Subject: Bleeding like a stuck pig; diving the wreck of the Fing Ming; Catamaran travels
Today I found out I can’t blog on word press while there is no internet, so I lost the original story, while at a beautiful anchorage, the name escapes me now but, it lies between the islands of Isla Partida and Espirito Santo. Both islands just a short 20 mile sail from the city of La Paz, Baja California. In addition to these two islands there are countless others all around. What first captures your attention as you make your way closer is the various colors, some appear to be pink, ivory, black, or even desert dirt like brown. Strands of dark-colored rocks striated the width of the island, at times resemble a large snake.
Patti and I first wish to thank our hosts Sharon and Ean for a oustanding several days aboard their S/V Whey ToGo, a catamaran 44 Leopard. In case you are not familiar with a catamaran vs a sailboat let me fill you in on what they call a multi-hull. Nothing new here just old technology on steroids.
Polynesians and Micronesians sailed the originals back in the 1700s. Captain Cook wrote in his logbook that the sailing cats he saw could carry hundreds of warriors; one estimated to be 110′ long. The French are big in Catamarans and the one I will be on (45′ Lagoon) in about a week is a Lagoon. There are more French made cats on the water today than any other nation.
Sharon and Eans Leopard 44 is a South African built boat, then sailed to its destination, to be sold. This is one way to battle test a cat. The only maker of cats that I can think of on the West coast of the US is Corsair in San Diego. The moorings, one of the worlds largest charter boat companies originally bought the entire production line of (Leopards) built by Robertson and Caine, South Africa. So, if you want to charter one of these babies, shall we head to BVI (Trish & Kimball) or Steve & Mary or Kim & Mark or ?
The food Patti and Sharon brought on board and was served could rival any five-star restaurant for taste. My poor amazing wife originally came on board bleeding like a stuck pig. Wow, let me regroup from having to rewrite this story twice. As far as I can recall from my failing short-term memory the story goes something like this. This is the unadulterated version and not really much stretched by the imagination.
Just a mere count-em exactly 15 minutes before Patti and I are about to walk over two moorings, across to where the 44′ Leopard, Whey to go, is docked; Patti suddenly blows her nose. The boat shudders, the marina water trembles, the Baja earthquake monitoring stations nearby pick up a signal, no matter how faint.
Her nose now explodes, almost completely off and into the abyss. This part maybe just a slight stretch of the imagination. While blowing said nose, she ever so slightly catches a sharp fingernail just inside the right nose nostril. This happens all the time to everyone else right! Wrong.
With near perfect scalpel precision, my wife manages to snag a blood vessel and strike up a gusher! That sucker would’ve satisfied the local blood bank with enough A+ blood for near a full transfusion.
I watch the clock! It is now exactly ten minutes before we are set to exit our boat, the Western Flyer and walk onto the S/V Whey ToGo. My catamaran island trip is now rapidly diminishing by the minute.
Patti is now able to manage a look at me in a sort of Kleenex box plastered sort of way across her tiny face. All I see are those tiny, tiny brown beady eyes staring coldly at me.
Five minutes before departure. I think fast? Sharon is a doctor? And not just any doctor but, the kind that treat blood borne diseases. She’ll know what to do.
With paddleboard, four scuba tanks, scuba equipment; the contents of all her lotions and potions packed in gallon sized freezer bags in hand; we show up! Surprise! Surprise! Don’t mind the blood filled face and boxes of kleenex, I say.
While Ean and I are putting away the scuba contents, my future dive buddy, Doctor Sharon is now tending to a prone Patti. On board Ean assures me they have everything a cruiser could carry for the medically inclined; even a machine for starting a broken heart.
We store dive equipment and now I can finally see close hand this new fangled yuppy vehicle they call a catamaran. Wow this one is amazing. Even a walk through front door and a rear glass slider three doors deep that folds all the way open. This allows a totaly out door feeling with its massive entertaining cockpit area.
We cast off rather slowly, I assume all of Doctor Sharons First Mate responsibilities while she continues to tend to prone Patti. This one I say to myself is a combination of the M/V Venus and Lady Lola and Sheldon 2. Two are mega yachts and one is a catamaran we both sailed on yesterday. If you don’t yet know the Venus is Steve Jobs boat, built and completed after he died. We spoke to crew members on Lady Lola and they told us a party was set for Wednesday. Sorry to say we weren’t invited. One told us that the inside of the boat’s engine room looks like a museum. There is glass separating the engine room and walk way making it perfectly visible.
Prior to our departure on the S/V Way to Go Patti and I sailed out to Bellandra, (on the coast just up from La Paz and our marina) voted the second most beautiful beach in all of Mexico. Sheldon 2 is a 40 Manta catamaran and Kenyon quickly put me behind the wheel the moment we cut the dock lines. Me, feeling like I was driving a large pontoon boat or a house boat.
Sheldon2 is actually named after the popular TV character on Big Bang. She moves effortlessly and no boat wake tosses us around. We sailed the entire way home, once again me on the wheel most of the way. When Kiley had her turn on the helm we almost hit Lobos rock. She saw a turtle that amazed her so, that she turned the boat as she looked, the sails took over and the rest is now almost history.
Today we motor sailed our way up towards Bellandra. If you can follow my story I am now into Day 1 of our S/V Whey to go trip. Skipper Ean is not one to waste the wind so the moment we leave the marina out comes the main and jib. All on electric winch power. Her helm is perfectly positioned like a British sports car on the right side. Non of the left side US steering on the S African creation.
The two Yanmars take their turn and we are now motor sailing when the wind is to our nose. Speaking of noses. I now take a look at my mate; that is what this New Zealander born and raised, continues to call me. Mate.
Patti looks like she just came out of a nose job surgery. Is there still a nose under all that bandaging, I wonder? Dr Sharon has precision cut tapped Patti’s nose and gauze wrapped it so that with glasses on she would surely stay a virgin for life.
In all seriousness my wife was a darling on this trip. Off came the bandages midway to Espirito Santo. While Sharon and I first practiced our diving refamilarizing ourselves with equipment and new buddy diving teams; Patti takes the paddleboard out on her own and only manages once to dunk herself. She tells me this. And with no one around. I could’ve stayed in the water but, it was too cold.
We were the perfect guests aboard this well-appointed boat. Day 1 included a dingy ride out the Frigate birds. Poor Patti still could not smell a thing; then we got closer; now I can smell them!!!!! She says.
Day 2/3 – Diving the wreck of the infamous Fang Ming. This freighter is out in the middle of no where. Perfect sand all around the bottom and then this large 184 foot long Chinese vessel with hundreds of feet of manila rope hanging off her bow and down into the water. The most amazing sight we saw was when we got down to her bow in about near 30 or 40 feet of water is a leatherback turtle sitting right on the forward part of the ship’s bow. This turtle was extremely happy there. We were able to get rather close before we lost interest in her. A small fish was nibbling at her neck and shoulder area and the turtle attempted to snap at it on at least one occasion. The extremely large angel and other fish then caught our attention. Sharon led the way and I followed making at least two complete passes around the large Fang Ming.
We also tried to wreck dive the Lapas N03; this wreck is just of Island Ballena in 60 feet of water with the top of the mast said to be in 27 feet below the surface. For some reason Sharon’s aluminum tank was too buoyant and she could not get down. With the current moving us at a fast clip in the middle of the ocean we quickly disoriented ourselves as to where the wreck was. I was not able to so much as catch a glimpse of it. She said she just saw the mast top and up and out of there we were.
These wrecks are a tragic history to those poor Chinese that made their way from China. The ship made it as far as San Carlos, Mexico on their own power. 157 migrants aboard. All wanting for the land of the US of A. For nearly a month they hung around until finally departed to the US of A in buses; then by airplane back to China. Sort of the way cruisers do it around here. Some show up here, abandon said boat, then depart back home via airplane. In 1999 both vessels were sunk and are now dive sites. Imagine our surprise that no other boats or divers expressed any interest in these near perfect wrecks. If I only had a camera!!!! Sharon has one but did not bring it below.
From now on I’ll just let the pictures do the talking! Sorry, no pictures of bandaged up Patti. If I did take one and show you I would surely end up with the Western Flyer as a future dive site and one of those airplane trips back home.