Our sail down the Baja was relatively uneventful, although we were scared the entire time. We stopped in Turtle Bay, in Bahia Santa Maria,
and then sailed straight to Cabo San Lucas.
: Dec 23, 2003 1:00
am Somewhere off the Baja coast
Its my watch, and its quiet. George
is dozing next to me in the cockpit. Luc
is asleep in his nest in the forepeak.
Its cool out; I’m in my long underwear and fleece, but I’m not cold,
ITS DARK! There’s no moon,
and no lights from shore. There
are lots of clouds left over from a low that blew by 2 nights ago and scared
I can hear the rush of the bow wave as we move through the water. The swells are on our starboard aft
quarter and there is a slight breeze dead astern. We are sailing under reefed main and
the engine is running. I can
hear the soft tick-tick-tick as the autopilot corrects our course.
So many stars! More than I ever
imagined. I look first for
Orion off the port bow right after sunset.
I always smile to see him there.
By my last watch of the night he’ll be off the starboard quarter.
a star due south off Orion’s Belt that makes a dim path of starlight on
the waves. I haven't figured out how to take night photos yet, but stay
||We spent Christmas 2003 in
Turtle Bay, Baja California, Mexico. The tree is a Eucalyptus
branch from Angel Island. It was sunny and bright,
but still cool, fleece weather.
|The presents convene in the
cockpit for a photo op. Such delicious books! Betsey and George spent
hours and days in San Diego, at used bookstores and at Goodwill,
looking for good books to read and savor. Included in this
amazing stack are:
My Year of Meats
The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing
The English Patient
muy tranquilo Christmas. We got up, no malls, no hype,
no xmas musak. Luc and
George made scrambled eggs and biscuits with the usual bantering and
male bonding. We opened presents in the
cockpit under a sunny brilliant blue Mexico sky, dolphins dancing in
the bay, seagulls landing for a morning bath. Beautiful.
Christmas Day. We called Jorge for the water taxi, disembarked
onto a very high pier on a very dubious ladder, and then walked into
town. Turtle Bay is a
dusty, rural, ramshackle town. We found the Mercado, such as it was, the internet Café, and
tried out our phone card. We
ended up calling all our friends collect, as the phone card
didn’t work. I
choked up talking to Jill, battling a huge wave of homesickness
Dec 27, 2003 Turtle Bay, 12:35 am.
anchored in Turtle Bay, and it is blowing a fierce Norther. We stood
anchor watch most of the day. It
seemed to moderate around dinnertime, but about an hour ago it kicked up again. George is sleeping on the
settee and I’m standing my 12-2 am watch in the cockpit . I've clocked the
winds at about 40 miles per hour. Its
blackest night in the bay plus
we’re swinging around on our anchor, so its hard to tell if we are
holding or dragging.
I can see the mast light of Ocean Rider,
anchored far off behind us. Its
not blowing as hard as it was earlier, and we haven’t budged, but I
Dec 27 2003 Daybreak Turtle Bay Still Blowing
As I look out, I see lots of stars overhead, but I can
barely see the difference between sky and land. I can hear the sound of waves kicked up by the wind, but I
can’t see them. It seems to be
moderating a little, mybe. Every time I think that, a
huge GUST builds and builds and whooshes down with this scary oncoming
train noise. In the lulls
I can hear the hiss-splash of a dolphin off the beam
cold out, but I’m toasty warm, with long silks, fleece pants and
jacket, fleece hat, cozy under a fleece sleeping bag. ;-)
Dec 27 2003
9:30 am: Turtle Bay Blowing up hard
. The Norther is blowing
a gale for sure now. It
eased during the night but it is much worse today. We were awake by daylight. We walked around Soul Catcher,
doing everything we could think of to make us safer. We tied the mainsail cover on
tighter and more securely. We
tied up the jib sheets and the jib.
We cleaned up the cockpit.
Now we’re just waiting it out.
It’s the NOISE of it that is terrifying.
neighbors on Ocean Rider worked to contain their runaway mizzen sail. Its
pretty scary to watch, helplessly, as the sail flaps wildly in the
wind, secretly glad its not us fighting
with blown out sails and jammed running rigging.
Dec 30, 2003 10:35
morning the Single Side Band Amigo Net 812200SSB brought us disturbing
weather news. Don from
Summer Passage is forecasting south to southwest winds 15-25 knots
beginning tonight Tues and continuing for 36 hours. That means
winds and adverse current in precisely the direction we are going.
Normally, we would sit this one out. But
there is another Norther coming right behind the low, and both systems
would keep us in Turtle Bay another week. We want to go south, where
decide to leave Turtle Bay, its 11:22 am, we’re sailing close hauled
south/southwest at 5.5 knots.
hours later: making no
speed over the ground, unfavorable current, turned back to Turtle Bay,
anchored in the South anchorage.
|Dec 31, 2003 10:58 am: We’re just leaving the South Anchorage for the Turtle Bay
entrance. We met the Millers (Joel, Rochelle, Kimberly and Nathaniel)
on Amorita. (gorgeous boat, Kettenberg 50)
Wind is still from the south but is moderating as the low blows
through. We expect winds
from the north by tonight.
agreed to go south for 3 hours then decide whether to go or go
tries to steer Soul Catcher into a south wind with a contrary current. Our speed over ground is again
0.0. We are very
frustrated by our inability to leave Turtle Bay. We’re all a little cranky
turning back for Turtle Bay, we can’t make miles to the south in
these adverse winds and seas. We’re
still frustrated but we are planning our dinner: Lobster? Chorizo? Rice balls? Flapjacks?
Betsey: Jan 1, 2004 South Anchorage, Turtle Bay
After a rolling
about at anchor all night, we leave Turtle Bay, for the third time, about 7:30
am. Happy new Year!
Jan 2, 2004
Friday 10:30 am We’ve been underway
for 24 hours and we’re into our rhythm. I like the passages, the closeness, the sound of the boat/waves/wind/birds/
Betsey: Jan 4, 2004 1:32
pm Bahia Santa Maria Just left Bahia Santa
Maria bound for Cabo San Lucas.
Last night a panga
came up to our boat, asking for pre-mix. George found our bottle of
pre-mix and gave it to them. This
morning they showed up with 4 live lobsters for us. Aren't they
|Rocks at the entrance to Bahia Santa Maria; this is some
serious rockage. We are reminded again to keep a sharp eye on
the charts, the GPS, the water, the ROCKS...
||Sailing to Cabo San Lucas, we were enchanted by
the sapphire color of the water. We're sorry this photo doesn't quite
capture the color.
|Cabo rocks and sapphire seas
||The Boyz reading Lord of the Rings. We were
supposed to see the return of the king in San Diego, but we put it
off. We promised Luc we would see it in Mexico. Lucas is reading up so
he will be the expert he aspires to be. George is reading up so he can
argue with Lucas.
|This appendage is appropriately
named Neptune's Finger. We've been imagining situations where we
might be able to use this photo...
||The marina at Cabo San
Lucas. Cabo was where we were first struck forcibly by the
juxtaposition of extreme and obscene wealth and abject, horrifying
poverty. Right at the steps along the malecon, next to hundreds
of exquisite expensive boats, we saw poor Mayan women and their
children selling trinkets for pesos. We hated it, and were very happy
left Cabo after a day or so and headed to Mazatlan about 180 miles away.
The weather was clear and the wind was from the north at 10+ mph. As
evening came on and we started the crossing the wind increased to 15 and
we set the Hydrovane on a very close reach. We were moving at 6+knots and
the wind picked up some more and the infamous short seas of El Golfo
were building. Night settled over us and we tucked a reef in and rolled
the jib in to 100% and checked the fun (speed) meter at 7.5+. Time for the second
reef! It was blowing 20-25 and the seas were easily 6-8 feet, very steep
with the ebbing tide. The wind held from the north and the Hydrovane kept
us tracking like we were on rails! Every other wave we were bursting spray
and soon water over the pilothouse, soaking the cockpit and making for a wet
ride. All through the night and next day we pounded to windward at 7.5 to
8.5 knots. It was the fastest sustained sailing we had done. Through it
all the boat never stumbled and the Hydrovane kept us on course. What a
great piece of gear and a damn good boat!