Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ensenada de Los Muertos to Ensenada Grande on Isla Partida

Passage: Ensenada de Los Muertos to Ensenada Grande on Isla Partida
Travel time: 23.25 hours
Engine hours: 0
Average speed: 4.6 knots plus 6 hours of bobbing at 0 knots
Approximate mileage: 65 miles up the coast, about 75 with tacking up Isla del Espiritu Santo and Isla Partida

It took another day to leave Ensenada de Los Muertos. We've noticed another trend, whatever day we decide we should leave we need to add another day afterward to actually do it. But how could we possibly leave? It was beautiful, sunny, warm, with friends all around. (Group picture from left to right: Dave from Andiamo, Chris from Tao, Julia from Pisces, Matt and Thai from Kaalelewa, Shawn from Tao, and Jacob from Pisces) We did yoga on the beach, rolled down sandy dunes, head first waterslides and trains at the Casa de Los Suenos on the other end of the bay, and night climbing under the near full moon with Eeyore at the base of the climb. Love it! The next day around lunch we got underway to head north, toward an extraordinary buddy-boat sailing experience with Pisces an hour ahead and Kaalelewa an hour behind us aboard Tao.

It was an exciting exit with onshore breezes, a negative tide and a reef a few boat lengths off our starboard as we weighed anchor. However, it went smoothly as we fell off to the port and tacked out of what had become quite a busy anchorage. We waved to our Portland based friends on Cotton who were likely down below at the time playing trumpet making their next music video. An hour or so later when we neared the Canal de Cerralvo between Isla Cerralvo and Bahia la Ventana on the east side of the Baja peninsula, we turned directly downwind (yes, we had southerlies!) and popped up (OK, maybe it wasn't that quick) our spinnaker for the first time ever! For 3 solid hours we had the most amazing spinnaker sail north through the channel. It was so well balanced that Grizzly came up on deck to check out what new anchorage we must be in and was surprised by the colorful sail aloft. As the land squeezed together the winds picked up from 5 to 10 to not quite 20 knots, just as had been reported by Pisces in the lead, we were going nearly hull speed (7.2 knots) and Chris took over for Moni who was overcorrecting a bit much to keep the spinnaker full. Sunset approached and although we didn't want it to come to an end, decided to take the spinnaker down to prepare for the coming night sail through the Lorenzo Channel. After taking the kite down we realized there was a fish on! First we had to get the boat sailing again, which meant turning up into the wind, raising the 100% jib, lowering the main, and falling off again, then Chris brought in a beautiful fish, much different from the previous dorado. A radio call to Kaalelewa with a fish identification book helped us identify it as a stout Pacific Bonito. Sunset can be a busy time as Chris cleaned our Bonito underway, easier his second time and likely helped by running with instead of beating into the wind.

There was plenty of wind to get us through the well marked Lorenzo Channel between Baja and Isla del Espiritu Santo, into Bahia de La Paz. The lights and hum of the city were overwhelming and once on the inside of the island throughout the night, the winds abated, then stopped altogether. We slowly drifted away from La Paz, all the while with Pisces' tricolor burning brightly across the bay in similar becalmed conditions. Just before sunrise the winds filled in from the NNW and we were again headed upwind this time only with Pisces as Kaalelewa had set a course for La Paz to deal with family issues in Brazil (good luck and we look forward to seeing you two upon return, keep in touch!). A few hours later after a mellow upwind sail spent watching Pisces tacking and dolphins fishing, we reached the north end of Isla Partida nearly connected to Isla del Espiritu Santo and we set the hook in the recently deserted southern end of Ensenada Grande.

We spent two days in this little piece of paradise with Pisces. We swayed in the hammock watching the full moon, hiked to the east side of the island, snorkeled in warm blue-green water with rays, angel fish and scallops, stumbled upon blue-footed boobies, enjoyed dinners and random deep discussions ranging from savoring each moment of this adventure to commiserating on the difficulties of being away from family and/or getting difficult news from afar to simultaneously planning the rest of our lives, got a round of scrabble in (yay triple word score "quiz"), and learned to never again climb the mast in sloppy left over seas unless truly necessary. Yesterday (Wednesday March 11th) we weighed anchor and sailed with Pisces a few miles down the west coast of the islands. It was a busy day with a photo shoot of each others boats along the way (it sure is exciting to see what we look like from afar) and both of us sailing off and then onto anchor at our current home in Caleta el Candelero on Isla del Espiritu Santo, a spot that immediately inspired sunset guitar strumming, painting and of course happy hour. And the adventures continue...

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