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Currently Cruising Updates - January 2018

January 10th, 2018

This edition of Currently Cruising Updates brings greetings from BCA members in New Zealand, the Med, Mexico, Panama and the Marshall Islands. The Currents editorial team wishes all currently cruising members fair winds and following seas in 2018; please stay in touch as we love to hear from you.

Barrie and Sandra Letts

Barrie and Sandra Letts, Passat II, Fleet of 2007

In 2017 we entered the Med. In March we returned to Seville, Spain to rejoin Passat II for another season of adventures. After recommissioning chores we anchored in the Guadalquivir River for 4 days, while a full on storm howled over us. Up to 60 kts were recorded in the nearby Strait of Gibraltar. Finally we left the river and cruised eastward along the remaining South coast of Spain to Barbate, stopping in Cadiz and passing Trafalgar enroute.

In part to meet VAT regulations, we left the EU, enjoying a fantastic sail across the Strait of Gibraltar to Tangier, Morocco. A new continent and culture awaited us. We enjoyed our visit, however, the harbor is not yacht friendly, resulting in some costly repairs (see blog for details). We departed Tangier at sundown to avoid another night of surging against the concrete dock. A night crossing of the straits to Gibraltar is not for the faint of heart. A true test of navigation by radar and AIS. We set a new record for vessels within a 6 mile range topping our English Channel crossings. We arrived in the wee hours safe and sound.

During our harbour hopping along the Spanish south and east coasts we took time to do inland trips to see Ronda and Granada. Both are world class historic destinations, giving great insight to the Medieval and Moor contributions to the Spanish culture. The summer months were enjoyed cruising the Spanish, Italian and French islands between Spain and Italy. Sunshine, warm clear waters and great food, wine and friends. It is a tough life, not. There were some challenges. Repairing the boat damage caused in Morocco, replacing the vibration dampener between the motor and transmission, and a forest fire next to one of our anchorages to name a few.

In September we ended our season in the Arno River, near Pisa, Italy, returning to Canada via Vienna and London. Another great season to savour as we enjoy the company of our Canadian family and friends. Details and pictures on our blog.

Wishing everyone fair winds and calm anchorages.

Steve and Linda Warren, Warren Peace, Fleet of 2007

After 11 years of cruising we are now in Shelter Bay Marina in Colon Panama doing a major refit. Hope to be completed in early 2018 and then will either head up to the Rio Dulce in Guatemala or go out to the San Blas Islands for the rest of the season. We are currently considering selling Warren Peace and doing a few years of land travel. If you are interested in a great offshore boat keep us in mind.

Karen and Chuck at Bloody Mary’s in Bora Bora

Karen Thomas and Chuck Gauthier, Katie G, Fleet of 2011

This is a brief overview of what we’ve been up to since we splashed in San Carlos, Mexico on September 30, 2016 after luckily escaping damage from Hurricane Newton that came in the vicinity of the yard where Katie G was in storage (about 30 boats knocked down).

We headed north to the Bay of LA and were blessed with an unusual “Indian summer” because we didn’t arrive until late in October.  When the northers began to blow we rode them south to San Carlos, across the sea to La Paz, and back across to Mazatlan to clear up some outstanding business with a few last stops at favorite anchorages along the Baja.  We spent Christmas in Mazatlan with our daughter Kate and after the holidays we sailed off to the Socorro Islands for our first true dip into the blue water.  The diving was great and the huge manta rays and other pelagic sealife left us with great memories.  Then we had a nice sail back to the mainland landing in San Blas and although we didn’t accomplish what we went there for, we did go on the jungle river trip which was just fantastic and highly recommended.  It was then a short sail to Puerto Vallarta to do final preparations for the crossing to the South Pacific.

Times in PV were challenging, we fell behind schedule, and it once again looked like our crossing was in jeopardy.  We were pretty much the last to leave and were having difficulty finding a connecting wind out to the trade winds but as luck would have it the winds just kept filling in front of us and we had a great crossing and were hove to off Hiva Oa in 22 days.  Our time in French Polynesia was rushed and even with spending four months there it didn’t seem like enough and we lamented not having the one year visa.

After spending time in the Marquesas, Tuamotos and Societies our visa was about to expire and so we reluctantly checked out of Bora Bora and set sail for Suwarrow in the Northern Cook Islands.  That was a great stop but, still running behind, it wasn’t long and we were off to Pago Pago, American Samoa.  We enjoyed Pago Pago more than we thought we would and stayed longer as well.  Then we were off to Tuvalu and made stops in Funafuti and Nukafetau.

The SPCZ was hovering over Tuvalu and it was also blocking the tradewinds along our intended route to Tarawa, Kiribati but we did work our way across the equator with a sigh of relief because we were late crossing and were out of our insurance coverage zone for a couple of weeks and were very thankful that lightening from one of the squalls didn’t find its way to Katie G.  When we got to Tarawa the winds were looking quite reasonable so we continued on and made landfall in Majuro, Marshall Islands where we are now.  We finally are back on schedule! (I know, I know….schedules and sailboats don’t play well together but they can be hard to avoid)  We are just chilling out after putting 10,000 nm under the keel since splashing in San Carlos and are anxiously awaiting another Christmas with daughter Kate (in three days but who is counting?).

Bright Moments at anchor

Linda Hawke and Jim Kelly, Bright Moments, Fleet of 2016

Since selling our Calgary home in 2016 and divesting ourselves of most of our material possessions, we moved onto our Outbound 46, Bright Moments, and spent nine months in Ensenada and other Mexican ports. We cast off from Mazatlan for the Marquesas in May last year for a benign twenty-one day Pacific crossing. A whirlwind tour of French Polynesia, Suwarrow and Tonga left us wanting more. One of the wonderful and surprising things we discovered about long term cruising is the opportunity to develop lasting and meaningful friendships in this  transitory lifestyle.

2018 finds us in Whangarei, New Zealand for the Southern summer. We look forward to exploring more of the amazing NZ islands by land and sea over the next few months, in between boat projects, of course. Come May, we’ll point toward Fiji, where Linda’s sisters are gathering for two weeks in June. Then, its on the Vanuatu and New Caledonia, probably. We’ll likely return to NZ for another cyclone season and decide on our next destination when the time comes. Long term plans are overrated.

We were on a tramp (Kiwi speak fer a hike) and enjoying the stunning Northland vistas in the Bay of Islands whilst humming “Yellow Submarine”. Decided to sum up our travels of the last year or so using that tune as a basis for the meter, our thanks and apologies to the Fab Four. We have spared no expense and, for those of you wanting the full multi-media experience, the “Sing Along with Mitch” (another 60’s phenomenon) version is available at the following secure link. (For those who prefer, here is the link to the lyrics.)

We trust the past year has been fruitful and wish the same to all for the upcoming.

PS: Watch for Linda’s article about creating boat cards from old sails in the January 18 edition of Good Old Boat.

Twitter: @svBrightMoments

Location: https://forecast.predictwind.com/tracking/display/BrightMoments

View of the rock formation of Juanico which hosted the Osprey nests

Laurie Richie and Scott Doran, Muskoka, Fleet of 2016

Muskoka has been in Mexico for over a year and we have just left the Sea of Cortez. We are presently in Mazatlan at Marina El Cid and are reflecting on our time in Mexico so far. We explored the Sea of Cortez from the bottom to the top, and spent 5 months in the safe and lively Marina San Carlos during hurricane season. We have posted a detailed account of our time north of La Paz in our YouTube blog, Off the Starboard Hull. It is in four parts and called “Sailing the North Sea of Cortez”. Even though we are glad that we explored the whole Sea of Cortez, we wouldn’t recommend traveling north of Puerto Refugio on Isla Angel de La Guarda due to the extreme tides and rapid currents. Highlights of our trip included Juanico and Loreto.

View of our anchorage in Puerto Refugio on Isla Angel de La Guarda

Our plans this year include exploring the Mexican mainland to Zihuatanejo for Sailfest in February, and doing the Pacific Puddle Jump with Henk and Lisa of Harlequin in late March or early April. We hope to see many Bluewater cruisers out there!

Cheers!

Anduril at anchor in the Sea of Cortez

Alice Kloosterboer and Greg Harms, Anduril, Fleet of 2016

Hello cruisers! We are currently in La Paz and enjoyed an informal BURP yesterday evening with fellow BCAers. I’m sure the photos of the BURP will be online soon as Rosario was there! We had left Anduril, our Farr 395, on the hard at Puerto Escondido last April and when we returned 5 weeks ago, we were delighted to find that she weathered the hot sun and Storm Lidia with few problems. A few plastic tarps were torn to ribbons, and, in general, adhesives and plastics fared poorly in the extreme heat. We took a week to get the boat in the water and install a new cooling system for the refrigerator and freezer. We travelled as far north as Bahia Concepion and the lovely mining town of Santa Rosalia. Heading south we enjoyed a few days of actual sailing as the northerly winds started to blow. Our plans are to cross over from the Los Muertos, on the Baja side, to Mazatlan in the next week. Then, we may visit Copper Canyon before heading south to Puerto Vallarta, Barra de Navidad, Zihuatanejo, and beyond.

The photo above shows our boat anchored at Puerto los Gatos known for its colourful rock formations.

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