So fast forward 32 years and 3 kids later (two sons and a daughter) and our journey begins. The kids are grown, out of college and secure in jobs. On a beautiful good Friday morning, we leave Ensenada, Mexico (we imported our boat a few months earlier) with best friends (and crew) Guy and Patsy. Planning to stop in Turtle Bay, Bahia Santa Maria, Cabo San lucus and La Paz where we would rest and reprovision before heading up the Sea of Cortez.
The weather forecast called for mild seas (2-3 foot) and Northwest winds 10-15. The first 48 hours were pretty uneventful (mild winds, flat seas) except the chart plotter quit working (a wire slipped loose) and Carol spent the first 27 hours sleeping or vomiting (she woke up the morning of the trip sick..we hadn’t even left the dock!) But Carol recovered in time for the adventure (and the weather) to take an eventful turn!
As we approached Turtle Bay, the winds picked up (15 to 20) knotts and we were finally able to sail! A unanimous vote (well almost unanimous…Patsy didn’t raise her hand, she had just come off of night watch) decided that we would take advantage of the fair winds and bypass Turtle Bay, heading instead for Bahai Santa Maria. The winds continued to come to our stern and so we kept pointing up. Before we knew it, we were over 150 miles off the coast and the winds and wave were building. Soon the winds were 30-40 knots and the seas were 20-25 feet coming off our port quarter and stern. More than once (during Carol and Patsy’s watch) the waves were crashing over the stern and onto the bimini from the port side. Windcutter road them like a champion…surfing down waves with ease and adjusting to changing winds and surf like it was a piece of cake. At one point, I felt pure andrenalyn drive me to keep her at full sail just to “see what she could do”…I clocked our speed at 11.5 knots (hull speed is 8). The captain awoke hearing Patsy and I heckle with joy (and a little fear) at the marvelous ride we were encountering and scolded me profusely (He separated Patsy and I after that night and I didn’t get to take another shift without him!) In hindsight, it was a foolish move, but at no time did I feel in danger and gained confidence in the ability of our vessel to persevere in extreme conditions!
We arrived safely at Bahia Santa Maria where we rested, traded batteries for lobster from the local fisherman and waited for the weather to calm down. Finally, we poked our heads out and headed for Cabo San Lucas. Seas were calm, winds mind and weather was warming up! We encounted the most beautiful sunsets and sunrises on this leg of the journey and never grew tired of star gazing at the billions of stars in the sky!
Two days later we arrived at Cabo San Lucas. Tired from the trip we found it frustrating to dodge speed boats, cruise ships, jet skis and mindless tourist who dominated the bay. We pulled into the dock late afternoon and crashed exhausted into our berths! We spent a fun 3 days in Cabo exploring the town, restaurants and beaches and had a fun time with our good friends Guy and Patsy.
Our last leg from Cabo to LaPaz was wonderful! Reputed as often being a difficult passage, we found the seas to be calm and the warm winds favorable! We were finally able to shed our sweaters and long pants and embraced the warm breeze! A full moon guided our way and dolphins played at our bow. It was a delightful trip enjoyed by all!
We spent one night at sea and pulled into Costa Baha (La Paz) in good spirits and ready to explore the town! It was love at first sight here…a town bursting with art, beautiful beaches, great restaurants and amazing people! We were sad to say goodbye to our awesome friends Guy and Patsy who braved this maiden voyage with us and endured until the end! We won’t ever forget their generosity, endurance and love.
To be continued…