Tuesday 19th January 2021

I haven’t felt like writing the last couple of weeks since getting back from our silly season jaunt. Not sure why but we’ve been busy, which may have diverted me!

Bernie has been checking all the chain plate bolts and resealing where the chain plates go down through the deck. He’s also reseated the scuttle in the bathroom and has to do the three in my cabin. He’s just waiting on more sealant that he’s ordered. I’ve done my bit (other than the usual cooking and cleaning, which, to be honest, I’m pretty sick of right now!) by taking the winches apart, one by one, and cleaning & oiling/greasing the necessary parts. I’ve run out of gloves which I need as we use gasoline to clean them and that stuff kills my skin.

I’ve been pretty restless lately and have talked about my options a lot with Matt. There’s not a lot of choice in the current climate though. I can stay here and do the crossing, which I daresay I will, go home and get nursing work, which I’d likely regret in a heartbeat, or go travelling in Mexico for a bit. My South African friend from France, Fouche, thought he’d be tempted to join me for that. If he did come over, that’d be awesome. But travelling here alone isn’t the best idea. In the meantime – boat maintenance!

The poor kittens have been speyed. They’re actually doing really well but this Kiwi cat mum got all teary eyed dropping them off! Kim took Midnight (their sister) in at the same time. They’re perkier today, day 3 post-op, but very aware they aren’t as agile and strong as usual. They’ve been quiet and moved with great caution on deck! Still, good to have it done and, other than a rabies vaccine, it’s the last thing to do before taking them to NZ.

The clinic which did them is a free clinic set up by local expats. An American vet comes down once a month for the weekend and he and a local vet do non stop speying and neutering of any cats and dogs brought to them. They do a solid 10 hours Friday, Saturday and Sunday, hitting roughly 100 animals a day. Local and expat nurses assist and recover them. There’s also a van that catches feral animals and they get done too. A truly wonderful service.

When we went to collect our cats, I volunteered to help. The guy in charge, John, was very keen when I said I was a theatre nurse! Then, while he was talking to Kim, who knows him well, I noticed a dog had stopped breathing. Trying to get their attention, I felt for it’s pulse and finding nothing, rolled it on it’s front and opened it’s airway. Kim had twigged by then and knelt beside me to begin rubbing it’s ribs vigorously. We got it going again! John was very happy with us and I reckon we both have a job!

I had Momo to myself yesterday. It was divine. And a beautiful day too, so I could sit on deck and read. A weird fog rolled in for part of the afternoon, making for great photos! Bernie had had to drive, with Josh & Morgan off Grey Matter, up to Kilometre 21 to renew their visas. Its a 4.5 hour drive, so they left here at 0800 and got back about 1830. A long but successful day. My visa is valid as I renewed when I went to see Matt & Meg.

I get desperate for my own space at times. It’s impossible on a boat this size. I think Bernie was a bit offended when I was so pleased to be left alone, but I can’t help it. I needed a bit of peace and quiet. He lives in his head so much, I don’t think he notices it. We talked about it a bit when he got back. Hopefully he understands it’s my need and not a direct reflection on him, though admittedly I find his messiness testing at times and the way he’s such a noisy mover! But he can’t be expected to change after 56 years and I’m not going to try! He is who he is and, as Kim says, has many fine qualities! None of us are perfect and I daresay my obsession with hygiene and cleanliness drive him just as crazy!

He got a call from Jana today, his younger daughter, which made his day. He doesn’t hear from his kids nearly as much as Matt and I talk, so it means a lot when he does. They talked for about two hours. She is so clever and articulate, light years ahead of most 16 year olds. Hardly surprising with two incredibly smart parents, and an unconventional upbringing on Momo.

The kittens have spent most to today in bed!

24th January. Where are the days going?! January is nearly gone already. I caught up with the whanau yesterday, talking to Fizz, Mum and Matt, as well as Dawnda. It was a nice calm day and I helped Bernie with rigging, learning how to retension the stays. It’s actually easier than I thought, as long as you do one at a time! I also cleaned up more of the deck plates!

We had rain a few days ago! Real pouring rain all night. It was wonderful and Momo is fresh and clean. This may not seem particularly news worthy, but Sonora got no rain during the entire rainy season and we’ve only had two small showers with a squall last year around August. So it was the first proper rain since I arrived last July. Jack, our water obsessed kitten, was fascinated. He sat under the bimini watching, venturing out now and then to try and work out where it was coming from. Very amusing! They are such fun little animals, always following us around, helping with our projects!

I went ashore with Kim a couple of days ago to help do the garden out at the ranchitas. We met Nancy for lunch first, ordering pizza which was divine! Then did the weeding and picked some veges and herbs to bring home. It was a nice girly day. I met a couple of their other women friends here, both smart and interesting ladies. Kim reckons she could write a book about all the fascinating women here. They’re certainly all real hard case characters!

I’ve just finished a really good book called “The last lieutenant” by John Gobbell. I’m got to start the next in the series. Bernie and I have been watching a good series too, called “The sandbaggers”.

Not much to report really! 😻

New Year 2021

January 3rd.

It’s Fizz’s birthday at home and I can’t ring her. So gutted. We’ve had internet in all the places we didn’t think we would but not here, where I did expect it, being close to Mulegé! Grrr! I sent her a message on the InReach system but I wanted to talk to her. 😨🎂🥂💖

Jack has just gone for an unplanned dip in the sea. He’s very bedraggled and unhappy right now but as he won’t let me dry him with a towel, there’s not much I can do. He got back up the starboard rescue net as we can see the trail he left! Water everywhere! So they’ve both gone overboard now. The heater’s on so he’ll dry off eventually.

We’re now in Bahia El Burro, having sailed here yesterday. It was stunning sailing conditions. We sailed off the anchor and onto it again. Feels good to do that. This is yet another gorgeous place. There’s a restaurant on the beach, Bertha’s, and we had dinner there last night, and margaritas! Very good quesodillas con camarones.

We saw the new year in with the people who live in Bahia Santa Inés. They invited us to join them for their 1900-2100 get together, after we met them while ashore getting veges from Raoul. It was such fun, and they’re a great bunch. I think it was actually nearer 10pm when we got back to Momo, and we cracked the rum bottle to see out the rest of 2020. Bernie didn’t make it, falling asleep, his hand still wrapped round his rum glass! So I put on Armin van Buurin and the kittens and I danced till midnight rolled over!

I woke up on New Year’s day feeling very chipper, unlike the skipper, who nursed a hangover all day! But as happens, from time to time, I suddenly crashed into heart broken sorrow, feeling like I don’t dammed well want another year that takes me further from when Danny was in our lives. But there it is. One of the guys I met at the new years party, Phil, had also lost his son, to suicide. That has to be hardest of all. We talked for quite a while and shed a few tears. Then told stories about our boys.

Today, Bernie and I hiked to the top of the mountain, Bell Rocks, that shelters this anchorage. There’s apparently petroglyphs on the rocks up there. We did see what could have been some but they were also in an unlikely place and neither of us was convinced they weren’t a hoax! But the view from the top was worth the effort for these two unfit sailors! I’m fitter than Bernie though! I’m glad I’ve been trying to do my yoga every day, as my muscles were fine, even if the heart rate was up! The terrain was startling, arid and beautiful, with huge cacti and every bush covered in lethal prickles! Osprey hunted overhead and I even saw a snake. It was about 18 long and very slender. It was sunning itself on the path just ahead of me and I could’ve trodden on it if I hadn’t seen it and stopped! I really don’t think it heard me coming! It took off pretty smartly.

Oh dear, poor Jack is very unimpressed with being wet. But he won’t let me comfort him or dry him so I just have to watch him shake his legs and look unhappy. Intensive grooming under way!

It is only 1830 and Bernie has gone to bed, exhausted. It’s rather worrying that he has so little stamina. It can’t be good, but I guess he does spend most of every day on the settee in front of his computer screen. I, at least, keep active in a way; cooking, cleaning, yoga, playing with the kittens. It’s not a lot but much more than he does! Anyway, I’m sitting on my bed with both kitties for company. Bernie is sniffing incessantly, which irritates the hell out of me but he’s oblivious and gets grumpy if I ask him to blow his nose. Just another topic for me to add to the “can’t be mentioned” list. I do find it a bit frustrating that, living in a small space, I endeavour to take his needs and feelings into account, but he does whatever he wants. I feel like now he’s used to me being here and knows I’m staying for the crossing, he doesn’t bother trying to be thoughtful of having another person on board.

I had a ghastly nightmare last night. I dreamed I was shopping in Ballantynes with Mum and Danny. But it was a much bigger store and Danny said he was going to look in the men’s department while we were doing girly stuff. Then someone ran up and said there’d been a huge accident and Danny was hurt. I ran to the scene but they wouldn’t let me get to him. I was shouting his name and he was calling back to me. But I couldn’t get to him. I waited and waited and when I finally got in, there was blood everywhere and no Danny. I was frantic, rushing round screaming his name. I woke up panting, upset, and devastated to find my reality hadn’t changed. He is still gone. That was 2am and I didn’t get back to sleep till 7am. For just over an hour. So I should be more worn out than Bernie, but I’m OK. Just sad. I’d like to get off this ride now please.

I think we’re going to go spear fishing in the morning. The sea is only about 18 degrees celcius now so I double wetsuit. I put my short legged one over the full length one. It makes a big difference. I bought myself a hood and gloves in the USA. They’re so worth it!

5.1.21: 0730: Bernie did go spear fishing yesterday but had no luck. He said there were few fish and none big enough to hunt. I didn’t feel like going and wanted time to myself. I’m a quiet person and Bernie is noisy, so I find time to myself precious.

After he got back, we motored to the next bay, Playa Santispac, to see if we could get internet but no joy. So I think today we’ll head across the bay to where we lost it coming in and see what the weather is for the next while. We need to start heading back to San Carlos. Jack stayed below on my bed while we motored. He was very quiet on deck yesterday, after his impromptu swim!

Alex gave us a grand demonstration of how clever the kittens are yesterday. He wanted to jump up and sleep in his favourite place above the fire but has learnt the fire is hot! So we watched him sniff the dial, look intently into the fire box, stand up on his back legs and carefully tap the top to see if it was warm, then deciding it was off (it was off!) he jumped up and went to sleep! Clever kittie!

We watched a few movies last night; one about the Beetles, Of Mice and Men and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. All good. Bernie is a bit obsessed with German documentary type things and I get really sick of them. So it was nice to watch something different.

I’m going to get up and make coffee now. Bernie is sniffing again. About once per second! Grrrr. Jack is attempting to comfort me with snuggles and purring! He’s a dear wee beast.

We’re going to go for a beach walk as there’s apparently warm springs along from here. It’d be nice to have a soak but we’re not sure if they’re that kind of springs. I hope so.

1430: We took the dingy and explored the whole bay. The water is fairly clear here and we saw lots of sting rays settled on the sandy bottom, though little else in the way of sea life, just small fish and the odd puffer fish. They’re the weirdest looking things. The usual pelican colonies are in abundance, however and a healthy number of other sea birds.

We did have a walk ashore to stretch the muscles, after our big hill climb the other day. We found the rather uninspiring hot springs, which we couldn’t swim in, sadly. Nothing like the wonderful hot streams and pools in the North Island of New Zealand. Bernie got some fantastic photos on his big camera, though my new phone camera does take very good pics for a digital one. He’s a pretty good photographer.

I made tortillas for lunch and we listened to a Daryl Cooper podcast afterwards, but I have a headache, so just wanted to lie down for a while. I’m feeling a bit homesick at the moment. I wish I could go home for a bit but covid makes it impractical. Unless I go and don’t return, which I’d feel bad about since I did commit to doing the crossing with Bernie. But a rather large part of me just wants to go home right now.

1630: This is our third evening without internet. How dependent on it we’ve become! We want to check the weather and the InReach weather isn’t that accurate, plus they only give you two days in advance. And I keep thinking of things I want to look up and can’t! We have got the dingy on deck, so if its calm overnight, we might get under way.

Wednesday 6th January

It’s nearly lunchtime and we’ve been under way since 0300. We crept very carefully out of the bays, given the number of small islands and reefs in this area. The radar failed, which annoyed me rather. Once out of Bahia Concepcíon, we got the sails up and turned the engine off. The wind is NNW and we’re on a heading off 035° for San Carlos. Bernie’s just putting a second reef in the mainsail as we’re heeling and it’s pretty uncomfortable. We’re flying though, making great time, even a little above our course so we can always fall off later. I did ask Bernie to strap on! I’m pretty sure he’d be out there with no life jacket or safety line if I hadn’t asked!

The kittens have slept since we got into open water, being fairly unimpressed with the yacht on a 45°angle, bouncing all over the show! Alex is on Bernie’s bed and Jack is next to me on the starboard couch. I made scrambled eggs for breakfast, an exercise in balance! Also coffee. But when I tried to make lunch, the sea thought that was a step too far, picked us up and dumped us sideways so hard I went flying backwards. I ended up in the nav station and am now sporting a darkly bruised haematoma on my right hip and a cut finger. Oh well.

1500: The wind has suddenly pegged back a little. Its been a solid 30+knots all day but I reckon we just lost 5 or so. Hope it lasts! I’m a bit over this washing machine feeling. I responded to a station relaying a mayday about half an hour ago. But they didn’t have any decent info so I just gave them our position and destination, if they needed us. Haven’t heard anything else. Hope no one is in serious trouble out there.

Arrived back in San Carlos harbour at 2015ish. Fast crossing! Good to be home.