Archive for September, 2010

Crew wanted for the passage from costa rica to mexico in december

Posted in Uncategorized on 26/09/2010 by ketchkaraka

If you want to join us for a long offshore passage from costa rica to mexico between late november and late december, then please write to us.

We are now leaving for the islands of panama and we should reach costa rica sometime late october. After that we’ll cruise around costa rica while my sister visits us with her baby. Late november we’ll start to get ready and organize ourselves for the offshore trip straight to la paz in baja california and the guaymas in the sea of cortez…
So here is a sumary of what you need to know before you apply for a bunk:

First, the trip. It will be open ocean most of the way. That means about 3 or 4 weeks of sailing without stoping anywhere. It is long by sailing trips standards and it will be quite different from what we usually do, deserted islands, fire on the beach and general mayhem, but it will be an experience in itself. I’m personally looking forward to it, I like offshore passages. I’m trying to put together a good crew for that. The main thing obviously is motivation, experience is not necessary although some basics about sailing would make my life easier as a captain for this kind of trip.
Once we’re offshore, several hundred miles from land, there no turning back, no doctors, no shops, nowhere to stop and no direct comunication(although we just got a satelite device called a SPOT that unables us to tell everybody where we are and that we are ok or in need of help. Check the main page of the website for the new link. We also have an emergency beacon for life threatening emergencies, but let’s hope we’ll never use that one).

So it will be an intense trip, as intense as any atlantic crossing. There is little doubt that at the end of the trip any newcomer to sailing will either be disgusted with sailing or a hardened sea dog. Learning curve on such a trip is extremely steep. We might have the opportunity to stop as some remote islands, depending on the weather, but they’ll be rocks lost in the middle of nowhere. That would be great, to rest a bit and explore something else, but you never know about such things…

We’ll sail out of costa rica. I’m not sure from which port exactly, but that can be sorted at any time, it doesn’t matter, it is a very small country. We’ll find a convenient spot.

For the dates. Not too early, as we’ll be out in the wild with my sister and her family, but not too late cause we’ll have some preparation to do, and some acquainting to do as well. It is better to sail a little bit and get to know each other before setting out for a long passage. So my sister will leave us on the 20th of november, the crew will have to fly in a few days around that date.

We’ll sail sometime late november, early december at the latest. It is 2000 miles, but the weather might not be the best as it will be the interseason just at the end of the cyclone season, so I’m not sure about what kind of speed we can expect to average. Usually I count at least 100 or 120 miles a day, but if we have to go upwind for long periods of time that might be less. So even at 4 knots and 100 miles a day, that would take a minimum of 3 weeks. So we should count at least 4 weeks to be on the safe side. With luck it will be much less time but i wouldn’t count on it. That will probably mean a christmas at sea.

We’ll try to check in in Mexico in the port of La Paz in Baja California. At least that’s the plan but weather depending, we might go somehwere else. After that we’ll make our way to Guaymas, a port inside the Sea of Cortez where the shipyard is. I don’t expect we’ll reach guaymas and haul out before mid january.

The crew can leave the boat from there, or stay a little bit longer if they want to help out a bit with the work. I would rather take people who do not have return date and who can stay the whole trip, because for such a long distance, we never know what can happen and it is very unlikely everything will go according to plan.

About costs:
After crossing the canal ($800 later), replacing the life raft, buying a lot of gear, repairing stove, alternator and the like.. the boat kitty is skint, and we need to build it up again for our planned three month ship-yard in Mexico, if the boat is to be able to function and keep going. Which means we can’t lower the price, and it will be $120 dollars (or equivalent) a week , plus shared food costs (usually no more than $20us a week). If you smoke, drink, are a chocolate addict or like to eat ashore a lot, budget for that on top of everything else.

So if you are getting excited by reading all that drop us a line and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can, which might not be until late october.

ok, off we go…


About ready

Posted in Uncategorized on 25/09/2010 by ketchkaraka

So, we are still in panama city, but not for much longer hopefully…

We had a few interesting weeks of running around and spending a lot of money. It is like that when we are in a major port, we need to resupply and get new gear and fix a lot of stuff, and it is always expensive…
But, the boat is doing better now, still a few things to take care of, but we should be gone monday.
We are now seven on board, Kim and me, obviously, and then Sam, ashlyn, Lucy, Rachel and Cyril.
We’re going to head out of here along the coast toward costa rica. We are thinking of about a month in the islands and bays, out of touch with the world except for fish and surf…

There is something new on the website, if you haven’t checked it yet. We got a SPOT, which is a satellite tracking device. It is a push button little thing, and it sends a little preprogrammed text message with your GPS position to your family and friends when ever you want. It also records you position on a google map. So there is now a link on the main page to this map with our latest location. It should get updated a couple times a week… cool no?

Allright, last saturday night in town, pizza and beer on the menu…

Crew wanted!

Posted in Uncategorized on 11/09/2010 by ketchkaraka

hello all,

one of the guys we selected for our next crew has dropped out of sight, we don’t know what happened to him but since he didn’t write for the past month we figure he is not coming after all, and so we have a bunk available…

it is a bit last minute but well, it’s there for the taking. We’ve contacted a lot of the people we couldn’t take before, but so far everybody had already planned something else, and we’re still one crew short.

So if you are interested, just write to us as soon as possible. we have fairly good internet here in panama city, so we could get back to you and organise everything pretty fast.

We are in town for no more than another 10 days, so that’s pretty rushed, but still feasible.

When we leave here we will head west and north, toward all the offshore islands of panama and then the coast of costa rica, pacific side.

We need crew only untill late october since after that my sister will be coming to visit with her newborn and we will have to make some room for her. we ‘ll also need some crew for the crossing between costa rica and mexico in december but that is another story.

So if you want to go explore deserted islands in pacific panama, catch the biggest fish you’ve ever seen, and surf unspoilt breaks, write to us now! otherwise have a good day…

Panama City, Panama

Posted in Uncategorized on 10/09/2010 by ketchkaraka

Well, we’re in the Pacific…

The crossing of the canal went well, a bit stressing but it turned out to be quite a nice trip in the end.
i should write the details but not tonight… we took a lot of pics and bla bla bla, but tonight i just want to say all is fine and that we are in the big ocean safe and sound.

I’ve been running around like crazy looking for parts and getting stuff fixed, panama is a crazy busy poluted hell hole, but at least they have a lot of shops. so we’re waiting for our next crew, everybody should arrive within the next couple weeks. my parents will fly back to france on the 15th, and then we’ll take out to sea again during the last week of september.

for you guys coming over and wondering how to get to the boat through the hectic city of panama, here is the exact position of where we are, you can check it out on google earth.

08 55’09.00. N
79 31’49.00 W

Transiting the canal today

Posted in Uncategorized on 02/09/2010 by ketchkaraka

yope, this is the big day…

it’s been a lot of running around and getting things ready, but tha’s it, we should be starting early afternoon.
we had a bit of a scare yesterday, as we had to leave the berth in the marina to go to the fuel dock to refill, but the wind here is howling, due to the intense cyclonic activity in the caribbean at the moment. i backed out of the berth and the stern of karaka swung around while the boat started drifting, so a almost lost control. i managed to get the boat steady, ass to the wind, without destroying any of the multimillion plastic fantastics power boats around, but it was close. after that i had to perform the craziest backing of a boat ever, amongst more of the same tupperwares all around. it is hard to convey but let me say the level of stress was high. and then i had to come back to the berth, which was another story alltogether…

but all is well, except it is still blowing like crazy in the marina and that i will have to repeat the experience this afternoon.

we’re scheduled to go through at 4pm, that means we pick up the pilot at the time somewhere in the harbor, and then proceed through the gatun locks, the first set of 3. we should then be ordered to anchor somewhere for the night on the gatun lake, 85 feet above sea level. the next day the pilot should come back and we will finish the transit, motoring through the flooded mountains of central panama before tackling two other sets of locks and end up in the pacific ocean…

we’re 4 on board with kim and my parents, and there are two other people from a boat in the marina who are willing to accompany us and give us a hand. we need to be five on board minimum to transit the canal.

all right, breakfast, last engine check, getting everything shipshape, we;ve got a busy day ahead