BoDream Expedition (Baja – Day3)

Well, it was quite the breezy day today out here Monday on the Baja coast. We’ve saw the winds spike as high as 30 knots and coming at us from various directions depending on how near or far from the coast we were. Such wind variations are caused by what are called “land effects.” What happens is that additional winds are created when the land heats up from the sun and the relative warmth compared to the coldness of the water causes a “thermal transfer” as the warm air rising off the land pulls in the cool ocean air underneath it. So, it’s been a day with a lot of back and forth, up and down depending on the winds and where we are! At the same time, the skies have been clear and the sun bright!

The Baja Coast

We have been seeing whales, but from a too far a distance for us to get any good videos of them. If you watch the horizon for a while though, you are sure to see them spouting … breathing out an upward gush of air and water. It truly looks just like the drawings or pictures in the books you read! In the three days we’ve been out here so far, on day one, we saw the one humpback whale wave its tail at us as we left the corner of Cabo San Lucas. Yesterday, we saw three whales while we were being entertained by a colony of seals. Today, we saw two spouts off our starboard (right) bow – but again, a bit too far away to capture in photos or videos. So, I’m going to say that was TWO whales too! We’ll keep a whale count and see how many we see through the entire trip.

Lighthouse

Right now it’s a dark night and the moon has just started to rise. The stars are amazing as they always are, when you are away from the light of urban areas, where what is called “light pollution,” makes it difficult to see so many of the stars. The Milky Way, which is a swirling path of concentrated stars across the sky, was particularly brilliant tonight. Typically on dark nights, you also get to see phosphorescent plankton, but so far this trip, we haven’t seen any of it. I’m hoping that we’ll see some soon, and I can describe to you what we see … it is truly a beautiful thing nature shares with us …the plankton illuminate as the water is stirred up … like sparkles on a flowing black dress .

So, we learned another one of life’s valuable lessons today, which is to always check and take care of your equipment. Maybe it’s only your bicycle; or the brakes on your car, an important tool you need to do your job, or the computer you do your schoolwork on. For us today, it was the autopilot. It suddenly stopped working for us … and at a very bad time. The autopilot is a gizmo that uses a computer and a compass, to control a hydraulic rod that pushes or pulls to keep the boat going in a straight line. Late tonight, it stopped working just as we were rounding a point of land. Fortunately, I was at the navigation station at the time and saw the alarm, but it still took a few minutes for us to shut it off and steer the boat safely away from the point of land. What we discovered after crawling all through the back of the boat, was that one of the power leads was loose on its terminal. Once we got that corrected, it came back to life and we were back in business.

AutopilotHere’s the autopilot, manually restored!

We’re all grateful to have it back, because with the wind and waves all stirred up as they were, standing at the wheel for long periods of time can get pretty uncomfortable. Imagine trying to concentrate on your job while someone is full-spraying a garden hose at you. So, always remember to check your equipment and make sure everything is working right before you head out on a bicycle ride or long car trip!

Dave & Heather w/ the compass
Dave & Heather – a small compass in her hand and a big one in front of the wheel.

There was a question posted to us on compasses, so in response, Dave interviewed the very knowledgable Heather on the subject. It’s great and informative stuff. Unfortunately, the audio w/the wind noise is a real challenge to understand … so, we didn’t post the video here … but, if you are the determined sort, it’s on our YouTube Channel … Part 1 of that interview is HERE and Part 2 is HERE

So, that’s it for now. We hope we find and see more whales and maybe even some turtles in Turtle Bay on Tuesday when we stop and refuel there for the second part of our trip.

- Dave R., Tim Heather, Jonathon and Dave H.

Bodacious Dream Expedition Day #3 Position:
Position: 27 00.549′ N, 114 06.466′ W
Boat Speed: 6.2 knots
Course: 293 degrees

BoDream Expedition (Baja – Day2)

We’ve had a full day on the water this Easter Sunday. The winds stayed pretty solid, mostly 15 to 20 knots and kept pushing directly into our nose, making it difficult to sail … so we continued to motor. About noon, we did hoist the mainsail to a “2nd reef” position – about half its full size. This is done to help stabilize the boat in the waves. When the winds blow stronger, we make the sails smaller so we can better control the boat. 

Mainsail 2nd ReefMainsail in “2nd reef” position

Here Bo IV crewmember Heather explains what reef points are and why they matter when you’re using the motor on the boat.

We’ve been out here since noon on Saturday, and it’s now about 21:00 hours on Sunday, so that’s about 33 hours total time. So far, we’ve gone about 225 miles and have about 180 miles left before we reach Turtle Bay, where we’ll stop for more fuel before heading on to San Diego.

We’ve seen some fun wildlife today. First off, this morning we were visited by a colony of seals. There were quite a few of them and they kept us entertained by following along with us, playing in the wake of the boat and body surfing the waves alongside Bodacious IV. They look like they had nothing much else to do but play – which was entirely fine by all of us.


A seal colony comes to visit

Later in the day, we came upon a feeding frenzy. We could see a flock of pelicans diving into the water and making all sorts of commotion. I’m guessing there were 100 of them in the area. At the same time, we could see a lot of dolphins surfacing and jumping. What it looked like to us was that the dolphins had run into a school of smaller fish, and were forcing them to the surface as they fed on them, at which point those fish pushed to the surface became easy glistening targets for the pelicans.


A nearby bird and fish feeding frenzy

This is an example of what’s called a “food chain” in nature, where bigger fish feed on smaller fish, and other animals then feed on various even smaller species. It was sure interesting to watch the whole event unfold, which Captain Tim Eades did from his special little nest.

Captain Tim EadesCaptain Tim Eades

Given the wind and waves conditions, we’ve found the easiest course to stay along the
coast in about 60 feet of water. We’re not entirely sure just why at this depth, the waves and wind are less, but the advice we were given by local sailors has been holding true.

Baja CoastlineAs we watch the coast go by, we can see how dry and arid the desert landscape is. Often it is barren or sandy with only brush and cactus – very brown and dry-looking. Also, at night, there are very few lights on the shore which tells us that there are very few inhabitants, and those that are there are mostly small, subsistence fishermen who live in small shacks while they fish the area.

We were told that along this coast that fresh water is a valuable thing, and that if we need something from these people that offering them fresh water in return is a common courtesy.

Watermaker and Wiring
This is Bo IV’s onboard watermaker.

Bo IV has a system on board that takes salt water and desalinates it in to fresh water. So, as long as we have engine power and can use this machine, we can create fresh water out of salty ocean water – which of course comes in real handy, if we are all to have our several precious cups of coffee.

Crew Cups in Galley
The rack in the galley, where we store our cups.

After the long day on the water, we each take our turn keeping watch through the night, as we continue on to Turtle Bay.

More from this fantastic world tomorrow.

- Dave R., Tim, Heather, Jonathon and Dave H.

Bodacious Dream Expedition Day #2 Position:
25 44.205’ N, 112 08.983’ W
Boat speed: 7.3 knots
Course: 345 degrees

BoDream Expedition (Baja – Day1)

We untied Bodacious IV, Saturday at Noon, PST time and motored out of the Cabo San Lucas Harbor past many people vacationing and swimming among the beautiful beaches.

After finishing up final sorting and storing of the gear, as well as a final safety meeting, we got off to a good, but late start. While all five of us are very experienced sailors, we’ve never all sailed with each other before, and it’s necessary for safety purposes that we all have the same understanding of the procedures, so that should an emergency arise, we know not only where everything is, but also what each other is (or should be) thinking.

Baja Coastline

Just after we turned around the first corner and headed in the general direction of our destination San Diego, we were treated to a most wonderful site – a humpback whale surfaced and waved its tail at us as if to wish us off on a good trip! Unfortunately, we weren’t quick enough with the camera to capture it, but we certainly are planning on seeing more whales along the way. It was difficult to tell the length and size of this humpback, but we know they are generally 39–52 ft (12–16 meters) long and weigh approximately 79,000 lbs (36,000 kilograms) They are famous for their songs. (Do you know how long they typically live? You can find the answer in our Wild Life Explorer Guide.)

We were also visited by a school of dancing porpoises and a large turtle, but again, it was difficult to get the cameras on them. We’ll be quicker and  better prepared for the next round of visits!

Dave H. & John
Meet a few of the crew: Dave Hardy (Engineer) & Jonathan Pond (IT Specialist)

It looks now like the wind is going to be against us for most of the trip. That is going to make it more difficult than we’d hoped to sail, and we’ll most likely have to motor much of the way. There is a high pressure system moving north of us off San Diego, (the dark blue and green in the upper left corner of the wind map below) which is producing winds that circle high pressure in a clockwise direction. With the high pressure pushing from the left and in front of us, those winds will come down directly on our bow, and so act to push us away from our destination.

weatherpassage.com

The moon rose behind us last night, as we were about 60 miles south of Magdelana Bay. We’ve been told by other sailors that know this route and these waters – to stay relatively close to the shore to stay out of the worst winds and waves. It does seem to make the trip smoother to be in about 60 feet of water.

BDX1_sunset_3.30Sunset … Day One

So hopefully, the new day will allow us to get some video. In the meantime, If you care to, go ahead and ask us some questions. To do that, just go HERE and fill in the form.

And to all of you … have a lovely and peaceful holiday!

- Dave R., Tim Heather, Jonathon and Dave H.

Bodacious Dream Expedition Day #1 Position:
23 48.191′ N, 110 45.552′ W
Course 319 (Angle on the 360 Degree Compass (more on that soon)
BDX1_GE_3.30