Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Half Way to the USA

Dolphins cruise in lazy circles around us as we bob restfully next to a kelp bed in Turtle Bay. The sun has broken through the cloudy marine layer and the wind has even settled down, allowing a quiet peace to envelop us for a change. It's 4 in the afternoon California time. Yeah, that's right, California time. It's been 4 1/2 years since DreamKeeper has been back in this time zone and for us, it's just one more conscious connection about how close we really are to being back in the USA.

Today is a much appreciated day. We were ready for a break and Turtle Bay has been kind to us.

Yesterday afternoon was a total contrast. We had made good time in the early parts of the day and I even saw a few whale spouts and a big fluke of a diving gray behemoth, most likely all gray whales. But then old man northerly wind decided to perk right up and let us know who 'el jefe' was out in these parts and that the bash was definitely not over yet. As sunset grew closer, we pounded and pounded into the steepening spicy seas and the 25+ knot wind decided it was time to put us in our place once again. We tacked back and forth trying to allow DK to gain some momentum and raise our speed above 3 knots before we would slam her nose into another neck-jaring steep wall of water which would stop us in our tracks completely. Of course, our autopilot wanted nothing to do with these conditions and let us know it was done for the duration. Between some hand-steering and old faithful, Monitor, however, we persevered.

And then there was the back-of-my-mind thought wondering if we would have enough diesel to make it. We were burning almost twice as much as normal pushing the revs on the Yanmar to punch through some of the seas to make headway. We knew it would be close, but did we actually have enough? Would we actually make it into the Bay or were we going to hear the second tank dry up in the middle of the night and that would be it, under sail alone from there on out? Just another factor playing out in the constant game of our bash strategy reality.

It went on like this until almost midnight and believe me it was no better trying to rest in the sea birth as every steep wave would throw you up into the air from the coffin-like nest we made for our frigid bodies down below. There were some shut-eye times only to be awaken rudely like a slap in the face not knowing if you are in the dream world or something less gentle and kind, which we were.

But a little after 11 the wind relented and we could once again point back towards our waypoint and our oh so close destination of Turtle Bay. We crept into the bay after midnight with a full moon piercing the marine layer of clouds and illuminating the guardian rocks at the entrance where the familiar sounds of our seal friends called out to each other. We dropped the hook on the outside of the anchorage and it wasn't long before we were tucked in until morning, except for Nic and her craving for toast at 2 am before joining me in the non-rolly, non-slamming, warm duvet-covered bliss in our V-berth.

So we are a bit over half-way to San Diego. We are fueled up and rested. We took a cockpit shower this morning and scrubbed our disgustingly stinky bodies clean with hot water. Now, we are ready to take on the next leg of the Baja. We raise the hook tonight again at midnight and for the next 24 hours or so will be bashing north into what should be the last difficult section of this coastline, out and around Cedros Island. After that, the weather files are showing everything mellowing a bit more and we are hoping for an easier last 2 days travel north as we finish off the last of our Mexican journey.

1 comment:

RichC said...

Enjoying reading (but not the uncomfortable part) about your final passage home. I'm sure it is even more bittersweet for you than your readers to have you winding down your circumnavigation. 4-1/2 years has gone too fast. Be safe and enjoy your trip home.