Agape's Trip Across the Border
November 23, 2016 We pulled into Ensenada November 23rd, 2016 and tied up to the familiar docks of Baja Naval, where we had work done three years ago when we first brought Agape home from Mexico. What to say about Ensenada... well the highlights were the churros and cheap delicious food. Ensenada is a very touristy stopover for cruise ships, and although it can be a fun town it just really isn't our style. It was also very surgey in the marina, so surgy that we chaffed through two of the 7 dock lines that we had to put out to keep us from slamming into the dock.
Checking into the country was fairly straight forward. When we first purchased the boat I had gone through the complicated process of checking out before the name change, and then checking back in after with the new coastguard documentation under her new name and getting a new import permit, or T.I.P, for the boat, all while the boat sat on the hard in Baja Naval. Having previously gone through that procedure I had a good handle on what to expect this time around, and knew it mostly meant a long afternoon of waiting. After a nice little walk to the Port Captain/Immigration and paying our money we were legally in MEXICO!!!!!
For Thanksgiving day we were able to make another trip to the Gabrial House. We love the children there and felt so blessed to be able to go and spend the day playing with them and helping the amazing staff. A true reminder of all we have to be thankful for. For more info on the incredible and touching work going on at the Gabrial house see our previous post.
Rachel also cooked up an amazing Thanksgiving turkey dinner, so again food makes it into the highlights of our time there!
On November 25, 2016 Agape finally made it clear she was ready to go!! After starting to chafe through a third line, Rachel and I fired up Mr. Perkins (the engine), and with some help from one of the yard guys we pulled out of the Port of Ensenada and began the 112 NM overnight trip down to San Quintin.
After a beautiful sail, that turned into a motorsail, that became just a motor, we finally pulled into San Quintin. The bay is just a so so anchorage, and when there is any swell it can be very rolly. We decided to try and get into the protected estuary, but to do so would have to cross a shallow sand bar. We could see two other boats enjoying the calm waters but couldn't seem to find the entrance. Every time we would nose our way in, the depth sounder would start to drop, 5ft... 4ft... 3ft... 2.5ft... 2ft.... then we'd get nervous and back out. Luckily our radio crackled with the friendly voice of S/V Orca asking if we were trying to find the entrance and if we would like some help getting over the bar. We radioed back,"Of course!!!!". After a brief explanation of where the channel was and a some reassurance that after the shallow area it would open up into a much deeper channel, we tried again. This time with inside knowledge, we found it and entered into the still, protected waters.
The lagoon area was amazing!!! With the tide changes, the water was either flowing into or out of the lagoon creating a fairly strong current, but with our anchor set firmly in the mud we enjoyed the flat water. I don't think Agape has ever sat that still, even at the dock!!!! We spent the rest of the day just lounging around and relaxing which is pretty standard for us on post passage days. Rachel also cooked up fish tacos with the bonito I had caught earlier.
If we had known that the next two days would be so windy and cold, we would have explored the dunes earlier, but then again we like doing things a little more adventurous. In the morning I finally launched our single person kayak and paddled to the beach in a 5 knot cross current with 20 knot winds and Rachel on the back, it was far more exciting!
November 28, 2016
With winds forecasted of 15-20kts, it seemed like a great morning to continue on our way south to warmer waters. After battling tons of kelp that had built up on our anchor chain, we headed out of the beautiful estuary and around the sand bar. Right as we were passing the bar Rachel said she smelled diesel. Since I had just added two of our jerry cans into the tank that morning I figured she was smelling diesel on me or the paper towel I had used to clean up a few drops on deck, so I told her it was a nothing and so we continued....
A little while later, after we were clear of the bar, I went down below and I too noticed a strong diesel smell. I washed my hands and changed my shirt incase I was just smelling myself and was then making my way back outside when I thought maybe I should just open the floor board and look inside. Sure enough I should have listened to my wife (you were right babe)! Upon opening the floor board I was met with a wave of diesel fumes and a bilge swirling with red dyed diesel.
We immediately turned the boat around and headed back to the main anchorage outside the estuary. With the floorboards open, I tried to find where the leak was coming from while Rachel found a good place to drop the anchor. We promptly shut Mr. Perkins down after the anchor was set. It took about an hour to find the leak and clean all the diesel out of the bilge and off of the engine. While digging around I ended up finding two leaks, one being a slow leak from the high pressure side of the injector pump and a large leak from the the return line on the #1 injector, because of this we hadn't noticed any loss of power or strange noise, just the smell. I think they must have vibrated loose over the last few hundred miles down the coast.
After some boat yoga, a call to our engine mechanic and mostly a lot of paper towels to clean up the mess, Agape was on her way again!!! This time we headed out on a broad reach and it was looking as if we'd have a great sail.
However, as the next hour passed, the swells grew and the wind would continue to build. After three hours we now had a 20-25 knot head wind and massive short period swells. With the loss of time due to the fuel leak and now a serious head wind we would be arriving after dark at Cedros Island, our next planned stop. With the calm and protected anchorage just to our stern beckoning to us, we swallowed our pride and returned once more to the lagoon, this time easily finding our way. We dropped the anchor 7 hours later and fifty feet from where we started when the first rain drops fell. We both knew we had made the right decision that day. We enjoyed the rainy night relaxing and watching a movie with a delicious yellow curry and freshly baked zucchini breads.
With an improving forecast for the next day we decided we would try again in the morning!!!!