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Home Port of Seward, Alaska


Leg 5

Exploring the Sea of Cortez, Part 2

Wings spent the 2012 summer in the storage yard of the Marina Seca in San Carlos, Mexico. We had a lot of work done on the boat: Hector Morales applied three coats of varnish and three coasts of gloss to our caprail. We had a full boat cover fabricated of a plastic "agricultural cloth" that provides 70% shade but also some ventilation. We had an arch system fabricated to support our two solar panels.

We returned to the boat on Sept. 29 after an exhausting and complex journey from Alaska, through Oakland, CA, then to Phoenix, AZ, then by bus to Guaymas, MX. We took a taxi from the bus station to the marina to greet Wings. We accomplished this trip while hauling three Rubbermaid "Blue Boxes" crammed full of gear, a six-foot long duffel, my five-foot duffle, a six-foot-long antenna in a cardboard tube, as well as our two travel packs and two laptops. That it all arrived is a small miracle!

On arrival at the "marina seca" or dry marina, we were assaulted by the incredible heat, stories related in our blog. We began work immediately.

The panel arches did not fit so that completion was on hold until Conni found a way to finagle them into suitability. We did install the new Raymarine triducer: a device that protrudes from a hole in the hull into the water and provides boat speed, depth, and water temperature. The installation had to be watertight, of course. Although the installation went smoothly, the water temperature function did not work. Depth and boat speed should have. The new AIS (the Automatic Identification System provides crucial location and motion information about vessels to other vessels) transceiver not only receives the information from other vessels and displays it on our chart plotter, but transmits our location information to other vessels. We find that it makes our sailboat more "visible" to other vessels.

The most complex project, and the one for which I spent the greatest time planning, was the installation of the Icom M802 single sideband radio. These high-powered, high frequency radios, coupled with a special modem (a Pactor modem), are capable of sending and receiving email, voice, and weather data anywhere in the world. The preparation was worthwhile since the installation went smoothly and we now routinely use many of the functions that it provides.

On completion, we cruised northward in the Sea of Cortez, visiting several of the islands in the northern Sea of Cortez, and then sailed down the east side of the Baja to La Paz. At the end of the leg, we spent two weeks in our resort in Cabo San Lucas.

The entire trip was a shakedown for crossing the Pacific.


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