Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Southbound down northern Baja

Four days ago we left Ensenada and began our cruising lives in earnest. Ensenada was a great town, don't get me wrong, in fact we enjoyed it more than we thought and could've possibly stayed longer, but alas, we were excited to see other places (and spend a bit less money). Our mission statement for this lifestyle is "we're going to the next place until we're bored or can't afford it any longer", not 'we need to get to the place because supposedly it's so much cooler!' Ensenada was falling into the "we don't want to afford this anymore" at $720/month for the slip. Our plan was to day trip down the coastline making my favorite northern Baja surf spot our first longer term anchorage, hopefully coinciding with a decent swell. Prognostications from the surf forecast guys looked very promising, with swell hitting from 275-280 degrees, almost straight West and about as good a swell direction as I've seen for this place in 25 years. While it was 10 days out it looked very promising, especially since weather forecasters, windytv, predictwind and saildocs / weatherfax were all calling for moderate winds from the northwest, which we would be protected from.....

Then reality starts to set in. That first day we left called for 10-15kts of favorable wind which would take us to our first anchorage, Cabo Colonett. No dice. First of all in the morning the winds didn't start up until 3-4 hours after predicted so we were now tight on getting to the anchorage in daylight. Then when the winds did come up we enjoyed 5 hours of downwind sailing wing and wing (for the first time ever!) and were feeling great but beginning to realize we wouldn't make our anchorage in the daylight. As we took down our wing and wing set up and prepared for night time sailing (always reefed, never running more than a single reefed genoa and main) the winds picked up to 30+ knots and lasted all night. We covered 130 miles but a long night was followed by a successful anchoring in San Quintin Bay, a beautiful place to stop with sand bottom and nice beaches for Tessa to run around on.

From there we aimed for a short day trip to Punta Baja, had to motor the whole way and when we got there we were thoroughly disappointed in how rolly the anchorage was. No flopper stopper would've saved us. We decided to power through a night and wake up and go in the morning. In the meantime, I checked the weather over my SSB, now 5 days out from the large swell I'd been anticipating. Well, and I kick myself for this but at least we were diligent enough to check repeatedly and not trust old information, but the wind forecasts had dramatically changed. Now the day of the swell arriving coincides with 30-35kts of wind out of the south, which completely obliterates basically ever anchorage in northern Baja. I should've trusted the surf forecasters and known that a 275-280 degree swell means that you're probably pretty damn close to the center of the low. Now we've got to decide what to do.... we can't stay around here. North to San Martin Island? Pretty protected from the south winds but what about the large west swell which may wrap around the island and fill the anchorage? There was even a mention of high tailing it back to Ensenada....nah. So we've decided, especially since we awoke to favorable winds this morning, that we're taking this adventure 155 miles south and pulling into Turtle Bay to ride out the storm....

Live from the Pacific Ocean, SeaGlub...out

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