Sunday, March 16, 2008

At Sea

We left Muertos, Baja Sur on the 13th and ended up motoring down to Frailes, Baja Sur to spend the night. We needed to make water so the motoring allowed us to fill our water tanks. We anchored around five in the afternoon, had dinner, and crashed early. We wanted to get an early start so we pulled our anchor at 4 a.m. on the 14th and headed for Cabo. We had decided that it was silly to be so close and not stop to get fuel since we might need it to motor across the ITCZ (doldrums).

We found ourselves motoring again, but it was a beautiful day, and we saw more whales, seals, and rays. We discussed going into the harbor with the boat and pulling up to the fuel dock; however, when we saw the bay, we said, "No way!" A huge yacht was passing right in front of us, and when we hit the wake, we buried the bow and a huge wall of water went up and then came down on top of our boat. Luckily, I had just closed all the hatches. There were tour boats, fishing charters, water taxis, 2 cruise ships, jet skis, and para sails everywhere, and I mean every where. The Mexican navy was also present.

We finally found a spot to anchor so that we could unload the dinghy to go into the fuel dock using our jerry jugs. Steve took care of that while I stayed aboard in case we drug anchor--it was pretty windy. We checked weather faxes and grib files and also listened to Don, who does the weather for the Sea, and decided to leave after resting for a few hours. It looked as though we would have higher winds on Sunday so it was best to leave now.

At 10:50 in the evening, we pulled anchor and headed out for the Marquesas, and I can't think of the words to describe our first evening at sea. The winds were in the 20 to 25 knot range with gusts to 28 or 30. Now we have been in that before, and it wasn't a problem; however, the seas were rough. We estimate the waves to be 8 to 10 feet (we are really trying to be accurate) and some were breaking. We had waves and spray coming into the cockpit, and we were soaked. We ended up in our foul weather gear with wet clothes underneath. For several reasons we decided to leave the sail double reefed with a small jib. Our speed was around 7.5 knots, but we saw up to 9.1 knots several times. It was a heck of a ride. In the middle of the night, all I could think of was the song, "I'm on a Highway to Hell."

This morning (3/15) we were able to triple reef the main and pull in more jib; consequently, the ride became much better. We corrected some things that we spotted last night that needed to be tackled and had a good lunch. The winds today have been down around 10 knots so we have slowed way down. They should pick up again tonight and tomorrow and then back way down.

The boat, as usual, handled the conditions very well, and we were very pleased.

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