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Don & Deb's Big Adventure on Buena Vista
On our way to the South Pacific and beyond...
Inside the Big Bay
02/15/2010, Punta Belcher

After about three hours of whale watching, the sun's getting lower in the sky and it's time to think about finding a safe place to anchor for the night. We are both still over the moon after our close encounters with those beautiful creatures of the sea. Turning into Magdalena Bay we are taken aback by how big it is. It's almost as big as San Francisco Bay, except the only people are fisherman in pangas, or whale watching tourists in pangas. Most yatistas do this trip way earlier in the season, moving through this area in November and December. Because we're so late in the season, conditions on the outside are a little more difficult, but the big payoff is the solitude. We've left Encinada about three weeks ago and have only seen a handful of other boaters along the way. Inside the bay there's no swell and a nice breeze coming from the north-west end of the bay. We lift our mainsail and roll out the genoa and away we go. It's blowing 10-12 knots and we're flying along on smooth water at about 6 knots. Our boat, Buena Vista is in heaven. Obviously she knows where she's going, she's been here before with the previous owners, Lee and Nancy Husband when they cruised this area about two years ago. We see our night's destination ahead, Punta Belcher. Not much protection from the wind but we'll be fine huddled next to shore under the care of Mount Isabel. (That's Don's mum's name, Isabel. We'll have to take a photo and send it to her for her 85th birthday that's coming up in April).

Still Holding My Breath!
02/15/2010, Magdalena Bay

You haven't lived until you've seen a whale swim under your boat. We were idling a decent distance from a group of adult grey whales and one moved away from it's group and swam directly at us. Don was at the bow and in a higher pitch voice than usual yelled out to me....get the camera! I ran up and shot of few pics, none that good because I was a little hyper-excited as you can imagine. That darned whale swam right to us and then dove under and swam under the bow of the boat, we watched it go down on one side and back up on the other. He took a really good look at us sort of turning on his side as he moved below us. Whoa.

They're All Around Us
02/15/2010, Magdalena Bay

The entrance to the big bay is a few miles across and there's a point where the rougher ocean on the outside comes together with the calmer waters in the inside, the place where the two currents meet. That's where we had to come to a complete stop. Stop Now! They're all around us, huge floating animals. Blowing, coming to the surface and pausing, then disappearing back below the water. You can't believe your eyes, I found myself holding my breath and having to tell myself, ok, you can breath again now.

It's Whale City!
02/15/2010, Entrance to Magdalena Bay

After about three hours sailing down from Bahia de Santa Maria the ocean seems to come alive. Lots of birds, new ones we haven't seen before, movement in the water like sea lions, dolphins...feels like something is about to happen. And then in the distance you see what looks like a submarine flying up and out of the water and crashing back down with a big splash. Hunt for Red October came to mind. We made it to Whale Central. Magdalena Bay is where the grey whales come in winter to breed and have babies. We heard from another yatista a few weeks back that when they left Mag Bay they could see maybe fifty whales all around them. We thought they must have been exaggerating. They weren't. As soon as you near the entrance you can see groups of blows...maybe three or four to a group, big blows, misty and sort of roundish, then little blows, more condensed and definitely heart shaped. The individual groups are spaced maybe a quarter mile apart from each other, each group moving to it's own rhythm and direction, some on the move, some look like they're huddling, making a decision between themselves which way to go next. They hear our motor, they huddle closer to each other, maybe the mothers forming a barrier around the little ones...then one comes up and out of the water, something's gonna happen here, hold your breath...then...they all make their move together, a few fins showing as they turn and some disappear below the waterline...then at the head of the group...up and out of the water with a big splash, a huge breaching whale, maybe the leader. I try to take a picture but my heart's in my throat and I can't think straight for the moment, too awestruck. I got a great picture of the splash.

Gee it's swell to be here
02/09/2010, Bahia de Santa Maria

We motored into Bahia de Santa Maria around noon and we were passed out thirty minutes later.

02/19/2010 | Eva and Craig
We are hoping that you are safe in Cabo today, Feb 19! Watching the weather, we have been worried about you guys coming down the Baja. We are in Mazatlan. Enjoying reading about all your fishing triumphs! We still have not caught anything... You guys are our heros! Were you able to barter for lobster in Santa Maria? You can check out our blog at www.southtrail.blogspot.com Wishing you both the calmest of winds and seas!
Riding with the Devil
02/09/2010, At Sea - Passage to Bahia de Santa Maria

Don and I are taking one hour shifts. While I'm at the wheel, he's sleeping on the floor of the salon surrounded by pillows. I'm trying not to hallucinate, I'm so tired. More on this later.

It's Big Eye Tuna Time
02/08/2010, At Sea, From Abreojos to Bahia De Santa Maria

It was fun until it wasn't. More about this hell night later

This is supposed to be a Rest Stop.
02/07/2010, Bahia de Abreojos

Tough night for the Robbos, especially Deb. Must depart Rocky Rolly Abreojos for anywhere else.

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