We have completed the dreaded Baja Bash! I have been agonizing over this trip for weeks and it turns out that by going at the right time of year and with good weather windows, it doesn’t really have to be much of a bash at all. We actually had a rather good time except for the fact that it was quite chilly at night (anything below 70 feels like the dead of winter now) and we had to motor the entire time.
We left Turtle Bay three days ago in the evening with a very short weather window to go to Ensenada. The next opportunity to make the trip north was at least a week away and we were not about to get pooped on for another week – it seems that Turtle Bay’s bird population greatly outnumbers its human population and they are all looking for a place to s(h)it.
According to stormsurf the wind would not start to pick up for a couple of days. And even then nothing over 11 knots. We especially needed very light winds for the first part of the passage as we would be passing several capes and a couple of channels, one of which is nicknamed the “washing machine”.
Punta Eugenia and Canal de Dewey slowed our speed to nearly 3 knots due to a falling tide. We made it across the washing machine (Canal de Keller) with just a gentle corkscrew motion and when we reached the dreaded Punta Norte we had mirror calm seas. The last hurdle was Bahia Vizcaino of which the author of The Baja Bash has this to say: “Maybe you’ll get lucky on your crossing and find calm conditions but its never happened to me.” Mind you this is not a small bay and reading this made me nervous. We had calm seas for the entire 100 miles!
On our last full day at sea the wind picked up in the afternoon and blew around 10-12 knots on the bow most of the night. Couple that with a 6 foot falling tide (which pushed us south) and we were only making 3.5 knots. Now it’s 6am, we’re making an easy 5 knots on calm seas and are less than 20 miles from Ensenada where we will check out of Mexico and wait for another weather window to make the short hop to San Diego. Once there we will look for jobs and try to sell Camille.
Not that we’re experts now, but here is our advice for anyone yet to make the Bash: wait until as late in the spring as you dare, pick good weather windows and get the Baja Bash book – it has great advice on timing and lots of anchorage options in case the weather report was a little off. Leaving right after a hurricane was a bit scary but it gave us following seas for the first half of our journey.
|Checking for tangled seaweed in Turtle Bay|
|Getting fuel in Turtle Bay|
|Have I mentioned that it has gotten progressively colder?!!|
|The bustling metropolis of Turtle Bay|
|The reason we didn’t want to stay longer|
|Turtle Bay fuel and dinghy dock|
|“Bashing” up the Baja|
|What kind of sea turtle? We saw lots of these. Much smaller than the ones further south.|
|Fin Whale? Blue Whale? Much bigger than humpies or greys|
|Our escort into Ensenada|
|The sun came out for our arrival. We had cloudy skies the entire Bash so it was a welcome sight.|