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A few days before Thanksgiving, I again made the 4-hour drive down to Puerto Penasco. The run was made on the tail end of a fairly wet couple of days, where Tucson received just under 2 inches of rain, and cooler temperatures.

So, after making sure that any tenants who wanted their furnace fired up for the holiday were satisfied, I arrived in a very rain-soaked Rocky Point. I believe one puddle I drove through was close to 2 feet deep. It’s getting time to tear into the truck’s running rigging, I think. Oh, boy.

I met up with Karin and Joe, and learned that a critical drainage system, installed years ago in the area, had been ripped up for some reason. Thus, massive lakes, sprinkled with some pretty significant potholes that you couldn’t see. I guess it was assumed that it would never rain in Rocky Point again. Odd.

My boat was a mess, the cockpit full of sediment from all the dust and dirt generated by the surrounding shipyards. Apparently, after asking the yard manager to make sure my boat’s trailer tongue was cranked up to allow drainage, he blew off my request when he parked the boat last time. I spent a good part of the next morning swabbing her down in the muddy lot.

The main reason I’d made this trip down here was to see off the crew of Flyin Sideways, hopefully to escort them for as long as possible onto the Sea of Cortez. And, of course, to sail.

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You might notice only one dog aboard Flyin Sideways in that photo. Unfortunately, the alpha dog, Gypsy, had to be put down very recently. Boat life was just too strenuous for her ailing body, and the decision had to be made.

Here she is in better days.

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Goodbye, Gypsy. It was nice to know you.

Day 2-

Joe and I each had a chance to use the bosun’s chair, with Karin tailing the winch. The steaming light had given up the ghost somewhere on the Baja side, and a sea bird had taken out the windex.

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The windex, no problem, but the steaming light gave us some trouble, and still operates intermittently, even after a complete disassembly/cleaning/reassembly. I hear it’s only necessary in the States, however, and Joe’s got LED spreader lights that’ll do in a pinch.

A finalization of the sail-pack/lazy-jack system, and Joe was hoisting and dousing the mainsail with nary a care.

A couple of skydiving friends from Eloy, Lew and Craig, made the drive down to Puerto Penasco that morning just to see Flyin Sideways.

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Lew’s in blue.

Despite their self-imposed tight schedule, we all climbed aboard Sovereign for a short sail. Joe had the helm, and a fresh breeze had us heeling enough to where reefing seemed to be in order, so we did.

I have to admire Lew and Craig’s dedication in making the four hour drive from Tucson, spending only a few hours in town, then making the four hour drive back on that same day.

Later that afternoon, I moved my little boat over to Marina Fonatur, a government-run facility. As a slip at Safe Marina costs a dollar/foot/day, the slips at Fonatur cost four pesos/foot. At approximately 12 pesos per US dollar, well, you do the math.

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But it was not without some grumbling from Safe Marina’s manager, Miguel. “My tax monies are subsidizing my competition!”
Sorry, Miguel, but Fonatur has showers with actual hot water, and even laundry facilities. I’ll still keep my boat on the hard at your place, while making damned sure the trailer’s nose is cranked up. And I still get to pay you for splashing, haulout and one day’s slip rental.

Of course, the town’s restaurants got a lot of my business, too. And while Marina Fonatur’s small restaurant didn’t make any great impression on me, it was certainly handy.

Day 3-

Guess who’s making the drive down to Puerto Penasco today? That’s right, Pam and our two dogs!

You may remember that my last two forays down here were punctuated with bloody cuts on my right foot. Not so this trip.

This trip was to become known as “the forgetful one”.
As Pam was attempting to leave Tucson, she misplaced her house keys. Of course, she wouldn’t need them until she returned, but you know how it goes, you’ve gotta find ’em. They were in the front door’s lockset.
I had lost my keys while setting up the boat the first night, and misplaced my camera for a couple of days, myself. The keys were found alongside my boat the next morning, and the camera was found stuffed under the driver’s seat of my truck.

Growing old sucks.

Anywho, I’m in Pam’s Good Graces for slipping the boat at Fonatur, bless her frugal heart. At least I didn’t lose my wallet. 🙂

We all trundled down to the malecon for some excellent seafood that night. The restaurant even let us bring in the dogs.

Day 4-

Karin had to make the drive back North to drop off their vehicle, returning by shuttle van late the next night. This put a small crimp in the logistics of getting around town for the rest of the visit. Four people and three dogs are pretty tight in a small Kia, but somehow we made it work.

The same could be said for the sailing parts, too. Two dogs below, rotating Jack and Ziggy in the cockpit, along with the four humans.
This was during the time my camera was AWOL, so we’re still waiting on the photos Joe had taken that day!

Day 5-

It’s Thanksgiving, I think? Lots more gringos in town, visiting relatives and enjoying the place. The business folks here are lapping it up, and Flyin Sideways was looking more and more ship-shape.

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Those jerry cans were filled and lashed down, and Joe had done a superb bit of shopping for an emergency tiller. You go to a muffler shop, find a length of 2-inch diameter thick-walled steel pipe, and have the proprietor make one bend and a couple of cuts in it. Voila.

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One of these at a marine outlet would likely cost north of $500.00, and Joe got away for $15.00! Some cleaning and paint, and it should last easily until the next muffler shop around the bend.

Day 6-

Joe hails me on the VHF, saying he’ll give us a shout out when Flyin Sideways is ready to put out to sea, so I make a run for the banos. As I’m returning to my boat, Pam tells me the shout was made, and they’re leaving in ten minutes. She didn’t say that the shout was made twelve minutes ago.
Looking around the largish vessel in the slip next to me, here they come!

Frantically firing up the motor and tossing off the docklines, I steer my boat out into the harbor, following Flyin Sideways by about a quarter mile.

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I twist the throttle wide open like those fishing pangas almost always do, and stab the telephoto lens into play.

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Pulling up alongside, leaving plenty of room for when she falls off the wind, I hoist sails, kill the motor and move ahead of my subject matter. The winds are perfect for my lightweight boat to outpace the Columbia.

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Then, after making a quick circuit completely around her, I made what I think was a rookie racing mistake, sailing into her wind shadow, and she slowly pulled away. Arrrr.

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We radioed our last goodbyes,

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and then the wind simply died away!

Using my binoculars, I watched as their sails were struck, the diesel was fired up, and over the horizon they went.

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You can follow their adventures at http://flyinsideways.blogspot.com/

So there we were, 5 miles out of port, no wind, riding the diminishing swells.

I looked at my wife, she looked at me, and we passed the time in the cockpit of my little boat, the sun beating down on us, enjoying each others corporeal being. Much too soon, it became time to motor back in.

Day 7-

Up at daybreak, I’m out of coffee, and I have to wait for the little marina restaurant to open up. In the meantime, I cleaned the boat of all the dog fur, tidied the cabin and prepped for haulout.
We did the two vehicle dance, and I said goodbye to Pam around 1000 hours, saying I’d be about two hours behind her.

Seems like my forays are getting longer and longer, but I’m doing less and less sailing. Hmmph.

I think I’ll spring for at least another month’s rent on dry storage down here, and make use of the facilities and personnel available to clean up Sovereign’s 625 lb. cast iron swing keel.
Plus, do a little sailing. 🙂

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4 Comments

  1. Enjoyed reading your blog and made me want to get to Mexico! Thanks, Chief

    • Thank you, Sir. C’mon down, it’s a free country! 😉

  2. I see Pam is still hangin’ in there about this- very nice !! 🙂 Nice to see the fishing boat- reminded me of actually being there. And glad u found the cheap slot LOL

    • Oh, I HAD to find the cheap slot, but plan on anchoring out more. Just gotta deal with the Capitan de Puerto.

      I trust that things are going well down there?


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