Sunday, January 30, 2022

Arrived in La Cruz

La Cruz de Huanacaxtle

Intermezzo is safely anchored in La Cruz, captain and crew a bit tired, but happy. It's a hot, sunny day, clear sky to seaward, hazy along the shoreline. The boat is gently rocking on calm waters as we clean up the boat and ourselves.

The second half of our three-day passage was delightful after a tough first half. We sailed almost the whole way after leaving Bahia La Paz and the San Lorenzo Channel. It was one of Intermezzo's highest percentage sailing passages ever. No bashing into headwinds and seas, no becalming. Intermezzo performed well, as did Dan and Robin. Dan now has several night watches under his belt and Robin is getting more confident in making decisions on her watch. I'm very grateful to have had such a great crew for this trip.

Our entry into Bahia Balandra early this morning was exceptional. In the pre-dawn darkness, a planet was perfectly aligned with our course into the bay, shining a guiding, sparkling light on the surface of the water. Then the thinnest crescent moon rose over the mountains ahead, a golden sliver, hanging in the sky ahead like an ornament. Finally the dawn sunlight behind the mountains bathed the sky in a soft yellow-orange glow, a gently changing the night into day. All three sources of light were visible for a bit of time, as if the planet, moon and sun were briefly greeting each other.

We were also treated to three whale sittings as we sailed further into the bay, the whales briefly surfacing before diving again, their tail flukes in the air. A very pleasant welcome, indeed.

We'll have a lazy day today, going into shore this morning, then heading back to the boat for afternoon siestas, I expect. We'll stay anchored here until at least Wednesday. Dan will be leaving the boat and Robin and I will continue southward.

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Calmed Down

En route to La Cruz

We just passed the Tres Maria's islands, located about 70 nautical miles northeast of La Cruz. The weather has calmed, a light breeze from the north and a gentle swell. Captain and crew are much happier, glad that 36 hours of strong winds and steep, uncomfortable seas are behind us.

We're reaching under full main and jib, barely making 3 knots. We might need to motor soon, though there is no need to make any great speed or we'll arrive in the La Cruz anchorage in the dark. Better to go slow and arrive after sunrise.

The sky is clear, powdery blue-white on the horizons,light blue overhead, turning the sea into an appropriate Navy blue. As we approach the mainland, the air has turned more humid, a big difference from the dry desert air of Baja. I haven't got a whiff of the musty jungle scent of land yet, as the wind is blowing from the sea. I find that odor to be a welcoming one for a landfall.

I found half a dozen small squid on the deck this morning. They jumped out of the water at the wrong time last night. Surprising that these little four-inch long mollusks can launch themselves more than four feet out of the water to make it over Intermezzo's gunwales. I thought about cleaning them and having them for breakfast, but was too lazy to recall how to clean squid. Had eggs instead. Squids returned to the sea with brief moment of silence.

Intermezzo has behaved very well, so far. Nothing has broken, knock wood. Looks like we have a small leak from a broken hose clamp for the water maker intake, but that will be an easy repair. Meanwhile, we'll close the seacock when we're not running the water maker.

I'm going to time our arrival in La Cruz for between 0700 and 1000 tomorrow morning. I'm looking forward to a lazy day and a restful night in these calm conditions.

Friday, January 28, 2022

Boisterous Conditions

En route to La Cruz, about 42 miles SE of San Jose del Cabo.

It was a boisterous night. Winds built to 23-25 knots with gusts nearing 30, waves grew to 6-8 feet. We hugged the coast line until about 0300 and then turned southeast towards La Cruz, sailing under just a double-reefed main. It was chilly enough to need layers under foulies, plus socks and shoes, a rarity in these waters for me.

The wind models suggest that we will continue in these conditions for most of the day. The boat is slewing around some, but not uncomfortably. The morning sun is shining through hazy cloud cover, with streaks of light blue sky to the east. Dan is on watch and he's seen several whales, one close enough to make out the details of its fins as it broached.

We're making good speed in these winds. I won't hoist the jib unless the wind falls below 20 knots. The boat is happy as it is.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Nice Day, Getting Windy

En route to La Cruz

Intermezzo departed La Paz around 0930 this morning. It's been a great day sailing under clear skies, a bit slow and bouncy at first. Since mid-afternoon we've been bounding along downwind with steep following seas, fortunately wave heights less than 6 ft. Now the wind has built to over 20 knots and we have rigged for nighttime sailing, main and jib double reefed.

Dan stood his first watch this morning and is next up at 2100 for his first (supervised) night watch.

The trick tonight is to sail deep enough downwind so as to be west of the highest winds tomorrow morning, heading toward Cabo San Lucas before turning westward and heading to La Cruz.

I'm getting my sailing legs. It's been awhile since I've sailed in conditions like this. Glad to have a safe, sturdy boat that I know so well.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Intermezzo's 2022 Cruise Begins

 La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Intermezzo sets sail from La Paz to La Cruz (de Huanacaxtle) tomorrow morning, pending a satisfactory final weather check to begin our 2022 Cruise.  I suppose the cruise actually started on January 16 when we departed Puerto Escondido for La Paz, but I didn't start blogging until now, so I'm calling this the official start.

Intermezzo had spent the hurricane season in dry storage in Marina Puerto Escondido. We launched on November 16, 2021 and spent a month working on the boat and on short shakedown cruises until the holidays. We departed Puerto Escondido on January 16 and took a leisurely week to cruise down to La Paz, with stops at my favorite anchorages, Los Gatos, Isla San Francisco, Ensenda Grande, and Caleta Partida.

We spent the last three days enjoying La Paz, getting some work done, and provisioning for the cruise. It's been sunny, warm when the wind isn't blowing, cool when it is.  The marinas are all filled and the anchorages are pretty crowded. A lot of people seem to be sailing this season.

We'll weigh anchor tomorrow morning around 0900 and head to the fuel dock and Marina Costa Baja to top up with fuel.  It will take us about three days to get to La Cruz. I'm sailing with my longtime friend, Dan and with Robin, who sailed with me in the Bahamas and the Florida Keys last year.  It will be Dan's first multi-day, open water passage and one of Robin's longest.

It looks like it will be a spirited downwind sail most of the way to La Cruz. Winds will likely be 15-20 knots from the north-northwest with gusts up to 30 knots through Friday evening and steep waves up to 6 feet, then the winds will lighten considerably and the seas will get smoother  I expect we'll have to do some motoring towards the end.

 I'll post updates via satellite en route.

The overall plan for the 2022 Cruise is to head south as far as Zihuatanejo, then turn around in March to head back to sail in the Sea of Cortez until May when we'll haul out again for another hurricane season. I'll probably leave Intermezzo in a marina and head back to California a couple of times along the way.

I'm looking forward to re-visiting places I haven't been back to since the beginning of The Voyage in 2015-16.