|Denis and Rosario - they survived!|
The great thing about spending your second year Cruising the
same area is that your friends finally know where to find you and come for a
visit. Since I returned from working in
Vancouver for the month of January, we have hosted three different sets of
friends on board. Our first guests were
fellow Bluewater Cruising Association members Rosario and Denis. They recently upgraded from a 27 foot
Catalina to a 42 foot ketch and were hoping this trip would give them some
insight into what it is like to “live the dream”, which they are planning to do
in a few years. They may have got more
than they bargained for…
|Choppy seas in the La Paz channel|
You may remember from previous blog posts that the weather this
year has been a challenge. Unfortunately
the first two weeks of February were no exception. After a few days of relative calm in the
anchorage, we left La Paz on a strong westerly and sailed all the way up to the
top end of Isla Partida 33 nm away. After
Rosario had a quick swim with the sea lions at Isla Islotes, we anchored in the
north cove of Ensenada Grande at the very top end of the island. We enjoyed about an hour of relative calm
weather, then the “Norther” started. It then
proceeded to blow 25-35 knots continuously for the next 8 days!! The local Sea of Cortez weather guru “Weather
Geary” said he had never seen such sustained high winds around the La
Paz/Islands area except during a hurricane.
Crazy. After hunkering down in VERY
gusty Ensenada Grande for 3 nights, we finally ventured out for a downwind sail
20 nm south to Bahia Falsa, just outside La Paz channel. Despite feeling a bit anxious prior to
pulling up anchor, both Rosario and Denis took the helm and sailed in winds of up
to 32 knots. They were both surprised at
how comfortable and easy it was to sail downwind in those kinds of winds and
big seas. They did great!
The next day we entered La Paz despite the
port being closed - we’d never seen the channel so rough. Luckily our good old Rocna anchored us to the
sea floor despite the contrary strong wind and currents.
The next day we did a crew change. Despite the raging Norther creating huge seas
in the anchorage, Gary managed to get Denis, Rosario and their luggage over to
the marina, and deliver our second guests, Lynne and Nadine’s gear back to the
boat safely (ie, dry). Unfortunately we
can’t say the same for Nadine and Lynne themselves. I can’t remember ever being so wet on a dingy
|Nadine and Lynne|
Lynne and Nadine are friends from the Vikings Sailing Club
down at Jericho. They both love to sail
and were probably a bit disappointed that the harbor was closed for the first 2
days of their visit so we couldn’t leave.
Luckily, Carnival was on in town and so there were other things to do
|Only in Mexico - a "my little pony" float during Carnival|
The weather finally calmed down
enough for us to leave the harbor and have a boisterous upwind sail (the exact
kind I hate) all the way back up to Ensenada Grande. After some debate about which anchorage to
pull into, we chose the south bay.
Unfortunately the winds didn’t abate and so we had a bouncy night due to
the wrap around swell entering the bay.
Undeterred, Lynne, Nadine and Gary did a hike to the other side of the
island the next morning, before pulling up anchor and trying to sail up to Isla
Islotes for a swim with the sea lions.
We left they bay under power doing 5.5 knots, and were quickly reduced
to doing 2 knots into the biggest, steepest seas I have ever seen! After 3 minutes of literally pounding into
these beasts and absolutely soaking the deck, I decided we’d had enough and
turned the boat around. No sea lions for
us! Instead, we had a pleasant downwind
sail down to a bay half way down the island where we anchored for a swim and
sundowners. We then had a nice evening
sail down to Bahia San Gabriel and anchored under calm conditions (for once) as
the sun set. In the morning we dingy’d
over to the frigate bird colony and checked out all the new hatchlings. Very cool.
We then had a calm motor, followed by a great downwind sail back to La Paz.
|Neil and Maureen - The marriage test-SUP'ing to shore|
The weather then finally started to settle down into the
more typical winter pattern. This was
just in time for our third set of guests, Maureen and Neil. I worked with Maureen at STEMCELL for 10
years before I left on my leave-of-absence and she retired. We just got back from an idyllic 7 day trip
in the islands, where we actually had to motor about 75% of the way (which was
a good thing as we needed to run the water maker).
|The first calm seas of the entire season|
We were finally able to put the paddleboard
in the water, swim, snorkel, hike and relax on deck without being blown out of
the cockpit. We saw turtles, boobies,
black hares, whales, dolphins, and Maureen and Neil even saw a coyote. This was definitely more like it.
|Idyllic Isla San Francisco|
Unfortunately all good things must come to an end
though. We arrived back into La Paz last
night just in time for the winds to crank up again. It is currently blowing a hoolie out here in
the anchorage and the waves are as big as we’ve ever seen them. We both got
absolutely drenched upon returning to the boat from a diesel jerry can run.
Luckily things are supposed to calm down again later today, in time for us to
complete a long list of boat jobs before we head north next week up to the
Loreto area to meet our next sets of visitors.
You may remember from our previous posts that this winter
has had some spectacular sailing.
Denis and Rosario experienced the best of the season
although a certain someone was less than enthused. When Lynne and Nadine joined us we got more
of the same as soon as the wussy port captain decided conditions were boring
enough to let us go out.
I mean really,
where has the concept of personal responsibility gone when you can’t even do
what you want in Mexico! Anyway we did
get a great upwind sail to the top of Partida and despite my protests stopped
for the night. We then had a few days of
nothing memorable (except good friends on board) and were then joined by our
last guests Maureen and Neil. Despite
being joined by another set of great friends I have blocked most of this trip
from my memory…. Booooooring!
|Completing some sewing projects|
I mean what sailing adventure can possibly be
fun when it involves sewing. To add to
that the Gary curse continues still.
Neil has done many things including spending time as a commercial
fisherman… You’d think if anyone could
break the curse it would be him. Well,
think again. Despite hearing calls of
joy on the radio about fish catching galore, none were to be had by us. I even left the boat one night in the hopes
the curse was proximity related. Not to
|The "Gary Curse" continues...|
Last night we had another norther kick up and the winds are
fantastic again. Hopefully we will still
have some of the sailing season left by next week when we try to head north up
to Loreto. Transferring jerry can after
jerry can of diesel sucks…
Some pics taken with our new camera this season:
|Pelicans on the bow|
|Gary on the cliff edge: Isla San Francisco|
|Frigate bird hatchling|
|Male frigate bird|
|Another pelican on the bow|
This was an amusing post :) quite the difference in perspectives, for sure! We hope you're doing well, despite the atypical conditions. We send our love from the Galapagos! ~Jessie & NeilReplyDelete
Hi there - wondered if you have heard Scott and Tanya on the VHF recently or seen them in your travels? Hope you get a long stretch of good weather.ReplyDelete