Loading Map

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Passage Observations

6 December 2005
Pacific Ocean South of Cabo Corrientes

This is the fourth day of our non-stop passage from Muertos on the Baja peninsula to Punta Perula (Chamela) on the mainland coast of Mexico (south of Puerto Vallarta). We're both a little sleep deprived but still in good spirits. This has been an easier passage than others even with all the sailing we're doing. It's been a bit rolly in the downwind parts (most of it) but it's basically been one tack without too many sail changes, and no winds over 15-18 knots. Although there have been several times (like now) when last year we would have motored through the slow bits, we have finally learned to slow down and take the wind we're given. I think our summer in the Sea of Cortez really helped us over that hump. As long as we have no reason to hurry, what's the rush? A slow spinnaker sail is much more pleasant than listening to the engine for hours.

Late last night we re-entered the area with what I have dubbed "paparazzi fish." This is a phenomenon in the ocean which looks like basketball sized flash bulbs going off underwater. It can last for several minutes and we assume it must be fish disturbing the phosphorescence in the water. During my second night watch last night there were dozens of these surrounding the boat, and then they were joined by the bigger cannonball flashes and glittering white torpedo streaks of dolphins playing with the boat. What was interesting about this (other than the fact that it was incredibly beautiful) was that as the dolphins eventually disappeared so did the smaller flash bulbs. Leaves you wondering where the party went.

As reported earlier by John, he found a flying fish on deck this morning. Later I looked up just in time to admire one flying along above the water's surface when all of a sudden it took a wrong turn and landed clear up on the cabin top. We had already eaten lunch so I threw it back over the side. They are really beautiful little fish, about 4-6 inches and a deep sea blue color.

7 December
At anchor off of Punta Perula

About an hour after writing the above yesterday the wind died and we had to turn on the engine. So we mostly motored after sunset and finally slowly picked our way into the anchorage. If anything bad had happened people probably would have said it was our own fault - heavy overcast blocked all starlight, we were tired, and it was the dead of night. But in our favor we had two navigation tracks on the computer from our previous visits, GPS, radar, depth sounder, calm wind and seas, and slow ahead speed with me up on the bow periodically shining a spot light out ahead. Had the weather deteriorated we would have stood off until sunrise, but as it was we dropped the hook at 0230 this morning and crawled into bed soon after.

The jet lag feeling and another heavy overcast day didn't prevent us from stowing sails, cleaning up the boat, reassembling the dinghy, and jumping in for a swim to another boat to introduce ourselves - all before lunchtime! It's good to be back on the mainland for a change, but it feels very strange to me after being in Baja for so long. Smells different, looks different, is more humid, and even the water feels different (I think it's less salty here). Will be fun to explore it again now that we are "sophomores."

Linda and John