Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Lone Wolf has reached Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

This from Donna en route:

"I love the night watches when there are millions of stars and occasionally you can hear whales or dolphins blowing nearby, but today was best as we passed Cabo San Lucas. There were whales breaching and dolphin jumping all around us. Several dolphins swam over to ride our bow and played and spun around under water and seemed to wink at us watching them from the bow rail. The water is now very clear and an azure blue and land is disappearing behind us and soon there will be nothing but the sea and the sky.

We arrived yesterday and the trip down from Ensenada went well! I did great on my watches which we divvied up as every two hours all night and every three hours during daytime, so I’d be at the helm for two and then could sleep for four then up for another two. Sleeping was no problem with the constant drone of the engine (and my sea-sick prevention meds) and during watches I stayed awake by spending a lot of time on the outside bridge deck watching stars. Once I thought I was seeing a star-set. Like a sunset, but at night. There was just a sliver of a moon so the stars were very bright and there was a glow on the western horizon but the glow remained and when I went in to the wheel house to check instruments my radar and AIS indicated a cruise ship at that spot.

We left Ensenada at 6a.m and soon after, our new deck hand, Justin, caught two tuna trolling at our fast speed of 9 knots. Try as he might that was all the fish caught on our trip down. It took us till noon of the following day to get to Turtle Bay. We stayed a night at anchor in Bahia de Tortuga and the boys went to shore on Enriques water taxi while I did some cooking for the next leg of the journey. We planned our departure for a next morning arrival in Bahia Santa Maria and were immediately greeted by Marco and his son Alex in their panga which pulled up along side as soon as we dropped anchor and asked if we wanted to buy langostinas (lobster). With my broken Spanish and their much better English we managed to agree on $2.00 each and some barter stuff. Marco asked if we could spare some fresh water. He lives with his family in a little one-room shack on the beach. They have no running water and their only power is provided by some solar power which, yep…..runs their television. He soon returned with two 50 gallon barrels and we set up a hose from our aft spigot and started up the water-maker. This time Pedro came along and since he had spent 7 years working in the U.S. his English was great and he explained to us how Marcos’ father had just died a couple years earlier at the age of 89 after working all those years from the same fish camp catching lobster and octopus but with no engine he had to row everywhere
We decided to keep going on our journey south, so after giving me time to cook the lobster and prep some more grub (Justin is just 29 and eats a lot!) we pulled anchor around 4:20p.m. and headed out to see once again. Passing Cabo San Lucas around 10a.m. the next morning we were surrounded by dolphins and whales. The water was an azure blue and very clear so that when several dolphins charged over to ride our bow we could lean over the rail and enjoy watching all their antics. We had to increase our speed a bit to make sure we would get to Puerto Vallarta before dark the following day and sure enough…we pulled into Banderas Bay about 4p.m. in plenty of time to have a cerveza and dinner at Fajita Banana Restaurant overlooking the harbor . It feels very good to be here. The air is soft and warm. I didn’t sleep as well last night. Too quiet I guess. “Louis” will be here at 7:30 this morning to help wash the boat so I’ll go make my cup of tea now and get dressed and get out the hoses and buckets and brushes”

And here is some technical stuff from Oleg:

The boat is running well. It has been a very good shake down cruise for the boat prior to the long voyage still ahead. The following are a few issues to be resolved in Puerto Vallarta:

1. The steering rams that Nordhavn replaced in Dana Point are seeping a bit at the hose connection point of both rams.
2. Pilothouse helm pump seeps a bit of hydraulic fluid from the back of the housing. The fitting is as tight as I dare make it. So, it may need to be replaced and bleed the system again.
3. The battery combiner relay (the noisy one in your stateroom cabinet) is the cause of such high amperage demands on the main engine alternator (90 to 100 amps). As soon as I disconnect the unit from the system all returns to normal. I will check to see if we can get a replacement coming.
4. We will need more water-maker pre filters than anticipated. We’ve used 3 since leaving Dana Point. We have picked-up some algae along the way and it loaded up the filter shutting down the water-maker.
5. I will have a diver check the boat bottom for any “Cling-ons”.
6. Salon A/C unit shut down showing an error code “Hi PS Inlet Pressure”. This indicates low cooling water circulation, overcharge of refrigerant or dirty condenser. I will check to see if we need someone in Puerto Vallarta to come and look at the system.
7. I spoke to the service manager, Russell, at Nordhavn regarding the use of the used oil tank for reserve fuel. He informed me that these electronic diesel engines have “0” tolerance for residue oil mixed into the diesel fuel. That would mean pumping out all of the engine oil that is left in the tank and then having the tank cleaned out. Don’t know if we have the time for this. We do have the 300 gallon bladder tank we can deploy, giving us 2875 gallons of total usable fuel. From the information I received from the owner of N6230 we should burn fuel at the following rates:

1100 RPM Engine & Gen = 4.3 GPH or .66 total fuel burn per mile

1200 RPM Engine & Gen = 5.1 GPH or .71 total fuel burn per mile

So, it appears that you should have plenty of fuel for the 2714 nm crossing between the main fuel tanks and bladder.

I will contact Nordhavn to see if they can warranty the steering arm seepage with a local technician and if needed a local tech to look in on the A/C unit as well."

SAD NEWS: The excellent Oleg and Donna are unable to make the trip to Tahiti, due to unforeseen medical reasons.

The plan is still to leave Puerto Vallarta on or around April 1st with the following  four crew:

1.Captain Mike Cregan.

 I am a licensed USCG NC 100 Ton Master with Auxiliary Sail and Towing endorsements (USA000035207); a Certified American Sailing Association instructor and Director of Power and Sail Training with Anacortes Yacht Charters.
My experience includes 23 years as sail and power vessel owner/operator. Most recently I have accumulated 29,000 plus open ocean miles as captain and owner to include the west coast of North America, Hawaii, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. I have made two Pacific crossings from Mexico to French Polynesia in 2002 an 2003 as crew and captain respectively. During 2003 and 2004 I sailed my own 42ft. ketch down the Mexican coast to Bahia del Sol, El Salvador and then onto the Galapagos; thence to French Polynesia, the Cooks, Samoa, Tonga, New Caledonia and on into Brisbane, Australia and sailed the eastern coastal waters northbound to Townsville and the Great Barrier Reef. .

I served as the designated Captain and operator for Wild Dolphin Adventures tour vessel the "Coral Reefer" of Key West Florida (Dec 2004 thru April 2, 2005); delivery captain for the 60 ft catamaran "Mystic Wind" from Tampa, Florida to Bocas del Toro, Panama (May, 2005); Delivery skipper and/or mate aboard multiple power and sailing yachts of 55' to 93' in length to/from Puget Sound Washington to California. In 2006, I completed delivery of a 46' Nordhavn (MV Silver Girl) from San Francisco to San Diego and onto Honolulu, Hawaii. In July 2006, delivered a 55' Nordhavn (MV Honu Kai) from Honolulu to San Diego. In 2007 I delivered the 45' sloop "SV Tequila" from Cabo San Lucas to Honolulu; A Hans Christian 48'SV ( Ana Purna) from Mazatlan to San Diego. In 2009, I served as delivery captain for a 44' Hylas to San Francisco; 42 Krogen to Portland; Mate for a 58' Ocean Alexander from San Francisco to Seattle. I also captained a 106' Westport (Dulcinea) from Roche Harbor to Puerto Vallarta, Mx. with intermediate stops in the San Fran Bay area.
I hold a SSI certificate as a trained scuba diver; a HAM radio license (N6HXT) and a graduate degree from Oregon State University.

2 . 1st Mate Justin Huggins.


Experience has been gained from a cross section of maritime experience. Having sailed the world for six years, I understand the importance of teamwork.
• Crane Operator/ and hydraulic opp.
• Skiff Man
• Deck boss
• Rigging, knot tying and splicing • Navigation/ Helmsman
• Engineering assistant
• Welding
• Net Building
Licenses and Endorsements
• Piney Point Maryland /ordinary seaman
• Piney Point Maryland /able body
• Zenith Maritime- 100 Ton Captains License
• Commercial Assistance Towing Endorsement
Alaska Fishing
Long line for Black Cod and Halibut
Salmon Purse Seine, Hand Seine
Herring, Roe on Kelp
Shrimping pots
Construction School
• Metal Working
• Welding
• House Construction/ framing, cement, cabinetry… ext.
• Construction and Design

3. Me.(Captain Ned)


Er…I’ve done a bit of island hopping in the Philippines.

4. My mate Dave Ryan from Dublin.


Don’t know, didn’t ask him, but he is good with computers, and there are certainly a few of those on board...

That’s all for now, folks.


  1. This is fun reading! All the best Captain!

  2. G'luck Skip!
    And please keep us posted with regular bulletins.

  3. I am happy you also have a real capitano on board! Have a safe trip!
    br Maija (ELN)

  4. Thank you for the info. Found another great site for anyone interested in getting a towing endorsement. They are extremely helpful and easy to work with. Thanks again for the great article.