Turtle Bay to Cedros Island
08 July 2015 | Turtle Bay and north
Billie and I relieved Mark and Shorty of night watch at our usual 02:00am. Even though it was cloudy the almost-full moon provided plenty of light. We saw several boats and the conditions turned cold and bumpy as we approached Turtle Bay. We dropped anchor next to several other sailboats exactly 72 hours after setting out from the beach in front of Cabo San Lucas. We were very lucky and had perfect conditions for the first half of our journey to the border. There were smiles all around as we sat in the beautiful bay, with no sailing duties to attend to, although we did order fuel over the radio. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we brought 200 liters (63 gallons) of extra fuel with us for the just-completed leg of the journey. We arrived this morning with about 75 gallons still in the tanks, but better safe than sorry. After having our fuel delivered by two guys in a panga (small boat used for everything in Mexico), we all loaded into the dinghy and headed for the small town in search of hot showers and food. Well, we walked all over the little town, Mark walking barefoot, before finding a little motel that would let us take showers. We had a beer or two while each of us cleaned ourselves of 3 days of sweat and sunscreen. We were also able to access the motel's wifi service to catch up on emails and to check the coming winds and weather reports. Shorty was able to find some sandals for sale, which led to Billie returning Mark's shoes (she forgot hers aboard Odyssey). We found a local Cantina and proceeded to gorge ourselves on the local fare. Returning to Odyssey, most of us took much needed naps. I ran Shorty back to the beach where he picked up some supplies before returning to the boat.
Based on the weather reports we gleaned from the internet and other cruisers, we decided to head back out in the evening to make our way towards Ensenada. We set about readying Odyssey and re-loaded the dinghy onto the foredeck. We enjoyed grilled steak as the sun set in the beautiful harbor, and we were all sorry to leave such a cool place so soon. We weighed anchor at about 9:00pm and headed back into the Pacific Ocean. It was fairly cool out and we had a decent wind as the first watch settled in. The second watch headed to bed as Odyssey found her stride under a dazzling moon.
After a very rolly couple of hours, Billie and I relieved Shorty and Mark for the second watch at 2:00am. By then, conditions had improved a lot, with the wind having dropped and the temperature having climbed. A short time later we dropped the mainsail due to the lack of wind. The only problem with not having a sail up is that the boat rocks side to side much more, rolling people around in their bunks. Well, things got a bit more interesting when the engine died at 3:30am. I've got 2 separate fuel filters for my diesel motor, as most boat do. One filters and keeps water from entering the motor, while the other just filters the fuel. Diesel attracts water in the tanks over time, which provides a breeding ground for bacteria. These organisms die and settle to the bottom of the fuel tanks and stay there until the tanks are agitated enough to stir them up from the bottom. This causes fuel filters to become plugged by too much foreign material, which is what happened to us. So after hurriedly raising the mainsail again, I was down in the hot engine room changing the filters, with Shorty handing me tools, and Billie driving the boat. All this was in the middle of the night, 25 miles off shore, in very confused seas with no real wind, so we were rocking all over the place. Half an hour later we were back under way. I'm glad now that I brought a dozen of the big filters and six of the smaller ones along on this trip. As the sun came up we were still motoring with the reefed mainsail, but all it did was flog back and forth due to the lack of any wind. We spotted lots of small red crabs on the surface that looks like lobsters with long claws. Longosta perhaps? I tried to net some but they quickly disappeared. Mark steered Odyssey closer to a kelp paddie as I had mentioned that Dorado like to hang around anything floating. Within a minute one of the reels was singing. I picked it up, but the fish got off immediately. I jigged the lure a few times when wham, the fish was back. I ended up landing a really nice Yellowfin tuna of 15-20 pounds. Soon after we put the lure back in the water Mark had one on the line. Another fine Yellowfin of about the same size. Yay! We will be eating Pokey and seared ahi tonight! As the day progressed we caught a total of six Yellowfin tunas, keeping three. We made good progress in the 24 hour period of travel, about 125 miles, but we were purposely going slower than our usual speed. We had estimated that we might arrive in Ensenada at around 4:00am on Friday, which is too early, hence the slow down. (Note: we actually did arrive at 6:45am). We passed Punta Baja this afternoon, a place that I camped at when in my twenties. We are currently about 160 miles from Ensenada as the sun sets. As usual, the first watch will begin again at 10:00pm. The wind came up as it grew darker, creating a very bumpy night, with Odyssey lurching and pounding over the waves.