Written: April 14, 2011
I have itemized many reasons why I believe that La Paz is an outstanding location from which to stage a Puddle Jump, and to this list I would like to add another: the trip from La Paz to the tip of Cabo is a good one to reacclimatize the crew to ocean movement before heading offshore. Even if you are a jumper who has not -- as we have -- taken a year off, the preparation phase of a puddle jump takes months. During that time, it is very difficult for most boats to spend significant amounts of time at anchor or in big sea. In fact, many boats spend that time in a marina or quiet anchorage piling in the provisions and fixing, installing, upgrading, and replacing.
It's been a year since the Conger family has rolled around on the open sea. Even in our hey day, we spent a lot of time in quiet anchorages or inner coastal waters where sea and swell were minimal. Our bodies are decidedly not accustomed to the movement of Don Quixote on even the most minimal of windy days. So the trip from La Paz around to San Jose del Cabo has served at least this purpose: We're getting acclimated to motion.
Either the meclizine (an anti-nausea drug that must be started at least a day before you put out to sea) or pure exhaustion knocked us all flat the first time. I vote for the later. Our final day in La Paz was full of last minute errands, emotional good byes, and a check list of "last day to dos" that just seemed to go on and on. We locked the cat in one of the cabins so at least we didn't have to deal with that nightmare∑ again. However, I did have a moment where we thought we'd left without one of the children∑ again. In any case, we put down hook, had a fruit drink (parental version laced with rum), and then fell into a coma. Fortunately, the conditions were benign. I'm not sure a full-fledged 40 knot cormuel would have woken any of us up that first night.
The second day was a very long motor from Los Bobos to Bahia de Los Muertos. I'm sure that our first anchorage has another name, but it is situated behind a momentous, bird-poop covered rock which generates a veritable cloud of the small annoying Mexican flies known as bobos. The trip was about 55 nautical miles (1 NM = 1.15 M = 1.85 KM). Motoring along on one engine, that took us about 10 hours. The seas were flat to the point of absurdity, so school was relatively easy. We did some boat chores, had a nice meal, and still fell into bed exhausted. Even a mild day at sea with a grinding motor is tiring.
The third day took us to Los Frailes, approximately 48 NM miles farther south along the inner Baja coastline. This day was almost a pure repeat of the prior one with a lot of motoring, a lot of school, and a lot of sailor boredom. We almost didn't bother with sails. Just to break the monotony, we invited Loose Pointer over for a chili rellenos dinner. When they arrived, Aeron acted like she hadn't seen new people in a decade with exclamations of happiness and relief. Bit of an actress that child. Though, I can sympathize. Even after two days, good friends in our salon was a welcome diversion and pleasure.
The next day, we sailed off our anchor (engines running just in case) out of Frailes and south around the corner to San Jose Del Cabo. Some power greater than us turned on the wind switch. >ZooM!< We started the day running in front of a 20 knot mini-norther in 3 foot seas. Now the rolling started to get to the family. Mera went down first, absolutely green. Aeron protested that she was absolutely fine until suddenly she wasn't. We looked around, startled to realize we hadn't heard her voice in at least 15 minutes, and I found her dead asleep in her cabin. Sleep is the first refuge of a body that is feeling mall de mer. Jaime held out pretty well, though studying took a back seat to just keeping breakfast where it belonged. I got sleepy, and DrC was∑ of course∑ just fine. It would be annoying were it not so useful having at least one person who doesn't vomit at the first sign of waves.
Pulling into the marina at Puerto San Jose del Cabo, the family uttered a sign of heartfelt relief. At least for now, we have stopped moving. We will spend two days in the marina checking out of Mexico, loading fresh bananas, and bathing. We will celebrate running water with our last land-based showers for at least a month, probably closer to six months. And most importantly,this is the last chance before we depart to get a full, quiet, still night of deep rest. Even if it it's only for a night, I'll take it.