Having delivered the boat back to Mexico and, now, spending the holidays at home in San Diego has given me time to follow-up on other cruisers, via their blogs. Revisiting the latest adventures of friends we've met while cruising, as well as others we haven't met but have shared a kinship through cruising, gives me pause to consider how fortunate we all have been.
One common thread we all share is the support of our mates and families. I know that I am guilty of not telling my wife how much she has given to make my cruising dreams a reality and how much that means to me. I could never have done it without her support and encouragement. From cajoling me to buy our boat, to tending to the often tedious task of provisioning for our journeys, to putting up with my own foibles and insecurities when undertaking new challenges, her love, support and, most of all, patience have always embraced me. I can't imagine a better partner to share life's journey. Forgive me for not expressing my love and appreciation to you as selflessly as you have to me.
I'm envious of all those of you who have had the wisdom and courage to share your cruising dream with your children. I marvel at those who have. Contemporary families on s/v Just A Minute, s/v Don Quixote (Toast Floats), s/v Third Day, s/v Whatcha Gonna Do and s/v Endurance (to name a few) by allowing their children the freedom of a family adventure, have imbued in them a sense of wonder, responsibility and respect for the world around them that they otherwise may not have had. It's a wonderful gift to be able to share with your children.
The cruisers with families also comprise a subset of the larger group of people who recognized the advantage of undertaking a sailing adventure when they are still young, fit and capable of surviving by their wits. Windtraveler (s/v Rasmus), s/v Ocean Girl, s/v Sea Biscuit, and S/V Rebel Heart represent a few of these people who have chosen to live life rather than be paralyzed by the future.
I can barely wait until we return to our boat and continue our adventure. Meeting other cruisers and people in the communities we visit is a large part of the joy for me. I am very fortunate for this opportunity in life!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
We are not certain what led to this fire, but the pangero on the Gordo Jr. fuel boat indicated
Since we didn't hear a distinct "explosion" near the start of the fire, we
Whatever the cause, this incident reminded us not to become complacent about the use of our stove and oven and to review proper safety precautions when using it. Fortunately, Citla has a number of redundancies when it comes to propane safety. In addition to a proper propane locker with a solenoid shut off at the tank, there is also an emergency propane shut off switch, which controls a secondary solenoid before the propane enters the stove. This switch is located on our aft bulkhead, in the galley, within easy reach of the person at the stove. The last safety device on Citla is a propane sensor installed directly under the Force 10 stove. The indicator and alarm for this sensor is located directly next to the emergency shut off switch.When both solenoids are switched "on", we allow a few more moments before starting the stove to insure we have the continuous green light indicating the absence of free propane around the stove.
These mechanical safety devices, while important, should be viewed as contingencies in case individual attentiveness fails. Routine inspection of the hose and connections should be made regularly. In addition to this routine maintenance, discipline in operation of the stove must be followed. While we used to shut off the valve at the tank after each usage, when we were cruising for months we only shut off the propane at the tank during long passages or when we'd leave the boat for a period of time. Otherwise, we'd leave the valve open and put our trust in the redundant solenoids and propane sensor to keep us safe at anchor or in a marina. When operating the stove, we only leave the solenoids on while cooking; as soon as the flame is out, we shut down both the emergency shut-off as well as the main solenoid valve at the tank (this switch is located on our main electrical panel).
As an additional precaution, whoever is cooking is obligated to maintain watch in the galley as long as the propane is on. From a safety perspective, it is unacceptable to leave the stove unattended while it is in-use or ready for use. The emergency switch is useless if there is no one present to use it.
While the fire in Tortugas was horrible and left us sickened, it did serve as a reminder to review our own practices when it comes to safety aboard.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
The trip was uneventful, as far as the weather went, but our seven hour
This was essentially a delivery mission to get Citla to La Paz. With the able help of my nephew, Peter, and Alicia, our friend from our sister-ship, Tumbleweed ('82 Cal 39 MRK III),
Our luck with fishing changed once we entered the San Lorenzo channel, separating the Cerralvo channel from Bahia La Paz.
We barely managed to have the adrenaline rush of the hook-up subside and get the boat back into trim when the second fish hit the lure. This time, the fish ripped line off the reel as if the drag was off. Rather than coming to the surface, the fish sounded and continued to take line with it. In under two minutes this denizen had also managed to shake the hook-up. The best we could determine, judging by its behavior we had probably managed to hook into either a large tuna or possibly a marlin.
Both bait and dorado were visible during the remaining trip into the City of La Paz, our fishing was over,