Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Southern Crossing

After 10 days in Marina Mazatlan we had a good weather window to make the 190 NM crossing to the Baja Peninsula. We departed at 7:30 AM on March 30st. There were 4-6' swells for the first 10 KM but once we got clear of land the seas calmed and we had a beautiful crossing with a full moon. The nicest thing about a calm sea is that you can get some sleep and you do not get as tired when on watch. We arrived well rested in los Muertos at 2 PM on the 31st to find 4' seas coming into the anchorage from the south so we decided to leave los Muertos and head north overnight to Isla San Fransico north of La Paz. With the waves coming from the south into the anchorage at los Muertos we didn't think that we would get much sleep so we might as well keep going with the following seas and hopefully get some sleep along the way.

Our experience with the passage from los Muertos through the Cerralvo Channel is that it's one nasty piece of water. The waves funnel through the north-south channel and then collide with the out coming current and waves from San Lorenzo Channel to make very steep, straight sided waves. So this time we thought we would try something different and go up the east side of Isla Cerralvo and Isla Espiriu Santo to try to avoid the strong currents and resulting waves. Well, it worked on the outside of Isla Cerralvo but as soon as we cleared the north end of the island we got hit by steep 6' waves on our beam coming out of San Lorenzo Channel. There was a strong west wind coming out of La Paz, known as a Corumel, that was creating a mess of the seas and we were stuck in it for the rest of the passage. It was right on the beam and every few minutes an above average size wave would hit us so hard on the beam that it sounded like someone had tossed a bowling ball against the side of the boat. At times we took spray from the port side all the way over the top of the pilothouse. No sleeping that night!

We passed Isla San Francisco at 4:30 AM and could see at least 8 anchor lights in the bay and the waves were entering directly into the anchorage so we continued north first thinking that we would go the 9 KM to Punta Evaristo but then stopped short of there and went into Bahia Amortajada. This is an anchorage off of a lagoon lined with mangroves and there is a large anchorage with protection from the south so we decided to stop here and we dropped the hook and then went directly to sleep. Six hours later, around 1 PM, we were awakened, actually Linda was awakened, I'll sleep through anything, by a voice outside the boat saying "Hola, Hola, Discovery, Discovery." By the time we got up we saw the local park ranger motoring away in his skiff. We're sure he just wanted to check our park permit, which we have, so we weren't too concerned. The wind had started to pick up out of the north and the waves were coming straight into the bay so we pulled the anchor and motored the 6 KM to Isla San Francisco where the bay is protected from northerlies. We spent 3 days in "The Hook" and had a wonderful time but the water was still a little cool for swimming, 72°, so we headed north into the Sea to find warmer waters.