The Half Way Point
11 June 2012 | Turtle Bay
Arriving at Turtle Bay is a milestone because it means you've reached the half-way point in your trip up or down the Baja. Several of the boats who left Cabo with us had a little celebration by having a scrumptious potluck lunch hosted by Mary and Jack on S.V. Oriana. We also attended to mundane details like taking on fuel, changing the engine oil and grabbing a few groceries (ice cream!). So we're all ready to continue the 'bash'.
The Baja coast features three major "bights" or indentations that are 150-200 miles across. The first is from Cabo to Magdalena Bay. The second, or middle, bight which we just completed is often quite windy. We didn't experience a repeat of the benign conditions we enjoyed while making the passage from Cabo to San Juanico, so we've resorted to a strategy Jeff calls 'dash-and-duck'. The prevailing pattern is for the wind and seas to kick up worst in the late afternoon. From San Juanico to Turtle Bay we made about 50-mile hops, leaving each morning between 2-5 A.M. and trying to arrive at the next anchorage before it gets too snotty.
This plan has pretty much paid off. During our 70 hours of motoring, we've averaged about 6 knots of boatspeed. Sometimes we've had to claw our way through an uphill current and other times the current has given us a nice push. Opportunities to sail have been few and far between, but we've mostly avoided getting too beat up.
One memory stands out from this section. Seeing whales has become rather commonplace, but during the trip from Abreojos to Ascuncion we passed through a pod of 8-10 large whales - bigger than our boat. Our best guess was that they were blue whales. It's a pretty awe-inspiring to look out and see whales spouting from every direction all around the boat (some a little too close for comfort). They didn't do any spectacular breaching or such, but it was still a very special experience.
One other note before I close this entry. Jeff came up with a little addition that makes these wet, cold passages a little more tolerable. He made a portable seat that straddles the bottom of the companionway opening. It's upholstered with 5 inches of thick foam. We call it the 'Princess Seat'. Perched there, you are usually dry and well-sheltered from the wind, with a good view through the dodger windows and easy access to the radar, autopilot and other instruments.
It's just one of the little comforts that have made the first half of the trip bearable and hopefully will help with the second half too. The third and last bight is the jump from Cedros Island across Bahia Vizcaino back to the main peninsula. We have about 350 miles to go to San Diego. We have covered about 600 miles since leaving La Paz. We'll keep you updated with our progress.