Saturday, December 4, 2010

Bahia Santa Maria to Cabo San Lucas

Thanksgiving day started with a bit of excitement when, after waking and peering out of our cabin’s companionway hatch, Mark noticed Henry’s dinghy some distance from their boat being blown out to sea by a strong wind. He quickly woke Anne and we hurriedly raised our anchor and motored in pursuit. Before reaching the runaway craft, Mark and Lori from "Thor", who left ahead of us had already spotted it and began towing back to it’s owners. We stood by in case our assistance was needed but Mark and Lori made accomplished the rescue without difficulty. We soon raised our sails and, after a downwind run outside the bay from Bahia de Tortugas, we turned the corner into enormous Bahia Magdelena and found ourselves tacking into a 25 knot head wind. “Mag Bay” is famous as a site for whales to feed and have their calves so we scanned the choppy water around us for any signs of the huge creatures. With our destination lying about 8 miles to windward, we zig-zagged back and forth under reduced sail for about 2 hours before starting our motor and entering the anchorage off a small village.

Once anchored, Anne quickly put the word out to the few other boats in the area that we would be hosting a Thanksgiving, pot luck dinner aboard “ Blue Rodeo”. Three other couples happily joined us and, although no turkey was available for the main course, we ate like kings, laughing, telling stories and getting to know each other even better. While the holiday is one normally spent with family, we all felt especially thankful to be in such a beautiful, remote and rugged spot celebrating with new friends that are connected as a family of sailors and adventurers.

The next day, we were again joined by Henry and Janice for more beach combing and fun. Our group walked quite a distance along a beach composed entirely of shells picking up unique ones and bits of colorful sea glass (broken bottle glass polished smooth by the sand and waves).

Our next run of 160 miles to Cabo San Lucas would require another over-night sail so we, along with 4 or 5 other boats, all departed early the next day. As the northwesterly wind began to steadily build, we all enjoyed nearly perfect sailing conditions keeping each other in sight for most of the day. With our spinnaker set, we sailed swiftly along enjoying great speed and even catching and passing Janice and Henry aboard their motor yacht. They are both avid photographers and shot some spectacular video and photos of us as we went by in perfect, late afternoon light. We shared the fun, taking as many photos of them as they “poured on the coal” to repass us briefly for the photo-op.
The favorable winds held until after midnight when we started our engine and motor-sailed the remaining miles around Cabo’s famous arch and rocky point and into it’s anchorage just off the beach.

After naps, Henry and Janice picked us and Mark and Lori up and took us from the beach anchorage through the marina chock-full of fancy sport fishing boats. As we pulled up to the modern dinghy dock, we marveled at the modern, glitzy hotels, restaurants and shopping mall that surrounded the marina. It had been many years since either of us had been to Cabo and it was clear that an enormous amount of money had been spent in it’s development. It seemed like a combination of Las Vegas and Beverly Hills on the water. A worthwhile tip from one of the many, overzealous time-share salesmen that we encountered lead us to a fantastic, and somewhat quaint, patio restaurant that featured hundreds of “Day of the Dead” figurines as decoration. Dia de los Muertos is quite a celebration in Mexico, rivaling that of Christmas and Carnival.

After a night back aboard, catching up on our sleep, we took an early morning dip in the warm ocean water before another trip into town to officially “clear in” with the Port Captain and do a major shopping run to Costco. Yes, Costco!! It was somewhat surreal to enter it’s familiar surroundings with the flat screen TV’s, and all of the regular US products after weeks of sailing along a rugged, desolate coastline. After shuttling our shopping loads back to our boats, we returned to town and treated ourselves to the newly released Harry Potter movie shown in a nearly-new theater complete with reclining leather, lounge seats. It was pretty decedent! Janice and Henry had the group aboard their boat for dinner after the movie and we finally retired to our own boats for what was to be a night of rocking and rolling.

During the night, a swell from the southwest made the anchorage rather uncomfortable. In light winds, our boats’ orientations to the bumpy seas kept us rolling and disturbed by the slapping of water against our transoms. By the net morning, we were all happy to raise our anchors from the crystal-clear water and continue 17 miles down the coast where a couple night’s stay was planned in a new marina. The marina stay would give us all an opportunity to give our boats a fresh water bath and find shelter from forecast, strong northerly winds.

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