three hulls, two people, one trip around the world…

Further northwards

The Hurricane season is over, sailing is possible again. Or it could be. Because now a period with little wind began. One can only make good progress with the thermal winds, i.e. very early in the morning or in the afternoon and one has to tack. Still, it feels better than being stationary for so long. So we made our way further north in small steps. Depending on whether you draw the border line straight or diagonally, we are finally on our way in the Sea of Cortez. When we left, it was just the end of daylight savings time, turning the clock back one hour, we drove around a cape and suddenly the clock had to be adjusted another hour. Mexico has several time zones, we are now in UTC-7. Of course, there followed a discussion on board: “You haven’t changed the clock yet.” “Yes, I did it this morning.” “That’s not possible, my mobile phone shows a different time than the analogue wall clock.” “Then there’s something wrong, I’m not yet soooo senile that I’ve only imagined doing the adjustment.” The internet then enlightened us about the time zone boundary. It got interesting when the mobile phone changed it’s clock several times back and forth, depending on which radio mast it was dialled into at the time. 😉

It takes a little while to get used to the 2-hour time difference. At the moment, we wake up early and are tired early. Of course, this is good if you want to take advantage of the thermal wind in the morning. We can then whiz along at 8-9 knots and enjoy the sailing until it gets slooooow again around noon. On the positive side, it’s getting cooler at night, in the morning it’s often only 26 degrees, so you need your duvet cover as a blanket. I’ve even been seriously thinking about getting out a real blanket. I’ll soon start looking where they’ve been hiding.

Before we left Banderas Bay, I went for a long walk along the coast with Doro and Frank. We walked first on the beach, then on the cliff on the road. This road is under construction. For kilometres we walked over the broken asphalt. At the end we came back to the beach and to a resort. It was very spacious and very luxuriously laid out with perfectly manicured gardens. We meandered through it and had to walk a fair distance to get to the main road, where we took one of the indestructible Mexican public buses to go back to La Cruz. After all, we had walked about 8 km.

A first somewhat longer stop on the way north was Guayabitos Bay. There we were moored in front of the small island of La Peña. There used to be a hotel on this island, but it fell victim to a hurricane some time ago. Now there is only a snack restaurant and the island is deserted in the evenings. This makes the place really quiet, the disco noise from the main town on the coast does not reach the anchorage. The village is called La Peñita, it starts directly behind the beaches that extend along the bay. Beautiful beaches with picturesque surf, maybe even suitable for surfers in some places. Hm, that doesn’t sound good for cruising sailors who want to go ashore. There is a river mouth that the local pangas also use for entry and exit. Good, we can try that. The surf still gets in there. So you have to choose a wave and surf with it into the river mouth before the next wave rolls in from behind. On the way back, you have to wait in front of the entrance until the waves are smaller and then shoot out as fast as possible. Our small inflatable boats are not very heavy and especially stern-heavy, where the motor plus 1 man sits. If the wave is too high, you are simply turned upside down or sideways and then tipped over by the next wave. In addition, we only had time until about 2 hours after the highest water level, because when the water runs out, the water level in the river mouth is too low in the wave trough to lower the motor. All in all, it was a small adventure that we mastered with only a little water spilling over into the dinghy.

The village is medium sized with a long street lined with the usual small shops, clothes and souvenir shops, mobile phone shops, Oxxo mini supermarkets and also a slightly bigger supermarket with fresh vegetables on offer. A stop for us, of course. On the way back, we went to a small restaurant in a side street. There, they stored the ice cream we had bought in their refrigerator for us. Very nice.

Further along the coast: small bays with and without shore leave.

Mathias reports: Recently, I was asked what I am thinking when sailing, what is it that keeps you busy? Well, here it is: The other day we were trying to reach a destination in the evening, but it always seemed to take the same amount of time. In the morning, the destination was 8 hours away at current speed. Two hours later, it was still 8 hours away. When at lunch time and in the afternoon the destination was still 8 hours away as we got slower and slower, it got me thinking… What is the mathematical description of this? We will obviously never get there, it always being 8 hours away, but can we get as close as we like, and then perhaps jump the last metre? Ok, so, the model it T * v = s, where T is the time it will still take, so in our case 8 hours. v is the velocity, and s is the distance still to be travelled. And since v = ds/dt, the derivative of the distance over time, the solution is simply an exponential function: s = S * exp(t/T), where S is the initial distance at t = 0. But hang on, this would mean we get further and further away from our destination as time passes by. Something is wrong! Ah! My usual problem – the velocity is a vector and it points in the opposite direction as the distance, as this is decreasing over time. So, the differential equation is -T * v = s, and this gets solved by s = S * exp(-t/T). Excellent, we will get closer and closer to the destination, but asymptotically slower as we approach. It will take us forever! Actually, what does the plotter prediction say? Ah, 8 hours, we are still on track! 🙂

Mantanchen Bay off San Blas

At San Blas, Mathias and I decided not to enter the harbour. The entrance is not very wide and, according to the guidebook, is constantly silting up. So you can only enter the harbour at all if you are instructed to do so by the port captain. Afterwards you are stuck in a river mouth and exposed to mosquitoes. On top of that, there is a lot of surf in front of the entrance. The Fradolin II wanted to try her luck anyway. The port captain did not answer on channel 16 and a marina boat patrolling outside did not want to act as pilot either. Cautiously, the Fradolin II approached the entrance. Suddenly, we saw them get caught by a surf wave and get properly buffeted. They quickly turned into the waves and headed back into deeper water with great heaving and sinking movements. They didn’t want to make a second attempt, because to make matters worse, three quarters of the entrance was blocked by a dredger. So our decision had been right. The SAN could have got into trouble there. We have more draft and can’t turn as fast as a catamaran. So the San Blas shore leave is cancelled.

Bread substitute for Mathias

Trip to snorkel in Guayabitos Bay. The one skid only holds the air for about 1 hour, there is no hole to be found 🙁 Luckily the pump is small and handy.

Oh yes, then there was a birthday to celebrate. Have you heard the joke: “Most women die at 39”? It means that very few women admit to being older than 39. With that in mind, we celebrated my 39th birthday for the 22nd time. I got a lot of birthday greetings and even a few presents. Doro and Frank came on board in the evening and it was a nice day. Now I can slowly get used to being counted among the “senior citizens” in future and pretend to be wiser than Mathias for 19 days. Mathias’ ex-boss had told him to organise something special for me. But that’s not so easy to do on the water and under constant observation. Besides, the last birthday surprise would have been hard to top anyway (I reported: The mobile phone-free date). Instead, he was especially nice to me and even tasted my birthday marble cake without complaining. All the years before, he always refused because he always assumed that my marble cakes were just as dry as the ones his mother used to bake. To be on the safe side, there was also fruit cake as a birthday cake. A November day in the most beautiful summer sunshine, nothing to complain about.

Our current stop is Mazatlan, a major port city. We will spend a few days here. After that, we will enter regions that have only sporadic mobile phone coverage. The horror! No internet! We will report back once we’ll resurface 😉

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