We started our sail South to Punta Chivato under good conditions on Saturday November 14th.
We motored and sailed downwind until the breeze started to clock around to the port beam. I decided it was time to use the mizzen to balance out the boat and keep heading out. As we sailed steadily on a beam reach the wind built in the Craig Channel until it was blowing about twenty knots and the seas started to get big, about 8 feet with whitecaps and close together. Astraea sails most comfortably when we’re going about 6.5 knots, but we were starting to go over 7 so it was time to drop the mizzen to balance out the boat. While I was working the sails, Sully was safe below watching a movie and Natalie was at the helm. Looking back at Natalie she was feverishly spinning the wheel back and forth trying to keep Astraea on course. It looked like a scene from a movie with the waves rising up and falling behind her, the wheel spinning back and forth madly, sea spray flying and her face screwed up in terror. I relieved her at the helm and we sailed around Punta Chivato to the anchorage.
I thought it was good to get experience in big seas. It showed us that Astraea is a strong and safe boat that can handle big winds and waves. Natalie was happy when the anchor was down and we were in the lee of the point and she could relax.
We had another good weather window the next day and got the anchor up early and had a much more leisurely downwind sail toward Bahía Concepcíon.
The wind died off as we entered the bay and motored to the anchorage at Playa Santispac.
Our first day we wanted to take a hike and see petroglyphs at Playa el Burro. We buddy dinghy’d over with Cliff and MaryAnne of S/V Carola.
Finding the beginning of the trail was difficult and the hike was challenging with lots of loose rocks, but the views and bell rocks made it rewarding. Some rocks have a large iron ore concentration and when struck with another rock they ring instead of the familiar dull thud of two rocks clunking together. We thought there would be petroglyphs at the top of the mountain, but the only petroglyphs we saw were right by the road.
We stopped by Bertha’s Restaurant for some cold beers and waters before loading up the dinghies to head back to our boats. We were just getting around the point at the edge of Playa el Burro when our dinghy motor started coughing and eventually died. Cliff and MaryAnne offered to tow our dinghy back and we could all ride together in their dinghy. As we got farther away from the beach the wind got stronger and the waves grew bigger. The waves were only about two feet from peak to trough, but for a little dinghy they were big enough to splash over the front and completely soak everyone. The wind made it chilly and Sully cried and hated the ride. Eventually we made it back to our respective boats after a terribly thirty minute dinghy ride. We got in to our warm pajamas, made hot soup for dinner and stayed in for the rest of the night.
The next day was windy again and we planned to stay on the boat all day, but that afternoon Natalie peaked outside and saw kids playing on the beach. We quickly got our stuff together and rowed to shore. We met a family of four, Justine, Scott and their kids who were camping their way down Baja to Cabo San Lucas. Sully was excited to see kids and spent the rest of the afternoon playing in their tents and with sand toys while the adults drank beer and talked about traveling (their plan is to someday drive around the world in a rugged overlander RV). Everyone was getting along together so well we decided to go to Anna’s Restaurant on the beach for dinner.
On Wednesday we hitchhiked to Mulegé. A family in their SUV stopped and picked us up on their way to town. We took a short detour on our way in to town to pick up one of their daughters. We thanked them when we arrived in downtown Mulegé and set off to explore the town and get some gas. I guess it was siesta time, because the town was pretty dead. We ended up getting a few drinks from the store by the square and were relaxing on a bench in the shade when Carlos, the waiter from Anna’s Restaurant, walked by. He recognized us from dinner the night before and offered us a ride back to the beach. Since we weren’t really sure how we were going to get back, we accepted his offer even though we hadn’t seen much of town.
Thursday was my birthday. Cliff from Carola came over because he was having trouble with a seized dinghy clamp. I helped him get it loosened up and working again. While we were sitting down in his dinghy we were talking about ketch rigs and the mizzen. When we were looking up we noticed a dark brown spot on the bottom of one of the mizzen spreaders that didn’t look quite right. After a quick trip up to the spreaders I found it was dry rotted and would need to be replaced soon. We were lucky on the sail down that there wasn’t too much stress on the shroud to cause the spreader to break.
Sully was down below playing dress up while I went aloft and then he wanted a turn. He got out his tool set and I took him up above the boom.
I wanted a beach party and dinner out at Anna’s Restaurant. I asked Natalie to make me a chocolate cake with peanut butter icing.
We headed to the beach late in the afternoon to hang out with some of the RV campers ashore. We kicked a soccer ball, threw around a football and then headed over to Anna’s for dinner.
The weather was good to continue south, so my birthday was our last night in Bahía Concepcíon.