Monday, May 4, 2009

Monday, May 4th - 686 Miles to Ensenada

Monday, May 4th, 2009. Well, we left this morning. We have 686 miles to go, like the crow flies. There was no wind coming around the point today, so we carried on. We just passed our first parallel – 23 degrees latitude. We celebrated with presents for everybody. (We have to cross 9 latitude lines, so I got treats for each crossing. Hopefully it will keep the kids interested in our progress, and help Shandro learn to map our latitude and longitude on a little chart I made for him.)

We are heading north, whatever may come to pass. I didn’t want to write this before we left so no one would worry about us, but the sail to Ensenada sounds difficult for the crew, and hard on the boat. Some people say it can age the boat terribly with the wear and tear it will take beating up the coast. Way offshore, the winds are unpredictable this time of year, with possible gales and spring storms. But staying close to shore is a dangerous business too, as the rocks and shelves can creep up pretty fast on a lee shore (wind coming onto the shore from the sea) if something happens to disable the boat in any way; the wind pushes boats ashore and the consequences of that are never good. And it’s always a lee shore except at night if you’re lucky. Either way, the waves (both wind waves and swell) are coming from the north-west at this time of year, so we could be smashing into them the whole way, and that is what is so hard on the boat – hull, rigging, mast, and any parts that will be rubbed or shaken with the vibration of the boat. And the people often fair far worse than the boat – poor decisions made lacking sleep or sanity with disasterous outcomes. I have been interviewing people to see what it is like. Some say ‘don’t do it, we’ve heard it’s bad’ or ‘I’ve done it and I’ll never do it again’ or ‘Do it in late June or early July but definitely not now.’ One person said ‘ya you can do it, just take your time’, but he has never sailed it either. We were at a concert the other night and Pat Henry (famous author of a book about her circumnavigation) said that she has never done the Baha Bash, but friends of hers had a terrible time about halfway up, at Cedros Island. And many people know someone who has wrecked a boat there – sunk or otherwise disabled. Lots of fear stories. Merle says we should only talk to people with over 100,000 nautical miles under their belts. Seems like they are few and far between. The baha is pretty remote, often with only anchorages - no food, no groceries, no fuel, no water, few people. And the 'bash' is rough sailing into the weather and into the swell, and hopefully not into the rocks. Most people dread it. Some people buy boats in California and Mexico just so they don't have to do the bash north. Some people sell their boats down here so they don't have to sail them north. We are somewhere between brave and crazy to sail north!

We did talk to Ishi of course, and they have done this trip 9 times, offshore each time. That’s what got us hooked on the offshore route. And then we both decided to go up the coast after our False start at Cabo Falso (aptly named) Saturday. I guess we will see what will come of it. Merle mentioned his thoughts about that wind, which turned out to be my thoughts too: maybe that high wind was just for us? Maybe we needed to be told in no uncertain terms to go inshore rather than the offshore clipper route? Anyway, we both changed our minds as a result of that day, and hopefully it is for the best. It could be stressful, although we have been manifesting for a safe and joyful journey. I don’t know if it can be joyful, but if anything is possible, we might as well ask for joy! Hope the manifesting works…

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