned that the standard "rules of tire deflation" mean dumping over 50% of your air to make it across the sand to even GET to the beach. And then you have to reinflate when you get back onto hard pan, etc. SO, while the water side of things is obviously wonderful it's access TO the water that we spend a lot of time dealing with. Luckily there are SO many islands within 20 miles that we can usually find a place to hide from the "Nortes", but this Winter some of them lasted 7-8 days with winds exceeding 40+ mph and sizeable swells in the channels (water depths can run to 1,000 feet between islands....). This Winter was exploratory and I learned a lot. Next Winter I hope to use some of that knowledge and expand our range.... Hasta,
  2. Docpal

    Island cruise

    Seasons are starting to change down here, and there are less 'Nortes' to deal with. Temps are also starting to rise again (90+ yesterday). Took a short 3 day cruise to some of the local islands near Puerto Escondido and camped out on their beaches.One great thing about desert beach camping is the lack of bugs. We also timed the cruise so tides weren't too extreme either. First day was a short run over to Isla Carmen and a spot called 'Bahia Marquer". Wide open beach that gave us protection from the SE winds that day, but not a lot of shade to keep the Sun off of us (next cruise will include a foldable 'cabana' style shelter....). Second day we spent all of our time trying to beat against wind/tide through the pass between Isla Carmen and Isla Danzante. 7 miles in 7 hours in 90 degrees.... By the time we made it through and found the second camp site we were whupped. BUT the second camp site was pretty spectacular! Too small for larger boats, but protected from winds in 3 directions with large over hanging cliffs/caves for protection. As you can see from the attached pix having a small, beachable boat opens up big territory. We would anchor fore/aft in a way we could adjust our distance off the beach in case of weather, and in the worst case scenario we could still swim out to the boat and haul ourselves beyond the surf line. A Bruce anchor worked well on the bow, while a Danforth type was perfect as the beach anchor as it really dug deeply into the sand. Bottoms here can be rocky but if you make an exploratory pass before anchoring you can usually spot sandy patches as the water is SO clear. At night we could hear dolphin swimming off the beach, and near dusk we could see the "blows" from Finback whales running through the channel. But we missed the Blue whale by a few weeks. Since the ONLY way to get out to these locations is by boat, and it IS a national marine park there wasn't the usual tourist trash. Instead we'd find skeletons of prior sea life occupants. last day of the cruise we finally got to run downwind for hours on end, but as we neared the marina the wind shifted again, and the 10 knot breezes went to over 20 in a heart beat. We just pinched along until we got under the lee of the headland and then got the sails down to motor into the marina. Looooong political story but ALL of us who were moored outside the marina were 'evicted' last month as the marina decided it wanted to "expand", so we were all given 3 months of free mooring inside the marina. Next season I will probably be trailer sailing Petunia down here which will open up my range tremendously.... Gonna leave her down here for the Summer while I drive North to Mendocino and finish off 'Rancho Palumbo'. Then I have to fly back East load up a U haul with the rest of my tools/gear and drive it back West. Rented a house down here for next year which will allow me to work on Petunia a little and do some maintenance work she is deserving of...
  3. Docpal

    Outboard advice

    Awhile back I owned a marine towing/salvage company in Key West. In nine years we never towed in a boat with a Yamaha on it...
  4. Docpal

    Core Sound 20 Mark III #3 "Jazz Hands"

    Steve, For some reason this just popped up on FB and it seemed appropriate to drop it here: http://www.rhinegold.co.uk/music_teacher/jazz-hands/
  5. Docpal

    Everglades Challenge time again

    Ken, They put new wheels on it too ! What NICE people....!
  6. Docpal

    "There be whales Cap'n...!"

    Graham, I needed to squeeze this in before the Everglades Challenge kicked off next weekend !
  7. Docpal

    "There be whales Cap'n...!"

    Tom, San Ignacio is actually further North than we were, but the setting is very similar. The Mexican name for the area we were in is now Magdalena Bay. I had NO idea that Captain Scammon was such an "opportunist" as once he discovered that the grey whales would return every year to the bay to breed, he also returned every year and slaughtered them while they were then trapped inside the lagoon. One of the best parts of the day was seeing how many Mexican families came to the bay to show their kids the whales. These families, and their kids will have a say in the future treatment of the local environment, and the whales as well. You didn't even need to go out on a boat as the lagoon isn't very wide so you could actually sit on the dock and watch them as they swam by... Graham, I needed to do this before the Everglades Challenge kicked off this weekend !
  8. Docpal

    "There be whales Cap'n...!"

    And the last one with the baby showing off-
  9. Docpal

    "There be whales Cap'n...!"

    Here they are in motion...
  10. Drove across the peninsula yesterday and went to what was formerly called "Scammon's lagoon". Now it's the town of Adolfo Lopez Mateos ( turns out that Scammon was not a very nice guy as he discovered the grey whales breeding here and sailed into the lagoon to slaughter them....) . Luckily the locals have now formed a cooperative and ONLY their boats ( NO private boats are allowed) can be in the lagoon for breeding season which runs up to the end of March/early April. We chartered a Panga and went out to find whales. Took all of 20 minutes before we found "Olivia' pictured in this video and her 3 week old calf. Olivia has become acquainted with a few captain's/boats and will swim right up to the boat to let you pet her ! The calf was like most kids, playing, rolling around, etc. Very surreal experience having a 40 foot animal watching you as you rub her head... Throughout the day we sighted about 25 whales, many of which would let you get up close, but not touch them. In fact at times we were surrounded by whales of all sizes ! The lagoon itself is a pretty special place with sand dunes on one shore, and mangroves on the other. I'd like to bring Petunia over in the "off season"and spend some time here....
  11. Docpal

    Aussie Open OB-20 #26

    VERY nice.....!
  12. Two quick videos of a great day on the water with a friend. We scouted the coast for future camp sites. As you can see by these videos there isn't a lot of boat traffic in the area.. https://youtu.be/2f1jspk80BU https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFbrwag-8po&feature=youtu.be
  13. Docpal

    Petunia in Baja

    Return leg of the cruise https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFbrwag-8po&feature=youtu.be
  14. Docpal

    Petunia in Baja

    Had a beautiful day on the water today as a Buddy and I sailed our boats down the coast looking for prospective places to cruise/camp. 8-10 knots of breeze kept us moving, but we had the problem of a lee shore and falling tide which kept me from getting in too close to the beach. Even so the Sun kept me from spotting an underwater rock and luckily the "breakaway centerboard cam cleat" did exactly what it was supposed to do and kept me from dealing with more than a wet speed bump... Still haven't quite figured out how to take videos, but I will keep practicing. Here's a short one..:
  15. Docpal

    Petunia in Baja

    After a bunch of repairs due to the road trip down here I finally sank my mooring and hung Petunia on her this week. Puerto Escondido is the local hurricane hole and very well protected inside the harbor (see attached ), but there can be a bunch of boats anchored in there when the weather kicks up so I decided to stay outside the main harbor to get some privacy, and have less traffic running past us constantly. I had scouted this location in the Spring and it's between Puerto Escondido marina, and Rattle snake beach,18 miles South of Loreto . ALL of the East coast of Baja is a lee shore in the Winter so I decided to swing from a mooring rather than launch/retrieve on a daily basis. We're in 18 feet of water, and I've got three 22 pound Danforths set in a pattern similar to the Mercedes logo with swivels on the bottom and top of the "up chain". Anchors are oriented North, East, and South. There's a sizeable hill blocking all winds from the West. Weather patterns down here are from the North in the Winter, and South in the Summer which is the hurricane season locally. I will not be here in the Summer so even though I'm somewhat exposed to that direction it's not a problem. As you'll see in the attached pix I'm only about 30 yards off of the beach/rocks at low tide but the water is deep right up to those rocks. I bought a 58 year old wooden dinghy ( now named "Peaches")and I put wheels on her transom so I can flip and roll her to the water's edge at low tide instead of dragging her all the way. Weather runs in cycles down here with "Nortes" blowing in for a few days with winds anywhere from 15-45, and then periods of beautiful, Sunny days and breezes between 5-15. Daytime temps are currently running in the upper 70's, nights are low 60's. Locals think it's humid, I don't. This time of year there are usually large cruisers, power, and sail hanging in the area. Local "Pangeros" use 24 foot power boats and beach launch, or use the ramp in town for access to the Sea of Cortez. Much of this area is part of a national marine park now and large scale commercial fishing boats aren't allowed anywhere near here. Minimal, if any "official" presence on the water too. There is a small naval station nearby, but I've only seen one vessel at their pier in the 2 months I've been here. NO services such as Sea Tow, BoatUS etc., so it's very real out there. You get into trouble, you get your self out of it. As in many places more people carry cell phones than VHF but once you're out of range..... And even if you can raise someone you need at least basic Spanish to expect results. My goal for the next four months is to try and hit a few more of the off shore islands, and do some exploring, beach camping, and a little snorkeling. I was in the water doing the mooring this week and with a 3mm farmer john wet suit it was tolerable. When I go back to Mendocino for the Summer, Petunia is going to stay in Baja! I got a 10 year "import permit" before coming down here so I'll just find a storage yard and throw her cover on her. I don't want to run her back and forth again after this last trip, and she's not the right boat for the Northern California coast anyway. Damn, I guess that means I'll need another boat for California... Attached pix are all from today which was cloudy, and windless most of the time. I took shots from different angles so you can get a relative feel of the location, area. If I can figure out how to use my video camera I'll try to get some footage as we start exploring the coast/off shore islands. Feliz año nuevo to all...You can see what I'll be having for dinner tonight....

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