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I’d better post this before I forget what happened.

I hadn’t been down to my boat in over a month!

The rent on the boat’s storage at Safe Marina was getting seriously overdue, and being a landlord myself, I know how this can cause some concerns.

Pam and the dogs were to stay in Tucson, so I’d be singlehanding this trip. I enjoy singlehanding. I know where everything is, and if it’s not there, I usually know why.

I got out of Dodge on a Friday, and stopped briefly in Sells to update a previous post with some photos of a battle tank.

Recently, the news broadcasts have been warning local drivers of a new trend in speed enforcement in Pima county. The reason for this is that the county needs the money. Well, duh.

There were a number of police vehicles with their strobes working, but I kept my speed in check, mostly. There was one construction zone, where it got down to one lane with a pilot car. I lived dangerously, taking a few photos through the windshield.



Boring, huh?

After crossing the border, a quick stop at a taco joint in Sonoyta. The rest of the drive was without incident, and I got into town around 1500 hours, immediately paying my two-month’s worth of storage fees.

The boat was filthy, with about an eighth of an inch of sand and pebbles in the cockpit. I’m a bit too close to the shipyard to the North, especially when they’re sandblasting rust off of old boats. But before I could get a photo of the gritty details, the yard guys had it rinsed down.
Tip ’em.

Launched, I headed over to Marina Fonatur, leaving my truck behind. There’s the first instance I missed having Pam along.

I traipsed on up to the office to pay Milton my expected slip fees, said hello to the day staff, and then settled down to the task of washing the rest of the debris from the deck and hull.
Bending on the mainsail, I looked at the flags over at the navy yard. The conditions looked good, but the timing just wasn’t. As there was only about an hour or two of daylight left, I resigned myself to having an adult beverage in the cockpit.

This is called foreshadowing…

Day 2-

0330 hours, my dockmates returned to their boat. Carl and Cordina were there with me on the morning of the big shoot-out between the narco-traffickers and the Mexican military. Despite the early hour, I was glad to see them.

Hauling myself out of my bunk, I greeted them amicably, but soon fell back to sleep. There’ll be plenty of time for pleasantries after the sun comes up.

A couple of hours later, I’m making coffee. I figure I’ll have a leisurely breakfast, allowing my dockmates something of a sleeping-in, catch up with them, and then put out for day-sail.


As the morning drew on, winds started building from the North.

The dreaded Norther. It’s a phenomenon here in the Sea of Cortez, where the winds can be pretty intimidating for a boat of my size. Still, I’m hopeful to sail in the lee of Sandy Beach, where the limited fetch should lessen the swells I’d have to deal with.

Stirrings from the Sea Ray next door finally happened around mid-morning, and by then, the flags across the way were standing straight out from their flagpoles. Day-sail?

Not gonna happen. Call me chicken.

Good morning, Carl!
Good morning, Cordina!


They’ve been MIA for a few months, or so I’ve heard through the grapevine, so it was good to learn that they’ve just been busy with life in general. I understand completely.

Over coffee, we sat aboard their aft deck, small-talking. I kept glancing over at the flags across the harbor, hoping to see a quelling of the breezes, but no-go on that. Sigh.


So, let’s do lunch!

Our first stop was Flavio’s, down on the malecon. Oysters, clams, beer and Long Island iced teas. I’m sorry, but I can’t remember the main courses.
Too much time has passed.

After Flavio’s, we made our way to the Boo Bar. Keep your minds out of the gutter, people. Whatever images that name conjures up, that’s on you.

It could be the most dangerous bar in North America, considering the bar stools.


I’m pretty sure that they’re a deciding factor in whether to serve any more alcohol to certain patrons. One hand for the swingset, and one for your beer.

After the Boo Bar, we headed out towards Sandy Beach. There are a couple establishments situated right next to one another, one of them being “Wrecked at the Reef”.

The other one, whose name escapes me now, was our next stop. It looked to be a fairly high-end place, and we relaxed on the patio with tequila and beer.




After that, it’s an easy walk next door to the main attraction, Wrecked at the Reef. This was where Pam and I found our dog Koki not too long ago. Koki knows where a good time can be had.




After a beer or two there, it was time to mosey on over to JJ’s, a large-ish cantina in the small community of Cholla Bay. Nice place.


Yeah, that photo pretty much sums up the mood by then.


There are a number of vehicles on the beach, their occupants either hawking stuff, or just enjoying the sun and sand.




The residents of Cholla Bay seem to consist mostly of ex-pats from the U.S., and a number of them have a small catamaran or monohull. They have races a few times a year, I hear.

After JJ’s, we started heading back into town, stopping off for some tacos along the way. Back at the marina, a nightcap with our dinner, and that’s all she wrote.

Day 3-

It’s already startin’ in with the wind, and it’s looking like another day without sailing.

I pretty much sat around most of the day, perusing my new book “The Ultimate Encyclopedia Of Knots And Ropework” by Geoffrey Budworth. A good friend had given it to me for his birthday.

Yep, you read that correctly. His birthday.


What a guy!

Replenished the ice in the cooler, and generally lamented about the blasting Northerlies to whomever would listen. Pathetic, I know.

I again went out to dinner with my dockmates Carl and Cordina, getting into much less potential trouble this time.

Day 4-

I decided to stay on another day, in the hope that these blustery conditions would abate, so, I go up to the marina’s office and find Milton, to give him a couple hundred more pesos. About 17-18 dollars.

Things were looking about the same as they had the previous couple of days, but I was determined to try to sail.

After a lot of coffee and a quick breakfast on the docks, I put out of the marina, onto the wide bay. There are a bunch of half-completed high-rise condos along the strand of Sandy Beach, and they weren’t helping the with winds at all.

Crazy rotors and strangely shifting wind directions put my little boat onto her ear more than a few times, until I just said “F___ it.”
Striking sails, I dropped the outboard back into the water and slowly made my way back towards the harbor.

A fishing boat was exiting the harbor mouth while I was dealing with the effort of keeping the prop in the water. He pulled up near me, and we waved at each other.

Then, he followed me in. Hmm. It was like I was being shepherded. Then I realized that I’d forgotten to turn on my VHF radio, and wondered if I was a cause for concern for anyone who might have been watching my puny little sailboat getting tossed about.
I certainly hope not.

After confessing my lack of bravado to my dockmates, they were quick to cut me some slack. This is, after all, my first “Norther” slap-down. And considering that it took me all of an hour and a half to make the decision about the futility of sailing in that insanity, I felt somewhat better. Somewhat.

Back to the books. I’ve got the Alpine Butterfly down pat, along with a nifty “handcuff” knot. Kinky.

Dinner was prepared, and a quiet, albeit blustery evening was spent at the docks.

Day 5-

I’m out of here, reasonably satisfied with what little sailing I’d been able to get in. I’m quite used to allowing weather to dictate my good times, and the old maxim, “It’s better to be at the docks, wishing you were at sea, than to be at sea, wishing you were at the docks”, is not lost on me.

Haul out was done, and the drive back to Tucson was quite boring.

Boredom is highly underrated, no?


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