Ghosts at sea
Kerri and I thought we would just sit still and recoup from the week long visit with family, but after only a single day of said recuperations – which included a couple hour sail and socializing with another couple (read; no recuperation time) – our eyes were firmly set on the next big passage.
Weather rules all as cruisers. Days of no-wind mean we sit still. Days of high-wind mean the same. But, when there is moderate wind for a good majority of a day, and we need to make 70+ miles to our next destination, we have to take advantage of it. The next day was just that; 10-14 knots of wind on our beam, or so said the forecast. So we set out to for a four hour sail to get ourselves to Punta Santo Domingo, just at the northern tip of Bahia Conception, where we stayed a single night and had planned to depart at 8am the following morning to cross the Sea of Cortez for our first time.
The 72 miles – as the crow flies – could be an overnighter. We had planned to ride the wind as much as we could, fully expecting to go slower than the 5 knot average which would have us arriving in the middle of the night. This, we had hoped, would take any speed pressures off the table as we wanted to arrive after sunrise anyway. That was the plan anyway…
What really happened is quite different. The forecast lied, once again. There was no wind to speak of all day, but for a short 2 hour breeze that did allow us to turn the motor off for a bit. Sadly, it was back in action just as we were getting accustomed to the peace and quiet of sailing, and did not get turned off again until the voyage was done. In total, it was a 16 hour sail, 14 of which we motored… ugh.
The only real highlight of the trip was a visit by a small pod of dolphins well after dark. Dolphins by themselves are fun and all, but dolphins at night with the bioluminescence running strong gave us a show that we had not expected. Ghostly blue shapes swam beside Meriwether and played at the bow. The ghosts could be seen diving to unknown depths under us, and resurfacing to have another round of play with our boat at speed. Both Kerri and I ran up to the foredeck and just soaked it in as attempting any photos is just a waste of time. We simply do not have the equipment for such photography, but other people do!
The whole plan to not arrive until day break was tossed out. Instead we would arrive just after midnight, which at least helped make it a more reasonable NOT overnight passage. The anchorage was outside the Guaymas Harbor so as not to have to navigate inner harbor waters in the dark. We pulled into our allotted anchorage and was immediately hit by the stench of pelican poo. It was the strongest I had ever experienced. After a good sleep we decided to move further into the harbor-proper, but not yet go to the main anchorage just off the Malecon. We still needed that recuperation time, and that took priority over all else.
We would spend the next 5 days in a secluded and well protected anchorage not too far from what appeared to be the main fishing boat marina. The only bad part of this time was a high pitched squealing sound that seemed to be pointed directly at us from shore. Any time spent up in the cockpit was spent with a dog-whistle in our ears.
Towards the end of our time here a local kayaked out to us. His house was not far from us, on shore. We talked for a few minutes – in broken English and Spanish – and found out that he is wanting to take sailing lessons, which he had scheduled with a friend in the near future. He was such a nice guy that we invited him back in the evening to we could talk more. He did return with his friends wife and daughter. They had many questions about our life on a boat, and we did the best we could to convey our answers in what little Spanish we could. They brought over some ice cream (which earned them a best-friends-for-ever title from me) which we shared as we talked as the wind picked up. It was such a pleasure to talk with locals, face to face.
Said wind prompted a rescue of sorts, with the two women not feeling comfortable sharing the small kayak together in the choppier waters. Easy fix; we dropped our dinghy so I could get them back home with Ramon towed the 2nd kayak behind him in the first.