Costa Rica Days 5 thru 7 – Isla Cedros & Jesusita to Bahia Guacamaya

I stayed two nights in the wonderful, quiet, still anchorage of Cedros & Jesusita.  It gave me time to catch up on my

Sunset in Bahia Guacamaya on 23 July

sleep and to complete the chores, cleaning and re-organization I should have done before I left the dock in Golfito.

Not the first time I have managed to stress myself by not finishing things as I should in a timely manner.

Won’t be the last, but still …

I hated leaving but it was time to move on.  I carefully followed by previous track out into open water.  If I didn’t take any shortcuts in; I certainly don’t take them on the way out.

I was underway before 8:00, as I had contrary current to contend with, I kept the rpms a little higher, 1700 today than the usual 1500 to 1600.  This gives me about an extra half knot, but also consumes an extra quarter gallon per hour or 17% more fuel.

Entering Bahia Samada at night of 22 July
Approaching Bahia Guacamaya

 

 

I was headed to Bahia Samada.  While it got good reviews on Active Captain, I’m starting to think all these reviews are written at a different time of year, with no south to west swell, because again it turned out to be rolly.

Also, buggy.  I’ve gotten in the habit like most experienced “cruisers” to turn on generator as the sun sets. It’s at this point that the winds will decrease or die and the bugs come out.  Also gives me an opportunity to put a little charge in the batteries, while running the A/C to cool and dehumidify the boat.

I usually run it a couple of hours, though I am conscious of the noise and it there are any other boats nearby, I turn it off sooner rather than later.

As I turned NE around the cape towards Samada, there was a large area of rain showers and thunderstorms, seemingly right over my intended destination. Though my timing worked out well in that the storms were moving slowly west, so while it rained for a while, by the time I got to the anchorage for the night, it at stopped.

As I said, not a great place to stop.  Rolly and buggy (mostly gnats).  Therefore, at the crack of dawn the next day, I was ready to get out of Dodge.

Hauled anchor at 06:00 and was underway to Bahia Guacamaya.  This place also got great reviews and for once it deserved them.  Hardly any roll, quiet, beautiful.

I stayed here two days.  I got the water maker running again, cleaned up the stern deck and jury rigged my garden hose reel that I use for the stern anchor line.  I did a good job, only wondering why I had not done it weeks earlier. Another unknown mystery of the universe.

But even before that.  The trip was very nice.  When I had left the winds were light from the northeast, forecast to turn southwesterly during the day at about 8 to 10 knots.  As I rounded Cape Velas the winds were ESE at 20 knots gusting to 25.  That pretty much was the rest of the afternoon.  Very luckily, I was only a few miles off shore so the wind had very little fetch (the distance winds blow unencumbered over water) this kept the wave heights down, in fact they were less than 2 feet.

Dauntless was rolling on marginally.   Now had I come here a few hours later, the seas would have been much greater.  Just like the day I left Golfito, with the winds having blown all night, the seas were moderate by the time I left.

Also, I was able to check the latest forecast.  I use WIndyty.com for the most part as I love how they present the data and the options you have to change what you look at.  I pretty much only look at winds, though I may check the different weather forecast numerical models to see any significant differences. What was interesting about today was the forecast was very wrong, at least in terms of wind speed and for a small boat like Dauntless, that does make a significant difference.

I usually tell people, whether they ask or not, that weather forecasts are usually right, but when wrong they are usually wrong or time or location.  What do I mean?

The forecast was for 8 to 10 knot winds out of the east.  But 100 miles further north, the winds were forecast to be 20 knots.  So, in this case the forecast was wrong by location.  The timing was good.

Now since my Krogen on can go about 60 miles in 12 hours; 100 miles off on location makes all the difference in the world.  But if I was in an airplane covering a much larger distance, the location being off becomes much less of an issue.  Same thing if I’m a ship going 18 knots.

Now had I gotten up that morning with the winds blowing hard, I would not have left.  Because the other aspect of bad weather forecasts is that they usually don’t get better.  Meaning, if the forecast starts off incorrect, for any given time and place, it’s not like the weather will catch up.  Sure, it may look like the forecast is spot on 12 hours later, but more likely, it’s just a matter of chance.

So, I got to Bahia Guacamaya and just as advertised the bluffs to the east blacked the winds from getting into the bay.  Ver nice.  One of the best anchorages yet, certainly the best if I include the scenery.  So good in fact, I really regretted not have Trinh with me.  This would have been such a wonderful spot to explore together.

Here are some videos of the two days:

21 July 18:15, Entering Bahia Samada at night.  

22 July Bahia Samada the following morning

22 July 11:13 Underway to Bahia Guacamaya

23 July Morning in Bahia Guacamaya

 

Costa Rica Day 5 Summary: Engine Start 07:46, stop 18:50; uw 10 hrs 49 min, 67.7 nm, avg speed 6.3 kt. Average Roll while underway, +8° to -10°, delta of 18°;

Anchored Bahia Samada in 17 feet water with 100’ of chain out.

Costa Rica Day 6 & 7 Summary: Engine Start 06:00, stop 14:40; uw 8 hrs 30 min, 55.6 nm, avg speed 6.56 kt. Average Roll while underway, <5°either way, delta of 10°;

Anchored Bahia Guacamaya in 21 feet water with 80’ of chain out.

 

W’ere Finally on the Way to Mexico

After taking three days to Check-out of Costa Rica.

Sunset From Playa Coco, Costa Rica

And you think Vietnam is bureaucratic!

Stay Tuned

Track our progress at the link above that says, “Where is D Now?”

 

 

Oh, How I Miss My Navionics’s Charts

Costa Rica Day 3

Approaching C & J as the sun sets.
Don’t Do This at Home

As soon as my eyes opened due to the light thru my porthole.  I got up; it was time to get out of here. My night was not as restful as it should have been.  I was eager to get to the next stop which as I had read about on Active Captain, virtually guaranteed me an easy, peaceful, steady night.

I use Active Captain to search the best places for the current weather and sea conditions.  In North America, I find it indispensable.

I was so happy to get underway.  If you are going to be rolling around, you may as well do it while making miles.  I had a long day ahead of me, so I got going, before I made my Vietnamese coffee.

My Vietnamese coffee. The grounds go in the strainer on top of the cup.

Which will be another crisis looming in the distant horizon, the day I run out of Vietnamese coffee.  I really like it. I can make it very, very strong, almost like espresso, but it is not bitter.  At some point, I may think about importing it into the US.

But I digress.

It’s 06:30, I’m heading WNW to get around the cape’s further north and it’s a grey day.  With broken clouds, only a few patches of sky and rain showers from the previous evening’s thunderstorms lingering to the north and west.

I don’t mind the storms.  It all depends on the winds.  As

I approach C & J. Dropping the anchor now

long as the winds are favorable I’m happy.  On those days that I have choice as to leave or not depending on the weather, I pretty much only look at the winds. On a boat, the winds, speed and direction, are what makes a difference.  The boat is made to get wet, I don’t worry about rain.

Today the winds are light and while it’s a long day, it wasn’t bad at all.  As I arrive at my planned anchoring location, I am a bit perplexed because it doesn’t look like what I’d pictured from the charts.

Or I should say chart.  In one of the more bizarre aspects of my mind, I’ll make a plan and then when it comes time to execute, forget the main reason I made the plan in the first place. I can only chuckle.

In this case, for the last 4 years, I make it a rule to always have two electronic charts available.  The primary is on the boat’s computer and runs with Coastal Explorer, my navigation program.  I’m running C-Map (ex-Jeppesen) charts mainly because they are the most cost effective for world-wide coverage.

This is the Navionics Depiction that i DID NOT have available. Dumb ME. Notice it marks more rocks and the power line better

My secondary is Navionics running on my tablet. Also, extremely cost effective for tablets.

Except I left my tablet, who was dying from battery failure in Viet man, planning on getting a cheap tablet while in NYC.  But then I decided while in NYC to save a few pennies, since I’m only spending thousands of dollars a month on Dauntless.

I forgot about my Navionics charts.

Until now. At some point, I will do a review of the two charts, C-Map versus Navionics, but now, I just missed the other’s perspective.

Just then with the sun setting, a small open boat comes by and I decide to overcome my shyness and ask in my crappy Spanish for his recommendation for a good anchoring spot.

I do and he does.  I follow him about a quarter of a mile and he puts me on the spot.

In 26 feet of water I put out the anchor and snubber (I always use a snubber bridle, that takes the chain load off the bow pulpit and puts it to the bow hawse pipes and cleats).

This spot was ideal.  Even with the slight current, the boat felt like it was on land. It would slide around 90° every 6 hours, but the movement was not even noticeable.

I stayed here two nights.  In the 12 overnight hours, the boat moved 0.01 nm; the previous night, the boat moved (while on anchor) 1.7 nm!

I slept 10 hours straight and spent the next day doing more cleaning, organizing and minor stuff.

 

Day 3 Summary: Engine Start 06:20, stop 18:07; uw 11:39, 78.1 nm, avg speed 6.7 kt. Average Roll while underway, +7° to -9°, delta of 16°; extreme rolls delta 20° (not bad, half of what it was crossing the Atlantic)

Anchored off Isla Cedros & Jesusita in 26 feet water with 120’ of chain out.

 

A Long Day & Longer Night

Central America Cruise Summary Day 2

My Trip on the First Day

Tuesday, 18 July.  After waking up so many times I stopped counting, I was glad to see the dawn so I could get out of this spot.  Now I’ll tell you why:

I had gone to bed by 20:00 hours, having spent more than an hour futzing with anchors and snubbers.

Dauntless was as disheveled as ever.  I had to clear a line thru containers and chairs that had moved around the salon. The stern deck was a mess also.

Coming into my first anchorage

When I first put out the bow anchor, it was obvious the Krogen would not lie into the wind, but perpendicular to it.  Probably caused by currents in the bay, but it made the rolling even worse than it had been the previous 12 hours. But the next anchorage was 35 miles away, another 7 hours. I could not go on, I had to make this work.

First, I tried attaching the snubber like to the midships cleat instead of the bow as is normal. I also put out another 50 feet of chain after the snubber. My idea was to put some pressure on the side of the boat to try to hold it into the waves better. (This may have worked better had I connected it to the stern).

An hour later, I realized this was not working.  I started the engine briefly to get us into the waves, then threw out the stern anchor on short scope, hoping this would hold us in the right direction.

For about 15 minutes it seems to significantly reduce the roll.  I had made a pot of beans, corn and hot dog.

My dinner

That was my no so healthy dinner, but as I told Trinh, I hadn’t passed any gardens today. Besides humans can live a long time on a single food.  It wouldn’t kill me to not have balanced meal for a while.

I tried to go to sleep, but the boat had this terrible movement.  There was a rolling oscillation that would get worse after about 4 rolls, then die off for about 30 seconds before doing it again. No way could I get to sleep with that.  I got up numerous times to see if we had moved. We had moved but the bow anchor was doing fine.

I decided to move the snubber back to the bow. That helped the motion a bit.

Then an hour later, hearing a big bang, I jumped up to make sure we hadn’t crashed into the small fishing boats about 500 feet away. No, we hadn’t. But I then proceeded to pull in the stern anchor as I thought it must be contributing or causing the unnatural corkscrew rolling of the boat.

It seemed to work.  Now we were just held by the bow anchor.  Still rolling around and swinging on the arc from the anchor, I decided to brace myself in bed and just not worry.  I’ve possibly only dragged once with this anchor, so go to sleep.

That I did by about 01:00.  As the dawn broke a little after 5, I was up.  I decided not to deal with the mess in the salon until my next stop. But within minutes I found myself moving containers, chairs, getting the restraining straps and bungee cords and making everything snug.  A sweaty 20 minutes later, it was all done and I felt so much better.

Looking at the actual winds, they were easterly at 4 knots, so decided to press on and get out of this hell hole.  Clearly, I’ve been in worse anchorages, the ones you must leave sooner rather than later. But this one was pretty bad.

Got underway, 342° at 35 miles.  Should be there in 6 hours.  No need for paravanes, as the wind is out of the east (direction of the coast, about 6 miles away) the seas are relatively flat, with just the SW swell at about 2 feet and 10 second period.

And the second day ended as well as it started. Oh, we had more anchoring follies, but isn’t that why we pay the price of admission?

Day 2 Summary: Engine Start 06:08, stop 12:00; uw 5:52, 34.3 nm, avg speed 6.6 kt.

Anchored in 21 feet water with 100’ of chain out.

 

 

 

Dauntless Starts Moving North

Central America Cruise Summary Day 1

The View from the Krogen Pilothouse as we head out

Monday, 17 July 2017.  Up at the crack of dawn. I had told Sergio, we were leaving at 06:00.  I hadn’t heard from him in two days, so… that normally means he changed his mind.  I can’t begin to tell you the number of times I’ve corresponded with people who are so excited, over time and frequently, only to have them disappear or to tell me they have to wash their cat the day of departure.

So far, the score is 1, who turned up as promised to 7 no-shows.  Mind you, all these people contacted me first!

Chantal, the one who did show was great. Even left her alone on Dauntless for a week in the Bahamas. Oh well.

My friends who have joined me have all been great and they made the 2016 Cruise of the Baltic, the Baltic Republics, Poland, Sweden and Finland, so enjoyable.

I start with all this because it influenced my decision to leave, on a day that I simply should have stayed put.

I was anxious to get this show on the road. I was burning days and hadn’t even move a mile north, yet had almost 2000 miles to go.

So, when I realized Sergio was going to be a no-show, I wasn’t unhappy.  Being alone is actually far less stressful for me is many ways:

  • I’m not responsible for someone else’s life
  • I don’t have to feed them or explain how not to screw up the toilet
  • I don’t have to worry about them getting home safe and sound
  • I can run around in the middle of the night, as I did last night, checking on strange noises, naked.

Yes, many advantages.

I now use Windyty.com as my main weather source while outside the USA.

It indicated light winds, 3 to 5 kts, Monday, increasing a bit Tuesday and much more on Wednesday. Therefore, it seemed Monday was the best day and I wanted to go in any case.

But when I got up, I could see a large thunderstorm to the west and it had been producing strong winds and rain all night.  It was an extensive area, probably 15 miles by 10 miles.  I don’t mid traveling in such conditions, however this storm produced strong, 12 kts westerly winds.  Since I had to go west, then SW, then NW, that was not good.

And now I did what I tell everyone NEVER to do.  Never ever. I got fixated on the forecast, 3 kt winds, thinking the seas will be small.  Totally ignoring the fact that this storm had produced relatively strong winds, 10 to 18 knots for the last 12 hours.

As you see in the picture, I take off into this storm and immediately I notice 3 to 5-foot waves that I’m going into. Up and down we go.  I slow up to 1400 rpm, and press on.  I should have turned around and gone back to my peaceful, sheltered anchorage.  I didn’t.

Two hours later as I turn the corner finally getting out of the Bay of Golfito, to head NW, I discover a significant swell, from the south to southwest 4 to 6 feet.  Now the boat really started to roll. Of course, in my idleness, I did not stow everything well, in fact the salon was a mess.

I deployed one paravane stabilizer bird, then half an hour later, the other.

Fishhook Marina
A Great Place for Man & Boat

The roll was never so bad, only about 8° in each direction and the extreme rolls where just over 12°.  These numbers are half of what we put up with for 21 days crossing the Atlantic 6 months earlier, but still.  But having furniture roll around the salon is always disconcerting.

The ride didn’t ameliorate until the last 1.5 hours when I turned NE to go to Bahia Drake. An anchorage that given its’ 3-star rating was clearly over-optimistic.

Rolling Down the Road

Day’s Cruise Summary: Engine start, 05:52, stop 17:29; 11 hrs:15 min underway (uw), distance 62.2 nautical miles (nm), average speed 5.6 knots (kt)

 

Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Go Back in the Water

I left the marina finally.

Just as i anchored it started to rain

Southern Costa Rica is like Vietnam, hot, 30° and humid.  Maybe more humid.  But that thought prompted me to check the latest obs from VVTS, Tansonnhat Int’l. Nope, their morning dew point is 77°, while it was only 72° this morning in Golfito.

My chart of the anchorage. The marks are where where my anchor is and the mooring ball

In any case, after the stress of leaving the marina for the first time in almost 4 months, it’s time to check and double check.

While still in the Caribbean, I had tried to use the generator.  It ran for a minute a then shut itself off. So, we had spent a miserable night before arriving at the marina in Colon, Panama.

I’ve planned on anchoring a lot over the next three months, so a working generator was no longer an option but a necessity.

Last week I tackled the problem, having been guided what to look for from a mechanic friend on the East Coast.

In minutes, I found the suspected problem, a bad connection to the exhaust temperature sensor, and set it right.  The generator than started and ran for 30 minutes, with load, no problem.

Saying goodbye to Fish Hook Marina

I was leaving in mid-afternoon, as much to save another $40, but also to get my sea sense back.  We were only going a few miles to anchor, so after a hot day, in the heat of the afternoon, the generator would be called upon almost immediately.

Not being born yesterday, just before leaving the dock, I started the gen for just a few minutes, just to make sure, maybe 5 minutes.

15:00, finally ready to leave.

But Sergio, who was going to be with me for some days, then told me he had to go home.

OK

Maybe a language issue? Certainly not the first time for me.

Then the guy on the marina is throwing off the dock lines. OK.  I’m sort of ready.

But what about the two pangas fishing 20 feet in front of Dauntless?  No problem, they were told to get out of the way. Slowly evidently.

Once the lines are off, I need to get underway.  My bow wave must have nudged them the last few feet,

Now, out of the slip and safely past the pangas, I look to my chart to check my route in and the depths.

But the chart isn’t on. Why?

Computer’s on, Coastal Explorer is running, but the magic “M” key is not bringing up the C-Map.

This kind of crap happens when rushed by other people’s schedules or perceived schedule.

I had put Dauntless in neutral not wanting to go in water I had no idea what was the depths.

Finally, I see the keyboard was turned off.  Easily solved, my chart comes up and confirms that my route into the marina was good and the one to follow out

I poke along at 5 knots in no real hurry. Just happy to have the sea under my feet again.

The spot I was anchoring in is a quarter mile off the beach in front of a friend’s house I meet on the bus to Golfito.  It’s a steep slope with a big 15’ tidal range. I can’t get too close, even though I have 35’ below me now.

I drop the anchor, it catches quickly like it always does (a much beloved Delta). It’s hot, very hot and humid.  I’m dying.  I put out 110 of chain on top of the anchor.  Then I realize the mistake I made. With the steep slope, large tidal range and 100+ feet of chain out, when Dauntless swings around (we’re now facing the beach) her behind may end up high and dry.  Not the first time, but I’m trying to have a year without a grounding.

I decide to throw the stern anchor in.  Oh, no stern anchor.  Must have been stowed for the Atlantic passage. Just then I see a mooring ball, just within reach of my short boat hook (they charge more for longer ones!)

I quickly grab the line from the mooring ball and put a short line thru it.

Worked like a charm.  Dauntless soon went parallel to the beach, but that was fine.

Now I’m sweaty, almost dead for the heat, stress and whatever else.

I turn on generator to get a much-anticipated relief.

It runs for one minute then clearly can’t handle a load. It putters to a stop.

I feel like crying.

I start it again, it starts, but with no power, like before. What changed? I asked myself.  Only I put the cover back on.  Could it not be getting enough air?

I take the front cover off, it continues to run poorly, then stumbles, then starts running normally.

I power up all the accessories, A/C’s, Inverter Charger.

For the next few hours, with the passing of every bird and fish, I think the gen is dying, but no, it runs steadily, until I turn it off for bed.

Now, the next test, how hot will the boat become without the A/C.  The water temperature is 92°.  I’ve never been in such hot water; the engine room never gets below 100° and that’s only with the Inverter and Water heater working there.

Dauntless hardly moved.

Just when I was finishing my shower, a peal of thunder overhead made me think that we’d run hard aground. I flew out of the shower.

It was only Mother Nature having a little chuckle before I went to sleep.

Spring Cleaning

Since spring happens once a year in most places, one would think that spring cleaning is a yearly event.

Though not on Dauntless.  With a surely, lazy crew, when I have even thought about a through reorganization, the look I see in the mirror is downright mutinous.

Of course, besides being, Master, Captain, Skipper, I am also the crew.

So, it’s no surprise that upon returning to Dauntless after my 3-month hiatus, it was time to evict the hitchhikers and other life forms.

I’d managed to go four years with nothing worse than the occasional fly or mosquito on board.

Well now the intrepid explorer has been put in his place by a bunch of roaches and a mouse or maybe two.

Dauntless in Golfito

Last week the whole upper part of the boat was cleaned and I threw away, I’m embarrassed to say about 8 trash bags, large ones, of crap that should have been thrown away eons ago.

I need a watch bird like that

Stuff like three copes of the bus schedule for the Waterford Bus.  Won’t need that for a few years.

The skills we learned in the pre-internet years, have gone by the wayside. A coveted bus schedule, or even a phone book could always come in handy.

Maps though. Only when we got Dauntless did I reduce my map collection.  How can I explain to someone who uses Google to get anywhere, how I use to have two or three maps of places and countries of interest? Balancing them on your knee, finding the quickest way, having to know when and where traffic was bad and hot to avoid the worst.

Even with this week’s boat cleaning, I had one small file of European maps.  My most coveted ones, that I justified in not throwing away saying to myself that the next time I go to Europe, I’ll use them.

But it’s not to be.  I put them on the dock and only later after the latest rain storm did I remember them.  In a normal environment, I would have dried them out, but on a boat, nothing dries out that is not already dry.  Into the dust bin they went.

Today, it was time to empty the engine room.  Well not really empty, but to take out all the things that are not fastened down.

The picture below shows the things stored in the back of the engine room, on either side of the generator.  It’s a lot of stuff.  Most of which I’ll never need. But it gives me piece of mind to venture far away or at least far away from the closest Amazon delivery.

It’s spare parts for almost all of the systems on Dauntless.  It’s plumbing, electrical (both 220v and 110v) and woodworking, parts, replacements and spares.  It’s what allows this 29-year-old Kadey Krogen to make its own electricity, power, water.  Just like a self-contained city, the only thing missing is snow removal; Oh, we’ll have that next year.

 

An Opportunity

The plan is coming together.

Dauntless Rests In Fish Hook Marina, Golfito

With my new USCG Document clutched in my sweaty hand, Dauntless and I will get underway in July.

It will be three months of moving north to winter in northern Mexico.  So, the trip that started in Ireland a year ago will come to a close this fall.

But I also find myself alone for the first time in a long time.  Being on the ocean, cruising alone is not so bad, boring more than anything.

Coastal cruising, what we’ll be doing for the next couple years, is much more stressful.   People, rocks and fishing nets are all close to shore and give you the opportunity to get into trouble.

Therefore, another set of eyes or a couple of sets becomes very helpful.

I have people coming in September and probably late August, so for now, I am looking for a couple or single(s) who would like to spend some time on Dauntless as we cruise north in Costa Rica and then the three-day passage to Mexico.

This will be a good opportunity to experience some coastal and an off-shore cruising. Email me if you think you may be interested and we can talk about more specifics.

Richard on Dauntless

Below is the current tentative schedule:

 

06-Jul-17 Costa Rica Golfito
13-Jul-17 Costa Rica Punta Arenas Azul
21-Jul-17 Costa Rica Playla Coco
28-Jul-17 Costa Rica Santa Elena
04-Aug-17 P Mexico Check-in Chiapas
09-Aug-17 P Mex Puerto Angel
13-Aug-17 P Roquita Island/Acapulco
16-Aug-17 P Zihuatenjo
20-Aug-17 Caleta de Campos
24-Aug-17 Cabeza Negra N
26-Aug-17 Manzanillo
31-Aug-17 Puerto Vallarta
05-Sep-17 Mazatlán
25-Sep-17 Guaymas

 

As One Chapter Ends Another Begins

Asia, via the North Pacific is still the medium-term goal.

But now that transiting the Panama Canal, a set structure in time and space, has been done, I have time to take a breath.

I want to enjoy the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia and Southeast Alaska.  These areas provide the spectacular scenery of Norway with added wildlife that has been long gone from Europe.

Hard at work adjusting our heading via the Autopilot

The western coasts of Central and North America pose a formidable challenge for little boats: long stretches of coastlines with inaccessible harbors when you most need them and predominantly head winds and seas.

If I’ve learned anything in the last few years, this Krogen does not like head seas.  They make for a miserable ride that takes twice the time and fuel.

So, the first step is understanding that with any northerly component to the winds, one must stay put.

We are also constrained by a relatively short cruising period, 5 months, maybe 6 at best.  That’s 150 to 180 days.  Climo says that the winds are northerly 66 to 75% of the time. That means of those 150 days, maybe only 45 are useable.

In those 45 days, I can reasonably assume that gets me about 2100 nm or someplace in Northern Mexico from Golfito.

The following summer, 2018, I’d have 2400 nm or about 49 days to get to the Pacific Northwest.

Lastly, in the third year, 2019, that time will be spent in British Columbia and Southeast Alaska.

So, I now have a more realistic time table.

Another Sunset on Dauntless

Three seasons of cruising, also means three seasons of idleness.  And we all know that idle hands are the devil’s workshop. So, while Dauntless is safely tucked in, I must keep busy at an affordable pace.

The west coast is considerably more expensive than Northern Europe, thus I find myself having to be open to new money saving strategies for the winter in particular.

Since re-crossing the Atlantic, I have been slow in updating my digital log.  Maybe because the data simply does not change very much:

  • In 2016-17, Dauntless fuel consumption remains constant at 1.45 gallons per hour or just above 4 nm/gallons. This number is only 1/10th of a gallon different from 2015.
  • My costs, total expenses for Dauntless and for myself have averaged just less than $100 per day for everything. This is also slightly less than 2015.  While marinas in southern Europe were much more expensive than northern Europe, the large number of passage and anchoring days equalized that cost.  Also, a passage day, 24 hours x 1.5 gallons = 35 gallons per day at $2.5 = $90/day.  So, using fuel for 24 hours pretty much equals the cost of a marina and eating and drinking.

The long-range plan, a circumnavigation in a 30-year Kadey Krogen, is still the plan.  I’m already thinking of where I am crossing my track and what comes after that.  Northern Europe, Sweden and the Baltic still have an attraction that is hard to beat, but who knows.

I’m always thinking of the future; reflecting on the past.  While that doesn’t leave much time to appreciate the here and now, it’s who I am.  I get far more enjoyment having the Plan come together, then just winging it.  I can read a hundred self-help books about living in the moment.  What they all have in common, is that they are written by people who are adept at living in the moment and figured out how to monetize that.  Sort of like our President who only seems to live for the moment.  Nuff said.

Maybe a better analogy is a book on how to live like a dog, written by a dog, but marketed to cats (dogs already know how to live like a dog).

The cat than buys the book, gets home, reads the first page and decides to take a nap. Nap time over, the cat looks at the book, realizes it pertains to dogs and thinks that’s $17.95 poorly spent.

Then before you know it, it’s nap time again.

That is works for most people is fine with me (President’s excepted); It simply doesn’t work for me.

So, this finds me taking a break from D right now.  We’ve been together almost 24/7 since November.  My nephew Micah went home to enter Law School, so I decided to take a little break and do a little reconnoiter for this coming winter.

If I’ve learned anything while cruising with Dauntless it that at 6 knots, it takes forever to get anyplace. Therefore, it always behooves me to check out places by land and air before committing to the journey by sea.

 

Dauntless Arrives in Costa Rica

In a trip that started the last days of May 2016.

Look How Calm it is

300 days and 7,000 miles later, we backed into the slip at Fish Hook Marina in Golfito, Costa Rica.

Last year, my goal was Mexico, I’m a few weeks and miles short of that goal, but all in all, I’m happy.

Well, maybe ecstatic.

My euphoria has been enhanced by the Pacific. Why have you folks kept it such a secret?

Since arriving in the Pacific, our 5 days of cruising has required the use of the paravane stabilizers NOT ONCE.

Now, to put that in context, since leaving Ireland on July 1st, 9 months ago, we’ve probably spent about 180 of those days underway, we needed the paravane stabilizers on all but 5 days. So, in our first 5 days of cruising in the Pacific, we have already matched our 2016 total for flat or small seas.

I’m looking forward to the coming year.

Now, I’m flying to NYC.

When I get back at the end of April, I’ll be ready to begin phase II.

At this point, it’s getting up the west coast.

How long that takes is anybody’s guess, but I don’t have the same time pressure that has driven me the last two years.

I may even have time to wake up and smell the coffee. 

Dauntless Docked in Golfito

And it turns out, I may have a lot of ti

The Trip So Far

I Hope He Stopped the Boat

Four Months & 6,000 Miles for Dauntless & Her Intrepid Crew

Dauntless in the Best of Brest
Dauntless in the Best of Brest

The table below has our tentative cruising plan for the next four months.  While the dates are somewhat tentative, you know me, I like sticking to the plan.

Kadey Krogen in Spain and Galicia
Kadey Krogen in Spain and Galicia

A few explanations about the below chart:

  • The tentative arrival date is just that, but the departure date from the previous port can be derived from the required days (4th column) minus the arrival date. E.g. Departure date from GIB (Gibraltar) is 1 day before arrival at Rabat, so the 7th of November.
  • 2nd Column, Type, “C” = Coastal cruising, “P” = Passage, i.e. No Stops.

Crew consists om my Hawaiian nephew Micah who has travelled with Dauntless since Ireland and is a very flexible soul and I.

We have others joining us for various legs, though at this time, it looks like I still would like to have a couple or one person for the passage from the Canaries to the Caribbean.  If you think you have some interest in this, please email me, sooner rather than later.

I am excited about getting this new phase underway.  So much of my time, my life, my adventures have been in Europe.  I’m ready for a big change.  It will take a year to get to Alaska and another year to get to Northeast Asia.

Dauntless is as ready as she has ever been.  Unlike coming east two years ago, all is ship shape. Spare parts are stowed and organized, fuel tank vents are moved, paravanes are rigged to run more effectively and can be easily run much deeper if need be and the two air conditioning units are even working.

Here are the current winds for the mid-Atlantic. To get an approximate idea of the Dauntless’ route, visualize a line from the bottom of Spain to NE South America.  Following winds or no winds.  the se are the “Trade Winds” and are pretty constant all winter.

Windyty showing the Atlantic Ocean

Can’t ask for better than that.

We Be Ready.

 

Tentative Arrival Date Type of Cruise Arrival or Departure Point # of Days Rq’d Current

Crew

Additional Crew

Needed?

03-Nov-16 Rota, Spain 2
04-Nov-16 C GIB 1 3 0
08-Nov-16 P Morocco, Rabat, Mohamedia 1 4 0
14-Nov-16 P Morocco, Agadir 1 4 ?
22-Nov-16 P Canaries, Lanzarote 2 3 1 or 2
26-Nov-16 P Canaries, Gran 1 2 1 or 2
30-Nov-16 P Canaries, west 1 2 1 or 2
19-Dec-16 P Barbados 18 2 1 or 2
26-Dec-16 C Grenadines, Carriacou, Grenada 3 2 ?
05-Jan-17 P Bonaire 3 2 ?
17-Jan-17 C Curacao, Aruba 2 3
01-Feb-17 P Panama Canal, East 5 3 ?
07-Feb-17 C Panama Canal, West 3 3 ?
20-Feb-17 C Costa Rica 6 3

 

 

 

The Plan Evolves

Where I now and where am I going?

I found this picture of the narrow passage that I was afraid to take. Thought I would include it just to show I have some sense.
I found this picture of the narrow passage that I was afraid to take. Thought I would include it just to show I have some sense.

So, it took two car rides, four trains, one bus and two airplanes to get home, having spent the last month in Ireland, Germany and England.

It’s great to have the ability to travel; it’s great to visit my wonderful, generous friends and it’s great to be home. None are mutually exclusive. Just the way I like it.  I’m just an inclusive type of guy.

So, sitting here, with Squawk Box on CNBC in the background, I thought I would write about the evolution of our plans over the last few weeks.

This link is one of the Chrome tabs that open on my computer each time I am on-line.

http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/orthographic=-42.29,39.39,720

I like getting a sense of the general weather patterns over the areas we will be traveling.  Also, it gives a sense of how the situation changes or not, from one day to another.  In this case, I’m concentrating on the western coasts of France and Spain, as well as the trade winds that will whisk us back to North America and all the way through the Panama Canal.

The long range plan has never changed; but as they say, the devil is in the details.

Before we even acquired our Krogen 42, the overall plan was:

  1. First summer in New England, Nova Scotia
  2. First winter back to Florida and Bahamas
  3. Second summer crossing the North Atlantic
  4. Wintering in northern Europe, the Netherlands.
  5. Third summer in the Baltic

Pretty much as gone according to plan; Ireland replaced the Netherlands and has been the absolutely best choice.

This past summer has taken a bit more money, energy and bruises than anticipated.

This link shows the movement of Dauntless since July 2014.  (Note: As you zoom in, the level of detail increases as to the actual route).

https://share.delorme.com/dauntless

As I had already mentioned: first time is nice, second time is great, third time is an anti-climax. So as wonderful Ireland is, both in the people, the country and the cost; it’s time to move on.

Attending the Krogen Rendezvous in early October, helped us decide to keep Dauntless in Europe one more extra year through 2016 and much of 2017. My recent trip to visit sailing friends, Andreas & Annette in Germany and John, Jenny & Ben in England, have further revised our thinking:

First, my original plan of getting Dauntless’ bruises fixed and back in the water ASAP, was scrapped. I came to understand that time out of the water was good and it also made the work schedule for the boat yard easier and therefore less costly for me. So Dauntless will be on the hard until March.

Assuming all is well, then in April we will start our 2016 cruising season, which right now, may not end until we get to South Korea in August 2018 at the earliest.

So right now this is what the general plan looks like:

Year Season Locations
2016 Spring Ireland, Scotland, Norway, Orkneys, Shetlands,
Summer ???, west coast France
Fall NW Spain
Winter Portugal, SW Spain
2017 Spring SE Spain? Med?
Summer TBD
Fall Canary Islands, Cape Verde Islands
Winter Lesser Antilles, Panama Canal, Costa Rica
2018 Spring When winds allow moving North along west coast to SE Alaska
Summer Cross Gulf of Alaska, Aleutian Islands, Japan, Southern coast of Korea

 

So that’s it in a nutshell. 20,000 nm, (36,000 km) in 29 months, 700 nm/month.  That’s seemingly a lot, but there are some very long legs, with about 10-12k miles over only three months. Also the last 9 months of the trip will take us halfway around the world.  Ummm, that’s a lot.  So it may happen that we will add a year in there probably in the Pac NW or British Columbia.

This allows the first 20 months, from April 2016 to November 2017, to be cruised at very comfortable pace.

So stay tuned.  Mark your calendar and if you want to do more than just read about our adventures, drop me a line. There will be a lot of miles and days that are better done with company than without.