Dec 2020 Ensenada-Isla Guadelupe (200 nm)


Merry Christmas to us!!! We are underway!

We have all our papers in order to depart from Ensenada; the boat is stocked as best we can and we drop lines at 5:00 am. I stow lines and fenders, make a quick breakfast, then we are clear of the bay and into the open ocean.

We have the best sail to date-full main and screecher flying across the ocean. Just before dark, we discussed if we should reef the main but the sailing was so good and typically the wind lessens as the sun goes down that we decided to leave the main fully up. Just goes to the old saying that you should reef when you first think about it. We were not overpowered but the ride would have been more comfortable with a reef in.

Arriving to Isla Guadelupe

The night before we depart, we discuss the weather and felt that winds favored a southerly start to the journey with a turn to the west as evening fell. Our friends, Doug and Tamara, on S/V AO, another Seawind 1260, left with us but sailed west then south. We arrived into the protection of Isla Guadelupe around 9:00 am on the 26th. They arrived a few hours after us and had a wilder ride. Steve has gotten really good at reading the Predict Wind trends and has avoided the biggest wind events. If he is off, it’s usually that the predicted winds did not materialize and we motor.

The Mexican Navy came alongside shortly after AO anchors and told us we were not allowed and needed to leave. AO had a fluent Spanish speaker onboard and after asking if we could stay until the wind diminished, we were ok’d to stay for 2 more days..but don’t go in the water! They said the sharks were biting the boats but we think they really just wanted us to not go ashore or bother the endangered seals on the island.

We made lobster tacos for an early dinner with AO.

A “puff” of Seawinds in their natural habitat

The Guadelupe Islands are well worth the effort required to get there. Even without being able to go ashore, the fishermen in the area are friendly and gladly trade their lobsters for anything. I wish we had planned better to bring more things they needed. And I wish my Spanish was better. I’m working on that now!

A cool geologically feature showing a harder rock intrusion protruding while the softer surrounding rock erodes faster.

The island has a volcanic history. We would love to be able to hike to the caldera some day. Just along the shore, volcanic rock is visible like a cap over the sedimentary rock that makes up most of the island.

A “Where’s Waldo” shot of the endangered Guadelupe Island fur seal.

The island is also home to the endangered Guadelupe Island Fur Seal. They are beautiful and curious watching us from their rock perches as we drift by in our dinghy. Their coats nearly perfectly match the rocks, wet fur matches wet rocks but dries to match the dry rocks around them. We did do a brief excursion in our dinghy despite the Navy’s warning and despite the fact that this island is well known for Great White sharks. No sharks and the Navy did not come back to arrest us and we definitely did not go ashore.

S/V AO at Guadelupe Island, Mexico

We are very aware of the possibility of transmitting Covid to the locals. We initially tried very hard to maintain distance and show care for them by wearing our masks. They really didn’t seem concerned. They wanted to trade for beer, but we didn’t have any. When we offered oranges from the ranch, they graciously but probably reluctantly accepted. They peeled and ate them as they cruised away. Those ranch oranges were so good, even in December, that a boat that missed the first go around, came back with 2 lobsters for some more. We kept contact to a minimum though and enjoyed the incredible nights with no light pollution.

Author: Sailing Always

Sailor, pilot, wife, mom, live aboard, traveler

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