June 2, 2001
The Sea, 22°43’N, l09°35.62’W  -Approaching Cabo San Lucas, Baja, Mexico

Crossing Cortez
By Lois Joy      


The white-crested waves raced west toward Pacific Bliss as she resolutely headed on her northwest course to Cabo.   The wind speed was between 20 and 25 knots, the seas confused.  “Almost on the nose again. Just our luck,” I grimaced as I donned my foul weather jacket, harness and life vest.  It was 4:00AM and the situation did not look pleasant.

Gunter and I and our crew for the passage, Stu and Sharon Richardson, had begun our passage from Nuevo Vallarta at mid-morning on Thursday, bidding fond farewells to our cruising buddies and newfound friends.  We had spent days in port and touring inland, patiently waiting for Hurricane Adolph to run out of steam.  Thursday appeared to be an ideal departure.  Other port-bound cruisers predicted that we might even be able to sail, a novel thought, due to potentially south winds that would begin to blow in the aftermath of the hurricane.   And then, when one remains as long in port as we did this time, one begins to be bound by the rules and superstitions of sailors.  We couldn’t possibly wait until Friday to leave.   We would tempt fate by breaking the sailors’ cardinal rule of never leaving port for a passage on a Friday!

So by Friday noon, we had already reached the halfway point in our crossing of the Sea of Cortez-we had traveled 138 nautical miles and had another 138 to go. We had actually sailed for a few hours on Thursday in a light 11-knot wind from the SSW.  That was the only sailing on Pacific Bliss Stu and Sharon had the opportunity to experience.   From then on, it had been motoring all the way, whatever direction our waypoints took us, that is the way the wind turned.  Right on the nose, a slight bit off the nose, that was the story, hour by hour, watch after watch.  The wind remained light and the seas relatively calm.   Sharon was seasick most of the time, but the rest of us weathered it well, snacking and reading. 

As today began, though, right after midnight on this, our third day at sea, the stronger W and NW winds came up. It may have been the “Cape Effect” already, or perhaps the petering winds from Hurricane Adolph, now far out to the western sea beyond Baja California.   “Could this the beginning of the notorious NW Baja Bash winds?” we wondered.

I catwalked to my usual watch position at the starboard helm.  The Cat lurched and swayed as she plowed into the waves, water crashing over the twin hulls and into the trampoline.  Behind the helm, the waves sloshed behind the hull, the big ones occasionally spraying rooster tails.   After getting a handle on the situation outside, I groped my way in the lurching boat to the nav station, where I filled out the log (Force 6, 22 knots W, our dual Volvo Pentas pushing us at 5 knots) and then fixed a hot mugful of Nescafe, powdered chocolate, and cream.  The vessel under control, I sat again at the starboard helm and became one with the elements, allowing my body to roll and move with Pacific Bliss.

Warmed by my concoction, I also warmed to the stark beauty of the night and began to drink it in.    The moon was ¾ full and golden, well on its westward path into the sea.  The brighter stars refused to be dimmed by its light and twinkled overhead.   The waves frothed over the dark sea, reminding me of the Starbucks cappuccino that I would have as soon as we reached San Diego later this month.   I hadn’t had one in over six months! 

“This isn’t a storm,” I mused. It is simply wind and waves. Might as well enjoy it.”

(To Be Continued)


Breaking Waves into Cabo

Coming into Cabo

Fun at Los Arcos

Los Arcos

Ruff Waters into Cabo

Time for Foul Weather Gear







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