Lots of projects got finished at the dock in San Diego. Pete doesn’t get far without his helper with him.
We were lucky enough to have a friend loan us a truck (thanks Mary!). We definitely needed the cargo space to stock up for the next month.
Weather wasn't cooperating on our way south from San Diego. Our plan had been to head straight to Turtle Bay, but the seas were running too big for the amount of wind, and it was rather rolly. We decided to day-trip it for awhile so that we'd be more comfortable. The anchorage at Todos Santos was an interesting (i.e. tight) one... Icarian had arrived about an hour before us, and had already managed to get a line ashore (I'm still not sure how he did it in the dark). We set a bow anchor, tied off to their stern line, then ran a line between our bows to keep us from swinging into the rocks on either side.
We hiked around on Todos Santos Sur (south) for half a day and marveled at the ruggedness. The dingy trip ashore and the landing was interesting - large surge sweeping us around and past rock pillars. The landing was a matter of picking a spot that had less-big rocks, and timing it to row up the back of a wave, jump out quickly and hold the dink to keep it from getting swept back out. There were many spectacular rock arches - you can see our dinghy under the one below.
Homeschooling science is easy with all the amazing things we’re seeing. Pete and Carter made a close inspection of a pelican skeleton. Ellie thought it was gross.
It was a beautifully scenic spot, and reasonably comfortable until the wind and swell started building the next day, signaling that it was time to move on.
Our next anchorage was just south of Ensenada, where we got rained on by an absolute downpour. (We've been bringing rain with us to all kinds of places that are normally quite arid!). We left as the rain let up in the morning and made really good time out of the bay (8-9kn)... until we got the the southern point and started bashing into the big confused waves. It took several hours to get around the corner, by which time Pete had been seasick for the first (and second!) time in his life. Eventually, it settled down and we made a good passage to Turtle Bay
The kids are getting more adventurous as they get used to the boat. We go onto the foredeck to watch dolphins and now they are more likely to put on their harnesses and join Pete in raising sails or putting down the anchor.
Ellie isn’t always convinced that sailing is for her. However, she is making friends with all the other cruisers and is very observant of the new things we are seeing. She loves the animals best and draws many pictures each day.
We got some Langustas (Lobsters) from the fish co-op in Turtle Bay. Fortuanately, they were dead and frozen already, else we may have had to set them free...
Weather wasn't cooperating again when it came time to move on - there was a big storm heading down the coast, so we decided to make the trip to Bahia Santa Maria in shorter hops, staying closer to shore with hopes that the reduced fetch would make the swells smaller. We left with a couple other boats and had the comfort of maintaining radio contact all night (hey Iain... the wind just picked up 20kn... you might want to put in another reef before it gets to you!). We don't have an anemometer, so can't accurately measure windspeed, but the other boats reported gusts up to 46mph! We were pleased how well the boat handled "big" weather, even though we got some spray in the cockpit and funky waves trying to climb aboard. We stopped at Asuncion and San Juanico, for rest and a few provisions, then on to Bahia Santa Maria. The water temp finally got out of the mid 60's and up around 70F, and we started going in the water for enjoyment for the first time!
Bahia Santa Maria , about half way down Baja, turned out to be a favorite stop with everyone. We found the most shells there, had several potlucks with friends.
After a mile long dinghy ride up into the mangroves (Ellie commented that it looked like a ride at Disneyland), we took a 6 mile hike across to a wild, uninhabited coastline. The beach was littered with bones, shells and turtle skeletons. We came across a whale skull that was at least 8ft long. At one time, I counted 14 turkey vultures soaring overhead. We took an alternate route through the sand dunes on the way back. The kids filled their clothes with sand, jumping off the hills and we found drifts of shells behind each dune.
The beautiful light from the sunrise shining on the mountains greeted us each day, and there were some fantastic sunsets to put us to bed.
Iain (from Loon) and the kids started naming the days in Turtle Bay. We had Whalebone Wednesday, and Turkey Thursday (Thanksgiving). Then in Santa Maria the men took off for “Estrogen Free Saturday”. They climbed the highest peak while the wives stayed home and baked. I think every boat in the anchorage had fresh bread that day
We had a great time snorkeling, hiking and just sitting on the beach. It was always windy, but was still nice and warm. A school of Manta Rays toured around the anchorage, and were great fun to watch as they kept attempting to fly. They came in to shore one morning and swam around our legs in the shallow water!
Carter helped re-bed a leaking deck prism... he was the perfect size to fit on the top shelf in the "closet".
We loved Los Frailes, and were able to get some provisions from a truck that sells to the snowbird RV'ers camped along the beach. Christmas and plans to meet friends and family around La Paz prompted us to move along, and we continued bashing our way north, with a brief stop at Los Barilles (where some friends of Loon invited us for dinner - we left the boat anchored in 20-25kn with 300ft of chain out, and forced ourselves "not to look". After dinner the wind let up slightly and we tried to sleep for a few hours, then left in the dark for Los Muertos. We analyzed and hypothesized for hours about the wind patterns and currents, trying to decide on the best time to leave to make it up the channel between Isla Cerralvo and Bahia La Ventana. We planned at 10 mile hop to the south end of Cerralvo, where we'd be able to see the channel better, but when we got there we decided that conditions were good so we just kept going. We just made it through the pass below Isla Del Espritu Santo as it was getting dark, and were able to radio Loon about the operational status and positions of the marker lights. We felt our way into one possible anchorage, but decided it was too rolly and moved a bit further south to Caleta Lobos, which isn't even shown on the charts. We helped Loon find their way in, and had already sounded a spot for them to anchor. It was a nice scenic spot with great coral reef snorkeling, but the water is getting cooler again. A school of puffer fish decided that under our boat was a good place to hang out, providing much entertainment for us!
Just a few miles south (and a quick kedging off a sandbar when we mistimed a tack trying to get into the channel) and we were anchored off the city of La Paz, just in time to get some Christmas shopping done.