|Waves on the leeward side|
The INTREPID II crew was up early Sunday, April 29. We departed Marina Fonatur in Santa Rosalia at 06:00 in the dark, with a light wind. Pangas were headed out, without benefit of lights. On went our radar to ensure we could see them as we left the harbour and breakwater behind. The mainsail went up smoothly. We headed north-eastward on a heading to take us towards Bahia San Pedro, 15 nm north of San Carlos and 70 nm from our departure point. As we weren't ready to tie up to another marina and end our cruising just yet, this bay looked like it provided reasonable protection from north west and some southerly winds. The trip could take 12 hours at 6 knots or much longer, depending on conditions and how the day progressed. We estimated to allow enough time to arrive well before sunset.
The sky lightened with the false dawn, with a heavy cloud cover, so sunrise was muted. We mused about what this cruising day would bring. Winds were forecast from the east south east, with 1 - 2 foot seas; if we could find the right point of sail we should have a good day. With the engine running, when it came time to check in with the Sonrisa ham net, we did not have a good connection. Thanks to Diane on SV True Love, we relayed our destination and position to net control. Guru Geary's weather update was lost in the static. We were committed to keep going. Later in the morning on VHF radio we heard that a whale trapped in a fishing net near Mulege had been successfully freed by some cruisers and we were pleased and thankful at their success.
Kelly rolled out the jib. We sailed for a short time, but lost the wind; on went the motor again and we motor-sailed. The seas were already 2 - 3 feet and fairly short period ones, so there went the idea of a smooth sail. When the Captain noticed INTREPID II was sailing fairly directly to our destination, give or take the 10 degree swing, off went the engine. We continued for over 7 hours under sail; just what INTREPID II had been looking for all season. However the seas continued to build. They were now 3 - 5 feet from the east on our starboard side, accounting for the yawing and the effort our trusty auto-pilot had to make to keep us on course.
|Captain checking way-points and heading|
When this happens, we rely on our GPS in the cabin for more accurate readings. One of us pops down regularly to check our heading and boat speed and make adjustments to the auto-pilot on that basis. The sun shone and by noon the clouds had disappeared, leaving clear blue skies. The hours passed; at times we had boobie birds and pelicans check us out and passed a very relaxed seal waving a flipper off our port side.
|Having fun -- really!|
|South end of Isla San Pedro Noalsco|
Isla San Pedro Noalsco is a steep-to island about 9 miles from Bahia San Pedro. It forms part of a series of protected islands known for good diving and snorkeling, but provides no safe anchorages. We were nearing this way-point about 15:30 (3:30 pm) and pleased with our crossing time. INTREPID II weighs about 25,000 lbs. with all our gear and provisions onboard, so she is not light-weight. She does however respond well when sails are balanced. At times we were making 6.8 - 7.0 knots, putting us slightly ahead of schedule. For a brief time as we passed south of the island, the seas subsided to the 2 - 3 foot range and we enjoyed the smoother motion. They soon picked up again as we closed on the mainland; a short-lived breather.
Nearing Bahia San Pedro, under full sail, we spotted a large shrimp boat heading southward at 90 degrees to us off our port side. Would we pass in front or did we need to anticipate some adjustments? Kelly took compass sightings and it was a hard to determine at first. Soon we saw the vessel had made a move to pass behind us, which was appreciated. The swells continued into the bay, where two sailboats were at anchor on the south side. We we were surrounded by formations of pelicans flying into the bay about 17:00 (5:00 pm) - a fascinating sight. Anchoring between the two boats, the crew offered congratulations and thanks to INTREPID II for once again delivering us safely to another destination. Obviously the Captain's skill and decision-making in conjunction with our trusty sailing vessel had much to do with our positive experience. The Admiral felt she'd carried out her role well too (if you don't think too much about that "oops" as the mainsail was being dropped in those rolly seas!)
More about Bahia San Pedro to follow.
Our haul-out date is next Thursday, May 10th - so there is much to accomplish by then, but it nice to see familiar faces here at the docks and anchorage. We will take time for "r and r" as well. Take care and stay well amigos.