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06/22/2011, Bash Leg 2 – this sucks
After a few hours of rest in Bahia Santa Maria we left at 1900 for Turtle Bay some 225 miles north. The air is COLD and the water has dropped to 58 (on Friday in the Sea of Cortez it was 84). The wind was blowing 15 to 20 and the sea was 4 to 6 - on the nose of course. Through the night both wind and sea continued to build and soon we were taking big waves over the bow - this technique helps to identify any leaks you might have on the boat. Did I mention arriving Santa Maria with a wet bed (come on now - I was over that years ago for the most part....). Well I discovered a clogged drain in one of the aft lockers which caused about 40 gallons of water to accumulate (325 pounds) resulting in two LPG tanks floating around along with other things stored there. And, as luck would have it, there are a dozen unsealed screw holes in the locker allowing the water to enter the inside of the boat- fixed now. But there are other places water can enter the boat - like the open companion way. Just before sunset on day two of this leg, in howling wind and big boy seas, we spot a pod of blue whales off our starboard side. Soon, with diminishing light, we are surrounded by these huge creatures some closed enough you could have jumped aboard for a ride. As we do our best to dodge these formally beautiful beasts my thoughts are on the sailboat Luffin that was struck by a whale a few months ago off Tenacitia. Doing a series of quick tacks and 360's to avoid the whales results in us plowing into a 10 to 12 foot breaking wave about ½ up - about 1/3 of the boat goes into the side of the wave thus water, lots of it, comes over and under the dodger and down the companion way. The worse part of this was that during the clean-up one of us accidentally hit the control knob for the Engel refrigerator turning it into a freezer. This is where we keep our beer - you know the rest of that tale... So on we went in just awful conditions for the next 18 hours. At 0400, as predicted, somebody turned off the fan and we were in calm conditions. Arrived Turtle Bay in 41 hours riding the rhumbline - good pace given the sea state. We plan to refuel, get a weather update, rest and leave tonight for Ensenada if the forecasts matches with what we know presently. So far we are very much "paying our dues" for the wonderful time we had in Mexico on this edition of the Baja Bash.....
Bash - Leg 1Chip
After a rough trip from La Ventana around the cape to Puerto Los Cabos (wind and BIG waves stayed on our nose for 14 hours in spite of the course changing 130 degrees over the trip) we've started the trip north. Left Puerto Los Cabos at 1930 Saturday - off Cabo San Lucas we hit head-on 25 to 30 knot winds and 6 to 8 foot seas with an occasional "big boy" in the mix. Once we were north a couple of hours it flattened some - the next 15 hours were pretty nice. Early afternoon the swell and wind came back up consistent with the forecast. We rolled into Bahia Santa Maria @ 0130 under fairly calm conditions (relatively speaking). Lots of water leaks from the "deck gun" blasting the boat and, as luck would have it, saltwater doesn't really dry. The water temp has dropped over 20 degrees since Jack and I left La Paz 3 days ago and outside temp is a nippy 62 (we left 102 in La Paz) - so we're in warm clothes (Jack's wearing his fleece lined jeans he got for fathers day - lucky dog!!). We traveled the 192 miles first leg in 30 hours exactly with an average SOG of 6.5 - fuel consumption was right a 1gal/hour so we're good to Turtle Bay. Leaving tonight for the next 225 mile leg - if the weather is good we'll arrive TB early Wednesday. More to come.
Left La Paz at 0630 this AM - windy but a good sail for about 5 minutes. Seems the wind decided to blow as long as we had our sails down - twice this happened. 48 miles to Los Muertos with 20 to 25 on the nose and a pretty good wind chop. Anchor down now around the corner from Los Muertos just off a nice beach hiding from the wind a 1/4 away. Plan to hit it early to Las Frailes in the AM and then onto Cabo the following day unless the "go around the corner" forecast isn't favorable. We did enlist the help of Commanders Weather to route us up the coast - we'll see how that works (fingers crossed).
KT out, Jack inChip
Well this day has been coming but, now that its here, it certainly isnt any better. Today I gave Kt a big kiss and long hug as she loaded up a taxi and headed for the airport. The last 8 1/2 months have been just wonderful. We have visited great places, met wonderful people, made new friends and learned a lot about Mexico and, frankly, ourselves. While there have been some challenging moments, those times are way over-shadowed by the fun times. So off she went to visit our son Charlie in San Francisco for a few days before returning to San Clemente. A couple of hours after Kt departed, my friend Jack arrived to help bring Missteak home. Tomorrow well start toward Cabo San Lucas looking for a good weather window for the trip north.
Coming to an endChip
The 40 mile trip from Timbabiche to Isla San Francisco was pretty nice and, best of all, when we arrived at our destination there was a wide-open anchorage. The water is really warming up in the Sea of Cortez and the sandy bottom of Isla San Francisco makes for good snorkeling. There are colorful fish everywhere and a school of Puffer Fish that just wouldnt leave us along (like 12 from your mask just looking at you). On our way north several weeks ago from this island wed notices another island (really a rock) with what appeared to be buildings on it. Our chart guide book told us this was Isla Coyote and that, indeed, its the only island in the Sea of Cortez with permanent residents. So on our second day at Isla San Francisco we decided to go visit. We moved Missteak and Serendipity to the north side of Isla San Francisco and took our dinghies over to the island. We were greeted by more very friendly people who not only helped us ashore but rearranged their Pangas so there was a place to beach the dinks. The island is SMALL and really is nothing more than a rock in the ocean with houses. I would guess its highest point is about 40 feet above the ocean and, from point to point, the place is no more than 500 yards if that. There are 15 people who live here year round women and men but no kids (they live in La Paz and attend school). Life on the island is pretty rough as you might imagine absolutely everything they have must come in by boat (duh) and their main source of income is 1) fish and 2) selling locally made jewelry (ah shopping). After spending a couple of hours talking with Manuel and Clara about the history and life on the island, off we went back to the southern anchorage at Isla San Francisco. On to La Paz by way of Ensenada Grande and Puerto Balandra.
Came back into Los Gatos hoping to find Manuel (the local lobster diver) and we weren't disappointed. Unfortunately Manuel had broken his spear gun and was having a hard time getting many "rock rabbits." Barritt quickly remedied that problem by presenting Manuel with his spear gun as a gift. He also gave him a Serendipity T-shirt and we contributed with a mitt full of AA batteries and beers. Manuel could not have been more pleased and soon we found ourselves with more lobster than you can imagine - some as large as a small dog (seriously). After our morning death march through the blazing hot desert (very pretty but man it was HOT) we returned to find that the bees were swarming around, and in, Missteak. As fast as we could up came the anchor and off we went to a small anchorage around the corner where Manuel lives. When we arrive Manuel came over to tell us there are no bees here and he was right - great place. Kt asked Manuel if there was a tiende in his town to which he said yes and offered to take she and Renee to town in his truck. So off they went - hair blowing in the breeze as the Panga raced across the bay with Manuel wearing his new T-shirt. Manuel gave them the full tour of his village (less than 70 people live here) including a trip to his home to meet his wife. Turns out his wife's grandfather pulled out two very rare and very large green perils in the early 1900's from the nearby lagoon that made him a rich man (several news articles where hanging in his home describing the find). Tonight it was lobster, steak and twice baked potatoes aboard Serendipity - great day and even a nicer evening! Tomorrow we're heading to Isla San Jose which is about 30 miles south.