Only 20 miles from our little island anchorage, and we till can’t sea any land. Low lying clouds must be obscuring our view. With plenty of motoring through total calm, we are close to reaching the end of this 215 mile crossing of the Sea of Cortez, from Los Frailes, the eastern most tip of Baja to Isla Isabela. We tried to plan a passage across during a period of fresh winds, at the beginning of a moderate “Norther” and at our 3am departure from Frailes, it seemed as though we “nailed it”. We had great sailing for the first 18 or so hours, even if the seas were “a bit lumpy”. Then, by 9pm, the winds virtually disappeared.
Deciding to “sail no matter what”, is a stance we are wanting to adhere to more often. However, being on a tight-ish schedule, and having experienced the harsh nature of a norther blowing down the Sea of Cortez while only 2 or so miles away from land, the last place we want to be during a big blow is in the middle of a southern crossing. Things can get a bit daunting over 100 miles off shore.
At some point during the day yesterday, while I was trying to get some sleep in anticipation for the upcoming night watches, I was awoken by a good sized “CRACK”! It wasn’t terribly loud. Cat2Fold certainly has her own quiver of creaking and cracking, so I thought nothing more of it…until sometime later, I noticed the starboard rudder was floating up inside it’s case…
Somehow the new, 3/8″ stainless steel pivot bolt was gone!!! The rudder was only held to the boat by the 1/4″ hold down line. All the spare bolts we had on board that were 3/8″ diameter, were 1/2″ too short. In the end, I was able to wrestle a too short bolt into the hole so i could pivot the rudder into the up position. Upon further inspection, we’re fairly certain that the cracking sound I heard was the sound of the bolt breaking because of us hitting something heavy (turtle, whale, half floating debris) at 8-10 knots, and the self releasing cleat I have for just such occasions failing to operate. Luckily for us, Cat2Fold has performed flawlessly on one rudder over the past 150 miles since the break. Should be an easy enough fix once in San Blas, a mere 39 miles from Isla Isabela (which has no services at all).
In the mirrored surface of the calm sea, we saw hundreds of dolphins and turtles. The turtles were mostly lumbering about on the surface, at times appearing so lethargic that twice we saw a sizable bird using the sleeping “island” to have its own siesta.
Now, only 10 miles away, Isabela is in sight. Although we LOVE being out here on the water on a warm sunny day, with such calm seas, the endless drone of the motor has us longing for our own island siesta. Isabela is known as the “Galapagos of Mexico”, due to its large number of nesting birds and resident iguanas. Being a national park and a World Heritage Site, this protected marine environment is renowned for its world class snorkeling. With the water temp here, 8 miles out, in 170 feet of water being 82.5 degrees…maybe even Deidre can go snorkeling without a wetsuit…(;