Monday, November 20, 2017

2017-24 Magdalena Bay to Puerto Los Cabos

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 6PM

This afternoon about 4PM, we enjoyed a fine meal of chilled cerviche, shrimp cocktail, and fresh fish tacos at the "Whalebone" restaurant on the beach in Mag Bay.   The fleet start of the leg to San Jose del Cabo, aka Puerto Los Cabos, is planned for mid-morning tomorrow allowing arrival early morning in the boat busy Cabo area the next day. This afternoon, the Wild Blue crew had been chatting about leaving after dinner.  At the dinner, Alex alerted the communication guru Christie, aboard Varnebank, of our decision to leave early and made a radio communications schedule on marine SSB channel 4B for 8:45AM tomorrow.   About 6PM, once the crew filled up on the fine seafood, we ran the tender back to the Wild Blue, loaded and secured it aboard, pulled the anchor and headed out to sea in the dark night.

The flat sea of Mag Bay continued for 10 miles outside the entrance.  The wind stayed at less than 8 knots and always from the northwest direction.  This favorable light wind allowed just slight breeze over the deck.  With all windows, hatches and doors open, the water temps in the mid-80F's, it was just too warm to sleep below.  Alex began his off-watch sleep above the pilothouse, on the bridge deck.

Sunrise at Sea, Wednesday, November 15, 2017
By Wednesday first light, about 5:30AM, the Wild Blue was 7 miles due west of the coastal town of Inocentes, Baja Sur.  The wind was light, sea temp was 85F, and a 1-2 foot well-spaced westerly swell barely rocked the boat.

At 8:45AM Alex contacted Christie on Varnebank via Marina SSB.  Varnebank was just about to get underway from Mag Bay, 120 miles northwest of Wild Blue's position.  Varnebank's signal was loud and clear, as Alex reported "all OK aboard with 430PM ETA at Los Cabos".

Arch rock at Cabo San Lucas.
This Development fits nicely with it's surrounding shades.
The Cabo coastline is well-populated with hotels, condos and homes.
At 4;30PM we approached and entered Puerto Los Cabos and where were assigned the primo slip B-9 by the efficient staff in the marina office.
The hurricane proof breakwater entrance at Puerto Los Cabos
CUBAR boats lined up on "B"dock: Burndtsand, Angels Pearl, Crawfish,
New Fidelity, Kataluma and Wild Blue.
Thursday, November 16, 2017:

Early the this morning the bulk of the fleet arrived in the port.  News spread around the fleet that the Skipjack 28 Brown Eyed Girl had suffered equipment failure on their I-O drive.  They were running on the boat's 10hp kicker at 3 to 4 knots and expected arrival in 30 hours on the 17th.  However the Nordhavn 40 Sprezzatura offered to tow the Girl, which she did for 18 hours, arriving to the sound of 20 ship horns as the CUBAR fleet welcomed both to Los Cabos at 4:30 this afternoon.

Nordhavn 40 Sprezzatura arrives to the sounds of 20 ship horns!
Brown-Eyed Girl is welcomed by the CUBAR Fleet
Cross on the hill overlooking Puerto Los Cabos,
and the CUBAR Fleet.

Monday, November 13, 2017

2017-23 Turtle Bay to Magdelena Bay

Sunday, November 12, 2017:

Last evening the fleet enjoyed beers, margaritas and enchiladas at a Tortuga Bay restaurant.  The event started early so that the "CUBARistas" could find their boats at anchor in the dark, and then sober-up for today's early morning departure to Magdalena Bay.  Apparently this has been a problem in prior CUBARs.

The Wild Blue crew decided upon an early start, so they arose at 4:40 AM this morning, lifted the anchor in the dark, thanks to head lamps, and scooted out at 5AM well before the bulk of the fleet, for the 258 mile and 31 hour run.  By 7:30, we were 20 miles down the course when the CUBAR boat Corky Row blasted by doing 25 knots!  Wow!

It was a nice day on the ocean with most boats doing 8 to 8.5 knots with following seas and 5-10 knot winds.  The 5:45PM sunset was spectacular, although we didn't catch the green flash.

Sunset at Sea on the way to Mag Bay on Wednesday, November 12.
Soon after sunset, we once again lite up the forward facing LED floods.  In the dark, only light colors display: breaking seas, wind topped waves, lobster floats, birds, and flying fish.  The wind was up to 14 knots so the fish were flying.  Finally Bob and Alex flinched as a noisy thud sounded on the wall of the pilot house.  Investigating we found a rather well-fed flying fish which continued to flap its wings.  So Bob returned him to the sea, and watched him fly on.

The night continued with a 1/4 moon showing up around 3AM. The wind lightened to 8 - 10 knots from the northwest.  Seas were 3 - 5 feet from the northwest as well at times pushing the fleet into double digit speed down the course. Around 11:30AM, the bulk of the fleet arrived at the entrance to Bahia Magdelena in thick fog.  There were reports of  lobster floats and several pangas anchored just inside the entrance, and the AIS position from the boat reporting these served to pinpoint the obstacles for those following.  By 2PM most of the fleet was anchored inside Mag Bay at Man O War Cove.
The Outer Reef 65 Human Holiday emerges from thick fog on the
way into Mag Bay.
CUBAR Fleet anchored at Man O War Cove
Sunset at Man O War Cover, Bahia Magdelena, Baja Sur, Mexico
25-knot boats like Corky Row burn fuel.  Here they load diesel from
pangas loaded with fuel drums.  The CUBAR organizers pre-ordered fuel
for those boats with small tanks or large appetites.
The CUBAR Fleet will rest up until Wednesday when they move down the coast rounding Cabo San Lucas to San Jose del Cabo.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

2017-22 Ensenada to Bahia de Tortuga (Turtle Bay)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 - 8AM:

After the decision to avoid some uncomfortable weather from the north, the CUBAR fleet got underway this morning from Marina Corral for the 36 hour run to Turtle Bay, one day earlier than planned.  Based on a boats normal speed, the slower cruisers started leaving at 8PM last evening.  By 8AM this morning, most all the fleet was underway.  Wild Blue exited the Marina at 5AM getting a bit of a head start, and based on a cruising speed of 8.5 knots. hopefully left enough time for fishing along the way.  Our projected arrival in Turtle Bay is 5PM tomorrow.

Yesterday afternoon the fleet was warmly recieved by the staff of Marina Corral.  After a quick call on VHF 71, each boat’s slip assignment was received.  At least six harbor staff took Wild Blue’s dock lines as we moored.   Port Clearance and Immigration was efficently handled by the officials with assistance of Marina Coral staff, all this transpired while we sailors relaxed with Ensenada Maragritas.

Once cleared, Denny and Alex braved crossing Ensenada’s “high speed” coast highway to the supermarket.  The store was large, much like any stateside market, just all products were labeled in Spanish, with prices in pesos.  Our cost for four heads of lettuce, three large bundles of green onions, and three pounds of Roma tomatoes was 97 pesos, or $6.86 US.

At 5PM the cruisers gathered in a tent erected in Hotel Coral’s courtyard, as more refreshments were served.  The CUBAR Fleet organizers recommended an early morning departure Wednesday (today) as opposed to staying at Ensenada.  Strong winds and increasing seas are forecast for Thursday so we best be close to Turtle Bay by then.  Next a delicious seafood buffet with mussels, cerviche and fish was consumed. It then was “vamos a la cama” as we need to arise at 4:30AM.

By 6AM, about 12 boats were approaching Punta Banda at the southern edge of Ensenada Bay. Coming at them and expecting to pass between Todos Santos Island south end and Punta Banda was the Star Princess, an 800-foot cruise ship.  The lead boat in this CUBAR group was Tanglewood, and skipper Peter calmly called the Star Princess, alerting the watch that these 12 boats were turning to port around Point Banda, and that a Starboard to Starboard crossing was indicated.  There was a delay, but at last the Star Princess agreed, after some posturings about S to S passing being against the rules, and that the Princess was being very nice to accommodate the request.  No boats nor ships touched each other!

Sunrise over Ensenada
At noon, the wind is 10 knots North northwest.  Seas are 2 to 3 foot chop.  Skies are slightly overcast.

Note that any internet connection is weak and spotty so this Blog will not be updated much until our arrival tomorrow.  Likewise doesn't cover the entire route so our position may or may not show up.

Thursday, November 9, 2017 - 3PM:

Last evening the wind piped up between 15-22 knots as the CUBAR fleet blew down the Mexican coastline towards Turtle Bay.  The wind driven seas built up to 3-6 feet during the nighttime hours, causing the cruisers to rock and roll down the course.  Unfortunately one boat's autopilot failed, requiring the crew to hand steer most of the 280 mile run! A 2/3's moon came out by 10PM casting a large spotlight on the fleet.  However, the Wild Blue crew opted to keep the 500 watt forwarding facing floodlight on the path in front of the boat.

Our crew of three decided on 2-hour watches, day and night.  Alex took the 6-12 watch, Bob the 10-4 watch and Denny the 8-2 watch.  It was easy to sleep as the boat's autopilot and roll-stabilizers kept boat steady.  All crew were happy and rested as they adjusted to the watch schedule, especially since Bob's Tina had prepared a fresh batch of homemade enchiladas!

By 2PM on Thursday, the bulk of the fleet had arrived and anchored in Turtle Bay.  Two boats decided to hug the coastline and anchor the night under the protection of Point San Quintin, avoiding the big seas.  Brown Eyed Girl, a Skipjack 28, and Sprezzatura, a Nordhavn 40 have communicated with the fleet organizers and will join the group at Turtle Bay.

Punta Cantinas on North side of entrance to Bahia Tortuga
Light House on Punta Cortina
The Wild Blue crew launched their tender and toured Turtle Bay then cruised the shore, deciding to beach the boat just west of the pier, a bad decision.  As we approached the beach, two young entrepreneurs took our lines, and negotiated a $2 landing/launching fee, which we promptly accepted.  Then the crew headed to Maria's Bar overlooking the Bay and beach.  Halfway through just one Pacifico, we could see the beach waves battering Wild Blue's tender.  Eventually our crew fought the seas, with the help of the locals, launched the now water-logged craft.  Surprisingly and although riding low in the water, the engine started and whisked us back to the mother-ship, where we emptied buckets of  salt water and sand.  Crew and tender survived with damage only to our egos...
View from Maria's Pub.  T/T Wild Blue taking waves over the stern.
So the fleet is safe and secure.  It appears we will stay anchored here until Sunday, unless we decide to leave early.... Buenas Nochas, Alejandro....

Friday, November 10, 2017 - Noon:

All the rested CUBARistas seem to be enjoying the sun, light breeze, and calm seas.  A low swell with a longish period is rolling into the Bay and is not uncomfortable.  We do get some role from the wakes of speedy pangas ferrying "yatistas" to and from boat and shore.  Rumor has it today a potluck party will happen aboard the yacht Varnebank.

Enrique's Pier where fuel  is available at high cost and
pangas are available at low cost.
The party aboard Varnebank was the highlight of Turtle Bay!
 Communicator Christie aboard Varnebank reported that Brown Eyed Girl is working its way down the coast but will overnight along the shore and will join the group here tomorrow around noon, unless the fish are biting!  The yacht Sprezzatura decided not stop in Turtle Bay and is on the way to Santa Maria instead.  They will wait for the CUBAR Fleet in Magdalena Bay.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

2017-21 The 2017 CUBAR Starts

Twenty-eight power boats started the 2017 Cruise Underway to BAja Rally this morning from San Diego Yacht Club.  Actually one boat departed yesterday evening and another last week but all meet today at Ensenada-Mexico for customs and immigration clearing. Boats range in size from a 28-foot Skipjack to an 80-foot Offshore

The Wild Blue slipped its lines at 6AM with crew Denny Haythorn, Bob Semonsen along with Alex. Denny and Bob are long-time friends of Alex.  Alex met Denny, a retired law professor, at the California Yacht Club.  They have crewed together on Wild Blue and many other boats over 25 years.  Bob, an architect and general contractor has completed several real estate projects with Alex. He also has crewed many times on the Wild Blue.

It was an overcast morning with temps in mid-60F's, wind less than 5 knots, and seas 2 feet or less.  Once out of San Diego harbor, a warship greeted the fleet mid-course, serving as a pseudo escort as the fleet altered course to keep clear, passing close aboard.

Gray skies greeted the CUBAR Fleet as they departed SD Harbor.
Warship and pseudo escort for the CUBAR Fleet out of SD 
Tanglewood, a Nordhavn 60 and CUBAR Participant
The majority of the 26 boats in today's fleet have stayed roughly within a 6-mile circle.  All but three boats broadcast AIS position info so it's easy to see the fleet on our chart plotter.  Wild Blue drifted to the rear of the group staying between 8 and 8.5 knots of speed over ground.  Today's ETA at Ensenada is roughly 2PM.

The organizers have designed an elaborate and effective check-in for the cruising boats.  VHF, Ham-SSB Radio, Marine-SSB Radio, satellite phone, satellite messenger and even cell phone check-in is supported.  Departure, 6AM position, and arrival check-in reporting are required.  They say if you miss a check-in, they will immediately call your family member!  Yikes.... we better not miss one.  Besides check-in, all boats monitor VHF 69 as the fleet calling channel.  We learned from today's cruise that this is a loquacious group.

The Fleet is sticking close

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

2017-19 Mission Bay to San Diego and the San Diego Yacht Club

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Yesterday we put the crew on the beach.  Elias and Sid were loaded aboard the tender boat, then Alex drove it up onto the beach.  We were greeted by local Mission Bay resident Bob Semonsen, a long time friend and Wild Blue crew.  Bob lives just 150 feet from the beach and thankfully he dragged the tender further up the beach so crew could jump ashore without getting too wet. Then he drove them to the train Station.  Elias and Sid arrived back in SLO town about 8:30 PM, and missed the final game of the World Series.

View from Wild Blue of the sandy beach in front of  San Luis Rey Place,
Mission Bay.  Crew has just entered Bob's blue Vanagan for ride to train station.
Today we loaded our San Diego delivery crew.  Alex again drove the tender on the beach and was joined by Bob, his daughter Casey and grandson Cyrus.  Tina helped us off the beach, we loaded the tender aboard and headed for San Diego.  The 2-hour ride was mostly uneventful, until transiting the main channel alongside two speedy, US Navy Mark VI Patrol boats.  These 80+ feet boats can achieve 50 mph but radiate a large wake!

US Navy Mark VI Patrol Boat passes close off our port.
Get ready for some rock and roll.
Eventually we entered the Shelter Island channel and contacted the San Diego Yacht Club.  The Club regularly hosts the CUBAR (Cruise Underway to BAja Rally) an organized cruise for power boats to La Paz, Mexico.  We will be cruising along this year with about 30 other power boats.

The west coasts favorite dockmaster, SDYC's Ty Olsen, arranged for primo Bermuda-style moorage directly in front of the Clubhouse.  Wild Blue and three other entries provided a "trawler boat" backdrop for those members and guests dining at the Club.

CUBAR entries Wild Blue, Burntsand, Blessed and J Crew moored
just in front of the SDYC clubhouse
SDYC has choice moorage in front of the main Clubhouse.  It's
Bermuda style with a submerged cable for bow connection. Boats
are tied stern to the dock.  Connecting the bow mooring line can be fun
 as SDYC's Mia and Wild Blue's crew Bob demonstrate.  Note the tender
assisting Wild Blue is named "Blue Yonder". Curious.....