Crossing \”The Sea\”……

August 29 & 30, 2008

Turns out these were our last 2 days of diving in the Sea of Cortez. We took
Monty, of catamaran \”The Heavenly Star\”, diving. He is certified, but hadn\’t
been on scuba in a very long time. Scott & I kept a close eye on him & he
did great. He was thrilled & very appreciative to have had the opportunity.
Very few boaters, even those certified to dive, carry the full array of gear
needed to be a self-sufficient dive boat. Terry has been providing & filling
tanks for JJ, Mick & Joyce. We have gotten good use out of our scuba
compressor this summer and will be installing some upgrades soon to help it
last even longer.

Our very last dive we got to see something spectacular. It is rare to see
zebra moray eels, and we saw two that appeared to be fighting (or mating?).
They are black with white stripes about 3 1/2 feet long. They were
completely wrapped around each other like tangled lines. Wrestling &
struggling for over 10 minutes. Finally 1 extracted itself & swam away to
another hole in the rock (with another species of moray eel!). We guessed it
was a territorial battle, but such fierceness right in front of us was
really unusual to see. They paid us no attention at all.

It seemed that every species we had seen all summer swam by to bid us
farewell. We enjoyed every minute of diving in the Sea of Cortez, but it was
time to move on.

August 31, 2008

The Weather Guru Don Anderson is convinced something will develop off
Acapulco mid week, but NOAA is not reporting it yet. We also heard the news
about Hurricane Gustav that may hit Louisiana. Not a danger to us, but we
hope that it does not cause a lot of damage there.

We decided prudence was the better part of valor & took off across early
this morning. We like 6 hour watch shifts, more opportunity to get sleep
when you are off. It was calm & hot all day. I am barely wearing clothes. It
is 88 degrees with 76 percent humidity. The ocean breeze makes it
comfortable. It will get better as the sun goes above the bimini & there is
more shade in the cockpit.

Just what you want when underway: an uneventful passage.

Sept 1, 2008

I love waking up to a new day at sea. After a long dark night it is
wonderful to have the sunshine & be able to see as I move around inside &
out. I stayed alert for about half my 9 pm to 3 am watch. Scott had
convinced me that we were unlikely to see any other boat traffic so I did
not have to stand watch like Hiawatha. So when I got drowsy I went to the 20
minute timer watch. I was a bit nervous at first that I would not hear my
wristwatch beep, it is not that loud. But did not want to use the kitchen
digital timers since they are really loud & might disturb Scott\’s sleep. At
first I lay down in the cockpit on a cushion, staring up at the stars. But I
could feel the boat\’s movement a lot & it was emphasized by watching the
navigation light at the top of our mast wig wag around. A bit queasy
inducing. So I moved some of the blue cushions in the salon, so I could lie
on my side for napping. That worked out great. The next 3 hrs flew by. I
usually woke up just a few seconds before my watch timer was about to beep.
I couldn\’t believe 20 minutes had passed, so I knew I had been asleep. I was
alert enough to go outside, confirm the auto pilot was maintaining the
correct course. Note our speed, check the barometer, wind speed & direction
& scan the horizon for lights that could be another boat. Since we did not
stay along the coast of Baja to La Paz, but cut across directly from Agua
Verde there was not much likelihood of traffic. There is a La Paz – Mazatlan
ferry & cargo ships, but we are not in their path.

Despite pretty good rest from my cat naps, I happily turned over the boat to
Scott when he got up at 3 am. I made him a cup of tea. Put out cold cereal.
Gave him my report & went down to our cabin for a wonderful sleep. I took a
Sonata to make sure I really slept soundly. It worked great. I woke up 2
times, but went quickly back to sleep. Being well rested makes all the
difference in the world in my attitude & sense of adventure vs. enduring
something grueling. I got up at 8:15 am so we could have some overlap time
together. Scott reported to me, we put both the main & genoa up & are motor
sailing. We have fuel to burn since we don\’t really want to be loaded to the
gills for our haul out in mid Oct & between now & then we\’ll be on dock
power so not using up diesel running the generator.

At our current pace we will arrive at about 2 am tonight (early Tues a.m.).
I had designed our watch schedule so Scott would be up for both the 8 am & 7
pm HAM radio nets. We may switch to 3 or 4 hr shifts after that since Scott
will definitely want to be up when we take the boat into the marina in the
dark. Because we\’ve been there before he says he feels confident to do this
& not slow down & spend 2 full nights out here. Always better to have the
shortest exposure to the elements if there is a risk of unfriendly weather
cropping up. It is hurricane season around here, but it seems we picked a
nice calm window so are taking full advantage of it. Arrived at 1 a.m. and
we were met at the dock by the security guards who were expecting us. A
nice night\’s sleep at the dock.

Scott & Cindy, Mazatlan, Mexico