S/V INTREPID II - Cape Dory Intrepid 40

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Intrepid II is a Cape Dory Intrepid 40 sailboat, hull #2, designed by Chuck Paine and discovered by the Captain in Blue Hill Maine in 2006. The crew are Kelly (Captain) and Carol (Admiral and Blogger). In 2009 INTREPID II embarked on her West Coast journey from Victoria to San Francisco, the Baja Sur Peninsula and into the Sea of Cortez. In 2010/2011, we sailed ifrom Guaymas, south to Bahia Banderas and back. In 2011/2012 she left Guaymas, headed south to La Paz, spent three weeks at anchor on our northward journey and rested on the hard in San Carlos. Her 4th, 5th and 6th seasons were Boat Projects related. Season 7 - we are hoping to cruise again at long last.

November 20, 2009

Updates: San Diego-Ensenada-San Benitos-Cedros-B. Tortugas

Before we lose Internet connections we need to advise that we arrived in Ensenada, Mexico on Sunday, November 8th, from San Diego - Mexico at last!  We did have to wear our foul weather gear almost all the way - not yet in tropical waters.

We had a busy time in San Diego, docking first at the Police Dock which offers five nights free dock space followed by a few nights reciprocity at the San Diego Yacht Club.  Unfortunately this high end, sophisticated club did not having functioning wifi, although it was closer to Downwind Marine.  It is necessary to check out of the U.S. before embarking for Mexican waters and that required locating the appropriate offices and making an appointment.  San Diego is the gathering and jumping-off spot for cruisers from all over the western continent.
Image result for san diego shelter island map
Shelter Island - Customs Dock on mid left, Police Dock just ahead
Our very early departure on Sunday saw us navigating in the dark into the channel only to find a vast cruise ship looming up and over us from astern - guess who had to give way?  The land border with Mexico is only 17 miles from downtown San Diego and leads directly to Tijuana.  We headed for Ensenada as our check-in point into Mexico, which now provides the offices of the Port Captain, Immigration and Customs and banking facilities in one location.

We docked INTREPID II at Cruiseport Village Marina to find our friends on SV Whiteshell II accompanied by Joey the fearless boat cat waiting to take our lines.  It is always a treat to catch up with fellow cruisers to share experiences, plan and just enjoy each others company.  We stayed until Wednesday, November 11th (Remembrance Day - and Happy Birthday Jacqueline) in order to obtain provisions, fuel, a haircut for Kelly, a Mexican cell phone and a wet suit at last for Kelly. 

It was a 21 hour motoring and motor sailing trip (our jib was out to add a knot or two and steady the boat) to Bahia San Quintin, one of the open road stead anchorages typical of the 
Baja California Norte Coast.  It was too windy and choppy to take the dinghy a distance into shore to visit the estuary where numerous birds and wildlife make their home, so that was disappointing. This anchorage was a San Diego Police Dock reunion - KipukaWhiteshell II and Pamdemonium all at anchor.  Friday November 13th we all stayed put for rest and boat chores, then Kipuka headed off, and the remaining three boats left Saturday for the San BenitosCedros Island or Turtle Bay - tentative destinations depending on wind and weather.
Ensenada to Bahia Tortugas with Cedros and San Benitos just north

INTREPID II had a lengthy sail for 21 hours on this leg; a challenging one, with 3:00 am "dodge the mystery boat" games which were not much fun when we couldn't be sure if we might be run into or boarded. We also kept fingers crossed that our Monitor wind vane would not pop up and out of the water as it had on other occassons.  Our sail track ended up with INTREPID II being closer to the small island of San Benito Oeste, so we spent two nights at anchor in a very special place and were the only cruising boat anchored in front of the tiny fishing village.  The panga fishermen were friendly and curious about our travels; some spoke very good English, which helped us to communicate.  No lobster though for an exchange - we didn´t have any beer to offer, although we did find some wine later.  The bay is full of kelp and that made both anchoring and leaving very interesting.  It prove to be a peaceful place although the wind continued to blow.

A description from noonsite.com:
"San Benito Islands are a group of three small islands (East, Middle and East), which are dry and covered mostly by short bushes and a few cactus. They are situated about 16 miles west of Cedros Island. The west island is about two miles wide, with small hills and rocky shores. Only one small fishing camp is situated here on the south of the island, with about 20 houses and shacks that are used mostly during abalone and lobster season.  The east island is almost the same size, but hills are smaller. The middle island is half the size, flat and with not much vegetation. Around these islands there are several submerged rocks and kelp beds, which are great for snorkeling and fishing. There is also a trail for hiking and an old lighthouse on the west island.  By boat, navigating around these islands reveals a spectacular number of elephant seals in the winter occupying every single beach. A highlight is to visit the colony of Guadalupe Fur seal on the east island, which also reproduces in the summer months.
Cedros Island, Baja's largest Pacific coastal island is located 320 miles south of San Diego, CA, or 23 km (14 miles) north of Punta Eugenia at the tip of the Vizcaino Peninsula. It is also 110 km (62 miles) west of Guerrero Negro, the largest town of the central Baja California peninsula (15,000 +).
The two main economic activities on the 38 km long (24 mile) island are fishing and transporting salt from Guerrero Negro's salt works (Exportadora de Sal) for worldwide shipping. Because of the salt business, Cedros’ port ranks as Mexico's third-largest, carrying over 7 million metric tons of salt per year." 

On November 17th we sailed to Cedros Island to break up our trip to Bahia Tortugas (Turtle Bay). We located a similar looking anchorage on the south side, again in kelp, with pangas and lobster pots all around. On the way we saw numerous dolphins and always enjoy their company.  Note:  our chart plotter had us anchored on land at San Benito and in 77 feet of water at Cedros when we were actually in 35 feet. A good example of why you need to use your eyes and use more than one set of data in these waters.

Wednesday, November 18th saw INTREPID II leaving just after 6 am for Bahia Tortugas - sailing, gybing most of the way in sunny, sparkly, but very rolly waters.  We had some concerns about an inaugural power boat rally - the FUBAR - which was following in the wake of the Baja Ha Ha.  The rally was stopping there for two nights, but as it turned out there was room for us and fuel and provisions.

We met up with SV Pamdemonium again and found that Whiteshell II had been and gone (hi if you are reading this).  It´s a bit of a challenge to plan the next leg to Bahia Santa Maria and Bahia Magdelena as it requires determining when to leave to arrive in the daylight at the next destination and miss any heavy fishing areas in the dark.  We may stop at Asuncion Bay, but also may have to pass it by and do a two night one day journey to arrive at daylight rather than in the dark.  Stay tuned.

We think of our family and friends and fellow cruisers all the time and hope all is well.  Perhaps pictures will show up at the next stop.

We have added a listing of distances in nautical miles, courtesy of "Latitude 38 First Timer's Guide to Mexico" for future reference:
 San Diego to Turtle Bay:                                360
 Turtle Bay to Bahia Santa Maria:                   240
 Bahia Santa Maria to Cape:                            180
 Cabo to Los Frailes:                                         45
 Cabo to La Paz:                                              148
 La Paz to Puerto Escondito (Loreto):             140
 Puerto Escondito to Bahia Concepcion:         105 
 Bahia Concepcion to San Carlos:                     80
 La Paz to Mazatlan:                                        230
 Cabo to Mazatlan:                                          200
 Mazatlan to Puerto Vallarta:                          175
 Cabo to Puerto Vallarta:                                295