Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Escape from La Paz, Shawn's birthday, and weather in the Sea

It's been a busy while. After nearly three weeks, we finally escaped the vortex of La Paz. It's funny, the whole trip until we got there we'd been saying "we'll fix it in La Paz." Well, La Paz was such a scene in itself that we didn't end up with much time to actually do most of those projects. We enjoyed it, but more importantly, we realized that the cruising scene in La Paz although fun for a short time, is not what our dream cruise is about. We want to see beautiful untouched places, be connected to nature, spend time talking with people from the places that we are visiting. Not spend our days finding internet and only hanging out with (I mean this in the best possible way) other gringo sailors. So, moving toward removing ourselves from its pull, we enjoyed the sailors we met and ate lots of amazing Mexican cuisine daily (corn ice cream 5 peso tacos were revisited many times!). We did our taxes (which by the way is a pain from another country even when they are easy), overly reprovisioned, and spent one last day with Chris fighting a stomach bug. On the 3rd of April we sailed away from the city with the wind at our back and the tide in our favor.

We went a short distance (18 nm) to Balandra Bay and spent two nights with our friends Pisces and Catspaw. On the 5th we awoke to swells rolling into the anchorage and decided to weigh anchor and start the much anticipated voyage northward into the Sea. We had a beautiful 7 hr beat upwind to Ensenada Grande on the north end of Isla Partida again (we've so far had good luck there with Coromuels). We spent two nights there with Pisces doing yoga on the beach and waiting for the seas being blown from the north to lay down a bit. On the 7th (yes Shawn's birthday!) we both very patiently beat out of the bay and made the best of the few breaths of wind that fluttered by leading to the afternoon calm. Finally, we decided to work the iron genoa a little and spent a few hours motoring through clear and calm seas with perfect views of rays, billfish and even electric blue suckers riding on the backs of dolphins in our bow waves until we finally set the hook at the east side of Isla San Francisco. There we had a birthday celebration on Pisces with overwhelming amounts of yummy food, durazno mimosas that made us feel like we had been at their wedding, and then it was topped off with coconut chocolate cake and freshly whipped cream- thanks so much Julia & Jacob! All that followed by a comfortable calm night of sleep adds up to a rather amazing birthday!

It's been nearly a week since then and we've been enjoying this area. More yoga on the beach. Then a sail to Isla Coyote and some amazing snorkeling. The stars all aligned and the full moon rose as "Team Young" Scheherazade, Pisces, and Tao shared a wonderful spinach and brown rice dinner together at a deserted anchorage on the south end of Isla San Jose. With northers predicted and a bad batch of bugs Scheherazade ran with brief southerlies to Everisto on the Baja peninsula while we sailed the short distance north around the spit with Pisces into Bahia Amortajada and spent the day exploring the mangroves and lagoon that connect to the other side of the island. After returning to our boat feeling very lazy and relaxed, the sun set and the winds piped up- from a very undesirable direction. The fetch was enough that the waves rolling in on us were 3 to 4 feet at 2 seconds and we were hanging over the sandy moving shoal we anchored on toward shore. Finally around 10pm, as the moon rose we both weighed anchor and motored back around the spit to our previous anchorage for protection from the westerly swells.

Three blissfully secluded nights passed as we waited out some unfavorable SE winds followed by the forcasted northerly blow in solitude. Plenty of space to let out as much scope as we wanted as 30 knot winds burst over the spit of land. Hikes to high points allowed us to see white frothy waves blowing down from the north and radio contact with Scheherazade from the protected but packed Everisto anchorage assured us that we were perfectly situated. Yet we feel itchy to move northward (literally for Shawn whom the hay-hay-nays, the Spanish pronunciation of no-see-ums, have been feasting on). So today (the 13th) we weighed anchor and had a magnificent San-Francisco-Bay-like sail, beating 7 miles to windward averaging nearly 6 knots with our 100% jib and double reefed main for 3 hours up the San Jose Channel to our current home- Everisto. For the past week we have gone out of our way to find and been spoiled by safe, isolated, and deliciously deserted anchorages and it is a bit of a shock to currently be anchored with 20 other boats. But we'll enjoy this well protected anchorage for a night and reassess our plans tomorrow. Planning is really overrated.

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