Venturing Into the Unknown

Ensenada to Islas Cedros, Mexico             3-26-2015 Thursday, 8:30 pm

Cedars Island is just above the cross of Lat and Long.
Cedars Island is just above the cross of Lat and Long.

The boys have been rambunctious all evening having been stuck for the first time over 24 hours on the boat. Yesterday, Wednesday, March 25th, 2015, we departed Ensenada Harbor, 11:45 a.m., stocked with plenty of easy foods to snack on: fresh fruit of all kinds, yummy Mexican pastries, highly pasteurized boxed milk and eggs.

Joe Houska vs Sea Bass Beauty Contest in Ensenada
Joe Houska vs Sea Bass Beauty Contest in Ensenada

The seas since departing Ensenada have been so convoluted and muddled (we later learned the unusual mix of southern swell and northern swell was due to the aftereffects of Hurricane Pam which demolished Vanuatu the week prior to our departure) that not one of us escaped the effects of nausea. Thankfully none of us vomited. The fresh easy foods were a very good idea, because I didn’t feel like cooking and none of us were interested in eating much.

For the first time since we’ve owned and sailed the boat, we engaged the spinnaker pole to hold the genoa sail out (the large triangular sail in front of the boat), fully catching the wind. We’ve been sailing almost directly downwind (wind from behind). For comfortable sailing, Kandu prefers to be 10° off the wind. In the dark, on our first overnight, we did not want to engage in a lot of jibing, changing direction from starboard to port, as maneuvering a cruising sailboat like Kandu is not the same as handling a small race boat like a J24. Jibing Kandu is quite the process (you almost want to calendar it in), moving the spinnaker pole from port to starboard and back which requires changing out the fore and aft guys, and swapping out the topping lifts. Thus we kept the same downwind tack all night long, bobbing side to side while the sails crashed loudly: luffing and filling. Sometimes the sound was explosive. Hearing it, my head shuddered!

Wednesday evening was the start of our first night watch tours. Eric assigned himself the more fatiguing double watch 8-10:00 p.m. and 4-6:00 a.m. He woke Bryce for the 10-12 midnight. Bryce woke me from midnight to 2:00 p.m. I woke Trent for the 2-4:00 a.m., the easiest watch. Then Trent woke Eric again for the 4-6:00 a.m. Eric was so exhausted, both physically and emotionally, that he woke Bryce again at 6:00 a.m. to take over while he grabbed some more sleep before getting on the HAM radio net for a 7:45 a.m. weather report.

My first watch was fine. Beforehand, Eric had taught us how to fill-in the “Passage Logbook” page, so I dutifully recorded our position at N 30° 52, W 116°32 with a compass heading of 146° South. Going roughly 5.5 knots, the wind was only blowing 8-8.5 mph. The night sky was clear; the air was wet, causing the blanket covering my legs to be damp: a king size synthetic blanket given to us 20 years ago for our wedding and previously unused. I was very happy to be covered by this perfectly soft blanket where the dirt wipes away easily and salty moisture dries quickly, keeping the user toasty warm. I almost didn’t bring it due to lack of space, but Eric recommended something for night watches and I remembered this one. Sure am glad I toted it along!

Kandu before leaving Puerto Ensenada for Isla Cedros
Kandu before leaving Puerto Ensenada for Islas Cedros

My two-hour watch did not seem terribly long. I was warm, but not too warm: comfortable under our dry hard dodger, but with the wet cool wind blowing up the rear, not too comfortable. My recent knee abrasion was tender. At the Ensenada Cruise Port Village guest dock, we moved Kandu from the end of B dock to the end of C dock. To catch the dock lines, I ran from one end to the other end. There was a stainless steel tube frame on the dock that I tripped over, landing hard on my right knee, the knee of my ACL replacement. My hands and forearms were superficially scraped, but my knee suffered terrible road rash, swelling, and bruising. Since then, it has been bothering me, reducing my ability to move quickly around the boat.

9:00 pm – my writing was interrupted by Trent, who couldn’t sleep. It seems for all of us, adjusting to life at sea and into the unknown will take some time.

Trent joins sunrise watch to read Harry Potter.
Trent joins sunrise watch to read Harry Potter.

Leslie Dennis Rigney

One thought on “Venturing Into the Unknown”

  1. That was great hearing about your first experiences with night watches! It’s the details that make us feel like we’re somewhat onboard with the 4 of you. Sorry about that knee mishap, Leslie. Ugh.

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