Prism's Blog

I guess we are Snow Birds: Leaving Prism locked up and put away for the summer season

Jon fishing at sunset
March 21, 2015
We left Puerto Escondido yesterday, after having a good day in Loreto getting pretty much everything we needed. I did forget to buy more tortillas, so that’s a tough break. We met some very nice people during the “circle of knowledge” everyday at 3pm. We also enjoyed meeting Darrel, Janet and their son Julian onboard “Coaster”. They were nice enough to give us and John a car ride from “Rosalita” into town and back. They are heading north for the summer, and we hope to see them all  again come fall.

Loreto is a very cute town, I can see why people like to stay and visit. The baja 500 was finishing while we were there, but we did not partake in watching the event. We walked though the historic downtown and visited the first mission with John. Lucky for Jon and I, John knew just a little more spanish than us, so together we stopped at every electronic store that loreto has to offer in search for a big fan and dimmer switch. We found the fan, which is really a huge 12v radiator fan for a car, and we wanted the dimmer switch so we could adjust the speed. Oh well we will just have to keep looking.  If I was not here on my own boat, I would have loved the chance to stay in the beautiful Hotel Posada de la Flores, so pretty!!! It is a good spot for family or friends to come visit.
downtown loreto
We left escondito after talking with the lovely people on Manta. We where looking for someone to fill our scuba tanks for a quick dive on our way north. Terry was nice enough to share with us all of the good dive sites on our way north and convinced shannon and I to buy a dive compressor when we come back this summer. I find it a bit ridiculous to have to complete outfits of dive gear onboard but with only two tanks we use them mostly to clean the bottom of the keel. With a compressor it will completely change the way we cruise and the further south we get the better the diving gets.. So we said goodbye and motored out to honeymoon cove under flat windless conditions.
We anchored in honeymoon cove on Isla Danzante. This cove is talked about to be one of the best, however I think I have seen better. Yes it’s small, the water is clear and warm, and but the water is also filled with jellyfish! I jumped in yesterday really looking forward to a good snorkel, and zap, zap, zap all over my stomach. Jon was wearing a rash guard so he was fine, I had to retreat back to the boat and don my wetsuit which was also a bummer cause it’s way to warm for my 3mm suit, I really need to get another skin. Also the bees and wasps seem to be in more numbers and a little more desperate for water. Bo-bos where also swarming as soon as the sun was up. So we where forced inside our screen covered cabin because it was too buggy and we couldn’t swim due to the jelly fish. So I made the decision to move on, though the hike was great and easy.
honeymoon cove
looking out from honeymoon cove


Jon is currently working on our head, as it was not pumping smoothly any more, and I am making banana bread. You can imagine the smells that are mixing and wafting about aboard Prism.  Mmmmmm.
I think we are going to move up to Isla Carmen tomorrow. We need to be moving just a little faster if we want to get all they way up to Bahia Los Angeles.


April 23, 2015
We are at Isla Carmen in puerto ballendera. We love it here. Water is warm a jelly free, bugs are relaxed and are not driving us crazy and it is just a gorgeous bay. We Paddled around the entire bay with the Red boards, saying hello to fellow cruisers. I sparked up a conversation with S/V Que’ Linda, Doug and Linda have been sailing their Alajuela 33 for 17 years starting in florida. They now do seasonal cruising in the Sea during the winter and go home during summer leaving the boat in San Carlos.
They we a great couple, who we really enjoyed spending time with. Doug had us over, shared some beers and we talked the talk. We invited them over to PRISM as they had never been on a HC33. They came over the next morning, we had fresh made english muffin bread, ended up spending the whole day together. We ended the day at their boat playing mexican train till about 1 am.  I am looking forward to seeing them come fall.
hiking on isla Carmen
We were having strong westerly winds at night in this anchorage, which made for a bucking night with waves crashing right behind our boat.  The swell would hit the shelf we anchored on, and we were only in about 12 feet of water, so a few of the larger swells would break under the boat, making some terrifying sounds, but would chill out in the early mornings and leave the bay dead flat for the whole day, just to start over again after sunset.
night time chop
We left Puerto Ballandra and sailed the 20nm to Caleta San Juanico, which we had been told is one of the best anchorages in all of the Sea.
Puerto Ballandra


Jon at the top of the mast



Puerto Balandra @ Isla Carmen
April 24, 2015
Ok well down to business, our plans have taken a huge right turn. When Jon and I first set off last October, we had zero plans on coming back to thee states other than for a quick visit. We were going to sweat out the summer in the Sea of Cortez, exploring the northern sea and all the little anchorages it has to offer. Then the opportunity presented itself for us to make some money during the summer. Which got us out of the hottest months in the sea of cortez, and we would be back by September, gone from our humble abode in 2 months and with some more mula in the kitty. THEN…… Jon received news from his good friend and old boss that he is needed back ASAP to help shoot a documentary for NatGeo May through September. Now that offer is just way to amazing for us to pass up. SO we are hot tailing ourselves over to San Carlos to get the boat decommissioned and ready to spend the hot, windy, at times wet, hot summer on the hard. We need to be back in the states by the 18th, and we do not even have a scheduled haul out yet. Yikes we are so pushing it!
April 26, 2015
Jon and  I are currently sitting in Caleta San Juanico, which we find funny because just across the peninsula  on the pacific side is San Juanico AKA Scorpion Bay separated by 50 miles of land.
Prepping for our passage across the Sea
The sail over was slow going, but we had a lot of wild life keeping us company along the way. When we got to the anchorage a stronger south wind ( which we had been waiting for ALL DAY) started up, and pushed us right along into the perfect spot. And the perfect spot is in between 2 massive rocks. Jon wanted to anchor under sail, and I told him ” Jon dont even think about sailing our home through the maze of boats and the tight corders of these huge rocks and reefs.” Being the smart man that he is, he listened and we dropped sail and motored into the perfect spot.
Spinnaker Sailing to San Juanico
sunset at Caleta San Juanico
It blew like stink for the next 3 days all from the north. Of corse we are waiting for a weather window to sail due north. We didnt even get off the boat to check out what the beaches of San Juanico had to offer. We did however meet back up with Nate, Natalie and sully on “Astria”. We would gather either on their boat or ours for after dinner drinks and games, and of corse movie swaps.
many other boats waiting for the right weather
April 30, 2015
There were a lot of other boats waiting for weather to make the crossing to mainland, with Guaymas or San Carlos as their destination. The weather men, when it comes to the sea of cortez, have NO idea what it is going to do, so I think that the 2 guys who report weather get together in the morning, and they decide to report the complete opposite weather forecasts so  one of them might be right.  The weather was kinda shaping up to make a crossing with a light southern and western wind. As the day of our departure came closer, the weather kept changing and now they were calling for strong north winds for the next week or so. So we bailed, taking our chances with the medium north winds that we beat through for 6 hours, going a total of 20 miles, but only 12 miles of the 20 were toward our destination. As the sun started to set the wind died and next thing you know we are on a huge lake.We did not want to sit and bob for the whole night so we turned on the motor. A huge pod of bottle nose dolphins hung with us for almost an hour, Jon and I would hang out on the sprit, mesmerized by the grace, size and humor that these animals have. It almost sends shivers down your spine as they turn side ways and look right into your eyes and read your soul. Some of them must have liked what they read cause after some deep eye staring contests they would bolt off and jump in front of the boat doing flips and spins, then come right back to the crashing waves on our bow to check to see if we were watching. I was in pure bliss.
I am very productive while during a crossing
dolphins swimming at the bow
With the engine running, and the water maker going, we took hot long showers, then Jon took the first watch and I hit the sack. By the time it was my watch, the moon was up and the dolphins were still with us, doing their jumps ever so often, and scaring the living crap out of us when the splash was loud and about 10 ft off the STBD side.
more dolphins
We made it to guaymas in about 26 hours, 15 of which was motoring across the placid lake of coretz. The entrance into the inner harbor is one that will keep you on your toes, as you have to twist and turn around the islands and watching out for the shoaling areas. The depth of this harbor is just like the bay area, at high tide it it about 13-15 feet and at low 9-11 ft, with mostly soft mud that is more of a muck/ tar that does provide great holding.
the trigger fish almost pulled Jon into the water


May 8, 2015- pre haul out
Holy crap have we been busy!
We were going to anchor out in front of the  fonatur marina, but we were new to this place and no one else was anchored out, so we made our way over to the south anchorage. There is not much to look at and the anchorage is smelly and filled with bugs and steel fishing boats. But we were a small dinghy ride and 10 min walk from the boatyard where we were hoping to haul out and store prism.
working out the math and measurements for our boat cover


sewing away
So we found our way and may our haul out date for today. That gave us a week to prep the boat, and there is a long laundry list of things you have to do to your boat to get it ready for the torchere that is the summer season.
 The rumors we have heard go something like this:
  • take as much canvas off as you can
  • foil all hatches
  • shut all sea cocks and put scotch pads in all through hulls.
  • cover and or store solar panels down below
  • wash and store all sails and lines
  • top off fuel tanks and treat
  • change engine oil and transmission oil
  • cover binnacle
  • disconnect batteries
  • don’t leave anything on deck that can be taken off, or that you will miss
  • turn off fridge and leave open to vent
  • remove anchor, rinse chain
  • pickle water maker
  • empty and fresh water rinse holding tank
  • flush all salt water pumps
  • remove/ disconnect as many electronics as you can, bring with you or store in oven
  • lubricate head seals
  • use all open food stores
  • remove books from shelves ( if you have leaks)
  • wash and put all clothing/ bedding in  sealed bags or containers
  • cover as much deck as you can ( with boat cover or tarps)
And the list goes on and on, we will write an update with all that we did.
So we left the buggy anchorage and made our way to the anchorage in front on the marina, and went into town to check it out. We also check out to see how much a slip was. Turns out it was about $9.00 a day for the slip, water and power included. We stayed the week, prepping our boat for the summer storage. We made a boat cover out of a breathable tarp-ish material. It took us about 2 full days to get it done but it should help protect our boat from the heat.  We also took advantage of the fresh water and washed all our sails, lines and halyards.
We bought our bus tickets back into the states then we fly from Phoenix back to Fresno on the 13th. Guaymas is a pretty cool town, minus the mosquitos ( which are in every town, I just dont like them, but am going to have to get used to them). It really feels like Mexico here, there are not a lot of greengos, everything is about 10-20% cheaper and the taco trucks are to die for! Oh and Don Churrios!! for $10 pesos you get a bag of 16 churrios which make Disneyland’s look sad. This town will make me fat if we stay to long.
buying our  but tickets back to the states


Jon caring the material for our boat cover
We made lots of friends on the dock, as everyone else was also prepping their boat for the summer season. Its crazy to think how small of a world it is, and then its an even smaller world in the cruising community. We met some people who where also from Berkeley and lived on N dock, just 2 docks over from us. Then we also met a couple who have been cruising for the last 3 years, who we met back when we still owned TARA, they were even part of the boat crawl we had all those years ago.
the inner harbor in Guaymas


On our way to the haul out
We are sitting in the hauling ways, waiting for the yard staff to finish lunch so they can set us up in the dirt lot. The entrance into the hauling ways is a fun one, that you have to pay close attention to, and you want to make sure that the tide is rising just incase you find one of the mud shoals that line the inner harbor. The yard staff’s eyes were huge when they saw us coming their way, as they were expecting a normal 33ft sailboat. Of corse PRISM is 33ft on deck, but 43ft over all with the windvane and sprit, and shes very beamy, they had to ask us 3 times how long she was, then they asked us to remove not only the forestay, but the innerstay as well. Thats new for us, but we did and we attached 2 halyards to the large eyebolt behind the Sampson post. They should be here any moment as it is almost 1pm. If all goes well we should have PRISM all prepped and ready. We will be home for 5-6 months, so we have to pack a little more than just a “quick visit” bag, its hard to leave your home for 6 months, and live out of 2 bags for the next 6 months. Ah the cruising life.
that was a tight fit
Jon removing the inner forstay
May 8th- post haul out
so we are back on the hard, to think that only 8 months ago we were also out of the water. The haul went very smoothly. The guys here know what they are doing and took their time, and even asked us along the way if we wanted for them to change something or anything. The large dirt lot that we are destined to is across the way from the hauling ways, so that was fun to watch our home travel up and down and around into the lot, we were set up right next to Astria.. we just cant get away from these guys! They are leaving back for the states tomorrow, so they are working away. where as Jon and I.. well we are not moving so fast. We already did most of the prep work, and we cant move everything inside cause well we still have to live in here for the next 4 days. So we really don’t have to do much till the day before we leave. So in the time being, i think we will watch movies, drink and eat as much food and drinks as we can, visit with people who are working on their boats, and of corse.. we will play our favorite game of  walk the yard and guess what kind of boat it is.


out she comes
May 10, 2015
Yep, there is not much to do when your boat is on the hard. I was stomach sick all day yesterday, spent most of the day laying down and sleeping. Today I feel much better.  Jon did a lot of the little projects yesterday while I was out, so the list is even smaller now, leaving just the things that need to be done the day we leave.
I started packing my things up, its hard to think that we are leaving our home for at least 5 months, so when packing you have to remind yourself that home is not “just around the corner”. Most of the cruisers that do this still have homes they fly back to, the stuff on the boat is the “boat stuff”. everything we own is on PRISM, so we have to really think about what it is we need to bring back with us.
I guess the small projects will continue today, and starting tomorrow, the real work starts. Our bus leaves @5pm on the 12th. so we have 2 1/2 days to get a small list done and to install the new tarp we made.
May 13, 2015 @ 32,000 ft
I hate flying. Such a long way to drop. Boats, they don’t fall far, and I am a great swimmer, but I can’t fly.
Getting the boat all put back together went very smoothly. Damn there is turbulence and my hands and feet are now clammy while jon makes fun of me. Flying makes me want a stiff drink. But back to our boat… Jon and I got everything (we hope) done that needed to be done and the back tarp looks almost as good as the front, it needs a little adjusting, but because we will most likely never use it again, I was not to fussy.
Having the boat torn apart defiantly put the test to my slight ocd problem, and I think I might have drove jon a little crazy in the last hours. It didn’t help that the day we leave and need to haul all our crap down the ladder, it decides to downpour, making the boat a cramped mess while we tried cleaning and prepping around our luggage.
But in the end it all worked out, I’m sure jon will do a techy post about what we did to prep the boat and why, so I’ll spare the details here. Fellow cruisers on “Whirlwind ” Ron and Mary were nice enough to give us tips about leaving our boat as they have done it for over 7 seasons, and Ron gave us a lift to the bus station along with all our crap.
The bus was, what can I say… An adventure. No one spoke English and we were only about 50% sure we were on the right bus and going the right way. Good thing for us, there are a few lovely men and women who speak Spanish and English that were also passengers on the bus, and they helped us and our deer in headlight look as we were on and off the bus and various check points. The bus took a total of about 12 hours to get us to Phoenix. We hopped in a cab around 5:30am this morning that took us back the way we just came about 10 miles to the airport. We have forgotten what cab drivers are like here in the U.S, almost worse than those in Mexico… Gas! Break! Red light, sigh, traffic, huff. It was a bit much for the sleep deprived Jon and I. But we made it to the airport, got checked in with a lot of time to get a good breakfast, and where do we decide to eat? Yep a Mexican restaurant, I can say we are already a little home sick and missing the Mexican prices.

Well we are about to land in salt lake, I don’t like landings, Jon’s hands have to go through a squeeze test that often leave his fingers tingling. Great, more turbulence. Bah!
May 14,2015


Well we made it. The second flight we were on a smaller plane, but it was an ok flight. We were greeted at the airport by Jon’s mom, little brother and nephews. We grabbed a quick bite, then Jon had to go to a meeting about the up coming shoot. Today we are watching little Truman who is 1. We are still so beyond tired from our travels, and the coffee pot has not gotten a break today.


I don’t think it has set in, knowing that we are here for the next few months. Crazy, we are missing PRISM already, and we truly hope we did everything right to get her ready for a summer alone. The summer here though seems to be packed full of all kinds of things, but as of right now, I just want to take a nap.

One thought on “I guess we are Snow Birds: Leaving Prism locked up and put away for the summer season

  1. Hi Jon and Shannon, such a nice surprise to hear from you! Thank you for the update on Kialoa. It was hard to leave her. Like you, we were not planning to come north for the summer, but we did decide to sooner than you so had more time to prepare mentally! It will be interesting to see how the boats fare in the summer heat……did we do everything right???
    Hope to see you in the fall! Tanya

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