Cabo Corrientes to Chamela (Mar. 12-14)

March 14th, 2006 by: cheyenne

We feared being stuck in La Cruz forever once we started to listen to weather reports again; Don kept going on about this gnarly norther raging down the Sea of Cortez making big old nasty waves around the cape, not to mention 30-knot winds and yuck. “The wind? It will be HONKIN’” We spent the day moping around the boat but then decided to just go and hopefully time it right (winds are lighter at night and so the seas are the mildest early morning). (Cabo Corrientes is special because it is a high fat projecting corner of land that sticks out into the prevailing winds [NW] and has the effect of intensifying them, and it does something very curious with any currents that might be running around. “Washing machine” describes what it looked like when we went around. Luckily we were heading south and so our ride was comparatively smooth.)

We left at midnight and crept towards the cape in very light winds. We arrived at the point around 6am in around 20-knot winds and eight-foot seas. All was well since the wind was right behind us and we had enough to keep up a good pace. As we approached and rounded the cape, the seas became more confused and choppy. We’d be sitting in a nice smooth spot and then two randoms would come together out of nowhere and form a pointy mountain right next to us. It was pretty uncomfortable but the winds had increased a bit, making it faster for us and keeping the sails in better control (in choppy seas, the wind tends to get knocked out of the sails as the boat lurches). We ended up taking the main down entirely after rounding the cape (winds increasing more) and running on only the jib but then the winds slacked a bit and pretty much died. We had 14 or so miles to go to get to Punta Ipala (the first protected anchorage south of the cape) and the GPS declared our ETA at twelve hours, up a bit from a former two hours. Drat!

We flopped a bit before the wind came back, this time from the south (NOT the prevailing wind direction) and so we had to tack all the way to Ipala. It wasn’t bad at all and we managed to catch three bonitos en route (kept one). We got there around noon right as the south wind died. Anchored outside of all the fishing nets and oyster beds in the little cove and just got settled down when the wind came around again and started blasting from the northwest. We measured sustained 20-25 with gusts up to 35 by sticking out little wind meter up out of a hatch. We took off the next morning early at around 6am in light wind and headed south.

We had little to no wind all morning (motored) and large voluminous swells. We saw a pod of gray whales (8+), one of which surfaced and blew its blower not 50 feet from us. We also saw two sea turtles and a lot of jellyfish. At around noon again, the wind picked up and our ETA went from 14 hours to three. We also caught a dorado!! It was two feet long and green. Joshua was casually looking back at our lure and actually saw it strike. Reeling it in while underway at nine knots was interesting. I had to get all sails down in order to keep the fish on the line. As we got her (it was a she) closer, we thought that we were going to score a few other lures—she had bright blue things sticking out around her head area; however, we discovered that they were electric blue pectoral fins. Winds were again 25-30 and honkin’; we came skidding around the corner of Chamela bay in no time.

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Cheyenne Weil, Joshua Coxwell