The Anchorage at Cabo was……….cozy. Boats of all shapes and sizes, and places of origin, were stacked, fore and aft; port and starboard, right on top of one another. Up and down the beach; and it was not just Ha Ha boats. There were many other pleasure boats, cruisers, fisherman and even a cruise liner. We were so close, that you could literally have tossed a potato from boat to boat a half mile down the beach! We anchored amid the chaos in the harbor. Competing DJ’s at the resorts and bars creating a nocturnal symphonic cacophony; explicit rap, layered with Bon Jovi , Tom Jones and Jimmy Buffet and underneath the layers, the incessant, ubiquitous thump of techno bass lines. Lia was still on board and each day the three of us would load into the dinghy and weave our way through the anchorage and into the marina.
We had decided to go to La Paz, but we had some things to take care of first: laundry, provisioning, finding Lia a ride to Mazatlan, fuel, water and some small repairs. On the fourth day we decided to weigh anchor and move Epiphany into a slip at the marina. We needed fuel and water for our trip anyway, and thought that it would be a nice change to be tied up to land (and shore power!) for a while. It had been eighteen days since we were last tied up to land in San Diego.
The majority of the fleet had left by now; some off to the mainland and Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta or La Cruz; others around to La Paz or north to Puerto Escondido. But there were still quite a few HaHa boats left in Cabo and, a few miles to the east, at San Jose del Cabo. A small community began to form consisting of the remnants of the HaHa fleet and a few new additions that had followed us down. The skipper of Eioni started a radio net that broadcast at 8 am each morning. There were group dinners, planning meetings, and happy hours.
Julianne and I decided to throw a dock party (actually it was supposed to be a happy hour…but a party broke out!). We broadcast on the morning net that we were hosting and would supply rum and ice. “Bring your own mixer, bring your own cup”. People showed up in droves! There were at least 60 people. Most brought more than just mixers and a cup. There was food, wine and beer. James, from Rejoice, is a self proclaimed cocktail culture geek, and he set up a makeshift bar (on the bow of someones very fancy power boat) where he churned out classic daiquiris. Everyone laughed and chatted and listened to music all night. We finally had to shoo people away.
We had found Lia a ride to the mainland. We first met Peter and his boat, Dawn Treader, on Catalina island. Later, he was on the dock with us in San Diego and we anchored with him a number of times. He is arguably, the nicest guy that we have met since leaving Washington, he is certainly on the short list. Peter was going to Mazatlan and without any crew. He didn’t relish the thought of crossing alone and Lia needed a ride. Now we just needed to decide when. As I stated, Peter is a lovely guy; generous, easy going, free spirited and by his own omission, when faced with many options, reticent with decision making. So figuring out when was going to take a few conversations! Los Frailles was the next logical anchorage for both Peter and our destinations. Los Frailles is a small cove about forty miles from Cabo. It is located around the corner of the Baja Peninsula, just as you turn north and into the Sea of Cortez. We determined to meet Peter there in two days time. Then Lia would jump ship and head east with Peter, while we continued north towards La Paz.
With a few exceptions, the majority of the fleet that was still in or around Cabo, were about to head out for La Paz; so the anchorages would be crowded. The day before we were going to leave for Los Frailles, we decided to move back out to anchorage. A northerly was brewing and came on in earnest that afternoon. Several boats had left that morning including Rejoice and Knott Home, a 52 footer with a family of four on board. As we left the marina and entered the harbor, the wind was blowing 25 knots. We came around the breakwater and saw Rejoice coming back in, struggling with stowing their sails. Right behind them was Knott Home, also returning. They gestured violently at us to turn around. As we passed by, I looked out at the anchorage and saw a catamaran shoot straight up out of the water and come crashing down on it’s anchor. We quickly did an about face and returned to the marina, just as the port captain closed it for any further traffic. We were lucky to have not left earlier and that we got back in. Multiple boats dragged anchor that night in Cabo and San Jose. One boat ended up on the rocks! Larry from Wild Spirit got stuck in town and he ended up sleeping in our cockpit while his shipmate Keith weathered the storm on his own.
The next morning we were determined to go, and so we headed out with a few other hearty souls. The northerly was still full of vim and vigor and several boats were forced to turn back. It was simultaneously an exhilarating and frustrating day. Both the current and the wind was dead on the nose. Motoring in the direction you wanted to go, only yielded two knots made good….and it was a forty mile trip! We had to motor sail back and forth across the 25 knot wind to make any headway; the wind waves were steep and only seconds apart. This was the first time Lia witnessed water in the rails. We beat into it all day and into the evening, hobby horsing the whole way. We finally dropped our anchor at around 8:30 that night. It had taken us more than thirteen hours to travel forty miles!
Seven or eight other boats had made the trip with us; and we all had a jump on the fleet that we knew was going to follow. Peter and Dawn Treader (single handed on his little Catalina) made the anchorage at around two AM! The next day many boats that arrived with us moved on. We stayed to rest up and to let Peter catch his breath. Lia was leaving from here on Dawn Treader to cross the Sea of Cortez and sail to Mazatlan. We determined to leave at dawn the next day. All that afternoon boats kept coming into anchorage, until the little cove had more than twenty boats anchored there.
We spent the day enjoying the bay; visiting with Rejoice on the beach; swimming over to a Catamaran and Julie and I hiked into the fish camp and purchased a whole red snapper to grill for dinner. That night Lia packed up her belongings and early the next morning I rowed her over to her new boat. We pulled anchor on schedule and turned out of the cove right behind the tough little Catalina. As we turned north toward La Paz, they continued east. The rising sun was a brilliant inferno of orange as it crested the horizon. We hailed them on the VHF; “Dawn Treader, Dawn Treader, this is Epiphany over”. After a moment of silent anticipation, Lia’s familiar voice responds, “Epiphany…..this is Dawn Treader.” It was official….Lia was no longer crew for Epiphany, she was now a part of Dawn Treader and off on an adventure of her own. I saw Julianne pretend not to cry as they disappeared across the horizon and into the morning glare. Our next anchorage was at Los Muertos, located on the southern edge of the Canal de Cerralvo, another forty five miles from Frailles.
We knew that we had been traveling southeast as we transited down the coast of North America, making our way from Washington to the sea; but the extent of that “easting” had now become clear. If you draw a line of longitude due north from Los Frailles, you will discover that we were now east of Salt Lake City…..and damn near to Colorado! So we traveled north west from Frailles to Muertos in a brisk 17 to twenty miles of wind. We made short work of it, flying across the sea at 8 knots. We even ran down the larger Valkerie, who started out a mile ahead of us but finished three miles behind!
Muertos was very mucho to our liking. A beautiful crescent beach with a couple of quiet resorts and two cantinas. Each afternoon we would watch the horizon fill with the mast of incoming boats, making the passage from Cabo to La Paz (or occasionally from La Paz to the Mainland) and each morning the bay would empty out again. We were happy to be alone again and in no hurry to move on.
The traffic slowed as the migration came to an end and now there were only a handful of boats in the anchorage. We had determined to leave the next day when two things happened simultaneously. Jersey Girl, a sixty eight foot charter boat that we knew from the HaHa (on their fourth year living in the sea) showed up extolling the virtues of the Thanksgiving dinner that was put on by one of the cantinas. And, our old friends on Agatha appeared on the horizon. They had waited out the mass exodus and in true Agatha form were making their way on their own time……avoiding the chaos of crowded anchorages. We decided to stay. And the thanksgiving was fabulous! In the end, we were anchored at Bahia los Muertos (the enterprising folks at the resorts are trying mightily to change that name to Bahia los Suenos) for nine days and eight nights. We really did like it there.
On the Saturday after Thanksgiving all the boats at anchorage pulled anchor and turned northwest in the the Canal de Lorenzo toward La Paz. We had decided to seek out anchorage on Isla Espiritu before venturing into La Paz. Agatha was to join us and we spent a leisurely day first motoring (we needed to recharge our batteries after eight days) and then a beautiful afternoon sail. As the day began to fade, we realized that if we wanted to make anchorage before night fall, we would need to pick up the speed. Agatha, right behind us, had come to the same conclusion and we discussed it on the radio. We had about three hours of daylight and 17 miles to go…..it was going to be close. We busied ourselves, starting the motor, shifting sails and disconnecting the wind vane and at the exact perfect moment…….our fish alarm went off! We had forgotten that we had the line out and now, on the other end, we had a 15 pound wahoo. Two things to know about wahoos 1) they are absolutely delicious; delicate, flaky white meat; delicious fish! 2) they are vicious bastards, with a mean streak and a predators teeth. So it caused a little commotion to find ourselves in the fading daylight, with a destination and a timetable, all of our lines in disarray, the sails fluttering, boom swinging and wind vane steering AND have fifteen pounds of vicious, sharp toothed, angry wahoo flopping about in the cockpit snapping at our feet! I heroically dispatched the little bastard and we moved on. Making anchor just as darkness fell in Ensenada la Raza in Bahia Ballena, twenty five miles east of La Paz. We anchored there for two days. Had dinner and cocktails with the lovely crew on Agatha, explored the beach, mangroves and cliffs. Until finally, we could procrastinate no further. We were out of everything; food, water, electricity, toilet paper, ice…… BEER for christ sakes! We hauled anchor, immediately lifted our sails and made finally for (our stated destination when we left Seattle) the penultimate Baja city………La Paz.