sailing homepage : trip reports : 7: la paz to san diego : turtle bay
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Mar 11-16: Passage from Cabo San Lucas to Magdalena Bay to Punta Abreojos to Turtle Bay, pushing north with three consecutive overnight trips, twice relying on panga-delivered diesel, decompressing with a nice hike

Sunday came with a very bad hangover, a total lack of memory, and a feeling of dread and terror when I realized Duane wasn't on the boat with me. I checked topside to make sure he hadn't fallen asleep while throwing up over the side of the boat, but there was no sign of him. I immediately assumed the worst, and looked around for his face-down body floating among the anchored boats.

I called Jeff on Sara's phone, which luckily I still had (along with my wallet). "Hello?", "Hi, it's Will, uh, hey, is Duane with you?". Duane was there, I hadn't killed him, he hadn't died on his own, it was all good. Duane didn't think so, though, his wallet and cellphone were gone and like me he had a hangover so bad blinking was painful.

We agreed to meet at the fuel dock in an hour. I didn't even think about how difficult it would be to get the anchor up and pilot the boat in by myself. I guess they could have hired a water taxi, but I wasn't thinking clearly. Actually, now that I write this, I realize I was probably still drunk.

I changed clothes, had a spit shower, tried to drink some water, and ran upstairs to heave over the side. Okay, no water. I got the engine started and began hauling up the anchor. If you've been following along, you know we have something called a windlass: a mechanical device to help haul up the chain and anchor. We move a three-foot steel bar back and forth to slowly bring everything back onboard.

The windlass is awesome, a grandmother could haul up our chain and rode. I got half of the chain onboard before almost passing out from exhaustion. I'm not exaggerating, I was seeing spots and my peripheral vision was getting dark. I sat down and may have fallen asleep, I'm not sure.

I finally got to the fuel dock about 20 or 30 minutes late. Sara was pretty worried, Duane was still trying to cancel his wallet, and I just needed to sit down and rest. We were in pretty piss-poor shape. Sara was feeling best of the three of us, and she was still recovering from whatever bug she had.

I checked the weather while paying for diesel, and it was clear that we had a good weather window to make Magdalena Bay. We had to leave. We pulled the dinghy onboard, which in my state took another hour, and Duane was finally able to get through to VISA and cancel his wallet. He also cancelled his cellphone, which was a smart move I think.

So it was 11AM before we were finally ready to leave Cabo. We hadn't had time to read email, get a long-term weather forecast, explore Cabo, or get Duane any of the goodies he wanted to buy for family and friends. We felt like crap, but we had to get north while the weather was cooperating.

Leaving Cabo!
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Goodbye and good riddance
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I hate Cabo.

As we rounded Cabo Falso and started to make our way up the coast, we encountered wind directly on the nose, waves directly on the nose, and a knot current - you guessed it, right on the nose. We cranked up the motor and settled down for a day and a half of misery.

Why didn't we sail? Good question. Our boat can sail about 45-degrees off the wind, in which case only 70% of our boatspeed would be in the right direction (cosine(45)). With a breeze in the 12-15 knot range we sail at about 5 knots, which gets us only 3.5 knots velocity made good (VMG). We could motorsail at 7 knots, getting us 5kts VMG, or we could just motor straight into the wind and waves and make 6 knots VMG.

With more than 700nm ahead of us, every knot of boatspeed is important. On the average 30-hour passage that can be the difference between arriving at 2PM, before the afternoon winds pick up, and arriving at 6-7PM in the stronger wind and dwindling light.

So we motored north. I won't lie to you, it wasn't all that fun. Sure, there were times when the seas were calm enough that we could lie around and sun ourselves, or read an entire book in the span of a few hours, but there were also times when the waves were just large enough to kick up some spray, and we didn't want books out in the open.

By nightfall no one was feeling even a little bit better, and that first night was a real drag. Thankfully Duane brought two MP3 players, and we were also in posession of one Mari donated to the cause, so we had music to help us through the night watches.

This was also the first time we realized what kind of trip we had ahead of us: a miserable one! The temperatures got down to 50-degrees at night, and when you mix in the condensation that blanketed the boat, the occasional splash of wave spray, and the pounding headaches and general sicky feelings, it all added up to a crappy experience.

The only redeeming factor of our trip was that we had three people for the entire coast, so we did three hour watches. That gave everyone a theoretical six-hours of sleep between watches, which was sooo much better than attacking the Baja with just the two of us. Thanks, Duane, we owe you.

Woohoo!
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Another!
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More, more, more
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Diesel from our buddy, el capitano del puerto
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Fixing the autopilot
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It's an otto-dectomy
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Goodbye, Mag Bay!
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The fog of war
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Will and Sara off-watch
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Piles of wet foulies
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Sara drops the mainsail
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Will whips up some grub
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Our anchorage at Abreojos
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Well, it's dark and stormy: lets go!
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Woohoo! Turtle bay!
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Tense negotiations ensue
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Drying out our wet foulies
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Sara captures the scenic beauty
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It really is gorgeous here
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Gorgeous... and cold
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Our Everest
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Just getting off the fuel dock was a feat of endurance
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Duane climbing up up up
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The quaint town of Turtle Bay
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Nice socks, football hero
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On top of the world
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The mix-master enjoys his drink
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Life doesn't get much better
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Random 'best-of' trip reports:

$15 burger: it's good to be back in the US!

 

Turtles everywhere!

 

Happy couple in paradise