Agua Por Favor

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Enjoying  WATER memories aboard the Alleycat with my bro Captain Benito.

(click any pic to enlarge and view slideshow)

From dawdling on the Delta to drifting upon the Sea of Cortez!

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Enjoyed a Caribbean cruise with a boatload of musical fans of Sandi Patty

Celebrating my 52nd birthday with my son and grand-daughter at Lake Tulluck.

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Kayaking in Half Moon Cay – Bahamas – March 2017

Fun family memories around WATER

History of Lake Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico

It was my dream to live near water – a lake, a river, the ocean – just water

November thru May NO rain in Chapala

All green by the end of June

Baja Christmas

#developingyoureye

#CaptainBenito #AlleyCat

 

One thought on “Agua Por Favor

  1. The Skipper of the Alleycat wrote her history. CAPTAINS LOG: Written by Captain Benito. “In 1999 my wife and I purchased a seagoing trawler. She was older and seaworthy but not to fast or sexy. The 1978 Trawler was my real joy and we renamed her the Alley Cat to reflect our last name. Jill and I were members of the Stockton yacht club on the Delta for nine years and it was home for the AlleyCat. In 2001 My wife Jill Alley was the Commodore and we had plenty of fun cruising the Delta waterways. Before we purchased her 34 foot length, the ski boat we sold was a lot smaller. We had learned the bends and curves of many of the small and larger bodies of water. Cruising the marinas and hangouts, alone and with friends, the Alley Cat’s trial and errors kept us busy. We had adventures to master and Jill and I spent five years in all kinds of weather. As a retired submarine sailor, I was in my late forties, dreaming of deeper sea adventures. The dream of mine was to cruise the open waters of the Pacific. My job as a painting contractor and other things always got in the way of a real plan. That all changed with a visit to our friends home in the lower state of Baja Mexico. The small town of Loreto is located on the Sea of Cortez. This village was on the eastern coast of the peninsula, just north of La Paz by about 230 miles. A perfect paradise with airport access to the United States. Deep blue water and year round cruising that was perfect. In November 2004 we went to Loreto where the open sea called me home. The aqua blue Sea of Cortez beckoned us to explore the magic of this old village. Everything just fell into place, but moving to paradise required much planning and researched actions to make it our reality. The Alley Cat was stateside and the dream of moving her south, to Mexico took lots of organizing. Many of our friends and others feared for our safety in this move to Baja. Taking a boat 1,600 miles south seemed near impossible to most of our yacht club friends. The Alley Cat left San Francisco Bay with a motley crew of willing deck hands headed to Loreto, Mexico. ( Skipper- Ben Alley; Cookie- John Omlin; Olive Juice- Larry Mclean ) We departed on October 25, 2005 and cruised out boldly under the Golden Gate. The tide was studied and we left in faith on the 24th at almost eleven o’clock at night. The slack tide was a plus. We hit the blue water outside the Gate just after midnight. The dark Pacific Ocean lay ahead. All my preparations were well spent on the voyage. San Francisco Bay was as calm as glass, the night we cruised out. That all changed under the bridge. The seas came to life. The heavy surf and fog made it impossible to turn south. We were pushed northwest and continued on this tack for an hour or so. We finally made our move to the south. John and Larry had the first watch, the boat speed was 7.2 knots. The practice run to Monterey Bay, two years prior helped settle our nerves. I was below setting the course and auto pilot. Skipper watching the radar screen because we were crossing the shipping lanes. The captain became sea sick and had retired to the salon couch for some sleep. I was not much help as the little boat was pitching side to side. Thank God, my crew was up to that night and well prepared for the passage. The seas around the opening to San Francisco Bay have a history of some of the roughest conditions. It was called the” Potato Patch.” This night was no different. We were like on a toy out there. The first point of reference south was Pigeon Point Lighthouse. We were just south of Half Moon Bay. The boat running about eight miles off the coast. Alley Cat seemed to just crawl passed it for hours. A black sea and bitter cold conditions lay ahead. The cold weather and this piercing light arcing around us every few seconds. This situation made me wonder why this journey was so important. The lighthouse made us aware of how slow we were moving. I was scared and nauseated. My insides tossed as much as the deck on this small little vessel. What a way to start this voyage. I was the skipper and sick as a dog! Daybreak, finally appeared and my stomach got better. My sea legs were back. I relieved John on the bridge. He was the only one still awake. John’s spirits were high and appreciated. He was ready for a nap below in the forward state room, aka the cook’s quarters. Monterey Bay lay in front of us. The daily one man routine would now be two hours on and four hours off. The night maintained a two man watch. We did our checks on the engine room and putting things in order. The Alley
    Cat cruised the Bay at Monterey. Crossing the open water of the bay took all day. The beautiful seas and the added boat traffic welcomed us here. That afternoon six whales were dancing. It made us feel apart of the parade of life at sea. Men at sea can be a very interesting match. We didn’t really know each other that well. The more time alone together would tell the story. This small craft meant the three of us would bond for life in a special way. The boat cut off from the world and the crew having to rely on each other. Not just anyone could handle that. I being captain and part of this crew had to wear a smile and be confident, in all manner of situations. Life on the moving deck was something to behold. The boat cruising without stopping meant meals and other normal things were anything but. The boat would run day and night for five days before we would reach Ensenada. This would be our first planned stop, 530 miles away. The next leg of the trip meant
    many miles without shore radio contact from Monterey Bay to Morro Bay. We would average one hundred seventy miles a day with running around the clock. I bought a new Satellite radio but couldn’t figure out how to use it. Our big dilemma was no radio music. I had one cd onboard, that would drive John and I mad, but Larry loved it. That CD played non-stop for days and days. Somehow it got washed overboard, which is still a mystery. As we cruised into our second night at sea. We felt the pride of conquering our fear and looked forward to the adventure ahead. The last visual point was Pebble Beach, as the sun disappeared into a cold foggy mist. Darkness surrounded us, the Cookie and Skipper started our dinner chat about the last full day at sea. John talked about his watch and the waves pushing behind the boat in a special rhythm of its own. The boat was in the Japanese current flowing from the north moving south down the California coast. The wave
    action of a four to six foot sea kept us moving south. This swell pushing us to Mexico. Dinner consisted of sandwiches and chips. The kitchen and hot food must wait until Cookie (John), had developed his humming bird skills. Him standing still at the stove was tough. The salt air was brisk as we climbed to the bridge to relieve Larry for his cold sandwich and nap. John immediately turned off Nora Jones and pulled out his book and flashlight. There were no other boat traffic or radio signal to pick up. The horizon was lost into the
    black abyss but the old Alley Cat just chugged along. The boat on its set course due south. I went below to watch the radar and gauges. John and I talked on the radio from salon to bridge. Hey Cookie, you want some coffee? Yeah skipper, that sounds good. I had purchased a new Mr. Coffee automatic brewing system. Easy enough, just add coffee and water and let it happen, Wrong! Hey John get your butt down here, we have a problem. Well it seems to make coffee, you need two people. You had to hold everything in place. That was so the pot or maker doesn’t end up on the floor. Then you had to put the whole thing in the sink. John and I could pour the coffee into the mugs.. it worked. The process turned into a three man operation later on. I don’t want to get ahead of myself. Larry was midnight till two’ watch. We got to make more coffee. Nora Jones and Larry were on the bridge watch. Me being captain, my below deck watch at night was more like catnaps. I would check on Larry every so often, we would talk. Larry was the oldest of the crew and probably the most important. He was a mechanic and a skilled diver. Larry owned a Napa Auto parts store in Tracy, California.
    The problem was that he was a newlywed and missed his wife Margret already. The fact he was worried about his lawn getting mowed was a bit much. This was amplified more after a few drinks, later on. Lucky drinking was forbidden on this boat, at least until we were in harbor. The weather that second evening started to get more severe as the night went on. The crew not seeing the swell didn’t help. We worked out a
    method of someone coming down from topside. They would call the salon steering station and then proceed down. We’d keep our eyes on each other until safe in the cabin. Man overboard was not an option. Weather was getting more hazardous around midnight. Alley Cat may have to come in to port. The nearest safe harbor was Morro Bay. The Alley Cat at night in a rough water entry, this was a big problem. I didn’t have a good feeling about this port and the big submerged rock in the harbor entrance. We opted to continue down to Point Conception. The boat would be there at dawn, having an early morning passage around the Cape. We regained our radio contact with a new report from the Coast Guard about small craft warnings. Benito its time to smile and look confident. The sea tale was continued…and in the end the AlleyCat landed safely and Bro Ben has never tired of his dream come true.

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