Marokko Dodra

We go to sea

Wir auf See

We go to sea

Yes, you read that right – we are going to sea. Done, no more car. Escape all the traffic and noise that traffic jams and turn signals set when turning. We saddle up – it would be correct at this point to say we sail around. Nope, we only do a sailing course so that we can sail ourselves, i.e. without a skipper.

Go Baja Sailing – with those at sea

Go Baja Sailing is now not only an expression but also the name of the sailing school. We have booked a training trip here and we will absolutely certainly be the only Swiss. The rest are Americans. This is going to be fun and interesting. A week with a couple of Americans on a 43 foot catamaran. We will get to know a few socio-cultural characteristics.

A colorful bunch of sailing enthusiasts

In total we are 8 sailors, one of whom is the skipper. It’s a colorful bunch. an American couple Kelly and Mike from Lake Havasu City. We know. That’s where we spent the hottest time of our lives. Then there is the second couple, Kathy and Scott from Canada. They are from Kelwona, British Columbia. We know that too. We were in 2015 and I in 2001- beautiful area. Then there’s the single American whose name we’ve unfortunately forgotten.
Before we set sail, there is a safety briefing and an introduction to how parts of the ship are named. Especially important is the operation of the toilet. We know that the operation of ship’s toilets is subject to a few special conditions. Top rule – DO NOT throw toilet paper down the toilet. This is because the pipes on every ship are always too small. This has been the case for decades. Do shipbuilders learn only very, very slowly or what is the reason that thicker pipes are not installed? Because once the toilet is clogged, taking the pipes apart is truly a shit job. And on a training trip, you usually don’t leave the port until the second day. But Chris, our skipper, quickly realizes that we all have prior knowledge and a little bit of sailing experience. And so it happens that shortly after noon we start the engines, loosen the lines and drive out. Jipieeee…

Set sail – we are the pirates of the Sea of Cortez

Yes, I know – the title is a little bit euphoric. And yet – we are sailing. It’s hectic because Chris drills us so that we really have the jiben intus. For all those readers who have only learned to sail in German – jibe is the English term for turning. So the first two days we don’t do anything else. Everyone gets behind the wheel and executes the command several times. And the rest of the crew will have to hurry. It’s awesome to be captain and everyone does what I want – sorry what the captain wants. 😉
The days just fly by, because during the day we are practically trained and in the evening the theory or the exams follow. At the end of the training, everyone has the sailing license and we can now charter a ship up to 45 feet in length.

Back to Agua Verde

One of our favorite favorite places on the Baja. The journey is tough, but it’s worth it. From the paved road it takes 2.5 hours to get to Agua Verde. We have only been here for a few days and receive a call because we have asked on the Internet about sailing opportunities. And here comes the contact. Tad, an American sailor with over 30 years of experience, offers us to sail from Ensenada in the north of the Baja to La Paz in the south of the Baja. With video chat, he shows us his over 30-year-old Slocum 43. A stately solid ship. We are happy and agree. So we fly to Ensenada and sail down to La Paz. Amazing.

Before sailing, another accident

One day before we leave Agua Verde to go sailing, Claudia wants to let René, the Canadian next to us, take the pain out of her shoulder and back. René is a chiropractor and a funny neighbor. And that’s where it happens. René slips while straightening his spine and crushes Claudia’s ribs. Anyone who has ever had this knows how painful it is. Damn – we actually wanted to leave. We talk and Claudia tells me to go sailing alone. She waits at the Maranatha campground until I get back. Ok, but how do we get out of here? Two and a half hours of jogging slope with crushed rib. It was an ordeal and it took us almost three and a half hours because I was driving much slower – because of the contusion. And yet – Claudia has fought bravely and is happy when we arrive at the Maranatha. Now she can recover and rest until I get back.

Sailing with Joshua

So I fly from La Paz to Tijuana and take the bus down to Ensenada. I take an Uber to the port and meet Tad in person. Tad shows me my bunk and I settle in. Afterwards we go straight to dinner. We talk and we are on the same wavelength. That’s good and builds trust. The next 4 days we are still busy getting the ship up to speed. We need to get the foul smell out of the toilet. The smell comes from barnacles – small shells that get stuck in the sewer pipes of the toilets. There is always enough food for the stinkers here. And that stinks a lot. It is not possible to find words about it. At the same time, we repair various other small things.
And then it starts. It is also worth mentioning that it is the beginning of December 2022 and Ensenada in the north of the Baja. And it’s cold here. Enormously cold. Just before water freezes – that would be fun when peeing – pling, pling, pling… Ice cube. During these four days of repairs, I get to know Jacob. He is on the buddy boat and sails on his Beneteau as a single hand sailor with us to La Paz. We laugh a lot together and help each other with the repairs. And then the day comes. We cast off.

Sailing and puking

Claudia and I have already gained some sailing experience in the Mediterranean and off Cuba. We also have storm experience – 40 hours at Beaufort 9 out of 12. That’s when we fed the fish. Wasn’t a great experience because seasickness is corrosive, really corrosive. We have been on the road for a day now and have strong winds from the north – i.e. sailing downwind. And that’s where it gets me – the caustic feeling. I have to feed the fish and throw up. It feels like 30 seconds later it’s all over. Zero seasick, squeaky fiddle. Now you can really get started. And it did. We had winds of around 25 knots. So really strong winds. But we also had a lull. Both are exhausting. But variety is provided.
We’re chugging or sailing – I don’t really remember – in the Pacific Ocean and suddenly I smell something. A smell that doesn’t smell like delicious food, but like burnt food. I shoot up, run below deck and at the same time shout to Tad that it smells of burnt. Tad is frightened. I follow the smell with my nose. Locate the source under the navigation table. I tell Tad that I smell the source of the smell under the sat nav table. We open the door and the smell increases abruptly. We immediately turn off everything electronic. Armed with flashlights, we both crawl around under the navigation table. The source is quickly identified. The inverter has said goodbye, charred. So we were able to prevent worse by acting quickly.

In the middle of the Pacific Ocean

Sailing in the middle of the Pacific is unique. Looking to the west, you know that at some point, after thousands of nautical miles, the mainland will come. Japan, Russia, Korea – whatever may be over there at this latitude. It’s a wonderful feeling and total freedom. And when we are in the middle of the Pacific, with practically zero wind – i.e. the engine is running – I hear a strange noise that doesn’t belong there at all. While traveling, we overlanders get an ear for noises that shouldn’t be there. I tell Tad that something can’t be right with the drive and try to explain the noise in English. How do you use words you don’t know to describe something? You imitate the sounds acoustically. In a large hall with a stage and an audience, this would be called a stand-up comedian.

Where does the noise come from?

And Tad hears it too. Damn, damn it. The noise comes from the direction of the engine, more precisely from the gearbox. Stop the engine immediately so as not to cause major damage. We look for the error and find it pretty quickly. The gear oil resembles a mass of strawberry and curd. The gear oil is cooled by a heat exchanger with seawater. Now the seawater has – probably – corrided the interior of this tube in such a way that the seawater has paired with the gear oil. So repair is easy. Install a replacement heat exchanger, replace the oil, and you’re done. In the meantime, the ship is rolling brutally because we no longer have any propulsion. So the repair will be pretty fun. Um… Replacement heat exchanger??? It’s not, there isn’t one.

Creativity at sea

Cool… We consider. We could solve the matter this way and this way or this way and that way. We discuss solutions, look for appropriate parts. No solution works because parts are missing or too big or too small. Let’s get creative. What do we have on board? Hoses, brides, water bottles, fans, ropes, fittings. We try it with the original heat exchanger, but without the transmission oil flowing through it. In order for the transmission oil to be cooled, we roll one hose tightly around the heat exchanger and hope that the oil is cooled. This solution keeps you cool for just 10 minutes. Another solution is needed. The heat exchanger is too thick to transport the cold seawater to the outside.

A boat hook is the solution

And that’s when we discover the boat hoe. It is exactly one inch in diameter. Exactly what we need. Thin enough to bring cold water to the outside, thick enough to stay stable. We saw the boat hoe and make a heat exchanger. Wrap the hose around it, point the fan at it and, as an additional cooling system, fill a 5 gallon bottle with water and pass the hose with the gear oil through the water in the bottle. And testing. The gearbox gets warm but does not overheat. The oil has the consistency and color it needs. We increase the number of revolutions to 2500 revolutions. We are curious. Does this creative-makeshift construct hold? In fact – the oil cools down, so we can use the engine again. What a relief.


Sailing is beautiful, fantastic. However, something breaks all the time or has to be repaired or replaced before, during and after the trip. Creative thinking and the search for solutions is taken to another level. Sailing is never boring, especially when you meet dolphins, spot whales, watch sea lions or fish for delicious fish fresh from the sea. Sushi has never been so fresh. I will go sailing again. Then with Claudia.

Wir sind Claudia und Thomas und möchten mit unserem Blog und unseren Tipps Anregungen geben und die Fantasie ankurbeln.

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