Baja Passage Update: Day 5

LAND HO!

This is the final in a series of six posts I have been publishing since last Sunday, with the daily highlights of our non-stop passage from Ensenada to San Jose Del Cabo. Click here to access the previous post.

The anxiety of the previous night proved unnecessary for we didn’t see any small fishing craft, nor had problems with fishing lines, and the progress had been excellent.
We were now less than 100 miles away from Cabo San Lucas, and seriously on the game to reach San Jose Del Cabo still under daylight. There was some wind, but not enough to propel us at optimum speed. We were also tired, and so allowed ourselves to proceed under engine.
Even though the day was mostly clear, and we were now just 20 miles away from land, we couldn’t still see it. In fact, we had not seen land since our first day out, and we were already looking forward to it. It was only by late morning that I noticed a different silhouette on our port side. Initially it appeared to be a cloud, but then it materialized as the tops of the Sierra the la Laguna – a mountain range that extends from La Paz to the region of Los Cabos.
Slowly, the coastline started to make itself fully visible. First we could see the whole mountains, from top to shoreline. Then, the major features of land. And finally, the southern tip of the Baja peninsula could be seen.

No that's not a cloud ... LAND HO !
No that’s not a cloud … LAND HO !
Adriana soaking in the sun, and enjoying the view of land after 4 days of a 360-degree horizon

When we got within 50 or 60 miles from the cape, the wind started to fill in at 15 knots, exactly on the same direction we were sailing, and we set our main and genoa to opposite sides again. But we also kept the engine on to keep average speed up – we REALLY wanted to reach our final destination before sunset!

Everything was pushing us to Cabo Falso - the wind, the engine, and even the current. There was no stopping us from reaching San Jose Del Cabo during daylight at this point !
Everything was pushing us to Cabo Falso – the wind, the engine, and even the current. There was no stopping us from reaching San Jose Del Cabo during daylight at this point !

At approximately 4pm we had reached Cabo Falso, which is in practice the “bottom left corner” of the peninsula, and the feature seen from boats approaching from the NW, but it is not the real Cape. It was only after rounding it that we finally saw the real Cape.
It was a very special moment for me for I had long dreamed of rounding Cape San Lucas. And there we were. To make the moment more memorable, the wind was also making its way around the cape, keeping us on a dead downwind configuration despite our changing course from SSE to SE, then ESE and finally E. It was getting stronger as well, now blowing a steady 20 – 25 knots.

Pesto-16Apr15-172
As much as I have dreamt of crossing Cabo San Lucas, I never imagined it would have been in such grand style !

It was like that, with our sails set on opposite sides, the wind pushing us along strongly, and the engine still on, that we rounded the Cape at a speed of 9 to 10 knots. I don’t think I will ever forget this moment, and the satisfaction that came attached to it !
The city of Cabo San Lucas is adjacent to the cape, and is a bustling tourism area. As we were sailing by, we saw a cruise ship, a very large private mega-yacht, a number of fishing vessels and pangas, all to the beat of a loud background music – rave style – which was playing somewhere on shore.

And while we were crossing the cape, we had yet another perk - we reached the 2,500th mile of our Journey !
A few miles after rounding the Cape, we had yet another perk – we reached the 2,500th mile of our Journey !

While we were still sailing the area, I had a jump scare. I was telling Adriana I was surprised we had not seen any whales next to the Cape – for this is an area famous for its whale sighting – when a HUGE grey whale surfaced some 10 meters (not a typo: TEN METERS) off to starboard from our bow, coming on the opposite direction. I could not understand how it was not aware of our presence, for the engine was running, but the fact is that it was there, and for a split second I feared us colliding with it – imagine Pesto with its 25 tons at 9 knots against a 40 ton whale at a similar speed in the opposite direction: that’s more kinetic energy than three mid-sized sedan cars at their maximum speeds, not a pretty collision scenario. Later on, reflecting on it, I gathered that whales must have gotten used to boats getting very close to them for the sightseeing in this area, and thus are far more comfortable with proximity here than elsewhere.
After recovering my heartbeat, I focused on our final destination, San Jose del Cabo, now 12 miles ENE from the Cape, which we covered in another 1:30 hours. We still had another whale sighting along the way, but this one at a much more civilized distance for us and the whale.
As we approached the breakwater, another minor stress as we could not hail the marina staff over the radio. The sun was nearing the horizon, and we charged into the harbor anyways (it is against our internal policies here on Pesto to enter an unknown area after the sun crosses the horizon). We were determined to stop at whatever slip we found for the night, or even drop anchor inside the marina basin. But luckily we finally got them through over the radio, had a proper slip assigned to us, and a few minutes later were enjoying a pleasant shower, followed by a great dinner at their restaurant, where each one of us proposed between 2 and 3 toasts for the achievements of these five days. We had done it !!!

Pesto sailing bodly, some 5 miles after rounding the Cape, en route to San Jose del Cabo. It was one great passage !
Pesto sailing bodly, some 5 miles after rounding the Cape, en route to San Jose del Cabo. It was one great passage !

That night Adriana and I went to bed exhausted, but extremely satisfied for having accomplished this passage, and looking forward to a full night of sleep, without having to wake up every 3 hours, or to be nannying the Autopilot for hours on during our watches!

Thank You for following this story.

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