Another Taste of Mexico
19 March 2020 | Ventura, CA
This is a photo from back in 2008, the first time Journey went cruising to Mexico. The boat was full and overflowing with guests come to wish us Bon Voyage before we set off on our travels. It is a memory we still cherish.
Fast forward to 2020:
After months of planning, we are once again getting ready to take Journey south to Mexico. This time we plan to spend time in the upper Sea of Cortez. On previous visits we've never been north of Santa Rosalia. Once it gets too hot to be comfortable, we will leave the boat on the hard and return to the states. Then, in the fall we hope to go back and explore mainland Mexico again.
During all our preparations, it was in the back of our mind to once again have a Baja send-off bash aboard Journey with family and friends. But the restrictions put into place to combat the Coronavirus make that impossible. We care too much about the health and well-being of our loved ones to put them at risk that way. So we will be saying virtual 'good-byes'. Hope everyone will keep in touch, reading our blog and commenting as we continue our adventures in Mexico.
Home Sweet Home
12 July 2012 | Ventura, CA
Journey has been home for just over a week, after sailing into Ventura harbor on the Fourth of July.
There were a few special highlights from this last segment of the trip. While I stayed with the boat in San Diego, Jeff rented a car and drove to Long Beach to sail with his long-time friends on SV Rival. They won a closely contested 2nd place in the Long Beach Race Week event. After stopping at Oceanside and Dana Point harbors, we moved on to Catalina Island. The weather had turned cold and foggy, but we were able to spend time with our good friends Paul and Debbie. Enjoying their company helped to make up for the gloomy days.
Right now we are settling back into life on dry land. Jeff managed to squeeze in a short trip to Mammoth for some fishing, biking and hiking before starting on our first condo repair--replacing a leaking hot water heater and repairing the sodden dry-wall it caused.
He also took time to post an additional photo album with some of our favorite photos of the Sea of Cortez from this season. You can find it by clicking on "more photos" and choosing "Sea of Cortez - Revisited". Hope you enjoy them.
We truly appreciate those of you who took the time to follow our adventures and comment on these entries.
Survivors of the Un-Bash
20 June 2012 | San Diego, CA
It seems there is no rest for the weary. (OK, after resting four days, I guess being weary isn't an excuse anymore.) Anyway, we've received a few 'gentle' hints from some impatient readers. They've noticed that our position reports show we've reached San Diego, but our blog hasn't been updated to reflect that fact.
So here's a recap of the stretch from Turtle Bay to San Diego.
We made two short hops from Turtle to Cedros and then from Cedros to Isla San Benitos. Both days were a bit blustery with very choppy seas, but we found comfortable anchorages to stay each night.
Weather reports gave us an increasingly favorable outlook for going north the next two days, so we decided to make straight for San Diego rather than stopping overnight along the way. Which turned out to be a good decison because we had benign conditions the whole way. It was so calm, I was able to prepare a full meal of BBQ'd pork chops, potatoes and salad while underway on Saturday night. Then--a day after we arrived here--the weather turned very nasty to the south. If we'd delayed, we would have been stuck in Turtle Bay for another week.
During the last half of the trip, we heard reports about S.V. Reflections. This sailboatwas hit by a whale and the lone skipper had to be rescued just a few miles from the spot where we'd encountered a large pod of whales. It made us very cautious during our remaining night passages. Jeff went 20 miles offshore to try to avoid the 'whale-traffic-jam'. The photo here shows just a few of the blue whales that came close enough to give us a good look.
After leaving San Benitos on Friday morning, we arrived in San Diego at 2:00 A.M. on Sunday. When Jeff called the customs office from the police dock, they cleared us into the country by telephone. We caught a few hours of sleep at the dock, then moved to a slip at San Diego Yacht Club.
A number of the folks who did the bash with us turned right at Ensenada, but we had enough fellow survivors to have a nice get-together to celebrate our successful passage.
We plan to take another couple weeks to work our way back up the coast to Ventura.
A Night at Anabel's
12 June 2012 | Turtle Bay
Last night we debated whether or not to leave Turtle Bay early this morning, but one day's rest just didn't put a dent in the sense of exhaustion we were feeling after this last week. So we put off our departure until tomorrow. Our reward for making that decision was spending this evening at Anabel's.
There are two fuel services (panga's equipped with tanks and generator-powered pumps bring the diesel out to your boat). When you enter the bay, it's a flat-out race between the two operators to see who can reach you first to offer their services. Rueben runs one of the fuel docks and his wife, Anabel, has a restaurant just outside the village.
When we were doing the bash in 2009, Rueben extended an invitation to all the boats in the anchorage to have supper at his wife's restaurant. He picked everyone up in a panga and delivered them to shore. His wife and daughter prepared a wonderful meal, although the surroundings were pretty rustic. Reuben showed us the plans he had drawn up for a new restaurant building and they were very ambitious.
So when Reuben made the same offer to the boats in the anchorage today, we jumped at the chance. Reuben and his family have brought their dreams to life. The new restaurant is really impressive with a large dining room and a second story salon suitable for weddings or large parties.
The main course for dinner was fresh-caught yellow-tail tuna. I know all the cruisers who joined us there had a wonderful time. The photo here shows Reuben enjoying the company of his guests. His daughter told us she had looked on her computer and they had pictures of us from our visit three years ago. They were incredible friendly and gracious hosts and reminded us once again what we love so much about this country.
But it's time to move on, so come daylight we'll be heading for Cedros Island and working on finishing up the last half of the bash.
The Half Way Point
11 June 2012 | Turtle Bay
Arriving at Turtle Bay is a milestone because it means you've reached the half-way point in your trip up or down the Baja. Several of the boats who left Cabo with us had a little celebration by having a scrumptious potluck lunch hosted by Mary and Jack on S.V. Oriana. We also attended to mundane details like taking on fuel, changing the engine oil and grabbing a few groceries (ice cream!). So we're all ready to continue the 'bash'.
The Baja coast features three major "bights" or indentations that are 150-200 miles across. The first is from Cabo to Magdalena Bay. The second, or middle, bight which we just completed is often quite windy. We didn't experience a repeat of the benign conditions we enjoyed while making the passage from Cabo to San Juanico, so we've resorted to a strategy Jeff calls 'dash-and-duck'. The prevailing pattern is for the wind and seas to kick up worst in the late afternoon. From San Juanico to Turtle Bay we made about 50-mile hops, leaving each morning between 2-5 A.M. and trying to arrive at the next anchorage before it gets too snotty.
This plan has pretty much paid off. During our 70 hours of motoring, we've averaged about 6 knots of boatspeed. Sometimes we've had to claw our way through an uphill current and other times the current has given us a nice push. Opportunities to sail have been few and far between, but we've mostly avoided getting too beat up.
One memory stands out from this section. Seeing whales has become rather commonplace, but during the trip from Abreojos to Ascuncion we passed through a pod of 8-10 large whales - bigger than our boat. Our best guess was that they were blue whales. It's a pretty awe-inspiring to look out and see whales spouting from every direction all around the boat (some a little too close for comfort). They didn't do any spectacular breaching or such, but it was still a very special experience.
One other note before I close this entry. Jeff came up with a little addition that makes these wet, cold passages a little more tolerable. He made a portable seat that straddles the bottom of the companionway opening. It's upholstered with 5 inches of thick foam. We call it the 'Princess Seat'. Perched there, you are usually dry and well-sheltered from the wind, with a good view through the dodger windows and easy access to the radar, autopilot and other instruments.
It's just one of the little comforts that have made the first half of the trip bearable and hopefully will help with the second half too. The third and last bight is the jump from Cedros Island across Bahia Vizcaino back to the main peninsula. We have about 350 miles to go to San Diego. We have covered about 600 miles since leaving La Paz. We'll keep you updated with our progress.
04 June 2012 | Bahia San Juanico
With one-third of the trip north completed, the good news is that we haven't really been 'bashed' much at all. The closest we've came was the passage around Cabo Falso early Saturday AM which Jeff described in his last post. As he mentioned, once that was behind us, it was all motoring in calm seas with 4-8 knots of breeze. Under those conditions Journey made very good time. The other boats we were traveling with chose to stop at Mag Bay/Santa Maria on Sunday morning, but the predictions for the next 24 hours were still good, so we opted to continue on to San Juanico. Again, we had calm conditions and light winds. In the late afternoon a westerly kicked up at 10-15 knots and we had a nice sail for most of the evening. By 2:00 AM we'd dropped the hook here in San Juanico. The weather window is supposed to slam shut for the next few days, so we'll be staying put for a bit.
Meanwhile the surf is up here, but Jeff is having to work at convincing himself to brave the 59 degree water. (When we left Cabo the water temp was 84!)
The cold is one thing we haven't been able to avoid during this version of the bash. We haven't seen the sun since we left Cabo and I've gone from lounging in swimming suits and sundresses to bundling up in jeans, thermal underwear, fleece jackets and foul-weather gear.
The other down-side we had to face was some sleep deprivation coming from only two people sharing watches on a 45 hour passage. Some friends offered to fly down and help out as crew for the bash, but that would have forced us into a time-frame that doesn't always allow for waiting out the bad weather. So we made the choice to go it alone. We won't know until the end of the passage whether we made the right call, but either way it's been a good start for this year's bash.