Our friend Peter Monkhouse joined us aboard as crew for our voyage from San Diego to Ensenada. His blog contribution is below.

I am sitting in the cockpit of Erin Skye as I type this blog on the last day of my visit with my good friends Deanna and James and their son Ethan. Deanna and Ethan are off doing home school. James is working on wiring the underwater lights and I have just finished washing and putting away the dishes.

Getting to San Diego

Tacking in Bahia de Todos Santos

Before I go further, let me go back. I met Deanna over 15 years ago when we served on a Project Management Institute (PMI) committee. We then served on the PMI Board for six years together, and eight years on the board of Project Managers Without Borders (PMWB). While on the PMWB Board, I travelled to Denver and stayed with Deanna and her family in Denver a couple of times.

About 4 or 5 years ago, Deanna shared with me her retirement dream of buying a catamaran and sailing around the world. She shared the link to the World ARC for cruising around the world. Having sailed dinghies in my youth and occasionally in recent years, I was interested in Deanna’s adventure and joining her and James during the journey.

PMWB Board of Directors

In May, we settled on me traveling to San Diego for the voyage to Ensenada on August 30th. With this set, I booked my plane ticket, changeable at no charge, to travel from Toronto to San Diego on August 26th and return on September 3rd. As Deanna mentioned, when you are trying to meet a boat, you can pick the location or the date, not both, and this statement could not have been truer. Deanna and James made it to San Diego a week earlier than planned, and they had challenges finding a mooring for Erin Skye. The result was they wanted to leave for the passage to Ensenada 4 days earlier. I changed my ticket to Wednesday, August 24th. (Sorry for the interruption, the diver from the marina just arrived to clean the bottom of Erin Skye.)

A week or so before I left, Deanna gave me a list of what to bring. The list was very helpful and required a shopping trip to get things like deck shoes (not used due to nice weather). I packed as little as possible while ensuring there was flexibility in clothing options for differences in weather. A washing machine had recently been installed on Erin Skye, which made packing a little easier.

Meeting Erin Skye

Deanna picked me up at the San Diego airport in the morning, and I was immediately set to work helping with errands before going to the Police Dock in San Diego to meet Erin Skye. Upon arrival, there was a quick lunch, and then we went motoring out of the harbour to check the auto-pilot system that James had just installed. It was wonderful to be out in the ocean! But I had a lot to learn!

Guest quarters, starboard aft

Having been involved in the journey, I had seen and studied the layout of Erin Skye. I knew it was a good sized boat, much larger than any other sailboat I had been on. But seeing her in 3D is very different. As I weaved my way to my berth, starboard aft, I realized my physical flexibility was going to get a workout. My bed, which was very comfortable, was the width of the hull, so the entry and exit from the bed was from the foot. I am tall, over 6’, and I had to do a little jump to get on the bed. The nice thing about Erin Skye was each berth had a head with a shower, a small shower. More flexibility is required.

The next challenge was to find out where everything was. It is amazing to see how many storage spaces there are. And if there is no home for it yet, it goes to the starboard forward berth! As the days went on, I learnt where things were and even how to find items in starboard forward.

Next, I had to be trained on the basics of the boat, how to operate the toilet, use the shower, and watch the use of power and water. When in a marina, the power and water are not as much of an issue, but Erin Skye has processes that need to be followed. For example, as James said, if it does not go through you, it does not go in the toilet. This led to some interesting discussions, which made me realize that you only want to go sailing with very good friends you have known for a while.

James and Peter swabbing the deck

The final thing I had to learn was the systems. Deanna and James have been living onboard full-time for a year and sailing it for longer. I had to figure out how to fit into their way of doing things. Some things were pretty straightforward; for example, in the morning, Deanna and James go for a walk first thing when they get up while docked. So do I when I am at home. Other things, well, let me say, I had to be corrected or put in my place. After all, I was here for ten days, and they will have to continue their journey.

Getting to Mexico

At the helm during the passage

The passage from San Diego to Ensenada was very uneventful. It was the “no” trip: no one went overboard, no injuries, no sea sickness, no whales, no dolphins, no fish, no waves, and no wind. We ended up motoring down, with the current in about 10.5 hours. It was such a wonderful experience to be out in the ocean. A few days after arriving in Ensenada we did go out for a 3 hour sail when there was some wind. The remainder of my time was spent enjoying Erin Skye in the Marina Coral and visiting Ensenada, including having delicious fish tacos.

Famous and delicious fish tacos at La Guerrerense

As I sign off, I would like to thank Deanna, James, and Ethan for letting me spend time with them. I celebrated Ethan’s 15th birthday with him and James and Deanna’s wedding anniversary. We had many laughs. I learned some new games. And, I got a window into the life on Erin Skye. But most importantly, I am so lucky to have such great friends, a friendship that has only grown in the past week.

Now, it’s time for me to check the ice maker and bring in the laundry drying on the lifelines.


The whole crew at a celebration dinner at the newly opened Pranvera

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Written by Deanna