Saturday, February 5, 2011

Isla San Geronimo to Turtle Bay

Wow time is flying! Can't believe we've been in Mexico for over a week and this is the first time we've made it into a real town! I can blame a lot of that on the weather, but also there's just not much of what you'd call civilization around here. We left Ensenada the day we checked in and sailed to Isla Todos Santos.
The island was surrounded by fishing and abalone nets, lucky for us a couple helpful souls guided us to a morring ball where we tied up and passed the night safely. And what a beautiful anchorage is was! Got to post the picures to see what I mean- just kinda a
1950's kinda vibe- litlle red buildings with white trim set on a green hill side surrounded by crashing waves... Unfortunately the guys needed the mooring for business the next morning so we had to push off just after dawn.
We cruised farther south to a super rolly anchorage- can't remember the name of the place right now. But it had the most beautiful kelp beds and it got me thinking that maybe that could make a nice tattoo? (not sure if my mom reads this) Anyway... we seem to be unable to stay in one place for long, and the next morning pushed south again to Isla San Geronimo.
It was clear to both of us that we needed some R and R (I know we're not at work, but I promise that we have definitely been working)
As we sailed, whales filed past the boat- not close enough to get a great shot, but a bit of a video and enough to thrill me. We turned off the engine and bobbed around watching them blow their spouts. About an hour later we made our approach to the island. We were a bit worried because the cruising guide was vauge about the anchorage, our chartplotter didn't show anything, and even google earth didn't give us much of a clue as to the location of what the book called a fair anchorage. (all the previous anchorages had been rolly and loud, so we were really looking forward to a semi-still night). On the approach it didn't look promising. It's a spec on the map, and the only buildings to be seen were a lighthouse on the peak and a few abandoned shacks. But being adventurous types, and the alternative being a long night at sea, we said why not? The swell and much of the wind was broken by the island as we dropped our awesome rocna off the bow.
The next morning we decided to go ashore. The dinghy was winched up and over the lifelines, the overly huge outboard swung onto the back and off we went. There was really only one place to haul her out as there were rocks along much of the perimeter- no beach, lots of sun, but still cold (like 55-60 F). We were greeted by the most friendly dog either of us has ever met- but kinda weird that no human seems to be around. We struggled to get the heavy inflatable and outboard up over the high tide line with no joy- finally decided to tie off and get back before the tide rose too much. Our tour guide dog beckoned us along and we happily followed. It had been days since we'd been on land and even longer since I'd gotten the chance to hike. The ground was sandy and kept giving way under our feet. The dog kept looking back as to say hurry up- as it was a small island we made it to the western side in about ten minutes. Now we could see all the pacific and what the island was protecting us from. Waves crashed over the rocks spraying white water into the air. The dog barked and gave chase as the waves came in and slide out again- hillarious! Further up the shore our guide found an elephant seal, a broken surf board, and birds gallor! More seagulls, pelicans, karmarants... I can't belive we didn't get hit... with all the guano painted white rocks the odds were against us for sure. Back on the anchorage side we spotted Britannia alone in the water- she appeard so small, hard to believe she is our home, with everything we need aboard. We came back to our starting spot- dinghy still beached and safe, but what to do now? I felt bad for eating in front of the dog- we hadn't seen a soul the whole time, and the ghost town began to give Krister and I the creeps. Even though the wal was wonderful we decided to head back to the boat.
We have been checking into the Baja radio net in the mornings and the MaƱana net later in the day. Which is how we first hear the news... strong weather headed our way. What to do. We have often thought the hardest decicions would be concerning what to do in the event of bad weather. we said we would not run with a storm, heaving-to seems to be the best storm tactic- but this storm had not yet arrived. In fact it was sunny and calm. Krister's uncle Mag (more on this later) had sent us info saying winds were predicted to reach 45 knots! That's gale force winds from the east. No joke stuff as we were in the lee of San Geronimo. That means that with the swell coming fro the west and strong winds coming from the east the seas would get choppy and uncomfortable. But worse than that if our anchor didn't hold for wome reason, we would be blown into the island and all those rocks. At noon we decided to make a move. It was difficult because it meant an over night sail to Turtle Bay over 100 miles from where we were. And with our short water line there was no way we could make it there before the blow set in. But heqaving to in the open ocean was better than an accident waiting to happen. And maybe those weather forcasters didn't get the exact time right... So we motored through the night, anxious to set the anchor in a new safe place.
And guess what? Those weather guys were wrong- the blow set in 35 minutes early! Under a triple reefed main and with just a scrap of our forsail out we managed quite well, arriving ourside Turtle Bay just after one in the afternoon the next day. Britnay was getting along fine, but to enter the bay we had to turn her directly into the wind. With the engine running, and tacking back and forth we slowly made our way. Sand was blowing and swirling off the land, making it appear like some kind of alien moonscape. Getting the anchor down was another trick. As the wind was blowing us back fast enough to put a real strain on the cleats as soon as the anchor caught. Krister did his best, and we learned a thing or two about our windlass and anchoring techniques. Happy to say we spent 2 days safely anchored off of Turtle Bay. We got to meet a few fellow cruiser who also tucked away here to weather the sorm. Today the sun rose on clam waters and we were finally able to come into town- to the internet cafe- and hope to get out and see Mexico finally.
Much love to you all. Know that we are safe and doing great!


  1. Great post guys. Happy you're safe and sound and enjoying life! Take care and enjoy mexico.

  2. I love seeing those big smiles! Tucker came home from work with Charlie's Charts so we can follow along better now. I wish we could hear so many more of your stories!