DOWN THE FOOD CHAIN, AND BACK IN THE GROOVE
This is the fourth in a series of six posts I am publishing every day since Sunday, with the daily highlights of our non-stop passage from Ensenada to San Jose Del Cabo. Click here to see the previous post.
(Monday, April 13th) Apparently the night was busy both above and below the seas’s surface. While handling the mainsail’s preventer I saw dolphins swimming alongside us. Later on, just before dawn, I found two squids on deck.
I was standing watch when day 3 broke, and it was a bag of mixed feelings. On the one hand, I was relieved for having ended a miserable night. The swell had abated and I was not seasick anymore. On the other hand, I was frustrated for we had progressed poorly during the night, and were now contemplating the possibility of making landfall to the Los Cabos area after dark on the fifth day – which would cause us to have to reduce speed and await daylight for the final approach on the following day. This scenario would be further reinforced if our performance under engine continued to be affected. It really sucked. We still had a long way to cover, and I was not keen to have our propeller fouled with kelp for the rest of it. So, despite the protests of the crew, and my own strong unwillingness to jump into the water, I put on my wet suit and grabbed a good knife.
At that point we were well south of Cedros Island and sailing on very deep waters – over 12,000 feet / 4,000 meters. Those who have sailed offshore know that the seas acquire a unique, spectacular, intense blue color there – and it was in it that I plunged. Right upon getting in the water, I looked down and marveled at the image of Pesto floating on extremely clear water, with moving beams of sun light dancing around her hull and penetrating deep into the intense blue ocean. The beauty of that moment reminded me of the four kilometers of water that lie under my body, and all the creatures that could be lurking around.
The fact is, humans have successfully managed ourselves out of the food chain (trading the perils of it for other kinds of threats). We are not used to fearing of being eaten. At least I am not. And swimming at that point of the ocean, and realizing that there might be animals around, aware of my presence, for whom I might be food, caused a new type of fear, nearing a state of panic. Quickly, I dove to the propeller and the rudder only to find both free of kelp. I suppose the combination of seasickness and physical exhaustion of the night before affected our senses, and we wrongly understood Pesto’s behaviors, believing the propeller was fouled, and reducing speed as a consequence. Well, at least I knew we were good to go.
Back onboard, and profoundly reinvigorated by the fresh water and the high dose of adrenalin, I quickly got in the groove. From that point forward, I deeply enjoyed every moment of the trip all the way to Cabo.
The winds were very light for most of the day, and we proceeded under engine to try to recover our average speed. An albatross kept circling Pesto from time to time, and a large pod of Dolphins swam by in the afternoon.
As night settled, we were positively surprised by an increase on the wind to 15-18 knots. We set the mainsail to one side and poled the genoa out to the other. Under that configuration, Pesto got very stable, and we made good progress at the same time as we had better sleep than in the previous night.