We have arrived in Bahia Magdalena after a 3 day, 250nm sail. Think this was our best passage yet! Very eventful and winds finally, finally picked up so we were actually able to sail!! I will share this post broken into three parts to cover all the exciting events that happened in my best condensed version.
Playing Go Fish
One of the biggest things Jay and I were looking forward to on this trip was catching delicious dinners. Mexican waters are known for their big sport fishing; having an abundance of Tunas, Mahi, Lobster, and Marlin among other things. Not that we are into big sportfishing, but being able to catch a fresh fish dinner was a highlight we were looking forward to. We have three poles onboard as well as two spearguns (I am beyond excited to teach myself how to spearfish-bring on the warm waters and my hunting prowess!!!)
If you have any gear onboard it is mandatory to get fishing licenses when in Mexico. As I shared in a previous post, the process was super easy and relatively cheap (USD$50 for both of us for the entire year). So, we have been trolling since we got into Mexico, but with no such luck yet....
Leaving Bahia de Tortugas, the water was considerably warmer-which is exactly where all the good fishing happens! We put out our Mexican lure (it's a plastic thingamabob, my non-fishing term for it, and I'm too lazy to get up and ask Jay what the real name of it is) It has feathers the color of the Mexican flag and was given to us by a boating buddy who swore by its crazy ability to catch tons of fish in Mexican waters. Whelp, this was to be our day and what we have been waiting for (and I know some of you have been asking for fish pictures, so time for us to deliver-which is hopefully the start of many more)
Around mid-morning the trolling pole excitedly starts making the best sound ever
"whirrrrr-tssssssk" as the line goes off sounding something pulling on it.
Wide eyed and big smiles, Jay and I leap up and run over. Jay grabs the pole and gives a few good tugs to check if actually a fish or another false alarm (we've caught seaweed and sadly some trash, so while still always hopeful-we knew a potential for letdown). NOT THIS TIME! Baby was tugging right back. He starts to pull the line in and work the fish as we ready to take the pole out of the holder and transfer to Jay. Another big tug and then Jay starts swearing. The fish let go...maybe? We keep the line in, I jump up on the deck to get a better angle to see what/where the fish is, while Jay continues to work the line.
It bites again, Jay gives another good pull-fish tugs back and then lets go again. Nothing for a few seconds. Jay joins me on the cockpit deck as we watch the water. Then we both see it--a huge (at least 4' long dark thing in the water chasing the lure!!). Never seen anything like that!! So this fish, whatever the heck it was
curiously hunted that lure for a good 5-10 minutes as we watched. Honestly, quite happy it let go as I am not sure we would have wrestled to pull that monster out of the water. Again, we are just looking for a nice dinner-not to conquer Goliath of the ocean.
Fast forward an hour later. Back sitting in the cockpit, letting time pass. Trolling pole is back up in its spot, lure out.
We jump up like excited kids at Christmas as if we just heard Santa's Sleigh Bells (also having a slight Dory moment, always excited as if it's the first time we have ever heard this sound, Haha! Oh expectational enthusiasm!)
And HECK YES!! This time we got a fighting fish for sure!!
Jay wrestles with this guy for a solid 10-15 minutes. Fish is fighting back like crazy the closer it gets to the boat. Jay's making these weird caveman-like grunting/groaning huffing/puffing sounds--first fish reeling workout of the trip (and I now assume what happens when men are in their primal element; man versus nature, in the wild and hunting for dinner--sorta odd to observe, ladies. It's like they morph in front of you and I was half expecting Jay to start beating his chest after getting our first fish--didn't happen. And thankfully they go back to being their normal domesticated selves shortly after the "kill"...but I digress.) Anyway, I'm videoing the whole time-capturing this awesome moment and laughing my ass off.
Finally he gets the fish close enough and it's about a 22-24" beautiful bluefin tuna! YAY!!! SUSHI DINNER!!
I'm happy dancing around the boat making up some kind of song about sushi and dinner (likely just me repeating those two words in a sing-songy two word rap) Jay's still grunting and fighting the fish (obviously I am of no help in the actual fishing part, this was all Jay. I just offer encouragement in the form of entertaining song/interpretative dance. And maybe thats exactly what cave-ladies did back in prehistoric times--who knew I was unknowingly reverting into ancient primal habits myself?!)
I grab the gafe as Jay has managed to get it to the boat--we can TASTE dinner now. However this little bastard is fighting like crazy still! To not ruin the ending, Here is the final video conclusion of our bluefin tuna dinner:
What I wish I actually did catch is right after I stopped recording, I pan to Jay who is hunched over and completely silent. I see his jaw slightly jutted out and set a certain way. "Omg," I ask, "are you crying?"
And then we both start cracking up.
A few hours later and determined now to catch something our line is back out and it's back to zoning out on deck again, enjoying the sun and silence sans motor.
"Oh heck YES!!" We both leap up towards the pole. Repeat process from last two times.YEP IT'S A FISH!
Jay mildly fights with this guy for just about 5 minutes before he is able to pull him in close to see what we have
MAHI MAHI!!and the perfect size first catch for us and dinner
I grab the gafe and Jay hooks him effortlessly.
Contrary to what I previously thought, while a good amount of blood, Jay fileting the Mahi wasn't as gross as I thought. Except for when he announced that our "dinner" recently snacked on some, no correction ALOT of shrimp. I kinda threw up in my mouth then--I could have done without an autopsy report, Coroner Jay thank you very much.
We grilled up the Mahi that night, light seasoning of olive oil, lemon pepper and Dukkah spice mix -DELISH and cannot wait for more!!
So you all know the classic game Minesweeper, right? Well this is very similar to going thru crab/lobster trap country on the ocean. In shallow waters (like a few hundred feet versus being way offshore in thousands of feet deep waters) you have to be on the lookout for crab/lobster traps from the local fisherman. Usually they are clearly marked with brightly colored buoys floating on the water, which you can easily pick out and avoid running over. Obviously we don't want the lines getting tangled in our propellor as makes for a pretty messy situation that would really, really suck to get out of.
Well when you have been staring out into the great expanse of the ocean for hours on end, sometimes it takes your brain a bit to register when you see a buoy.
Around late afternoon following our exciting fish catching morning, we suddenly find ourselves amongst some buoys. Jay takes the helm and we maneuver around a few. We can see the fishing boat in the distance, but not sure if he is dropping or lifting them yet. As we continue south on our track we quickly realize THERE ARE A MILLION POTS AROUND US. AHHHHHH!!!!
And so begins the game of Minesweeper. Do you go left or right? You also run the risk of the traps being tethered together so not only do you need to avoid the buoys, BUT you must also keep a look out for catching lines that run BETWEEN the buoys. Arghhhhh!!!
Whelp, needless to say, we hit a "Bomb" and it was game over for us. Whomp, whomp.
Jay starts swearing (yes, this a running theme on our trip, Jay swearing followed by something not so fun happening)
Anyway, he's swearing like I shared-so I run to starboard side of our boat to see a bright yellow line caught under our boat, and the buoy pulling towards us. Jay tries to counter steer and shake the line off. Meanwhile, I'm yelling at Jay and hanging off the side of the boat asking for a knife so I can cut the line before the buoy goes under Too late! And under the boat goes the buoy--
We struggle for a few minutes trying to steer around and let current help us break the line free--all while under sail, mind you, as we CANNOT turn the engine on and risk fouling our prop worse with a dread of a line.
Thankfully we still see the fishing boat in the distance, so I get on the bow of the boat and start waving them over. (While checking my google translate for the word 'crab pot' not something I had ever used before, nor heard)
Fisherman finally come over, I communicate that we have their trap and are stuck. I expected them to be very angry, but I think they were appreciative of us getting their attention so they could retain their trap and buoy. Within about 10 minutes they had cut the line, retrieved their trap, while Jay got their buoy. We thanked them for their help-they thanked us and we were on our way!!
Panhandlers of the High Seas
This is a quick story but hilarious not to include. So evening time, same day as above-it's been a fun filled action packed day! Sun is setting and we are settling into our nighttime routines, dinner planning and getting our warm gear out from below to prepare for our watch schedule. Our buddy boat, Lamanee is just about 300 yards from us and a bit forward to our starboard side. I'm taking pictures of their boat as it's accented by the setting sun and just a lovely sight. A fishing panga is off in the distance and likely heading home to shore (about 50 miles away-remember this as important to the story). Days ending and this is the only other boat we see for miles. Panga takes an abrupt turn and starts heading towards our buddy boat. I sit up in interest, always staying vigilant for pirate encounters (see earlier entry on my over active imagination issues. I really need to reassess my media consumption choices)
So this panga beelines it to Lamanee, pulling up alongside them. They float like this for about 10 minutes. All the while I am straining to hear and watch body language to see if there is an issue-or we need to get over there to help out ASAP and stop a pirate takeover.
Panga takes off and Kandy comes on VHF.
Ready for this one? (....)
They wanted to know if they had any bread they could have to make a sandwich with....
They wanted bread.
We are 50 miles offshore, no other boats around and haven't been for MILES, and .....these guys!
I'm dying....I can't 😂😂
Seriously,yYou can't make this stuff up!
BONUS MATERIAL: Night Time sailing
(The first time I tried to throw Jay overboard)
As I shared, we finally had wind this passage, which has been a HUGELY welcomed change from running the motor and motor sailing since leaving Oxnard back in late January. With a good consistent 10kt winds we pulled up the a-sail and decided to let her fly all night. Usually we have pulled her down at dusk as she is a pretty finicky sail and has twisted on us a few times around the forestay. So to not bother with potential issue we have pulled her down and gone with just the main at night, which has slowed us but makes for calm evenings to sleep. Wanting to take advantage of consistent winds and keep our speed of 5.5kts we decided to keep it up. Jay would sleep out on the cockpit during my watch shifts, god forbid issue arouse, he would be right there.
All was going great-consistent 10kt winds coming from about 120 off starboard, so a lovely jog of about 5.5 for most of my watch.
Around 11:30, the wind starts to pick up, with smaller gusts coming every 10 minutes upwards of 12-13kts. Our speed picks up to about 6kts and the boat heels over a bit. Not much but enough to get a little rush of excitement. Side note: nighttime sails are usually pretty boring and not something I look forward too. It's just hours on end of fighting to stay awake, highlighted by short-lived drama of seeing big cruise ships on our AIS and determining if you need to change course and avoid Titanic-like encounters.) So needless to say, this was something!!
I'm up out of my sleeping bag and at the helm-wanting to enjoy this moment of getting a little excitement! Wohoooo
I'm silently saying so as to not wake Jay who is sleeping leeward side and doesn't seem phased by the little Bursts of speed.....yet (Grinchy eyebrow raise and wink)
Around midnight, the gust are getting up to 14-occasional 15kts. And BOAT is LOVING IT!!! She is a speedy little demon with some wind! Boat is now topping out at 7.2 and the rails are ALMOST in the water.
"HELL YEEEEEEAH!!!!!!" I'm dancing around the cockpit now wide wake and loving this!!!!
Soooo, Jay wakes to almost being dumped out of the cockpit into the water as we are really heeled over, rails grazing the water and his crazy wife at the helm hooting and hollering as the boat is speeding along in the night.
(He altered course soon after to slow us down so he could go back to sleep. My excitement was short lived....damn!)
Bonus BONUS material
Shortly after this fun adrenaline rush, things have calmed and I am back on watch, Jay nestled back in his sleeping bag/glowworm cocoon. I hear breathing in the water. Looking out I see we are surrounded by a HUGE pod of dolphins. Since nighttime, it's hard to see but I can hear them coming up and breathing. I can also see the waves cresting around them as they speed along with the phosphorescence lighting up all around them. It's like a psychedelic lighting show-waves illuminating around the boat, and I can also follow them as they speed along just underneath the water's surface--like a tunnel light show. I lean between the safety lines to get a closer look and...
I can hear their high pitch sonar squeaks as they talk back and forth with each other!!
Obviously, being the ever considerate wife, I'm clearly not letting Jay sleep at all tonight, so I yell for Jay to wake up; excitedly telling him I can hear the dolphins talking to me (this might be the last night watch he sleeps on deck, let alone allows me to snack on candy and drink two cups of green tea before my night shift--WIFE has gone absolutely MAD!)
Well -- Yes, he can hear them "talking" as well!!
(At this moment I am waiting for god to appear, singing in a deep baritone "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" A technicolor rainbow arching across the sky, while unicorns are dancing and showering me with Skittles and soft puppies--it was that epic!)
We sit in silence for a good 10 minutes watching this trippy phosphorescent light show, listening to the dolphins breathe at the surface inches from our face and then speed along, diving in and out of waves, all the while they are click-clacking-squeak-talking back and forth to each other as the phosphorescent are cresting and lighting the ocean like a million lightening bugs rhythmically dancing across a huge blanket.
Today was seriously a magical day.....