Friday, November 2, 2007

Sea of Cortez

Our final destination in Baja was La Paz on the Sea of Cortez where we rented a bareboat for a week and sailed the southern islands. Our home was Explorer - a little Beneteau Oceanis 36.

After 3 days of light air sailing our wish for more wind was answered with a vengeance. A northerly storm blew up in just a few minutes as we pulled into a northerly anchorage. We made a last minute break for a protected southerly cove where we were sheltered on our own for 2 days. To be marooned on alone on a desert island sounds idyllic, but winds gusting "20 to 70 miles an hour" and a boat heeling against it's anchor, have a way of ruining the moment.

After a second night with 2 anchors out and an abortive attempt to brave the breaking swells, our third night brought 2 other boats into the cove and reduced winds. The next day (which Mary described as "the worst of my life", which I'm sure it wasn't really) saw us motor sail for 8 hours though a large and uncomfortable following swell which tossed the boat about constantly. Mary also described the experience as "hair bitting" but I'd go so far as to say it was "nail raising".

We shared our first night's anchorage with this rather handsome schooner.

Mary enjoys a sundowner in the cockpit. The calm before the storm.

Explorer lies at anchor in the distance as we duly explore Isla San Francisco, our refuge and trap. Looks deceptively calm in the lee of the island, doesn't it?

Explorer at anchor and her tender on the beach.

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