Things are a bit out of order on the blog, this is a couple of stops before we lost Zorra. We will try to get everything caught up once we have better internet. Turns out it’s not the easiest thing to get down here! Grab a blanket and pillow, here’s another long post. 😉
We left Turtle Bay slightly before the rest of the crew so we could hopefully arrive in Santa Maria before dark. We were on a downwind course so Jesper and Brad set the boat up wing on wing with our headsail attached to our spinnaker pole (this prevents the sail from collapsing inwards). Our headsail was set up on port while the main was eased out to starboard. This allows the wind to push us from behind quite nicely! There’s a saying about fair winds and following seas- this is where it applies.While under way we tried to fish as much as possible as it serves as a free, delicious protein. It wasn’t too long before a Catamaran named “Happy Together” was crossing behind us and coming awfully close to our trailing fishing line. We called them on the radio and asked them to hook us a cold one, they got the point and kept their distance from our line. Minutes later our reel started screaming. It was pure chaos while Brad ran to the reel, Jesper abandoned the dishes and I ran for the camera, but not before I saw the sailfish dancing on the water! Ooopsie daisy, we had a bundle of problems. Problem #1, we were wing on wing with the wind pushing us forward like a freight train. Mr. Fishy was running the opposite direction. Problem #2, despite Jesper’s best efforts to slow the boat down by putting it in full reverse, it was not enough. Problem #3, we had light tackle set up on our fishing rod so the line eventually snapped. Ok one more problem, what the heck would we do if we managed to catch the darn thing? It would be a miracle if no-one was hurt. Even though we didn’t land the sailfish, Happy Together saw the whole thing and called it over the radio. We had proof of our wild fish story! The excitement from our attempt was electric and had us all amped up and smiling for hours.
The day droned on with the wind and waves at our back and we were averaging about 5 knots and it was expected to pick up during the night. We were joined by a school of dolphins jumping, frolicking and having a great time as they passed us by. When night time arrived sleep was difficult to come by since the waves were pushing the boat side to side to side to side….sometimes the boat would rock as many as 7 times back and forth from one large passing wave. Luckily our bed is one that we cannot fall out of, but your body has a tough time resting while trying to stabilize constantly. I was pleasantly surprised to find Jesper wide awake when it was time for my watch. He joined me for the entire thing and I couldn’t have been happier for the company and the help!The next day I was not feeling so great, I don’t know if it was the sea state or the lack of sleep. Either way I managed to sneak in 3 naps and the 3rd did the trick. When I woke up Jesper told me to check out the bottle nosed dolphins that were at the bow. I had no Idea they were so large! They swam upside down at the bow and appeared to be checking us out pretty closely. It wasn’t long before they grew tired of us and swam away. I hope it wasn’t something I said. 😉We motored most of the day to help power through the sloppy sea state and low winds. Our reel zipped once again and this time it was a yellow fin tuna, our first of the trip. He was filleted and on our grill in record time. With each catch Zorra becomes very alert, sniffs the air and waits patiently for her scraps. The tuna was the best meal of the trip, joined by rice and veggies. Brad is the best chef!As night draped itself upon us we were blanketed in more stars than I’ve ever seen. It was as if a firework exploded all over the sky and dripped down to to the sea. Even the Milky Way was visible. It wasn’t long before we were ooooh’ing and awww’ing at the harvest moon emerging from the horizon. It was an orange orb slowly making its way up the sky. We were thankful for all it’s light to be shed because we would be anchoring in the dark after all.
Brad and I prepared the boat for anchor which included taking the sails down, lowering the spinnaker pole and securing it to the mast. Jesper steered as we accomplished each of those things. We made our way into Bahia Santa Maria anchorage around 11PM and put the hook down near some familiar boats. It was midnight before we had everything cleaned up and then it was off to bed!
I woke up to a beautiful sunrise out our starboard port light. The sun was out to get us like a laser beam of heat. Our agenda for the day included taking the girls to the beach, organizing and trying to trouble shoot our generator/water maker issues. As we took the pups to shore we encountered our first shore break in the dinghy. There’s a whole technique regarding beach landings in the dinghy and if you screw it up, you can get seriously hurt. Ding the panic bells in my head. Jesper guided us in no problem and we explored the shoreline. The beach was vast with miles of shoreline and behind are the mangroves. We headed towards the mangroves and our feet sank deep in the sand as we walked. Zorra kept up better than I expected and Sydney didn’t seem to mind sinking while she ran like a mad woman through the sand. Bahia Santa Maria is a large anchorage that is well protected and comfortable to be in. There are no stores, no services, only nature to explore.
After exploring the beach we went back to our dinghy and went for a swim. This is the first time I have seen stingrays on the trip. Brad stepped or kicked at least 2 of them and carefully shuffled his feet the rest of the day. It was time to head back to the boat and boy did we have an adventure ahead of us. Just as you have to be careful entering a beach with the dinghy, exiting is just as stressful. Every one was loaded up and we had timed everything perfectly. Sydney saw an approaching wave and ran to the back of the dinghy causing Brad to be distracted with her. There went our timing. We were head on with a 5ft crashing wave and all we could do is gun the engine, duck and hang on! Luckily Jesper was there because he caught Sydney and kept her in the boat. Each of us were soaked and the dinghy was full of water, but we were all there and no one was hurt. On our way to the boat we reflected on the incident and went over lessons learned. It would be my job to control the dogs and Brad’s job is to manage the dinghy and keep us safe.
The next morning I woke up to another stunning sunrise. It looked like a bucket of rainbow sherbet in the sky. Orange, pink, light blue and beautiful. Our plan for the morning was to take the pups and explore the mangroves. We cruised through the shore break and into the little estuary leading to the mangroves with no problems. We made sure we checked the tides before going so we wouldn’t get stranded back there. The mangroves contrasted with the blue sky and brown mountains in the distance. There were plenty of small fish, birds and local fishing shacks. It is crazy to think that people could live there, but they do live in a micro paradise! Once deep inside the estuary, we killed the engine and just sat there listening to the chirping birds, bird watched and eventually let Sydney go for a swim. We made our way back to the beach and I noticed Zorra wasn’t doing so well. She hung out in the shade of the dinghy and did not do any of her usual exploring. We made sure we gave her extra pets while she hung out.The beach party was scheduled for today and we were served up some amazing food! Fried fish tacos, rice, clam stew and some delicious sauce to go on top of the tacos. The chefs and the band drove 8-12 hours each way to put on the event for the rally. The price per person was $15 and worth every penny. After the party we relaxed on the boat and were highly entertained by the calls on the VHF Radio. There were 2 missing people- one guy was last seen with the female lead singer of the band- the other was a 16 year old girl last seen with a 19 year old boy. Hmmmmm. Both missing parties were eventually confirmed as found on the radio, whew! We didn’t stay up too late because the following day we were setting off for Cabo!
Words from the crew:
Sydney- I entered passage mode almost immediately after hearing that scary thing (engine) start. I heard the anchor pull up and knew I was going to be screwed out of another beach day. At least our passage was quicker than the last and I was on the beach lickety split! My human tried to feed me raw fish again and this time I politely accepted. It wasn’t so bad after all, plus I didn’t want to hear my little sister gloat any longer about eating all of it the last time! I’ve been perfecting my begging face and have managed to catch a few bites of a Costco muffin. The more pathetic I act, the more they fall for it. My humans are easily trained! Zorra Bear- I don’t mind the passages too much because I can rest and be near my parents at all times. Plus they keep catching those shiny, slippery things that taste oh so good! I can always tell when they get one because they are running all over the place. Then the smell of blood hits my nose and I lose all control! My nose goes straight up in the air and my parents think it is so funny. Luckily my Dad always takes good care of me and gives me scraps! Only this time he gave some to the big brown one too. I️ thought it was all for me but now she’s acting like she likes it! I’ll be sure to “accidentally” pee in her princess bed as a payback. Nobody messes with my food, nobody!