I must admit after cruising 2200NM this summer in the Sea of Cortez, I might just be suffering a little post hurricane “Odile” shock syndrome. We have had two more hurricanes since then, and one of them found me at anchor in Willard Bay, a true hurricane hole, and fortunate for me and the old Sailors Run the hurricane had been reduced to a tropical low by the time it zeroed in on us, we never experienced any winds over 30-knots.
Lucky for me the summer was now winding down, and time to head to San Felipe 75-miles to the north in preparation to go and meet Debbie up in San Diego, California. We had decided to do a book signing at Down Wind Marine and then were invited to do one at West Marine the very next day so our 4-days there was very full chasing boat parts and hanging out with friends like Dan off of Echoes of Summer, John & Lynette off White Hawk and Dave and Rosey off of Valkeri. As you might imagine we left San Diego blurry eyed and loaded down with boat parts. Crossing foreign boarders with thousands of dollars in boat parts is always a concern, even though it is totally legal to maintain your vessel ,things can and do go wrong. Our crossing at Mexicali was a pleasant experience and the authorities were very helpful even helping us carry two of our six suit-cases we were bringing in. The Grey hound bus ride from San Diego, was a pleasant two and a half hour trip and once across the border we got on the ABC bus to San Felipe another couple of hours and once again we had “Team Sailors Run” back aboard the Sailors Run.
Our trip south included stops in Gonzaga Bay where we had just missed our friends Jim & Darda that have a place there, as they were up in San Felipe looking for us there on there way back to California. “Whoops”.
While at Gonzaga we did some running & visited with two other couples that also have homes there.
Our anchorage at Gonzaga had started to go bad when a strong Westerly started developing overnight and we blasted out of the bay, just as the sun was coming up, with lots of sail up, and had a great sail over to Refugio about 45-miles away. Once we had arrived the winds subsided and we had a peaceful evening in a beautiful anchorage, but at 2-am the winds cranked up out of the west once again and soon we were bouncing around at anchor, and every since Odile, I just can’t stand waiting for it to get worse so we pulled the anchor up and threaded our way out of there against the building SW-wind and seas. Debbie was a little shocked that I had rousted her from a sound sleep to stumble into the cockpit grabbing the wheel to try and steer out of the anchorage on a moonless night. For me having Debbie at the helm was a real relief, after 5-months of having to deal with these situations alone. Since the near miss with Odile I just don’t want to ever become trapped again in an exposed anchorage, I prefer to take my chances in heavy weather out on the open sea.
The winds that we experienced on our way to Bahia de Los Angeles, were Kiribatic, streaming down from the mountains that made up our western shore. The heavy cool air plummets down the faces of the mountains and comes out upon the sea, fresh and strong, and we were seeing thirty plus knots and I was very happy to be clear of the anchorage and charging along under reduced sail.
The fishing in the sea has been off every since the hurricane, we did manage to hook up a few jack tuna but neither Debbie or I can get past the smell of cooking them, so they go back, when we catch one. I should also mention that the pressure on the fishing in the sea by the commercial fisherman has increased dramatically and the fish are rapidly being depleted. Our window of time to observe this has been over the past fifteen plus years and we find it a bit sad to see, yet the Sea of Cortez will always be a great cruising grounds, just because of the outrages stark beauty of the area, and numerous fabulous anchorages to be found almost everywhere.
Debbie and I awaited the arrival of a northerly wind to take us to the south. We hung out in Don Juan with friends on “Wet Bar” and “Mana Kai”.
Ridding a northerly is great sailing under relatively rough conditions as the current in the sea can cause steep seas that are close together. Some northers you would not want to venture out in, as they may be blowing 50 knots, but this one was predicted to be in the 30 knot range so just right for us, although I must admit it kept most cruisers in their protected anchorages, preferring to motor rather than hang it out there a little bit. Now having said all of this I must also admit we did blow out 13 slides on the reefed mainsail, yet were able to chalk up back to back twenty four hour runs of 174 NM and 161NM, the second dropped off a bit as the main was down for new slides to be sewn on, which I did while sailing, as the winds were becoming lighter & we knew we were going to need the main for the next trip.
Isla San Francisco was our goal and we stopped there in dying winds as Hurricane Vance was getting closer to us, but was also dying out after reaching hurricane-2 status.
Debbie and I spent but one day in Isla San Francisco before pushing off for Mazatlan as yet another tropical storm was brewing and we wanted to get in ahead of the approach of this one. Our trip across the southern crossing was pretty non eventful other than the breaching of a huge whale just off our stern that took our breath away as we were relaxing in the cockpit at the time. The whale was huge about forty feet and came clear out of the water before crashing back into the sea.
Our arrival at Mazatlan was late and the entrance to Marina Mazatlan is tricky especially with pretty good seas running and in the dark as we had the wind and seas on the beam as we approached the shallow bar. We have been here many times and know the drill but you would not want to try this never having been here before.
Our first go at the entrance was not without complications as a huge power boat decided to come out while we were on final approach and blinded us with their millions of candle power lights, from high up on the bridge; forcing us to abort our approach and let them power on out. On the final approach went well, and soon we had wound our way through the channel up inside to Marina Mazatlan, where there were security people directing us into a nice secure end tie for the night .”Yahoo”.
Currently Debbie and I are in training for the Mazatlan Marathon on Nov 29th she will run a 5-k and me a 10-k as were hoping to run a better time than last yr.
We both feel were in great shape & much lighter.
Your Amigos, Jeff & Debbie hanging out at Mazatlan Marina for a month or more
For anyone who has had the opportunity to read my Cape Horn book & enjoyed it, it would be much appreciated if you would go to Amazon.com & write a review on the book-“ Thanks”.
I will be posting Pictures on our blog -WWW.SAILORSRUN.COM. I wanted to also explain the countdown clock that you might see when visiting the blog site. It is counting down to the start of my attempted solo circumnavigation of the world nonstop unassisted. You will be riding along with me on this one, as I will be sending out reports every three days. Telling you what the hell is happening to me now. “I can hardly wait”.
Also please don’t hit reply when responding to this adventure as it sends the adventure back by a slow radio link. “Thanks”.
Your Amigos Jeff & Debbie