Considering a sailing adventure to Mexico? Just look at how engrossed that guy is in the book! Grab a copy of the Unauthorized Guide to Sailing in Mexico, and you too can find yourself sitting on a Mexican dock with an oversized (but very attractive) hat.

Unauthorized Guide to Sailing in Mexico


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Entries in fishing (3)


worked on my first six-pac fishing charter yesterday

Yesterday was my first time out on a local San Diego six-pack charter, The Long Run. For the unitiated, there are basically two types of boats with paying passengers onboard (this includes sport fishers, whale watchers, charter sailing trips, harbor tours, water taxis, etc):

- Inspected Vessel. This type of boats have a Certificate of Inspection onboard in which the US Coast Guard goes through the boat literally with a ruler and determines how many passengers can be onboard. Based on the naval architecture, deck space, and bunks, a day limit and overnight limit will be established. 

- Uninspected Vessel. This is the typical boat that most private owners will buy. Unless you have the USCG issuing you a Certificate of Inspection every year, you are (naturally) uninspected. As such you will be restricted to six paying passengers. Whether it's a 300' mega yacht or an 26' sailboat, six passengers will be your maximum load. Hence the "six-pac", "six-pack", or "six-pax" designation that gets applied.

Bonnethead Shovelhead SharkBeyond the smaller passenger load, the other big difference was our route. On the Pronto we head offshore as a rule. Fuel up, get passengers, hit up the bait barge, clear the point, and usually motor throughout the night making 8 knots to the outer banks, arriving roughly ~50 miles offshore by first light down in Mexico. 

On The Long Run we already had fuel (despite going out the night before as well) and spent the day in the bay, raking in probably 25+ fish. Everyone got something, several legal sized bass, and even a ~35lb bonnethead shark (or shovelnose, as they're called out here). 

We left the dock around 6:00am, and were back around 2:30pm. All around it was a great trip. Clients had fun, I got a chance to work on a different vessel with its own handling characteristics, and the weather was just about perfect. Really couldn't ask for better conditions. 

There's the business end of this boat that I still need to figure out (how often it's running, what my schedule would be, how much it pays, etc) so it's up in the air a bit as to whether this will be a regular thing for me. But for what I got out of it I'm happy, and it was great meeting a nice group of clients and deckhand (Mike) who really had his act together.


scuba, captain'ing, and fixing our bowsprit

So minus the normal routine of my life, those three have been pretty active lately.

In the realm of scuba diving, I'm just about finished with my divemaster packet to send up to PADI. Initially I thought about keeping going up through Instructor but for now I'm happy doing the DM job and diving with friends. 

The Internet has actually helped me quite a bit with scuba diving, first getting a dive buddy off of at last minute's notice, and then (through that guy) learning about Power Scuba

I need to do some yearly maintenance on my regulators but other than that I can officially say it's a rather cheap sport once you have all your gear (and you're not chasing gear trends).

In the professional maritime world, I've been picking up shifts where I can. As pretty much the bottom guy on the totem pole I can't exactly demand an awesome schedule but I'm learning a ton and getting much more comfortable at the helm.

As a I mentioned earlier, I got a regular job as the captain of the Pronto, a local sport fisher. That's definitely the hardest job I've had on the water in quite some time. It's difficult because of watch schedules, expectations, and getting a single screw two-stroke diesel engine from the Korean War in and out of a tight slip is never trival. 

On our boat, I'm currently yanking the bowsprit off in total. It has a bit of rot in it, just so much that I need to yank it off to repair it. Instead of that, I found a place up in Oregon that stocks old growth Douglas Fir. I'm having a friend of mine shape the new timber to match the existing and then hopefully (knock on wood, pardon the pun) everything works just perfectly after that.

Pulling off parts of the rig gets a bit spooky since both the outer and inner forestays rely on the bowsprit to be there. It's a workable problem, but not exactly making a ham sandwich. 

Additionally, and I know this will cause an infinite firestorm on message boards one day in the future, I'm pulling the roller furler off. I'll make a whole post specifically about it later.


captain of the pronto

Friday night I took some clients out on a local sport fisher, the Pronto. It was a pretty interesting experience, being the first time I've operated that vessel and the first time I've worked as the captain of a sport fisher.

I'm not really a motivated fisherman, but I do a lot of scuba diving so I have a bit of insight into what types of sea beds hold what types of critters. For my first time out we got 20-30 fish, some of decent size, which was better than some commercial boats out that day and worse than some others.

We left Friday night after fueling up and grabbing some bait from the bait barge, and anchored maybe half a mile off the middle of the southern Coranado Island. Got started bright and early putting around the islands and in near the coast of Mexico, picking up rock fish and trying to get our clients to have the most amount of fish they could get. This year is marginally better than last which isn't saying much since last year was horrible.

The vessel itself is a single screw two stroke diesel that *will not* back to starboard, ever, at all, no matter what you do. We had to put our trash cans out to bump off of another sport fisher on the way in. It wasn't pretty, but it worked and no egos/paint/wood/fiberglass was damaged.

Maritime law stipulates that (for most sport fishing vessels) two licensed captains need to be onboard, so the other guy I got a chance to work with was a captain by the name of Joel Miller

Amongst other things, Joel spent five years of his life cruising around on his 50' Kettenburg with his family, coming back to the states about three years ago. Great guy, and very nice to have onboard.

I finished up the weekend with a scuba trip down at La Jolla Cove on Sunday night. Very much an aquatic weekend.