April 21, 1997 (Monday)
Before departing to our next destination we spent some quiet time studying our charts and programmed the GPS with the necessary WayPoints. We discussed with ‘Island Girl’s’ skipper our original plan to go to Bahia Magdalena or possibly to an alternate anchorage. We decided to not go all the way to Mag Bay but instead to Bahia Santa Maria. Other cruisers recommended this bay to us before we left Marina del Rey. The bay is good size and a lot less frequented than Mag Bay. Bahia Santa Maria2 is about 40 miles north of Mag Bay and appears to have a very easy entrance. Before we leave we decided to send out some E-mail messages using our new system. We crossed our fingers and hoped that they arrived successfully.
We set sail for Bahia Santa Maria2 at 20:20 or 3:20 PM local time. Our departure was pretty uneventful. We got out of the shadow of the point and put up the spinnaker. We had a nice sail and saw boat speeds up to 7.6. This lasted for about four hours. We eventually had to take down the spinnaker because the wind was dead astern of us. We reefed the main, furled the jib and settled in for a constant 4.5 knots for the majority of the night. We did eventually have to turn on the trusty ole engine to maintain some descent speed and to settle down the boat against the swells.
At about 7:00 in the morning we got a call from ‘Island Girl’ indicating that they were slowing down to bring a fish on board. They had decided to throw out the fishing line out of boredom and had immediately caught a fish. A little while later another call came indicating that they had lost the fish so they were resuming speed. They weren't too concerned about losing the fish because it was a Bonito and they aren't fond of Bonito.
Not to be outdone, Phill threw out his fishing line. We dug out the fishing reference books and began to familiarize ourselves to some degree. After all we would soon be living off the sea. We only got through the introduction section in a couple of the books and Phill had his first bit of activity on his fishing line. He thought that he had just snagged some kelp. There was a tug on the line but not enough fight for it to be a fish. As Phill reeled it in he was quite surprised to see that it was actually a fish and a decent size one. As we scurried through our books we guessed that we had also caught a Bonito. Phill scratched his head to figure out how to kill it. We had read in some of the cruising books that a few drops of booze in each gill would work wonders. The hard part was to decide which bottle to offer the fish. We chose Taquila. The Taquila did the job. The fish went into enough of a stupor that Phill could finish him off. We quickly put together a makeshift table so Phill (not me, thank you very much) could filet the fish. He did a super job. We took pictures of his first catch.
Our 1st fish (a bonito??)
We asked ourselves if we needed to cook and eat in shifts until we decided what we had really caught. We decided to go for the gusto so we cooked the whole fish and ate it together. We had a fish stew. The fish was a little gamy. Phill liked the stew much better than I did. He got to eat the leftovers for lunch the next day. I opted for something else. One meal was enough for me.
We pulled into the harbor and did our normal chores associated with anchoring. The first morning we were greeted by a panga with local fishermen. They were making their welcome wagon rounds offering lobster to each cruiser. Phill says that I will be jaded by the availability of lobster over the next year. Well as this is only the first month, I chimed in that we were definitely interested in their lobsters. We bought two beautiful lobsters for only US$3.00 each. After our purchase we kicked ourselves. We made no attempt to negotiate the price. I’m sure we could have done better. The next thing we had to figure out was how to keep them alive until dinnertime and then how to cook them. We cleaned out one of our buckets on board and filled it with seawater. Our next mission was to figure out how to cook them. If I say so myself, we did a fine job. The only problem was that we didn't have a cooking pot large to cook them together. We made do with our largest pot and cooked them separately. They were delicious. Next time we will get brave and stir up a wonderful sauce to compliment the poor little critters.
After this little bit of excitement, we looked around us to see who had arrived after us. We saw a boat on the horizon that was approaching the harbor. As we looked at the boat we realized that they are still flying their spinnaker and I get excited. It appeared that their sail had ‘Tweety Bird’ on it. We dug out the binoculars to get a better look and we get that real sick feeling in our stomachs. Their spinnaker was still up but it was not doing well. It had hour-glassed around the forstay and was definitely going to be difficult to get down. Phill immediately began to analyze the situation and decide how he would deal with such a dilemma. It appeared that they were going to do exactly as Phill was suggesting (sail in circles until the sail unwrapped itself). For some reason they did not complete a circle but altered course and motored into the anchorage with the sail still wrapped around the forstay. What we didn't know at the time was that they still had their jib up. Once they were anchored they worked to get the sail down but in the process they tore the sail. Once things settled down, we realized that the new neighbor was ‘Impossible’. We were anchored near them in Turtle Bay. We hailed them on the radio, welcomed them to the bay and asked if we could help them with their damaged sail. They had another spinnaker and were going to wait until they got to La Paz to have a sail maker replace the damaged panel.
Later that morning we were pleasantly surprised to see another boat pull into the bay that we had docked near in San Diego, ‘Kokopelli’. We were building a small little family as we worked our way to Cabo. It was nice to see familiar people.
We make it a practice to leave our VHF radio on all the time, even when we are in an anchorage. Because of this, we heard a call come from one of our neighbors, ‘Impossible’. They reported that they had a medical emergency on board and were seeking assistance from anyone that might have medical knowledge. Their first mate, Merle, had fallen out of their dinghy while it was underway and had been hit by the prop. She had lacerations and suffered a serious blow to the ribs. This type of situation causes all cruisers to become one big family. It seems that each boat’s crew had gotten out their respective medical books and tapped their personal experiences to offer assistance to ‘Impossible’. We located emergency radio frequencies and offered to stand by on our single side band radio so we could call for help if necessary. We indicated that the powerboat ‘Liquid Gold’, who was also anchored near us would likely rush Merle to Mag Bay1 for emergency medical treatment if necessary. As it turned out, Merle was in a lot of pain but did not appear to have any broken bones or serious lacerations requiring stitches. We all breathed a sigh of relief when we learned that she was doing better.
Bahia Santa Maria2 was a very windy anchorage. The winds did not stop the entire time we were there. We turned our instruments on several times to see how hard the wind was actually blowing. We saw winds of up to 28 knots while anchored. ‘Island Girl’ wanted to be in Cabo San Lucas7 in time to celebrate Erick’s birthday so we decided to leave Bahia Santa Maria2 shortly. Based on our calculations we needed to leave Bahia Santa Maria2 in the early evening to arrive in Cabo7 at daybreak. We had a trip of approximately 165 miles ahead of us.
NOTE: Comments and suggestions should be sent to Jerry Reese, Council Bluffs, IA.
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