Friday, April 4, 2014

Baja bound and heading North!

We’ve just completed another series of passages from the Pacific back up into the beautiful Sea of Cortez. First stop after our 310 mile passage from Banderas Bay across to Baja California peninsula: Bahia de Los Muertos (Bay of the Dead). 63 hours total transit time at ave 5 knots(mi)/ hr. Sighted the cape of the Baja peninsula at 7:30 am Friday, 50 ½ hours into our passage from the mainland. Although not a long distance compared to our friends heading to the south Pacific, landfall is a welcome sight.

We watched for fishing lines stretched across large areas along the northern route from Puerto Vallarta through the Tres Marias, 3 islands that include a prison – must stay 20 miles off shore to avoid Navy intervention. Winds were changing to stronger NW earlier than the various weather reports we’d studied.

We had all 4 sails up, then we took down two, and motorsailed with main and mizzen, as our boat isn’t that great sailing to wind (heading directly into it).

We did our 6 hour shifts 7:30pm to 1:30am – and 1:30 to 7:30am. We do long night watches and enjoy constellations passing across the sky and waited for the waning moon crescent arising in the wee hours for a spectacular, but short time. On the 2 nights, we switched schedules so each could experience the sunset to darkness shift and the late night to sunrise. Each offers different sensations! Main sail up at night with a reef in it. That presents the most interesting exhilaration seeing the sail against the night sky and the wind whipping in your face when you peer into the darkness looking for something you don’t want to see.  
The rest of the story fell below the photos from our journeys...

Mexican navy boat in the anchorage

Bird on the sheet as we enter Barra

Sunrises rock!

Jumping giant rays

Time for our 5th flag!
Although I am enjoying night passages more each time, they are unnerving as you can’t really see where you’re headed unless the stars or moon light your way. Whitecaps and waves bash against the boat and you wonder what the noise is.

The water in the sea is so intense in its many shades of blue and green, it’s incredible. The bioluminescence has been incredible these last few days. A fish passing, or a dolphin zipping by in the darkness leaves an undescribable trail of light in the water.

We made the passage with friends on Loomba Loomba so shared communications during our two and a half days northwestbound. We maneuvered 50 degrees to port behind a cargo ship that showed on our radar screen as moving, but apparently wasn’t actually moving. So, best to be safe and pass to stern, giving plenty of distance between us. Rules of the road say to avoid collisions and it’s just plain good thinking!

As the morning progressed, the chop picked up and the winds made us hobbyhorse, fighting current and against the wind. This slows us down to 3-4 knots per hour so our passage was longer. The Japanese temple bell we received from Teresa and Dan tinkles constantly as a reminder that all is well.

We had several days of red tide on the Pacific side, with intense blooms of red and brown that made the water scary and the water temperature dropped by 20 degrees. So no more swimming. Algae blooms and thousands of small white jellyfish floating by near the surface. Good reminders: don’t fall in! 

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