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adventures

delivery part 2: bahia tortugas to san diego

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The second and third parts to this delivery were much more pleasant than the beginning. Being stuck with intoxicated and combative crew was pretty unnerving, and I had a lot of reflection to do. In the end, I got what I was looking for after all.

Mele Kai was the only other boat in the anchorage at Turtle Bay (aka Bahia Tortugas). They had just arrived before the J35 did. The main function for the tiny town of Bahia Tortugas when it comes to cruisers is to re-fuel and provision. Since the sleepy town runs on island time, Daniel (crew of Mele Kai) and I had plenty of time to talk as we waited for Enrique to wake up from his siesta and bring the credit card machine so they could pay for the fuel.

I offered help if they needed crew, as it was just two of them on board. I didn’t want to be defeated and have to take the bus home (however that would work, it was a looong ways away!). I joined him in the panga ride back to Mele Kai, where we asked if I could join in the delivery. Captain Sean didn’t even hesitate and said “Sure!” Welcome on board.”

They both had a shower and then offered me a chance to get sparkly clean too (WHAT?!?!). I only had one pair of clean clothes left, aka the ones I was wearing, but it sure felt nice to be clean. It was my first hot shower on a sailboat ever, I felt like a Princess. We ate dinner in the cockpit, got to know each other a little bit, and had a good laugh about the whole situation. Apparently delivery crews are known for being like the ones I had encountered, and now I know. It was soooo nice to have normal conversations again. They let me put on the rudder to the Hydrovane on, as I still don’t really know how to use mine. We were going to fiddle with it if there was enough wind while underway, which was exciting!

We left the anchorage 11 pm that night and had a pretty bashy sail up the coast. I can see why it’s called the Baja Bash, because that’s what you do. Bash, bash, bash. Our watch schedule wasn’t really meticulous, but you knew that if you came out on watch someone would relieve you at some point. I had gotten comfortable with how to use the engine, chart plotter, learned where the sheets were, and was learning how to use the radar (something I’d never used before).

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The fog continued, but we were still treated with beautiful sunrises and sunsets. By the second day we could hear thunder in the distance, although we never did see any lightning. We’d gotten hit by a squall, a first for all of us. It wasn’t pouring down rain or anything, but the winds picked up and I decided to take a nap incase it was a long night. While I was tossing and turning, I heard something outside snap and saw through a hatch the main sail had come down. I put on my foulies and went outside to help them, but they had it under control. The halyard was stuck at the top of the mast, the shackle had snapped open. It apparently has always been loose but has never come undone underway.

We sat and waited in anticipation of what would happen next. None of us knew exactly what to expect. Another first, out of nowhere a giant wave had covered the ENTIRE deck of the boat. I can’t remember if we had the jib out or not since we’d lost the main, but I was facing the stern and we all got wet under the dodger and bimini. The AIS got wet as well, which was inside a locker in the cockpit. This led to some creative thinking by the Captain as to how we could continue steering for two more days without an Autopilot. There wasn’t quite enough wind to use the Hydrovane.

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Daniel, above, was the Chef on board. He made sure we had three hot meals a day, and was even kind enough to make coffee and tea (and remembered the soy milk and sugar!). I was getting spoiled big time. Watching dolphins as we chowed down was much needed after the long night we had. I woke up around 3 am and there was lighting sprinkling the sky! I had no idea, I could tell the winds picked up but was desperately trying to get some sleep. I didn’t have any ear plugs, so with the noise of the bashing along with the engine it was hard for me to tune out those noises.

Captain Sean had figured out a way to get the Hydrovane to steer us to course, but we had to sit at the wheel and make sure to correct it when it got off course, which was often. It was a hell of a lot easier than hand steering though! I was also freezing when out in the cockpit, so I am glad I kept my gloworm down sleeping bag. People think Mexico is hot, but I can assure you the Pacific Coast is not.

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We arrived in San Diego without issues in the morning a couple of days later. There was quite a bit of marine traffic as it was a weekend (I believe it was a Saturday?). We saw a ton of dolphins as we were approaching the channel, and Sean caught a giant bonita in about two minutes after putting out a line! Fastest I’ve seen a catch snag.

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Captain Sean had arranged a slip at a marina he’d stayed at last year before doing the Baja-Ha-Ha, and I hopped off the boat and did my laundry as they cleaned up the boat as Daniels’ family was coming into town. We all went to a nice dinner, they were a super fun group and I was very grateful they welcomed me on board having literally just met me. I am forever grateful to have met so many awesome people in the sailing community!

Because Daniel had to leave and Sean still had to get his boat back up to San Francisco where his wife and son were waiting for him, I decided to help him out with the sail north as well. I just needed to go back to my boat and get warmer clothes, which gave Sean time to make the repairs on the main halyard and AIS. In a few days we were ready to head further North!

I was getting excited to see my San Fran framily, I wasn’t anticipating seeing them so soon!

Next up, delivery part three: san diego to san francisco!

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adventures

delivery part 1: cabo san lucas to bahia tortugas

This is a three part delivery that spanned two countries and two boats. I started in Cabo San Lucas on a J35.

I’d gotten a call from a friends’ ex-boyfriend asking if I wanted to help with a delivery. I really wanted to expand my knowledge of weather reading for passage planning, as well as coastal navigation. I had 2 days notice to buy a plane ticket to Cabo and to find someone to watch the pups. They were having issues with their power source not charging their phones and tablets, so I brought an inverter I used on road trips. It was a scramble to get everything together, but I made it happen with the help of my local friends.

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When the boat arrived in Cabo, we were supposed to leave the next day. However, the Captain didn’t like how the weather window changed and he wanted to wait for the next one, 6 days away. I knew I wasn’t going to like Cabo, and guess what? I don’t. I ran early in the mornings, went to the quietest spots I could find on the beach before it got too crowded, got sunburnt, slept, read, watched YouTube, and cherished my ear plugs which drowned out “I’m a Barbie Girl” playing for the 200th time. The up side? I got to watch the Warriors win the Championship! I also took the bus up to Todos Santos, a cute little artsy town I’ve read so many other sailors have loved. I would have rather spent a little more time there, so I’ll have to return when I’m in the area again.

We provisioned twice and had enough food for two months, even though we were only going 900 miles. My Spanish fluency had come in handy, as I found a much better place to provision at than Wal-Mart. If anyone is provisioning in Cabo or La Paz, City Club is where it’s at. It’s like a local Costco, and they’ll give you a pass for one-time shopping so you don’t have to have a membership. Our weather window arrived and the Captain again thought we should wait for a different weather window because there were two hurricane systems out there. We could either leave and have a 1,000% chance to miss them, or sit and wait to see if the hurricanes came ashore. Much to the Captains dismay (and after a phone call to his parents) we took off north.

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I can’t say anything spectacular happened, I was just enjoying being out on the water. The skies were pretty hazy from hurricanes Aletta and Bud, but the wind and swells weren’t affected. It just meant we couldn’t see the stars at night and I couldn’t get many decent pictures of the coast. So. Much. Fog!

It took me a couple of days to realize the crew weren’t talking to me. Like, at all. I didn’t mind it, they were pretty difficult to have a normal conversation with. However, I kept trying to ask questions about things they’d promised to show me, like the weather readings and coastal navigation tactics. I got only “let me look” answers. They’d disappear into the cabin, and I’d never hear what the verdict was on anything. Literally every sailing related question I asked in the two weeks we were on the boat was met with “let me see” or “oh, don’t worry about it” or “I’ll show you out there” only to be followed up with “I’ll show you once we get in.” To top it off, I didn’t know how to use the engine, the autopilot, or anything else on the boat. Of course, he said he’d show me and didn’t.

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We were going a very slow 3 or 4 knots, which gave me a lot of time to contemplate why I decided to leave on a boat with a Captain who smelt like alcohol when he arrived at the dock in Cabo. Clearly these guys did not want me on board. Early on I refused to comply with their unspoken expectation that I was going to cook and clean up after them, which really upset them when I verbalized it. I wasn’t getting paid for this, and I wasn’t learning anything either. There was no point in wasting my time. I’d decided to jump ship as soon as we got to Turtle Bay, which took five days for us to reach. It should not take so long, but incompetence is alive and well with this crew.

We arrived (finally) to Bahia Tortugas around 9:30 am. I’d packed my bags and was ready to go as soon as the panga came to get me. I’m not going to lie, it felt pretty good to unplug their devices from my inverter and pack it into my bag! I knew the owners of the boat being delivered and am very grateful nobody was upset about me leaving the delivery early. They were primarily concerned about me safely getting off of the boat, which I did. There’s a reason most sailors’ advice has been “Trust your gut!!!”

Phew.

Up next is delivery part two: bahia tortugas to san diego (aka: where the good part begins!!).