12 days total, 6 full nights at sea with two stops: Bahia de Tortugas (Turtle Bay) and Bahia Santa Maria.
A continuous series of ‘firsts’ for us, this was our first real passage. Not only did we complete our first overnight sail, we did 3 nights in a row right off the bat. Overall it was our farthest distance offshore of about 40 miles, our first time in Mexico, our first test of the SSB and sailmail, first docking at a foreign port (and in the dark no less) side-tied to another boat last minute. Longest distance sailing without motoring was 40 hours, etc. etc. The firsts continue to compile…
I can best describe our trip to Cabo as yin and yang. There were highlights and low lights and everything in between. I now realize I have to get used to drastic changes as every second of every day is different and challenging.
- Crossing the imaginary (on our chartplotter) Mexican border line just south of San Diego. Wow we are really here! Now let’s hope we don’t get boarded by the Mexican Navy (we didn’t).
- Finally anchoring in Turtle Bay after being on the water for about 74 hours. We did it! High fives all around. Now this is real Mexico, dusty streets, open air beach shacks with sand floors or decks, fishing pangas, rickety pier, stray dogs running everywhere, tiny one room tiendas (markets), first time I’d seen eggs sold non-refrigerated (they last longer that way), shocked at just how many food products are the same or similar as in the US, no street names, houses are nothing to speak of but everyone has nice cars…what’s up with that?
- Cruisers potluck on the beach with over 400 people and 150 different dishes and Pacifico (yay!).
- Eating manta ray soup for lunch at this little open air patio/I think it was her house. Who knew you could eat that? Tastes like fishy beef, it was good though.
- Surrounded by dolphins in glass-smooth waters near Isla Natividad.
- Anchoring in Bahia Santa Maria after 2 nights of 17-24kt winds and 10-12ft seas, worst we’d ever been in. Just happy to be anchored and still.
- Beach party at Bahia Santa Maria. Delicious shrimp tacos cooked in a little beach shack miles from civilization. Beach was gorgeous, smooth hard packed sand with a cool estuary. No buildings in sight except a couple shacks.
- Meteorite sighting… anchored at Santa Maria we witnessed a green flash streak across the sky falling behind a stark mountain with near-full moon in the background.
- Finally being able to sleep on the boat down below, even if it’s only while motoring.
- Not taking any seasickness pills since day 2. Very proud of that.
- Leg 3: Warm waters at last! Mid-ocean seawater bucket dump to celebrate the crossing of the Tropic of Cancer (now called Tropic of Taurus) latitude.
- Manta ray kickflip right next to the boat… he did it twice, a 360 flip, then I guess he was done showing off. Very cool.
- First dinner (beef tacos) made at sea on the stove (not until our calm last leg). I always pre-made pasta or quinoa salad dinners before leaving for the next port.
- Visited by butterflies for entire last leg of our sail. Brian thought I was crazy until he saw them too. And we were at least 20 miles from land.
- Finally got used to the motion enough to read on board (liken it to reading in a car eliciting car sickness).
- My last night at watch for 5 hours in calm seas, full moon and no boats to be seen. We normally did 3 hour watches at night but I was awake and Brian was getting some much needed sleep while we motored. This was how my first night sail should have been! Calm waters, peaceful and gorgeous full moon.
- Sailing down to Cabo in late afternoon, watching the sun set. Perfect weather, 80 degree air temp, 80 degree water, calm seas. The perfect sail. A welcome respite from Leg 2.
- Entering Cabo in beautifully eerie, rippling, inky waters, rounding the Cabo arches with the help of a full moon.
- Real showers at Cabo Marina. Breakfast out.
- Final beach party at Mango Deck on the sand with the arches across the bay as a backdrop.
- Beers with new-found friends at Cabo Wabo, Sammy Haggar’s bar (from Van Halen).
- Strawberry margaritas, fresh made guacamole, ceviche, best chilaquiles!
- Day 1 sucked - can’t say it more blunt than that. We were totally exhausted. Could not sleep until the 2nd night out… just too amped up and nervous I suppose. That very first day I kept thinking “what on earth were we thinking not taking crew?” Literally everyone we talked to who asked us how many people we had on board, when we said just the two of us they grimaced and said “eewww” or “ooohhh” like we were crazy. Everybody has crew. Now I knew why… we should have made Luis or Jesse go with us. Would have been more fun. I will say that day 2 and 3 exponentially improved, and by the time we got to Turtle Bay, we both felt much better.
- Rolling around in a chop with no wind was horrible. Boom banging. Sails slatting. Washing machine motion. Can’t move around the boat without falling onto something….
- Brian hits himself seemingly on an hourly basis, whether it be whacking his head on the boom or the companionway door or the dodger. Puts him in a foul mood. Even when I so carefully plant every foot and try to not to move quickly about the boat to avoid falling, I still back-slammed into the chart table and got shwacked on the temple with a cupboard door. 3 days later the bump still hurt.
- All of Leg 2 from Turtle Bay to Bahia Santa Maria. 2 full days and nights of rocking and rolling. 17-20 kts winds gusting to 25kts, surfing down 10-12ft breaking waves. It was miserable for the entire fleet. But I never felt unsafe, in fact the boat took the waves like a trooper and we were really happy with the Monitor windvane which steered the boat way better than we ever could. We sailed the whole way, which actually made for better motion, but by the morning of day 3 before we made landfall, I broke down in tears… I just wanted OFF. Let me ‘splain…
- On top of no sleep, we traveled too far inland to get away from the horrible waves and got stuck inside what I nicknamed the ‘Bay of Purgatory’ as it took forever to sail out with light and fluky wind going back into the large waves with no forward momentum, top that off with no more energy to deal with the crazy movement…
- I just have to say going to the bathroom was the worst. Getting there is hard enough, we usually hold on for dear life when climbing down the steps below to avoid getting lurched backward or sideways when the boat rolls. Then it’s a comical dance tripping over the liferaft, dinghy and sails in the middle of the floor (we put those below on overnight passages as we’ve read too many stories about things on deck being swept overboard). We do a monkey bar hand-over-hand maneuver along the overhead handholds, trying not to get thrown to the side of the boat as it rolls. Then run 2 more steps to the front, body slam full force against the closet, ping-pong off the v-berth while opening the bathroom door, whip yourself in there and close it before the next wave slams the door in your face. Then try dropping your pants in a bathroom half the size of a telephone booth, gripping a handhold with one hand, bracing yourself with one foot against the wall, and sometimes depending on the heel of the boat your forehead bracing against the wall as well. I won’t go any further details, you can imagine the rest on your own. It’s not pretty.
- At Bahia Santa Maria we were SOOO happy to be on land but as soon as I stepped on that gorgeous beach I got land sickness. Damn it! Such a beautiful place and I couldn’t stand up for more than 10 minutes without feeling the unbearable need to sit down. Dizzy, exhausted and probably dehydrated, everything started spinning and I was seeing white spots. Ironically, after just wanting OFF the boat, all I wanted to do was get back ON the boat and go to sleep.