Well, the Northern sea was just not to be.
Not for us, not this time, anyway.
It's part of the deal with cruising -if the winds are not in your favor, you will just have to come back someday and see what you missed- the first time around.
We listened to the weather from Rosalia and even though we were tempted by the proximity-only 150 miles or so stood between us and the cruising grounds of the upper Sea-the forecast did not look good.
The winds would be against us.
Not wanting to use our old engine any more than we have to and obviously preferring to sail , the prospect of motoring into the wind and then having to duck and hide in anchorages dictated by those same strong North winds did not seem like a very cruiser-y thing to do.
"What if we get a jump on the season and head South early?" I said to Jon.
That seemed like as good an idea as any.
We began to flip through the pages of our Mexico mainland cruising guide.
We don't have an exact plan at the moment but there are several appealing and adventurous options out there.
As winter approaches, the sea of Cortez will cool off.
I do not like much about cool weather.
Everyone else was suffering in the heat and I loved it.
Never mind the heat rash and the constant sweating...
My skin never looked better!
I can take showers on deck at midnight and lay naked under the stars all night.
We now wake to 77 degrees in "the cabin" and about the same in "the pool".
"Freezing!" I yelp.
"South!" I plead-and everyone just groans and rolls their eyes.
Many cruisers in the Sea will head South, following the warm weather, to La Paz and then cross the Gulf of California.
Some will work their way down through the Mexican Rivera; Puerto Vallerta and Bandaras Bay all the way as far South as Acapulco.
After that, you can either turn around, before the Hurricane season and high-tail it back to the safety of the Sea of Cortez, or, sometime around April you make the jump across the "puddle'.
Cross the ocean and head for the South Pacific -and beyond.
There are other options, too; Central America, the islands off of Panama, the Panama Canal over to the Caribbean, South America and Ecuador, the Galapagos, Easter Island, Pitcarin...
Your decision about where to go depends mostly on the colors of your soul but weather, sea worthiness of your vessel and of course, money enter the equation.
Work and the subject of when and where and how we will manage is part of the variable...
but that part of our lives is so out of our control at the moment, we simply shrug and sharpen our fish hooks and ready our lines and ponder the stars.
At this moment in our lives, any one of those itineraries is a possibility for us.
It's a rare and delicious feeling, to lie awake in your bunk and imagine all the places you could go-tomorrow-
If you have the guts to go.
Jon wants to go-everywhere.
He and Kai lobby for New Guinea, the Galapagos, Chagos, a compressor for scuba tanks, sailing to Peru and hiking the Andes...
I want to surf.
Hunter wants a kitten and princess shoes.
Life was settling back into what it is when we are on the hook...
Pura vida's running well, Jon is a confident skipper and our crew is proving itself at the helm.
We can sail into an anchorage now, surf through shallow channels in 25 knot winds and 6 foot swells, set our rig in any variety of combinations and do better than our Max boat speed in anything over 15 knots.
We are also much, much better at surviving off the land.
This is certainly due to the fact that we have had some great teachers along the way.
Last week, we caught up, again, with Manta, in San Jaunico.
We dove more, learned more.
They taught us to hunt and gather scallops-of course we used tanks with them but our free diving is improving and knowing what to look for sure helps!
Jon is deadly, free-diving with his new speargun and snagged his biggest grouper yet-12 pounds-perfect for several meals for us.
Kai set the "meat hook" out as we rounded the corner into Punta Chivato and managed to snag our first Dorado.
We got our first lobster, unaided-Jon skewered him with the sling.
We had been taught by Terry how to twist of it's tail and break off an antenna and poke it up its butt to dig out the back vein-Um, that is not a Suki job, yet, nor will it ever be, probably, since the lobster is still kinda alive when you do all this.
I'm much better at making him into curry than the whole evisceration business.
Little Hunter hand fed a scallop to a Moray eel while she was snorkeling with Dawn...
What a girl!
What a life.
Boat school is rolling along again, the kids write and read everyday and do pages and science and Spanish when we aren't sailing or exploring.
We are growing fresh sprouts in jars and cooking with the sun.
Life is pretty tranquilo, in the Sea of Cortez.
Or at least it WAS for about four days...
We woke up three days ago to some musings on the SSB.
The skippers were talking about the predictions.
A cyclonic activity South of Cabo...
Weather from the...South.
Jon and I looked at each other.
Here we go... again.
Within 72 hours of the first whispers of weather... we had PAUL-a cat 3 hurricane headed directly for Baja.
He's a bit of an anomaly, old PAUL, a late season storm but thanks to weather forecasting-everyone has a heads up on him.
Once again, were forced to run and seek shelter.
Once again, were forced to run and seek shelter.
Lucky for us, the forecast gave us plenty of warning, so there was no panic.
We had time and the wind was in our favor, still, blowing from the North.
We had a rockin downwind' sail in 25 knots. We set the sails wing on wing and ran for over thirty miles without ever touching a thing, averaging 7.5 knots.
We anchored for one night in a beautiful cove on Isla Carmen, had a morning scuba dive (in unlimited visibility) and then the clouds came in...
Time to go.
Back to Peurto Escondido.
There were 20+ boats when we got there and 30+ by the next day.
Something was definitely heading our way.
This morning, the sideways rains came in, a portend of what's off the coast.
The predictions for the sea tomorrow is 40 knot winds and 20 foot seas.
But we are safely anchored in a sheltered harbor.
Thank you, satellites...
I think of all the sailors that came before us and wonder at their fortitude.
I wonder if they ever hid under blankets.
Today, the radio is a-buzz with boats calling news and forecasts, checking on friends and boats coming in for shelter.
The storm models always have variables and the old timers have good advice on what is most likely to happen but it's Mother Nature and no one ever really knows for sure.
We cleaned the boat and closed the hatches tight, her sails are stowed but not off yet as we are still waiting for a closer prediction but we are watching every hour now.
Don't want to leave that sort of thing to late and risk having canvass up if it's really gonna blow.
Just when we got her all tickety-poo again, too.
We were owed a free night by the Tripuli motel and the kids and I decided to take it.
At the moment, we are curled up, watching Mexican TV and Lord of the Rings on our computer.
Jon went back to the boat to secure things again and check in with the other captains and we will see in the morning what's coming our way.
I will open a bottle of wine and look out the window at the billowing sheets of grey rain and wonder again... what tomorrow will bring.
|Setting the hook!|
|The fight begins|
|serious fisher dude|
|Awww,,,Just another Bonito|
|A good kill with the speargun|
|Dive team Pura Vida|
|Kai makes me a turkshead|
|perfect kill shot to the head-not wrecking the fillet!|
|Dive team Manta|
|Thai food with fresh catch of the day|
|Mom's happy galley|
|banana pancakes with whip cream.mmmmm!|
|Jaun the fish-monger|