S/V INTREPID II - Cape Dory Intrepid 40

My photo
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.

February 3, 2011

La Paz to San Blas Crossing - 53 hours more or less

Estero Ponzo San Blas - marina around the corner
Hola...we are currently in the cozy 20 slip Marina Fonatur (Singlar) in the Estaro Ponzo of  San Blas.  Now we have a chance to catch up on some postings and pictures.

INTREPID II headed out of La Paz at noon last Saturday (Jan 29th) for the short trip to Caleta Lobos anchorage.  We anchored and enjoyed a fairly calm night, with no strong corumuels from the south west.  Sunday morning we had raised anchor and were on our way by 08:00 in clear skies with a few light whispies and a wind forecast of NW 9-12 knots.  However by that morning's weather update, Don Anderson of Summer Passage was predicting one of the strongest northers in some time for Wednesday - a big blow - so we intended to make as good time as possible to minimize any excitement that wind event could cause!
Dolphins in San Lorenzo channel
Dolphins were quick to join us in the San Lorenzo Channel before we headed south into Cerallvo Channel.  Our new sail plan, based on the anticipated blow, was to make the 53 hour crossing in one leg, rather than stop at Los Muertos.  This time we experienced a much smoother transit of the Channel than our first trip heading north, as we were heading southward.  At noon we sent a SPOT message to family and friends as a heads up that we were actually underway. Sails were up; the engine was on to keep to our 6.0 knot average speed target where possible.  At 17:00, in somewhat rolly seas, we headed up into the wind.  Kelly put a reef in the main for the night passage and hooked up the boom brake to minimize its swinging.
Sunset off of Los Muertos
No full moon to light our way; instead we were nearing the new moon and traded moonlight for incredible starlight,  especially towards the south.  We were trying very diligently to take turns going below to get some rest or actual sleep, with minimal success. At 22:30 we sat in the cockpit with cups of tea and identified constellations - a huge Big Dipper to port and the very clear and impressive Southern Cross opposite.  At midnight we recorded our position as:  23 degrees 34.653 N and 108 degrees 51.535 W on a bearing of 121 degrees, at 5.7 knots. 14 hours into our crossing. 

As Monday morning, the last day of January, unfolded we were visited by sun fish lying just below the surface of the water, fins in the air, taking their ease.  It can be startling when you first spot a FIN emerging from the water!  The scientific name for these bony fish is Mola mola and it moves its fins in a sculling motion, whereas sharks move their tail and keep their fin stationery - good to know. Once we came closer we could see the outline of its body below the surface.  Seals played off our starboard side.
Sunfish basking just below surface
Somewhat ironically, we observed the too light winds in advance of the forecast 'big blow' and rolled in the jib once again at 11:00.  Monday passed pleasantly.  At 15:20 we were 100 nm to our waypoint off Isla Isabella, on schedule to sight the island nature sanctuary at first light tomorrow.  The air temperature was cool after dark so we still wore our foul weather jackets, gloves and wind pants overnight; not too tropical yet.  Shortly after 20:00 Kelly spotted flashing white lights off our starboard bow, which didn't show up on the radar. They were in fact the high powered lights of the Tres Marias islands.  These are four islands which belong to the municipality of San Blas, about 100 km away on the mainland.  The islands house a Mexican federal penal colony; we read they are off limits to passing boats by a minimum of 20 nm.  We were amazed at how far these lights could be seen.

Dolphins appeared at 20:30. Streaks of phosphorescence zooming up to INTREPID II in the dark give you quite a start at first; they do look as though torpedoes are zeroing in on your hull!  We quickly relaxed and enjoyed their play for the next half hour.  There were two adults and a young one. Perhaps a lesson in surfing off bow waves in the middle of the night.  They jumped, criss-crossed under the keel and around the stern and finally veered off to attend to other things.  These are the special times that make a passage worthwhile. 

Midnight Tuesday, February 1st, found us at 22 degrees 15.570 N and 106 degrees 33.44 W, doing 7.0 knots on a heading of 120 degrees; still on course for Isla Isabela.  More quick turns below to catch some short naps and another pair of dolphins joined us at 04:00 just as the flashing light on Isabela's west side came into view.
Chartplotter - heading towards Isla Isabela
(I'll post this now and continue tomorrow...we're off to see some fireworks in San Blas town square - feast day celebrations...pictures should follow soon).