Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Summing Up: Stats from Our Southbound Journey

We ended up with an extra layover day in the marina at Cabo San Lucas, due to some questionable fish tacos that we both ate yesterday. It didn't take much of our depleted energy to add up all the numbers from our trip from Astoria to Los Cabos. Here are the basics:
  • Miles traveled:  1884
  • Average speed: 6 miles per hour
  • Days spent traveling; 23
  • Overnight passages: 8 nights
  • Harbors where we encountered storms that were described as "unseasonable" or "very unusual": Astoria, Eureka, San Diego, Turtle Bay.
  • Wildlife highlights: Risso's dolphins in Monterey Bay; pilot whales off Bahia Magdalena; puffins off the Oregon Coast; tropical frigate birds off Cabo Falso.
  • Books heard via iPod by the mate on watch: 5 volumes in the Patrick O'Brian Master and Commander series. 
  • Books heard via iPod by the Captain while on watch: 0  (He is definitely wiser, deeper, and more familiar with the stars as a result.)
  • Culinary highlights: Tomato and Corn Pie made from Farmer's Market in Astoria; fresh caught tuna in fruit salsa in Turtle Bay.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Will you still need me, will you still feed me....

Early on Saturday morning, we reached the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula, and turned east, past Cabo San Lucas. By midday, we were anchored at Puerto Los Cabos, near San Jose del Cabo.  Sunday was the Captain's birthday; even if he has reached the ripe old age of 64,  he is still needed and worth feeding.  His birthday brunch, at a farm based restaurant called Flora's Field Kitchen, included a wonderful cocktail made from Hibiscus grown on the farm.

We are very pleased to be finished with the long journey down the coast. We are spending our mornings hiking on the beach and in the estuary near  San Jose del Cabo, and afternoons dealing with chores and provisions. But all of this is done in brilliant sun, gentle breezes, and a sense of Mexican homecoming.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Warm Water, Tropical Birds

Finally, we have reached the Baja Mexico that haunts the winterbound Oregon imagination: brilliant sunshine, warm dry air, and water temperatures reading about seventy degrees. We are in beautiful Bahia Maria, a big, calm water anchorage sheltered from the Pacific by a mountainous peninsula called Punta Hughes. Just south of here is the entrance to the much larger Magdalena Bay.
We arrived in Bahia Maria in the mid afternoon yesterday after a thirty-one hour downwind passage, more than half of it under sail. We used every combination of downwind rig: spinnaker; wing on wing with the jib poled out; jib alone, and mainsail with a motor assist. So, even though this was a shorter passage than some we have made, we ended up bone-tired last night, and were asleep by 7:30.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Turtle Bay Shoreline

We are still in Turtle Bay, having weathered rain and a fairly big blow yesterday and overnight. Enough rain fell to wash the decks and rigging free of the salt. Now the big power boats have departed to muscle into headwinds and big seas. Some of us sailors are waiting for the swell to die down, and for the wind to swing back into its usual northerly direction.
East of Turtle Bay there are a ranges of low mountains that boarder the great Vizcaino Desert. As the storm cleared, some rays of sun illuminated the mountains, while the clouds still brooded overhead. Wonderful Baja colors.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Mexico by Moonlight

We are now in Bahia De Tortugas, about halfway down the Baja peninsula. Most of that distance we accomplished in a 285 mile passage over 48 hours - our longest passage to date. The two nights, although a wintery twelve hours long, were lit bright by the full moon. The photo above shows the full moon rising over the coast south of Ensenada at sunset. The days are anything but wintery, with bright sun and some good sailing winds, including hours on the spinnaker.

Friday, November 04, 2011

San Diego, Que Haceres

There is a real storm passing through San Diego today. In the past hour we have had winds clocking to 35 knots in our Shelter Island moorage, and pelting rains. The temperature is a chill 58 degrees, more Portland than San Diego.  Just exactly the kind of weather to spawn a rainbow with the first sun break.

We arrived in San Diego on October 26th in fog and generally gray conditions. Within hours, the fog abated, and we have had mostly brilliant sun and warm weather ever since.  Great weather for....

chores?  In Spanish, "que haceres", which you could translate "what to do". We had a long list of things to attend to - normal boat maintenance, some updates for this boat - now into it's seventh year of service, some new acquisitions to make the sailing life better. We figured we would only be able to accomplish a few of the things on our long list. Little did we know that San Diego's marine services industry would make (gulp) virtually anything possible.

So - new boat carpets. The crew shows up at 8:30 am to make patterns for the new carpet pieces. At 1:30 pm, they are back with nine odd-shaped pieces, perfectly cut and bound, and have them installed by 2:00. Engine service - can do (the Captain tries to get the mechanic sign on as crew). New mattresses - four days. Troubleshooting our aging dodger - no problem. Restitched with new plastic (strata glass) in a week.  Wetsuits for the crew - accomplished in an hour, leaving time for a SoCal classic, the In and Out Burger.