I’m about 30 nm outside of Mazatlan after a FANTASTIC trip! At midnight Tuesday morning, I weighed anchor in Cabo Bay and headed east along the coast toward Las Frailes. Initially, the motor morphed into a lovely sail with wind out of the south, and then the effects of the norther blowing down the Sea of Cortez hit. There is a large and wide arroyo just west of San Jose del Cabo, and it just funnels the norther into the bay. I reefed all sails and kept going. By no means was it as bad as the one I was introduced to when I first arrived in Cabo. About ten hours later, after humpback whales and numerous bites of barracuda on my Rapala, I was anchored in 15′ of sparkling clear water at Bahia Las Frailes. It was love at first sight! The strong wind was all around, except where I was sheltered behind the rock that makes the point. Immediately, a juvenile pelican arrived and began begging with his dark, soulful eyes. There were four other boats in the bay, including Chris who I met in Cabo aboard the 32′ “Swabby.” After stowing a few things, it was time for a swim!
As first my fingers, and then my arms, head and then the rest of my body entered the water, I couldn’t help but groan in sheer delight. The water was about 79 degrees and super clear. I swam to the beach about 50 meters away, but I just didn’t want to get out yet. I swam back to Willow, cleaned the waterline with my hand, and noted I needed to clean the bottom. If I was staying another day, it would be the perfect place to do it, but I’ll get to it in Mazatlan. I checked on the set of my anchor, easily seeing from the surface that the flukes were well dug in and the chain was making its designs in the sand. Sliding my head back until just my face was out of the water, I floated. Took deep, long breaths and floated. Worked on just feeling the water against my skin, causing my hair to wave in its rhythm, taking the weight off my joints and bones. I think I fell asleep. Being in the water is one of my favorite places to be, and if I can’t be in it, then let me be on it!
After swimming, I cleaned the cockpit of fish scales, and decided to make some chicken for a few nights’ dinners. Cranking up the oven always makes the cabin hot, but with the strong breeze around, it cooled down quickly. I ate, had a glass of wine, and got ready for bed. My navigation preparation was all done, and all I needed to do was weigh anchor around midnight and press on. Unfortunately, Makani kept catching those dang hummingbird-sized moths and gifting me with them. He wouldn’t kill them, just bring them in for me to enjoy the mad fluttering of their wings until I got up and rescued them, multiple times… Such a giver.
I was warming up the engine by 0030, and out of the bay on my way by 0100. The norther was still blowing, but the forecast called for it to begin dying soon. Additionally, it sent me favorably on my way, allowing me a beam reach on down the line. Mazatlan was 164 nm to the southeast, and I was looking forward to the trip. All sails were up and pulling me along, with a single reef in the main. I decided to hook up the Monitor self-steering, instead of always relying on the motorized auto pilot. This device works quietly according to the wind angle to your boat, not a compass heading. As such, proper sail trim is vital. I was lucky this trip, and it was great to hear nothing but seawater rush down the sides of the boat. No whirring back and forth of the pilot. It was very nice.
Fishing on this leg has proven futile, but no matter. I’ve been given other fun things to see. The stars have been amazing! The moon basically is rising the same time the sun does, so it’s pretty dark out here. I think there’s a meteor shower going on, Leonids? Anyhow, the shooting stars were many, often and bright. Escorted by some smaller speckled dolphin, Makani has finally spotted them and he races to the bow to watch them play and roll in the bow wave. This is only allowed when seas are on the calm side… Since leaving Frailes I haven’t seen any whales, but I’ve been treated to a number of sea turtles. Later in the afternoon, I learned why. I was swarmed by gazillions of tiny, maybe 1/2 to 3/4-inch long jellyfish. And jellyfish are sea turtles favorite food! I sailed through the jellies for about three hours until finally finding clear water. The sea birds are always amazing. The frigates coast in the slipstream the top of my mast creates, just drafting along until they either find food or are bored. The boobies coast low to the sea surface, gliding along the swells, but never do I see them feed or swim. But they poop! I’ve evidence of that on the bow! Yesterday evening, three of them decided to bestow their presence upon me, and sat on the bow pulpit, preening and squawking to each other. I had to put Makani in his harness when they showed up. After talking to each other awhile, they tucked their bills under their wings and went to sleep. They were there the entire night, and this morning I was able to get some photos. It’s pretty fun to see what’s out here, and how I interact with them, and them with me.
As I approach Mazatlan, I’m on the lookout for drift nets, signalled by some black flags on buoys. Unlike the nets in the Ventura area, these buoys are connected on the surface with beefy polypropylene, sure to tightly wrap a prop, or worse. John and Cyn on the Alcyone had to dodge them 10-15 nm out, so I’m looking out for them. They told me another fin-keeled boat dragged a line on into the harbor! Due to the shape of the underbody of his boat, he never wrapped his prop. Due to the shape of the underbody of Willow, I’m sure to wrap my prop! So I’d rather dodge them… I should be in and anchored by 1500 without a hitch. I’ll anchor until I check the forecast. Rain(!) was on an earlier extended forecast, so I want to see a more current version.
I hope everyone is happy and healthy. Don’t let the holiday season get to you. If it does, go do like my friends do, and paddle! It’s good for the soul… Take care!