Baja Bash - Turtle Bay to Ensenda
Mon 13 Jun 2016 15:23
Pulling up the anchor at 0615 in the false dawn was quite an ordeal. The chain was intermittently covered with red fine seaweed, which slowed the chain going round the gypsy roller. In the end, Michael had to put on his big red rubber gloves and literally had to tear off the seaweed. Tango was well out of the entrance before we were finally ready to move.
Following our usual sail plan, we left we one reef in the main and headed out due west. We had made a decision to go west around Cedros, leaving San Benito islands to starboard, which gave us a better chance of making the Rhumb line to Ensenada and avoid the nasty Punte Norte at the top end of Cedros. We hoped we could tack out on starboard for 40 miles, before making a tack to make Cabo San Agustin at the south end of Cedros and carry on up the west side. This tactic worked, although we now encountered our first real ‘bash’, with very lumpy seas and the significant drop in temperature to 17C didn’t help either!
It was 1900 by the time we were between the San Benito Islands and Cedros and had only covered 85nm, but the good news was the sea had flattened down from the 2 metre swell. We progressed west of the Rhumb line for a further 100nm and at which time we were well to port of the the notorious Sacramento Reefs (can understand why they have claimed so many boats).
The route took us across tightly packed contours, which showed depths ranging from <100 to >2000 metres and with so much water passing from one depth to another, the seas became confused and swelly again. Glad we picked a calm day to pass over them, as we would have encountered something rather different if the wind had been stronger!
When we encountered adverse south easterly current, it would have been easy to head east of the Rhumbline, but I was certain we should ‘stick to our guns’ and stay on track. So that last 50 miles or so we ended up averaging over 6.5knots SOG, as we were able to pick up some positive current.
With just less than 100nm to Ensenada, the wind direction changed to SW, but it was too light to sail, but what a pleasant change from it being ‘on the nose’
The last (2nd) night watch was spent missing those pesky fishing vessels and an odd light (not sure of it’s purpose), but by 0830 we were rounding Cabo Punta Banda and only 10nm to Ensenada.
We called up Coral Marina, but no response, so proceeded to the fuel dock, to take on another 270 litres. By midday and 309nm later, we were nicely tied up in slip E39. Tango pulled in a few hours later and we could now congratulate ourselves on safely completing “The Baja Bash”
Before we undertook The Bash, we had heard and read about numerous horror stories. Out general opinion, was that it wasn’t too bad. Yes, we did ‘bash’ on occasions, but being patient with weather windows definitely made it a much more pleasant experience and of course, Nimue performed to her usual high standards.
Ask us if we would we do it again? Yes….but not tomorrow!