Wednesday, November 21, 2007

FUBAR: Overnighting in Bahia de Los Muertos

Date: November 18, 2007
Time: 06:45
Position: North 23 03.03, West 109 29.03
Location: Five miles north of San Jose del Cabo, in the Sea of Cortez
Course: 5 Degrees (True)
Speed: 8.9 Knots
Visibility: Unlimited under blue skies, with low humidity

We have left Puerto San Jose and are headed for Muertos Bay about 50 miles north in the Sea of Cortez. The rest of the FUBAR fleet is out too: Samurai, the Nordhavn 64 is just behind us and the Nordhavn 57, Sanjero, is off our port bow. The air temperature is around 80 degrees and the wind water temperature is 78 degrees. There is an eight-knot wind from the north, which means that in reality, the air is still, and the sea is flat, except for a two- or three-foot swell. The east coast of the Baja Peninsula is about a mile off to port—miles and miles of pristine sandy beach, with low, green hills behind it—very unlike the rocky, forbidding west coast—and very unlike the stark, man-made geometry of Cabo San Lucas—all bright and rectilinear with condos and hotels. Jim Leishman, at the helm, comments that if he had a little all-wheel drive 4-Trax—as common as automobiles in this region—he could ride along the beach all the way from Cabo to our next destination—Bahia de Muertos. But then, one would miss the intimate connection we have with this sea. Earlier, a super-pod of about 100 dolphins swam by on a reciprocal course. Many of them came over and swam with Pacific Escort. I go forward to the bow to watch them. At any moment there are about a half-dozen riding our bow wave. I find myself wondering if this is some kind of adolescent ritual for them, “I dare you to ride the bow wave of that boat!” We also see manta rays—they half jump out of the water as we approach. There are some whales around too, but we don’t see any.

15:10—We reach tonight’s destination, the beautiful Bahia de Los Muertos—which refers to the dead-man type moorings that were used when there was a mining operation active in the bay. Now, real estate is the main industry here, as it is up and down this coast. Earlier, we discover that the muddy bottom at a previous anchorage has clogged the drain in Pacific Escort’s chain locker. Since we will anchor here as well, Jim and Eric have put our chain anchor rhode on a nylon rope snubber and then ran out the rest of the 300 feet of chain over the side, so that the clogged drain can be cleared. The job falls to Eric, who must go down in the empty, but muddy anchor locker with a hose and wash it out.

The rest of the evening promises to be blissfully uneventful. James snorkels in the 80-degree water, looking for his next catch. Later, he and Sue cook a spaghetti dinner, which is accompanied by a good red wine. The sunset behind the hills is beautiful. We all sense that this will be our last dinner together on the boat and savor each other’s company and the setting. Finally, we go ashore to a FUBAR party at Casa de los SueƱos, a local real estate developer. The dinner is accompanied by a tour of his house, which is a stunning blend of contemporary and traditional Mexican architecture, adapted to the open-air beauty of its beach setting. Fountains and waterfalls splash in gardens and open courtyards and the bedroom opens onto an Infiniti pool overlooking the bay. When we return to Pacific Escort, we all agree that the house and grounds are indeed beautiful, but it doesn’t move from beautiful setting to beautiful setting the way a yacht can. By 22:00 everyone is in bed and the boat is quietly riding at anchor. The last leg of our adventure is tomorrow—a 50-mile run to the city of La Paz.

--James Kirby, aboard Pacific Escort in Bahia de Los Muertos

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