I was loaded with apprehension for this leg of the journey. Our books warn us of the two key areas famous for their crazy winds. One is just out of Turtle Bay to the north and the other is north of (Eeeek!) Cedros Island. (Remember my Perfect Storm story from when we sailed south here?)
Our wind and wave charts warned us of a blob north of Cedros. If we timed it right, we’d be crossing that area after it would be gone (where to? don’t know, but gone).
Cedros is a rather long island when you’re following it by sail at 5 knots. It took us over 3 hours to make our way from the south end to the north. The closer we made our way up there: the more my apprehension grew. The skies ahead looked nasty, and the waters were white capping. That meant winds picked up beyond 12 knots.
We’d heard of the washing machine effect but had no clue as to what it really felt like. Waves had no order, they came from all sides and our wind needle kept spinning around and around. But it was really fine until we crossed the line.
Waves head on at 6 feet. Winds over 25 knots. White caps everywhere. Have I mentioned my apprehension? “Let’s keep moving forward, maybe it’s better once we’re clear ahead of the island” he suggests. Ooooohkaaaayyyy. In the meantime I’m white knuckling it holding on the the handrails ready to run down for cover.
I know as long as I’m willing to sit up there ready to help out – my fear is under control. My fear is under control. (If I repeat it, it will come true) Ha. Now the motor is blasting full force and we’re barely moving. The mast is vibrating under the strong winds. But, my fear is still under control. “I think we’re just wasting fuel!” That may have been the triggering comment. He replied with a “Hang on, we’re turning around!” Hang on? I’m already in a white-knuckle-hold, how can I hold on more than that? So I wrap my legs around the handrail.
Turning a sailboat in 6′ waves head on means that at one point those nasty waves will hit you from the side. Not fun.
What took us 30 minutes against wind and waves, took us but 10 in the other direction. Whooo, what a ride! Luckily we’d marked our anchorage from the last time we took refuge at the exact same spot. Once we got there, it was like being in a different country, time zone, area code, zip code, and season. The water was flat calm, no wind, and dolphins were doing their world famous dolphin dives all around us. One could easily believe it would be safe to head back out… But we weren’t fooled.
I was down below, doing whatever when suddenly the seals started barking faster, louder and with more excitement. I climbed up to find Leo peeing over the side of the boat. “I wanted to see what the excitement was all about. They’re not barking, they’re laughing!” “Hey, that’s not nice!” “Don’t get mad at me, I’m not the one who’s laughing…”
We spent the night safely anchored. The next morning we tried it again. This time the sea looked calm, and the winds appeared fine. Problem was with the sky. It was dark and grey in the direction where we wanted to go. But we didn’t know that until we made our way up to the northern tip.
Yeah… That apprehension came rushing back. Of course I climbed down to get my camera “I should keep a record of this so we’ll know we knew we shouldn’t have tried this. Yet.”
He didn’t think my joke was funny. Instead he turned the boat around and returned to our safe anchorage. Until our 3rd attempt to put Cedros Island behind us we decided since my family may be worrying about us we may as well make the most of it: we went for a dive! It was a fun one too: yay!
After leaving Cedros, we anchored twice before getting to Ensenada. The first time was by Geronimo, an island that – trust me – looked like a perfect setting for a clam chowder commercial. Our second nightly stop was by St-Marten, another island. As we huddled and watched Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (awesome movie but read the book, trust me) the winds from hell suddenly broke out. Our GPS indicated a speed of 1.4 knots. Yet we were anchored. ANCHORED! My post is already teetering in the way-too-many-word-count to venture into explaining why that happened.
Sorry. I know you’re dying to find out why.
Conclusions of this entire post are:
- Fearing I’d have numerous worried emails from my family asking why they hadn’t heard about me as I was 2 days late in reporting my arrival to find no frantic queries in my inbox. Where is the love? Muwah!
- Arriving early enough in Ensenada hoping I’d get to San Diego in time to join the Derby Dolls in the SD Pride Parade only to learn our boat couldn’t be hauled out for painting before Monday, 4-day process, meaning I’d miss out on the much anticipated parade. (long enough sentence for ya?)
- Do not travel by sea during your menstrual period. Period. You will be much less tolerant to every movement. And feel nasty as the result of these endless movements.
- I have an undying love of dolphins.
- I am way behind in my blog reading.
- I am somehow uncertain in regards to proper spelling of directions, do they require capitals? Is it North, or north?
p.s. As we were crossing Mexico’s Bermuda Triangle I spotted this on the radar screen. Leo was taking a much needed and deserved nap. I was on watch. It was my responsibility to be responsible and do what needed to be done. Responsibly, of course. The more I stared at the screen, the more they closed in on us. Looking outside and knowing there was NO land within 50 miles or more, I worried. I ran back down to look and stare at the radar screen. Seeing the blobs increase in size, I worried more. Running back up to look out with the binoculars and thinking this is just the kind of setting where large devils approach their prey as we sit in the movie theater screaming out “Stupid bitch, don’t you know the devil is looming, go grab your cross and pray to the baby Jesus!” So I run back downstairs. Look at the screen and know with certainty I need to wake Leo up. His knuckles are tightly shut. His lips are fluttering. His eyeballs are moving all over the place under his lids. He barely slept at all in the last 24 hours. I shake him about 10 times. I’m about to slap him across the face when his eyes start to open. I scream at him about the blobs moving in. He stares at me. “What the hell are you talking about? I need to sleep!” I show him the radar screen. He falls back asleep. Like the mysterious Caramilk secret and how many licks to the middle of a Tootsie Pop, the world will never know what those blobs were. I am still alive. And nobody is concerned. Muwah. ツ