Baja Travels on T de T 2015
We arrived San Carlos in January and took a week to prep the boat for heading south. Here she is in the slip!
We saw old and made new friends and ate Mike's pizza at the Captain's Club. But time to go south....
We made a 24 hour crossing to beautiful Isla Coronado.
It was a good passage, no problems.
Once we left Cornado, we made stops in several pretty anchorages and fueled at Puerto Escondido. Onward to San Evaristo where we met up with s/v Gosling (pics tf later) for a few days. Fran and JeanGuy have been out of the sea for 3 years so it was nice to see them and meet their son and his wife Dove who were aboard for a few weeks. So we parted, to meet up again in La Paz. But here is what really happened:
“Ka thunk chunk chunk” is not the sound a boater wants to hear! It usually means something is awry. Did a whale hit the boat? MOB? Engine….?
As we travel south from San Carlos, Mexico toward La Paz on the Baja every winter, we usually like to experience a 2-3 week journey and enjoy anchorages, quiet times, sunrises and sunsets and sea-life sightings. For the most part, we did. We left San Carlos Jan 16th and stopped at Isla Coronado, Puerto Escondido and Isla Carmen, Los Gatos anchorages which were uneventful – arriving San Evaristo on January 26th. We experienced a lot of wind and choppy seas and a weather forecast talked about more so we hunkered down in the San Evaristo anchorage for 4 days to wait out the “blow”. Meanwhile our very good friends on s/v Gosling arrived from La Paz with their son and his wife and we had two great evenings of dinner and visiting aboard each other’s boats. Life is good. Anchoring close to a deep wall when the winds shifted during the night worried us – but we just moved the boat the next day. During the move, the forward gear was a little touchy (clue #1!), being slow to transfer from neutral.
The morning to depart – Gosling north, and Tanque de Tiburon south and on to La Paz was a sad departure. You see, s/v Gosling’s Fran and Jean Guy have been out of the sea for 3 years and we missed their presence. They have rescued us a few times prior and we have become fast friends, visiting them on Vancouver Island as well. While they were away, our boat has behaved and no major problems or rescues( clue #2!). We motored sailed south, heading toward Isla San Francisco. It started to rain and was a refreshing way to clean the boat salt off. The winds were fair and we had a jib up but retained the engine to make fresh water as we motored. But when Bill went to turn the water maker on….
“Ka thunk chunk chunk”. (clue#3!)
And, no forward in the transmission. We had been having a few concerns with forward the past few days and had figured we would have a look at it in La Paz. Ok, before La Paz. Ok, NOW. Bill spent several hours in the engine room, adjusting and tweaking…but, nada. No Go. Nunica. Toast. I just kept the boat sailing south on the jib, but of course, the wind shifted and we had the NOSE-erlies, wind ON the nose and not much room to tack so progress was slow – maybe making 1 knot. And it’s 44 miles to La Paz. It’s raining. Wind on the nose. Oh I said that. Nope, we cannot reverse all the way; rudder said so. OK, we will just make a very slow passage to the entrance to the channel and get towed in. Onward.
Every time I looked out, I see Isla San Francisco, still. In two hours, it is in the same place. Maybe half way, no, jibe and 360’s, now back where we were to start. Not gaining much of anywhere, very slow. We did go from 44 miles to 42….this will be a long day, night and maybe another day. Engine works for electricity and a generator for back up so we are OK. Must be like the old days of no engines and the doldrums at sea. Rain was nice, cool out. Just hanging out aboard.
Until nightfall. Huh. The radar on, seas a little choppier and wind is higher, still on the nose, mind you. I see lightening all around us, oops, yikes. On the radar, lighting storm cells look like BIG ships or sea monsters. Moving fast! We made an attempt to turn away from the cells – not helping forward progress but saving our butts. It worked! I watched the cells on 3 sides of us and Bill would turn the boat west or east, not south. It was a beautiful nature site to be surrounded by lightning storms. But I got to wondering what happens when a boat is hit by lightning at sea? I really don’t want to know. Bill is not saying, for my sake. Let’s just evade them, OK? I was ever-anxious for daylight and see where we were.
Sun up about 0630. Gosh, down to 29 miles now but the storms went south, whew! Oh, and there’s Isla San Francisco, still. Not gone anywhere!!! Oh dear.
With sun up and semi-awake, storms away, we were able to progress south a little better, getting 3-5 knots on the jib. Wahoo! So about 0800, NET time in La Paz, we were able to start catching some radio links into La Paz. Got a few messages (s/v’s JUCE, El Gato and others….) through that we would need a tow in as soon as we made it into La Paz area. Just assumed it would be another 24+ hours at our pace. But low and behold, we made the “Rescue Needed “Link amongst the cruisers! All of the sudden, we hear a round-up team is being gathered and s/v Orion and a crew of Old Salts has left the port to find us and tow us in! Mike and Cathy on S/v Orion have decided to come out and meet us as we neared Espiritu Santo’s Partida shores. What a relief! It was still to be a long day out but to know our cruising friends were “on the day to save the day” was definitely a very wonderful thought!
About 25 miles out from La Paz and making better and better radio contact, we finally saw our rescue arriving on the horizon about 1100.. S/V Orion had on board the s/v’s Sol Seeker, Swan and Scott Free to help pass the lines for a tow. Lines were assembled on both ships and made ready for a passing -- which went like a well-oiled machine and very professional. The seas were a little choppy, left-over from the night’s storm, but Mike made it look so easy! He pulled forward of us, backed slowly and lines were tossed and caught and attached. We weigh 40,000 so not easy task to tow us. Orion is a 44 foot Lagoon with power, thankfully. Thank you Mike and Cathy and for s/v Orion’s brute strength to haul us 25 miles. We owe you big time – even if you did say it was an adventure for the day and a good learning experience. And the crew with Graeme and Sherry, Andy and Scott getting us hooked up and underway, we made a safe ride in. I am not sure old s/v Tanque de Tiburon has ever done 7-8 knots, tho. Haha. We were flying along! Like a great sail, only more like water skiing on a BIG tow rope. It was 25 miles, so a about a 4 hour tow process.Back in the channel, we find out that a dinghy fleet is going to meet us to enter the channel. As we get closer to the entry to Marina Palmira, talk is where we will tie off, what dock and how. But an agreement was made that we would try to make it into our slip by using several dinghies alongside and a few others to be available. Again, with a master ship hauler aboard to guide the team, it was very smooth. At least 5 dinghies approached us, the master jumped aboard, we tied on the dinghies and slowly entered the channel. As we approached our turn on our dock, the tow lines we dropped off Orion and the dinghies guided us around the corner and directly into our assigned slip. Smooth! The embarrassing part was the dock crowds cheering us in. Well, cheering Mike and Cathy for the grand “rescue” and getting us in before another nightfall at sea for old Tanque de Tiburon. So Kudos to Mike and Cathy and the cruisers aboard with them for a grand adventure of the day! Thanks to all. Love you guys. Cruisers are the best. And was I ever glad to make the dock!!
Under tow by s/v Orion and the Dinghy Brigade to tow us into our slip.
Here is an aerial view of Marina Palmira with la Paz south of us:
We have been sitting in the slip for a month now and have the transmission replaced and ready to go out again to the islands. We have my sister Marti and Fred here now from Oregon for a few weeks, so exploring some of La Paz. Next Blog, Marti and Fred's visit.
The mini-Mercado at Marina Palmira and out with Marti and
Fred to see a special show at the Cultural Center.
Also out with Sue and Alex for pizza. More cruiser pics to follow....as soon as I can download my camera!!!