Aboard Astraea

Invest in experiences, not things

On to Isla San Francisco

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On April 13 we got underway from La Isla Marina in Mazatlan bound for Isla San Francisco, north of La Paz. We decided to skip La Paz and head to the Islands to relax and get away from it all.

We motored and motorsailed across the sea and I got some interesting data about motorsailing in to the wind. Yes, yes we’re on a sailboat and can sail almost everywhere we want to go, but heading directly in to the wind requires tacking back and forth to catch it at about a 45 degree angle on our sails. So if we want to sail in to the wind it can make a crossing take twice as long. Plus, we’re cruising, not on a sailing vacation. If it’s going to take twice as long, in this case an extra two or three days to get somewhere I’m all for firing up the engine.

Our passage across the Sea of Cortez took 2 days, 7 hours. We used 46 gallons of fuel in 55 hours of engine runtime giving us 0.8 gallons per hour usage. We travelled 249 Nautical Miles and got 5.4 Nautical Miles to the gallon and averaged 4.5 knots. We run the engine at 2000 RPMs when motoring, and if we’re motorsailing efficiently we may run the engine at 1500 RPMs. Most of the engine run time was at 2000 RPMs.

With all the bashing into the wind and waves, we had a lot of water splashing over the bow and coming down through the anchor windlass and hawsepipe under Sully’s berth and in to the bilge. The water accumulated and we found we have a faulty bilge pump, but we have two backups to keep the water out. The propellor shaft packing was dripping excessively adding more water to the bilge, so I adjusted it while we were underway to keep the bilge drier. The water was also finding it’s way into Sully’s bed. Natalie went in to get him after our first night and found the poor kid in a puddle. She emptied his who berth to air dry in the cockpit.

Calm weather underway after a rough night meant we could air out Sully's stateroom in the cockpit

Calm weather underway after a rough night meant we could air out the contents Sully’s stateroom in the cockpit

Everything was wet from the water dripping down from the anchor locker, even his mattress needed airing out

Everything was wet from the water dripping down from the anchor locker, even his mattress needed airing out

It wasn't all wet and wild underway, Sully got to watch some movies and relax

It wasn’t all wet and wild underway, Sully got to watch some movies and relax

We picked up a hitchiker, a one footed boobie bird. I shooed him away once we saw and smelled the bird poo mess he was leaving all over the foredeck.

We picked up a hitchiker, a one footed boobie bird. I shooed him away once we saw and smelled the bird poo mess he was leaving all over the foredeck.

I've started a foray in to baking. I made a loaf of pretzel bread in the pressure cooker. The general consensus on board is that bread tastes better baked, but it was quick and easy to steam cook.

I’ve started a foray in to baking. I made a loaf of pretzel bread in the pressure cooker. The general consensus on board is that bread tastes better baked, but it was quick and easy to steam cook.

Sully got some new entertainment on the crossing. Reusable sticker scenes. He really like to play with the trains and automobiles.

Sully got some new entertainment on the crossing. Reusable sticker scenes. He really like to play with the trains and automobiles.

On the final day of our crossing the wind had shifted and we were barely making any headway to Isla San Francisco. We diverted toward Playa La Bonanza on Isla Espiritu Santo to dry out again and stop bashing. Luckily the wind shifted again and we made good speed to our intended anchorage.

We dropped the hook at Isla San Francisco right around happy hour and were glad to stop moving after the passage. Isla San Francisco is a picturesque anchorage and we’ve been excited to see it since we left to go cruising. The next day we hiked the ridgeline trail around the anchorage. At the top there is a steep slope down to the anchorage and a cliff face on the opposite side down to the Sea of Cortez.

Almost to the summit

Almost to the summit

Sully wanted to get out and hike but he stayed on my back so he didn't go tumbling down the cliff

Sully wanted to get out and hike, but he stayed on my back so he didn’t go tumbling down the cliff

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The picturesque anchorage at Isla San Francisco. Now this is cruising!

The picturesque anchorage at Isla San Francisco. Now this is cruising!

We also went exploring the salt flat in the middle of the island and met the crew of Kia Ora and their dog Charley. Sully had fun playing with the little furry white dog, but was really missing his buddies Ollie and Emma from La Cruz.

The view from the salt flats towards the anchorage

The view from the the hill on our way toward the salt flats

On our hike we came across a desert plant that reminded me of my childhood pet lizard. The dried out stalk my little lizard buddy liked to lay on came from the a dried out desert plant.

On our hike we came across a desert plant that reminded me of my childhood pet lizard. The dried out stalk my little lizard buddy liked to lay on came from the a dried out desert plant.

Sully likes to enjoy a cup of "coffee" with us in the morning. If you to Starbucks and want to order a Cafe Sully, tell them to make it like this: splash of coffee with a cup of milk and a teaspoon of sugar.

Sully likes to enjoy a cup of “coffee” with us in the morning. If you to Starbucks and want to order a Cafe Sully, tell them to make it like this: splash of coffee with a cup of milk and a teaspoon of sugar.

It was great to get out of the cities we've been visiting and get back to nature. We saw a large flock of seagulls and pelicans fishing close by off the beach.

It was great to get out of the cities we’ve been visiting and get back to nature. We saw a large flock of seagulls and pelicans fishing close by off the beach.

Sully had fun beach combing. He likes to find pirate swords when we go exploring and hiking.

Sully had fun beach combing. He likes to find pirate swords when we go exploring and hiking.

Comment

4 Comments

  1. Great adventures!

  2. Nate, Nat & Sully, you sure are living the dream. I enjoy all your posts and pictures, please keep them coming! Be safe!

  3. I guess I really am a racer rather than a cruiser at heart…I will never understand the cruiser’s allergy to tacking. A boat is never so alive as when she’s heeled over and digging in!

    • Ryan, Natalie and I had a discussion about that after our crossing. We’re going to try and use the engine less and enjoy our time at sea more, regardless of where the wind is coming from. Kinda reminds me of your visit in Seattle when we were so focused on where we were going that we ran the engine to get there instead of enjoying the journey. Regardless, the journey’s been great so far (except for the cost of fuel).

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