Puerto Lobos to Bahia de Los Angeles (3rd Update)
Baja2011 cruise is very young and so far our truck broke down and we were grounded in Puerto Lobos… What’s next?
Puerto Lobos light house stands tall and well maintained>>
After our Lobos update I’m not sure we can match the drama on any future updates.. Or can we.. Read on…
Anchor up around 7 after a good night’s sleep. Fishing pangas are zooming past as they head out to manage their nets and long lines. Surprising there is already people walking the beach and lots of village activity. Wind blew from the south during the night but did not impact our anchorage, although Steve was up checking during the night. I managed to sleep through it.
Heading SW to Puerto Refugio on the north end of Isla Angel de la Guarda north of Bahia de Los Angeles 61 miles from Lobos. Exiting Lobos south bay we find stronger winds which is a mystery, why weren’t they in the bay??? Looks like we’re in for a windy day. One hour later we decide to put a reef in the main sail as a precaution and to review the procedure. We’re now in the vigilant mode after Lobos. After correcting a couple rigging issues we are sailing on the 2nd reef very comfortably pushing 6kt in light sea chop.
10AM.. Winds were apparently a morning breeze and dropped enough to shake out the reef, the reefing exercise complete. 10:30 single engine kicker now needed to maintain our 6kt goal. Seas are smoothing out.
12:50PM.. Motor sailing with both engines now to maintain out 6kts.. Steve is resting on the port salon bench and I’m on the computer writing the Lobos update setting on the starboard bench…. HOLY CRAP (as Cynthia would say). Gato Loco lunges to starboard as I see a huge dorsal fin sliding down the port hull and disappeared diving behind us, as Gato Loco was getting completely drenched.. We just had a hard, but glancing blow with a huge 60’ fin back whale. “Steve, quick get down in the port hull and see if we’ve been holed”. He stumbled quickly down in the hull and soon reappeared to indicate no immediate issue were apparent. We had been preparing a ditch bag with items needed if we had to abandon ship in case of emergency and I quickly took note where everything was. Everything seems stable, we’ve maintained our speed. After letting the adrenalin settle a little, getting our heart rates down and talking a bit about just happened (reviewing & reviewing), it was time for a closer inspection.
Good News.. Amazingly No damage.. Apparently the soft side of the whale and Gato Loco’s freshly waxed hull provided a soft landing for the glancing blow. I did find the forward end of the rub rail just below the bow pulpit must have been in the impact zone as it is broken a bit. There were some parasites spread on the bow probably dislodged by the impact. What’s the chances of a whale surfacing just in front of us.. I’ve thought they could sense our presence and avoid us. This is a big one to put in our memory banks.. There’s lots of “What Ifs” here. That was the best case scenario. I won’t go into the others.
Adventure we want, Adventure we get….
1:15… A huge pod of dolphin appear ahead.. Our first thought was, “oh, no, more whales”, but instead we were treated with a huge armada of dolphin running with us for 10 minutes.
A flashback…. June 20th 1993, Steve, Bill, Frankie and I were sailing Dos Buenos at sunrise just 12 miles WSW of our whale impact location. At that time we could hear whales breaching all around us.. There was a light fog and damp air with the sails dripping water… This information was written on our cruising chart we still carry with us today.. Awesome history!!!
We arrived in Puerto Refugio 5ish to find we are the only boat in the huge anchorage area. Our favorite anchoring spot can be buggy but no bugs this time.. With all the drama so far it’s time to go visit the anchorage shrine to say a few prays for the remainder of the cruise.
Everything is in good order nicely maintained by the local fisherman. New paint outside and freshly cleaned on the inside. At sunset 2 pangas returned to a fishing camp below the shrine. They’ve probably visited to ensure they have a good catch during their trip.
Easter Sunday … Happy Easter to everybody. Hope you get time to spend with your families. I know Frankie and Cindy will be with family today while we’re away… Happy!! All is good on Gato Loco.
Our alarm goes off at 5:45. We’re heading down Canal de Ballenas (Whales Canal) between Isla La Guarda and Baja. This channel has some of the deepest waters and strongest curents in the Sea. It’s wise to navigate with the current and it turns south around 6 am. We hope to slide down the channel with a 2kt assist. About half way down the channel is the famous wind slot that has create many a harrowing sailing stories, Just ask Bill.
Sunrise as we leave our Refugio anchorage.
Steve has all 4 guide books out for reference and notes on our chart from previous passages. That’s vigilant!!
Winds are light on our nose as we head south. No point in hoisting sails. As expected, we see dark water in the wind slot to the south.
Until the next Update
Bill, No luck yet getting the fridge to work on auto mode. Installed the 12 hour timer and using 6 hour runs to keep it cool. Sending an email to ask some more questions while in Bay of LA and will continue to work on it.
Our next update will be Santa Rosalia, probably Tuesday or Wednesday.
After reading BOTH updates…….I’m exhausted from suspense!!! WOW is the only word that comes to mind at the moment. So glad you both are safe and that Gato Loco is sustained and able to move through the journey. I think when most of us say “safe travels” we don’t expect two episodes within the first leg!!
Man, so glad you guys are alright! I am one for adventure, but that was just NUTS! Hoping the rest of your journey doesn’t have quite the same kind of adventures…haha! 😀
Butch, beginning to get the feeling this may be a good year we are once again not able to join you. Your adventures while great to read about not so sure great in person!! Keep up the good work and quick thinking solutions you are coming up with for this trip.
at least u didnt sink gato loco! sounds like a call for dbl rations of cocktails all around!
Oh my Goodness! Unreal, maybe the whale did sense you and just wanted a back rub. This is really turning into an adventure. I still have such fond memories of my week with Gato Loco and the close proximity to sea life was a high-light BUT not that close haha. Cheers to smooth sailing days ahead.
OMG..Such extereme excitement! any comments seem unworthy after what you have been through! Sending you powerful safe thoughts, of good winds and happy sailing, from now forward!!
Wowy Caflowey!! Big stories!! The whale story is awesome..Safe sailing amigos!! Hope Steve is feeling better!!
OMGOSH!!! I felt like I was reading an adventure book!!! That was CRAZY!!! Tales to be told over and over, I’m sure. Hope the rest of the trip is a bit less adventurous.
If you need to pack a holy crap bag, we gave you a yellow water proof bag for such situations! Not sure where it is, maybe Bill knows. Glad to hear you are having a grand adventure!! take deep breaths, enjoy the ride!
WOW!! I’d be scared and maybe pee my pants!!! Happy sailing here on out. No more wild adventures ok????
Oh My…..its going to be smooth sailing here on out!!
We have made it to Santa Rosalia without much more drama. Did see a few more whales and kept our distance.. Thanks for the fun comments. More to come… Lowell