Totem recently made landfall in Baja after a placid passage of a little over three days: north up the coast of Mexico’s mainland from Matanchen Bay, then across the Sea of Cortez to anchor a few skips south of Loreto. Placid. Placid? More like plodding. We motored the entire distance. When the engine finally went off, happy sighs escaped the crew. This was a pretty boring passage.

Flaking the main after the anchor was set in Baja.

Sails helped pull occasionally, improving fuel efficiency. It just wasn’t enough to shut the Yanmar down. One sure thing about weather is that it changes. Better sailing conditions would eventually come, but after how long? But this time of year, conditions which aren’t adverse can be considered a good time to go as much as those which are actually favorable, and we waited for not adverse for about two weeks. Meanwhile, local restrictions to mitigate Coronavirus were ticking ever tighter, and we felt it best to make our move towards that place we can hunker down for a while before the possibility that being in transit was not an option. And so it was a motorboat ride, for 441 nautical miles, 80 hours, and about 75 gallons of diesel.

The elapsed days and nights included nighttime fog (unusual!) and hazy mornings, but largely blue skies. Totem’s main was up for the duration; reefed twice to minimize slatting, which is harder on gear than big wind.

What the passage did offer was among the most stunning bioluminescence we’ve ever seen. “Most stunning” is admittedly a strong statement and not made lightly: the waters glowing off the coast below Mazatlán on our first night at sea were so brilliant that I was able to capture a video with my phone.

Books were read. Cribbage was played. And on one spectacular evening, scores of dolphins leaped and played while silhouetted in the sinking sun.

It began with that dark line: see it? Hundreds of dolphins, southbound off our port side.
A number broke out from the pod, heading our way
A magical sunset visit, before they peeled back to rejoin the pod

On the final day we passed a whale that paced near evenly next to Totem from several boatlengths away. Easily bigger than our 47 feet, we watched the fine edge of the dorsal ridge and lumpy blow hole, and with it’s size suspect a Blue… any guesses from the better informed?

Whale watching from the cockpit
Just like the passage: no theatrics from this massive whale… a Blue?

Perhaps this wasn’t so boring, after all. Yet when I caught up with other cruising friends after landfall, ‘boring’ was usually the first word I used to describe the passage. Boring because there was no drama. Boring because nothing broke. Boring because…. everything worked pretty much the way it is supposed to, and there were no surprises.

Perhaps boring is the goal.

Totem is anchored at Ensenada Blanca, also called Bahia Candeleros – probably for the candlestick-shaped rock pinnacles nearby. The view is stunning, sunrise and sunset.

This spot that offers advantages in uncertain times. One of those is an excellent internet signal, so although confined aboard for the government’s strict stay-at-home order we’re able to readily keep in touch with family, friends, and developments.

That signal also means – time to take TOTEM TALKS forward! We dipped our toes in a couple of weeks ago; it was a lot of fun and the response was encouraging. So…

TOTEM TALKS: Sundowners in Baja edition. Saturday (yes, probably tomorrow) April 25, 5:00 Pacific / 8:00 pm Eastern. Advance registration required: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwvdeqqrTkvG9LHLpfItkdfGznuznMbol8l

We’ll be talkin’ about:

  • How to provision when you’re not allowed into town
  • Cruising Baja and the Sea of Cortez
  • Forward look at the impact of Coronavirus to cruising
  • Whatever you want to bring up!

Hope to see you there! This will be good, but it will not be boring.

On the bow last night: picture by Siobhan Gifford
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Posted by Deckhand