Thursday, March 5, 2009

Passage: Los Frailes to Ensenada de los Muertos

Passage: Los Frailes to Ensenada de los Muertos
Travel time: 25 hours plus 7 hours hove-to awaiting sunrise
Average speed: 4.15 knots
Approximate mileage: 47-nm as crow flies, but 100-nm tacking directly into 15 knot winds
Engine hours: 0
MVP: Mr. Mahi who donated himself to our first attempts at self sufficiency

We had planned to leave Los Frailes just before sunset but upon returning to Tao from our “town” excursion, we could see out to sea there was absolutely not a breath of wind. So, change of plans, we got the boat prepped to sail, watched the Manta rays dance and flip their goodbyes to us and caught 6 hours of rest. We awoke at midnight and sailed off our anchor about an hour later in the pitch dark of the new moon with stars ablaze. We headed directly offshore on a beautifully fresh breeze with flat seas having had no time to build. After getting the boat settled into passage mode, Shawn took watch and Chris hit the sea berth to catch some sleep before the next big day of upwind sailing.

The sun rose beautifully, we listened to the weather forecasts, and switched watches. We’d been heading offshore about 20-nm to the central Sea and tacking back to within 2-nm of land, cruising along at a clip above 4 knots, but slowly inching our way north up the coast. Close to mid-day, when we were both on deck and far offshore, we realized that there was a fish on! Chris had set up a hand line (4-ft ½-in bungee attached to our life line stanchion, with 30-ft 3/8-in dock line attached with an Ashley bend, plus 60-ft of 100-lb test mono filament and 6-ft of stainless leader, ending with a green squid and single barbed hook;Thanks to all of you who have helped us with fishing). Shawn took over the boat and Chris hauled in his first fish, a beautiful 20-lb male mahi mahi. We had been well prepared from asking everyone what to expect, but it was still a very emotional experience for all involved. Chris did an amazing job of cleaning him on the high side of the boat underway and Shawn turned on the refrigerator so we could keep the precious meat fresh to share with our friends at anchor and did some 5.12 climbing moves in the galley to cook fresh rice while heeling 25-degrees close-hauled in 15 knots of wind and 4-ft seas.

It turned out we weren’t going to make it to the anchorage by night fall, so we radioed our buddy boat Pisces who had gotten there a day or so previous so they didn’t worry. Both they and Cats Paw assured us that this was a very easy anchorage and were willing to help talk us in under the cloak of night, but since there was no pending emergency, we decided to be conservative and settled in for another night at sea. We reached a few miles off our destination about midnight and hove-to for the rest of the night, watched the anchor lights of those already comfortably anchored in our destination and awaited sunrise. Eight hours later we sailed into our current home; a big spacious beach lined anchorage, waved at our friends, set the hook, put up the hammock and took a nap.

Ensenada de los Muertos is about 60 miles south of La Paz and we have enjoyed much time here (nearly a week?!). We spent two days hunkered down in its safety as 40 knot winds blew over and sand blew off the spit of land we’re anchored behind. Since then, we’ve snorkeled in nearby coral reefs, made an exciting trip to town with Julia from Pisces to do a mini-provision and socialized with the young lively crowd we’ve found (Pisces, Cotton, Kaalelewa, Andiamo). It’s fun to meet others in the same part of their lives and who understand and have even chosen similar sacrifices that we have. With many shared meals and beverages, we’ve heard and shared many exciting sea-stories, eaten very well and (Shawn and Julia) are practicing bread/tortilla making skills. Still, as does everything, it requires a balance as it is easy to fall into the social scene, forget to look around, get caught up trying to make everyone else in the anchorage happy, and lose sight of our own vision(s). We’ve just listened to the weather (which tends to take up the entire morning) and are leaning toward starting preparations to weigh anchor tomorrow and find another new beautiful home in the next few days. Until then, we’re going to enjoy being here in this amazing place with our new cruising family.

1 comment:

  1. i love the story of the mahi mahi and making rice in the heeling boat at 4 ft seas!! the pics of grizz rock, esp. in bed with chris. she seems to be doing JUST FINE on this adventure, eh? what a great travel cat! i love your photos and the blogs. i tried to find you a few times after i returned from austin on skype, but you guys must've been in town each time, so no luck there. but anyhoo, i'm thinking of you now as the fifth has come and gone, knowing some info re: yoga is due... keep me posted!