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Another Countdown Begins

We are currently anchored at the north end of Isla Partida, in Ensenada Grande waiting for the northerly winds to finishing blowing themselves out so we can continue northward. The night before last we’d been anchored in San Gabriel. Just after settling in for a movie, the wind starting blowing from the southwest, right into our formerly peaceful anchorage. We spent the night bouncing up and down in the wind waves with only a fitful, half-awake sleep to get us through the night.

The next morning the southerly winds were still blowing so we were up early to take advantage of them, hoping to reach Isla San Francisco 25 miles north. As we expected, the breeze gradually petered out as we sailed up Espiritu Santo/Partida. We took down our spinnaker and motored for about 10 minutes. Suddenly the northerly we’d hoped would wait until later in the day to arrive, arrived. It didn’t just gradually build as winds typically do. Nope. One minute our Windex was spinning around with no wind whatsoever to guide it, and the next a steady 15 knots was blowing down on us from the north.

Five minutes later we had 25 knots, with gusts to 30. Michael and I looked at each other after watching the building windwaves for a minute or two. “Turn?” “Yep.” We steered the boat to port and high-tailed it back to Ensenada Grande to wait for the winds to die down over the next several days. With only our staysail up, we were making six knots directly for our coveted anchorage. Not an hour after the northerly started we already had 4-6 foot wind waves pushing us around. The Sea of Cortez is intense indeed.

Ensenada Grande is hardly a terrible place to be stuck in. We are surrounded by turquoise water and huge pink cliffs of volcanic rock sculpted by wind and waves backed against a sky that seems impossibly blue. There is a white sand beach which we had to ourselves to play on today and criss-cross trails that meandered inland a bit through desert scrub and cactus.

Back on the boat, the girls busied themselves with their workbooks and Magic Tree House audiobooks and Michael and I busied ourselves with our Lists. Our mission right now is to just relax and simply enjoy the next few weeks of slow exploration in the Sea, as once again a deadline is looming. By March 15th we’ll start our nearly month-long sail across the Pacific Ocean to the Marquesas Islands, our first stop on our South Pacific Adventure.

But rather than the dread that many a deadline evokes, when we get out our lists of things to do in the next seven weeks we feel butterflies. We are nothing but excited at the journey ahead. We look ahead in our South Pacific guidebooks daily, and realize that we are not dreaming anymore, but planning. All we really need to do is relish the beauty of Baja Mexico, pack some food and supplies onboard, and go.

When the wind picked up yesterday and we were barreling along with just our tiny staysail up, the sea a froth of whitecaps and spray I looked around at the beauty of it all and realized I wasn’t nervous a bit. I watched Michael as he calmly adjusted our course so our leeway wouldn’t send us south of our destination. I peeked down the forward hatch and checked on the girls who were in our bunk looking at books, oblivious to the howling wind outside. The anxiety I’d felt each time the wind built six months ago was gone. In it’s place is a calm confidence that Wondertime can handle this and much more with grace. And now after sailing several thousand miles together, I see that so can we.


  1. Trevor says:

    I have a whole set of pictures from idyllic Isla San Francisco running full time on my digital photo frame here at work; is that place for real?! If it weren’t for the photo evidence of our stop there, I wouldn’t believe it.

    Looking forward to hearing more about your cross-oceanic jaunt. Keep us posted on your plans as they develop – planned landfall, possible itineraries, etc. It’s not too soon for me to start planning a South Pacific journey for Lea Scotia, is it?

  2. Marie MiCasa says:

    Every anchorage at Espiritu Santos is absolutely divine! But wow… I read your story of what’s to come and I cringe! I’m so glad you’re now comfortable with it all. What a cool year this will be for your daughters!

    Safe travels!

  3. behan says:

    Bashing into the square chop of a Sea of Cortez norther is NO PICNIC! Sounds like an excellent decision. I think we also spent a couple of days there waiting on weather… definitely would trade that for sitting at work under the fluorescents today. 🙂

  4. Kyra says:

    Not only can Wondertime handle its future adventures – the crew seems to be doing great! We miss you guys! And we just may see you before you head out – we think we’ll be in La Paz around the 10th of March… (that’s the plan, who knows what the reality will be)
    Hugs to you and the family,
    SV Nyon crew