We are leaving Cabo San Lucas this morning to start working our way to La Paz. Greg's brother, Rocky, arrived from Juneau AK last night and will spend a couple weeks with us. He is also suffering climate shock like we are. It will be better when we get away from the docks and are out on the water. We are both anxious to get going again. We are only going to Puerto Los Cabos today about 25 miles down the coast and will have wifi again tonight.
I woke up at 4 o'clock when the guys changed watches and couldn't go back to sleep so I finally got up at 5:30. I made coffee for Greg and I (not spilling a drop this time) and we sat out in the cockpit and watched the sun come up and talked about our journey. These little times with just the two of us are very important to our relationship.
We had completely lost our wind last night so we motored most of the night. The wind picked up enough this morning to turn it off and sail for awhile but then we lost it again. As we were motoring along mid morning, a school (pod?) of porpoise came towards us. I quickly made my way to the bow of the boat and for the first time was able to watch three of them swim in front of our bow. I talked to them telling them how stunning they were and one turned on his side so he could look at me. I'm sure he smiled too. What magnificent creatures they are.
Not only have we noticed how much warmer it is today, we also have observed the color of the water is changing from deep blue to a turquoise blue. It is quite pretty. In the early afternoon it got so calm there were no ripples at all on the water. Then about 2 o'clock Greg called down to me to wake Ronnie. All of a sudden we were in like 20-30 knot winds being tossed all around. These winds are from the east which is very unusual. As they worked with the sails I tried to close all the port holes and pick up and stow away things that had been knocked all around down below. I managed to save the brownies I had baked for them this morning too.
What a battle to reach Cabo. With the wind on our nose we had to fight for each mile of progress. We finally reached the marina at 8:30 pm. It took a little while to find the slip assigned to us. It is a 70' slip which we are sharing with another Ha-Ha boat. Very nice people out of San Francisco. Since the marina office is closed they offered us the use of one of their key cards for access to the showers, etc. and also gave us their wifi code so we could go online.
First order of business was to go get something to eat. At the top of the ramp is a cobblestone walkway which runs all the way around the marina and is filled with restaurants, bars and shops. After eating an okay meal we headed for the showers. The bathrooms aren't too bad, but the toilets flush in an odd way and one of them was plugged. Back at the boat, we sat in the cockpit for a little while looking at all the activity and bright lights and listening to the very loud annoying music coming from a cantina across the marina from us. We learn through the night that the music doesn't stop until around 4 am. Greg and I slept through all the noise but Ronnie had a hard time.
We were up at 6 am, had coffee and got the boat ready for the 7 am start time. We started out with 14 knots of wind but by 8:30 we were down to less than 5 knots of wind and 3.5 knots of boat speed. They declared a rolling start to commence so we were able to turn on the engine and motor sail up to 6 knots without losing our "sailed the whole leg" designation. We have to average 5 knots the whole leg to be able to reach Cabo before dark.
It is a beautiful warm and sunny morning. The guys say we are going to stay close to the shoreline this last leg, but we'll see. They always seem to go way, way out looking for more wind. It would be nice I think to be able to look at the coastline for a change. We have already seen a sea turtle this morning and we caught a small tuna on our fishing line. FINALLY!!! Had to throw it back because it was too small but it gives us hope we may still have fish for dinner. For breakfast, I gave the guys a choice of eggs & sausage or oatmeal if they wanted me to save the last eggs to make brownies later today. They chose the oatmeal.
At 9:30 we caught a yellow tail tuna that is just the perfect size for dinner. Greg quickly cleaned and skinned the fish and it is now safely in our frig. Since we have enough for us, we put away the fishing gear, which consisted of a 65' line with a lure on the end of it that we put out the hole for the stern dock line. We tied off the line on one of the cleats.
Late morning we pass the entrance to Magdalena Bay. This bay is about the size of San Francisco Bay and we have read in our books that this is where the gray whales come to have their babies and mate. I always thought they went to the Sea of Cortez. The water is so calm today that I'm allowed to go sit at the front of the boat to look for whales. I don't see a single whale although I hear other boats in the fleet reporting sightings on the radio. For some reason I expected the entrance to the bay to be full of whales going in and out and breaching and tail slapping, etc. That would be what I would be doing if I was a whale and had finally arrived at my warm, sunny winter destination in Mexico.
We had to motor sail until the wind picked up a little late in the afternoon. Then we turned off the engine and sailed for a few hours. Of course we started sailing (and heeling over) just when it was time to start dinner. I had to cook dinner with things tipped a bit but it wasn't too bad. Tuna, rice and cooked carrots for dinner. It's a good thing we will reach Cabo tomorrow night as we are running out of most of our fresh and frozen foods. Will have to start digging into the canned foods tomorrow.
I stood my watch from 8 to 10 pm with no incidents. Actually, the watches have all been pretty boring. I would much rather be bored than to have a crisis during my watch however. The climate is warming up too. This is the first night that we could stand watch in shorts and tee shirts. The only surprising thing to us on this trip has been how heavy the dews are and how foggy it has been at times. The dew starts forming many nights before it gets dark. We usually get "wet butt" from the dew on our cushions. Tonight is very, very damp with fog forming all around us. The dampness even makes its way down below.
When Greg relieved me I asked him if he would like me to make him some coffee. Of course he said yes and as I was pouring water from the tea kettle into the filter, I hit the plastic filter holder with the tea kettle spout and spilled coffee and coffee grounds all over the stove, the floor, the counter and me. What a horrible mess to clean up just when all I wanted to do was go to bed. It made me very grumpy.
Oh yeah, we were passed by a cruise ship last night which was kind of interesting to see it all lit up. The guys both reported seeing 4 falling stars each. I only saw one.
We awoke to the gentle rocking of the boat at anchor. Ahhh. We had coffee in regular cups with biscotti out in the cockpit (aka the lanai) and we laid out our plans for the day. There is going to be a beach party from noon till dark and food is being prepared and beer and margaritas provided by some of the locals. We voted to go in early and do some exploring and maybe even walk over to the other beach and check out the boat that went aground. We quickly did our chores. Greg washed the dishtowels, I made breakfast and Ronnie did the dishes. We were ready to go by 10 am and we quickly hailed a panga to take us to shore. We were glad we didn't take our dinghy as there is a very tricky, winding channel into the lagoon where the fishing shacks are located.
The beach is absolutely gorgeous here. Lots of sand and a mangrove forest at the back of the beach (not sure forest is the correct word as they aren't much taller than me), with channels from the lagoon forking throughout it. We walk up towards the fishing shacks where the fishermen camp out when they are fishing here. We see bags of salt piled around and also spilled over the ground around some wooden drying racks. As we study these, an American man comes up to us and tells us they use the drying racks for shark fins. That is their main cash fishing crop. It unsettles us to hear this but then I look around at how poor the people are here. How can I judge how people make a living and try to improve their lives? The man introduces himself as Bob, the owner of Mag Bay Outfitters. He owns these fishing shacks and is also the man who is attempting to get the sailboat that's aground back into the water. He tells us that the Ha-Ha people really messed up stripping everything off the boat, that he is confident that in a couple days when the tides are higher they can get it afloat again. We get directions on how to get to the boat and start off walking. Just follow the road he says.
After about a mile of walking the dirt road that is the width of one pickup and lined with lots of rocks, sparse vegetation and two different kinds of cactus, I'm thinking I should have put sun screen on and boy is it getting hot. I suggest maybe not going all the way to the boat but maybe turning back. Ronnie encourages me to continue, that after being cooped up on the boat for so many days, this walk is just what the doctor ordered for us. Hmmm. As I think about how healthy this hot, sweaty walk is for me, we are overtaken by two suburbans, one of which is driven by Bob. He stops and offers us a ride. Greg and I quickly over-rule Ronnie and agree. It's a good thing we did as it is not 3 miles to the boat, but more like 6 or 7. Plus we get all kinds of information from Bob about the history of the area.
We drive through two more fishing villages and one of them has two burros walking around. Bob tells us they are left over pack animals from when they built the lighthouse out on the point. I mentioned that we were just talking that morning about the wild donkeys on the Big Island in Hawaii. Bob tells us he used to live there in the late 60's and he is very familiar with the Big Island. He and I chat about what a great place it is. The road soon ends on the beach that runs along the north side of the island. We are now on the "freeway" and speed picks up quickly. We slow down once to watch a coyote standing by the bones and carcass of a dead baby whale. The coyote doesn't even run away as we drive by. Bob mentions how they are not as afraid of us as they used to be. I would have liked to stop and examine the whale remains but we speed on to where the boat is aground. The Mexican Navy has posted about a dozen marines to guard the boat and all the stuff moved off and stored up on the beach. We get the cameras out and start snapping pictures. Bob even took a picture of me with the Commandant. He was very uncomfortable having the picture taken so I asked Bob to tell him I was going to post his picture on our blog on the internet. That made him and all his men laugh.
What a heart-breaker to see this beautiful sail boat leaning on its side with its keel buried in the sand. The owner, Mark, was still in a state of shock. Bob was explaining to Greg and Ronnie how he planned on pulling it back into the water at high tide. The Navy boat and one of Bob's boats are going to pull on the lines already set. Yesterday with just Bob's boat they were able to turn the boat so the bow is facing out towards the ocean. The owner of the boat is a single hander out of San Francisco who had just started out on his dream cruise. It was just him and his cat on board. He said he had fallen asleep with the auto pilot on and got caught by the strong current and pulled in to shore. This beach is notorious for shipwrecks. You can see a rusted wreck farther up the beach. Greg and Ronnie mentioned later that with the number of empty whiskey bottles they saw on board his boat that either he has been drowning his sorrow since the accident or maybe the whiskey contributed to the accident.
After awhile we decide to start walking back along the beach. Bob said he would stop and pick us up a little later, bless his soul. It is a beautiful beach and there are lots of shells. Sand dollars all over the place. I have got to go to the bathroom so bad I'm going to have to just squat behind something and go. I haven't done this since I was a kid. What a relief. Soon Bob picks us up and we head back to the party. Again he tells us stories about the area. He has lived in Mexico for 11 years and here for 8. You can tell he loves it here.
We arrive back at the party around 2 o'clock. I have been out in the sun without sunscreen for 4 hours. I am sure I'm just fried and some people offer me some sunscreen which I quickly lather all over my face, neck, arms and legs. (I don't understand why but I discover that night back on the boat that I only burned a little on my neck. Maybe I am not such a "whitey" as I thought I was.) The food line is a mile long out in the hot sun. I stay with Greg for awhile then go to find some shade which I find right in front of the band. We are almost at the end of the line and by the time we get our food they are out of beans and the portions are very small. We get marlin fish, shrimp in a yummy hot sauce, rice and tortillas. We also found a lady selling Cokes so Greg and I had something to drink. We are out of luck at these beach parties since we don't drink alcohol.
After we eat we go down and watch the activity on the beach for awhile but we are tired and decide to get a panga back to our boat. The wind has picked up again to 15-20 knots and we get drenched with salt water. Luckily there is enough shower water left that I can wash my hair and wash off my arms and face. We finish the Star Trek movie and have Kraft Macaroni & Cheese for a snack. I can't believe some of the stuff we eat on a boat passage. We decide to watch another movie as its only 7:30 and choose The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Then off to bed for a good night's rest. We are leaving at 7 am tomorrow for the last leg to Cabo. It was a really good day today filled with lots of laughs and interesting experiences.
We dropped anchor in Bahia Santa Maria at 5:45 am. Our first anchoring in the dark and the guys did an outstanding job. I thought they would go below immediately and collapse into bed since they both were up all night long, but no, they stayed up to view the scene. Santa Maria is a very large, kind of open to the south bay with a narrow slip of land between it and Magdalena Bay. There are hills running from the northern point to the east where after the sun came up, we could see a few small buildings high above the beach on a bluff. The bay was full of sailboats that had arrived before us but looked empty of any local life. I had read in our cruising books that there was no permanent village here, just shacks the fishermen used when fishing this area. It is very pretty here. I learned the next day that there is a lagoon in the northeast corner of the bay with quite a few locals camped there. We just couldn't see them from where we were anchored.
During the morning roll call on the radio it was reported that a sailboat (not part of the Ha-Ha fleet) had gone aground on the beach north of the bay. The Poobah went out and around the point to investigate and reported the boat was probably a loss and called for volunteers to go and see if they could help salvage equipment off the boat.
After awhile the guys went to bed saying they would sleep until noon but they were both up again by 10:30. I did up the dishes from last night while they slept and worked on my sewing. When they got up again we decided this would just be a kick back, stay on the boat day. We will save the exploring for tomorrow. In the afternoon we all take turns taking showers in the cockpit. I cannot express often enough how good it feels to get all the salt washed off and to be clean again. The guys decide on having a movie matinee so I make popcorn for them. I think they both dozed off through a good portion of the movie. After dinner they tried to watch another movie but both fell asleep. It was early to bed and again, real beds with sheets and just gentle rocking of the boat.
We pull up anchor and head out of the bay along with the other 150+ boats. We have light winds from the northwest and as soon as everyone gets out of the bay, up go the spinnaker sails. These are very large sails made out of light sail fabric, like parachutes, and usually are made with very colorful fabrics in different designs. What a sight seeing all those spinnakers flying. Of course we put ours up too. We had good winds the whole day and most of the night so we did more sailing than we ever have before. The seas have smoothed out and are not so confused anymore which makes it a very comfortable ride.
This ended up being our longest sailing day of the whole trip. I saw a whale slapping its tail in the distance just at sunset and we saw a few porpoise during the day. In the morning we discovered little squids all over the decks. I didn't know they jumped out of the water. We didn't have any flying fish on deck but we heard other boats in the fleet report that they had them.
The next day and night we also sailed, motor sailed and motored, depending on the wind. I handed out trick or treat candy to the guys. It was just another day of cruising.