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Goto Loco’s 2013 cruise prep & the Penasco Whale season

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This spring has been an exceptional whale season in Penasco (Rocky Point) with more whale sightings than we can remember. The last time these beautiful creatures blessed us with their presence in these numbers was in 2004 when we last had a Gato Loco whale update [2]. Of course this is overlooking Steve and my encounter two years ago sailing from Puerto Lobos to Puerto Refugio when we had a glancing blow with what I now know was a humpback whale. I remember that signature long white flipper scream by the port side of Gato Loco creating a tidal wave of water over the boat. Read that update here [3]. Frankie and I have made it out to watch them a few times BUT Bill has been on the water with neighborhood friends on a regular basis capturing wonderful photos and videos. Steve Franklin, a frequent whale watching crew member on Goto Loco, took everybody’s photos and videos and created the video below. I do have to say that neighbor Gill captured the most dramatic shots (like the one above) that put Penasco on the whale watching map this season. Her photos went world wide and most of you reading this have probably seen them. They were proudly taken from Gato Loco with Bill doing a great job searching out their locations which in many cases was right near the Penasco harbor.  Enjoy Steve’s video….

Gato Loco Cruise Prep

Readying Gato Loco for this year’s cruise has a pretty long list of work to be done and things to be replaced. This prep work each year has been a huge factor in keeping Gato Loco in great shape.

If you remember as we approached Penasco on the final leg last season, just miles from the Penasco harbor flying in a 20kt breeze, we blew out our mylar screacher head sail. I got out my trusty sewing machine and with Bill’s help we put it back together again. The repairs have not been tested in strong winds and is a little bit of a concern since it creates lots of speed off the wind and certainly would be missed if it blows out again. Replacing it is probably in order.

Our trusty Yamaha’s have been running great but the port engine has gotten a little oil thirsty. The problem has been diagnosed  as a lower crank seal. We have a replacement and need to pull the engine and have the work done.

The EPIRB, our emergency position identifier, battery has expired and we’ve found that the battery has been classified as an explosive and can’t be shipped. So we’ve ordered a new generation EPIRB that has a replaceable (and shippable) battery and also has a built in GPS for very precise location that could be very useful in the Sea of Cortez rescue.

Bill reported the electric winch, that is used to raise Gato Loco’s huge full battened mainsail, made a loud snap and died on one of the recent whale outings. An autopsy identified a couple of exploded gears which we have ordered from Harken. It should be back in operation soon.

Our solar refrigeration system controller seems to have died again. The designer of the system in Australia built us a new controller before last season. We may have work with him again. As a backup we can use a manual timer each day to keep freezer and frig  cold.

Quit a few small items also still remain. Frankie and I are heading for Cholla on Monday and will join Bill on working off the list. There should be no problem having Gato Loco ready for the April 21st departure.

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Sunset in San Juanico north of Loreto 2012


There’s lots of excitement as the season approaches. Crew logistics and reservations are coming together. Bill has had to drop out of Leg 5 so we will see how that leg develops. Leg 6 is still open with Gato Loco resting either in Santa Rosalia or San Carlos. Leg 7  still needs a crew member. Leg 7’s journey begins Sunday June 9th of the Peacemaker concert weekend with a bus ride south. At the moment Doug & Paul are on the leg and we will be sailing north to San Felipe for a  crew change. The plan  is for a new leg 8 crew to drive to San Felipe to join Gato Loco. The leg 7 crew departing (only Paul at the moment) will drive the new leg 8’s car back to Cholla while leg 8 heads south through Puerticitos, the Enchanted Islands, Gonzaga, Puerto Refugio, Puerto Lobos and back to Penasco.

Crew needed Leg 7… See below

Leg 1 – (Apr 21 – May 2, Penasco to Puerto Escondido (Loerto Fest) (Lowell, Craig Roper, Jeffery & Lynnie Altfillisch)

May 2 – 4, Loreto Fest 

Leg 2 – (May 5 – 10) Seawind Rally Loreto area (Lowell, Frankie, Bill & Carol)

Leg 3 – (May 11 – 18) Loreto south to Isla San Francisco and back (Bill, Carol, Jane, Randy, Peggy & Jerry)

Leg 4 – (May 18 – 25) Loreto, Conception, Mulege, Santa Rosalia (Bill, Mike, Liane , Tres & Ruthanne)

Leg 5 – (May 25 – Jun 1) Santa Rosalia, San Marcos, Mulege, Conception, Punta Chavato and cross to San Carlos (Dave, Bob & Rick)

Leg 6 – (Jun 1 – 8) San Carlos  (resting)

Peacemakers June 6 –9 Bus to San Carlos Sunday Jun 9th

Leg 7 – (Jun 9 – 16) San Carlos, Kino, Bay of LA, Gonzaga and on to San Felipe (Lowell, Paul, Doug. ( 1 single or double open)
(slack tides in San Felipe on the 16th makes Singlar Marina accessible.. Confirm)

Leg 8 – (Jun 16 – 23) San Felipe, Islands, Gonzaga, Puerto Refugio, Puerto Lobos and on to Penasco (Lowell, Doug, & the Rangel family)

Contact me ASAP if you are interested in leg 7.

Details.. Check out anchorage locations on the Google window below..

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Check out last year’s hi-light photos from leg 1 updates. The 11 day cruise south covers 2/3s of the Sea of Cortez and lots for interesting anchorages.

2012 Leg 1 Big Fun

That’s it for now..

Until the next update.

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