First leg, Cubar 2017

Arrival in Ensenada… well, that was fun! Some fish, some lightening, and as we arrived and wandered up to check in to Mexico, some kind of rain! 

It was a good trip, the gang left in a rather staggered fashion – the weather started out really fine, cloudy but not windy and not rough. We travelled alongside our sistership Plamore, which was excellent as I had a chance to see what we look like travelling across the water- pretty darn fine, I might say!

As we came into Hotel Coral harbour, James and Claire on Pendana took photos of us, along with all the other Nordies that were staying there. Pretty fun, unfortunately we were not able to get over to say Hi! 


Check in took a while for us, as the Americans were processed quickly but for us Canadians, there was this strange glitch where the online check in doesn’t accept letters and of course our passport numbers have letters in them. So what took the other cruisers five minutes because they were able to do it all back at the Cubar meetings in San Diego, took us half an hour. But it was worth it, because when all was said and done, we got to sit under umbrellas and drink one of the most potent margaritas I have ever had ( or in my case half a margarita)…( yes , really… hard to believe I know)… in a torrential downpour.


 The captains’ meeting followed, under the big tent where the servers did double duty trying to get rid of the rain water pooling in the alarmingly sagging roof, threatening to burst gallons of water onto hapless diners – and cheerfully offering drinks and food. And then the rain stopped, and the stars came out – dinner was served, after we all made the decision that we would forego activities in Ensenada (so long wine tour and gourmet lunch!) and leave bright and early tomorrow to head to Turtle Bay before the weather turned really nasty.

Which it may – so another early morning departure, all of us will be revving the engines and throwing off the lines at 530 or 600 am. 


So here we are – dinner was excellent, not surprising here at Hotel Coral Marina… it is a beautiful hotel and I can attest to the rooms and the restaurant as we have stayed here a few times while Northern Ranger I was up on the hard having all her bits buffed to get ready to hopefully find a new adoring owner! (Jeff Merrill… Jeff Merrill Yacht Sales… just saying…)

Val has managed to get a Mexican sim card for her “burner” cel phone and now has connectivity to the rest of her world, thanks to the nice server who drove her across the highway to the big new shopping centre… the same highway she had to cross on her way back to the hotel. Brave girl in the dark – but she made it in time for dinner!!!


So not being able to take the new boat out for a real shakedown cruise while we were in San Diego means that we are learning on the fly. You don’t have a chance to play with all the unfamiliar systems when all you have time to do is motor up to La Playa and drop the hook for a couple of weekends. We know the anchor works! which is a good thing… but we didn’t get a chance to use the navigation system and autopilots to their full extent . So I don’t think we ever got a handle yesterday on all the various permutations and combinations of GPS, autopilots, radars, and chart plotters…. some which make nice with the others and some not so much. There was a lot of humming and hawing and deep thinking going on for most of the trip up in that big comfy Stidd seat! ( Me, when I wasn’t on crab pot watch, was out back trying to catch but mostly releasing fish.. much more fun) Luckily we have the former owner on speed-mail ( thank you Gale!) and he responded to several pleas for help and clarity. 

The other issue is pumping out the holding tank on the fly, which we didn’t manage to accomplish. It’s locked out for obvious reasons but we never seemed to manage to unlock it. Pumping it out by hand pump ( they all have manual pumps) is tedious. Hopefully we will figure something out in the next few days. Switching to overboard toilet pumping is not an option either, as that ability was removed by prior owners. 

Dealing with fridges, too – on our previous Northern Ranger we had drawer fridges, which we replaced with some really skookum drawers. The fridges on this boat are original Sub Zeroes, which love electricity a LOT. The previous owner had put in remote thermometers that let us know what the temperatures are, and yesterday we kept a close eye on them as they are both full of food. I had a 50/50 chance of getting it right and wouldn’t you know it.. the bottom fridge, attached to the freezer unit is colder. DUH…. I filled it with veggies. All the important stuff I wedged into the top fridge. Which is noticeably warmer. And if I crank the heat down, two things are bound to happen – batteries get drained and food freezes.

After tossing and turning and thinking about it ( when I wasn’t thinking about heads, autopilots, and inclement bad weather) I got up at 4 and have transferred the more important cheese and lunch meat down to the bottom one and wedged the cabbages and such into the top. 

The MOST important thing is good milk for the morning tea and cream for the coffee, but so far those seem to be fine.

And then we were gone…. alongside the bulk of the fleet, we exited Ensenada in the dark and were treated to an absolutely stunning sunrise that boded well for a great day, in spite of that red sky in morning sailors take warning thing. 


Day two of our excellent Cubar Adventure 2 on Northern Ranger II has begun!