After Coffee and Brian left Ensenada, I was just preparing myself for a nice nap, full from another round of La Chispas queso tacos. I figured we might walk back over to Hussongs for a Margarita later that evening. Andrew was fussing around with the weather GRIBs. Pretty soon, he realized that we either had to clear out tonight to make it to Bahia Tortouga before some bad weather sets in or stay in Ensenada until next Wednesday. We have had fun in Ensenada, but we can't let grass grow beneath our feet at our very first port, can we?
We checked out of Ensenada with a uniformed individual in a back room of a back building because the Port Captain closes at 2:30 on Thursdays, and somehow this other individual was the accepted substitute. We readied the boat, and shoved off. We left under a stunning red sunset display and began motoring to open ocean. The wind was holding steady, even though it was 6:30 p.m., so we set sail.
Three nights later, I'm in a bad mood. It’s pitch black outside, the wind is howling through the rigging again, and the noise down below sounds like we are living in a rock tumbler. Each time a large wave rocks the boat too far one way (every five seconds), the sails back fill, flog, and then pop back into place with a deep WHOMP. Waves are coming from several different directions so every 30 seconds, a wave adds to to cacophony by smacking into the side of Sonrisa’s hull. Sonrisa shudders from bow to stern. This creates concern for me, it’s a lot of force on her rigging and the last thing I want to have happen is to lose her mast. We need to change course, reel in a sail, something. We reel in the big sail, and leave only the jib. We drop from moving at 6 knots down to 3 knots, which then causes the boat to rock back and forth in the waves even more erratically.
Andrew and I are both seasick. We had hoped our Santa Barbara run would give us our sea legs and prevent further mal de mare. Our disappointment is only adding to our current misery. I consider it a lovely reprieve to be tied up in my bunk, but I worry about Andrew up on deck. I’m supposed to be sleeping so I can relieve him at 2:00 a.m., but I can’t sleep.
I'm not having fun.
I immediately regret admiting aloud that I'm not having fun, especially when Andrew admits aloud he is also not having fun. While this shouldn’t surprise me, it did. Andrew is usually gung-ho even when he is throwing up over the side. I have never understood his tenacity for continuing to enjoy himself even when sick. “Do you want to talk about it?” He asks. No, I don’t want to talk about it. The worst thing you can do is talk about your misery when you are miserable. No doubt once we get to shore we will start to feel better and this will not seem as bad. It’s like Bikram Yoga, you have to relax and sweat it out.
I have read a lot of books and blogs about sailing. I have watched documentaries. I have talked to some very nice sailors. No one has once mentioned this break in period. People, I’m here to tell you the honest truth — there is a break in period.
I can’t figure it out. Are we doing something wrong? Or, are we just very soft. I think we might be soft. As the morning light arrived we weaved our way through fishing nets and men in Pangas. A Panga is little more than an aluminum fishing boat you might take out to fish on a lake. Clearly, not safe or comfortable, but these men do this every day, to make their living, to feed their families. I need to recalibrate.
Red at night, sailors delight. Red in the morning, sailors take warning.
My night watch ends on the third day with a brilliantly red sunrise. Good thing we are arriving, the storm is coming in soon.
Bahia Tortuga is a beautiful, calm bay just inside the edge of the Pacific’s insanity just beyond. The hillsides are as dry as the Las Vegas desert. In fact, I feel right at home; it looks like we are meeting our Lake Mead pals for a raft up. A little town surrounds the South-facing edge, one of the most remote fishing villages of the Baja. We throw the 75b Spade Anchor (a gift from Andrew for my 34th Birthday) into the water. We are positioned at the very back of the anchorage with a lot of room in every direction and easy escape if the other boats in the anchorage start dragging around. After letting the Birthday Anchor settle into place, we put the engine in reverse and back down until we are confident the anchor will hold. We set the anchor alarm, which is a computer program that monitors our GPS coordinates and will alert us if we stray. We are ready for whatever comes our way.
Then, for the first time in more than a month, we relax on the boat. We are at home with nothing to do. We hang up a white blanket and set up the projector for a viewing of “The Kings Speech,” complete with popcorn. We each take a salon bench just like you would on your couch at home. Halfway through the movie, I became aware that for a moment I wasn’t nervous about anything. It was an odd feeling.