Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving in Turtle Bay, Baja California Sur, Mexico

We're at anchor just off the shore of a small, dusty town known as Bahia Tortugas. The area used to be known for turtles but, sadly, none remain. There are, however, plenty of pelicans and gulls, and a few osprey, whose nests are visible on the local electronics tower and other high spots along the shore. The terrain is desert-like, reminding us both of Nevada. Hills barren of vegetation (at least from this distance) undulating in variegated shades of beige to brown, ending at the blue water's edge.

Fishing appears to be the town's main economic engine, with a half-dozen or so boats manned with three- to four-fishermen casting nets and pulling in by hand. Last night we watched them haul in and weigh their catches, rock stars to the birds that followed, screaming in their wake.

We arrived at 1:05 p.m. yesterday, thankful to be setting the anchor and having earned our rest. We left Ensenada at 11:00 a.m. on 11/21, expecting good tailwinds; however, we were disappointed. With headwinds from 6 to 16 knots, we motored down the coast, taking three hour watches, regardless of mal de mer, which hit me (Celeste) quite hard. My buddy the bucket was never far away. It was a fairly uneventful trip, otherwise, our spotting only one other vessel along the way and that a sailboat that had left the same marina around the same time as us. They radioed over to check our status when they saw us stop, but we had only run over some kelp and were taking time to back it off the prop. The sailor soon passed us, and it was a lonely trip from then on, though Nereid didn't seem to mind. She handles well, and it's really, I realize, her crew, that we need to worry about. Around 11:00 a.m. on 11/22, we pulled into Bahia San Carlos, a strip sheltered from the winds that make its northernmost point a famous destination for windsurfers. We set our anchor and rested for 24-hours, letting me get my stomach back under control. (The cats have done remarkably well.) At 10:30 a.m. on 11/23 we pulled back out, thankful for NE winds that allowed us to travel along at 6.5 knots with just the mainsail, double reefed. We saved a lot of fuel and didn't take down the main until we set our anchor here in Tortuga, at which point we found that we'd lost a batten. Otherwise, she's shipshape. Not so lucky was the sailor coming in just behind us who reported "a hell of a trip" and was coming in "with no prop, and a broken mainsail - under jib alone." At 1:05 11/23 we set the anchor here in Tortuga, put things aright and got the dinghy over the rail. George had read of a restaurant where we might get showers - hot ones if we're lucky. He pulled us into shore, where a nice little wave swamped over the back of our dinghy, Galatea, and wetted my stern - but what's a little salt water to us now? We hauled her up on the sand, tied her to a stranded tire, and set off in search of the Restaurant Veracruz. An hour later, having trod through the unpaved town with its fine, pale dust, we arrived at the place, looking like Pigpen from the Peanuts comic strips. Luckily, they were open. We managed to get across the idea that we were seeking food and showers, and we got the food - quite good too. We recommend it. The showers must just be a rumor. Luck was with us. We returned to Galatea at the magic hour, able to watch the birds and fishermen in the golden glow, then pull back to Nereid for an evening's rest and half a game of Scrabble. Today, we've cooked turkey and mashed potatoes, baked fresh bread and brownies, and enjoyed them all with cranberry sauce. It's been a lovely Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Departing for La Paz

We are departing this morning for La Paz, which will be about a 10 day sail - and we do mean sail! We postponed our departure until today to allow the leading edge of a front to pass by: that meant that we avoided headwinds and now will (should) have 10-20 knots behind us for the next few days. A sailor's dream! Fair winds and following seas.

I'll post our itinerary below. Meanwhile, the other big news is that we have a "third crew member." He's a Flat Stanley. In case you're not familiar with the story, Stanley is a boy who is accidentally flattened when his bulletin board falls on him. At first he is disconcerted, but then he realizes that he can now fit in an envelope and travel by mail! He undertakes great adventures. Many children now create "flat" versions of themselves and send them off on great adventures, and that's how we came to have a flat "Tucker" aboard. He'll travel with us for about six weeks, and then make his way back to Seattle to tell his tales to the children in Ms. Graff's class at Lockwood Elementary. Here's a picture of Tucker, the night he arrived on board:

He's dressed appropriately, in colorful casual gear and has been an uncomplaining hand while we've stowed and provisioned. Hopefully, he'll learn the ropes this week!

Here is our itinerary, prepared by George:

We plan to stop at Turtle Bay, Bahia Magdelena and somewhere between Cabo San Lucas and Muertos Cove. If we are tired, have bad weather, or just want to play tourists we will make other stops listed in the waypoints section. Weather is looking real good, the boat is ship shape and Bristol fashion, and we are ready. Come visit us in La Paz!

Miles Anchorage
from Conditions

Ensenada to:
Puerto Santo Thomas Marginal rest stop
Cabo Colonet 65 OK
Isla St Martin 95 Protected from S. winds
San Quintin 110 Rolly but OK
Sacramento Reef to Vizcaino Bay 95 miles across
Isles St. Geronimo 120 Good
Fondeadro San Carlos 163 Good
Santa Risalilita 225 Good
Turtle Bay 275 Excellent - Fuel

Bahia Asuncion 50 Good
Bahia San Hipolito OK
Punta Abreiges 100 OK-Good
Laguna San Ignacio 126 OK - also called San Juanico
Punta Pequena 166 Good - Best place to rest
from NW winds btwn
Turtle & Mag Bays
Bahia Magdelena 245 Excellent - Fuel

Miles from
Mag Bay
Cabo San Lucas 155 Very good-Fuel-Expensive

Miles from
Cabo San Lucas
San Jose del Cabo 14 Excellent - Fuel
Los Frailes 38 OK
Muertos Cove 67 OK, Showers, laundry, etc.
La Paz 150 - 170 Excellent - Fuel


Ensenada 01ENSN 31* 46.050’ N 116* 47.100’ W
Pta Santo Jose Pt. S Jose 30* 26.000’ N 116* 40.000’ W
Pta Colnett 02PTC 30* 57.250’ N 116* 22.000’ W
South of San Quintin 03SANQ 30* 10.020’ N 166* 04.500’ W
Sacramento Reef SAC REEF O 29* 44.000’ N 115* 50.000’ W
Cedros Island Cedros Island 28* 18.000’ N 115* 09.000’ W
South of Pt. Eugenia Pt. Eugenia 27* 44.000’ N 115* 05.000’ W
Turtle Bay Tutle Bay 27* 38.500’ N 114* 54.000’ W
Bahia St. Roque Bahia St. R 27* 07.000’ N 114* 28.000’ W
Pt Abreojos 1 Pt. Abre 2 26* 47.000’ N 113* 48.000’ W
[Pt Abreojos 2 Pt Abre 2 26* 37.000’ N 113* 38.000’ W]
[Pt Abreojos 3 Pt. Abre 3 26* 41.000’ N 113* 32.000’ W]
Cape San Lazaro 1 Cape San 1 24* 48.500’ N 112* 22.000’ W
Bahia St. Maria B St Maris 24* 44.000’ N 112* 16.000’ W
Bahia Magdalena B of Magdelina 24* 29.700’ N 112* 05.000’ W
Cape Falso Cape Falso 22* 49.000’ N 110* 03.000’ W
San Lucas San Lucas 22* 52.500’ N 109* 49.000’ W
Punte Gorda Pt. Gorda 23* 03.000’ N 109* 32.000’ W
Boca de Tule Boca de tu 23* 14.000’ N 109* 22.500’ W
Cabo Los Frailes Cabo Los F. 23* 22.000’ N 109* 24.000’ W
Cape Pulmo Cape Fulmo 23* 28.000 ‘N 109* 22.000’ W
Punta Arena Boca de Tule 23* 35.000’ N 109* 25.000’ W
Punta Arena de la Ventana
Pt. Arena V 24* 05.000’N 109* 46.000’