Monday, 26 December 2016

Bahia Tortuga

This is Janine's Blog

Ensenada to Bahia Tortuga
We were able get through all the official business of clearing into the country in a few hours. It was a gentle reminder that we are now in a Latin American country and have to slow down accordingly. We were told Enrique would be available to take us to the port captain and immigration in 10 to 20 minutes. After 50 minutes we asked at the marina office for directions and walked to the Port captains office along the malecon. It was a nice walk with churro to be had along the way. Enrique met us part way through our checking in procedure and made it all easier. We walked through town to find a restaurant Enrique had suggested for lunch, It was full of locals with very good food. Unfortunately while we were in the restaurant it started to pour rain so our walk back to the boat had us all soaked through to the skin. By noon we had refilled all our fuel jugs and tank and were ready to continue our journey South.
We have a weather service that we have subscribed to that advises us. There had been a low pressure system that was supposed to have passed by the afternoon on the 22nd. It seems it had stalled so the first 12 hours of this passage the conditions consisted of South Westerly winds causing horrible confused seas and pouring rain. It was pretty miserable on the boat with 5 of the 7 crew taking turns to feed the fish.
By midnight the seas had calmed and in the morning the sun came out making the misery of the first 12 hours a memory. The fishing lines went out and in under 2 hours we had a 20lb Ahi Tuna landed and filleted. Yum!!!! Half the Tuna fed all 7 of us until we were stuffed. The skies had cleared and we ate our delicious tuna under a blanket of stars.
We knew there was another low pressure system expected which is why we had timed our travels to reach Bahia Tortuga before it's arrival. The low pressure system arrived earlier than expected so the last 6 hours of the passage once again had us in less than ideal conditions with steep waves on our nose and pouring rain. Of course there was also the added challenge of avoiding the fishing floats set by the local fishermen. We even saw 3 of these intrepid/crazy local pangas out in these challenging conditions. The local Pangas (fishing boats) are 15 ft open skiffs with 2 guys in walmart rain gear blasting through big waves. So really by comparison we were in absolute luxury.
We saw a humpback whale doing very energetic tail and fin slaps in the last 1/4 of the passage. Gary and Bradley both saw flying fish and during the previous nights we had been visited by dolphins leaving trails of phosphorescence.
We were able to navigate the narrow entrance of Bahia Tortuga and were welcomed by the calm waters in the bay. The rain stopped, we set the anchor in 30 ft of water just off the pier. It was Christmas Eve!
The guys took the fuel jugs into town. It was a short walk up the road to the gas station. On the way back a friendly local with a Suburban offered them a ride.
Christmas morning we awoke to sun shining in the cockpit where we had pancakes and opened presents.
Merry Christmas to all of you.
We will be heading out again in the afternoon of the 26th. Our next planned stop will be Bahia Santa Marta and Bahia Magdalena 200 nautical miles to the South.

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