Our next stop was a 58 mile sail skirting between two islands and swinging a left around another corner to hit La Paz. Traveling on the inside of these two islands and the Baja finger meant navigating two channels that could prove to be challenging because of high winds, uncomfortable wind waves, and tidal currents. This meant timing and weather was key to our success, or at least if we wanted to make our destination before dark.
Instead of leaving at 2 AM we decided to leave Los Muertos at 5 AM despite the paranoia of fishing lines. We picked up our anchor in the dark. I sat on the bow using our spot light to see if there were any fishing lines hiding in the water.
Navigating through the first channel (Cerralvo Channel) presented us with variable winds. Variable meaning 0 – ? knots. (Wind so light you can’t even count it with numbers.) We watched the sun come up and I ate my breakfast of champions. (Goldfish Crackers!)
Dolphins were playing in the surf. Birds were swooping overhead, and rain sprinkled all around us.
The clouds were billowing full of fun shapes and puffs of wind.
Pretty soon we made it through the first channel and we were now exposed to the open Sea of Cortez and all it’s glory before entering the San Lorenzo channel and tucking behind Isla Espíritu Santo.
The Sea of Cortez is part of the Pacific ocean body of water that is found in between Mexico’s Baja finger and the Mexican mainland. It is 700 miles long and is known to share some similarities in wave action with our Midwestern great lakes. The result, short and steep. That’s how these waves roll. As we made our way between Isla Cerralvo and Espíritu Santo we got our own taste of short and steep. We found ourselves heeled over and beating to windward, turning up and down these steep short waves like rapid fire, trying to find our groove as the North wind that was supposed to come through the area the following day, made an early appearance. We stared at the edge of Espiritu Santo for what seemed like an eternity before we could safely turn more downwind into the channel. Under the water, the channel was brimming with activity. There was a shoal, a reef and a ship wreck to avoid, that means centering up between the channel buoys that sometimes go reported missing. We’re we sailing in place? It sure felt like it!
Just then we got a call. (It was the boat from the previous anchorage.)
Sailing Vessel: Maluhia, Maluhia, Maluhia
Us: This is Maluhia
Sailing Vessel: Hi! How’s it going up there?
Us: Um fine. A little bumpy but fine.
Sailing Vessel: Yes us too. We were just wondering if it was any better up there?
Us: We think it might get better after we get inside the channel because it will block some of these waves.
Sailing Vessel: Yes, I’m sure you are right. We’ll be standing by on this channel.
Us: Ok, Maluhia standing by on 22.
Then, we got a second call.
Sailing Vessel 2: Maluhia, Maluhia, Maluhia
Us: This is Maluhia
Sailing Vessel 2: Hey! We are so happy to hear from you. Are you guys coming back?
Us: Back to where exactly?
Sailing Vessel: La Paz
Us: We are heading to La Paz but we’ve never been there before.
Sailing Vessel 2: Oh this isn’t Mike and Judy?
Us: No, this is Grant and Denise.
Sailing Vessel 2: Oh, well there must be another Maluhia out there. Sorry to bother you.
Us: No problem.
Another Maluhia?! How could that be?! Just as I was getting ready to tell Grant the news, a portion of a wave splashed over the bow of the boat, over the dodger and hit the helmsman square in the face. I paused, and then immediately I burst into laughter. He had been out there bashing these waves for awhile and now his glasses were completely covered in salt!
We made our turn into the channel and started our final approach into La Paz.