Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Bashing to Ensenada

So, we lied. We couldn't wait in Turtle Bay any longer! So we left last Friday, and arrived to Ensenada at 2am Monday morning (yesterday). Here is a map of the west coast of the Baja peninsula. The 'A' marker is where we were in Turtle Bay. Cedros Island is just north of it and we had to cross the giant bay to get to the mainland which made for an interesting trip!Ensenada is at the top of the map - a long way!

In order to do the bash back, you need to 1. be stubborn and persistent and 2. be a little stupid. Why do they call it a bash? Well, because on the way down to Cabo from San Diego, you are going downwind. The boat loves to go downwind and ride down the waves. You can put your sails up and haul ass. Now, on the way up, you have the opposite, which is why it is called a bash. You have the wind at your face, as well as the waves, and you hobby horse up and down over the waves and occasionally smash into one like a freight train. Pleasant? Hardly. Fast-paced? No. Uncomfortable? Yes! The bash has left us speechless. If you like to feel like you are on a carnival ride for 48 hours straight, this is for you!

Here's how it went down for us:

Last Thursday evening, we tried to leave Turtle Bay to Ensenada. The swells were 15 ft, the wind was blowing at almost 30 knots, so 5 hours in, we turned back to Turtle Bay with a 'you've got to be kidding me' look on our faces.

We arrived back to Turtle Bay at 6:30am and went back to bed. By 10am, I had gotten up and decided to have a breakfast of champions in the cockpit (a bowl of Fruity Pebbles - I was really missing the USA!) and while I was eating, I saw that 4 new sailboats had come in. I watched as 1 by 1 they fueled up and headed out. I thought 'what the heck are these people doing? are they crazy?'. So T got up, and we decided to get in on the action (this is where the 'being a little stupid' comes in). I radio'd over to s/v Scout and s/v Sisu, and voila, within an hour or two after we fueled up, we were on our way with s/v Scout. s/v Sisu left a bit later, but caught up with us after....we left at 2:30pm last Friday.

Heading north was more of the same with 20-25 knots of wind, steep but manageable swell. We went through the washing machine of Canal de Keller, and then tucked in behind Cedros Island. The Baja bash book recommends you go through Canal de Keller during the day since it is a section of sea that strong gets winds from two directions and needs to be taken with care.

We had a full moon, have I expressed yet how much I love the moon?? The moon can make or break a night passage for me. Big moon = good passage = lots of light, no moon = scary passage = can't see a damn thing!   Ok I digress ---->  so we had glassy like conditions on the inside of Cedros which was much welcomed after our washing machine experience hours earlier. It was a nice reprieve, until we hit the tip of Cedros where there is a killer "convergence zone". The zone between Cedros Island and the mainland is know for high winds and crazy seas that are so demanding that people often turn back multiple times. The book recommended that we cross at dawn because that is usually when there is the least wind and smallest waves, but along with s/v Scout, who was ahead of us and radio'ing back the weather, we arrived at midnight and decided to cross. We were greeted again with rough seas, winds blowing upwards of 28 knots. And this is where the stubbornness and persistence comes in - you just gotta keep going because getting to the other side means you're that much close to Ensenada and home!

We got through the convergence zone to the other side hours later and then hugged the coast and headed north. We made hardly any headway on Saturday during the day because of the wind and swell. We continued through the night to Sunday and slogged all day on Sunday. The wind gave us a reprieve as did the swell, so we were able to make up some mileage but were greeted with the wind and swells again in the afternoon, and a 1.5 knot current that was against us! We just wanted to get this over with and get to Ensenada, it was a bit torturous.

By 2am Monday morning, ~60 hours later, we had arrived to Ensenada. This type of passage making gets really old! It's hard on the boat and hard on the body. You get bounced around in the cabin and it makes it almost impossible to do anything let alone go to the bathroom! Even while I was brushing my teeth, I got thrown out of the head into the little hallway!

We made it safely, thankfully, but we.were.exhausted! Thank you to s/v Scout for being our beacon and s/v Sisu for buddy boating! We are leaving tomorrow morning first thing (4am) to head to San Diego! If all goes well, we should be checking in at the US customs dock in SD at 4pm. Home sweet home!


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