Manta Rays By Moonlight

Bahia Frailes, 23degress 22minutes North, 109degrees 26 minutes West

We’re sitting in the cockpit enjoying a cigar and a scotch after dinner, watching the (still full) moon come up over the water, but more uniquely, watching and listening to the Manta Rays leaping out of the water around Charisma.  Quite a show and even sounds like fireworks as they hit the water with a boom and a splash.

There’s even been a bat from land flitting around the cockpit tonight, so we’re very entertained as we sit here drinking our Charismatitas!

Dinner was inspired by lack of fish, but more on that later.  Overall, we actually had an inspired day.

Today was a “boat project” day.  We started early attacking the tiller pilot project.  First we had to figure out how to mount the thing so it would steer the boat using Wilson, the wind vane.  The inspired part happened yesterday while we were sailing here.  In anticipation of the project, I was rooting around in the spare parts bin looking for something with which to mount the tiller pilot to the stern pulpit and found a large shackle with exactly the right size hole to put the tiller pilot mounting pin through. Feeling inspired, I leaped up the companionway hatch brandishing the shackle and bellowed to Geoff; “I’ve found our mounting bracket!”  Not exactly knowing what I had been working on or thinking, he moved subtly away from me until he more clearly understood my intentions.  Inspiration can be a funny thing out here.

So, now that we had the ideal “mounting bracket” and Geoff was onboard with the vision, we set to work first thing in the morning before it became too hot.  Geoff worked on fabricating the wind vane “stub” and tiller pilot connection to the stern pulpit (using the aforementioned shackle, electrical tape and two hose clamps) while I was down in the Lazarette working on bringing an electrical circuit out to the stern pulpit.  Once everything was finished we connected it and surprise, the thing worked!  As Charisma moves (at least as she sails around her anchor) the GPS in the tiller pilot senses the change in direction and “moves” the wind vane.  Tomorrow, we’ll do an actual sea trial on our trip down to Cabo de San Jose.

Not insignificantly, we also resealed the leaking deck prism.  Not a big deal here on the East side of Baja, but a big leaking problem on the West side as we go North and will likely have a lot of water over the decks.  As of this morning, the forecast for going North is NNW wind 18-22 and 4-6 foot waves.  All right on the nose for where we need to go, so it will be a bash.

OK, I promised the dinner stuff.  No fish again, despite being in such a “fish rich” environment.  So∑SPAM Hash!  Yum, it was delicious.  Our version had sautéed jalapeno peppers and onions with fried spam and potatoes (gotta eat those guys that have been with us for four weeks now).  When everything was good and browned, we added six eggs and stirred until it looked edible.  It was good!

And, just to finish, we did a quick calculation on the money we’ve been saving by catching our own fish for the last month.  By our calculation and based on $18/lb tuna and mahi costs, we figure we’ve caught and consumed about $1500 to $2000 worth of fish.  Of course we’ve given some away, but overall, have caught about 100 or so processed lbs of fish.  Hope our luck holds.

We’re planning to move to Cabo de San Jose tomorrow for provisioning, then wait out some local weather and start around the Cape on Friday or Saturday.

Happy Thanksgiving to family and friends if we don’t have a chance to say so in the next day or two!

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