Ok while Krister is surfing, or scouting for surf rather, I thought I'd continue what I started yesterday. At the time of the last post we were in Abreojos. We stopped by town, grabbed a few provisions, checked our gmail, found no surf and decided we should keep sailing south.
It was our first passage that we had enough wind to sail the entire way- only turning on the engine to set the anchor. Krister has put a moratorium on the use of the motor. I agree, if there's wind we should be sailing, and if there' s not wind and we're not in a hurry, bobbing around is ok , plus it saves money- all good things. But this can put us in a bit of a bind because it's hard to determine our ETA. Brittnay can do about 6.5-7 knots with the right wind. I've seen her go as fast as 9 kts while in a current or surfing following seas, but Baja has some pretty light airs- meaning we're lucky to get 5-10 knots of wind. With that, we can make about 2-4 knots of progress. Where I'm going with all this is that we've been anchoring in the dark a lot lately. It's not something that one should do, or something that I'm 100% comfortable with, but it just seems to work out that way. With only 12 hours of day light, and most of our passages 100+ miles... I'm hoping we can get better... better winds and better at judging how slow we'll really go. The winds usually die just after sun set and don't pick up until the following afternoon. But we're in the tropics now, and around the Cape, about to enter the Sea of Cortez, so the weather patterns may shift in our favor.
So we sailed our first motorless passage and arrived in the dark. In Turtle Bay we consciously decided to stay away from other boats in case they dragged in the heavy winds. In Santa Maria we just had no idea of how poorly we judge distance in the dark. We didn't want to get too close- to other boats, or to the breaking surf so when we woke with the light to find ourselves isolated- way off from everything- we had to laugh. I guess it will just take some getting used to determining distances from the boat accurately.
Bahia Santa Maria was our favorite place so far. It has miles of treasure strewn beaches, mountains to hike with amazing views, a peaceful anchorage, plus friendly sailors to visit. We met a few boats over the radio while waiting out the windstorm in Turtle Bay. I say boats because when you use the radio you use your boat name. For example when using the VHF radio, you hail like this... Name of the boat you want to contact 3 times, then your boat's name and then you wait to see if they "come back," or reply. It sounds like this "Iron Butterfly, Iron Butterfly, Iron Butterfly, this is Britannia, do you copy" Then hopefully a voice comes back. Oh and everyone in the area is listening to you. Channel 16 is the one everyone monitors and uses to hail which means if you want to continue your conversation you have to switch channels. Of course, you call this new channel to your contact , which means that anyone who wants to can follow your conversation to the other radio channel. Which is what we all do :) So that is how we meet Iron Butterfly and Pionero. But we had no idea of who we were really talking to- just faceless voices. It was really fun to finally be able to meet them and hang out on their boat. Pionero is actually Robin and Ken- from Alameda- long time sailors and now retired and living the dream. We're hoping to run into them again soon- maybe on the mainland.
So back to Santa Maria... the beach is like nothing I've ever seen. It's probably what beaches used to look like before tourists. We found tons of "treasure"- seal bones, shells, a fishing lure (still haven't use it though) and more sand dollars than we've ever seen in our whole lives combined. (and you know Krister and I have seen lots!) I thought about how much my nieces and nephews would love this beach. It was sunny and warm and perfect for a picnic. Living in a postcard is pretty great- seems to fill me with romantic thoughts and makes me so happy I just about burst! The only thing that could make this place more awesome is if it had a sun set over the water- which it can't because the mountains are in the way- so I guess there's give and take even in paradise!
The day after the beach, we decided to get out and get some much needed exercise. We hiked up- about 1500 ft. to catch the view from the top. It was easy ground to walk on, hard packed rock and dirt- and a semi-trail on the ridge line all the way to the top. It reminded me of hiking in the Grand Canyon, which made me think of Rick and Forrest. (We miss you guys, too bad about the sea sickness or I'd say this should be you next big adventure, it'd be perfect for you.) I found a few interesting rocks- maybe turquoise? In this way I'm just like my mom and sisters- we like rocks and rock collections. Krister says I have to be able to carry them all myself- good thing we have a boat. I don't think I'm in danger of sinking it with the weight of my rocks, but I'd like to think that there are that many treasures out there waiting for me that it would be possible. We didn't make it all the way to the top- there was so much wind I thought I might blow off or at least seriously fall and hurt myself. It felt great to get out- I'm looking forward to lots more hiking and exploring.
Wish we could've stayed there longer, and I have to remind myself that there will be more cool places, and we are on a schedule to meet my sister in La Paz. Off again, feels like we're racing, but Cabo was just an couple days away. And our water supply needed replenishing. We sailing all day and night- something we're used to now. Our watch schedule seems to have settled at: K sunset to midnight, A midnight to 4 or 5, then K again until 8, and A until he wakes up for the day- usually around 10 or 11. I never feel fully rested, but I get enough sleep to feel ok. Even sometimes at anchor, if it's too rolly sleep is hard to find, but there's alway time for a nap later. Naps are good...
We arrived in Cabo with a full moon and a full spinnaker- beautiful. Again, unsure about anchoring in the dark, but managing to feel fairly good about it. As always, we alway set our dragging alarm and went to bed. In the dreams of early morning, just when the sky was turning from grey to orange, I realized the noise I was dreaming was real. A clanking, metal sound, deep rumbling. What was it? A huge cruise ship dropping anchor not more than a football field away from us. And it wasn't the only one... two more where headed in into the small bay. Our peaceful night was over at the crack of dawn and filled with jet skis, parasailers, loud speakers, music and people. (There were two whales that came into the bay to party too- that was cool) Whoa what a shock after weeks of solitude! We couldn't relax with the zooming noises so close to the boat... usually when people come that close it's to talk to us. Eventually someone did come out to the boat... to charge us $10 for the anchorage. That made our minds up- Cabo is a terrible place for us. We resolved to get water and fuel in the morning and then bug out!
And that's what we did. After filling up, Krister cleaned the bottom of the boat for the first time. We got so much done, so early, that when the wind picked up in the afternoon we were ready to go. Had a great sail out, fixed some drinks and enjoyed the sun. Too bad the wind died before we got far. We decided we were not going to anchor in the dark again and we were not going to motor all night so we headed for the first place we could drop the anchor. And it worked out great! The moon rose full and red- yes red, and as it went up in the sky it turned to orange, then yellow and the finally white. With the binoculars we could see all it's breathtaking features. Krister was euphoric- nice to have him getting back to his old self! Whales circled the boat and we ate dinner and watched a movie before bed. In the morning we found internet and even got our friends, the Bradford's, online for a live chat! It's hard to describe the way time and distance become tangible things. But being on line, hearing about the people and places that are going on without us, where we were once so involved... "life looks different from here" is the bet way I can describe it. You may ask different how? And all I can say now is, it's just something you have to feel for yourself... maybe I can put my finger on it some other time. I'll try.
So here we are, in Bahia San Jose del Cabo, waiting for wind. We're meeting up with a Dynamite Truck friend, Elizabeth, later this evening. She was kind enough to offer us showers at her hotel room. I'm looking forward to going ashore, getting out, maybe dinner and some grocery shopping... Tomorrow we plan to ship out again- not sure if we'll anchor in Los Frailes or head straight for La Paz. I'd like to get the boat cleaned up and provisioned before Suzy arrives so we're going to try to be there by the 26th. Krister is back from his surfing adventure... small surf, too bad. But life is still good! He'll take a nap and then we'll get the dinghy ready to go to town.
Thinking of you all as always- with love,