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0 In by sail/ mexico/ the journal

Ensendada de los Muertos

At 6am, after about a week in Cabo, we left to begin making our way to La Paz. For many boats headed to La Paz from Cabo, their first stop is Bahia Los Frailes. We decided to put a few more miles under our keel and sail through the night to Ensenada de Los Muertos, which is also known as Bahia de Los Sueños.

We sailed through the day and into the evening in light conditions. I was on watch during sunset, which was to our port side, sinking behind the Baja Peninsula. As our first sail in Mexico apart from the Ha-Ha fleet, there was a different feeling about this leg of our journey. We felt alone. We have felt alone at sea before, but I know I felt it even more so here. Not alone in a bad way, but in an exciting and self-reliant way. To be surrounded by the wild blue, with nothing between you and the deep but your trustworthy little vessel is amazing.

That night the bioluminescence was in full effect, which is probably my favorite thing in the whole world. I always look for it on night watch. I saw what I’m pretty sure was a dolphin swimming beside us. All I could see was the trail of bioluminescence it was leaving as it darted around our port side. There’s no question sailing by he light of a big bright moon is awesome, but a moon-less night sail has its own perks. With glowing glitter organisms in the boat’s wake and the dense blanket of stars above, everything around us sparkled. 


We arrived before sunrise at Los Muertos, so we hove to until the sun came up before finding a spot to anchor in the bay. Umphrey was eager to get to shore, and we were ready for breakfast. There is one large restaurant, El Cardón Tequila Bar, on the northeast side of the bay. We launched the dinghy and headed in that direction. We enjoyed huevos estrallados at the restaurant, zipped around the bay in the dinghy, then headed back to the boat to rest and clean up.

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There a few boats we recognized in the bay, and we shared some happy hour drinks in the restaurant that evening, then dinghied over to our friends’ boat for a beer. The wind started to pick up as the sun was setting, so we needed to hurry back to Starfire to secure the dinghy on the boat for the evening. The bay was a little choppy and I saw 12 knots on the wind meter. We must have been a comical sight as we wrangled the 95lb dinghy through the breeze back on deck, our spreader lights acting as a spotlight for any viewers interested in our clumsy efforts. We usually haul up our outboard and dinghy with our topping lift and spinnaker pole. Jeff carries the outboard down the deck to it’s mount on the stern of Starfire, followed by the heavy lifting for the dinghy while I guide to it’s place on deck. This daily chore, in anything less that calm conditions, can be a bit of a nail biter. We’ve been known to get creative with the outboard step to make it safer, as we did on this particular evening. It went something like this: Jeff heaves the outboard up to me from the dinghy while I sit with one foot in the cockpit and one the swim ladder. Then he comes up into the cockpit to take it from me and place it on the mount. It sounds simple, but it’s pretty freaking hard. Basically, I function as a temporary outboard holder and end up with grease stains/bruises on my legs. Of course, two minutes after the dinghy and outboard were secure, the wind died to nothing. We laughed and said, “Well, that was easy.”

0 In baja ha-ha/ by sail/ mexico/ the journal

one week in cabo

Upon arrival in Cabo, we learned that Hurricane Odile damaged about 30% of the slips at the marina, and even though we were one of the first twenty boats to sign up in hopes of getting a slip, the damage was such that we ended up sharing. Thankfully, we’re a smaller boat, so it turned out to be no big deal. We were rafted up next to Rick and Cindy of Cool Change, and we were in front of the Ha-Ha mothership Profligate in a 100 foot slip. I did have a mini panic attack in the process of backing and tying up to pristine little Cool Change. We had never done the side-tie maneuver, but Rick and Cindy are a very skilled duo, and they talked us through the whole thing. Captain Jeff’s boat handling skills were on point as well.  We did regret skimping on the fenders though. We have extras, but they’re in the trunk of our car in San Diego. Oops.


We stayed at the IGY Marina. I think we were charged around $50 per night despite sharing a slip and not having access to power or water. Some people balked at this. We really didn’t care. We were just happy to be out of the afternoon roll in the Cabo anchorage. The laundry facilities and shower facilities were good. It was just plain bad luck that the dryers broke the day that I washed four loads of laundry. There was also a thunderstorm that day, which meant four wet loads of laundry strung up all over the inside of our 32 foot boat. It was a sight to behold. The marina staff had the dryers fixed and refunded our quarters in no time.


I had personally been looking forward to the famous “Can’t Believe We Cheated Death Again” Ha-Ha dance party at El Squid Roe since San Diego. We didn’t really cut loose at any of the other parties along the way mostly because we wanted to conserve energy (and because we’re senior citizens). However, our arrival in Cabo was a pretty good excuse to celebrate. We boogied down with the rest of the bright orange shirts and happily accepted shots from whistle-blowing, ass-slapping shot girls.


There are plenty of good restaurants and bars within walking distance, but by far, our favorite spot was Cafe Canela just around the corner from the marina. We had at least three awesome meals there.  Our server brought us tequila shots with cinnamon (canela) sprinkled orange slices. Tequila will never be the same. It was so delicious. Icing on the cake: they have the fastest wi-fi in town, but please don’t go just for that. Order drinks, and be nice to the servers. (sorry. rants of a former waitress.)

The week pretty much looked like this.

There was also some “voyage planning”, which according to the photo below, was my cue to saw logs. After changing our minds about twenty times, Richard aka The Grand Poobah gave us some great advice, so we went with that. We figured he knew what he was talking about.

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