Aboard Astraea

Invest in experiences, not things

Crossing the Sea of Cortez

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On Monday, February 2, 2015 we left the anchorage at San Gabriel to head south to Los Muertos to cross the Sea of Cortez and end up in Banderas Bay.

We made a late night arrival at Los Muertos to get one more good night’s sleep in before the big crossing. I’m glad we stopped at Los Muertos because we got our first close encounter with dolphins.

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Dolphins spotted in the distance

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We set the autopilot and Sully donned his harness to go out on deck for a closer look

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The dolphins hung around and splashed in our bow wake as we headed southeast towards La Cruz.

The winds were forecast to be from the northwest at 10-15 knots, but out at sea they ended up being 5-10 knots from the northeast, perfect to beam reach our way across the sea.

The afternoon of our departure, Natalie made a delicious lunch of stuffed gorditas, and while I was making my afternoon pot of coffee the propane fizzled out. We were out of propane on the first day of a three day crossing! At first we were a bit worried, but we have plenty of provisions aboard that didn’t require heating.

In a dire emergency we have military style Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) that you can eat hot or cold. We had plenty of cheese, pretzels, salsa and dried fruit. Natalie quickly made a new batch of yogurt using hot water from the water heater. Luckily our boat is equipped with a water heater plumbed to the engine, so we can have hot water while underway. Luckily we had some Foldger’s coffee singles, otherwise I wouldn’t have survived! We made good use of the boat’s hot water during this crossing: we cooked instant mashed potatoes, cous cous with Indian beans and lentils and we also rehydrated boxed hash brown potatoes for use in “Nate’s Tasty Engine Casserole”.

The idea for the casserole came from my Dad. He told me about being able to cook a foil meal on the engine of a car, so I thought we could do it on the boat. We used the rehydrated hash brown potatoes, diced onions, precooked Mexican pulled pork and chopped cabbage in a metal baking pan. We wrapped the pan in foil and secured it in place on the engine using bungees. We ran the engine any time our speed dropped below 3 knots, so it was on long enough to cook dinner. It took about 3 hours for the casserole to get nice and hot. We enjoyed sitting in the cockpit after dark under the red lights eating our supper.

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Dinner cooking in the most untraditional of places.

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The engine top casserole, doesn't look like much, but it was tasty!

As we sailed southeast the weather became warmer and the night watches were more comfortable. The moon was full, illuminating the sea around us.

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Natalie enjoys the night watches a lot more when there’s light from the moon. She took the midwatch again from midnight to 4am. We recently watched Pirates of the Carribbean with Sully, so for the first two nights of the passage we watched the second and third Pirates movies during our night watches. We didn’t really enjoy the movies the first time we saw them in the theater (too long and too many fight scenes), but four hours is a long amount of time to pass in the middle of the night, and we ended up enjoying the two and a half hour distraction.

Dolphins came to visit us again. Finally we felt like we were crusing with the warmth of the tropics and the dolphins splashing playfully near our bow.

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Sunrise on the approach to La Cruz de Huanacaxtle

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Passing the point on our final approach to La Cruz

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Sully's new fun toy is a set of dominoes from our game cabinet. He likes lining them up and making different patterns.

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5 Comments

  1. Cool …. now teach Sully to match the dots and count them on the dominoes!!! Can’t wait to share your adventure with you!!!

  2. Love the photos! I remember Sully playing with dominos in the boater’s lounge. He has changed his methods!

  3. So stoked you guys are in La Cruz! Go to Lupe’s in the morning for breakfast and say hi to them for us! I miss Nayarit so much!

  4. In January we crossed the Sea and are presently in Ixtapa headed South this month or next. Nice blog. Maybe we cross paths

  5. Engine casserole? Brilliant. ~Jessie

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