After leaving La Paz last week we made our way south out of the Sea of Cortez towards the Cape. The new moon had meant some interesting waltzes with strong currents in the anchorage at La Paz making getting our outboard engine off the dinghy and into the aft lazarette an impossibility with an opposing wind and quite a bit of chop on the water. So we left the dinghy and engine hoisted on the davits and decided to stop in to the beautiful Ensenada de los Muertos anchorage on our way past to get this job done in more settled conditions. We only ever pack the engine away and deflate the dinghy on long passages, it means we can flush it through with fresh water before its sabbatical, and the dinghy is far safer packed away than strapped to the davits especially if things get rough. After dodging dozens of small fishing boats in the dark, we entered the bay late in the evening accompanied by the continuous sound of slapping on the water, and realised that it must be jumping eagle rays, slapping the water hard as they landed. It appeared the next morning that the eagle rays were perhaps in a feeding frenzy, as they continued to jump amongst the fisherman but seemed not to be the target of the local line catchers.
With everything stowed away we set off once more in a light onshore breeze hoping to find more consistent wind further away from land.
As we rounded the Cape and left the Baja peninsular behind us a couple of humpback whales waved goodbye on the horizon with some awesome fin-slapping and a breach. As Joy headed offshore once more we had a fantastic 25 knot north wind fill in on the beam and screamed along at 8-9 knots thinking that this was going to be a fast passage. Sadly that only lasted about 12 hours before we were back to bobbing at 2-3 knots.
Light north east winds set in around the 3 to 8 knot range and coupled with a north west swell for most of the week has meant a flogging asymmetric sail and little progress.
To give you an idea of our measly progress, yesterday we clocked up just 18 miles in 11 hours! That has to be an all time record low for us. It’s entirely possible that Jez will celebrate his 50th birthday on this passage (he’s currently 47). Our light airs downwind sail has spent more time hanging from the rigging like a limp lettuce, just swinging in the swell and occasionally dipping in the water. The pod of dolphins that visited us didn’t think much of it either, I think their squeaking and tail slapping was some form of dolphin fun-poking. The highlight of the day however was when we overtook a large turtle at about 1.8 knots (yes, there is a decimal point in there), the hare and the tortoise sprung to mind. We had initially thought that perhaps he was dead as we bobbed past him, who knows perhaps he thought the same about us, until he finally raised his head for a gasp of air.
So with plenty of time on our hands the sudoku books have seen plenty of action, and I have had time for some meaningful pondering on the state of our planet as we try desperately to travel greenly, patiently encouraging this hare to continue moving forward with every little puff of wind.
And I must wish my precious Mum, Sandie, a very happy birthday along with my niece Jasmine, hoping they both have a super day. Xx