Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Los Cabos to Ensenada

We waited patiently for that weather window and it finally materialized on June 19th. We departed San Jose del Cabo at 0830, motoring into a 3 or 4 knot headwind under a gloriously sunny sky. It's about 17 miles from San Jose to San Lucas, and during that time the wind increased to about 17 knots and the sea temperature plummeted from 82 to 70 degrees.

We rounded the point at San Lucas around noon in a building breeze. By the time we reached Cabo Falso, about 4 miles further on, the wind was a steady 27 knots on the nose, with gusts to something over 30. Staying close inshore, we rounded Falso and headed northward along the coast and by 1500 the breeze had dropped to about 12 knots and the rough seas were replaced by easy westerly swells.  Late in the afternoon the breeze dropped even further, and we motored for the next twenty four hours over glassy swells and almost calm wind.

Route from Los Cabos to Turtle Bay.

We arrived at Bahia Santa Maria, about 200 miles from San Jose in the early afternoon of June 20th and anchored about half a mile off the beach in the northwest corner of the bay. We were hoping to go ashore here and explore the beaches and nearby sand dunes, but there was enough of a southerly swell running to make a dinghy landing untenable.  Instead, we got the anchor up and headed out of the bay and into a favorable wind. We sailed all afternoon and into the night until the wind shut off completely around 2100. We arrived at Turtle Bay at dawn on June 22nd. It was a pleasant, quiet day and we spent it catching up on sleep while we waited for Enrique to deliver some fuel, which he did in the late afternoon.

The favorable conditions we had been enjoying were forecast to end soon, so we got underway just after sunrise on June 23rd. Choosing to go up the east side of Isla Cedros, we motored into a very light headwind and flat seas as far as the Dewey Channel, which lies between Isla Natividad and the mainland. There we encountered rough, confused seas until we reached the southern tip of Cedros which provided protection from the northwest wind and seas. The easy conditions lasted until we reached the northern tip of the island. Once beyond the lee of the island we had 20-25 knots of wind on the nose and 5 foot seas for a couple of hours, then the wind moderated but the swells remained big and steep. We slowed to 4 - 5 knots for the next 50 miles to keep the boat from pounding in the unfriendly seas. Throughout the passage from Cedros to Sacramento reef we were bucking a current that sometimes reached a knot and a half.

On the morning of June 24th we passed about 10 miles west of Sacramento reef and found the counter current here to be around half a knot. The rest of the passage to Punta Banda consisted of motoring into 3 to 8 foot seas and overcast skies. We rounded the point around noon on June 25th. With a fair wind, we doused the engine and sailed the last ten miles to Ensenada where we took a berth on gangway A in the Cruiseport Marina. The plan is to stay here until after the Fourth of July holiday, then head north to San Diego for a few days.

Turtle Bay to Ensenada

A few miles south of Punta Banda we were joined for a few minutes by a pod of Orcas. I was so fascinated looking at them, I didn't get many photos.

These are females. Males have taller, more vertical dorsal fins.

While here in Ensenada we were immediately among friends and have been spending our time socializing and cleaning up the boat after the long bash from Los Cabos. A couple of days ago I decided to put a couple of coats of varnish on the cap rails. The first coat went on the starboard rail perfectly, but today, about an hour after I finished putting the second coat on, a squall passed through, dropping a sprinkling of rain. I thought my varnish job was ruined but luckily it survived intact.

Ensenada is our last destination in Mexico, so I've been taking some time to reflect on all we learned about this beautiful country on this voyage. We saw so many beautiful sights and enjoyed the company of lots of friends, both Mexicans and foreigners, it's hard to name one specific thing that stands out as special. I guess the main impression that I'm taking with me is that Mexico is getting better. The people seem to have a continuously improving standard of living. The roads, schools, cities and infrastructure all seem to be getting better. Economic activity and industry are vastly better than they were when we cruised here aboard Honcho five years ago. But one thing that hasn't changed is the wonderfully friendly people of Mexico. In my opinion they are among the nicest in the world.

When we arrived here in Ensenada we learned of the recent supreme court decisions in the USA regarding health care and gay marriage. Good health care available to everyone, and tolerance for diversity among our people are worthy goals, so it's a nice feeling to know that we are returning to a better USA.

No comments:

Post a Comment