If you would like to subscribe to my RSS feed, you can click here

S/V Nereida sails around the world

Well.... the good news is that replacing the fuse holder seems to have resolved the solar panel problem. Joseph had come this morning to try to help sort out the problem and things were just not making sense... So I finally suggested getting out the spare fuse holder (which I'd already tried and decided it had shown the original was not the problem ) ... Hey presto... full power and no blown fuse...! So the original IS faulty....

We wondered if the exposed metal of the spade connectors might have been part of the problem. I'll replace them soon and make sure they're covered but, for now, I'm delighted to see the increased input. Let's hope it continues!

Last night, I checked the weather, as usual, and saw a possible midweek weather window for rounding Pt Conception in light winds - strong northerlies have been blowing down that part of the California coast for some time so I'm heading to Los Angeles tomorrow (leaving around 3 am! ) to arrive San Pedro before sunset and I'll move on to Oxnard on Tuesday.

n between jobs, it's been nice to meet up with several friends.  Jeff, KJ6GET, took me to the not-very-conveniently-located office of Homeland Security to get a Cruising Permit yesterday - necessary for foreign-flagged boats wanting to cruise in US waters.  We then went for a tasty lunch before returning to 'Nereida' where he retrieved the inflatable kayak he'd lent me in January in lieu of a missing dinghy for use when at anchor while cruising in Mexico.

Present problem items I'm trying to sort out include SSB radio, wind generator, solar panels, water-maker, EPIRB,.... with a lot of smaller items also on the list...  

It was kind of Mark B. to spend time with me yesterday evening.  He helped sort out my mainsail shape - when reefed it has been looking very baggy, but once the reef lines were taken away from the reefing point fixtures on the boom so that the reef lines were free to move aft, the reefed sail looked a far better shape.  Now I need to move the reefing eyes to their new positions under the boom.

Friend Mark, AF6TC, came by 'Nereida' this morning with test equipment to check out the SSB radio - the end result being confirmation of my suspicion that the tuner is the problem.  The radio, antenna, counterpoise and connections are fine but the tuner seems to have a faulty component causing it not to be able to tune well enough on certain frequencies, partly depending on the previous frequency it had tuned to.  I'll be contacting Icom America about the problem to get the tuner looked at and repaired soon - possibly when I get up to the Pacific North West soon.

The wind generator seems to have become noisy and not to be outputting the power I expect - but that needs more investigation.  The company seemed to be taking an extended 4th July holiday on Thursday & Friday!  (Not the only company I tried to phone unsuccessfully last week!)

I visited friendly, helpful Downwind Marine & bought tinned wire yesterday to replace some corroded copper wire in the solar panel circuit - this afternoon's job - trying to resolve an ongoing problem and hoping, finally, see full power getting to the batteries..

Amusingly, people were complaining here about the heat yesterday - but I was perfectly happy with the sunshine, having just arrived from the warmth further south in Mexico!!

I'm planning to leave SD early on Tuesday and make a brief stop in San Pedro, Los Angeles.  Then to Oxnard, soon after, before trying to round Pt Conception as soon as weather permits, on my way to San Francisco.  Winds have been strong northerlies down that coast for quite a time, but I'm hoping they'll abate and give me a good weather window in a week's time.

Left Ensenada Wednesday just before sunset and had a fairly uneventful overnight trip to San Diego - but a slightly stressful approach to the S end of the Coronados Islands with quite a few fishing boats and strobe-lit objects in the water off the SE end of the main island  to avoid.  Luckily, our route took us just clear of all, but some of the strobes had me puzzled for quite a time.  (After I'd arrived here in San Diego, I was told the several large surface objects were the tops of tuna pens - the fishermen catch the tuna and then grow them on in these pens.)

Coronados astern... Thursday 6th July 2017
Murky grey morning approach to San Diego ..smooth water... rafts of birds resting...


Image may contain: ocean, sky, cloud, outdoor, water and nature
Arrived San Diego Police Dock at 8.30 am and had to wait a long time for Customs Clearance - had breakfast and got some sleep in the meantime and then fuelled up before heading to the Southwestern Y.C. Guest Dock for more sleep.  It was great to discover I'd coincided with a Jazz group playing at the Club that evening - made for an enjoyable welcome to San Diego!

The photo is of the Simrad/Navico team who just finished a great day's work upgrading my VHF radio on board 'Nereida' in Ensenada. 

Thanks so very much, guys!

And a bonus was getting my compass light working again after a corroded connection was found....and re-made.

Two items off my long list....  

And, tomorrow, Ernie is coming by to give my long-suffering engine a good service.  We're making good progress on the joblist!

Thursday 29th June 2017

Very many thanks to Navico Ensenada! ! Three of the service personnel came on board "Nereida" this afternoon to try to sort out a Simrad VHF radio problem I've been having. Denmark HQ and Ensenada have both been in email contact with me for well over a week now to clarify my problem and discuss possible solutions. .. But now that the technical guys have seen the situation first hand they'll be back tomorrow to fix things.. Great to have such great, friendly support. Thanks again, Navico! Very much appreciated.

A white 'lightbow' in the fog nearby - an arc of white light off to port caused by the low sun shining onto the fog droplets/moisture from the other (starboard) side - a 'first' for me!
Making for Ensenada now. Left the anchorage unexpectedly near midnight after having downloaded fresh weather info and hearing from two boats out at sea what conditions they were seeing... Realising I had a weather window of light winds, I hurriedly raised the anchor and got underway.
My decision was helped by seeing the expected Wed weather window disappear - to Thursday or even, possibly, Friday . ETA is midday today - I'll be catching up with sleep on landfall!

Fog has lifted in the bay here but I'm seeing it out to sea.
Sunny and calm.
A fishing boat came in earlier, maybe overnight? Anchored close by - must also be hearing of the strong winds to N of here for next day or so...
To S, it's looking amazingly calm all day today so three boats are heading this way from San Quintin - it will be nice to see them!
One was intending continuing on to Ensenada but if it were to do that, they would be meeting 20kt headwinds, according to my weather info - not good, so maybe they'll be pulling in here instead to wait with the rest of us for Wednesday's hoped-for weather window.
Having computer problems - working on them.... Another job to add to the list....

Thick fog has lifted to reveal the yellow sandstone cliffs nearby. Getting periods of calm with strong winds in between.-- gusting up to 20kt for several hours around midnight last night. Quite rolly at times with WSW swell coming in - breaking noisily on cliff base not far away. 
Keep having long weather discussions over SSB radio with friends on boats to S of here. Two are hoping to move today to San Quintin, and then tomorrow I might be joined by three boats - those two and Rikitikitavi who have been in San Quintin while I've been trapped here.
Catching up on lots of overdue emails...
Peaceful, apart from noise of breaking waves, but could be a party venue here on Monday if the other three boats get here as hoped!
Can't see a weather window to head to Ensenada from here until Wed at earliest

Friday 23rd June 2017 Passage to Ensenada continues

11a.m. PDT (local time)

Yesterday, we had perfect timing as we came up in the lee of the east side of Isla Cedros to lose the big Pacific W swell. We caught slack LW at Dewey Channel and got full flood until slack HW well after passing the N end of Cedros - speeds went up to 8kt!! And no fog - excellent!

I'm now trying to get to Ensenada before strong headwinds arrive - or at least I hope we'll get very close just as they're beginning. Will be using a lot of fuel - but I just checked and I've still plenty to keep r.p.m. up a bit for the last day - should make Ensenada tomorrow before noon sometime, hopefully - 125 miles away at 1730Z Friday and, if making 5.5kt, it's just under a day away.

I’m hoping the strong headwinds don't come in sooner than forecast, to slow us down too much. Flat calm now with 2-4kt wind and foggy.

Winds are supposed to pick up slowly over this afternoon reaching 10 kt by time I reach San Martin (30 mls away now), 10-12kt off Colnett (60mls away) before midnight, 10-12 kt by 5-6am off Pta Thomas (100mls away) and 12-15kt as I close on Ensenada - all headwinds, so add 5 kt or more for boatspeed and more again for gusts. Seas will have built up also, I imagine. It will be nice to get in and relax!

Saturday 24th June Passage to Ensenada comes to abrupt stop….

9 a.m. PDT

We were bashing into NW 12-13 kt and seas to match, very soon after passing Isla San Martin just before sunset & expecting stronger winds later in the night and over into Saturday - around Punta San Tomas especially..

I had sent an email to a friend who sent me information about the anchorage tucked away just SE of Cabo Colonet: "Hoping to pass by & make Ensenada but, if headwind gets too strong, might turn downwind and head in there," I wrote…..

That's exactly what happened last night, well after midnight.

We were getting low on fuel and were struggling to make over 3.5 kt while rounding Cabo Colonet with great difficulty. The rough seas were constantly slowing us right down and, with a headwind already gusting to 18 kt from 12-15 kt, I couldn't sensibly continue on with the very high engine rpm needed to make better speed (giving me a big worry about having sufficient fuel with the resulting greatly increased fuel consumption). I knew winds were forecast to increase further on and they were already far more than expected.

It was very dark, with no moon but luckily also with no fog to prevent me from seeing the anchor light of another boat as I headed in (the boat showed up well on radar also). I wasn't sure if there were more small boats some way further on, but those might have been lights on shore - they posed no problem while anchoring in a good spot in 12m depth.

Sea temperature here is 12C - a big change from the 28C I was in off the southern Baja!! Low cloud now - a patchy, light fog has lifted for the time being.... it’s misty and cool!

Will make use of time here to get some outstanding jobs done.


Wind is generally 12-16 kt but frequently gusts up to 24 kt. There’s good NW swell protection here and no fetch since we’re fairly close to the rocky shore-line at the base of low sandstone cliffs.

I moved away from a cleft in the cliffs leading inland - a likely cause of willy-waws, I thought, so I raised the anchor this morning and lowered it a little further east.

Very quiet here - only noise is of waves breaking on rocks at foot of cliff and of the wind when it gusts.

I suddenly spotted my mobile phone had a tiny signal - tried it - it works! I’m able to text and speak to people - amazing, in this deserted, isolated place! No good for data but fine for voice.

Tidying up & getting some jobs done. I’ve finally had to give up on bare feet and dug out my sea boots - much warmer… (Have been needing a fleece top for several days now.)

Turtle Bay fuel arrived late (possibly due to time zone change we were unaware of!) but all three boats were finally able to get underway soon after 8.30am.

Murky sky... Damp and grey...

Light S wind for most of day, veering to WNW in early evening.

Delighted to see wind instrument was back working... No idea why but happy to see it! Also calibrated the log in slack high water soon after Isla Cedros was left behind - so finally getting accurate true wind and current info.

Calm sea surface but big swell which disappeared after passing nicely through Canal de Dewey at low water slack. Headed up in lee of East side of Isla Cedros on a flood tide which boosted speed a lot. Even managed some motor-sailing with full headsails until wind veered around dusk.

Cedros has high, dramatic, barren mountains. Vivid piles of white salt caught my eye from quite a distance in the small SE harbour area near quite a large village - clearly fishing is not the only source of livelihood there, as I'd thought.

Had long chats with other boats over radio - both VHF and SSB. 6516 is working well both morning and evening for keeping in touch, with 4519 working well in the morning also .

A total motoring day, as expected, but made better for seeing and hearing several sea-lions and frequent seabirds. Several rafts of seabirds on the water took off as we approached.

Weather is looking good until Friday evening when forecast is still showing increased headwind overnight and into Saturday and Sunday. Might have to stop in S anchorage off San Martin.

Anchored in Turtle Bay overnight to get fuel early tomorrow - could do without the twelve hours lost since weather is not looking good from Friday night onward so it could cause a problem with getting to Ensenada in good time. It will be a two and a half day to three day passage direct from here... Hopefully, the pangero bringing fuel in the morning will turn up on time- at 7 o'clock, as promised. He's charging over twice the cost of fuel at the local Pemex station that he gets it from -making over 100% profitr - not bad! Annoyingly, I don't really need more than a little spare since the fuel in my tank now will probably get us to Ensenada - but it's best to have some extra as a safety measure..

Wednesday 21st June - summer solstice! 

After a 'vigorous' (!) overnight passage from San Juanico, bashing into wind and seas in foggy conditions, arrived Bahia Asuncion ~9.30am today - in thick fog, to find big surf crashing onshore... Got uncomfortably close to the surf and made a quick right turn...! Couldn't see where to head for the anchorage and shore contact was of no help, so was forced to head back out to sea.
Very disappointing -I'd been really looking forward to reasonably-priced diesel, a meal, fresh provisions, phone coverage, Internet..... and maybe a nice hot shower in a calm anchorage. None of that now.. That surf will take a time to die down...
Presently continuing on to Bahia Tortugas (Turtle Bay) to get fuel (at an exorbitant price I'd hoped to avoid ) - ETA around sunset so it will become an overnight stop since the fuel panga won't deliver diesel until the morning - but at least there's no surf problem in the protected, easy-access anchorage there.
Other boats we know are there already so we'll meet up - might end up with a mini-fleet of six to nine boats, all heading north...
Weather is looking good and calm until Friday night when headwinds are forecast to become strong. By then we'll be just a day from Ensenada but might have to pause in San Quintin or Isla San Martin to let winds die down - which could take another two days or so..... (If we could keep on going now without any stops, we'd arrive in Ensenada early Saturday morning)
Looks as though the sae-fog will come down again later.
Feeling very frustrated just now - and too much motoring and virtually no sailing doesn't help...
Time to sit on deck with a mug of tea and remind ourselves how lucky we are to be able to enjoy the sun shining on Pico Hermoso as we pass by....... ?

Wednesday 21st June 2017 -summer solstice

1.30 a.m.

Fog still around. Still a very bumpy ride, bashing straight into seas.... Wind has been light, ~7kt, but the seas have not lain down yet !

Just rounded PuntaAbreojos- nasty rocks there, so kept well off, avoiding fish floats & nets also - can't see those in the dark! 46ml DTG to Asuncion.

Friend there said 20kt wind in the bay most afternoons - getting fuel Tuesday would have been impossible with big surf crashing onto shore all day long with SW wind. Pangas were hauled well up the beach and not getting out.. We'll see how that works out later this morning - hope we don't have a big delay due to surf still up.

Monday 19th June 2017

Vivid memories still of nine years ago today - but I’m here to tell the tale… Life is good!!

Busy today - held a 'seminar' on "Nereida" with fellow-cruisers to discuss weather forecasts for our passage to Ensenada, looking at up-to-date grib files using both COAMPS for inshore and NDFD for offshore - wind looking OK for first half of 110 ml passage to Asuncion tomorrow but might get a spell of increased headwind off Abreojos before, hopefully, winds abate to make rest of passage pleasanter. My plan is to arrive in time for breakfast!

Also discussed obtaining weather faxes via Pactor modem and radio in 'real time' rather than downloading big files as email attachments. All good, useful stuff!!

Spotted my wind instrument suddenly come to life unexpectedly this morning - but I don’t somehow think we’ve 50 knots (Force 10!) of wind - the bay has been fairly calm all day with maximum wind of 5-10 kt, I reckon… When I checked the cable coming down from the mast-top instrument yesterday, it seemed to be powered up and generally looked to be working OK so I’m suspecting the wind instrument itself is now faulty. At one time, the needle was whizzing around back and forth! It’s display is erratic, often showing blanks and then suddenly switching to zeros or stupid wind values. The wind direction is complete nonsense when it’s displayed…

Took a time this afternoon to transfer diesel from jerry cans into main tank - almost full now. Will be able to get more fuel in Asuncion on arrival early on Wednesday - there’s a friendly, helpful couple there who, for $20, will come out to boat in their 'panga' and take crew to shore with their jerry cans to fill up at the local Pemex station (at a standard, sensible price), stopping off at a restaurant and/or a tienda on the way if food/provisions are needed. I hear they also run a well-kept small hotel and RV (caravan) park nearby - but we’re 'out of season' now - most people sensibly head out of the area over hurricane season - which is exactly what we’re doing also!

Sunday 18th June 2017
San Juanico -lovely sweeping bay.and another surf spot. "No crime here," I was happily told by Ed Liddle who's been here for quite a few years. It's a small community with difficult road access.
Having to wait for a good weather window - hoping to leave Tuesday morning for Asuncion when headwinds are expected to have abated.
'Chatelaine' kindly included me in their dinghy for a trip to shore through the surf .. Always exciting and we managed to pick a good spot, with a nearby surfer guiding us in and helping as two waves suddenly came in together. - breaking a little over the stern - but all ended just fine.
Off for a short walk in the village to find a burrito and to meet up with 'Rikitikitavi' - the kids were enjoying games over an intermittent Internet connection but there's no phone signal here.
Back to the dinghies, as the sun was setting, where both of us managed to get back out through the surf without getting flipped - excellent! !

Safely anchored in 6m depth in peaceful, sunny (fog cleared as got closer), protected Bahia San Juanico.
280 n.ml. from Bahia San Jose - a passage of just 2 days 9 hrs - a lot of motoring although did get in a touch of motor-sailing last evening.
Food, sleep .... and then a few boat jobs to catch up on - nothing like being at sea to remind one of certain outstanding jobs waiting to be done in calm conditions!
Two other boats on their way here, expecting to arrive later today.

Friday 16thJune 2017

Still motoring in light headwinds, with patchy fog around since first light this morning. .. At midday, a weak sun is struggling out and Isla Santa Magdalena and the Baja mountains behind can just be made out...
It's chilly! Sea temp dropped from 28C in San Jose to 15C now, so no wonder we've had fog!
Had good sessions on HF radio last night & this morning - nice to have use of radio again after my repairs but I never know if 20m band will work OK - was perfect last night on Pacific Seafarers' Net!
Sea is glassy-smooth surfaced but a good 2m W swell is coming in from out in Pacific.
The other boats heading N are not far away, mostly ahead. Some are making for Turtle Bay, others for Asuncion.
I'm making for San Juanico - also an overnight passage but shorter. I've only ever been to Bahias Magdalena, Santa Maria or Tortuga on previous trips along this Baja coast, so it will b e nice to visit what, by all accounts, is a very pleasant place before moving on to Asuncion soon, if winds allow...
Just about to post this and I suddenly noticed my wind info has disappeared. .. a new problem to deal with... The instrument was newly replaced in February in San Diego..... Damn!! More electrical connections to check out....

This e-mail was delivered via satellite phone using GMN's XGate software. Please be kind and keep your replies short.

It's been very pleasant being on anchor for several days, here in Bahia San Jose. Has also meant I could tackle several problems.

On Monday I wrote:..

Radio problem still alive & kicking! !

Thanks to Sarah of 'Rikitikitavi ' for coming over to make sure I stayed safe while perched on a crate to access the backstay lower insulator - bringing over some lovely freshly-made muffins later (made by her young crew!). Took connection apart eventually and started re-making.... Many thanks to Bob of 'Kachina' for helping finishing putting back together - he rowed over with Sam to help... He's a tad taller than I am so that was a great help.

Unfortunately, having gone to all that effort- problem.hadn't gone away.... Good receive but no transmit possible.

Wednesday...Thanks yesterday morning to Alan of 'Kemo Sabe. He'd suggested tuner was the problem ( as already mentioned by a radio friend)' but came over with a coax lead to test... Worked fine... In testing with mine again, he spotted a loose coax connection on a jumper lead - when that was removed, my system worked a lot better - buy still eventually ended up with 20m problem.

The good news is winlink works for emailing and I can talk on most freqs I want to -- even PacSeaNet heard me and we had a chat but there's definitely a problem still to be resolved...

Spent several hours this morning replacing 4 butt joints on the solar panel wiring - hoped time wasn't wasted but fuse blew again... Two untinned wires clearly need replacing - the ground wires were black inside! Slowly making progress...

Weather window - at last!! Several boats will be away, as we shall, before dawn, hoping to round Cabo Falso and head north in light conditions for a few days ..... Ensenada... we-re on our way !

So ... spent all afternoon accessing the ATU, checking, tightening, cleaning (several now bright and shiny from sanding!) all radio connections, including checking inside the ATU -which looks fine (that took a couple of hours to take apart and then get the cover back with the gasket properly in place).

The result? NO transmission possible on ANY frequency now!!! Even tuning sounds my SWR meter alarm. The only place I've not yet checked is the most likely culprit - the feed-wire-to-backstay connection. That's high up above the aft deck and I need the boat to be still to perch on something to reach there - likely to have to go back to the marina to sort that out.

No radio use until this problem is fixed!

Actually thought I was wrong - tried radio and all seemed fine on every band except 20m (tried that last) -but when I re-tried after that, all other frequencies sounded the alarm - so we're back to square one...

All content and photos on this website copyright © Jeanne Socrates - All rights reserved world wide except where noted.
Website design, maintenance and hosting donated by One Web Company
Site Map