Saturday, February 28, 2015

Another crossing in the books.

Another short crossing in the books.   As I pulled anchor in Bahia San Carlos and motored out to the sea I was looking forward to a smooth, no frills crossing over to the other side.  The last time I went across my weather reports were for calm seas and light winds.  If you read my post “Rough Crossing" from a few months ago you will know that it turned out to be a LONG way off from “calm seas and light winds” as I got into the worst storm I have yet to experience on a boat.  Anyway, my crossing this time was a far cry from the nasty storm I had 3 months ago but it was extremely unpleasant.  As I left San Carlos I immediately put up full sail in a nice 10-12 knot breeze and set off toward Escondido Bay about 130 miles to the south which would take about 24 hours before I would drop anchor on the other side.  The first few hours before dark it was a beautiful sail moving along nicely in the breeze and not wasting any fossil fuels.  Around 8pm the winds picked up to aroung 18-20 knots and being a single hander I tucked two reefs into main and and genoa and continued onward.  Unfortunately the wind switched from the east to the south and so I began to tack into it.  Tacking alone at night can be a struggle sometimes so I rolled in the genny, started the motor and then ran under the main only assisted by my 55hp Yanmar.  It wasn't perfect but from past experience I knew it could be a lot worse. 

Making a solo crossing has a major downside…no sleep.  I tried to doze off every so often for 10 minutes or so then to get up, check around for other vessels, check navigation, wind and the radar screen.  Every hour on the hour I would write in the log all of the pertinent information…time, barometric pressure, direction and speed of winds, sea state, course heading, boat speed and distance away from my starting point.  The night passed slowly and my ability to doze off became much easier as the hours passed. 

By 5am or so when the light had just begun to allow sight across the ocean I could see land out to the west.  The excitement of that was diminished by the fact that the winds had picked up considerably and were now blowing steady between 25-30 knots off of my starboard bow.  Sea state had gone from a light 2 foot wind chop to heavy white caps off of the 5-6 foot waves.  I decided to give the autopilot a rest and hand steer through the rough waters.  I was clipped in with my safety harness on and got a regular dousing from the chop that splashed up from the side and into the cockpit.  This was not a dangerous situation, just extremely uncomfortable, especially after my long, nearly sleepless night.  I hand steered for about 2 hours and by then the wind died down to a comfortable 10 knots and the seas settled almost as quickly as the wind.  I was tired but enjoyed the next 8 hours of travel under very nice winds and calm seas arriving at Puerto Escondido at 3:30 pm, exactly 24 hours from the time I left the mainland side.

In Escondido I fueled up and gave the Liahona a nice, fresh water bath with the hose off of the fuel dock and then headed to the outer bay know as “The Waiting Room”, dropped anchor, fixed a nice, hot meal and then easily fell asleep around 8pm.  The next morning I awoke to turn on  the Ham radio in order to get the weather for the next few days.  Looking out the port window I saw several small fins gliding past the boat.  I went up top to discover that I was nearly surrounded by small manta rays sunning themselves in the early morning warmth of the sun.  It was a great reminder why I’m here. 

Today I will head south toward Agua Verde, about a 5 hour sail to the south and then continue my trek southward toward Cabo to pick up my friends Dave and Stephanie deVilleneuve who will accompany me on my 2 1/2 day passage from Cabo San Lucas over to Puerto Vallarta on the mainland side.   There is zero internet connection between here and Cabo so my next post will be from there in about 2 weeks.  Wherever you are, whatever you are doing…take a deep breath in and be present for THAT moment and be grateful for life and all of the blessings that are yours.  Life is indeed amazing, enjoy it.

SV Liahona

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