South of the Border
South of the Border.

F inally we set off from San Diego just after midnight on a Friday following a storm. Then arrived in Ensenada, Mexico, a day later only to be socked in by a huge low pressure system. We passed our time eating fish tacos at 50c a pop, fixing more things on the boat, and watching the weatherfax. A couple days later we left on the storm's tail and headed 100 miles offshore to find steady winds. Although the weather was fine, the 20 foot swells were still rolling in from the north Pacific and threw us around like rag dolls for two days. Bruised, exhausted and hungry (plenty of food on board, but try cooking on your side), we said to hell with the idea of non-stop to Cabo and headed back to land. By the time we arrived at Cedros Island, the swell was gone, just like a stomach ache when you visit the doctor. So in beautiful blue skies we put up the spinnaker and sailed around the tip of Cedros like Mr. and Mrs. World cruiser, only to blunder into a wind tunnel between the mainland and island. The Spinnaker wrapped around the headstay, I screamed at Jen, she screamed back and we barreled downwind partially under control missing our anchorage by a several miles.

Eventually we dropped the hook next to Cedros village, a tiny fishing village that seemed to be constructed entirely of corrugated metal. The fishing boats looked like they were loosing the battle against rust and Davy Jones locker. I pulled out the wine, Jen pulled the cork and we got sloshed. We barbecued sea bass and a huge pile of the greasiest chips you could make - heaven food. That night the boat rocked so violently that the inside looked like Nagasaki. With virtually no sleep we said to heck with this place, weighed anchor and headed south to warmer climes.

Then something happened. The wind blew perfectly at 15 to 20 Kts, the sails set easily wing and wing for the smoothest downwind sailing you could imagine. Azure skies, crystal clear pacific water, multicolored Baja desert to our left, iced Karl Strauss beer in hand and Robert Miles blasting. Goose pimples all the way to Turtle Bay (1/2 way mark down Baja), perfect tack into the channel to drop the hook in millpond conditions in front of the sleepy fishing village. We had paid our dues and we hoped the rewards had begun.

So here we are sending emails from Turtle Bay, a place where they have to drive 500 miles to get gasoline for the fuel dock. It's perfectly calm, there are a thousand times more stars than San Diego, the boat doesn't rock and we've just finished dinner. I cooked for the first time since my courting days, and Jen is fast asleep while I tap away at the notebook. It's paradise.

Today we will weigh anchor and set sail for Magdalena Bay, about two days south, and we'll continue the story from there.

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