Crossing the Sea of Cortez

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We left La Paz and anchored just outside of town in a bay called Colleta Lobos. This is where we spent our first day in the La Paz area nearly two months ago. We wanted to go snorkeling but the weather was just not cooperating and the water was just a little too chilly for our new standards. That was enough for Ashley and I to decide to head southeast to warmer water and warmer temperatures. We have many friends in the Banderas Bay and they were sending us nearly constant comments on the warm waters and tropical climate. Banderas Bay, which is where Puerto Vallarta is located, is a popular destination for cruisers. Which is the primary reason Ashley and I had been resisting heading there. However, we had not seen many kid boats lately and we knew many of them had headed to Banderas Bay. There are four good sized towns in the bay that offer cruisers a place to either anchor or a marina. We decided to head to a town called La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. La Cruz has both an anchorage and a marina. La Cruz also has a very well organized and active kids club.

Once we decided to head to La Cruz we needed to get Samadhi ready for a passage. The passage to Banderas Bay is about 320 miles which should take about three days and two nights. So before setting off we topped off our water tanks, put away any loose knick knacks, and made sure nothing would go flying in the bigger seas that we were expecting.  We took the motor off the dinghy and stored it on the railing. And we rigged our jacklines. The jacklines are the lines that run fore and aft that we attach our harnesses to when we are at sea. Basically they keep us tied to the boat at all times when we are on deck. We set off early in the morning with 15 knots of wind and moderate sized seas. The sailing was fantastic and we set a course more or less directly to Banderas Bay. By the afternoon, however, the wind increased in strength to the mid to upper 20’s and the seas increased in size. Our forecasts predicted that we would have good wind for 75% of the trip across and then we would run out of wind for the last quarter of the trip. We would then have to motor the rest of the way. So despite the increase of wind and seas, Ashley and I decided to keep our foot on the gas and keep all of our sails up and just sail faster to try to get across the Sea before the wind dies. It required us to take shifts driving one hour on and one hour off for 24 hours straight but we both enjoyed it and we made amazing time. After the first 24 hours the wind eased just a little and we were able to let the autopilot drive us for the last 30 hours. We made it all but the last 20 miles under sail, so our gamble and hard work the first day paid off.    Victoria and Alexander did fantastic, as always. They both really enjoyed being at sea. They really liked seeing the many dolphins  that were swimming with the boat for many, many hours throughout the crossing. They each help prepare meals and clean up afterwards as Ashley and I worked through our 24 hour rotating schedule. Alexander made egg, tomato, avocado, and cheese tacos for breakfast. Victoria prepared fruit, cheese, nuts, veggie snack trays for lunch and snacks throughout the passage. The only meal that Ashley or I had to prepare was dinner. As we headed south we all noticed the weather getting warmer and warmer. The water too, quickly became warmer and warmer. We crossed latitude 23 on the morning of the second day at sea and we were officially in the “tropics”. We sighted land early on the third day and by the late morning we made our way around Punta de Mita the northern tip of Banderas Bay. Just before rounding the point we were greeted by four breaching humpback whales welcoming us to Banderas Bay.

Dan on shift putting the Sea of Cortez in our wake
Alexander making breakfast on passage
Playing Wii with a friend

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