NAVEGAR É PRECISO
The sail to San Benito Islands started with great wind, then no wind and then too much wind. We were surfing down the waves at times at 9.44 knots with only the staysail and 3 reefs in the main. We were doing a constant speed of about 7 to 8 knots. This lasted for about 2 hours and then we took the main down as the waves were too big and push the boat too much on the side for my comfort level. By this time we were quite exhausted by all the hoisting, dropping and putting in reefs, so we settle for the night with only the staysail and was doing 5 to 6 knots. The wind dropped during the night and we did not feel like hoisting the mainsail, so the trip was much longer, took us +- 30 hours to reach San Benito Islands.
During our trip we saw quite a few boats from the Baja HaHa fleet. This year I believe there are 195 boats. We tried to contact our friends on S/V Otter, but they were not within VHF range. We did speak to S/V Music from the fleet and they will pass our regards to Greg and Joyce. We might see them in Turtle bay on Sunday.
We left this morning Thursday 28 October for Cedros Island which is just 21 nm south east. There was no wind so we motored. Cedros Island is the more beautiful Island so far. Dinis had very good propagation on both islands and made a good run on the ham radio.
Friday or Saturday 29/30 October we are planning to go to Natividad Island which is just 15 nm south from Cedros Island and then make our way to Turtle bay on Sunday. We are running low on fresh vegetables and fruit.
From Turtle bay we will make a run to Magdalena bay which should take us between 2 to 3 days.
We decided to sail to Guadalupe Island first (166 nm south west of San Quintin bay) then we will make our way to San Benito and Cedros Islands. We left on Saturday 23 October morning at 10:00 and had nice sailing on a close reach all the way. The wind picked up (18 to 20 knots) towards late afternoon and we had 2 reefs in the main and the genoa furled to only 90%. We were still doing a very fast passage. Our average speed was 6.42 knots and we did our best 24 hours yet at 154 nm. It took us close to 26 hours to drop anchor in Melpomene Cove on the south of Guadalupe Island.
The island is very high, which has impacted Dinis a bit for his radio contacts. Again the local fishermen were very friendly and gave us lots of lobster, half size tuna and a red snapper look alike fish in exchange for a bottle of wine, half a bottle of tequila and I baked a cake for them. Our freezer is fully loaded. Needless to say we had lobster for lunch and supper yesterday and will have a lobster diet again for today.
The wind picked up, so we will stay another day. We left Tuesday morning 26 October for San Benito Islands, which is +- 150 nm south east of Guadalupe Island.
We left Ensenada on Monday morning heading for the Islas De Todos Santos. The wind was blowing a nice breeze and we decided to get ourselves back into the sailing habit and hoist the sails for a nice little sail to the islands. Dinis new mission is to try and make as many contacts as he can with other ham radio stations from the islands in Mexico. So we drop anchor for the afternoon and early evening for Dinis to do his QSOs.
We left the Islas De Todos Santos at 7pm on Monday night heading for Isla San Martin, which is just north west of Cabo San Quintin. There was no wind so we motored all night. On Tuesday morning a dragonfly and another little bird joined us for part of our trip. We always enjoy picking up hitch hikers along the way. We drop anchor in a beautiful Caleta Hassler anchorage late Tuesday morning. Both of us were tired and decided that a snooze is just what the doctor recommended.
We decided to stay an extra day or two here, as it is very peaceful. Dinis made friends with the local fishermen. They bought us a fresh barracuda and Dinis gave them a bottle of wine. We also caught 3 little fish from the boat. What a feast we had for supper time.
Again Dinis made his QSOs and he is getting better at it. He says it is more difficult to handle the pile ups on the radio than what he had anticipated.
The San Benito and Cedros Islands are the next islands on our list.
We had a lovely sail from San Diego to Los Coronados Islands, Mexico. Dinis made quite a few QSO from there while we were waiting for night fall. We decided to sail during the night so that we can arrive during day time in Ensenada. In the end this strategy did not work that good as again we arrived under fog.
During our trip to Ensenada we noticed that the oil that lubricate the shaft was leaking out and that seawater must have made its way in for the oil to be pushed out. This is not a big problem, but we decided to haul the boat and check it out anyway. Rather now than later.
So on Monday after clearing customs and getting all the paperwork done the boat was hauled out by Baja Naval Marina and Boatyard. What a fantastic job the boatyard did hauling and launching the boat. They are very profesional, friendly and efficient.
The culprit was that the first lip seal corroded and that seawater was pushing the oil up. Anyway we replaced all the seals and put new zinks on. It took us a little longer than anticipated to re-align the engine. The boat was launched Thursday morning.
On Tuesday we met with a ham radio friend (Hector XE2GAG) that Dinis communicated with previously when we were still planning our trip. Hector and Olga took us to a traditional Mexican restuarant 'El Parian'. The company, food and atmosphere were great. After dinner we went to the famous Hussong's Cantina. The oldest bar in the Californias, established in 1892 and a designated historical landmark. What a fantastic evening. We listened to the Norteños (Northerners), which is a musical folk group. Our friends spoiled us by asking the group to sing 2 songs for Dinis and myself. This is a lifelong experience that Dinis and myself will remember and cherish. It was an absolutely lovely evening. Hector took a video of the Norteños singing, althought the cantina was quite dark you can still hear the lovely song and atmosphere.
Hector and Olga drove us around for shopping and also sightseing Ensenada. Ensenada is a lovely city surounded by many hills. Hector also took us to visit his family and his radio shack. Dinis enjoyed that a lot, made a QSO from Hector's radio to Columbia. We had a pleasant visit with his family and again were spoiled.
We are heading south on Monday morning (18 October) after getting our clearance letter stamp by the harbour master.
San Diego’s weather has changed. It is hot and we love it. We had some rain, lightning and thunder yesterday. This year’s weather has been really foggy and cold all the way from Vancouver, BC. Finally we sleep with the hatches open during night time to allow airflow.
Glorietta Bay, this is the first anchorage after La Playa that we both enjoyed. It is next to a golf course with a small beach, just gorgeous. The public dingy dock is great, no problems like the Cruiser’s anchorage.
I went for a swim in our backyard and tested our underwater camera. The water is not that clear, but I was able to take some pictures and a video just to make sure all is OK. Joyce and Greg from S/V Otter, came over from their marina to visit with us at Glorietta Bay. We visited town and the famous and beautiful ‘Hotel Del Coronado’
Our automatic tiller pilot and outboard engine are all fixed. We had a small leak in our hot water system, but Dinis fixed that and also all the other little problems that seems to keep popping up. We did not yet figure out how we will change our setup for the tiller pilot. The recommendation from another cruiser did not work that well, so back to the drawing board.
We will stay in Gorietta Bay until Sunday morning and then make our way to Mission Bay. It took me 2 months to finally relax and to start to enjoy the cruising lifestyle.
We are monitoring the weather for Mexico.