Santa Maria Bay, MX to San Juan del Cabo, MX

After arriving in Santa Maria Bay after a terrible passage, we were soaked after two nights of taking waves in the face and exhausted after no sleep. We had a lay day so Liz tidied up a bit while I tried to fix the engine (it was overheating after five minutes).

I checked the thermostat, the temp sensor, both impellors (coolant and raw water), cleaned the heat exchanger, cleaned the raw water filter, checked the flow and was seriously almost out of ideas. At this point I feared the momentary blip of low oil had warped a piston or blown the head gasket – meaning I’d have to go in for lengthy and expensive repairs. Liz (being an angel) put her flight back by a week to help me fix it, her Spanish would be extremely useful when dealing with mechanics.

However, eventually I took off the cap of the heat exchanger while I ran the engine and noticed the flow wasn’t very fast, it was progressing in fits and spurts… and the coolant level had dropped. I refilled it to the top, and then ran the engine again. The flow was a bit better but again the coolant level went down…. hmm. I did this a few more times, and finally, the coolant level stayed high when I ran the engine.

Turns out I had some air locks in the system that wasn’t allowing me to refill the coolant completely full. I guess further north this was less of an issue as the sea temperature was 15c colder. Once I got the airlocks out and the coolant full, it worked like a charm. Relief doesn’t cover it, and I was so happy. Hooray!

To celebrate we went and visited the catamaran Boomarang who we had been chatting to during the night (having another boat nearby is so reassuring when you are having trouble). They were very nice and gave us cold beers and we swapped storm stories!

The next day we set off and saw our first Frigate Birds (BIG), following dolphins along and trying to steal fish from smaller birds

Lots of dolphins again which was lovely

After the low power shock of the previous passage I decided to try to get my windvane working, so we fiddled around with that for a long time

I got it to work but I’m not super happy with it – it’s kinda of overcomplicated compared to a lot of the other ones I’ve seen (being both an aux rudder AND servo type) and it’s hard to get everything lined up and fixed in for it to work. There are a couple of mods I can think I want to make to it that will help, chiefly being able to lock the aux rudder in a central position (WHICH YOU CAN’T DO RIGHT NOW bizarrely). More on this later. I wish I had a Hydrovane though!

The day puttered on – we saw a dead whale that was very interesting – Minke or a humpback I think.

We radioed Boomarang (who were behind us) about it and they checked it out as well – unfortunately they got one of their lures hooked on it and had to go to leeward to unhook it. Apparently it smelled ‘amazing’. Hah.

We had no fish all day (although we saw a lot of marlin jumping and even hooked one – it threw the hook really quickly after tail-walking over the water in a spectacular fashion – definitely a ‘woa’ moment) until I spotted a green buoy moored on a pinnacle – remembering that fish associate with floating objects we did a close pass on it – jackpot! I saw a big mahi mahi (~15lbs)  dart back under.

Well for the next 40 minutes we tried all kinds of lures only for them to be all ignored. In desperation (we were out of fish) I grabbed my speargun and hopped over the side, after tying the spear on with the first thing that came to hand – 80lb mono.

It was pretty surreal to be floating around in crystal clear water with this big fish so close. He was so beautiful. I remembered what my spearfishing buddies had said and looked away from the fish and tried to look as nonchalant as I could while floating around 30 miles offshore. Just driftin’ around in the current and bouncing gently off the boat hull, no biggie. Eventually, he got close enough for me to try my first ever shot with a speargun… which missed. So I got out the water and reloaded and tried it again – this time I hit! However the fish swam around the buoy line a few times and as I pulled it in, the abrasion caused the line to snap, meaning the fish (and my spear) got away. I was really sad at this – not only for the loss of the spear but also a waste of a fish, sorry ocean. Next time I’ll do it differently.  We caught a 5lb mahi mahi near another buoy, so we had some fish to eat after all!

Later that afternoon we had a sealion follow us for a couple of hours. Maybe he was hoping we’d get some fish?

Pretty darn cute!

Anyway, as it unfortunately always does, night fell.

…. and then we caught a shark.

a blue shark to be exact, that had wicked teeth.

I didn’t want to just cut the line as it was a $20 lure, so I gaffed him somewhere harmless and we pulled him up the back of the transom while I got the hook out. Again – those teeth were insane. All jagged and pointing different directions! Eventually we got him off and he went off to eat some stuff.

The night was uneventful aside from getting way too close to one fishing trawler when I was dousing the spinnaker.

We skipped Cabo San Lucas as the marinas were very expensive and the anchorage was very rolly and waked constantly by drunk people on jetskis – we ended up at the marina at San Juan del Cabo, which was still pricey just less so. We tied up and had a quick nap, before starting our errands.




  1. I’m not a mechanic but overheating can cause your coolant to egress through any number of ways due to the increased pressure, I think mainly through your exhaust. Keep a close eye on the level and do some research. Glad it is currently working!

    Great fish stories. Aren’t you putting a go pro on your head to capture these underwater moments (although this current moment maybe wasn’t your greatest)? How does one ethically practice their aim with a spear gun? Always fun reading your posts, thanks.

    • It was hooked on the outside of the mouth and my handlines are barbless so I was VERY careful to use pliers and not put my fingers anywhere close!

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