La Cruz

Well we finally made it!

The weather gods looked kindly upon us, and we were able to achieve our goal of crossing to the other side just in time to have dinner with Sea Level II and then say goodbye to them!

Our original plan had been to head to Muertos just around the corner, grab some sleep, and then head across and down around midnight. The weather made us change our minds… it looked good! Forecast was favourable, and the waters were docile, so we just kept on going.

Great decision! It was 48 hours , approximately 400 miles, of some of the best seas we have cruised on. Even at night those pesky winds didn’t get higher than 15.. it was a long slow roll from behind most of the way down, then it switched as we passed the tip of the Baja and we were taking them on the nose.

All in all totally comfortable.

just the way we like it!
As night fell and the moonless sky turned dark I was once again blown away by the stars. The Milky Way was like a white puddle spreading out across the sky… Orion’s Belt and Sirius were absolutely brilliant… and best of all, there was very little traffic on the water so no ‘which way do I go???” moments. Favourite view was coming up one morning before the sun rose and the moon had finally come up and it was a perfect ” star-dogged moon”.. stunning…

a star dogged moon
We settled into our shifts relatively easily. Although we usually try for three hour shifts, on such a short crossing I don’t mind stretching it out, providing I’m not seeing double or mistaking stars for cruise ships…or vice versa which I guess would be worse.

Basically with just the two of us we try to give the other as much sleep as they need but also recognize that sometimes even two hours is too much time to be awake – which means you can go roust out the sleeping crew member and let them take over!

sliding into the night
here comes the sun!
I love night passages – easy to say after this one, as it was marvellously uneventful. But still.. we have had some rough nights and long passages and I still enjoy it. The other half is not so keen. Maybe it’s because, although his usual role is that of perennial optimist, out on the water especially at night some of my pessimism seeps into him. On the other hand, I seem to empty all negative thoughts from my brain and just live in the moment. The ocean, the stars, the phosphorus glittering in the waves… the dolphins lit up around us , chasing the bow waves… even the silly squid darting through the water and sometimes ending up on our deck. ( this trip eight made it to the lower deck and one particularly athletic soul ended up on the top deck! )

Missed my chance for calamari though as I didn’t collect them until they had had a chance to dry out and deposit lovely black squid-prints on the deck.

orange sunset… gorgeous.. but no green flash…. rats!
We made good time in spite of the initial current working against us. At times I saw 9 1/2 knots, although we never changed the rpm (1600). As we worked our way south it was fun to see the temperature rise, as well as the humidity, and not so fun to see the engine room temp rising along with it. New keel cooler is hopefully in our future, one that is appropriate

for the size of engine on the boat. And another engine room fan… one of these days!

Our arrival time had been estimated to be around 1000 after 48 hours of cruising, but with the good speed we made, in spite of slowing down to try to get us there at that time, we still came into Banderas Bay around 0830. No sign of life at the marina office so we just idled around outside the bay, hoping to see some whales, but unfortunately they were uncooperative this time! One whale hell-bent on going somewhere else and a small pod of dolphins were all we saw.

circling Banderas Bay
We connected with Sea Level II and decided to tie up next to them in one of the empty slips until we could get our assignment, which worked out perfectly. Finally a chance to hang with our cruising friends… we really missed seeing everyone this year!

Sea Level reunion!
why I didn’t get a photo of the two boats when they were next to each other Is beyond me… last chance to see them together… for a while…. maybe…
The only downside is out on the big-boy docks the swell is unbelievable and no amount of springs and lines reduce it. However it was for just a night and by the next morning I decided I would have been happy to stay out there. It was quiet- the party boats take off and land from the inner harbour and provide all sorts of entertainment, so the outer docks are somewhat quieter. However there are lots of comings and goings on the smaller docks so there’s always something, or someone, to watch!

We had dinner at the marina restaurant Frascati- with Piredmus crew Tim and Michelle, who had decided to head north with Sea Level II (convoys are always more fun!)

Then we went to bed… and slept like logs. I didn’t even wake up when Sea Level started up and chugged off at 0530. Quel surprise!

Their original plan had been to pick up their crew in San Jose del Cabo and then rendezvous with Piredmus in Mag Bay, taking advantage of the opportunity to whale watch..however all weather apps, charts, and Omni Bob indicated a different narrative. The ocean for the foreseeable future was turning a rather alarming shade of purple and red on the charts, indicating high winds and seas up to 15 feet with a 10 second period. Ugly.

Schedules… they will either run like clockwork or kick you in the butt. They certainly aren’t for the faint of heart, which may explain why we tend to avoid hard dates at all costs.

We were just lucky that we found a good window to cross, and that was just for 48 hours. Doing the bash up to San Diego in March means windows are few, far between, and fickle.

We are disappointed that our own unforeseen glitch in scheduling makes a trip down to Barra Navidad a non-starter, but there is always next year. This is a great place to get lost in, between people watching ( we are a minority power boat amongst a sea of grizzled sailors and young exuberant families getting themselves ready to cross oceans … although some of them have been getting ready longer than others!) and the actual town of La Cruz which has grown some new condos since we were here last, but still maintains the same small fishing village vibe that we come for. A side trip to Buceras and into PV the other day confirmed our decision to stay here rather than anywhere else. Crazy busy!

And the Sunday market has doubled in size and as long as we get there early it’s great, with food, vegetables, clothing, art, and local crafts … brilliant!

The offending hot water heater part has been ordered from Amazon, to be delivered to our friend’s house sometime at the beginning of April . Speaking of hard dates… I am a bit nervous about this, but I guess if it doesn’t arrive before we have to leave ( weather gods rule)… we’ll get it somehow or another.

So that means several more weeks here… no hardship, and there are some more adventures to organize. Yesterday our friends drove us up to the beach just north of here, for a few hours of beach time and some swimming. Great place to bring your lounging apparatus, a cooler of snacks and drinks, and a good book or good conversation. Also great for some long-distance whale watching!

umbrellas at the beach, beautiful day for some sand and surf
flight of The pelicans
fairly large yellow bellied sea snake washed up on the one wanted to touch it or help it, kinda see their point, as it is very poisonous…one of those things you know exists but put in the back of your mind and hope never to see in the water….
nice place for a walk