13 November 2008 | Passage
Brian and I were ready to begin our next leg of our journey towards Isla Isabela. We got up early and headed for the fuel dock to top off our fuel tanks and fill up our water tanks. Lucky for us, we needed much more water than we needed fuel! Fuel prices are about half the cost here than it is in San Diego, like I said lucky for us! Off we went towards our next landfall. The winds were light as we started off. About mid day the winds picked up to about 8-10 knots and we were able to sail with full main and jibe, pinching a bit but as we made our way around the Cape and entered into the Sea of Cortez the winds stayed consistent until we were about half way across the Sea of Cortez. At this time we decided that the weather prediction was off a bit but pleasantly pleased when Four Points could sail at an average of 6.5 to 7 knots. Just about dusk the winds picked up even more (10-15 kts consistently, with gusts up to 18 knots) so we decided to reef the jibe to get us through the night safely. It was a beautiful evening with the sun setting, the full moon rising and with gentle balmy winds pushing Four Points through the water towards Isla Isabela. What an amazing feeling and sight to look out at miles and miles of open ocean with the moon glistening across the water and being totally powered by the wind! It doesn't get any greener than that!
Brian and I took 4-hour shift watches throughout the days and nights. As we continued into our second day of sailing, we were expecting stronger winds for our second day but as it turned out the winds were consistently 8-10 knots as we had experience the day before. With the winds at this speed, we were sailing at an average closer to 7 knts and we were getting closer to out next landfall. Even though we were excited about this, we were concerned that it would make our landfall to Isla Isabela in the middle of night. This would break our golden rule of coming into an unfamiliar anchorage at night. We had already read in the chart books that this anchorage is tricky due to the "anchoring perils" due to its rocky bottom. Apparently a lot of anchors are lost! At dusk, knowing what we experience the night before, which the winds picked up during the night, we decided to slow Four Points down to 4 knots by reefing the main and the jibe. This would allow us to continue to sail our course and reach our landfall by daybreak. What a difficult task to slow down a boat that is so raring to sail! We ended up about 12 miles off the coast of Isla Isabela still in the wee hours of morning (before sunrise), at about the same time the wind died, a comedy of errors happened, although at the time neither of us were laughing. We had to turn on the engine; we left the main sail up with a double reef in it (because "they" were calling for strong winds) and started moving forward at a motor speed of approx 3.5 to 4 kts., which after recalculating our landfall would get us into the anchorage just at daybreak. Apparently with all the shaking, rattle and rolling from previous passages, the bracket holding the saltwater cooling hose on worked its way off and we started having the engine heat up along with saltwater spewing all over engine room, luckily we caught this before the engine overheated. Brian was able to fix this while I stayed on watch and as we bobbed closer to our destination.
Just as the sun was rising we arrived at Isla Isabela. What a beautiful sight! Our friends, Dave & Cheryl were right! We came around the point of the lighthouse and were welcomed by a few pangas of seasonal fisherman that were just beginning their day. It was then we saw how green the island was with shrub like trees between the tall sea cliffs that were covered with birds. Isla Isabela is beautiful, uninhabited (except for the Warden and a few seasonal fisherman) bird sanctuary. From the boat we could see that there is a small fishing village of a few pangas along the beach, what appears to be a Warden house, and thousands (maybe two thousand!) of frigates flying above the sea cliffs and trees of the island. From what we have read, it is our understanding that the island also has blue- and yellow-footed boobies. There was one boat (Catamaran ) that we recognized from the Baja Ha Ha that was already anchored. We anchored after several attempts (and then finally after some help from the Baja Ha boater Endless Summer) to get the anchor in a sandy spot between the rock patches. We laid back and took all the sights in awe. It was early in the morning, approximately 6:30 am once we finally landed, maybe later after we were comfortable about where the anchor set, we did some snorkeling and dove the anchor again to make sure that the anchor was in a good spot. We then took an early siesta to catch up on some much needed sleep! We plan to go ashore tomorrow to hike and explore the island.