San Lucas, Baja, Mexico
Papagayos, Tehuantepeckers, and the Baja Bash
or We are not in Control!
By Lois Joy
Well, it was “hurry up and wait” again yesterday, as we hurried to
provision for the 800-mile voyage up the coast of Baja California to
San Diego, our other home and the destination that marks the end of
Voyage One in our catamaran, Pacific Bliss. When we arrive, this
maiden voyage will have taken us close to 10,000 miles, from its starting
point in the south of France. They call the return trip to San
Diego “the Baja Bash,” because the north northwest route goes against
the prevailing NW winds here. The Bash begins with a successful rounding
of the Cape, one of the most exposed in the world, with seas that get
a good run all the way from Japan. We are now docked at slip G91
in the new Marina Cabo, impatiently waiting for an opportune weather
window to begin the final leg of our adventure.
Pacific Bliss in Marina Cabo
The marina is nice enough, still sparkling new, a square anchored by
the dark pink Plaza las Glorias Hotel and surrounded by shops and restaurants
on three sides. The good news and the bad news: it is right in
the center of all the action. It might as well be located near
Los Angeles, because it is merely an extension of Southern California.
English is spoken widely and the North American tourist is King.
The 335 slips are filled primarily with huge yachts for sports fishing,
a big industry here. The few sailboats here are owned by cruisers like
us who are anxious to get north of the hurricane belt. There
are plenty of party boats, the kind that rarely leave the dock.
The partying on shore and on those boats carries well into the night-accompanied
by blaring, obnoxious rap music. We provisioned with U.S. brands
for the first time, how boring-everything is here! The cultural challenge
is gone. One leaves the secure marina gates only to be accosted
by salespeople pretending to be manning “information” booths about the
city, but really selling timeshare units. The grating of civilization
on such a scale is harsh to our cruisers’ ears. We want to leave.
Our Cortez Crossing Crew Leaves from
Laurent Gets a Ride from his Daddy.
Yesterday morning, we said good-by to our crew, Sharon and Stuart,
as the crews of Pacific Bliss and Finally all enjoyed
a big Mexican breakfast at a corner café. Thanks, crew, for your
help in crossing the Sea of Cortez! We hope to post crew photos shortly.
Our new crew, James Bixler “Bix” arrived here within a few hours of
our arrival on Saturday afternoon. Bix was referred to us by
our yacht broker, David Renouf, and is considering the purchase of a
Catana 431. There is no better way to find out what she is made of than
doing the Baja Bash!
So speaking of the Bash…
The truth of the matter is that most of the weather that boaters experience
as they move along the coast of Mexico originates from the northwest
and moves southeast. So just when the Northwesterlies are at their
lightest, during November, the annual migration of cruising boats heads
from south from California and points north for the beginning of the
annual cruising season. Because the winds are too light to give
an adequate push, sail boats motor more than they would expect when
they migrate during this time of the year. Conversely, the fleet heads
north toward the U.S. border in May, before the hurricane season sets
in. This is just when the prevailing winds are the strongest right
on their noses. That is why this notorious beat north is called the
By May, the Pacific High has resumed its residence between Hawaii and
the U.S. mainland. The high’s clockwise rotation brings these steady
Northwesterlies to coastal Baja, making May the most difficult month
to head north, according to Captains Pat and John Rains in their guide,
Cruising Ports: Florida to California via Panama. If one
were going south from San Diego during this time, one could get a sleigh
ride, especially in a Cat, and make 200-mile days, as we did crossing
the Atlantic. But Pacific Bliss is going north, with only two
good ports that provide great refuge during strong Northwesterlies:
Magdelena Bay and Turtle Bay. We plan to fuel at Turtle Bay, and
it might well be our only stop. Other than fuel, our provisioning
needs to last until San Diego.
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