After spending a Steinbeckian segment of time exploring the Gulf of California, we began plotting our course to the mainland of Mexico. We spent that final week bopping around Isla Carmen with Oakland friends aboard S/V Petrichor. The stars aligned for our friend Jen to extend her vacation, jump from their ship and cross the sea with us. We initially planned to cross to Mazatlan, but the pressure of our schedule and wind conditions set our sights further to Puerto Vallarta.
Jen captains her Baba 30 sailboat out of Oakland and is becoming saltier by the year. We decided to keep our usual four hour watches, and with Jen in the mix everyone got more rest. I took the 3-7 AM and PM shifts, Jen had 7-11 AM and PM, and Scott was on the elevens. The following are some notes from our crossing:
Dec 30, 800 – said “cya later” to friends aboard S/V Favignana, fired up the engine, and motored out of Puerto Escondido channel. Marcy from S/V Rochambeau ran out to the end of the breakwater to wave bon voyage. We are going to miss the Baja crew!
Dec 30, 900 – final safety and route talks. I went down below to make a newly acquainted chilaquiles recipe and return above deck to report that an errant can of chilis in adobo sauce splashed smack in my eye. Scott repurposed the plant water spray bottle into a near lab-grade eyewashing. We reminisced about a similar occurance years ago when my uncle was the victim and curry spice was the villian.
Dec 30, 1700 – delicious aloo gobi cooked by Jen! Conversation in the cockpit.
Dec 30, 2300 – engine off! We planned to motor to catch a wind system coming through, and it arrived
Dec 31, 100 – up on deck to ease mainsheet while Scott reefed the mainsail. 18 knots of apparent wind – we are on a sleigh ride like Santa!
Dec 31, 400 – the wind dropped to 10 knots apparent, so I shook out the furled jib. Current course and heading differ by 20 degrees – wondering if this is the current I read about beginning to show. Unreefed the main when we dropped to 5 knots apparent.
Dec 31, 1900 – 30 miles off Altata, heaving to, waiting for the projected windshift. We don’t want to get closer to land or tack upwind down the coast into these big waves. 2021 is dealing its final challenge and we’re ready to be free! Mal de mer. Sent a text to our float plan contacts to explain our pause in forward motion.
Dec 31, 2100 – Jen calls down below: the wind had shifted! We adjust the sails and head on a reach due south. Gosh it feels nice.
Jan 1, 400 – nobody out here but us and the bioluminescent waves. Sending happy new year texts via sat phone, eating ramen and 5 hour energy like a striving college student. Nearly dead down wind at 6 knots, flying once again – this time straight towards PV.
Jan 1, 800 – Jen and Scott gybe. PB & honey sandwiches and all agree we feel like new people. 218 miles to go.
Jan 1, 1300 – egg in toast and discussion of alternate names for this dish. Later Googling turned up bird’s nest, egg-in-a-basket, the Popeye, the one-eyed jack, and toad-in-a-hole. Wind lightening and swell is reorganizing itself into a more comfortable pattern.
Jan 1, 1500 – troubleshooting jammed cotterpin in gooseneck. Victory! Hoisted main again for a speed and stability boost. Jen cooking pasta – so tasty!
Jan 1, 2000 – a brown boobie (bird) lands on our radar mount after circling overhead for quite a while.
Jan 2, 0000 – bird remains, really nice sailing. Only complaint anyone can think of is excrement from our new friend overhead.
Jan 2, 0600 – bird leaves at daybreak. Wonder if its headed to Isla Isabel – we hear tons of birds harbor there. Cypress prowling around to resecure the perimeter.
Jan 2, 1700 – making a sweet potato spicy stew. Very plesant sailing on main alone, although a bit rolly. This is projected to be our final night. All feeling grateful for the high points and the low points that stretch us and keep us going.
Jan 2, 1030 – engine on after flopping around with 6 knots apparent from behind.
Jan 3, 0230 – desalinating water with excess power from the engine to fill our tanks.
Jan 3, 0530 – call everyone up on deck for extra eyes as traffic picks up inside Banderas Bay.
Jan 3, 0700 – arrive in La Cruz! Hot showers, shakshuka, and naps commence.