Crossing Sea of Cortez

Leading up to our “big crossing” from Baja to mainland Mexico was probably more nerve-wracking for me than the actual crossing.  This would be my first time doing an overnight crossing without crew.  Being just Dave and me I was worried that we wouldn’t sleep enough and we’d be tired and cranky, and most worrisome, that I’d be so overcome with seasickness that I wouldn’t be able to pull my weight leaving Dave to do a two day crossing on his own.  But it all went fairly smooth. 

We headed south from the islands and hit up Muertos again for a night.  We ate at the 1535 Restaurant (golf club restaurant that I couldn’t remember the name of before) to enjoy some fresh, non-canned food and did a few loads of laundry.  Just as we were calling it a day and putting the dinghy away for the next mornings’ sail, lo and behold, our friends from s/v Way She Goes came sailing into the anchorage!  We hadn’t seen them since San Diego.  It was worth waiting on hoisting the dinghy on deck to go over to their boat for a catch up and some fresh ceviche that Sheila had just made up.  We had a great time recalling our adventures over the last couple of months and we gave them some tips about exploring the islands as they were heading north.  We did try to convince them to just head south to Mazatlan with us and rejoin the Navigo, Camanoe, Way She Goes trifecta, but they had other plans that they wanted to stick to.    So south we went and north they went. 

From Muertos to Los Frailes the next day we caught our very first Mahi Mahi fish.  It made an absolute mess!  We still can’t get the blood out of our hatch cover.  Now we know; when we start reeling in a fish, I need to remove all the white covers on the back of the deck.  LOL.  It was oh so yummy having fresh, white flesh fish after all those dark red meat bonitos.

Crossing 001 

Not the biggest dorado, but enough for us!

At 160 nautical miles across, Los Frailes is the shortest point from southern Baja to the mainland/Mazatlan.  We sailed out of the anchorage about 8am on December 20th with the wind in just the right position to set us in the direction of Mazatlan.  Dave took the first shift from 7am to 1pm and I took the next shift from 1pm to 7pm.  We were able to sail through most of the day, sticking around 4 or 5 knots, but towards the end of my shift, the winds died to nothing.  We attempted the spinnaker but that didn’t help any, so we gave in and started up the motor.  We motored through the night.  The drone kept me up during the time I was supposed to be sleeping and Dave didn’t get much sleep either with all the creaking from down below.  From up on deck I could see Dave getting up, turning on lights, banging on things and arranging things to keep the creaking and squeaking throughout the cabin down, laying back down and then a few minutes later getting up to do it all again.

Besides the insistent noise from the engine, my solo night watch wasn’t too bad.  I started to get pretty sleepy halfway through as I had been up for almost 24 hours, but my method of staying awake is the same on the boat as it was back home if I had a long car drive.  Just have a Stephanie Concert.  I turn on music I like to sing along to and just sing my little heart out.  The engine noise actually helped in this regard because Dave couldn’t hear me up on deck through the drone.

This was also the first time during all of our travels that I’d stayed up through the night and watched the sun rise from beginning to end.  It’s a humbling experience to be sitting in darkness and then all of a sudden have a glow of light in the distance.  The more it grew, the more beautiful the sky became. Just sky and clouds as far as I could see.

As we had predicted, by the time it was Dave’s watch again, the morning winds had picked up enough that we could bring out the headsail and turn off the engine.  AHHHH…PEACE AND QUIET FINALLY!  It didn’t take more than a minute for me to fall fast asleep after my long watch.

When I woke up around noon, we were still sailing along nicely, sometimes hitting 7 or 8 knots, and we could just make out land in the distance.  With about 30 miles left, we knew we were going to hit Mazatlan by dusk and hopefully get into the old harbor anchorage before it was too dark.

The Mazatlan skyline welcomed us about 5pm, just as the sun was setting and making the buildings on shore sparkle.

Crossing 005

Land Ho!  Mazatlan and a pretty sunset. (Click on photo for a larger view)

In all, we did the 160 NMs in about 30 hours.  Camanoe sailed with what she had and Dave and I were pretty proud of ourselves for a seamless crossing.  Oh, and no seasickness on my part. 🙂


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