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Adventure

"Adventure" N62-22 - David and Karen Crannell


March 31, 2006

We are anchored off Manuel Antonio National Park which is near Quepos, Costa Rica. The park is very well visited and well managed. We kayaked ashore today and yesterday. Yesterday we went swimming and walked a little in the park. Today we got up early and were ashore by 7AM to beat the heat. We walked for 3 hrs and saw most of the park plus lots of wildlife. We saw sloths, which move at night and look like blobs during the day. Saw squirrel monkeys and white faced monkeys and lizards and many birds. No snakes or crocks. The whiteface monkeys are very smart and quite good beggars. One came right up to a girl standing next to us. The girl was holding a bag of melons for her morning snack. The monkey grabbed the bag but the girl held on and the monkey gave up. They would almost jump in your lap begging. We kayaked ashore vs taking the dingy. The water is 85 degrees or so very comfortable, getting a little wet in the dingy was no problem. It is 90 to 95 in the sun. Fortunately the park walks are all shaded. The beaches are beautiful in the park and in this area in general. The area reminds Karen and I of the South Pacific.

We went into the town of Quepos - we were not impressed. Had a good meal and got some ice cream and candy after doing an hour on the internet! We rode the bus back and forth from the park. Cost .25 cents each way, lots of riders. Lots of visitors here, many young folks. We were anchored next to a small cruise ship with Elder Hostel Guests aboard. You had to be over 55 to be on the cruise. We figured the average age of the cruisers was 75. The boat the Sea Voyager charges $3,500 for a one week cruise from Panama through the Canal and up here to near Los Suenos, Costa Rica where the guests depart at 9AM and a new load arrive tomorrow at 4 PM and they do the trip in reverse. The guests raved about what a great time they were having aboard, food was tremendous, crew very helpful and informative. The ship cruises at night and the guests explore natural wonders ashore during the days. Karen and I may do something like this in 10 to 15 years.

We are headed for Drake Bay tomorrow and hopefully to Isla Del Cano the next day then to Golfito and Banana Bay Marina the next day.

Our three crew of Roy/Bob and Ed departed Mar 29th, a day early for some additional tours in San Jose. They had a good time but had hoped the fishing would be better, but they enjoyed the two bill fish each of them caught. Hopefully the fishing will get better. Apparently the fish are 20 to 40 miles offshore and we have been cruising near shore the last week or so. We appreciated all the help this crew gave us - especially Roy who helped with many fix-it projects aboard Adventure.

Our families are doing well. Our daughter Wendi and her husband Todd (Ryne's parents) have a contract on their old house which is very much a stress reliever since they have already moved into there new home near South Bend Ind. Scott is preaching often at the church he is interning at in Hadenfield in NJ, Holli and Chole are doing well. All 4 kids will be in Bermuda with us at the same time which is very exciting.

March 28, 2006

We arrived in Los Suenos. This is a big sports fishing marina filled with US sport fishing yachts from mostly the East Coast of the U.S.

There is a Marriott Resort here that looks very nice from the outside. The town nearby is Jaco. It is a nice typical Latin town. The marina is very expensive and I thought had a pool but does not and also doesn't have internet access so I am somewhat disappointed. The idea of this place is for owners of the condos to keep their boats here at the marina and fish for billfish offshore. The condos have the pools. The marina has about 180 boats and most seem to be active. The condos sell for $500,000 to in the millions and are very nice. There is an 18 hole golf course.

We had a bouncy night last night and left early this morning and arrived at the Marina about 10:00 AM, we decided to skip the monkey farm since it meant a wet dingy ride and more getting wet getting in and out of Adventure. We washed Adventure and did some repairs then had lunch at the marina restaurant, then went to town. Had some ice cream in town, very good and cheap. One taxi charged us $10 to go from the marina to town then another charged $7.00 to go the other way. My group does not like to negotiate especially the Admiral.

Our crew leaves tomorrow for San Jose so Karen and I will be alone aboard Adventure - one of the few times we have been alone aboard. We have a week to go about 140 miles to Golfito, we have many nice stops planned.

Admiral Karen, Capn Dave, Engineer Roy, Bob and Ed and Gato's Princess and
Brodie

 

March 27, 2006

We are anchored off of Isla Tortugas on the Golfo de Nicoya. We are halfway down the coast of Costa Rica. The weather has turned more windy. It is blowing 10 to 15 kts tonight. Not too bad but annoying. We had a very rolly night last night in our anchorage in Bahia Carrillo. We went ashore and had dinner at the Hotel Guanamar. Very good dinners - they were 10s. Too bad the Pina Coladas were 7.5s. The hotel is basically a place to fish from. It was nice enough with a nice view and pool. About 10 charter sports fishing boats work from the bay. They go 25 to 30 miles offshore. Yesterday most boats caught 1 sailfish but one boat caught 6. Today we were listening on the radio and the fishing seemed better. We heard of a number of sails being released and one wahoo.

We went ashore today after arriving at Isla Tortugas and investigated a zoo along the shore. We plan to take the tour tomorrow morning. We then went ashore to the beach we are anchored off of. Many tourists come from the big city of Puntarenas to swim on the Beach. The area reminds Karen and I of the South Pacific. There were several tourist boats and yachts anchored off the beach but they all left before dark. We swam and walked the beach then came back to Adventure. We had hamburgers tonight made from ground sirloin, they were great along with baked beans and corn on the cob. No South Beach diet tonight!

We had good news today and found out that our daughter Wendi is coming to Bermuda to join the rest of our kids for Memorial Day weekend. We are really looking forward to all the kids being aboard Adventure. It will be Wendi's first time aboard. We are planning to spend a couple of nights in Bermuda at the Marina at the Princess Resort, a really upscale marina in Bermuda.

We found out today that we can get a slip at the Los Suenos resort which is only two hours from where we are. We look forward to using the pool and being pampered. Our overworked generator will get a rest. Bob/Roy and Ed will leave Adventure Mar 30 from Los Suenos. Karen and I will leave the 30th or 31st for Golfito, south about 140 miles. We will stop at three different places on the way down.

The fishing has been disappointing in Costa Rica, we have caught nothing. We expected to really do well here. The fish are far offshore and our cruising routes and speed do not take us where the fish are. Hopefully the fishing will improve as we head south.

Roy has been a big help with many shipboard projects. Adventure is in much better shape thanks to help from Roy.


March 25, 2006

We arrived safely in Costa Rica. Never been here. It is very dry and reminds us of Mexico. The locals are friendlier than Mexicans and better educated but poverty all over. They have a dry and wet season, it apparently never rains during the dry season and it is bone dry. During wet season things green up. The cattle are showing their ribs and I am sure they fatten up when the rains green up the grass.

We had a bureaucratic day Thursday when we arrived. We arrived at 6 AM just after first light, had a little trouble deciding which place to anchor but with help from Engineer Roy we were able to choose the right place. The cruise guides talk about an old pier that was partially destroyed by a hurricane but it is gone now. A reef sits right in the middle of the Puerto del Coco harbor. The town sits right on the bay. Lots of tourist activity, diving, land tours, fishing.

We did a land tour yesterday day all day. Our first appointment was our third visit to the Puerto captain, he was a very nice person. Turns out that Ed could speak decent Spanish and we needed him often to interpret. We had spent the first day ashore getting checked into Costa Rica which meant a visit to the Puerto Captain, a visit to the bank for money, grocery shopping to resupply Adventure (we really like the CR beer), arranging for our tour the next day, another visit to the Puerto Captain after an Aduana official came from 27 km away (we think Aduana is customs), another visit to the Puerto Captain, a visit to immigration office. These official visits cost no money and the officials were very pleasant.

This second day started with an 8 AM meeting to get our Costa Rican cruising permit, which we got from the Puerto Captain. Then after meeting up with our tour bus driver, we went first to buy a fishing license, it took lots of questions to find where to go. Finally the Puerto Captain told the tour bus driver where the INCOPESEA was located, INCOPESEA is the Ministry of Fishing's local office. After repeatedly asking for directions along the way we found the place. Roy and I had tried to find the place the first day but after three attempts on foot gave up. Turns out the office was a 5 mile drive away from town. The INCOPESEA manager was outside having his car washed. He spoke good English and told us to follow him into his office. (He hires good looking women for the office staff!) We had a long discussion regarding the type fishing license we wanted and determined that we need a license for a private yacht. We then proceeded with the paper work with one of his clerks. We were doing well when she stopped and got the manager. Turns out he wanted to know if I was covered by social security then by workers comp, I told him I was retired and he said of course. I gave him a copy of our boat insurance and my health insurance card. After all this he seemed satisfied. He then told us the licenses would be $100 for the boat and $25 per person. It now took 30 minutes to put the necessary info into the computer which was in another room. After 20 minutes the manager returned and remarked that their computer was slow!!!! After another 10 minutes we were off. Our driver for our jungle cruise tour was called by the jungle tour wondering where we were. The hour ride to the jungle tour was over 15 miles of decent roads then 15 miles of roads from hell. These roads were dirt with large rocks and the driver liked to drive fast. We were in a Kia mini van. We figured they had to get new ones often - turns out they trade after two years. These poor vans are beat to heck after two years on these roads. Never buy any vehicle from Costa Rica! We had air conditioning but the dust still got into the car. We brought along our own cooler.

We arrived at the jungle cruise and were at the 4th largest river in Costa Rica, which was very dirty brown water. The tour boat was nice and had covered seating which was nice since it was 95 degrees. The cruise was worth the trouble and money. (We had spent 20 minutes negotiating with the tour retailer over the price of two tours and 5 Cuban cigars. We got 5 tours and 5 Cuban cigars for $600 US. Turned out to be an OK deal. The cigars cost $100 for 5. I had never smoked a good cigar, these were really good. Sort of like smoking a $20 bill. We smoked them at the end of the day aboard Adventure while solving all the USA political problems. (This crew is all Republicans, with Roy being a right winger and the rest of us moderate Republicans.)...Back to the cruise, we saw about 15 crocks, and 40 species of birds. I am not a birder but the bird watching was the best I have ever seen, amazing number of beautiful birds, saw 2 troops of howler monkeys, that can really scream and white face monkeys who are very smart. The monkeys were terrific, they were in large trees and each troop had about 20 members. We saw one mom with her baby aboard her back. We saw a calf or dog that had fallen into the river trying to scale the steep back out of the water. It was a dramatic time as we all wondered if the creature would get out of the water before the crocks arrived. The calf/dog got out and everyone aboard the tour boat applauded. After the cruise it was back in the van and back on the road! I was able to fall asleep while the rest of the crew was beaten half to death by the road. The tour included lunch so we stopped in the middle of nowhere at what turned out to be a great restaurant. Had a wonderful meal of black beans and rice, grilled beef and chicken, fresh salad, pineapple drink and plantons/peppers---was very good, was all you could eat and eat we did.

We were then off for the canopy tour, took another 30 minute tour bus ride and I was able to really sleep on a full stomach, more roads from/to hell. Then I awoke at the destination. We got out and put on our harnesse. Karen then began to get nervous... she would not do the Sydney Australia bridge with Holli and myself and this was much more hairy. She reluctantly put on all the gear which was a climbing harness and three lanyards and a pulley. We watched as the other group (26 folks from Schwann foods) started ahead of us. You were attached to a steel cable which was hooked to two trees with the far tree lower that the starting point. You then jumped up and had the pulley attached to the wire rope. You then were pushed off by the starter. You slide down the cable to the next tree landing on a platform high up in the tree. You are unhooked the cable and the wire and proceed to the next starting station and were off to the next tree. When going between trees you often walked along a suspension bridge about 60 ft in the air. I bounced Karen on the first bridge and was given a severe warning never to do that again. The starters like to bounce the good looking women when they started their slide, Karen was lucky enough to get bounced. At the second station a starter asked if I would like to do the slide upside down, of course I said yes. So he proceed to hook me up to the wire in an upside down fashion and I was told to let go of the pulley and go hands free. This took a little getting used to, but I let go and off I went. It was not real pleasant being upside down and looking at the sky. Anyway I reached the next platform, righted myself and met Karen who was saying she had to stop this. She was in a near panic but she was 60 ft off the ground on a platform attached to the tree we were in. The tree was home to a troop of howler monkeys. They came within 5 ft of us. The starters knew how to make the dominate male howl, they would scrape the mesh walkway with their caribeaners. The monkey would scream! Karen said she needed to get down or have a starter accompany her but before she could do anything she was hooked up and off again to the next tree. To stop your self you would grab the cable or more properly pull the cable down to slow yourself. Karen was trying to slow herself down from the start so she stopped short of the next platform, they started had to "reel" her into the next platform. A family had 8 year old kids who had been sliding with some starters, the boy had gotten the hang of things and was allowed to slide by himself. This seemed to settle Karen down and after watching some of the women slide upside down she decided to continue right side up. We made it to the half way point after the longest slide of the day. The halfway point was up the hill on land and had a beautiful view of the surrounding country side. Karen was now OK and could not wait to tell her daughters what Mom had done. Many of the younger folks with Schwann foods mentioned that their parents would not do the Canopy tour, this made Karen proud! We proceed to the longest slide of the trip and had two more slides and we were done. After spending $58 in the souvenir shop including buying pictures of Karen and myself sliding we were off the van and back to Coco. We had dinner, I did some internet, we all made some phone calls and were off to Adventure after dark to do some maintenance.

Roy and I cleaned the main sea water strainers, changed the oil in the gen set which is now running all the time we are aboard to run the air conditioning, changed filters for fresh water system and changed the filters for the water makers, took showers then I went to bed and Roy watched a movie with Bob. it was long but good day.


March 22, 2006

The seas have gotten rougher, the Admiral is not happy with the Capn, claims that he did this to her on purpose. Things are calming a little this morning. It started out rough last night, the roughest of the voyage about 6 to 8 ft closely spaced ocean swells. It calmed down about midnight, then the wind picked up at sunrise. Currently relative wind is 13 kts from ENE, not too bad. We waited for it to calm a little and have started loads of wash, we'll be washing all day. The dryer is slow to dry, the exhaust system limits the air that the dryer can process.

The Admiral is in her cabin watching Desperate Housewives, it may be that she is able to relate to them under these circumstances.

Roy caught the first fish today at 1015 AM, it was a real fighter, I have started backing Adventure down on the fish which is greatly speeding up the catch and release process. A speedier catch and release gives the fish a better chance for survival. This marlin was mean, Roy got scratched when he grabbed the marlin's bill without gloves. The unhooking process is very physical, trying not to injure the fish any more yet get a 100 to 200 lb creature off a # 8 hook. Someone holds my belt so I do not join the fish in the water. We have become a good team now that we have 6 catches and releases of Marlin. Each angler has released two billfish.

We are all losing weight with the low carb diet: no desert, no beer or alcohol while underway and few snacks--- its no wonder the Admiral is not happy! I have lost another notch in my belt, but I think we'll make up for lost beer/wine drinking tomorrow as Ed and Bob seem to have a great thirst for beer, as well as yours truly and the Admiral for wine. Roy sticks to the diet Coke.

We are scheduled to arrive early tomorrow morning in Bahia del Coco in Costa Rica. We'll dingy ashore - there's no marina in del Coco - and check into Costa Rica. Hopefully the checking in process will go well, it can be easy or very difficult, depends on the cruising gods. We'll then tour the area with Adventure anchored in the bay. We'll stay one or two nights and we'll reprovision if a good food store is in the area.

We fixed a door stopper that had broken off yesterday and checked out why the davit continues to leak, found no leak on the davit so the leak must happen under a severe load. We'll use the small dingy in del Coco because we have to carry the dingy up on the beach since we'll be doing a through the surf landing.

If someone would send us the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Nasdaq composite average and S&P 500 averages each day the markets are open while we are underway we would appreciate it. Need to know how the world is doing. Hopefully del Coco will have an internet cafe and we'll get caught up on what is happening in the world.

We are now off the coast of Nicaragua, we passed by Guatemala and El Salvador yesterday. We are stopping just south of the Nicaraguan border at Playa (means beach) del Coco on the bay of Bahia del Coco.

 

March 21, 2006

It is 230 AM and I am finishing my mid-watch. Had an exciting start as we had a weird target on the radar and I was called to the pilothouse early. Since we have been in the desert for so long we have not seen clouds on radar but that was what we had. Then we had a tug pushing a barge come close to us. I tried to call the tug on the radio to discuss how we would pass but they twice gave us a channel to talk on that did not exist. Any passing within less than 1 mile is considered close by the olde Capn. Eventually we determined for us to turn to starboard and to pass behind them so all was OK...it did get my heart rate up and brought the Admiral to the Bridge at 1 AM which is a first, she heard the engine speed changed and woke up. She says she is really bored, that is not good!!!! for the olde Capn. Roy brought her a bunch of magazines, she has enjoyed them. She did see a turtle swimming on its back today, that was the highlight of her day! She asked me why we bothered to fish for marlin since all we did was let them go after we caught them and in catching them we were hurting them somewhat. From one point of view I could understand her comment but from the male perspective her comment was foolish just as our catching fish then letting them go is foolish to her. Women are from Venus and Men from Mars! Any emails from you all would help her spirits!

We released 3 billfish today, that is my personnel best day ever, we had a fourth break a line and take off jumping with our lure.

The seas have been good although we are headed into some swells now that are causing us to pitch up and down some. The wind picked up tonight from calm to about 10 kts now. Ed got up because of the pitching. He sleeps in the most forward cabin which moves the most when we pitch. He noticed that the pitching was much less in the pilothouse because the pilothouse is aft on the Nordhavn 62.

We are about 15 miles off the coast of Guatemala, we'll be in Costa Rica the morning of Mar 23.

The food has been really good aboard, the Admiral has been doing a very good job cooking.

March 20, 2006

We have left Mexico and are 20 miles off the coast of Guatemala. We caught another marlin today. Roy caught his first ever billfish after a number of charter trips. He was pleased. His fish was 6 to 7 ft and over 100 lbs. His fight was relatively short as we are getting better at working as a team to catch the fish. It is best to reel them in quickly and left them go quickly so the fish do not become too exhausted to survive. Wed release all billfish> and junk fish and eat the good eating fish. This fish was in good shape when he swam off. Unhooking the bill fish is the second most exciting thing after catching them. The person who is the wireman will grab the long 300lb test leader when the knot on the line touches the end of the rod tip, this is when you have a legal release. The wire person pulls the fish in with gloved hands using the strong leader. The angler backs up in the cockpit and lowers the rod tip. The wire person grabs the very abrasive bill in their gloved hand so they can control the fish then another person uses pliers to remove the hook. The fish is generally not cooperating during this procedure thereby making things exciting. People have been killed by getting the bill pushing into their brain through their eye socket so there is a certain amount of risk in releasing the fish. Wearing glasses is a good idea. I have been the wire man and grabbing the bill while having someone else hold my belt so I do not fall into the water as I lean over the side to control the fish so the hook can be removed. When the fish strikes it pulls out line on the Penn 50 T or 80 SW reels we are using. We leave the clicker on the reels so we hear the line going out. The first person to hear the fish yells "Fish On" and the person on watch slows Adventure to just in forward gear. If the fish is big over 50 lbs or so, I start the wing engine and transfer control of Adventure to the aft cockpit control station. You can steer Adventure and control the thrusters and main engine from the aft cockpit. We then start backing up to help the angler take in line and to reduce the stress on the fish. The fisher person during this time gets a fighting belt and shoulder harness on and takes the rod out of the rod holder. The fisher person is literally strapped to the fish, there is no dropping the rod and reel into the water in this set up. The fighting belt takes the pressure of the rod butt and spreads that pressure around the persons waist. The shoulder harness takes pressure off one's arms and transfers the pressure of the fish to their back. The angler then works to keep the line tight by reeling when the fish allows one to take up line. If the fish charges toward the boat the angler must reel very fast. You try not to "horse" the fish in as this leads to them getting off or the line breaking. The angler pumps the rod up and down reeling in on the downward stroke. For a fish around 100 lb 10 minutes is the average time to get the fish in. The time goes up the bigger the fish. We stop Adventure and may backup. This causes Adventure to wallow in the water which is uncomfortable in rough seas so we only fish in moderate to smooth seas. Today the seas are very calm with wind less than 10 kts and winds waves 2 to 3 ft and 4 ft swell.

The crew have all caught a billfish and are pleased. After catching the fish we went through all the fishing lures and repaired 4 that were really beat up from catching fish. I sorted the various lures and restowed them in the cockpit locker. Karen helped by driving Adventure while we worked on the tackle. Our crew are very handy and can handle all sorts of mechanical tasks. We are hoping to catch an eating fish but Karen has thawed a pork loin so that will be dinner. We are trying to stay with the South Beach low carbs diet so we have little starch or sweets. No ice cream this year.

Roy is a chili pepper expert. He eats chilis with everything he eats except sweet stuff and cerial. He routinely uses a hot sauce that is 1,000,000 scoval units. Tobasco is 50 scoval units hardly on the scoval scale. Roy has a collector's bottle of sauce that is the hottest sauce in the world, 16,000,000 scoval units. He had to sign a hold harmless agreement in order to buy the 16,000,000 scoval unit sauce. I tried one drop of the 1,000,000 once and vowed never again.

We'll be in Bahia Coco, Costa Rica the morning of Mar 23. We have to go there first to check into the country.

We have been enjoying our new IPOD, we put 1000+ songs on it and it will play for over 3 days without repeating a song. Roy never knew he wanted an IPOD but he'll buy one soon after getting home.


March 19, 2006

We are in the middle of the Gulf of Tehuantepec, conditions are good, wind is 15 to 20 knots from the South. We got all of our important maintenance items complete yesterday and got up at 4 AM today to finish the toilet job which is now working 100% and got underway at 730 AM. We are running the air conditioning and genset and things are much more comfortable.

Ed caught his first Marlin today: a 150 lb, 7 footer. It was quite the battle. Took 20 minutes to land him and we thought he was off several times when the fish charged towards Adventure. He was hooked very well, it was all Roy and I could do to get the hook out of his mouth. We released him and he swam away. Karen says all the fish we catch are males because women would not be stupid enough to bite one of our lures.

Roy caught our first eating fish - a 5 lb. mahi mahi. We had lost two before the one we landed. One due to the boat driver (Roy) and one due to the gaff man (yours truly). We also had a first for Cap'n Dave. We snagged a sea turtle. He swam into our lure. I have never seen as many turtles at sea as in this area. We stopped Adventure, turned towards the turtle, reeled him in and unhooked the hook from his flipper. Fortunately we stopped as soon as he was hooked and the hook barb did not penetrate his flipper, so we got him off with no problem. Also he did not try to bite me as we were unhooking him. He weighted 50 to 100 lbs. We frequently see Boobie birds sitting on the backs of the floating sea turtles. On one turtle we saw two Boobies, quite the sight!

We have also been seeing lots of Pacific Dolphins, day and night. They like to swim up to Adventure and swim along side. Sometimes they jump 5 ft up in the air.

We will be off the coast of Guatemala tomorrow night. Our fishing should remain good until we get to the Caribbean. Still looking for crew for the Mediterranean cruise in 2007.


March 18, 2006

We are in Huatulco getting ready to head out for Costa Rica across the feared Gulf of Tehuantepec. We have a good weather forecast and will be able to short cut the trip some due to light winds.

We caught an 8 ft sailfish yesterday and lost another fish. Bob caught the sail, it was a beauty - largest one I have ever been involved in catching. We released the fish and it swam away. We had another line out and did not realize it was dragging a fish out over 1/2 mile of 80 lb line to the end of the reel. By the time we realized we had had a fish on, it had gotten off and took Roy 15 minutes to reel in the line.

We arrived in Huatulco at 330 PM and had a long list of maintenance projects. We have accomplished them all and are installing the toilet parts.> 50 hrs of work and $700 worth of parts because of one paper towel being flushed down the john! We changed oil in the main engine, refilled soap dispensers, tightened bolts on main engine to try to fix an oil leak, washed Adventure, fixed wiring to Air Conditioning Sea water pump so we now have A/C. Always lots of maintenance. Always do-able stuff with the proper parts.

We'll be in Costa Rica Mar 22 or 23. Our current crew leaves Mar 30 then Karen and I will be aboard by ourselves for a week of R&R. Then Karen leaves> & our son-in-law Todd and 2 friends arrive and we are off for Panama.

We checked out of Mexico yesterday at overtime rates. Cost $200 to check out. Plus the inspectors asked politely for hats or t shirts so the price also was 5 tee shirts and 2 hats. The inspectors were very nice. Since we did not get receipts for most of the money I imaging they had 207 reasons to be happy. Enrique the dock master in Marina Chahue is the nicest person we have ever met in Mexico. He went out of his way to come to see us Saturday evening after we arrived, collected our money for dockage and gave us weather advice. He spoke very good English and was a happy man. The Marina is new and very nice. Enrique said about 400 boats stop here going to and from the Gulf of Tehuantepec. He is considered a
weather crossing expert. He uses a NOAA web site for getting forecasts.

The 2000 mile coast line between Ensenada and Huatulco is all the same: desert and mountainous - one short rain shower since Feb 15th.



March 17, 2006

Our new crewmates Roy, Ed and Bob arrived late last night from St Louis. They made good connections except the last one and were about 1 1/2 hrs late. We checked out of Club de Yates Acapulco at 1000 and departed Acapulco at 1030. All is well aboard Adventure. Roy brought the parts to fix the toilet system. We are making due until we have a good time to repair the problem. It is warm here - in the 90s during day. Never any clouds and only about 10 kts of wind in afternoon.

Karen and I visited the cliff divers yesterday after cleaning Adventure and doing admin type stuff. Turns out the cliff divers only do "shows" at 730pm and later except for a 1245 show. The cliff diving area is being renovated and will be finished soon. It looks good. The area where the divers dive is amazingly narrow and steep.

We got our weather forecast yesterday and all looks good for going across the Gulf of Tehuantepec Sunday morning early. We'll stay in Huatulco Saturday night and leave at 4 AM. The Gulf crossing is 155 miles following the shoreline. From Huatulco to where we check into Costa Rico (Bahia Coco) is 722 miles which will take 3 to 4 days assuming we have good weather.

No fish today.


March 16, 2006

We are in Acapulco. This is the first place in Mexico the Admiral says she would come back to although she is not ready to commit to a date and she would only come via airplane! It may be some time before we are back in Mexico.

Acapulco reminds me of a Mexican Miami Beach. Lots of high rise hotels and condos, beautiful water, lots of tourist stuff to do. It is warm, getting to 90 during the days but with desert type humidity. We took a dingy ride around the harbor today. The harbor is 5 miles or so across and pretty deep. The whole half crescent shaped bay is encircled by mountains. Homes are built everywhere with the ones with good views being very expensive. Some places are mansions. Mexico has the great contrast, great wealth and great poverty, with much more of the latter. There does seem to be an emerging middle class. Apparently Acapulco has cleaned up somewhat and is cleaner than most Mexican towns. The most beautiful site is seeing the town at night from the water.


Dan Diaz left yesterday to return to Tampa Bay. We really appreciated Dan's help as he was a really good crew member. We hope he and Heather his wife and their friend Larry Phillips will cruise with us again. Three new crew members will arrive today. They are lead by Roy Cox who we met on our 28-day Mexican RV trip in 2003. All 3 guys live in the St. Louis area. Roy is a great mechanic should we need any help in that area if needed. We will leave Acapulco tomorrow mid morning and head 240 south to Huatulco which is at the beginning of the Gulf of Tehuantepec which can be a very rough 155 miles to cross. We'll wait in Huatulco for a good weather window to cross the Gulf. The total distance to Costa Rica is 1100 miles and will take 5 to 6 days if we get good weather. Our insurance does not allow any stops between Mexico and Costa Rica so hopefully we'll not need to stop. We keep hearing great things about Costa Rica from everyone who has been there. We are really looking forward to Costa Rica.

Adventure is in good shape. Roy is bringing the parts needed to repair the toilet system. He is also bringing Karen some magazines and me more JB WELD, the strongest stuff on earth. Our temporary repair is working OK so I still have to decide when to do the permanent repair...maybe tomorrow before we leave. I'll talk with our weather router today at 6PM to see the weather outlook for the Gulf crossing. The Gulf of Tehuantepec is the Pacific side of the area where Central America narrows to its narrowest point above Panama. Because of the land's narrowness and the prescience of the Gulf of Mexico, up to 100MPH winds can be generated in the Gulf from the shore going out. The way to transit the gulf is to ride right up next to the shore for 155 miles. If the weather is good we can get a mile or so offshore which will make for an easier passage. The high winds can develop in a few minutes without warning.


Karen and I took a tour of Acapulco yesterday aboard a local bus, was fun. We stopped and grocery shopped at the Acapulco Super Wal-Mart, huge place. Karen liked its layout. After shopping we left to get a taxi and we got jumped by 6 young volunteers to help us get a taxi for a tip. All of a sudden they had all our groceries and we headed off. I stopped them while I negotiated the taxi price. First quote was $50, ended up paying $10 and was trying to pay $8 but settled for $10. All taxi fares are negotiated. Bus fare for the same ride is .60 but the traffic is terrible and the 7 mile ride took 45 minutes. Along the waterfront many fishing boats caught large sailfish. They kill the fish and then eat them. In the US we do not kill Billfish if we are being good sports. A day for one person out fishing is $125 and another $125 if you catch a 8 ft sailfish. This is also negotiable. After seeing the many shops around the fancy hotels and condos Karen wants to go shopping. So I have been washing clothes at the Yacht club while Karen cleans the boat getting it ready for the next crew. Hopefully we'll also see the cliff divers.

We have anchored out as our reserved space was given away at the yacht club before we arrived. We had a 8 hrs. delay after we arrived to fuel, 5 1/2 hr waiting to fuel and 2 1/2 hrs to take on 720 gallons of diesel through a large rubber garden hose which served as the hose extension for the fuel pump. We managed to not spill any diesel which is a very good thing. The berths at this yacht club are Med moor which means you drop your anchor, back into the dock and tie the stern up to the dock. We decided to save money and hassle and just anchor out. The Yacht Club is as nice as any yacht club in the US, great pool, bar and outside restaurant.


My cell phone is finally working after the 3rd call to Verizon. They had to reset the International Long distance authorization. Made our hotel reservation in Costa Rica. The first place I tried informed me that Karen might not be comfortable at the hotel as is was only for single men and was very loud all night, so I made a reservation at another place. I am sure the crew will want to visit the original place, the Hotel Del Rey.


March 3, 2006


We are cruising off the coast of mainland Mexico near Barra Navidad. We hope to go to the Marina there today if not we'll anchor at Tenacatita and do the jungle dingy cruise. The weather has been very good since the Mar 2. Today is overcast with light winds and a three foot sea swell and no wind waves, very pleasant. No fish in the last two days after the 2 Marlin.

We lost a lure fishing a couple of days ago and think it was from a strike from a Wahoo. They are toothy critters but great to eat. We saw several whales yesterday, one very active one got within 1/4 mile of the boat while we were anchored at Isle Isabella.

We were awaken by fishermen at Isle Isabella, we had laid our anchor chain over their gill net. There nets were near the bottom in 75 ft of water. The nets are 4 ft high with floats on one side to keep them vertical and other floats on the surface for recovery. The fisherman had to cut their net as it was tangled around our anchor chain. To compensate them I gave them $50, they were pleased with that, probably more money then they will make all week. The fishermen on Isle Isabella come out to the Isle from San Blas for 8 days. They live in Plywood huts. They bring ice with them to keep their fish fresh. They use gill nets to snare the fish. They check the nets in the morning, and evening. There were about 30 or so fishermen and 10 or so boats at the Isle, no water, no electric and outhouses.

We went ashore and used our dingy wheels to pull the small dingy up on the beach out of the wave surge. It was a struggle for Dan, myself and Karen in the coarse steep sand beach but we made it. We immediately encountered the nesting Frigate Birds. There are over 25,000 frigates on Isle Isabella. They are not afraid of people and let you walk right up to their nest. The babies are in various states from still being hatched to ready to fly. The parents feed them by regurgitating food into the chicks mouths. Frigates can not walk as their legs are onl long enough to grab a perch, but they can fly for hours and hours while fishing. When we are fishing we look for frigates circling high overhead to locate bait fish and thereby the bigger fish who are feeding on the bait fish. Frigates have a wing span of about 4 ft. The unpaired males have a bright red sack near their throat that inflates until they find a mate. Kind of reminds me of human men sort of!

After seeing the Frigates we walked up a hill to see the nesting Boobies (their real name). There are blue footed, yellow footed and orange footed Bobbies nesting on the grass covered ground. They let you walk right up to their nest, although Karen thought we were disturbing them. Their chicks are also in all states of growth from unhatched to ready to fly. Most families have two chicks, some one and a few three. Their moms and maybe Dads feed them the same way as frigates, we saw several trying to feed. We saw several we thought were dead only to see after a few minutes that the chicks were just sleeping as if they were dead. The Moms stay with the chicks to protect them from sea gulls who are, I guess, trying to feed on eggs or chicks or both. The gulls seemed to be the only predators on Isle Isabella. No dogs or cats are allowed on the island. The Boobies are handsome birds about the size of a large gull and mostly brown in color with the various brightly colored feet. We have had several Boobies buzzing our boat and bait today.

We went through a huge pod of porpoise last night, seemed to be a thousand or more, they stretched out over a mile. They were jumping wildly as they were feeding. Many came over to check out Adventure. They were a smaller variety then we have in Tampa Bay. The amount of wildlife off this coast is amazing.

Bordie our male cat has been being his usual inquisitive self. He walks all around the boat at night, sleeps on the dingy covers and his favorite place is the Captains chair. I am trying to break him of the Captains chair habit as his claws really mess up the fine leather seat. He is in the middle of all projects, we were refastening our dingy chocks for the 10th time and were using a sealant called 3M 5200, Brodie had to get right in the middle fortunately we keep the 5200 off him. He likes to sit in the sink, lick the sink faucet after you pour water. He likes to jump in the dingy's while they are on deck but I can just see him sticking his claws through the hypolon fabric. He stay in the pilothouse at night walking everywhere while Princess sleeps on our bed. Karen says Brodie has no boundaries, Karen has given up trying to train him. Unfortunately she has not given up training your author. Princess has found a new favorite place to be during the day, in the Port Stateroom in a dark corner, she likes the dark ad the cooler area.

Well that is enough for today.

Had good news today, found out that our daughter Chole is going to be able to join us in Bermuda for Memorial Day weekend.

Stay in touch.

Capn Dave, Admiral Karen, Cook Dan, Brodie and Princess


March 2, 2006

We made it through the night last night OK. Karen was going to stand watches but it was too rough so Dan Diaz and myself took turns. We had 3 hours watches then through the night we each did one 6 hour watch.

Fortunately things calmed down last night after the sun went down and the morning we have less than 10 kts of wind. We are about 50 miles from Mazalan Mx headed for Isle Isabella (II for short). The original Adventure crew visited II in 2003 on our way to the South Pacific. II is a bird colony for Boobies and Frigate birds. We report back how our visit went tomorrow.

I was awaken by Dan this morning saying he had put out the fishing lines and a fish was on. I quickly got up and immediately told Dan to slow down Adventure to as slow as she would go from the 8 kts we were doing. We had managed to pull the fish for more than 1/4 mile and had lots of line to recover. Dan was eager to catch a fish so he had at it. He first put on the fighting belt and began to take in line on our Penn International 80 reel. He bean to tire (Dan not the fish) so we put on the back brace. Dan noted that while in the back brace he could not lose the pole, if the pole went overboard Dan would be going along. This gave Dan added incentive! Dan kept reeling in against alot of resistance. We had not seen the fish jump or fight too much so we wondered if we had a fish or a large garbage bag. Karen got up to watch the action, Karen first spotted the fish and commented that it was big. The fish turned out to be a stripped Marlin, about 6 ft long and 200 lbs. We got the fish leader to the rod tip so we had an official release. At this point Dan wanted to take video pictures. A three ring circus ensued, the camera, the fish, me, Dan, the pole etc all going at times in different directions. It all turned out OK as we got some pictures and released the Marlin, who swam away. So Dan had his first billfish and noting got broke.

We'll send more about our trip to this point in subsequent sailplans.

Dave, Karen, Dan, Brodie and Princess aboard Nordhavn 62-22 Adventure near Mazalan Mx


March 7, 2006

We left Cabo this morning. We are having a rough ride across the Sea of Cortez to the mainland. Seas are 8 to 10 ft with 20 knots of wind on our Port 1/4 ie from aft of center.

Not dangerous just uncomfortable. We'll arrive at Isla Isabella tomorrow mid day. Hopefully it will be calm enough to anchor, if not we'll continue on for a smooth anchorage.

Jack Heathier and Larry left yesterday. Quiet with only 3 crew aboard.

We had no trouble leaving Cabo.

Unfortunately we have not caught any fish.

Stay in touch using win link.

Dave




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