Isla Socorro – Days 5 & 6…..

Dear F&F,
January 18-19, 2009

Last night after an off & on rainy day, the wind piped up. Always seems to happen at night. My Captain goes on high alert when we are anchored & the wind gauge shows steady over 15-20 & gusts 25-30 knots. We really feel the effect of the elements especially the wind & swell. Different from a house where you can close yourself inside during rough weather, we have to be on the lookout that our house stays in its place! We have a lot of confidence in our anchor, it has never dragged yet (quick – knock wood!). But we are never complacent when the conditions outside are boisterous. We have to watch the relation of the boat to the shore of the cove as we swing with the wind, swell & current. From one wind angle we can be fine with plenty of room to swing, but if the wind shifts 90 or more degrees we can find ourselves a bit uncomfortably close to the rocks. We also keep an eye on Chuck & Linda\’s boat & how close we may be to them. We both keep our VHF radio on 24 hrs so that if either boat had a problem we can hail each other. Another thing we have to do when it\’s windy is secure everything outside, like all the dive gear. We don\’t want to lose anything that could blow overboard. After a fresh water rinse we hang our dive stuff on the lifelines so had to bring in all the still damp towels, gloves, & lycra stuff inside.

To keep me occupied as we were on weather watch, I continued work on making playlists from the mp3s Skye bought for us & burned onto CDs. We love our 2 main stations: Spa & Coffee House on Sirius radio which still works all the way down here. She added some \”bonus tracks\” some of which are growing on us. I also made a not great version of brownies. It was a recipe from Runners Magazine. I chose it because I kinda had most of the ingredients. Instead of oats & wheat germ, I just used my whole wheat/white flour mix. Which frankly tastes a bit stale, which is not shocking since I think the flour was from California, so over a year old! Note to self – buy fresh of such items whenever you can! They turned out a bit dry due to the oven being a bit too hot again. Although I did not have the flame going out problem upon turning it down, so this is progress.

Despite the windy conditions, Scott managed to sleep. I was pretty much \”on watch\” a lot all night. I was not worried or afraid, but the noise in the rigging & other parts of the boat make more noise than usual & I just was not feeling sleepy. It seemed an apt time to read my book about the solo sailboat racer, Ellen MacArthur. The part of the book I read was about her rounding Cape Horn. So to be tucked into a protected cove on this lovely Mexican island was quite a comfort compared to the hardships she was enduring. I did finally start feeling the eyelids get heavy at about 11:30 pm. At 11:50 pm I woke up thinking that several hours had passed. Darn! Only 20 minutes!! So it was one of those nights. I have felt quite good despite not that much deep or continuous hours of sleep. I have really been happy at how well I\’ve felt. I think all the excitement of diving & snorkeling with the mantas, sharks & now whales, has given me incredible energy.

Until this morning… We got up at 6:45 am as usual. We were happy that the wind had finally calmed down in the early morning hours, but we had leftover sloppy seas, so just walking around making breakfast was more of a challenge than usual. I was ecstatic to have an abundance of eggs. Don\’t think I mentioned it yet, but Scott & Linda dinghied over to Nautilus Explorer yesterday to say hi & give them our trash. Not having to stow 5 weeks of trash onboard has been a real bonus! Scott also asked on my behalf if the chef he had any eggs to spare. He gave us a flat! Egg heaven. And a pound of margarine. I prefer butter, buy hey, beggars can\’t be choosers! So I\’m feeling really flush on breakfast again. Shared both with Chuck & Linda. Anyway, we hung up the load of laundry we\’d washed last night & then I really hit a wall. I was just soooo tired. Scott was eager to go locate the 6 foot submerged pinnacle Terry had told us about that is supposed to be a good dive site. Jeff the whale researcher emailed us the correct latitude/longitude so with the dinghy GPS it was easy to find. Scott took Linda out with him & they found it right away. He marked it as a waypoint for diving & snorkeling tomorrow.

Before dinner Scott decided the boat was too close for comfort to one side of the cove. So we hoisted the anchor & relocated to another spot. Not able to clearly see the bottom, to know if we were in sand or on rocks, Scott put on his scuba gear & dove to check it out. Good thing because the chain was fouled up on rocks & if we needed to leave in a hurry for any reason that could have been a problem. He used another one of Terry\’s handy suggestions: clip on lift bags to a couple sections of chain to keep it lifted off the rocks. Lift bags are literally heavy duty plastic bags specially designed to hold air in them to life heavy objects off the bottom of the ocean. The anchor needs to be well dug in to keep us secure, but the chain does not need to all be lying on the ocean floor. More important that it can be raised fast without any hang ups. Mr. Safety Patrol keeps us safe once more.

I made chicken tacos for dinner. It was a beautiful \”red sky at night\” sunset. Not much to tell Terry at the 6:00 pm radio chat since we did not dive these 2 days. We are doing another load of laundry while the generator is on. Chuck & Linda have to do their laundry in a bucket! I am so glad to have (almost) all the comforts of home onboard \”Beach House\”.

We saw distant whales off & on today. No mantas seen. We are eager to get back in the water tomorrow.

Scott & Cindy