“Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!” Ahhhhhhh, it’s still dark out side.
Last night, before crawling in bed at 8:00 PM we set the alarm for 1 AM to start our next leg north. Kathy leans over and before I get out of bed she asks me if I want any help and I say “sure”. She will get the coffee made then work the foredeck to get the anchor up.
As I roll out of bed I am happy that the temperature is hovering around 75 degrees as the last few nights have been a bit cooler. A short sleeve shirt and shorts will work for this dark passage.
I roll up to the forward cabin and come to my nav table. I flip a few switches, anchor light off, running lights on, steaming lights on, autopilot, navigation equipment and radar all flipped on. The last switch is a front deck light for Kathy so that she can see the anchor and other ground tackle on the bow.
As per a conversation with a few other cruisers the night before, I switch the VHF radio to channel 68 so that we can all keep tabs on each other as we are under way. There will be about 20 other boats making this passage north as a short weather window (about 10 hours) has opened around Cabo Corriente. This is the point (land mass) that extends into the Pacific off Mexico’s coast that opens the bay to Bandaras Bay, which is the home to Puerto Vallarta and La Cruz.
This isn’t a point with the harsh realities like Conception, north of Santa Barbara, but it is a point none the less that demands respect and planning. We have been waiting for this weather window for 5 days now.
As I come up to the cockpit I hear Kathy say that she see’s 5 less boats in the anchorage which means they already headed north. Cabo Corrientes is about 50 miles north and our final designation is about 60 miles. We should make the point by 11:00 AM and hit the window perfectly……if the forecast holds.
Life jackets are laid out, cushions are brought up for comfortable naps and I check to see that all the navigation equipment is on. I also notice I haven’t repaired the light in the tachometer yet. Next I set all the navigation equipment to night mode which dims the lights. This is so the light of the displays don’t shock our eyes and effect our night vision underway.
Start the engine… oil pressure up….battery charging…
…Kathy is now on deck surveying the front deck and taking notice where the anchors lying, about 25 feet below and at the end of 125’ of chain. She reals the first 20’ up with our electric windlass, removes the anchor bridle and signals me with her right hand that the anchor is lying about 30 degrees off the starboard bow.
I engage the transmission forward and slowly move the boat forward towards the anchor while Kathy reals the chain in. Moments later she gives me the signal the anchor is up and she quickly secures the anchor with a shackle to prevent it from moving. Depending on the seas and weather it isn’t uncommon to take a wave over the bow and the anchor needs to be able to take the impact without moving or dislodging. She also stores the bridle and secures anything else forward of the mast.
Anchor’s up and underway. My eyes are now scanning the anchorage for other boats while referencing my radar screen. I’m happy to see a 3/4 moon up and have the light to help navigate out of Perula Bay. Kathy makes her way back to the gallery to prepare coffee and to stow her galley so that we don’t have dishes on the floor once we get offshore.
Rounding the point out of Perula we see bigger swells than we anticipated but spaced far enough apart that Sea Bella just gently rolls over the 6’ swells. No wind and we won’t be sail for at least a few hours. Perfect really when you want to round a point offshore. The water temperature is 75 degrees and a whole 10 degrees cooler than it was just two weeks ago in Zihuatanejo 250 miles south of here. Burr….seems like we are headed the wrong direction. I set the course out on our B&G Chart plotter, making sure we get at least 5 miles offshore to avoid the local fishermen’s nets. I also chart a course on my Navonics app on my cell phone as I have found two chart opinions are better than one……in Mexico.
“Reverence, Reverence, this is Sea Bella on channel 68”. Reverence answers on the VHF and we also have a conversation with Freedom Kirkland. Freedom Kirkland is wrapping up their cruising season and heading north to pull their boat out at San Carlos. Kirk and Charlene will head back to their Canada farm for the summer and return next fall for the next sailing season. Reverence is headed to La Paz to meet family in early April. Sea Bella is headed to La Cruz for some canvas work. We will meet back with Mike and Leah on Reverence sometime in the spring to explore the Sea Of Cortez with many other friends that have the same cruising plans.
Kathy makes her way to the cockpit with a cup of coffee and a blanket and settles down for the evening next to me. We wait for the sunrise…….
….the adventure continues……