Dec 2020 Ensenada-Isla Guadelupe (200 nm)


Merry Christmas to us!!! We are underway!

We have all our papers in order to depart from Ensenada; the boat is stocked as best we can and we drop lines at 5:00 am. I stow lines and fenders, make a quick breakfast, then we are clear of the bay and into the open ocean.

We have the best sail to date-full main and screecher flying across the ocean. Just before dark, we discussed if we should reef the main but the sailing was so good and typically the wind lessens as the sun goes down that we decided to leave the main fully up. Just goes to the old saying that you should reef when you first think about it. We were not overpowered but the ride would have been more comfortable with a reef in.

Arriving to Isla Guadelupe

The night before we depart, we discuss the weather and felt that winds favored a southerly start to the journey with a turn to the west as evening fell. Our friends, Doug and Tamara, on S/V AO, another Seawind 1260, left with us but sailed west then south. We arrived into the protection of Isla Guadelupe around 9:00 am on the 26th. They arrived a few hours after us and had a wilder ride. Steve has gotten really good at reading the Predict Wind trends and has avoided the biggest wind events. If he is off, it’s usually that the predicted winds did not materialize and we motor.

The Mexican Navy came alongside shortly after AO anchors and told us we were not allowed and needed to leave. AO had a fluent Spanish speaker onboard and after asking if we could stay until the wind diminished, we were ok’d to stay for 2 more days..but don’t go in the water! They said the sharks were biting the boats but we think they really just wanted us to not go ashore or bother the endangered seals on the island.

We made lobster tacos for an early dinner with AO.

A “puff” of Seawinds in their natural habitat

The Guadelupe Islands are well worth the effort required to get there. Even without being able to go ashore, the fishermen in the area are friendly and gladly trade their lobsters for anything. I wish we had planned better to bring more things they needed. And I wish my Spanish was better. I’m working on that now!

A cool geologically feature showing a harder rock intrusion protruding while the softer surrounding rock erodes faster.

The island has a volcanic history. We would love to be able to hike to the caldera some day. Just along the shore, volcanic rock is visible like a cap over the sedimentary rock that makes up most of the island.

A “Where’s Waldo” shot of the endangered Guadelupe Island fur seal.

The island is also home to the endangered Guadelupe Island Fur Seal. They are beautiful and curious watching us from their rock perches as we drift by in our dinghy. Their coats nearly perfectly match the rocks, wet fur matches wet rocks but dries to match the dry rocks around them. We did do a brief excursion in our dinghy despite the Navy’s warning and despite the fact that this island is well known for Great White sharks. No sharks and the Navy did not come back to arrest us and we definitely did not go ashore.

S/V AO at Guadelupe Island, Mexico

We are very aware of the possibility of transmitting Covid to the locals. We initially tried very hard to maintain distance and show care for them by wearing our masks. They really didn’t seem concerned. They wanted to trade for beer, but we didn’t have any. When we offered oranges from the ranch, they graciously but probably reluctantly accepted. They peeled and ate them as they cruised away. Those ranch oranges were so good, even in December, that a boat that missed the first go around, came back with 2 lobsters for some more. We kept contact to a minimum though and enjoyed the incredible nights with no light pollution.

Message in a Bottle

Found on Hawksbill Cay, The Bahamas

5/26/2019 – Found!

Washed up with literally TONS of trash on the windward side of the island was the above bottle with a rolled piece of paper inside. We hoped for a long lost love letter or even just a “here I am, where did this end up?”, message but the writing was gone.

I will post more detailed pictures of the bottle. If anyone recognizes this, let us know!

Enjoy the adventure! And safe travels,


Codax wine – Spain
Albariño bottle
1 of 2 legible script
2 of 2 legible script

From the Codax wine website:

“Martin Codax, the character who gave name to our Albariño was one of the most important medieval Galician troubadours. Parchment Vindel houses his ballads, the oldest in the Galician-Portuguese, extolling love and passion for the sea.”

Talk about a “passion for the sea”! It would be amazing if this actually was carried to The Bahamas from Spain. It almost makes me wish there had been a tiny camera attached.

Windward side of Hawksbill Cay
No “trash day” pickup

Life Changes…(June-October 2019)

We made the decision to wait out hurricane season in Brunswick, GA at the Brunswick Landing Marina. The marina is near a former submarine base in a backwater with lots of swampy land around. We felt it was a good choice to absorb the effects of a potental hurricane. I don’t think I’d want to live-aboard with the swamp bugs and humidity but it was a safe hurricane hole.

With the boat secured, we drive back to FL. We still have vehicles and airplanes to move. Our current “plan” (which tends to change frequently-sometimes hourly) is to come back to the boat in about 6-8 weeks and venture north towards the Annapolis Boat show in October, then either make the jump to the Med or head east then south to return to the Bahamas for a season.

We load two hangars of tools, parts and stuff that didn’t move onto the boat into my car and an enclosed trailer. Steve is driving our truck/camper combo and is towing an airplane. We made quite the sight as we caravanned towards AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI.

Truck/camper with Zenith on straight floats
Subaru w/3000 lb tow
My view for 3000 miles…

We have an uneventful trip to WI and rebuild the airplane. We also have a short window where Steve was able to fly commercial back to FL and bring our AirCam to AirVenture.

First time Zenith is on floats!
Steve flies volunteers from the Seaplane Base

During AirVenture, we decide we have to bring our life back on the west coast. A friend kindly offers a hangar for the AirCam near Chicago and we gratefully accept. Our little caravan continues west to CA and gets parked at home. We have enough time to put things away and into storage as appropriate, then we have planned travel to visit our daughter in Alaska where she is employed at her first “real” job after college.

Alaska was wonderful. Sarah is a CFI (certified flight instructor) training pilots to be seaplane pilots. She was able to take a few days to train me in preparation for taking my check ride to become a flight instructor also.

Sarah is an excellent instructor
Sarah also instructed her dad in flying the Pacer on floats

During our time in AK, Hurricane Dorian spun about 40 miles off the coast of GA before turning north. Fortunately, there was only 30-40 mph winds and no damage. The marina posted drone footage showing every dock and boat on their website. That was a relief.

Magenta circle is Brunswick, GA and ALWAYS

We also managed two additional trips during the fall. They had been planned around going back to the boat and the east coast but…life changes. The first trip was to Nashville, the second to NY, DC and Annapolis which ended in NC.

Sightseeing in Nashville
Trisha Yearwood-back on tour!
New York City
The wand chooses the wizard…at The Cauldron
You’re a witch!!!
30 year reunion, Annapolis, MD

We drifted down to NC. Sarah was meeting her cousin for a cross country drive and we would be headed back to CA because our boat shipping date had been delayed….again. All our plans have become very flexible. Our summer was very busy but also exciting as we adjusted back to the west coast.