After a day’s rest, we hauled up anchor and set off from the northern tip of Isla Angel de la Guarda on a day in which we had the best chance of getting some sailing in. The wind was forecast to pickup as the day aged, providing us a good breeze on Meriwether’s stern for the second half of the 45 mile voyage. We would end up motoring the first few hours, but eventually the wind gave us enough to push the main sail out, and unfurl the jib on the pole to go “wing on wing”. It is not often we use our sails in this manner as it is intended only for a very specific point of sail – dead down wind – and we were on it. Meriwether is a sight to be seen with both her big sails out on opposite sides of the boat. It is a ton of surface area to push us along, and that it did. Life was perfect!

A little over two hours into the sailing part of our voyage a familiar clicking noise began. I’ve heard it before but didn’t immediately place it. Another 30 minutes of it and it was getting more common and I finally dug up the old memory from my mushy brain. It was our steering quadrant which has ever so slightly loosened its grasp on the rudder post and clicking each time the autopilot was changing direction. The clicking was getting worse and we still had two hours to go before a very tight entrance to our next anchorage, so I was a bit concerned.

It isn’t the the most difficult fix, but does require a deep dive under the cockpit with a headlamp and a few soon-to-be sore muscles to get in there to tighten a few bolts. The problem I ran into was that I could not access the bolts unless the steering was set to full port so they would rotate my direction. This we could not do while still at sail, so we rolled in the jib, and dirty-dumped the main which still had a lot of wind in it. The dirty-dump, along with a poor decision on my part to fully loose the topping lift, allowed the boom to miss the gallows and give our Starlink dish a hefty whack. The internet was out, but we would have to deal with that later. Once we were motoring we could steer full port and try to remedy the problem, but alas, I was not able too. Instead, we kept motoring and hand steered the final two hours (in great wind to sail) which we both regretted. The sea state was such that our boat was severely rolling back and forth with no sails up. It was uncomfortable for sure, but not unsafe.

Eventually we made it to the entrance of Isla El Estanque (aka “Estanky” to me as the pronunciation is similar) which would become our new back yard for a few days. Here we would thread the needle into the extremely well protected anchorage. The entrance is shallow, and barely wider than Meriwether’s hips. Our depth gauge read 7.4 feet at one point, leaving us less than 2 feet between our keel and the rocky bottom below, but we made it through without any further issue.

With the anchor dropped we set ourselves in for a multi day stay, some to avoid a moderate blow passing through in the next couple days, and some just to do nothing for a while. Our stay turned out to span 5 days. Kerri caught up on work while I punched out a few more minor fixes on the boat, including that stupid steering quadrant and fixing our Starlink dish. The only thing of note that we did during our stay was to dig up the two new stand up boards from the quarter birth, get them inflated, and go out for our maiden paddle on them in the super calm waters of the Estanky anchorage.

It felt damn good to sit still for a change. While there was, and still is, boat projects to do even at anchor, the volume of what needs to be done on any given day has reduced to a trickle… for now. My bones get to start a long mending process after the 6-months of boat projects while in Penasco. It feels real… REAL good to be out at anchor, waking up a little later in the morning and enjoying more of nature.

Kerri speaks

It’s been a slow process settling back into the rhythm of home, but that’s exactly what it feels like … a settling. Which may sound strange to those whose homes aren’t constantly moving (both geographically and by the perpetual unsettling of the water beneath it). This feels grounded, and I’m starting to feel grounded again. Back in focus — back in my usual routines. I even get better work done out here.
Before I moved into the Airstream 12 1/2 years ago — before I spent most of my days away from any sort of neighbor — most of the time not even in campgrounds but boondocking great distances from neighbors (even when camping with friends, we’d usually take care to give each other very wide berths) — I lived in a townhouse that shared walls on two sides. In fact, from college on, I’d only known sharing space and walls with others. But after this last dozen years of selective solitude, it was a strange experience to move into that little apartment with the paper thin walls. I was so constantly aware of the other people living life around me. Almost on alert about it. Like on some small level, it was a social interaction — the awareness, my awareness that I was making my presence known just as much as them. As a hardcore introvert, just *being* there sort of put a constant load on my social batteries. I think it actually made it worse that I knew and liked my neighbors. If it were strangers, maybe it’d be a bit easier to ignore.
Since we left Puerto Peñasco on Monday, late morning after the path of @sailingtotem (one of those apartment neighbors, who departed the same day as us) parted ways, we saw a single anchor light in the dark (assuming a fishing trawler) when we pulled into Puerto Refugio. That boat was gone by daybreak. The next evening, when we pulled into Isla Estanque, there was a small fishing encampment of about four guys, who had also left in their panga before daybreak the next morning. Aside from that, we’ve not seen evidence of a single soul out here since leaving. It took a while to feel it. For the first couple of days, it was more like an observation — like looking at pictures. But now it’s settling in; I’m settling in. – Kerri

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3 Responses

  1. Rob says:

    Out & about sailing and fixing things! It’s good to hear you’re doing well & the photographs are still great!

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