According to several weather forecasts, Friday, December 23rd looked like the best day to bash North towards La Paz. It was forecast for light winds (up to 10 knots) and relatively calm seas. We assessed this by analyzing several weather forecasts as Cerralvo Channel (between the Baja Peninsula and Cerralvo Island) acts as a funnel for wind and waves coming north from the Sea of Cortez. It is called the Venturi Effect.
We left Ensenada de los Muertos at 3am in order to allow lots of time to get north, as we knew that the wind and waves would be against us. With only 29 horsepower, Bloom was likely to be doing 3-4 knots on this journey, and we wanted to be sure to arrive at our destination in daylight hours.
We rounded the cove and entered Cerralvo Channel to find quite a bit of chop and wind quickly escalating from 3 knots to 20. Ok, not terrible- so we keep pushing on and the waves and wind get progressively worse and worse. To top it off, we somehow snagged some sort of marker or trap on our rudder and had to cut it off- not a super fun day at sea so far….
The wind is now a sustained 20 knots and is gusting 25 quite frequently. The waves are 5-8 feet and about 3 seconds apart. Bloom’s bow can be heard with a loud, protesting ‘SMACK!’ as she bashes north with the waves directly at her. Our entire boat is getting sprayed with sea water- there is even water coming in our main salon hatch that is the tiniest crack open. Everything gets totally sealed up and we have switched from our ‘coastal’ life vests to our ‘offshore’ life vests that feature harnesses, so that we may clip ourselves in to Bloom’s cockpit. Ruby is not a very happy camper as she is sliding and having a hard time keeping on the cockpit bench. We keep hoping it is going to get better, but we endured this for about 10 hours. We have determined that weather forecasts for the Sea of Cortez are very light guidelines and you can really get much more than anticipated!
We finally reached San Lorenzo Channel (the point where we got to start heading East instead of North), a narrow channel with only 1-mile in width of navigable waters. No big deal after the day we’ve had. We decide to drop our anchor just around the corner after San Lorenzo at Ballandra Bay. When we arrived, we saw a mega yacht anchored out with all its toys surrounding it and a palapa set up on the beach for the crew. It must have been about 100 feet long. We motored around looking for a good spot to drop hook when the 100 foot long yacht was suddenly dwarfed by ‘Rising Sun’, which we initially thought was a small cruise ship. Turns out it is 453 feet long and is the 11th largest privately-owned yacht in the world. Initially owned by Larry Ellison (CEO of Oracle) and since sold to David Geffen (Dreamworks) This thing was massive. It was an extremely rolly anchorage that night and chilly too. ‘Rising Sun’ did not roll an inch! We were tempted to go knock and see if we could have a hot tub….
After practically no sleep due to Bloom’s rolling all night long, we got up early and started to make our way towards La Paz. Luckily it was only about 4 nautical miles away. We motored along and found our way into our slip at Costa Baja Marina with a sigh of relief. So happy to be at a dock, and on Christmas Eve, too.
Costa Baja Marina is FABULOUS! A lot of cruisers nickname it ‘Costa Lotta’ as it is the most expensive marina in La Paz. However, it is the only marina with a huge, gorgeous infinity pool and jacuzzi. This place is top notch and the staff are fantastic. Anything you need, you just ask and they help you out. They are very friendly and very accommodating. There is at-slip pump out service, they pick your empty propane bottle up right from your boat and return it full the next day, the showers are fabulous- they even have ‘rain showers’ at the pool you can use which are awesome. The WiFi is great, which allows us to work. We can even stream Netflix! Oh- and there is a private beach here and several excellent restaurants- all of which have no problem with us bringing our dog, Ruby on the patio. She is even allowed at the pool in the ‘sandy’ area. There is a shuttle bus several times a day that takes you into town and the security is top notch. Absolutely love it and we think it is well worth the extra few bucks to stay here.
More on our adventures in La Paz to come!