With the last of the hurry-caner warnings over, we finished stocking the shelves and pointed Sea Raven northward, into the Sea of Cortez. First stop was near-by favourite Ensenada Grande, which as luck would have it, was full of Mexican powerboats and their accompanying competing stereos…. ahhh the weekend is here!
Luckily we managed to tuck into a spot without too much bad banda blaring our way, and after ruining a snapper’s day, we had dinner.
The next morning we pulled out into a 20kt southish wind, and sure enough, the usual Sea of Cortez seas were rolling with it – 3/4 ft at about 3 seconds. Basically a washing machine, and with Sabi on Alma watch, we stuck with motor sailing using both engines and a reefed head sail, and after a little tweaking we were stomping along at 9kts and it was almost bearable for a few hours. The seas slowly cleaned up slightly, and the wind stayed up enough and from the right direction, that we kept going, past our planned destination of Isla San Francisco, and headed another 30 or so miles north, before tucking in for the night.
Two things were confirmed on that leg of the trip. Firstly, I HATE sailing in the Sea of Cortez! I know I’ve probably mentioned this more than once, and don’t want to be constantly bitching about it, but it REALLY sucks! Before we came here I had plenty of people say ” oh you’ll LOVE the Sea of Cortez, we were there for like 3 years and it was OARSOME.” In hindsight, most of those people were in their, shall we say, “later years” and they conveniently forgot to mention their tendency to motor EVERYWHERE. Not why I bought a SAIL boat, and I really expected more… It will be nice to head south after Xmas and see what its like in Banderas Bay. The second thing I had cemented in my mind was that those silly fins stuck to the sterns of Sea Raven HAVE to go, and soon! I would watch the speed drop drastically each time her stern dragged down on a wave. I likened it to a seesaw, it won’t work if only one side pushes off the ground (or if the person on the other end is twice your size), so when Sea Ravens bow pops up out of a wave the stern drops, the silly “stabilizers” bite into the water, dragging the back end down more, until they pop up themselves, with enough force to throw the bow back down… lather, rinse, repeat….
But on the upside, the anchorage we pulled into at the end of a longer than planned day was quiet, dead flat and beautiful at sunrise, a time of day I see a lot more of now we have Alma aboard! After breakfast I rowed over to the point and figured I would catch dinner, and maybe see about putting something in the freezer for while I was working on the boat. And once again Mexico struck down my plans with a slice of lime and squirt of hot sauce to the eye…. I re-rigged my replacement spear with what was supposed to be 80kg breaking strain braided line, seemed plenty strong enough to handle the fish I was going for and was the same strength as the line that had been on their previously. Well, my second shot of the day saw the spear keep on going, the line snapped clean through like it was nothing… Luckily I was in shallow enough water I could easily get down and pick it up, and luckily I had missed the fish I was shooting at, they have a habit of trying to run for it when hit, and deep water was pretty close, would have meant I would be down another spear, crisis averted! So I rowed back to Sea Raven, raided my tackle box, and with the use of some electrical crimp fittings, had a temporary line rigged, I still hadn’t shot lunch, and there were more fish there than I had seen for a while, so it was back in the dinghy to row back for another round. Long story short, I managed 1 fish, seems the electrical crimps are about as hydro-dynamic as the fins on the sterns of Sea Raven, so I gave up fishing, weighed anchor and carried on motoring north.
Another perfectly calm and empty anchorage later, and we were on our way to Puerto Escondido, a popular hurricane hole and where some friends of ours were waiting out storm season. After quickly realising that anchoring in the anchorage wasn’t going to happen, we took some friends advice and picked up an empty mooring close to shore and settled in.
After paying our anchoring fees and figuring out an internet connection for a few days, we settled in and ended up spending almost a week there, catching up with our friends from Luna Sea and fellow boat baby family Rebel Heart.
Our plan from there was to head north a few hours, anchor and do the same again the next day, before heading west across the sea 200 odd miles to the industrial port of Guaymas where we could haul out and take to those aforementioned fins with my grinder – happy days ahead! Once we untied from the “semi-permanent anchoring system” (you aren’t technically allowed moorings on federal land) and started to the next anchorage, I checked the wind forecasts, it was due to pick up in the next couple of days, in the wrong direction of course, so I nudged the wheel to starboard and informed the crew we were heading for Mexico!
The one slight flaw in my plan was that our autopilot is not installed at the moment, actually its in a friends car in San Francisco on its way to Mexico, so that meant an 18 hour shift at the wheel for good ol’ Capt’ me. Long night. I did manage a 2 hour power nap just before dawn after Alma had eaten and Sabine could cover me for a while. Lucky I did get some sleep too. It seems channels into harbours are, like speed limits and road signs, not something that really needs to be taken that seriously here in Mexico… I waited a little off shore for dawn to come into the bay, and when the sun came up as I entered, it illuminated about 2 dozen local fishermen and their boats, each with a net marked by a water jug at each end, littered across the marked channel. They showed no interest in moving, to the point I actually had to go outside the channel and around a couple of markers on the wrong side to avoid their nets…. grrrrr
We did a quick tour of the bay, most of the time holding my breath, one eye on the depth sounder the other looking for a place to anchor out of the way of all the locals – 10 was the depth I was watching, lucky we only draw 4. I ended up dropping the hook right in front of the main waterfront street in Guaymas and set about sleeping for the rest of the day, it was Sunday after all…