7 days, one short layover, 750 miles… DONE!

We are a little bit superstitious on the Good Ship Northern Ranger I. Not really really superstitious.. we just like to exercise a bit of caution in regards to certain things.

Me probably more than LT.. I have little talismans that I have collected from various forays into the Rest of the World… a glass God’s eye from Greece ( or Rhodes? )… a miniature rosary from the cathedral  in Oaxaca… a Canadian First Nations’ stuffy dragonfly… a couple of odd things in the master stateroom given to us by cruisers we met years ago when the kids were babies.. OK, that sounds like more than a little strange, I know. ( One of them is a rubber crab that long ago lost its squeak, given to us by a wonderful older couple we met when Chris our firstborn was still a baby and we were cruising the Broughtons, and they were missing their grandkids back in Bremerton or wherever they were from… gorgeous classic boat named Kayak… funny thing is we are probably now older than they were then… but I digress.)

The other thing, and it’s a biggy, and this one is definitely LT.. you don’t ever, EVER, comment on how  the trip is going, unless it’s kind of negative ( “whoa, that was a rough night, those waves were big”… “Are we there yet? hahahahah”.. that sort of thing)… 

We can think the good thoughts to ourselves, but otherwise, all spoken words in regards to the trip, to the weather, to the boat – are neutral or negative. 



here we are… probably five or six hours away from our goal. In spite of my trepidation, we did the Bash with just the two of us. Three days in, I felt as if I could keep going forever, but now I confess I am looking forward to not pitching around.  Although one of the things that I am dreading is getting into cel range… as fun as it was last night at midnight when we suddenly both had coverage, and we sat furiously reading our text messages and responding, joyous  faces aglow with the unearthly light of the magic i-phones … I enjoyed not having to deal with issues at home ( ‘someone is using all the data, please tell him to stop!’) or think about how we are going to cram everything that needs doing ( packing, sorting, packing, organizing boat work, packing, unpacking, sorting, bring a vehicle down from Vancouver to San Diego ) into this month..

Big breath…. breathe…. relax.. for tonight, when we finally get to the dock, we can either eat out or heat up the enchilada casserole I made and had to freeze because someone didn’t feel they could handle the uber spice of my mexican effort… and we can have wine. 

(and  a dry boat while we are underway isn’t exactly a superstition.. it’s exercising an abundance of caution and after this trip, with the rocky-rolly nights.. I can sure see why!)


another talisman we had for  a short while was a tiny yellow warbler – we were probably twelve miles out from land, and I spotted him hanging on to one of the lines leading to the port paravane –


wind ruffling his little feathers and toes curled tightly around the line. I moved slowly so I wouldn’t scare him,  then when Lawrence went down to the couch it startled the little guy and he took off. 

but not too far… later I saw him on the foredeck trying to drink from the splashes on the gunnel..

and then he lifted off and managed to keep up with us enough to land up on the starboard paravane. He looked like he was going to get himself out of the wind ( good idea, I thought) but then he shuffled out onto the wire again and stationed himself there. Later Lawrence says he thought he saw him fly away – I was hoping we could have given him a  free ride to Ensenada, but I guess he had other plans. Or the strain on those little claws trying to hold on was probably too much for him! Unless of course we find him upstairs tucked somewhere safe. Not sure how much creative thinking a little bird can do – problem solving… but hey, he knew enough to latch onto our boat for  a bit of a breather!


So I remember a few years ago writing a blog that ended up getting published in Sea Magazine ( which was pretty cool at the time!!! wow!  ) and it was about things I learned about myself during our circumnavigation around Vancouver Island. At the time that trip was a huge accomplishment for all of us – Lawrence and I already  had years of experience roaming up and down the inside passage, both alone, with children, and buddy boating with friends, but heading to the outside coast, and navigating our way down “open ocean” was huge. The next year we took it further and went north, again to get some open water experience, in preparation for the Cubar in 2015. 


The first order of business in preparing for  the Baja rally was to get Northern Ranger I down to San Diego – which meant some long days and overnights… the first five days, in fact, took us to San Francisco without stopping and then from there it was three days non stop to San Diego. We had my  older brother on board as the third crew member, helping out immensely with watches… and giving us that added feeling of safety.  The Cubar we did with another couple, good friends from our coastal cruising days.. so we had four persons on board to share the watch-taking, and other chores.

So the one thing we didn’t have yet was overnight, offshore, for an extended period of time, just the two of us cruising…and this Baja Bash  North was obviously going to be an opportunity to do that.  I was ready to put my foot down and say we had to have a third hand, but honestly, what person in their right mind would volunteer for that???I had hoped my twin brother would but he was busy – so… as per usual.. we just Did It. (after one thwarted attempt, which was maybe a good thing because the weather window for us this time has been perfect…)

And as we are moving closer to  Ensenada, it’s grey, it’s cool, but it’s also fairly flat and very calm. Great decision to keep going and not stop to smell the roses…or fish ( sigh)  there will be time for that another day. And it’s almost at that stage where I can say… not gonna say it yet…


And the little bird… well, at one point he looked as though he was launching himself into the ocean never to be seen again and I despaired for his life. Half an hour later, I found him huddled under the porta-boat on the top deck, in what is probably the safest place for him to take a nap. Hopefully he stays on board long enough to get to shore – not sure if he will encounter other birds of his feathers, but at least he will be on dry land and near fresh water!

Nearing Ensenada, I cannot find the bird – hopefully he saw that we had brought him closer to land and he is winging his way to a more appropriate environment! Good decision, stay out of the big city little bird… the country’s a better place for you! 

…and…. nope…. just had another little yellow bird sighting – silly thing … hopefully he made it back up and has found somewhere else to sit. Patience, bird!  I know we are slow ..( hey! we have actually been averaging  a blistering 7 knots for the past three days, a vast improvement from the first night when the seas and the wind and the current slowed us down to 5)

(defining moment : we were passed by a sailboat who seemed to be doing ten knots. I don’t believe it, but radars don’t lie)


The saga of the little bird continues.. I just went to grab a life vest from the pilot house berth which has a window behind it… and the little guy flew up in the air outside; he had discovered the spot beside the engine room vent and the dry stack.. right by the window..nice and warm and dry.. he was probably having a great little bird dream and I disturbed him.  Hopefully I didn’t disturb him right off the boat.. though his tenacity and dare I say intelligence are proving me wrong about his ability to survive out here.

I think I will name him Limoncello. 



OK now I can say.. we have made it!!!  hooray! 

and the bird was with us almost until the docking.  He even tried to come into the pilot house a few times.  Silly thing.

anyway – we have made it.


We are in Ensenada. And the first thing that happened was a huge bull sea lion dragged its sorry ass up on the dock and literally blocked our way.  Luckily a hose worked to get him  to move so we could go to the marina office and check in. (sorry about the sideways photo. just too tired to figure out how to make it go the right way.. need a photo editing widget here…. just a thought!!  maybe i’ve missed it somewhere… sigh… technology….)

So… we are sitting here going wow.. we did it… doesn’t feel all that amazing now that it is over but 750 miles in one go with just  a short twelve hour stop to take a breath and get ourselves ready for the long haul…

and we are still talking to each other..

I have to thank the weather Gods for this one, though – this is a long coast that can get pretty nasty if you don’t time it properly when you are heading north ( south too.. we certainly had our share of ugliness heading down during the Cubar) but.. we’ve done it. The boat did it.. she is truly a marvellous yacht! I will miss her.. but she will find someone who appreciates her as much as we do, I am sure. It’s an amazing thing to own a boat that you can start the engine in Cabo and turn the engine off in Ensenada… the Lugger just kept going and going and going, and the paravanes just kept us as steady as a rock. 



And darn, that wine tastes good.