Leg 8 Starts with Fish in the Cooler!!
Okay boys put the poles away we’ve caught enough… Read on…
Wednesday afternoon…Arriving in Santa Rosalia we find Marina Singlar nearly full forcing us to take the outside end-tie which turned out to be a mistake. It’s squid season and nearly every panga in the harbor left at sunset and returned during the night each time creating a wake rocking us. Not much sleep… Note to self no end-ties in Santa Rosalia.
Shortly after arriving Pat showed up at the dock. Pat, Sue, Lew & Agnes had left Cholla yesterday, driving one 12 hour day and 6 hours today arriving mid-afternoon. They drive and run support for Baja race teams and are used to driving in Baja but very happy to finish the drive.
While they collected provisions Dave, Kelley, Randy & I did some sightseeing. The flame tree in the plaza was in full bloom. I caught a picture of mass underway in the Eiffel Iglesia. The priest kneels in front of the white draped alter.
Provisions stowed and hotels secured the crew change will be official after we have our traditional Santa Rosalia dinner together.
Dave performs a fish catching ceremony as his final fishing activity on Baja. Maybe it will help us on Leg 8
Another excellent dinner at El Muelle.
Thursday morning 5AM.. Guess what.. with daylight savings time it’s still pitch dark out. I should have set the alarm for 6AM. We have a big day today with 78 miles in front of us and nowhere to hide from weather along the way and we want to get an early start. I’ve been awake for the past hour stressing over the strong north winds blowing through the harbor. That’s just what we don’t need heading north with heavy seas and wind in our face. If it blows too hard we will have to hold tight on the dock until conditions improve. This wind wasn’t predicted. Checking the internet weather there’s no forecast to support it but it’s blowing 14 and gusting higher.
To go or not to go.. Lew is the only one of my crew that’s been on board before. I don’t want to beat them up or the boat by pounding north in north weather. If this is local wind we don’t want to delay. Finally we have enough light to tell there’s no white caps outside the harbor… The plan… Let’s go, head north and retreat to harbor if it seems to rough. Exiting the harbor there’s a confused sea with 1-2’ tight chop.. This will be a rough ride. North of town things improve and winds are now from the west at 16. Jib out and we’re more stable and motor sailing at 7.5… This will work. clearing Cabo Virgenes 15 miles north of town and we have the main up engines backed down and still 7 kts with a west wind still holding. Yes we’re going north.
The crew seems to be dealing with the rough ride okay.. Not sure why the last 3 legs day one has been the most challenging day of sailing but spirits are high and as the Peacemakers new CD song says… “Go With The FLow”. Pilot whales come by to take our mind off the bumpy seas although they certainly don’t appear that way in these pics.
Averaging close to 7kts. What a great surprise from this morning’s weather. Sing… goes the starboard fishing pole. It’s a nice dorado. pole back in the water.. not 10 minutes later… Sing… 2nd dorado… Hey guys, we’ve got to cover 78 miles today and at this rate we will never get there. Two nice dorados so no more fishing..
We’ve made great progress and the wind is building. Our apparent wind is approaching 30kts and it’s time to reef the mainsail for safety precautions. Pat’s our man to head up on the foredeck harnessed just in case.
All good with the reduced sail.. As usual, when you reef within 30 minutes the big winds have passed and we shake the reef out. Good practice for this green crew.
12 hours later and we’re in the north anchorage slot of Bahia San Francisquito and the crew got to experience conditions from extreme to dead calm seas, saw hundreds and hundreds of dolphin, pilot whales and fin backs just as we arrive in the anchorage. A good day and safe passage.
Dock side in San Francisquito’s north slot. Above, our internet provider Alberto who Pat & Sue met 15 years ago for flat tire assistance.
Friday.. Perfect night sleeping after a rough night in Santa Rosalia. We’ve got a 52 mile day today – much easier. The plan is to stop by Isla Salsipuedes for lunch to break the day up.. Lew & Agnes enjoy the calm weather on the foredeck.
11:30 and the anchor is down in Salsipuedes in our usual spot. There’s a fishing camp in the next bay on the beach with 2 boats and probably 8 fishermen. After lunch a quick visit we find they are fishing for sharks.The big catch of the day appears to be about 4’. He would get my attention.
Pat & I brave the cold water.. Visibility is very low for some reason.
Off for Bahia Los Angeles… All is good on Gato Loco… Until the next update.