Friday, November 28, 2014

Ensenada to Turtle Bay *updated w/pics*

We left Ensenada - after wondering why we stayed so long - and headed on an overnight passage to Isla San Martin.  We were anxious to get some Baja miles under our belt.  Mainland Mexico is a long ways away... We had a great sail coming out of Ensenada.  As the sun set, the wind completely died.  We took the genoa down and left the main up and the engine went on.  About an hour later we noticed the wind was coming back, and coming back in full force.  Soon the engine was back off and there was a reef in the main. The wind was getting progressively stronger.  The forecast called for 10 knot winds out of the NW.  We were now up to 20 knots out of the east.  Within another 30 minutes we were on to our 3rd reef, main only, and still cruising 6 knots.  The wind peaked at 35 knots, gusting to 40 knots.  We had a NW swell behind us and wind waves from the east slapping us on our beam.  I'm kind of glad it was dark so that I couldn't see how big the seas were getting... All in all the wind only lasted about 2.5 hours.  Then we were back to "normal" conditions.  It just goes to show that we are not in control on the sea.  We have to adjust to the conditions that are given to us, and be thankful when it's over.

Our first stop was Isla San Martin, about 105 nm south of Ensenada.  Isla San Martin is a small round volcano cone about 1 mile in diameter.  The island is deserted except for a small fishing village.  There is a nice cove on the SE corner of the island with a lava breakwater.  We arrived on a calm day.  It felt great to drop the hook and relax.  Hannah did some fishing while everyone else read and napped.

Sunrise from Isla San Martin

 The next morning we set off for Cedros Island.  Another overnight run about 141 nm south of Isla San Martin.  The day was pretty uneventful with little wind.  We threw the spinnaker up, but even that didn't give us any more than 3 knots.  The wind increased in the evening and we sailed along at a comfortable speed with fairly calm seas.  While on watch that night, I couldn't get over the beauty all around me.  I lay down in the cockpit under a blanket of stars.  I have never seen so many in my life.  Every now and again, I would glimpse a falling star.  We had full main and genoa up and we were gliding at 4-5 knots on a sea of glass.  I couldn't even feel the wind, it was like a breath from up above was pushing us along.  What a difference from the last overnight watch.  We arrived at the north anchorage of Cedros Island the next morning.  The guide book wrote that it was a memorable anchorage with a seal colony.  Sounded interesting enough to stop for the night.  Well, it was a memorable anchorage all right.  We rolled and rolled all night as the wind howled off the island.  We also discovered that seals, especially the pups, make all kinds of interesting sounds.  We heard goats, babies crying, voices, and screams all through the night.  Not much rest to be had that night.

Dolphins greeting Ohana as we sail to Cedros Island

Approaching Cedros Island

We took off bright and early the next morning headed 50 nm south to Bahia del Tortuga (Turtle Bay).  The seas were calm and there was no wind.  Jake snagged a fish late morning.  This would be our first catch that was worthy of eating.  We reeled in a beautiful tuna.  Jake got a little overzealous with the tequila in the gills and the fish started to seize.  I was holding it by the hook, still overboard, and it was spazzing out on me.  I handed it off to Jake and plop, it slid right off the hook and back in the water.  Bye-bye dead, yummy fish.  About an hour later, we had another bite!  This would make up for the one that got away.  Jake reeled him in from the stern of the boat.  This time it was a yellowtail.  I was right there waiting with the gaff, this sucker was coming on board ASAP.  Just as the fish was within reach, we heard a loud clunk and kabloom and a puff of smoke poofed out of the engine.  Huh, what was that?  Jake quickly threw the engine in neutral.  I looked over the stern and saw a bright orange line attached to the boat.  We had clearly run over a lobster pot.  Now what?  Do I throw this flopping fish into the cockpit and deal with it later, or drop it and help Jake.  I dropped it.  So, what now?  No BoatUS to call to rescue us.  Jake grabbed his mask and a knife and jumped overboard to see how bad it was.  We had run straight over 2 lobster pots.  We had one pot wedged between the prop and rudder post and line everywhere.  After several dives and getting hit in the head multiple times by the stern that was bobbing up and down with each swell, Jake was able to free Ohana from the mess.  HUGE bravery badge to Jake on that one.  We put the engine back in gear and we were off again.  I cannot tell you what a relief it was to pull into Turtle Bay as the sun set.

Turtle Bay was a great resting stop.  We stayed for 3 nights and hung out with the crew of S/V Solace and S/V Rose Bud.  They are both headed northbound to San Diego and San Francisco.  I do not envy that journey.  Turtle Bay had a great selection of markets which made provisioning a breeze.  As we walked through town, we noticed that everyone was super friendly.  We got a wave and/or hola from everyone we encountered. The guys from Enrique's will bring fuel and water to your boat.  Very convenient.  We ate out at Maria's one night, at the recommendation of Rose Bud crew.  Maria's is a house on the water with no running water.  Yes, we ate at a restaurant with no running water and I lived to tell you about it.  The next night we had a great time eating lobster tacos at another house/restaurant.  This time, with water.

Dinner with the crew of S/V Rose Bud & S/V Solace.

It seems like we had a few too many "adventures" on this leg of the journey.  It is always reassuring though to talk to other cruisers and share stories.  We all go through our rough times, but then we get to hang out on the patio of a beach side restaurant or snorkel with dolphins.  Just like in land life.  Your car can break down, your water heater can flood the basement.  Life is not always perfect, but we overcome our obstacles and become stronger because of it.

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