First overnight under out belt, and I would say it was a success- in other words, we are still here, heading in the right direction, and there are other Cubaristas around us. So much better than the last time we did this! If memory serves, rounding this island last time in the middle of the night was done during an electrical storm, high winds, and lumpy bumpy seas. So much more civilized this time! touch wood! don’t want to jinx anything…
The first leg of our trip yesterday was incredibly calm – boats mostly stayed together, a little bit of jockeying for position – but for the most part the bulk of the three groups remained well in radio range and mostly AIS range. Fishing lines were deployed and there was a lot of chatter about fish caught. Of course that meant I had to pull out my gear and drop one line in the water again. (just an aside… yes, skipjack were prolific but the dorado and tuna eluded me. Fishing is fun, catching would be great.. but the excitement of reeling in the first and second skipjack almost was enough. Almost) As the day progressed, some people moved further ahead and some further behind, but except for a few outliers and the small group who left the day before because of their slower speeds, everyone had a few buddy boats in visual range and more within radio range. We did our check ins and the process turned out to work quite well. As usual there are stronger radios and weaker radios, and better antennas and not so much – as the sun set, and the seas built up, we had pretty much established ourselves into our groups and stayed that way all night.
Ah the night – well first of all there was a spectacular moon rise, to show up the sunrise in the morning. Winds stayed below 20 and mostly below 15, but the seas gradually built and once in a while we surfed along the top of a big breaking roller at a breathtaking 12 .5 knots!!!! boat handles well, except it wants to hunt all over the place so its overall course looks as if we are avoiding torpedoes or all doing tequila shooters as we move along. NOT!!!! It’s a learning thing – what is the normal handling parameters for the 50? Luckily we know lots of owners so we can get some input about what to expect and what we are experiencing. But overall – different from the 46, I wouldn’t say better – just different.
I was thinking about the noises , especially the engine noises. Having a slight musical bent, I decided the sound of a boat engine and all its attending systems is a bit like an orchestra, playing a symphony. The boat you have had for a while is a very familiar symphony – you know all the high notes and the low notes, you know when there is a sour note or a new instrument…
I remember the first time I heard Northern Ranger I, with her to us un-familiar dry stack exhaust. She putt putted along, sounding like some old river tug – alarming at first, but we got used to it. It wasn’t until we had all the work done on her and the entire exhaust system replaced that we realized that putt putt sound wasn’t exactly the norm, as the exhaust someone had installed in her was a straight pipe truck exhaust. With the correct part, and the entire system rewrapped, it was quite a different song!
I lay there and listened to the notes, separating each one I recognized by function and guessing at a few. Belts, pumps, motors, pistons, fans, stabilizers- everything contributes to the overall sounds.. but last night we both heard a new sound, one we didn’t recognize or hadn’t noticed before. High pitched, constant, loud enough for Lawrence to actually hear but not so loud it was totally annoying. A new piccolo added to the group? or an untuned clarinet, lending its sour note to an otherwise wonderful symphony? Is it a problem or is it something we hadn’t noticed before and just is. Engine room checks didn’t identify it.. and up here in the pilot house, where we are now sitting enjoying our coffees and watching Cedros Island appear out of the haze and the clouds, I guess we have put the sound aside for now and are just enjoying the ride! Which from all appearances seems to be getting better and better as the sun rises higher in the sky.
We arrived in Turtle Bay, fishless but happy, and were amazed how different it was from our memory two years ago, what little we saw of it then. I had not expected a town, fairly large, street lights and cars on dirt roads… lots of little buildings and a few restaurants and some cel coverage to tempt us into trying our phones. ( I had no luck)… we dropped our hook, and managed to get the kayaks off.. quiet evening, and early to bed …we have an extra day in Turtle Bay as we left Ensenada a day early – and this looks like a good place to spend a day doing nothing!