Bridgie's Babble - March 02, 2007

March 02, 2007

We had planned to sail from Ensenada to Turtle Bay. The trip was going to be just under 300 nm and would
have taken about 55 hours. John and I had agonized over the decision to go or stay and wait for a better
weather window. The forecast indicated that we may be up to a challenge, given our lack of actual experience.
However, in chatting with a couple we'd met who'd been cruising for the last 14 years, they convinced us to
go. "heck, it's a downhill run with a great breeze! You couldn't ask for better conditions!". Ah, we bit the bait
and cast off the lines at noon the next day, Feb. 22. The first 12 hours were uneventful. Winds were coming
from the west at 8-12 knots. It was mostly cloudy and cool, in the low 50's. Then the first squall hit while I
was off watch and  down below in the cabin. No problem. An hour later, when I was on watch, I didn't pay
much attention when I saw the second squall coming from behind on the radar. And then it happened! Within
15 seconds, the mild breeze we had been experiencing turned UGLY, and delivered 20+ knots of wind
immediately. We were way over-canvased (sails up), the auto pilot (self steering helper) could not handle the
load and Bridgie now had a boat that was OUT OF CONTROL! I hollered for John to wake up and give
some assistance to my now terrified state of mind! The seas were confused and building, with swells in excess
of 8', coming from all directions. It's 2 AM and very dark. Visibility isn't good. Rain is falling and you already
know about the wind. John takes over the helm and we plot a course to Bahia San Quintin. It's obvious that
the storm isn't going to settle down any time soon. The weather continued to worsen (read all about it on the
main page) and we arrived at San Quintin at 9 AM the following morning, a 120 nm trip from Ensenada. We
set the anchor, checked our heart rates and settled in for a well deserved nap. Gosh, were we tired!

Sadly, Mr. Gnome received a serious injury while on the journey. He suffered 2 broken legs and a cracked
hip. He'll be out of commission until we can get him to intensive care. See photo below for more detail.

The winds and big seas continued for 9 days. We rode out those days at anchor in winds that ranged from 25
to 30 knots all day and night. (see video on photo page..yes, that was taken at anchor!) Life inside the
Sailsoon cabin could be compared to being in a washing machine. When standing, we swayed left, right,
forward and back constantly. We learned to keep our knees slightly bent and absorb the shock while standing
to  work at the GPS or while cooking, etc. In our bunk at night it felt like we were in a blender. John lost
about 10 lbs just from the unplanned exercise!

We didn't leave the boat the entire time, nor did any fishermen visit with offers of fresh fish. I guess it was too
nasty for them. The time was spent wisely, though. We both were able to become more familiar with the
electronics on board, as well as study the paper charts and learn more of the symbols.  But my favorite
"sport" was trying to read the clouds, identify what they meant and I came up with just one matter
what color, shape or dimension, it just meant more wind...more and more and more.... The dirt
We did have the good fortune of meeting 2 other cruising boats while at San Quintin. When we arrived,
Sweetie, with Tony and Shannon aboard, had  tucked in a few days earlier. They decided to brave the
weather and left a few days later. A few hours after they left, Estrella, with Adam and Kristina aboard, came
in. Although in both instances their boats were 3 miles from ours, we still had a visual on them and it was nice
to chat and get support on the VHF. Both boats intend to head south, so it will be nice to have such fine
people to look forward to visiting in those tropical dream places.

Am I having fun? Ah, the jury is still out on that...stay tuned........