breaking out of ensenada and heading south!

ensenada to turtle bay day one…

a final look at Ensenada

After a quick coffee and walk through the boat, we cast off the docklines at 7am and headed out into the bay.  It was too early for there to be any wind, so I planned on just motoring the 10 miles out to the point and hoped to pick up a northwest breeze once we turned to the south.  yeh right!

nothing but flat seas

In the last couple of weeks we have prepped to leave twice now, the first time we were stopped in our tracks by hurricane Paul forming to the south and heading straight for the southern tip of Cabo, where we were heading.  So not being mad enough to try and out run a hurricane, we stayed put.  The next week, once Paul had cleared, we restocked again, and cleared out of Ensenada with the port capitan. With paperwork and cupboards in order, I checked the weather, and bah!  Towards the end of the first leg, there looked to be another hurricane forming, this one coming closer and faster towards the peninsula…. waiting, waiting…. the problem with weather websites and forecasts as everyone knows, is that they’re right as often as they are wrong, and in this case nothing eventuated…. but still, better safe than sorry…

obligatory sunset from sea photo!

The reason I bring all this up again, is that this time we waited till there was nothing brewing up, and it looks like now we are at the other end of the scale, the little talked about reality of sailing…. the engine!!

At one point I think we had 10Kts apparent wind on our nose, now 4.5kts of this was from us going forward under power, but it was enough to fill the sails, well kind of anway….

motor-sailing at its best

day two….

No change in the wind, and with a foggy wet night behind us, I’m gonna try and catch a power nap… Unfortunately my crew has been struggling to get used to the rolly polly flat ocean, and as a result, spent most of the first day and night in bed, hate to see Sabi unwell, but without a lot of options, the best I can do is drink coffee and let her rest, so two bad zombie movies and half a book later, I need to close my eyes for an hour or three.

giving the auto-pilot a break for a while

Managed to actually get the headsail out for a while this afternoon, more of a photo shoot than an actual sail though, if any ones not sure what to get me for xmas, an asymmetrical spinnaker would go under our tree nicely, our headsail is great, when we have more than 10kts, otherwise, its not worth it.

dolphins, what more can you say!

been checking over the pilot charts for where we are atm, turns out in both october and november you have around an 80% chance of either a north or northwest wind, and 2 or 3% chance of being left with nothing… guess what we got, lol!

day three…

things started out the same around sunrise… little bit of fog/mist and no wind…. then I finally managed to snag a tuna!  Played around with him for a while, tiring him out, then got him along side the boat, which is where things got a little tricky… With Sabi still asleep and not really feeling like waking her to help me take a life, I ended up with the gaff in one hand and the line in the other, seemed to be going ok, until I missed the gaff, and the lure ripped out and he swam away,  if he was smart, he would nip down the road and get himself a lotto ticket, was definitely his lucky day…

luckily he was moving quicker than us, actually saw his tail go under our bow

I should have taken that as an omen of things to come and stuck with our original plan, heading straight to Turtle Bay, but seeing as the last few days of no wind had us arriving in the middle of the night, and several locals had told us about how many fishing nets and lobster pots are around the point,  we decided to head in behind one of the islands on the way and drop the hook for a few hours so we would get to where we wanted in daylight.   seemed like a good idea, and after checking 3 different charts, most from soundings in the 1800’s we found a spot with a “broken shells/sand” bottom in about 30′ of water, and set about anchoring, and then the fun began….

Islas Las Benitos, not the best choice for an anchorage

It turns out that as our chain is going out, it moves around enough to flip the chain lock into the closed position, stopping the chain from dropping, not ideal when anchoring as with some backwards drift and no chain out, the anchor will do its thing and dig in, putting way too much load on everything up front, sure enough the foredeck flexed it muscles and the bow took a bow, and things went totally wrong, we decided to abort and bring the anchor back up to try again, but it seems in the 100 or so years since it was surveyed, the bottom has grown rocks and the anchor was jammed in good, not a problem, we’ll come up over the top of it and work it loose, bad idea… with no give in the chain, all we managed to achieve with that rocket scientist of an idea was bend our dolphin striker ( the bit under the front beam taking the anchor load) backwards, luckily getting her in reverse before the whole thing snapped.  After some quick running around, we finally managed to get the chain running out again and set the bridle (rope attached to the bows like a shock absorber) to take the worst of the shock load and caught our breath….

screw this, we figured, the anchorage rolling us around and the wind looking like it was going to pick up and really make it bad, plus we didn’t want to have to lift the anchor in the middle of the night anymore, so I dragged out the dive gear, and put a trip line together and headed down to take a look at what was wrong.  I had no idea what to expect below the surface, and the only diving I’ve managed in the last 2 years has been in dirty marinas where you can’t see your hand in front of you while trying to fix something on the boat… I had completely forgotten how different it is in the ocean!  so after dropping down the chain about 10′  everything opened up and I could see at least 50′ around me, after remembering I had a mission, I started following the chain towards the anchor, keeping an eye on the 2 manta rays who were keeping an eye on me, and watching easily the most fish I’ve seen in the water since Fiji, swim around doing their thing.  When I got to the anchor I had to laugh, it was jammed under a ledge, pretty much the perfect shape for the anchor to lock up on it, 3′ either side and it would have been fine!  After chasing the lobster away who seemed determined to drag the anchor further into his little cave, I picked the anchor up and dragged it out into the open, rigged the trip line just in case, and started to head back.  If I hadn’t been so pissed about the whole dealeo, I would have gone back down and nabbed my little crustacean friend, and maybe tested out the new spear-gun, but the anchor was in the open, and it was our chance to get it back on deck and get moving again.

This time it all went like clockwork, Sabi at the helm, and me up front keeping a watch on the anchor and getting it stowed, then we turned and heading back out to sea…

day four…  30th Oct

not such a quiet night passage this time, seems the wind finally wanted to blow, but we had to stay slow in order to get in around sunrise, I played around with the sails some,  and found the headsail was helping to keep here steady, but ended up taking it down again to try and stop Sea Raven rounding up all the time and giving our autopilot the work out of his life!  turns out this only helped a little and what needs to be done involves me re-reading the instructions and  re-calibrating everything, so instead we went through the night steering the old fashioned way, by ourselves!  A little more tiring, but good practice in seeing how Sea Raven behaves herself, seeing as we’re only just beginning this trip, each day we learn something new, which has to be a good thing, right?!

a much needed reward for our first successful multi-day passage

anyways, around sunrise I started heading in towards turtle bay, staying well clear of the point and all the fishing nets etc, which funnily enough weren’t that bad, and found ourselves a spot towards the back of the bay to anchor amongst the 5 other boats already here, then set about cleaning up and sleeping…

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