Woke up: La Paz, Bahia La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Went to sleep: Ensenada Grande, Isle Partida, Baja California Sur, Mexico
A Tour Of The Sea – La Paz to Isle San Francisco
Over the next forty-two days, Peter and I intend to explore twenty different locations and cover 443 nautical miles within Mexico’s Sea of Cortez. We’ll be following an itinerary, The Classics – La Paz Roundtrip – outlined in Shawn Breeding and Heather Bansmer’s Cruiser’s Guidebook, Sea of Cortez.
“Shawn and Heather” are household names among cruisers. Almost everyone has these resource manuals and everyone agrees: these are the most accurate, complete, informative and well organized guides available. Our copy, while purchased new, looks like it has travelled many a raucous ride.
Our goal is to sail Penelope as much as possible. We’d like to return to La Paz with nearly all the 135 gallons of diesel, $540, we left with.
Our first destination – Ensenada Grande on Isle Partida. We’ve been here many times before. This is where Peter “lives” when I’m in Idaho/Oregon. This is where we learned to play Bocce Ball with Ed, Melinda, Jake and JD last year.
After Ensenada Grande, each anchorage will be new to us. This part of Mexico is very remote. I am already experiencing cell phone/internet withdrawal.
I shouldn’t need a Costco, though, and there are none here. The boat is crammed with a wide assortment of fruit, vegetables, meat, pasta, rice, beans, cheese, crackers and cookies. The challenge is to eat what’s ripe on time and to creatively extend what’s been cooked into the next several meals. We don’t expect to see civilization for several days and no one knows what amenities lie ahead.
We’re currently sailing on a heading of approximately 40 degrees, basically north, at 5.7 knots. Peter has a single reef in the main and all three sails are aloft.
The boat is heeled to starboard between 15 and 20 degrees. This means you are more likely to fall off the toilet than on to it. About every fifth wave presents itself like a refrigerator. Rectangular, flat sides and sporting lamb’s wool on its face.
Penelope encounters the first wave in the series and she gingerly saw horses over it – PLOP.
Three to five seconds later, the second, slightly larger, wave approaches. Again, the bow of the boat lifts, and up and over we go – KER PLOP.
Three to five seconds later, we’re facing the third in the series. The volume of the wind and the water splashing against the hull is increasing. The bow rises and everything onboard slides astern. Penelope holds her ground, bucking over the crest – POW.
With the fourth wave, the interior wood begins to creak. I press my feet against a wall to brace myself. Like the workhorse she is, Penelope pounds through – BAM.
Although I am down below, we both have our life jackets on. I keep both eyes on Peter. If he should fall down or fall out, I know what to do.
Finally, the refrigerator approaches. We’ve been gearing up for this. We’re going fast, we’re building steam, and the starboard rail is submerged, as a cascade of water courses from the bow to the drain hole in the rear. Our forward movement is momentarily halted midair as once again her bow sprit lifts toward heaven and all the force of the ocean passes beneath our keel – SLAM!
I relax and turn back to my crossword puzzle. The process begins again. Perhaps six more hours to go until we reach our quiet, calm anchorage at Isle San Francisco.