17 June 2012
Quick, get the anchor set we are burning daylight , move...move...move, what are you waiting for, snap that photo, catch that fish, do a quick 30 minute snorkel with a 15 minute beach hike. The guide book lists 4 things worth seeing in this fishing village, but we only have time for three of them, so I've prioritized in order of significance to the Mexican culture and scheduled 22 minutes at each of the three attractions. Whew, what a successful day, another anchorage and town checked off the list. Been there done that, honey what's next?
Sounds crazy I know, but each season we see Cruisers on this type of "Speed Cruising Circuit", but we don't see them for long because they are so busy checking destinations off the list and moving on their schedule, that they don’t have time get to know other cruisers or build any relationships with locals, beyond what you would with the staff of a Club Med resort. Now granted, not everyone has 4 years to homestead in Mexico and some cruisers just have less time based on everything from budget to desire. We always wondered what it would be like to speed cruise, and in the last few days with guests aboard we got our answer: exhausting.
The speed cruise started with a sunrise breakfast at anchor in La Paz and then we were off motoring to our first anchorage for the day, Balandra, the site of the famous mushroom rock. The anchor was set and then five minutes later the crew was off the boat for a quick snorkel and beach walk, while I cleaned the boat propeller and bottom. About two hours later, when I saw the crew swimming back towards the boat, I hopped on deck and another five minutes later we were heading for anchorage spot number two for the day, Bahia San Gabriel on the south end of Isla Espiritu Santo. A perfect 13-15kt east wind was blowing so we were able to scream along under full sail at 6-7kts, without burning a drop of diesel. It was the type of sail that doesn’t happen often here in the Sea. The brisk wind had just came up, so the sea was still almost flat calm, with just small wind ripples on the water that you couldn’t even feel aboard this 55,000 pound freight train. Once anchored in Bahia San Gabriel, the dingy was lowered and off everyone went again for beach exploring and to check out the remains of the old pearl factory. I stayed behind to make some water and straighten up the boat, but a little rest and calm was my real motivation. Two hours before sunset the crew arrived back on the boat and again, five minutes later the anchor was up and any diesel we has saved by our earlier sail was used as we motor near full power to our third and final anchorage for the day, Playa La Bonanza on the SE side of the island. I would have preferred to spend the night where we were, but the wind that was blowing out of east all day has backed and now was coming out of the south west, which put it blowing directly into the anchorage. It was only blowing 5kts at the moment, but we have spent enough time in this area to know that by 2AM it would be blowing 20kts and gusting to 25kts. We could either use the last bit of light and my energy to move to a protected anchorage now, or we could do it later at 2AM in the dark. So off we went to the other side of the island and the crew enjoyed the pork stew I found time to make in the pressure cooker while I was “resting”. The sun set while we were motoring and just before we lost the light we set our anchor for the third time off Bonanza beach. We drank a beer in the cockpit and 5 minutes later I was sound asleep in my bed.
As I’m trying to string together my thoughts at anchor this morning at Bonanza and trying to not mistype “from” as ”form”, the crew is exploring the beach while I make some more water, do the dishes from breakfast and validate my opinion that speed cruising isn’t for us. Rather than “Go…Go…Go….Move…Move…Move”, I think I’ll adopt the word “manana”, which literally translated means “tomorrow”. However, as anyone who has waited on something in Mexico can tell you, a better translation for “manana” could be “not today”.