28 January 2015
January 21, 2015
It was Monday, January 12th and finally, it was time to go. The weather window was perfect and our good friends, Alison and Allan, (from s/v Fly Aweigh and Oxnard, CA) had arrived the previous day. For years, we had been talking about them sailing a leg with us, but it wasn't until last September when they were visiting our home in Martha's Vineyard that we first cemented the idea of making this particular crossing together. Fortunately, all schedules and stars were aligned.
We picked them up Sunday afternoon on the malecon and whisked them back to Costabaja just in time to dump off their luggage and walk to the beach club for a couple of margaritas while watching the sun set. We sat under the palapa on over-stuffed couches, with the sandy beach in front of us and an infinity pool stretching out to the right. Palm trees stood tall on either side. The Sea of Cortez quietly lapped against the shore as the muted pinks and purples of the sky, highlighted by the sun behind the clouds, decorated the horizon. Later, we walked over to Marina Azul for a delicious dinner and were joined by our (other Oxnard) friends, Bobbi & Don. It was the perfect last evening in La Paz.
Yet, leaving La Paz was bittersweet.
On the one hand, Jay and I had fallen in love with La Paz and had made many new friends. And for that reason, we were hesitant to leave. (The growing roots syndrome again.)
On the other hand, cruising is about exploring new places, and once we untied the lines, we took a deep breath of air and settled into that extraordinary sense of freedom and excitement that overtakes one on the inception of a new journey.
It was a good crossing. We had a steady 15-knot wind, mostly from the NNW, and we could actually sail. The only bummer was that the waves were rolly and uncomfortable, hitting us on the beam, or sometimes, the aft quarter, knocking us around. That made for quick trips below and easy meals like soup or pre-made casseroles. Overall, the trip was actually uneventful. Except, that is, for Jay's dance in the middle of the night.
Alison was at the helm. It was Allan's turn to take a nap below and Jay and I were top-sides, resting. I was on the low side and he was on the high side. Just as Jay started to rise out of the bunk, a bit wave hit the beam, catching him off balance, and threw Jay into the cockpit.
Startled, I woke up quickly to find him face down, his neck and head twisted and scrunched into the rim of the companionway. His torso was wedged between the binnacle and cockpit seat and his legs were somehow still up on the seat.
We all rushed to his aid. His first words? "Who's driving the boat?"
Spoken like a true Captain.
Alison quickly returned to her duties while Allan and I went with our first instinct; to pick him up.
"Don't touch me." He said, not sure if anything had been broken. Besides, he was stunned from hitting his head.
We waited patiently. Or rather, Allan did. I was impatient. I didn't like seeing him like that and I wanted to know he was okay.
After a few minutes, Allan and I were able to help Jay get up. Nothing broken, no concussion (that we knew of). Just some dizziness and feeling out of sorts.
In retrospect, we realized how close Jay was to going straight down the companionway. The whole incident could have been much more serious. It was a reminder as to how quickly one can get hurt.
337 miles, two nights, and 44 hours later, we arrived in Mazatlan. On the approach, we noticed subtle changes; although a cold front was moving in, it was still warmer than the crossing. And the air was damp, with the hint of rain. Soft, but humid too. Clouds were moving in and the land scent of wet dirt and flora wafted across the sea.
As I looked over to the horizon, I saw tall buildings, reminding me of Miami's skyline, so many years ago.
We hailed El Cid Marina on channel sixteen, to no avail.
"Turn on channel twenty-two." someone said. "It's time for the net."
It was our lucky day. Orlando, of s/v Cuba Libre, was running the net and just happened to be friends of Alison and Allan. (They had done the 2009 Baja HaHa together and owned identical boats.) When Orlando went to the subject of "local assistance," Alison jumped in.
"This is s/v Cadenza. We are arriving in El Cid with no response from the marina. Any suggestions as to where we should go?"
And with that, Orlando welcomed us to Mazatlan, directed us to the fuel dock, and there, waiting for us, was a handful of new friends to help us in.
(For more photos, see gallery)