Migrations 03
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It was the best of times...
1st October 2005 – 24th April 2006

Hi all,

I'm sure you all know the end of the quote. Well, maybe it hasn't been the worst of times, but, sheesh, there were a few months in there that sure weren't fun.

The quick report is that I haven't written for almost 7 months because for much of it I was tearing poor Migration apart and putting her back together. The good news is that tomorrow we depart Mazatlan for the Baja and Migration is ready to sail again. So here's a quick and brief summary of what's been up. I really haven't sailed off the edge (physically, that is).

Super Fast Calendar Update:

  • October: Buccaneer Days at Catalina. Working on boat in Long Beach and working (briefly) at my old job.

  • November: Sailing to Mexico (Banderas Bay) with my great friend, Riley. Yippee!

  • December: Sailing to Barra de Navidad with another great friend, David. Fun! Then sailing back to Puerto Vallarta with my new and wonderful friend, Alene. Double fun! Then flying back to CA for the holidays. Spending time with family and friends and skiing at Mammoth. This was one of the most wonderful months of my life!

  • January: Start of the big paint job in Puerto Vallarta. Lots of problems. Work, work, work, work.

  • February: Work, work, work, work.

  • March: Alene returns to Migration. Work, work, work.

  • April: Finally finish repairs and paint job. We leave Banderas Bay for the Sea of Cortez. Working most of the time to put all the hardware back on. But we're at sea!

If you would like some details, read on. (Click on the images to enlarge)

There is a saying sailors have: "Cruising is working on your boat in exotic places." Well, Long Beach isn't that exotic but I worked on Migration for much of October. It was great to be back in my home port and see family and friends. Most days were spent preparing Migration for the trip south.

I did sail the Border Morris team I'm on -- Wild Wood Morris -- over to Catalina where we were booked for our annual dance gig at Buccaneer Days.

On November 5th, my friend Riley and I sailed out of Alamitos Bay and headed to Mexico. After a few days at sea we decided to stop at Islas San Benito -- a group of small islands that are little-visited.

Landfall! Islas San Benito.

The islands have a small fishing village as well as an elephant seal colony and lots of sea lions. The fishermen mostly catch lobster. Darn.

The very small fishing village. Notice the teeny-tiny church.

Riley (the Amazing Sailing Chef) creates a delicious Thai meal with, oh, I guess it was lobster.

We continued south, sometimes with good winds and sometimes with no wind.

Flat calm around Isla Cedros.

Besides Riley, I had other crew aboard.

The Baja is known for its sunsets. I promise I won't show too many of these because other people's pictures of sunsets can be really boring. But it is amazing how a sunset can make me so happy.

One of the good sailing days. Riley is hard at work.

Sails, our Mexican flag, and the moon.

We anchored in Magdalena Bay for a couple of days and then continued south. We stopped briefly in Cabo San Lucas to eat at a restaurant that serves a terrific Pulpo al Ajillo (octopus with ajillo chile) and then left quickly. Neither of us like Cabo very much. We had awesome sailing across the Sea of Cortez toward Banderas Bay and Puerto Vallarta. Here's a video that shows how totally cool it was out there.

Video:: At Sea (about 2 minutes and 5.6MB)

It's quite a ways from Cabo to Banderas Bay. We sailed for 2 days and 2 nights. Some of the best sailing ever (except for the end). Here's what the chart table looks like at night.

We use red lights so we don't lose our night vision

Despite an engine problem (we fixed it when we got to Punta de Mita -- Thank you, Nigel Calder who wrote the best book on diesel engines!), we had a great crossing. Then Riley headed home.

Sailing buddies.

I was alone again. So I found new crew.

But we didn't get along.

I proudly flew the flag of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster -- a gift from my Border Morris team back in Long Beach.

Some days I felt like I really needed to do something like repair an autopilot.

Another great sailing buddy, David, joined me to sail south to Tenacatita and Barra de Navidad.

I'm sailing! I'm sailing!

Migration anchored in Tenacatita

My friend, Lee, came to visit for five days and we had a terrific time. Then I was on my own again. Actually got some writing done! And then....

I had met a woman at a crew site on the Internet earlier in the year. We had been emailing off and on. Alene flew to Guadalajara and took the bus to Barra to meet me. On our first day sailing we jumped off the boat to swim with dolphins. We snorkled, explored, swam, fished, sailed and had an amazing, incredible week. We liked each other very much.

Alene and I sailed back to Puerto Vallarta where she left to visit her parents and go back to her job on a yacht in the Caribbean. I flew back to LA for the holidays.

Christmas and skiing with the Jensens, Chanukah with my family. Visits with friends. It was a short but amazing trip. I felt very lucky.

This is the view from the Christmas Turkey as Steve begins to carve.
The turkey did not feel very lucky.


I returned to Migration on January 3rd. That's when the fun began.

I had always planned on having the decks painted in Puerto Vallarta. I hadn't planned on the other problems I found. Or the problems I found myself surrounded by.


Poor Migration!

There were lots of nasty surprises. And other problems. Problems with the some of the workers I hired, problems with the Port Captain, a boat crashed into Migration and damaged her, blah, blah, blah. It really wasn't that fun. Thank goodness my friends David and Kim live in Puerto Vallarta. Without them I would have gone mad. Friends are a good thing. Make sure you have some.

After the wood was fixed and the fiberglass was done (and the new chainplates, backing plates, blah, blah, blah), it was time to paint.

Alene returned on March 1st and that made me very happy. She helped put on the blue tape. But that's not the only reason I was happy.

 Because it was such a trying time, I won't make you live through it. Instead we will jump to the end. Migration is repaired, stronger than she was, in good shape and she looks beautiful!

You may have noticed that there is very little hardware on Migration’s decks in these pictures. I removed nearly everything for the repairs and paint job. Now it was time to put it back on. Over 200 pieces. As soon as we had enough of it on so that the mast wouldn't fall down, off we went. Out of the marina and to the sea. And that's where we are now. Heading north and west to the Baja side of the Sea of Cortez. Life is good. Still lots of work to do. Not all the hardware is back on. But a little at a time. Tomorrow Migration's sails will be hoisted for the first time in many months and we will shut the engine off and that incredible quiet of sailing will descend upon us and we will coast along and marvel at the fact that the wind can push this wonderful sailboat -- our home -- and that the sea is kind enough to part for her bows and let us pass, and how lucky we are -- despite the last few months -- that we get to do this.

Either that or the wind will blow really hard and we will be wet and uncomfortable.

But hey, we'll be sailing.

Until next time.

Be Good.



P.S. Don't forget that Cows Going Past is still available at a bookstore near you!


Where We've Been
3,198 nautical miles traveled since departing Long Beach, June 2005



This site was last updated 04/24/08