08 February 2016
Today is Saturday, February 6. We are anchored in Bahia de Tortugas and the wind has been blowing all morning. When I looked at the wind meter, it said 25 knots. Three of the five sailboats that were here took off. The only one left is anchored directly in front of us and if their anchor drags we will have close neighbors.
The plan for today was to go ashore and look for the library. Our boat wi-fi doesn't have a signal and so we were hoping to score some wi-fi somewhere in town, but, with the wind blowing like it is, we don't want to leave the boat even though our anchor seems to holding just fine.
My activities so far have included cleaning the salon (our foully gear was everywhere) took a gander at the charts for our next leg to Santa Maria, made lunch, ate lunch, cleaned up the lunch mess and still the wind is blowing, so I've cracked another beer and will do my best to chill.
Ensensada was a lot of fun. Brian had never been there before so I felt the need to show him Hussong's Cantina and have a couple of their margarita's. It's a historical spot after all! They went down easily enough while we listened to the mariachi's play Pink Floyd's 'Another Brick in the Wall", not your typical mariachi music.
We also went to the fresh fish market , which is really great. I took pictures of the fish with their names so "when" we actually catch one of them, we'll know what they are and that they are safe to eat. Ingenuous right?
We were docked at Hotel Marina Coral. We took advantage of the hot tub a couple of nights. It's a nice hotel. The security at the slips was very good. They were always walking the docks checking on the boats. I found that the showers and other facilities were a bit of a walk from the marina slips though. We walked into town one day; it was only a couple of miles away.
We left Ensenada on Tuesday morning under power after waiting out that storm. The storm on Sunday packed high winds and tore up some of the sails on other boats in the marina. The surf was crashing over the breakwater. Tuesday morning the wind was pretty much gone but the swells were 5-8 feet . The swells were at our back though so it wasn't a bad ride. Around noon I heard these weird sonic booms. I never figured out what that was. Kinda weird though to be sailing in silence and then hear this huge BOOM noise and not know where it's coming from.
The wind picked up to 13 knots around 5pm so we threw up the reefed jib and turned the motor off. We sailed until the early morning when the wind died and turned on the engine about 3am. The swells had not calmed down any. We put up the reefed mizzen too around 8am.
Wednesday was pretty much no wind all day so we just motored on. I think I threw the fishing line out but that was a futile effort because we were in really deep water.
Thursday morning at 1:00am the party started. The wind changed direction and was on our beam pushing the swells into the boat. I throttled down after a couple of them washed over the side and sluiced down into the cockpit and glanced down into the cabin to see if Brian was awake. A few minutes later he popped his head up and asked if everything was ok. I told him "Yeah! I'm having a blast out here!!". Not really, that's not what I said. There was no moon so it was dark. I couldn't see what the swells looked like and so we turned downwind and throttled down some more.
Have I mentioned the stars? The sky was filled with stars. And the moon was in the seventh house because Jupiter aligned with Mars. Actually I saw several planets drop into the horizon as the night went on and steering with the stars is actually very cool.
We watched the sun come up and shine on Isla Cedros. We had been sailing pretty far offshore. At one point, Bahia de San Ramon, we cut across the bay at 25 miles offshore, so it was nice to see an island a bit closer. We were originally going to navigate between Isla Cedros and the mainland but with the wind, the swells and the current, we decided to change course and go around the island.
The seas had gotten quite nasty. The swells were coming one after another and the seas were all confused. I was glad that they were still coming from behind but we weren't in a great position. We had to turn to port (left) to get around the island and head in a more southeasterly direction. That meant that the swells were going to hit us more on the beam (side) and I wasn't looking forward to that.
We still only had the jib up so Brian said we were going to raise the mizzen as well to stabilize the boat and get an easier ride. That meant turning the boat around so that it was into the wind to raise the sail. Oh memories...we had a hair raising encounter of this same exact thing in Catalina one time so I was a bit nervous. Just before we turned, we saw a whale, black with a round nose and a very large fin, very close to the boat and I think there were two babies with it. Brian said that was a good sign and we went for the turn. Fortunately, we executed the drill perfectly! I was quite relieved and so happy ☺ . Our ride had improved and we were finally on a course to get behind the island.
Of course we were miles off and so it was going to take quite a while. An occasional set of swells would be so big that we would drop into the trough and then get picked back up on the crest of the following swell resulting in the boat making this swinging action and heeling us over as the sails brought us back on course. It took some getting used to. Uhuru was performing beautifully though. It is what she was built for.
I did choose this particular time to discuss how far we could heel over before we actually rolled. Lol.
Also, this is where I saw a whale I the distance completely breach out of the water and make this huge splash. That was a big whale.
We were determined to get to Turtle Bay that night. We were both pretty tired. I was having a hard time sleeping and Brian wouldn't sleep below and leave me on deck by myself.
The swells died down a bit but the wind picked up and was gusting over 20 knots. We were still reefed with the jib and jigger and were flying through the water at hull speed of 7.4 knots. I was trying to get some rest but it sounded like we were going so fast. I got up to look at the controls and I finally told Brian that I thought we should slow down. I'm not sure whom he was racing but he seemed to be enjoying it. He did slow down though and I did get some rest.
After dark, we finally turned towards the opening of the bay but still had about an hour of heading into the swells. It was still pitch dark. Sails down and full engine we were only going about 2.5 knots.
As we got closer, the swells slowly died but the wind was just blowing right at us. As we passed between the opening of the bay, which was ¾ of a mile wide, we were escorted by two pelicans swooping in and out of the wind next to the boat. It was really cool.
We could hardly see anything so we were relying mostly on our depth meter and electronics to find the anchorage. Finally we dropped the anchor. Phew. We were exhausted.
Down below, wine was had by all as we watched our tracks on the electronics to make sure we were swinging ok and not dragging anchor and then we crashed...into bed that is. Zzzzz.
That was the longest passage we had done. We arrived around 2:30am on Friday the 5th. Total trip hours were 64.5.
So here we are. Turtle Bay is an all weather harbor. It's a dusty little town and it appears that fishing is the main industry. I've been trying hard to keep up a good work ethic but with no internet it is muy dificil! We finally made it ashore again today in search of some wi-fi but we were unsuccessful. Tomorrow is Sunday so everything will be closed, plus it is something like Carnival for Fat Tuesday. They've got this HUGE speaker blasting music at night and a big party scene set up. Should be quite a show. We might stick around for it.