You can sail mainland Mexico with very little regards to the weather during the winter season as basically there is no weather that will harm you, but a summer in the sea will do a great deal for sharpening your skills at interoperating the weather that so controls your life up here.
We are just now ready to receive our 15th named storm of the summer season. Is that a lot ? “Hell Yes” and we have nearly two more months to go and they are typically the worst months in the Sea of Cortez for Hurricanes.
Now that doesn’t mean we are not having fun up here as I have caught 4-dorado and 5-tuna plus on 50 lb Trevally, and no doubt could have caught many more but how much fish can one person eat?
We have had two full moon parties that were just great fun with lots of cruisers, some old friends and a whole bunch of new ones.
One morning bright and early I was heading out of the Bahia Los Angeles area, headed for Smith Island to climb the nearly 1600 ft. high volcano. As you round the spit to turn north there is a large rock reef that must be left to port and it extends up to a mile off the sand spit. It was early and my visibility down into the water was not good, my intent was to sail well clear of the reef.
Now when you are solo sailing and getting underway, there are many things that must be addressed, and you best believe I was doing just about everything I could do and be sailing the boat at the same time. At one point while glancing ahead on the Portside I thought I seen the light green of the reef and I was in 60 feet of water and my track out looked good. It was when the wind backed a few degrees, that I fell off towards the reef a couple of degrees.
I had just set the fishing pole out and turned looking forward on the port side and hell it looked like sand in the water, suddenly! I realized I was sailing onto the reef and as I reached for the autopilot control knob to turn away we grounded “Wholly Shit”, I’m not only aground but it is a lee shore and the breeze I was sailing with is now trying to drive me and the Sailors Run higher and dryer upon the reef. My heart starts pounding in my chest and goes to about 200 beats a minute; I release all the lines on the sails to help reduce the effects of the wind pushing me higher on the reef. I fire the engine and slam it into reverse, applying full power, and I watch and pray that there will be some movement astern. I look astern and suddenly realize I have made a huge mistake, as my dinghy that I normally carry on deck when sailing was being towed astern and at present was trying to go under the stern of Sailors Run, and it isn’t because we are backing up.
No the “Fxxkxxg tow line is wrapping around the prop at about 1,000 revolutions a minute, well that was until it killed the engine. Wholly Crap!! now luckily my fins, mask and snorkel just happen to be in the cockpit, so I recklessly pull them on and over the side I go. In a couple of minutes I unwind the line from the shaft. The line is cut in half in one place and the rest of it looks like it went through a wood chipper. I manage to tie the scraps of line back together and then tie the dinghy alongside the boat where it is no longer a problem. Jumping back on deck I fire up the diesel and apply full power in reverse. When I was under the water I could see that I was sitting on a flat ledge of rock and deep water was only 5-feet to starboard and freedom for Sailors Run. The motor will not free the boat so I grab a 100 feet of line and run to the bow attaching it to the Sampson Post and lead it out off the starboard side. I run back and jump in the dinghy and power it up, grabbing the new bow line and making a bridle out of it so I can get an even pole on the back of the dinghy. It is now when I truly come to the full appreciation of the power of an 18-hp 2-cycle Tohatsu outboard revving at 6,000 R.P.M. Suddenly the old Sailors Run swings around on her keel and is dragged clear from the grasp of the leeward reef. “Yes mixed gas kicks ass”
Once I had arrived at the volcano anchorage I inspected the bottom and could not even tell where we had grounded. I was thankful that we dodged yet another bullet, as we had been moving slowly in light wind and miraculously once grounded the wind seemed to abate and the seas glassed off just long enough for me to free Sailors Run.
It has been extremely hot this year in the sea with both air and water temperatures above 90-degrees many days and some over 100-degrees.
We currently have a new low developing to the south that will most likely become a hurricane within the next 48hrs. and some of the projections show it coming right up the sea. So I will be sailing further to the north and looking for a hole to hide in, Possibly Willard.
Debbie is doing great back in Albuquerque with her family and grandchildren. She has also been showing our Cape Horn Book at Hastings book stores and we plan on meeting up at Down Wind Marine in San Diego, where we will be doing a book signing on Saturday the 18th of October, where she will be returning with me to the Sea of Cortez. “Yahoo”.
That’s all for now I got to go hide! ” Your Amigos, Jeff & Debbie on S/V Sailors Run