Fast Forward, La Segunda Parte --Part Two
08 July 2014 | Santa Rosalia, BCS
Joan-Marie aka Cricket
We arrived Ensenada mid afternoon on November 7th and settled at Marina Baja Naval. It was too late in the day to get ourselves and the boat checked in, so we kicked back for the evening and went to bed early since the 0259 start time had caught up to us.
We were sawing logs early on, so we didn't noticed that our friends, Wendy and Mac on Kookaburra had arrived. But, the next morning I did noticed that we now had three Island Packets lined up in a row on the dock; Kookaburra, Frog's Leap, and Mystic Island. It didn't register with me earlier the previous afternoon, when the owner of Frog's Leap had thanked us for bringing his upgraded Island Packet down to him. He had an older, late 70's, smaller model IP. Ummmm, two or more Packets sitting side by side on the dock. . .sounded like another rendezvous in the works.
The next morning Wendy and Mac joined us on our quest to officially check into Mexico. The harbor master at Baja Naval, Rogelio, organized our paperwork and went through it with us before sending us on our way. We stopped for a nibble of breakfast and then headed to the office building that housed the various governmental agencies that needed to know we were now in Mexico. I might add that the sunshine was abundant and warm. It took about an hour or so to complete the process of checking in and paying our fees. Since it was technically just after noon, Cervezas were next on the agenda to celebrate our official arrival.
We had planned on being in Ensenada for a few days before we started the last legs of our journey to La Paz. We had arranged to meet up with Nancy and Nid, our friends from San Pedro, who were coming in on a cruise ship that was scheduled to stop in Ensenada. It was great fun to see them again and they steered us to the original Who-Song and Larry's --complete with sawdust on the floors and bullet holes in the walls-- and then to a little restaurant on the water front that had great cerviche. We managed not only have lunch with them, but we went back for dinner that night with Mac and Wendy. It was the best cerviche I've ever had and way better than I can make.
The next morning we saw Mac and Wendy off as they continued their journey. We were running a day or two behind. We wanted to make sure that our Banda Ancha (Mexican Internet) was up and running on the iPad and we were weren't quite there with it, or with Ron's phone. We had elected to leave my phone on our US pay as you go calling plan and unlock and convert Ron's iPhone to a Mexican number. It has worked out quite well.
We took off a couple of days later for Turtle Bay, which put us out for another two nights. In the entire trip down the Pacific coast, we did most of our sailing when we reached Mexico and traveled the outside of the Baja. It was especially nice that we had finally tucked away the foul weather gear and were enjoying light jackets during our night watches.
A couple of mornings later as we pulled into Turtle Bay, we caught up to Wendy and Mac. Unfortunately, they were pulling out and we were ready to drop the hook, eat breakfast, and nap. We seemed to have a pattern going on with them. We once again bid them farewell and promised to see them in La Paz.
As we were finishing up breakfast, we received our first visit from the Mexican navy. We had noticed their vessel closer to shore coming down from Ensenada the day before and throughout the night. The navy is there to help keep everyone safe and it is not unusual for them to pull along side and check-in with you. One of their jobs is to review your paperwork and ask about safety equipment aboard, including radios and life jackets. They were very polite and professional and we managed to communicate with our hack Spanish at the time--trust me it has gotten much better, although Ron would beg to differ on that point.
We hung out in Turtle Bay for a couple of days, fueled up, and walked around town. We picked up a few fresh veggies to keep us going until San Jose del Cabo. This is a small village on the Pacific coast of Mexico and the locals are always welcoming of any and all the boats heading both north and south. It is one of few stops along the way where you can get provisions and fuel and tuck in out of the weather.
We were winding down this part of the trip and getting closer to La Paz. Our nights out we're getting fewer. We left Turtle Bay and headed to Santa Maria. We had one of our best sails of the trip and at one point had to reduce sail to handle the 20 knots coming from behind. We arrived Santa Maria under cloudy and cool conditions. A local panga came over and we traded lobsters. Following his panga, we had two more come by; one wanted batteries for lobster. We graciously declined anymore lobsters and told him that he could have the batteries. Luckily, there were two other boats in the anchorage for them to trade with too.
We spent two nights in Santa Maria relaxing --and eating lobster-- before our upcoming leg which would take us around the tip of Baja and into San Jose del Cabo. This would be our last night out for this journey down the Pacific coast. The rest of the trip would be day hops to La Paz.
The last night out was beautiful, calm, and glassy on the Pacific. Unfortunately, that meant motoring instead of sailing. We both enjoyed the company of the moon on our watches. The next morning dawned much the same as the night before. Clear and calm. It was a very busy morning around the tip of the Baja as the sport fishing boats were out in full force.
Passing along the southern tip of the Baja was a moment to savor. Now lots of people do the same thing we did. It is not anything new or unusual. Some do it more than once, but everyone has their story or stories to tell. We had made it down the coast with relative ease. I chalked it up our due diligence and careful planning, and some collective experience.
We arrived at Cabo del Porto, San Jose del Cabo on an early Friday afternoon. We fueled up and they had a slip for us. It was time to clean up the boat, have a shower and hamburgesas were calling us ashore. We planned to stay a couple of nights as now that we were on the inside of the Baja, our weather experiences would change. The north winds blow right down the inside of the Baja during the winter months. And, when they blow, they tend to blow pretty hard. And, heading north, which was the direction we needed to go to La Paz, that meant it was going to be on the nose. Something we were used to up in the Pacific Northwest.
After five days of waiting on weather to settle down a bit, we left San Jose del Cabo along with three other boats, all of us heading the same direction. I was staring to notice, for lack of a better word, that it had gotten crowded. More people taking off to cruise south, making it sometimes a bit harder to find a spot at a marina.
The wind was still blowing from the north as we headed to Los Frailes, our first stop on the inside of the Baja. The waves were short and choppy and coming over the bow. There was still a bit of a blow coming from the north. We did a little tacking back and forth as we made our way. It was slow going as we were barely doing a knot at times. We hunkered down for the bumpy ride and ended up motoring the latter part of the trip.
Once we got anchored, we put on our shortie wet suits and jumped in the water for a swim. It was the night before Thanksgiving and the next day we were headed to Los Muertos, one of my favorite anchorages -- unfortunately, or fortunately, I have many depending on where and the weather conditions.
Since we had a full day ahead to Los Muertos, and were leaving at first light, I elected to leave the Cornish game hens that I picked up in San Diego in the freezer for a later special dinner. We settled on sausages and a big salad for our Thanksgiving feast. It was delicious. We weren't due in for another two days, but we were anxious to be into La Paz. As we left the next morning, we checked and our slip was available.
We found ourselves, the day after Thanksgiving and almost three months to the day leaving the Pacific Northwest, at our final destination, for now. We had friends Wendy and Mac to greet us at the dock. Since they were leaving the next morning--ummm, our usual pattern with them-- that evening we enjoyed a lively supper and an early celebration of Ron's birthday.
It was time to relax and get reacquainted with La Paz and, of course, finish a couple of projects on the boat. But, we were here. All the planning and projects and getting ready, we made it. Mystic performed her part. We took care of each other. And, in turn, mighty great Neptune had kept a watchful eye on all of us.