Monday, July 7, 2008

Shiriri Saga # 29. The Baha coast. Night Encounter.

                                                 Night Encounter.

Somewhere off the northern tip of Cedros Island, partway down the Baha coast, we are experiencing a black and windy night when out of the darkness looms an apparition straight from hell. A big sooty mass passes ahead of us with a lurid light shining from its center that bounces across the wave crests and locks on to us. A death star? A tractor beam? The tired crew member struggles to separate fact from fantasy, and slowly the real picture emerges. She is looking at a freighter of some sort angling across our bows with a big side door at the waterline open to show the light within. Did they see us? There seems to be some magnetic attraction that determines that if two ships are in the same ocean they will be drawn together when least expected. A miss is as good as a mile, we say but resolve to keep a sharper lookout in future, not just at night but even in the day because it is easy to forget to look around the horizon regularly and to be surprised by some twenty knot freighter that has come over the horizon and close alongside within quarter of an hour.

                 San Benito Islands to the west of Cedros Island.

We are developing that familiar deadbeat tiredness (partly, a form of seasickness) that dogged our path down the northen US coast and resolve to find an anchorage and take a rest. Up ahead, off the west side of Cedros Island, is a blob on the chart (San Benito Island) that promises a lee to anchor behind out of this too familiar strong north-west wind. By the end of the day we are anchored in the shelter of a rocky cliff near a Mexican fishing village and are joined later by the yacht Victoria who is headed south like us. We met Mary and Eric in San Diego, and will get to know them better in Banderas Bay at Christmas time. Christmas? It is now December 15th and if we wish to meet with our cruising friends we must not linger. One nights rest and then on down the coast tomorrow.

                                        San Benito.
Two days later we are approaching Bahia Santa Maria to anchor for the night when we run into a fog bank liberally sprinkled with fishing boats hauling in a rich harvest created by the meeting of the cold current that we have been riding south on, with the leading edge of tropical waters. We turn on the radar and dodge our way through the circus of busy boats. We enter the wide bay in the dark and spot Wylie E Coyote and Victoria anchored nearby.

                                        Fog and fishing boats.

Next morning at sunrise Jim greets the dawn with his drum as we all leave for the final leg to Cabo San Lucas. He will have trouble from irate sleepy sailors in busier anchorages further south with this salutation to the dawn, but here in this peaceful bay surrounded by desert hills it is remarkably appropriate.

                                                            Bahia Santa Maria.

Cabo San Lucas. We arrive once again in the dark but Wylie Jim shines a light to guide us in to anchor nearby. The next day we put in a tiring day running from office to office, from one side of town to the other to do our official check-in to Mexico. Oh, to speak Spanish!

                                              The southern tip of Baha California. Cabo San Lucas.

We refuel and head back out to sea in the dark to cross the Sea of Cortez, bound for Banderas Bay and a Christmas reunion with boats we have met along the way.

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