Bashing north to San Diego

The scenery near Bahía Magdalena as we motored north. At one point, the Pacific coast of Baja changes to flat mesas before becoming craggy mountains again.

We left Mazatlán after a couple of days in the anchorage in the harbor. We were thinking of stopping at Cabo San Lucas for fuel but the weather window was good so we just kept going on to Bahía Magdalena. After two and a half days of sailing and a couple more days of motoring, we dropped anchor and slept. The seas crossing the Sea of Cortez felt pretty big, even thought they were only 6 to 8 feet, but we were heading straight into them. Once we rounded Cabo, everything went flat, including the wind.

After a couple of days in Mag Bay waiting for a weather window and catching up on our sleep, we headed for Punta Pequeña in Bahía San Juanico. We were going to stay put for a couple of days to wait out the wind that was forecast for the next couple of days. One of the guys on the Chubasco net mentioned that it gets rough in San Juanico when the wind is blowing from the west because it’s a wide shallow bay. We started listening to the Chubasco ham net while we were crossing from Mazatlan. It’s a volunteer network made up of (mostly) guys who have boating experience in Mexico. The net is set up as relays so everyone can participate and everyone can hear what’s going on. They’re pretty far flung, with members from El Paso, Tucson, Ojai and Irving, CA, Elko, NV to Vancouver, WA. Their focus is Mexico but they’ll help anyone, anywhere. There were a couple of other sailboats checking in when we started listening, one in Mexico and the other on its way to the Marquesas. We’ve been keeping in touch since.

We decided had enough time to head for Abreojos before it got crazy. The highlight for this leg was having a humpback whale skyhop right off the side of Gypsy. We didn’t get any pictures. It was like it just popped up to say hi, and then swam away. We arrived at Abreojos at midnight so we decided to keep going. One of the Chubascos had recommended Bahía San Hipólito as a good place to anchor. We were able to get there by mid day and spent a couple of windy days waiting for the wind to drop to under 20 knots. Meanwhile, the cormorants discovered us. We got birded by flying cows with concrete poop. We cleaned up what we could and headed for Bahía Asunción, where we actually got the dinghy together and rowed ashore. Bill had asked the Chubascos about fuel in Asunción and they mentioned a guy named Larry. We tracked him down and he delivered 200 liters of diesel to Gypsy. We were able to get some fresh vegetables and other basic groceries while in town. While we were walking through town, a red dog adopted Bill and started following him around. He waited for us while we shopped and then followed us to a restaurant, where he left us to our own devices since the restaurant had wifi.

We left just after midnight for Bahía Tortugas and had a calm clear night of motor sailing. We stayed there a day and met the young couple on Island Fox who were on their way south. We left again at midnight for Isla Cedros, arriving mid-morning. That afternoon we attempted to leave for Bahía San Carlos, but the swells and wind were higher and rougher than the forecast, so after going about 2 miles out, we turned around and headed back to Cedros. A couple of fishermen in a panga that had stopped by the day before to give Bill an abalone shell stopped by again, this time to give us a beautiful yellow tail. We gave them a couple of cold beers and everyone was happy. We ended up with three meals of fish and enjoyed them all.

We left Cedros for left for Bahía San Carlos. We dropped anchor and listened to the Chubascos who collectively recommended that we head for Bahía San Quintin because there would be less swell there as the wind and swell picked up. So, an hour later we left for Bahía San Quintin. There it was foggy and cold, so we slept. Our next run was an overnighter for Ensenada, our final Mexican port of call. In the twenty days it took us to travel from Mazatlan to Ensenada we had a lot of cold, cloudy, windy weather. We not only put on socks, but also had our foulies on whenever we were on deck. Other than going ashore at Asunción, we’d spent the whole time onboard.

Ensenada is an interesting town. It’s the official entry/exit port for Mexico. It’s a big tourist town, with cruise ships in port Wednesdays through Sundays. The previous month had 35 ships stop by for a day. We stayed at Marina Naval, just off the cruise ship dock and across from the container ship dock. The marina staff were very helpful getting our papperwork processed. The malecon is set up for locals and for tourists so there are many opportunities for shopping and eating out. We had some of the best fish tacos a couple of blocks off the malecón, and some of the worst at a touristy restaurant. We shoulda known better. We did stop at the Dulceria de Guadalajara and bought some things to try: a tamarind ball (about the size of a tennis ball), a couple of kinds of milk candy, viznaga (cactus), and honeyed figs. The figs were amazing. We ate at a restaurant recommended by one of the Chubascos, Manzanilla, and had a nice dinner of grilled clams, sashimi and a bottle of vino blanco from Valle de Guadalupe, in northern Baja. It was time to head to San Diego.

On arrival, we couldn’t get the Customs app to work, and neither could Customs, so we stopped at the Customs dock at Shelter Island and checked in with the friendliest border agents we’ve ever run across. We got caught up on groceries and laundry. There was sun. The bougainvillas were blooming like crazy. And we headed north.

So, for the curious: Gypsy’s total distance from Mazatlan to San Diego: 1155 nautical miles. San Diego to Astoria, according to Charlie’s Charts of the US Pacific Ocean: 989 nautical miles. We’re more than halfway there.

Jellies floating . The largest was about the size of a golf ball. There were thousands of them.

4 thoughts on “Bashing north to San Diego”

  1. Great job heading north! “jellies floating” are Velella velella, or “By-the-Wind” sailors; namesake of Velic, dear departed. Story NPR about multitudes off S. California this spring.


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