Whales at Dawn

From Ensenada the next safe port is 300 nautical miles south as the crow flies. With light winds along the shore we ventured out to sea, hunting for a steady breeze. We found it, and also the tail end of a cold front that wasn’t forecast to travel so far south. Not knowing how fierce the wind and seas might get, we kept sailing to sea as the rain began and the wind built. Open water is a sailor’s friend in a storm, and land the places of ship wrecks. Reefed down, we sped up with the gusts and slowed in the lulls.
Soon we found ourselves in a superhighway of cargo ships, and we tacked back towards shore to avoid the “beasties,” as we named these massive ships in the dark of the night. We spent two days and three nights at sea, surfing down 7 to 11 foot seas, finding the sweet spot of the wind and changing sails to maximize safety and speed. This coast is marked by off lying islands and reefs, requiring a careful reading of charts to notice the abrupt change in depth from 1000 meters to 35. Big waves become steeper as they meet these shallows, so our course shifted to stay in deeper waters.
Not wanting to enter an unknown harbor in the dark, our final night was spent slowing down to time our arrival for dawn. We drifted the last few hours, with a scrap of jib keeping us moving forward, charting our position to ensure currents didn’t sweep us into land. As dawn broke, the harbor entrance was dead ahead with whales spouting off the rocky coast. We glided slowly forward, not wanting to disturb their revelry, as backs dipped and flukes rose in gentle rhythms. With light illuminating the entrance we gratefully entered the quiet harbor of Turtle Bay.
This bay is providing us with refuge for the next storm coming across the ocean. We’ll be here for a week or so, practicing our Spanish, meeting people on boats and ashore, enjoying fish tacos, exploring the beach, reading Mexican history, studying math, making fishing tackle and reacquainting ourselves with our SSB radio and other cruising gear.

2 thoughts on “Whales at Dawn

  1. so happy to get this update and happy yu all safe in turtle bay. In PV weather is warm and sunny, so walks on beach, swim in one of about a dozen pools, meals in one of about 25 restaurants.Nuevo Vallarta has protected marina but no anchorage we can see. Nancy, J0hn send love as well.

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