Sunday, December 22, 2013

Neptune rules

Our marina in downtown Guaymas
The Sea is the master and we, her servants, can pass gently at times and at others, a more exciting or perhaps challenging, journey awaits. So it is that we chose our departure Thu 19 Dec for our 400 mile journey from Guaymas to Mazatlan, estimating 3 ½ days’ transit. Having checked Passage Weather and UGrib for the latest weather and winds plus reading Gary’s weather on the Sonrisa Net, these great resources provide the best to help mariners make their way. However, unbeknownst to us, we think Mother Nature and Neptune apparently had a spat.

Our departure wasn’t without delays, as often happens with boats, and we headed out into the midday sun. After a long day and night bashing into southerlies on the nose with no reprieve, and 10 hours of slow transit time toward Mazatlan, we were burning a ton of fuel and not having the times of our lives, let’s just say.

We continued on, as hearty sailors do, into the darkness. Although almost full moon, a heavy cloud layer loomed and lightning strikes all around served as our only illumination, along with the halogen spotlights of shrimp trawlers. At 9:30p, El Capitan made the wise decision to follow Neptune's guidance and do a 180. After 10 hours and only 35 nautical miles traversed, it was going to be a lot longer journey than estimated 70-80 hours. Best to head back and start again later.

Sunset over the malecon / boulevard in Guaymas
With our mail sail reefed, we turned swiftly in the darkness and made haste northbound. Ironically, at midnight, the winds turned from S to W, then to NW (as predicted before we left) and we ended up bashing north against the wind through choppy seas with stuff a flyin’ in the salon. the winds clocked north, we actually pondered turning south again. For a moment. Then a lightning strike reminder: oh yea, big storm southbound.

The welcome view of the Guyamas harbor upon our return
After a long night, we waited until daylight to reenter the Guaymas harbor (bright freighters passed and unlit trawlers lurked in the early morning darkness). The slip we’d left 18 hours before welcomed us back to safety and a well-deserved nap.

And so, we are happily back in Guaymas, where we shall spend Christmas with our many friends.

Mazatlan will wait until Neptune permits and a safe, and hopefully enjoyable, passage can be made – after Christmas!

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