08/03/2012, and it could be a while!
Five years can sure change a town. It was five years ago during the 2007 Baja Ha-ha that we last walked the streets of Turtle Bay. Yesterday, right before sunset and in dire need to get my TelCel internet card recharged, we launched the dingy and heading off into the town Turtle Bay. Some changes we noticed right away were the many new houses, gravel being laid on the dirt streets, and several new tiendas, with amazingly fresh produce all in refrigerated display cases, something rare for small town Baja.
The first store we walked into was able to recharge my Telcel Internet Card, so as we wait here and wait and wait for the weather to calm, I'll at least be able to WORK to keep my partner Charlie in San Diego from flinging his tired and worn out body off a cliff. I've been away now from the cell phone for 18 Days. The good news is that my partner Charlie now can see why sometimes I don't get paperwork done, because working the phones for client calls takes a LOT of time, it isn't just all those taco cart trips (he reads my blog also unfortunately).
The weather isn't looking good for a departure until at LEAST next FRIDAY, so we will just relax here and make the most of being in Turtle Bay without the other 150 Boats where were here on the Baja Ha-ha...it's a whole different town.
|Baja Bash 2012||
We didn't get the wind much last night as we had hoped but the seas were surprisingly lumpy. Nowhere to be seen was the long period Pacific swell and all night and even now we are bouncing into lumpy and a bit confused seas. The nice thing about have a boat that weighs 55,000lbs is that we tend to plow through the slop a bit better than our traveling companions Hurrah and Sea Raven, being smaller and lighter boats.
According to the GPS, we are 3 hours away from the Turtle Bay entrance and unlike a weather forecast, it isn't known to lie as much. Unless our speed changes, which would cause the GPS to recalculate our arrival time, it's fairly safe to assume that we will have our anchor down in about 3.5-4 hours. Just like we did with our 7AM arrival in Bahia Asuncion, the crew will then go to sleep and nap for the remainder of the day to make up for last night. The fleet will take on Diesel fuel from Servicio Anabelle (Panga converted into a Floating Fuel Barge) and then after a trip or two into town we will start looking for the next weather window North.
17 Days could almost be long enough for some boats and crews to have made the Bash TWICE...but we are being a bit more picky about our weather windows. However, with the "flip a coin" nature of the weather forecasts...I'm not sure our slower pace has really mattered, but it has kept the crew well rested and helped minimize mutinous thoughts of a buss ride up the Baja!
When we left La Paz we had two engle freezers (ours and our friends on Just a Minute) filled to the brim with pre-prepared meals and meats. As we get closer to San Diego, the pre-prepared meals are about to run out. We need to start cooking our frozen meats so the friendly folks at the US Customs dock don't take away the dangerous contraband when we arrive back in the States. Unrefrigerated eggs, Mexican pork, and heavens forbid uncooked Carne Asada are a National Security threat and if found aboard are confiscated, treated as a biohazard and incinerated. It doesn't matter that the Costco Pork Loin has the USDA stamp on it, it was in Mexico is now the enemy. So rather than cry and our good meats go into a Yellow and Red Bio-hazard receptacle like they are carrying the Ebola Virus, we will eat well these next few days to clear them out.
|Baja Bash 2012||
We spent Day 16 of our Baja Bash exploring the great town of Bahia Asuncion. First we like the calm anchorage that was quite comfortable as we waited out the 20-25kts of wind behind Punta Asuncion. We felt the wind, but the point provided a nice break water protecting us from the swell and waves, letting the wind sing through the rigging as we thanked God that we were here and not out in it!
This morning 4 fishermen in a large panga stopped by the boat to say hello. Looking down in their panga we could see a pile of fish. Large male Sheep Head, big 3ft Halibut, Rock fish, and what looked like a 5ft shark of some type I couldn't make out. We chatted for a bit and then they held up a nice size halibut and asked me if I wanted it. The answer was OF COURSE and when I tried to pay or trade something for it, they refused and said it was their gift to us. More Mexican hospitality was found when we hit the beach. John on Sea Raven needed a new starting battery and in short order a local Mexican fisherman was telling us where to go, which then led to him saying he would drive us there. So all 8 of us piled into his Suziki Samari and as most of us stood up in the back we drove through town first getting a battery and then going to a great restaurant and we invited our guide to lunch with us.
After being stuffed with a great Chili Rellano we set off to explore town a bit and wouldn't you know it that Lori and Amy found a flea market. Amy and Lori both bought some clothes while Jason and I started checking out the local markets and were impressed with what they had in the way of provisions. Lots of fresh veggies and everything a cruiser would need to stock up on was readily available. The prices were a little higher than La Paz, but this place is off the main highway making it pretty much out in the middle of no where.
It's too bad that we don't have more time to spend here because I think we would really like it, but we appear to have a weather window to make the final 50 miles to Turtle Bay, so we will take it. The fleet will pull anchor tonight at 10PM and with any luck will have our anchors down in Turtle Bay by 1PM tomorrow afternoon. With bad luck, we will find ourselves back at anchor here again in Bahia Asuncion licking our wounds from a pounding into sea and wind.
A note about the weather forecasting we have been using for the trip. To start, this trip has sure reminded us of how much we miss Don Anderson. Don understood the weather on the outside of Baja and the Sea of Cortez I think better than anyone. Don's passing last April is being felt by the entire Mexican Cruising Community who came to count on his forecasting abilities that he would share twice a day with the fleet with a special flare and personality. Since we have had great access to the internet with the TelCel Banda Ancha card, we have been using PassageWeather.com, Buoyweather.com, and a few GRIB files along with listening to Gary on the Sonrisa Ham radio net each morning to help make our weather decisions. But in truth, I think we could have just flipped a coin - heads we leave the anchorage and tails we stay in the anchorage for another day. Today's coin toss was heads, so off we go. But seriously, both our observations and the weather sites are all calling for the afternoon peak wind between 4-6PM each day. So by planning the majority of this 50 mile run to be at night, when the winds should be at their calmest, we hope to avoid the bash and take an easy motor. Will it work? Well we are about to find out tonight. If it doesn't work, it will be my fault just like the rest of this trip, as Lori has been reminding me. And each time she does, I tell here I'll gladly turn around and head back to La Paz for the summer!