I'm back on Altair after christmas break in California, and I am going to test out my internet connection that my phone (new plan) provides with a blog post. But also, I'd like to look back at 2016. For me, the year started in Bandaras Bay, where it was rainy and I awoke to the sound of popping fireworks in the night. I got up and looked at the celebrations for a few minutes before going back to bed. The surf was great for the rest of the winter, but in January I broke my left lower rib and found that surfing was quite painful, with it crunching around. I surfed Ticla for the first time and I'd like to go back, it is a nice place in mainland mexico. I took Altair up to San Carlos, Sonora, for the first time to store her there, and it was a nice experience, except that the heat is too much for many things on the boat, like the dinghy.
My friend Wes and I drove back from Mexico to the USA and I went to work on the Wilderness Explorer, and had quite possibly the best season I've ever had up in Alaska. I worked with a great group of people, on a boat that I like a lot, and doing a route that was fantastic. We saw amazing things, like Orca killing a Dall's porpoise, whales breaching nonstop for a whole day, and wolves. I did a unbelievable trip with my friend Danny aboard a small sportfishing boat and we heard wolves howl and saw a moose extremely close, and played with porcupines. (That is a trip I want to repeat) The last week of the season was quite possibly the best, with a great bear viewing opportunity and the most Orca I have seen in one time ever, and Northern Lights.
After the Alaska Season I spent a few weeks relaxing in Bellingham and then drove back down to Mexico with my friend Lucy. We had a great time exploring and surfing and getting back to Los Angeles, where I spent a nice christmas with my siblings and their families, and some good surfing. And now I am back home, awaiting the New Year to come again. Here are some pictures from bird watching with my brother in the LA area.
Saturday, December 17, 2016
Monday, December 12, 2016
After two days of working on some things, changing the oil, throwing away things I didn't need, I was ready to go! I hopped onboard as the boat went in the water and then went down below to check everything was ok, and discovered it was leaking! Then I turned on the engine and discovered the thru-hull was corroded closed, so I didn't have cooling water! Despite all these things, and the wind climbing to the 20s, I plumbed the cooling water to a bucket and filled it with water and drove out to the anchorage to work on the things. The thru-hull was fairly easy, I replaced the valve, and the leak went away on its own later on, so I was all right. But for a moment there, I felt pretty low about how my wonderful boat wasn't any good anymore. After a few days of getting the sails ready, I set off across the Sea of Cortez into the teeth of a modest 18 knot wind from the north. I am constantly surprised at how the slightest winds here make such awful waves! It took me overnight and a day to get across to Loreto, and I went for a swim in crystal clear 84 degree water when I got there. Very nice. But the water was cooling down rapidly, and becoming less clear, so I hurried south.
I stopped at a few islands I had previously never been to, including Isla Carmen, and I found very neat places to anchor and swim and spearfish.