Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Back in the USA

Arriving in Ensenada after the long passage up the Baja coast is always fun. The hard part of the voyage is over and we are rewarded with hot showers, good food and plenty of friends around.  Ensenada also marks the end of the long, cold overnight passages which for a two person crew can be tiring. Fortunately we had good conditions for most of the trip from Cabo so we arrived in good shape and after a hot shower and a good night's sleep we spent the next three days enjoying Ensenada.

Big new tugs in Ensenada
The weather was perfect for long strolls along the city's bustling Malecon. When there is a cruise ship in port, it's full of foreign tourists, mostly Yanks. On other days Mexican vacationers come to breathe the fresh air and feast on street tacos. Mexico has enjoyed strong economic growth in the last couple of years and the tugs pictured above are an indicator of that growth. With the increasing likelihood of a west coast longshoreman strike in the US later this year, we can expect more US bound cargoes to pass through the Mexican ports of Ensenada, Manzanillo and Lazaro Cardenas.

The Carnival Inspiration calls at Long Beach and Avalon as well as Ensenada.
Even with a bit of haze, the San Diego skyline is beautiful from the top of Point Loma
A sailboat picks its way through the vast kelp beds off Point Loma

On Monday, June 16th we cleared the breakwater at 0100, bound for San Diego. It was a calm and uneventful 65 mile passage up the coast and we arrived at the customs dock in San Diego at 1130. We were met by our good friends, Tom and Mary Ellen when we arrived and we shared a toast to a voyage completed before the customs officials arrived. By 1330 the paperwork was completed and Finisterra was tied up at Southwestern Yacht Club's guest dock. We stayed in San Diego until Saturday, June 21st, then departed for Finisterra's home port of Avalon on Catalina Island, arriving at 1830. We often drop a hook over the stern when conditions are good in hopes of catching dinner. On this day, about 15 miles southeast of Avalon, we caught something else.

We couldn't figure out what it was at first. This was Lisa's fish so she was reeling it in while I went for my camera.
She said, "I think it's some kind of shark." We guestimated that it was about 40 inches long and weighed roughly 12-15 pounds.

One look at those jaws and we knew we had a baby great white on the hook. 
This was just a baby, but it looked dangerous enough to me.
I'll never forget the sound those jaws made as he snapped and bit at the hook in his mouth. It didn't take long for him to bite through the 40 pound test nylon leader, which was a good thing because there was no way I was going to bring this bad boy into the boat. Unlike other fish, Great White sharks are born live after a gestation period of 11-18 months (different sources claim various gestation periods). While in the womb, the baby shark apparently feeds on its siblings. Once out of the womb, the baby shark is on its own. This fellow had to be very young, which means his mama was probably not far away.
In this closeup you can see two rows of teeth, the large eye and the olfactory sensor near his snout. Even as a pup, this was one scary looking fish!

After that bit of excitement we arrived at Avalon at 1830 and took a mooring just off the pier, where we stayed a couple of days before moving up to Two Harbors.

1 comment:

  1. congrats on your destruction of the wildlife...