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Monday, May 23, 2016

May 23, 2016-Sailing in the Sea of Cortez

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Judy Gets the Most Out of the Wind

We are on the foredeck, Judy and I, folding the jib. We’ve just arrived at Carmen Island after a brisk sail and the boat is the typical mess it is when we’ve sailed into an anchorage: the mainsail is in a pile partially over the boom and partially piled on deck, and the jib is strewn all over the foredeck where we’ve pushed it out of the way in order to let out the anchor. There are ropes everywhere and a partially deflated dingy on deck adds to the mess.

This could be easier. Most sailors don’t fold sails anymore; they have jibs and mainsails which either roll up or automatically drop into a stack when they are lowered. We don’t have any of those labor saving devices but folding the sails, coiling the lines, cleaning this up all this mess and putting on sail covers and sun awnings is, for us, part of the fun of sailing. Yes, it’s a bit of work, but we’ve done it a thousand times before, we know how, and we don’t mind it; it’s a price we are willing to pay for having a good sail.

Sailing itself, in the Sea of Cortez, has been a bit of work too and often a challenge but it’s always been rewarding. Some days there have been light winds and we struggled all day to keep the sails filled. Other days we have had fresh breezes from the right direction and the day turned into a romp. And then there have been those days when the wind got a little too strong or the waves a little too big, and we had to work hard just to hang on. But when we got to our destination we felt we had accomplished something and when we spent those few moments afterward putting things away and tidying up the boat we could reflect on the day and feel good about it.

There has been competition too. We’ve been sailing with a few other boats which have sailors aboard. We all head out each day when the wind comes up and race to the next anchorage, watching each other like hawks, trying to find a way to get in front. When we make it to the beach that night we have something to talk about. It’s fun; the Sea of Cortez has been good for sailing.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Puerto Escondito

The scenery here has been fantastic as well. We enjoyed the Baja when we were here last, 19 years ago, but this time we are, quite frankly, blown away by the beauty. The mountains, the islands, the stunning bays, all of them, have kept us enthralled each day as we sailed along the coast. In the evenings when we are anchored, the boat is put away, and we are enjoying that refreshing sundowner, we’ve found each of the anchorages to be magical. How did we ever forget how beautiful this was?

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Aqua Verde

We have done a little photography and while some of the shots are good, they show but do not quite convey the total majesty of the Baja or the stunning aqua waters of the bays and coves. One of the most spectacular places in Baja, and one which we do remember from before, are the Gigantes, the mountains behind Puerto Escondito. This massive escarpment rises straight up from the coastal plain and forms a backdrop that clearly establishes how miniscule is the human scale and is impossible to forget. Somehow the photos I took of the Gigantes, except the one below, got deleted and I cannot find them anywhere. Well, now that we’ve already moved on I guess there is something to come back for.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold

One day, as we sailed slowly the last half mile into Aqua Verde under mainsail alone, looking at the background of the Gigantes and the hills around Aqua Verde, we knew that everything was perfect. The air was cool and clear, the sun was brilliant, the sky and ocean were as blue as lapis, and as Wings moved silently along we knew that nobody in the world, no matter what they were doing, was having a more perfect day than we were.

In a few days we will set sail for Topolobampo, on the mainland.

We expect new adventures there.

Click here for more photos.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Isla Carmen

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