Tuesday, April 14, 2015

April 3, 2015 - Isla Isabel to La Paz area voyage

Our time at Isla Isabel was way too short.  We could have used another day or two there.  We have wanted to get to the Baja California side though and being out at Isla Isabel we had limited weather information from a cruiser's net on the SSB.  The conditions were great to either head to Mazatlan, 15 hours, but they were also perfect for a long cruise across the sea to La Paz.  The kids agreed that this one long voyage would be nice and then we do not have any long passages for some time.  To go to Mazatlan means we still would have had a 36 hour crossing to La Paz.  So we quickly set off armed with about 2 days of weather information and headed for La Paz.  Not a three hour tour for sure, this ended up being 49 hours, which we knew it would be when we plotting the course ahead of time.  The conditions were quite good for us with only a few hours at the very end where we were wondering if they would get worse.  They did not.  We spent our time on this extended passage by sleeping, watching movies, doing home school, eating and reading.  We played a few games, made paper airplanes and threw them off the boat, as we even had a food fight to get rid of some old lettuce.  No one came close to being ill, although I think we were all glad to get to the other side!  

We had some mechanical issues during our long trip.  We were planning to run on one engine for about 24 hours then switch to the other motor for the remainder of the trip.  This saves a noticeable amount of fuel without much penalty in speed.  Unfortunately when we switched to the other motor Steve found that the transmission was slowly getting too warm.  Regular (and frequent) engine room checks are well worth while!  We slowed down a bit to see if the temp would drop, but it did not.  So we had to switch back to the other motor.  Steve checked the cooling system impeller but it was fine.  Once back on the other motor we found a new problem; this motor also had some sort of problem.  It was making a squealing noise when pushed hard (higher RPM and higher load).  It sounded like loose alternator or stabilizer pump belts.  Steve tightened the alternator belts, which were a bit loose but this didn't do much to help.  Unfortunately the stabilizer belts are very hard to get to and require Steve to lay across an extremely hot diesel engine.  Not something he wanted to do, so we reduced speed just enough to eliminate the squealing.  Another issue surfaced when we were about 3/4 of the way to La Paz and we started one of our two diesel generators so we could do a load of laundry.  Steve went to do an engine room check shortly after starting the generator and came back and shut down the generator.  It was overheating and spraying steam into the engine room (again, frequent engine room checks are a great idea).  Yikes. Steve has some projects to work on once we reach La Paz.... 

Cindy and Kevin on the bow.  The open sea behind, calm calm calm!
Kevin wanted to jump off but we could see some jellyfish so decided not to stop and make the leap
This ray was very large, his wings propelling him and his "wingtips" visible.
Many turtles just floating by
a turtle a bit closer
another turtle
This turtle diving and trying to not be hit by us!
another turtle trying to not be hit by the boat
and yet another turtle swimming away.  We saw literally hundreds of sea turtles
on this 49 hours passage.  The glassy smooth water made them very visible.
sunset, calm conditions
Kevin with the hose.  Next up the "Bird On Bow"!
We call these with an acronym we created  - BOB!  We yell, we have a BOB!
They just make a mess if we let them ride for hours on end!
Kids playing on the bow
Engine checks are done quite often and mostly by Steve.  The engine room is approximately 115-120 degrees Fahrenheit when we are motoring along.  The kids went down during this voyage to experience the wonderful heat and help check temperatures of the mechanics to make sure everything is operating as expected, not overheating, etc.
Kevin checking things out with Dad in the engine room
Cindy helping check temperatures with Dad
Cindy has the temperature gun in hand.
She was amazed to find the exhaust manifold runs at about
375 degrees, while the transmission is normally around 150 degrees.

Nighttime, lights still on in pilothouse as well as moon and spotlight
The moon lit our way the first night and we ended up with no need for a spotlight

paper airplane flying competitions!

Steve playing with the binoculars, Zappa cat in his bed, and what a moon!
Steve saw these dolphins in one overnight passage.
He said they did flips in the air just 10 feet from the boat!

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