Turning Around And Heading To La Paz
15 December 2007 | Ensenada de Los Muertos, Mexico
For the past few days Chris and I kicked around the idea of making the final push with a northerly passage up the outer coast of Baja. I believe I've mentioned this before, but it must be understood that the weather on the outside of Baja can be spectacular, impressive, or terrifying, depending on how one looks at it. The prevailing winds on the outside are North-Northwest, meaning the wind blows FROM the Northwest, not TOWARDS the Northwest. Scary-big-monster storms build ALLLLL the way up in the Gulf of Alaska and blast their way down the west coast of North America, often times reaching southern, mainland Mexico. Sailing north from Cabo San Lucas towards Newport, Ca. is essentially a Northwest passage, which is directly against the wind. Many of my readers aren't necessarily around the world sailors (nor am I!), so I believe it is appropriate to explain a simple principle of sailing. A sailboat CANNOT sail directly into the wind. That means if the wind is blowing straight from the north we can't sail directly north, but rather to the northwest or northeast, or approximately 30-45 degrees off the wind. Sailing upwind is normally extremely tough going with rough rides, uncomfortable conditions, and a lot of hard work. So, the trip up the outer coast of Baja will be a bashing, a beating, and a "rhymes with witch and starts with the letter B". Who wants to spend the holidays in cold, rough, and uncomfortable conditions if we don't have to? Aren't we supposed to be eating mom's fresh baked goods (Mom, caramel brownies...lots of them please), sitting by blazing wood fires, watching Chevy Chase's "Christmas Vacation", and enjoying time with family? Needless to say, we decided to take a brief break, leave the boat in La Paz, and head home for the holidays. So yes Mom, I'll be home for Christmas and my birthday.
We left Cabo De San Jose a few days ago in hopes to make La Paz by the weekend. Unfortunately the wind and seas aren't cooperating, so we ducked into a bay for a few days, where we'll wait for things to calm down. We are in a very cozy little cove, despite the name (Cove of Death), and have Frank Sinatra's "Christmas Carols" going at all hours. It is quite chilly outside with the wind (60-65 degrees with 20-25 knot winds), so I've been getting about in my soft and fluffy fleece pants and beloved ASU fleece sweatshirt. It seems like just yesterday I fought myself to sleep in hot, humid Central America. Now, I snuggle under my warm down comforter and listen to the howling wind blow across the decks, through the rigging, and up against the bow. I sleep deeply yet still keep an open ear for any atypical sound (such as the kayak going into orbit which happened briefly this afternoon while we were working on deck). As we pulled into our anchorage yesterday morning I had a batch of oatmeal raisin cookies in the oven and officially kicked myself into the holiday spirit. It is of no surprise that we have just three cookies left, not more than 24 hours after they came out of the oven. We'll hang here for another day or so, take care of some needed boat work, and wait for the wind and sea to calm down. La Paz is just a short 60+ miles away where we will secure the boat in a marina, clean her up, and fly home late next week. I am very excited to get back to the Bay Area, see my family, and catch up on the spectacular college football season. I also look forward to catching up with the people I haven't been in touch with since I've left as well as those I haven't talked to in quite some time. Chris, Julie, and I will return in early January and begin the northern push up the outside of Baja. We should be refreshed, well-rested, and ready to go upon our return.
The above picture was taken as we turned up north on the south eastern-most point of the Baja. This particular seabird, called a "Boobie" (I know, I love the name too), landed on our portside toe-rail, and graced us with its presence for a good two hours. It was quite rough and windy, so it just sat on the rail, rested, and actually fell asleep for a while. I actually enjoyed the company and found myself talking to the bird a bit too often. I also offered it a nibble of my peanut butter filled tortilla, but it respectfully declined. The silly bird obviously had NO idea what it was missing. Regardless, it was fun to host the visitor for a while.