After 10 days total and 8 days and nights underway we arrived in Ensenada. As I write we are sitting in Marina Coral where just 4 short years ago we had our last boat ‘Gusty’, a Catalina 387 delivered. At that time we were clueless about sailing and had to hire the delivery captain to teach us how to sail it! We learn by fire, what can I say. Now with 4300 nautical miles (1 nautical mile equals 1.2 statute miles) on ‘Blue Aweigh’ and 4000 nautical miles on ‘Gusty’ we feel pretty good about sailing. Now that we are veterans of the “Baja Bash” we feel like we’ve come a long way.
The trip from Cabo San Lucas to Magdalena Bay was a tough passage. The supposed weather window of 5-10 kt winds and calms, really didn’t materialize. It was rough. We had 8-10 ft. seas with 25kts true wind on the nose. This leg took 40 hours as we were only making 3 kts of speed at times. Doing just about anything is almost impossible with these conditions (i.e. cooking, reading, movies, playing games, etc.) Once in Mag bay we ended up staying due to a gale coming our way. Winds of 40 kts and 20 ft seas were predicted. Once again the wind prediction didn’t materialize for us, luckily. We did see 20 kts with small swell as we were 5 miles into the bay and out of the swells. I hope I never, never, ever stay in Mag bay again. Why? The flies! Can’t even begin to describe how crafty kelp flies are. They come into every nook and cranny, window or whatever. There were thousands in the cockpit. In spite of our best efforts we kept swatting them inside and for days after we left. I even wore out my fly swatter and it now has a duct tape edging for adornment until it can be replaced. We were told the abundance of flies were not common here but there were lots of baby lobsters washed up on shore and were rotting. We noticed lots of live baby ones swimming under the boat. A pangero delivered fuel to us and brought his daughter to visit. Her name was Gloria and she kindly gave us some abalone and sea shells as a ‘regalo’, gift. Sweet girl. We never left the boat due to the flys and the looks of the dusty little town with no services. After 2 days of being cooped up we were happy to leave and begin the swatfest.
Next stop, 50 hours of really nice conditions to Turtle bay. We arrived about 3 a.m. which is really a bit scary to do but arrived safely and got a few hours sleep in calms. First thing a pangero arrived to deliver fuel with his little cousins. They were so cute! I had presents for them, they took our trash and the older boy, Jose Leandro took us into town to the little grocery store. He was really quite helpful and insisted on carrying our groceries back to the panga taxi. His English was very good considering he is only in 4th grade. Weather was being predicted once again but this time we got feedback from other cruisers which download weather faxes and with info from our Sirius weather service we looked at each other and said, “Let’s go for it”.
The last leg was good the first night but really deteriorated on the second night. As soon as the sun went down the wind kicked up to 20 kts and the seas became mixed. This means the swells are coming from many different directions at once which makes the boat buck like a bronco, no smooth sailing. You may ask what do we do all night when we are underway. Well we take turns sleeping. The guy on watch looks at the electronics monitoring the radar for other boat and ship traffic and land masses, a course screen to ensure we stay our course and a third which shows our path visually which can be modified for our waypoint (destination). We are very, very, very lucky that we have a dual electronic screens down below. We can sit below on the settee to monitor and drink tea if the seas allow and go above and take our visual look out on deck every 15 minutes in case our electronics miss something. I have shown the screens so you get a visual of the process. We have another tool to aid the watchman. It is a loud egg timer. We set if for 15 minutes just in case we get busy reading or in the off chance Mike nods off. Typically when off watch we sleep 2-3 hours at a time (at most) and then we swap positions.
This morning 46 hours after our last departure, Marina Coral never looked so good! We will be here resting, cleaning, visiting downtown Ensenada and checking out of Mexico. Best part about being here at Coral is high speed internet, also known as 'cruiser's crack'. Early Thursday morning we will start the 70 mile journey to San Diego where we will check in with customs in the good ol’ U.S.A.