Exploring New Territory

April 16, 1997 (Wednesday)

We agreed with our buddy to be ready to depart at 9:00 AM. We try to do as much as we can the night before so each departure is smooth. While in Ensenada, we did little projects that hopefully will make our next stretch a little smoother. We installed a small bilge pump in the bilge that captures water from the packing. Hopefully we won’t have to watch it so closely.

We are now logging our ventures using Zulu time. This will add a new degree of challenge. As if I’m not already confused enough about what day and time it is. Since most global communication is scheduled using Zulu time, we will more likely tune into things on time. We know how important the cruising networks and weather-fax will become to us so we need to be in synch with their times.

We checked weather-fax just before departure and learned that the weather looks good for the next two days. This trip will take us approximately 50 miles off shore most of the way. This will be a good test of our sea worthiness.

Our first way-point was be Todos Santos Island. We settled down and enjoyed the nice sail. This didn't last long because our buddy went screaming past us and was pulling way out in front of us. The relaxation was short lived. We took off the auto pilot and hand steered around the point. We worked the sails better and as the white caps appeared, Mouse Pad went into action. The speed increased but the swells were still making the ride a little rough.

The wind made several changes and forced us to change sails many times. The word ‘relaxation’ continues to haunt me. The skipper now says ‘after Cabo’. I'll bet when we reach Cabo3 the word changes to ‘Marquises’. (Yes, this is spelled correctly! This is the ‘proper’ French spelling.) This still beats suits, panty hose and sitting behind a desk from 8 to 5. The wind proves to be average but the swells leave a little to be desired. As I look down below I notice how much has shifted. Thus begins my project list for our next anchorage. How much can I stow or anchor with good ole Velcro to minimize my work on the next leg. The skipper must be really tired. He is sleeping through all of this action. After a couple hours of this, things begin to settle down. We decide to put up our trusty 150% jib and low and behold it was the perfect choice. We were going wing on wing and picked up pace immediately. Shortly after this tactical move our buddy hailed us on the radio to see if we had strong wind conditions or had turned on the engine. Neither was true, just our trusty, worn but not exhausted, 150 and the spinnaker pole. Mouse Pad has gone into action again.

Much to our surprise, the winds continued to pick up. We contemplated reducing the jib to the 115% but opted to put a reef in the main instead. Less work. After all, we are cruisers now. We need to conserve energy. We left the reef in for about six hours. Honestly, this was due to weather conditions not our lack of energy. This eventually reversed and we had to turn on the engine to compensate for the lack of wind. We motored the rest of the way into ‘Turtle Bay. As we entered the harbor the winds increased and remained constant most of the time we were in this harbor. We set anchor at 1740 (Zulu), tidied up the boat and went into our usual comatose sleep routine.

 

At anchor in Turtle Bay

Puerto San Bartolome (a.k.a. Turtle Bay) Anchorage

 

After a restful night we began the next day at sunrise. We tackled our critical projects and hailed our buddies on the radio. As they store their dinghy on their fore-deck, we begged a ride to shore with them and toured the town of Puerto San Bartolome. We observed a quiet little fishing village with meager accommodations. There were several small mercados with limited supplies. There were, however, two ice cream stores, a laundromat, a telecom center, a police station, a motel, a restaurant and several other small merchants. As we toured the town on foot, we stopped at the local ‘mini market’ and bought something to drink. No sooner had we resumed our venture on foot did we encounter three military vehicles with full staff on board. At that very moment in unison, we chimed out ‘we forgot to bring our visas and passports’. Fortunately we were not stopped but we all agreed to ‘not leave town (boat) without them’ again.

 

Puerto San Bartolome's Beach & village

As there isn't much to see in this nice little harbor, we prepared to leave for our next destination. At 10:20 Zulu (or 3:20 PM local time) we pull anchor and head out to Bahia Magdalena, about a 225 mile journey.

 

NOTE: Comments and suggestions should be sent to Jerry Reese, Council Bluffs, IA.

 



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