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Monday, June 25, 2018

June 25, 2018-After The Hurricane

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After Hurricane "Bud"

The hurricane was a non-event. There were two days of clouds and puffy winds that culminated, as the eye moved past us, in a few stronger gusts and a couple hours of heavy rains. Then it was over.

The next day we had nothing but dramatic clouds and after that normal clear blue skies and standard Baja weather. Maybe later we’ll hear reports of more hurricane drama from other boats but we haven’t yet.

Anyhow, we’ve moved on.

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Agua Verde

Today finds us at Caleta Lobo, near La Paz, some 100+ miles south of Puerto Escondido. We covered most of that distance under sail and we’ve had some brilliant sailing days and nice overnight stops. Three days ago we sailed up the San Jose Canal, tack on tack in flat water and a nice breeze past endless Baja scenery and that night anchored in Amortajada on Isla San Jose. We’ve never been there before and in southerly conditions it is a very nice place. Yesterday we weighed anchor at Amortajada at 8:00 and spent a fantastic day sailing to Isla Partida, great conditions and fast upwind sailing. We were able to tuck into our favorite little spot in Partida where there is some protection from Coromel winds. Today we sailed from Partida to Caleta Lobo and we had a chance to hook up with another sailing boat that we easily caught and passed. So these were great sailing days; we were outside all day in cool air and bright sunlight, working the boat, exercising our bodies and working together, just Judy and I, as we love to do and, after all these years, do so well.

But if you like sailing it can be frustrating this time of year in the Sea of Cortez. Often there is no wind or what wind there is can be completely contrary, or it comes in fits and starts and just when the wind fills in and it looks great and you put up the sails and it dies, a pattern which can repeat all day long.

When we tried to sail from Candeleros to Agua Verde it was like that. We worked at it all day and pretty much got nowhere for the first four hours. The wind just died every time we put the sails up. I guess most other people would just motor but we are stubborn, or I should say I am, Judy likes sailing too but I doubt if she would beat her head against a wall all day if I wasn’t there pushing it. Finally I gave up and went below, disgusted, to record the events in the log book. While I was below the wind came back up again! This time to 9 knots! When I went down the sea was glassy all around the horizon when I returned to the deck ten minutes later the water was dark blue and white caps were starting to form.

We set sail again.

Finally, that time, the wind held and we had some good sailing. For three hours, until we arrived at Agua Verde, it was magical. We sailed along close-hauled in total silence watching the amazing views of Baja and the Sierra Gigante Mountains unfold as we passed. We had nice steady breeze but no waves; the boat just heeled over and glided along with no other movement and no sounds, just smooth sailing and stunning scenery. This part of Baja is rugged, vast and empty and the awe inspiring scale of these tall mountains thrust up thousands of feet from the sea compared to the tiny scale of a human or a sailboat, makes us feel very insignificant and appreciative that we can be here and experience it.

But other times nature fools you. Sailing to Partida we stayed the right to take advantage of a forecast shift that never came. Just as we banged the right corner hard the wind shifted left 100 degrees and dropped to six knots. That little trick added 8 miles to our day.

Today the forecast and the conditions were the same so we knew what to expect. So this time, when sailing against that other sailboat, we stayed to the left when they went right and when the wind shift came we made a huge gain.

So that is sailing in the Sea of Cortez. We are starting to learn the local conditions here.

Tomorrow we’ll go into La Paz and do some shopping and maybe have dinner out. Here in Caleta Lobo we have Internet and we will in La Paz too so we can do our own weather forecasting and start planning for our crossing back to La Cruz.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Sailing On

We expect to be back in La Cruz, weather permitting, by July 1

Click here for more images.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Caleta Lobo

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