Sunday, January 21, 2018

2018-02 Cal Poly Ranchers Fish the Sea of Cortez

Thursday, January 18, 2018: Downtown La Paz

Willie the turkey rancher, Joe the chicken rancher and Mike the cannabis farmer accountant joined Alex today in La Paz.  Alex sent Alejandro, an English speaking Uber driver, to Los Cabos Airport to fetch the crew.  On the ride back to La Paz the boys stopped to view the famous Hotel California, made famous by the Eagles rock group song.  After loading the luggage aboard Wild Blue, Alejandro drove all of us to Los Tres Virgenes in downtown La Paz, one of many excellent dining choices in the City.  After dinner, the crew was able to provision up at the grocery market just next door then Uber to the boat.  The 4 mile cab ride cost a whopping $2.37US with tip!

Las Tres Virgenes in downtown La Paz is one of the top 5 restaurants.
Here Willie, Alex, Mike and Joe fine dine at Denny's prices!
Friday, January 19, 2018: La Paz to Bahia de Muertos

After topping the coolers with ice, fueling up and reserving slips in Puertos Los Cabos, we headed North and over the top of Punta San, East then South entering Canal Cerralvo.  Just before Point San, we noticed the 90-foot sailing yacht Angantyr just 2 miles off our port beam.  We hailed Erik on VHF 16 and 22 with hopes of saying hi to Linda and the Watkins, friends from Cal YC, but no joy.

Wild Blue sucks up 400 gallons at $4.00 US.
Our Eastern Cape cruising area
The ubiquitous 4-inch Cedar Plug is quite simple and exceedingly
effective at attracting and hooking these Baja fish.
We set two cedar plug lures behind the boat as we cooked along at 8 knots.  These simple wooden lures are the standard surface troll and quite effective.  Soon Joe had our first fish of the the cruise.

After 6 and 1/2 hours we arrived at Bahia de Muertos at 4PM and set the anchor in 22 feet.  Six other boats including a Mexican Coast guard vessel shared our anchorage which was quite flat in the calm winds.  Willie lite up the galley with bay shrimp in avocado salad, egg flower soup with prawns, and a Louisiana gumbo. We watched the 2015 movie Trumbo with Bryan Cranston about the Hollywood blacklist, which kept our minds from dwelling on the fact that we were anchored in the "Bay of the Dead".  

Willie lite up Wild Blue's galley.

Saturday, January 20, 2018: Bahia de Muertos to Puerto Los Cabos

Last night dense schools of fish keep churning the water around Wild Blue.  Flashlights revealed 1000's of fish from 4-8 inches swarming close aboard. Splish-splash all night long.  Bahia de Muertos seemed more like the "Bay of Life".  

We got the crew up and going at 6:30 AM for the 9 hour trip to Los Cabos.  The water and wind was flat and we could see our cedar plug lures dragging 200 feet behind the boat.  Soon we connected to the fish.

Sunrise just off Bahia de Muertos.

Willie's 48-inch Dorado

Mike's pretty Blue Marlin
The Marlin was cleanly hooked then de-hooked with minimum
effort by Willie.  Marlin's lip might be a bit sore but he swam nimbly away.

We had fresh Mahi-Mahi (Dorado) sandwiches for lunch and after a busy day of fish landing, fish cleaning, fish cooking and fish dining, we pulled into Puerto Los Cabos at 4:30PM.

A Mexican commercial fishing vessel
anchored off the beach near Los Cabos.

Sunday-Tuesday, January 21-23, 2018: San Jose del Cabo

The Wild Blue is remaining in Puertos Los Cabos Marina near the town of San Jose del Cabo as strong Northeasterly winds churn up the sea.  On Wednesday, it appears the wind will subside enough to fish on our way around the eastern Cape towards La Paz.

We visited downtown San Jose and some of us even enjoyed the the NFL playoff games, even in Spanish.  Dining was popular and tasty at the Tropicana Inn just off the downtown plaza.

On Tuesday, we tested the wind and waves over a short cruise to the nearby Gorda Banks fishing grounds.  It was just too rocky-rolly for comfort, but we created excitement for the marina visitors upon our return!  Yes at least once every 6 years or so, our crewman fails to secure the fender to the side of the boat, causing Wild Blue to drive in circles to chase it down.

WB in her slip at "B" Dock in Puerto Los Cabos marina
The Tropicana Inn and Restaurant
Willies pasta with prawns, clams, capers, onions, and garlic.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018: San Jose del Cabo to Las Frailes Anchorage

The weather looked good for the cruise east then northward around the Cape.  The hope is to get to Bahia del Muertos to anchor for the night.  The wind may wind up again this afternoon, at least that is the forecast of the three models on  

Wild Blue departed Los Cabos as soon as the wind softened but by 11AM, about 12 miles from Las Frailes, the 20+ knot winds were back, whipping up 7-foot seas at 7 second intervals!  With gusts approaching 30 knots, the crew stowed the fishing poles and settled down to endure some motion-induced nausea.  After 2+ hours of bashing into seas, big waves breaking over the bow, and throttling back for the giant seas, the crew was happy to drop anchor in the flat waters of Las Frailes.

After fresh Mahi Mahi (Dorado) two meals a day for a week, Willie
thought it was time for bay shrimp salad, mushroom green beans,
boiled Yukon golds and another great clam-prawn gumbo.

Thursday, January 25, 2018: Los Frailes to La Paz

The wind died at mid-night. At Alex's 1 AM anchor check, our only anchorage neighbors had departed northward, taking advantage of the calm breeze.  Copying these smart guys, we too pulled the anchor early at 4AM and headed out in the dark.  Of course the boat's brilliant 20,000 candle power LED forward facing floods lighted up the sea.  The ocean stayed in check with only 1 to 2 foot bumps.  At dawn we started dragging the lures only to hook a small Dorado in the afternoon.  We were only too happy to arrive at Costa Baja, La Paz at 4:30 PM in calm conditions.  The crew looked forward to enjoying Downtown La Paz's fine dining tonight.

Rancher crew poses for album cover?