Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Passage to La Cruz

Our New Year's resolution: to stay warm! And since the temperature was steadily decreasing in La Paz, that meant heading across the Sea of Cortez to mainland Mexico. And since I always find it hard to stay awake until midnight on New Year's Eve, we decided the best way to see in the New Year was on an overnight passage. The weather forecast looked favorable to us, so we headed out of the city just before noon on the 31st. Woo-hoo, what a sail! We made the nearly 300 nautical miles to Isla Isabela in about 52 hours, including a couple of hours just tacking out of Bahia La Paz.
Going through San Lorenzo Passage we were greeted by a school of manta rays leaping fully six feet out of the water. Then we turned downwind, the direction we will hopefully be in all the way south from here. This was our first time using the windvane steering system this season, so it took some time to dial that in. We had to shorten sail to double-reefed main and just a barely unrolled genoa, even though we were sailing 150 degrees off the wind. Luckily the seas never got too nasty, and by the evening of the 1st we were coming into the lee of the mainland. It was great to see our namesake constellation, the Southern Cross, for the first time since last season.
Because a rhumbline to La Cruz takes you too close to the forbidden Tres Marias prison islands, we set our waypoint for Isla Isabela, Mexico's answer to the Galapagos. This would be our 3rd visit to Isabela, but we weren't sure if it would be safe to stop because of the large swell running. However, when we arrived late on the afternoon of the 2nd, the southern anchorage was fine, and there were actually more boats here than during our previous two visits.

We decided to lay over a day here and enjoy some of the best wildlife viewing we have ever had. It was early in the nesting season, so there weren't too many chicks or even eggs, but nesting activity was in full swing for the frigatebirds and boobies.

We also enjoyed watching some stilts probing for food in the shallows of the island's crater lake.

The evening of the 3rd we decided to run the rest of the way to La Cruz. Unfortunately, our wind had run out on us and we motored almost the entire way. But it was an enjoyable passage and we had an excellent green flash over the Tres Marias (although this picture didn't quite capture it).

We arrived in La Cruz just in time for the morning net, and it was great to hear a number of familiar vessel names on the roll call, including our good friends Adam and Cindi on Bravo, who had made a pretty fast run down from San Diego for their first visit to Banderas Bay.
This was a pretty long passage, but the difference in temperature is worth it. Nothing to wash but swimsuits and T-shirts for the next couple of months!
This morning we paddled our inflatable kayaks with Adam and Cindi over to Bucerias, for a delicious breakfast on the beach. Life is good.

1 comment:

mickeyb said...

Love the pictures and the narration. I'd love to see more videos. Anything I can do for you up here in Corvallis?