Leaving San Diego was like hopping into the tallest water slide at an amusement park and the proceeding weeks were the long breathless climb to the top. Rounding Point Conception was perhaps the confirmation that we were indeed tall enough to go on the ride.
The sail down the Baja peninsula was the childlike joy of the slide – flooding the senses with new stimuli after the stagnation of waiting in line. The pace of the Baja Ha-ha cruisers rally kept us in motion and in the moment. Azimuth was one of the smallest boats in the fleet, and by way of physics – one of the slowest. Our stops in Bahia Tortugas and Santa Maria were brief but delightful: sunsets and shared dinners and sighs of satisfaction from directly doing the thing we set out to do.
We got off the water slide in Cabo San Lucas. The city is a plunge back into the company of vacationing humans – blaring music, packed bars, and people of many stripes blowing off the steam that accumulated since they last cut loose.
After a quick dip in the eighty-three-degree water, we reviewed the scavenger hunt route for checking ourselves into Mexico. Our previous rural stops were not home to port captains, so it was time to sort this unfinished business. The first stop was the local hospital and health department to deliver a letter indicating that all souls aboard were healthy and free of COVID-19. With newly signed paperwork in hand, we went to the immigration office where Scott reviewed our boat documentation with their staff and secured 180-day visas. The final stop was the port captain, where we waited quite a while along with other recent arrivals to clear in. We found the process to be a shakeup from the typical tourist interactions of securing food, drink, and lounge chair. My rusty Spanish and our walk about town awarded the passport stamps and boat paper trail needed to continue on around the cape.
The Ha-ha had an awards party in a parking lot where we put more faces to the boat names we had spotted on AIS for the proceeding two weeks. Our sweet little cat got a shout-out in the opening remarks from the “grand poobah” for her shocking offshore hunting prowess (a small bird had landed onboard 75 miles offshore and met its end with one swift swipe from Cypress. Scott performed a brief and moving sea burial). We were also awarded a blue ribbon for placing first in the Enchilada division and Scott was recognized as one of the youngest captains (average age: 53). This was a return to the type of fun we often had racing sailboats in the Bay Area, both in cross-generation friendships and festive competition.
We connected with a couple other boats over tacos and hatched a plan to leave shortly for Frailes and Muertos, the two small anchorages around the corner. As capes are wont to do, the air would compress for a breezy upwind sail. We saw a weather window and took it and had more wind than we’d seen since latitude 37. We chalked this up to calisthenics, crashed hard for naps upon arrival, and went to shore later that day to see baby sea turtles released after hatching in a wildlife preserve.
After a week or so of decompression, we went into La Paz for provisioning and jetted out to Ensenada Grande, an anchorage on Isla Partida north of Espiritu Santo. A few of our fast friends on other boats were also in the cove, and we enjoyed more sunsets and shared meals. Scott’s fresh-caught snapper prepared as grilled tacos was a highlight.
Our days flowed into snorkeling, hiking, eating, and light boat maintenance. This pace supported peaks in the rearview mirror – sifting through reflections and emotions that were on hold while in fight, flight, or freeze during the shifts since 2020. This vision for our sailboat has been a liferaft and an anchor, a positive obsession with the capacity to absorb the hours of our old and currently impossible routine. Flinging ourselves so far in one direction was daunting for me, someone who prefers operating with fifteen things going at once. We’re now finding the soft landing of desert island anchorages and losing track of time. I feel immensely lucky for this opening to experience what’s in front of us, to have pried my nose away from the grindstone long enough to gain the freedom to align plans with the weather and inch closer to a new coast and beginning.
We have lots of images to share on stronger wifi once we land in Puerto Escondido in the coming week.
2 thoughts on “The Cape and the Cove”
Ashley, I never saw you write like this back in business school?!? I really enjoy your writing style and the colorful examples and helpful comparisons you offer to help me understand and appreciate even more so what you and Scott are seeing and experiencing. I enjoy consuming every single word. Nice. Thanks. From your old favorite professor…
Thank you! Still my favorite professor – happy belated birthday!