Baja Bash, well almost – Not – but that story later. Predictwind had us in light winds at least to Turtle Bay so with out stops that was our first destination. This was only to re-fuel which we had heard was the most expensive fuel in Mexico. As we passed Bahai Santa Maria the decision was made to head to Ascension about 50 miles south of Turtle Bay where we could fuel ourselves via Jerry can and save a bunch of $$. Arriving in Ascention late we slept over night and would get up early to fuel an head out. The weather window was still good and we might even catch a low headed to San Diego – this meant SE winds and we would be sailing!!! The morning trip to the Pemex was disappointing – they were out of diesel. We would have just enough fuel to get us to Turtle Bay and yes pay the price!!!
Here is the lesson learned on the next leg. I have been using Predictwind for our 12 hour wind predictions and must say it is excellent – I can rely on it. In Turtle Bay discussions on the weather window ahead had other boaters saying that the GFS grib’s downloaded from saildocs were as good. I decided to take a look at the GFS predictions for the window that lay ahead. Predictwind looked like we would get a great ride as far a Ensenada and then we would have to tuck in as the low went by and the winds clocked to the NW, GFS looked like we could make it above the low and all the way to San Diego. Rather that pull into Ensenada we decided to head to San Diego and about 12 miles north of Ensenada the wind clocked to the NW at 25 knots. We had to jibe and run back into Ensenada. The results were, ‘boomvang ripped off the mast, topping lift pulled off the end of the boom, and one of the crew – me – almost going for a dip! The lesson learned is keep to your trusted weather prediction – don’t change decision making until you have tested others first! It turned out the the boomvang had an installation flaw and was going to come off at some time anyway. We repaired our topping lift in Ensenada and the vang would wait for San Diego.
Topping lift fitting found on the deck!
Topping lift after repair.
Where the booming was attached!
Booming back on the mast.
A couple of days in Ensenada and we got our window to San Diego . It took us 7 days including layovers to go from Cabo to San Diego and it was mostly a non-bash!!
Leaving La Paz
Finally we pulled the plug on Lap Paz ( before the tug to stay got too strong ) and headed off towards Cabo where we would leave Baja behind. The weather window looked good for sailing and Adesso loaded with supplies we were ready for a month or so at sea. It would take three days of travel to get to San Jose del Cabo where we would check out of Mexico and take on our last fuel. I was some where in this zone we found out that Sue would need to be near good internet in about 2 weeks to secure her job when we returned, Yikes. We could do this – it just meant that we might have to come to the coast sooner if we didn’t make it all the way to Canada. As we all know dates or schedules don’t mix well with sailing but we were game to make it work. We left San Jose to head out past Cabo and a blistering SW blew up so we hid and anchored off Cabo for the night. It was here we discovered that our wind window was disappearing fast, but we were still game and hoped to get at least 60 miles offshore before things died near land. The next day things were pretty much a lake so I decided to motor out, where did the wind go!! The next surprise was the game changer – our freezer stopped working, AKKKK. All our food was going to thaw fast and unless the crew was going to live of rice and beans we had turn back. The current weather showed a massive no-weather window for running up the coast to San Diego and a quick crew vote made that our choice. Yanmar purring, we were now committed to the Baha Bash (as this run is often called).
La Paz waterfront
We were looking forward to visiting La Paz because so many cruisers stop here and never leave, or if they do its only for a short cruise and then return. This was also our final stop for supplies and repair before we headed offshore taking the clipper route home.
Yacht built for Steve Jobs
On the way into the La Paz channel we could not help but notice the large boat (that does’t look like a boat) built for the late Steve Jobs of Apple. This is a massive 200+ foot boat that challenges what a boat might look like and with all that glass I wonder what it would be like in heavy seas!! La Paz itself is the capital of Baja Sur but has very little of the gaudy tourist vibe of Cabo. It is a little more like a University , government town with a great waterfront malecon and protected harbour. Its because of the many marinas and great anchoring field that so many boaters end up here. Supplies were plentiful, yes, even the marine chandleries were well stocked, great restaurants, even brew pubs!!! We could have spent more time getting to know the area but alas our main mission was to fill the freezer with food and do the odd repair on Adesso. We stayed at Palmira Marina and Resort where we met may Canadians some living (on their boats ), some preparing to ship their boats home, some putting boats away for the summer and would return in the fall and then those of us heading north with our boats. The marina was VERY social with daily happy hours that went well past dark.
Adesso at Palmira Marina
Kato preparing for offshore!
Yumm – tasties headed for the freezer.
View of the anchorage from above.
Another beautiful spot!! No wonder Jacques Cousteau called the Sea of Cortes the worlds most diverse aquatic environment. Fish and turtles would swim around the boat, we took a dinghy trip out to sea caves looking at reefs along the way back. We hiked up onto the ridge and saw some amazing vistas as well. As we look to La Paz I wonder if we will ever get to come back and see more of this amazing place and the people that live here. We have a big challenge ahead so attention now turns to that, as we will soon leave the Sea of Cortes behind.
Sue and Josh on the top of the ridge.
Ridge line with beautiful arroyo beside it.
Sue paddling around the bay.
Our first decent sail south in the Sea of Cortes took us from Ballandra to Honeymoon Bay, Adesso was happy to stretch her wings!!! This beautiful group of coves about 5 miles from Puerto Escondido was a wonderful stop for a few days. Sue got the paddle board out and Josh and I spent time snorkelling the reefs around the bay. Josh has also become the BBQ man over the last few months.
Josh big burger!!!
Here is a pic of his famous hungry man big burger which is a little too much for me and Sue to eat, though we did try our best. From here on we get closer to La Paz which we have heard so much about from the cruiser community but for us its the final stop before we head offshore to Canada. The to-do list has started, Sue is thinking about food and we in general are shifting into the next part of our adventure. I wonder how we will manage the temps, at the evenings in the boat drop to the upper 70’s, we put clothing on to stay warm! The plan is to leave La Paz soon after May 4 to Los Frailes where we will wait for the wind to be favourable.
I thought I should make a quick entry on the constant job of keeping the bottom clear of growth. Even though we left Canada with fresh bottom paint it was no match for the pressure of sea life to grow. We started in Barra de Navidad scraping barnacles off the bottom every couple of weeks, now up in the Sea of Cortes a whole variety of plant and animal life would like to turn the bottom of our boat into a reef. The prop and shaft take weekly cleaning and every few days we do a little on the bottom of the boat. All this cleaning has completely rubbed most the bottom paint off in some areas. The take away here is – MORE PAINT! Yes we should have at least double coated our boat before heading south and if possible smuggle some higher copper content paint from the US. At best Interlux CSC will last one year here in warmer water, and that is with lots of bottom diving included!
Tools of the trade
Our next stop was back on Isla Coronado to meet Dee and Mark on Speakeasy! They had taken our faulty EPIRB back to Canada to be replaced and were now returning the new one. We give Kannad and Paynes Marine top marks for looking after this in short order back in Canada. Dee also brought some treasured food items from the north, almond butter, Sencha green tea and chocolate. We hiked the volcano again with Mark and Josh running down the mountain back to the beach, ah to have joint that can handle the grind! We took a trip to Loretto on Speakeasy, walked the 2 miles to the Saloon restaurant and enjoyed the “Best Burger in Baja” beer and the authentic old time saloon decor, then stocked up on food returned to Isla Coronado. After one final farewell dinner they headed north and we South to Ballandra.
San Juanico anchorage
San Juanico was to be the furthest north into the sea we would go and the plan was to spend a little more time here and explore the area a little more deeply. We we’re happy to see numerous boats that had befriended us south in the Melaque area. We had beach fires, Botchi ball on the beach in the afternoons, and happy hour get togethers. This was a great place to be for the Mexican holiday Samana Santa, numerous families made the trek to the beach and the late night parties were not overwhelming. Josh was befriended by a couple on a Hatteras style fishing boat that was using San Juanico as a fishing base. He learned about how to catch fish now that they were deeper and he and I did do a dinghy trip out a couple of miles to a reef but to no avail. They took pity on Josh and gave him one of their Yellowtail catch for the day, very tasty. Sue and I spend many hours hiking the hills, swimming and reading. Here she finally got serious about writing a book about her Successful Learners so every day for an hours or so she would hide with her computer and write away. Even Josh enjoyed some of this down time, from doing homework that is, and would hang listening to music. Alas the time came for us to turn around and head to La Paz. From here on we are on the way back to Canada which is bitter-sweet , we will miss the this part of the world and the adventure it represents but our community in Pacific Northwest will be great to connect with again. Of course there is the getting home part which will be a whole different kind of adventure!
Josh enjoying tech time!