Saturday, April 14, 2012

Back to Baja

We would be picking up our visas at the immigration office in less than a week.  It was time to start planning the two hundred mile crossing back to Baja California Sur.  About this time we had the good fortune of meeting Peg and Tony, veteran cruisers on the sailboat Mambo.  They were kind enough to share their Mazatlan departure strategy.  Tony explained that the daytime winds near the coast churn up the seas and make for sloppy conditions.  He recommends leaving at , after the daytime winds have settled down and with enough travel time to get well offshore before the winds have a chance to build again.

Pura Vida, our buddy boat for the trip, was immediately on board with a departure time.  There was just the question of which day.  Sunday’s weather forecast showed a weather window opening on Wednesday, March 28, the day after we pick up our visas.  Perfect!  Pura Vida was staying at the marina, so we called them on the VHF radio to set the date.  Word got around to the fleet that a group of boats would be heading across on Wednesday night.  Dos Leos and Seychelles hailed us on the radio and asked if they could come along.  The more the merrier.  We liked the idea of four USA flagged vessels crossing together.  Dos Leos, Interabang, Pura Vida and Seychelles represented the great states of Texas, California, Oregon, and Alaska respectively.

Four boats motored out of Old Harbor and nearby Stone Island between eleven and in light winds and nearly flat seas.  A course was set for La Paz, a bit farther north than our intended destination of Los Muertos.  The hope was that traveling near the traffic lanes between Mazatlan and La Paz would help us avoid any fishing nets.  Dos Leos did a great job of keeping an eye out for traffic on his AIS and suggesting course changes to keep us clear of approaching ships.  Motor-sailing, we pushed west on small seas with a headwind of five to ten knots.  Three of the boats traveled in a pack, staying within sight of one another.  The fourth boat, Seychelles, the fastest motoring and was twenty to thirty miles ahead by the second morning.  As the sun climbed in the sky, there was little wind and the sea was flat as a mill pond.  It would be another long day of motoring, but all four boats would make Los Muertos by Friday afternoon.  Interabang would have the most memorable arrival.
Pura Vida on the flat sea in the early morning light

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