sailing homepage : trip reports : 2: baja-haha : day7: enroute, light

Nov 5, day 7: Enroute from Turtle Bay to Bahia Santa Maria, Sara's birthday, our first fish, light winds

Will and Sara swapped off the helm responsibility with Sean and Briana - at this point a real hot potato - and went straight to bed. The faster winds, higher waves, and considerable boatspeed were tossing us around, but sleep came quickly. There's nothing like an adrenaline deficit for a sleep aid.

After Will and Sara were out - evident to all by the snoring - Sean took over the controls in the cockpit and Briana grooved to the galley and began baking Sara's birthday cake. Baking can be difficult in a landlubber's kitchen, but the dedication required to cook anything laborious below decks in a rolly sea indicates true love and friendship.

Briana later wrote this, and we offer it verbatim: "OHIP & Plungy are wicked cool sailors. Not only can they brave the high seas, commune with Mother Nature, and survive Captain PP, but while rolling so fiercely that the rails on either side of the boat continually went under the water, we were not just able, but championed the oven to make, bake and decorate Sara's birthday cake at 3 in the morning and, of course, it came out as sweet perfection."

[ Side note from Will: I guess that makes me "Captain PP". I assume "PP" refers to "poopy pants", a moniker I earned after yelling at Mike (who was doing something unsafe) a year prior during a bay daysail on our previous boat. I had no idea our loving crew have been referring to me as such. More lashings are in order, methinks. At least until morale improves. ]

As Briana worked her magic downstairs, Sean was slaving away upstairs. Sometime during that midnight to sunrise watch, our amazing wind and waves had begun to die down, and the sails were starting to flog. There is nothing so frustrating as being on watch and not being able to do anything to get the wind back in your favour.

Sara and Will woke to the sounds of scampering, swearing, furling and unfurling. By 5AM, Sara decided there was no sleep to be had and joined the weary crew in the cockpit. Half an hour later, the flapping had increased to a frenzy. Will suddenly appeared above decks, sleepily looked at Sara and Briana - both watching Sean taming the main, being beaten by the whipping genoa - rolled up the headsail, and promptly went back to bed.

Despite the uneasy start to the morning, Sara's birthday was amazing. Will rejoined everyone an hour later, and all watched the sun rise and the moon set around 6AM. Sara and Will took over from Sean and Briana while they went below to go to "sleep." Fifteen minutes later, they reappeared with their masterpiece cake in hand and the trio sang Happy Birthday. It was a beautiful and wonderful start to the day.

The special pan cake


Happy birthday baby

It should never be said that we on Wanderlust do not eat well--however, we typically keep no desserts on board. We've got a wedding to go to in December! The cake was an exception, and it was demolished in less than 30 minutes.

After cake we all had cockpit showers with freshwater. Fresh, drinkable water that we just poured on ourselves! Everyone noticed Will wincing when the pump was running, filling the insecticide sprayer, but a birthday is a special thing, and he must love Sara very much.

Everyone poses with the masterpiece


Sean and Briana attack!

All were satiated, much cleaner, and riding a nice sugar high when Sean noticed that we had caught a fish!

After leaping for joy, we all realized that no one on board had actually ever killed a fish, much less filleted one. Sara grabbed the fish books, Briana grabbed a camera, and Will and Sean courageously began to reel our dinner in. It was a fighter, and everyone on board was happy to have an identification book on hand--revealing that our first catch was a medium sized dorado (aka mahi-mahi, aka dolphin fish).

It was about 3 feet long, maybe 20-25 lbs. We named him "Jorje".

Boys haul the fish in


The fish gets bonked

As Sean and Will began to kill the poor thing, bonking it with an old stanchion brace tube and stabbing it with a pocketknife, Sara turned green and suddenly was much less interested in eating fish. It's a raw, bloody experience. Very primal.

Sara grabbed the fish book and began talking the duo through the filleting process. No time like the present to figure this stuff out! That book will never be the same, it's now covered in fish blood. Also, books about filleting are not detailed enough. More pictures are required!

However our first attempt was successful, and we later ate a wonderful birthday dinner and post-birthday dinner--2 meals for 4 people from 1 fish ain't bad.

Fileting our buddy the dorado


Kissing our catch before tossing the remains back

After cleaning up the blood and gore, with our fish on ice, Briana and Sean went below to catch some shut-eye for real this time. Will also ducked below and came out to the cockpit with a pretty little package for Sara to open. [ Sara's note: It is really nice having a jewelry lover for a fiance'. ]

Sara with her dolphin necklace


Less than five minutes later

Just after receiving the sparkly dolphin necklace, a pod of about 100 dolphins came over to celebrate with arobatic jumps and flips. Sara and Will yelled for Briana and Sean (who at this point had only had about an hour of sleep) to come up and watch the spectacle. After getting adjusted to the light, both were delighted to be awake and enjoyed the show. By 11AM it was one of the best birthdays Sara had ever had.

Sara and Briana enjoy the show


Dolphins everywhere

The wind was going away. The mainsail was flapping so much we had to drop it. Finally our ultra-light asymmetric spinnaker had a purpose! Just a few minutes later, it was hanging useless. The afternoon was quiet, with lots of reading and yakking. Sara and Will were in lovey-dovey land.

Will and Sara have a quiet moment


Sean drifts off while reading

Sean made an Asian surprise with the fish - it was awesome - and we all ate together before Will conked out about 7PM.

We're becalmed; it sucks


Will, Sara, and Briana work the wheel while Sean cooks

The wind picked up and our boatspeed climbed to 4.5-5.5 knots. Sean lasted until almost 11PM before conking out in the cockpit. The girls were in control, and when the wind started to drop again, they rolled up the headsail immediately. Seems like the smart way to deal with a flogging sail!