Friday, June 10, 2005

Talking to Jesus

Just before leaving Puerto Vallarta we called Jesus on the phone.  Jesus is the yard manager at Marina Seca in San Carlos and pronounces his name the Spanish way—Hay-soos.  We told him that we accepted the quote he had emailed us for doing an epoxy barrier coat for Kavenga’s bottom, and asked him when he’d like us to arrive.  We were thinking 1st of June, giving us three weeks to get there.  He said he’d prefer to get us out of the water and ready to dry by the 1st.  That meant we needed to get there in little more than a week.


So we dropped our plans for a crossing of the Sea of Cortez and doing some leisurely harbor-hopping north.  We needed to make a beeline for San Carlos.  We skipped the usual northbound stops out of PV like Chacala, San Blas and Isla Isabella (we’d been to all those places on our last cruise) and instead went directly to Mazatlan, motorsailing through the night and arriving there the following morning.


We needn’t have hurried—or we should have hurried just a little bit more—because a small dredge was working the channel leading in to El Cid Marina and Marina Mazatlan.  Fortunately, there was a decent anchorage nearby in the lee of Isla Pajaros (Birds Island).  When the dredge quit for the day in the early afternoon we were able to head for the channel, which has a bit of a bar as we were to find out.  A decent sized wave built and broke ahead of us.  We had no desire to surf into the narrow channel, risking a broach (uncontrolled violent turn) and driving into one of the rock jetties.


Fortunately we had a good pause between breakers and made it quickly inside.  Our friends Bob and Dianna on White Swan were at the fuel dock waiting to help us tie up, which is far from routine due to the strong surge coming in the channel.  It took all four of us plus one of the fuel dock boys to get Kavenga secured.  We had originally planned to go further in to the less expensive Marina Mazatlan, but since Bob and Dianna were at the El Cid, we decided to stay there as well, and after refueling moved into our assigned slip.  Even there the surge was amazing and we had to adjust our mooring lines several times in order to keep Kavenga from lunging all over the slip.


We had an enjoyable, but brief stay in Mazatlan, managing a dinner downtown, some pool time at the El Cid Hotel’s great pool with its waterfalls and caves to swim through, and even some condo shopping with Vickey of Snow White, when she and Hugh arrived a day after us.  All of us left the El Cid Marina the same morning, but while Snow White and White Swan headed across the Sea of Cortez for La Paz, we reluctantly parted company and sailed north, planning to go direct to San Carlos, a planned voyage of three days and nights.


We’ve had very few opportunities to sail without the engine running on this cruise, and this particular passage was no different.  We suppose we shouldn’t complain as it often blows out of the north in this area, and we had light southerlies or calms instead of headwinds.  We set a new record for motorsailing.  We turned the engine on in Mazatlan and didn’t shut it down again until we anchored in Martini Cove, just outside of San Carlos Bay, sixty-one hours later.  We wound up arriving about an hour after sunset, so it took us only two nights instead of the planned three.  But it was pitch dark, with only the tiniest sliver of a crescent moon that was too low on the horizon to help.  We had to feel our way into the small anchorage with radar and the depthsounder.  Once we were anchored we could hear waves crashing on rocks.  We got out our spotlight for the first time and found some exposed rocks not far from our stern.  One of the great things about having an electric anchor windlass is that you hardly give it a second thought when the situation seems to call for re-anchoring.  So we hauled our 44-lb Bruce in and set it more in the center of the cove.


The next morning we awoke to find ourselves in a beautiful cove surrounded by high red cliffs, including a big pillar-shaped island.  We launched the dinghy and went for a ride out around Punta Doble (double point) where we found two caves cut into the rock by wave action.  The cactus growing on the hillside at the back of the cave was some of the most colorful and vibrant that we’ve seen.  There were lots of organ pipes, barrels, and something that looked like agave but more yellow-green than blue.


We stayed in the cove one more night before moving into San Carlos Bay.  It’s very close in size to Gig Harbor, Washington, our home port, and almost as well protected.  In fact it is considered a hurricane hole.  We went ashore and rode our bikes to Marina Seca to meet with Jesus.  We made an appointment to haul Kavenga out of the water two days later, giving us time to find a place to live while we prepared the boat to withstand the summer in the Sonoran Desert.  We’ll talk about that in the next installment of Kavenga’s Wake.  Until then, take care, and as Jesus would say, “Vaya con Dios.”