Trip Reports

Abashed (21-May-2003-08-00):
8:00 AM local time, Wednesday, May 21 (1500 May 21 UTC) 31 51 N 116 37 W. Temp. 67, Humidity 78%, Cloud Cover 0%. At Baja Naval marina in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico.

Warm greetings from the crew of Maverick.

As the careful reader will have noticed, we are in Ensenada. San Diego, California, USA is the next stop. This is the 119th foreign harbor we've visited, our final one before re-entering the United States. It looks as though we'll be in San Diego on the weekend of the 24th, Santa Barbara on the following weekend, and home in San Francisco on June 7. This all depends on weather, of course, and on nothing of importance breaking, so we may not make it home until the following Saturday. It is possible that we'll make other stops but they won't be planned ones. We'll try to arrive on a Saturday so that friends and family that want to see us sail underneath the Golden Gate can be there. We'll head for Richmond when we get past the Bridge, to a berth at Marina Bay. For all the stops, we'll update you with details so that those who've expressed an interest can come by. It'll be great to see old friends (we may be able to hook up with Captain Paul from Okiva in Santa Barbara, for example) and also great to see some of the folks whom we've never met in person but who have followed along through the emails. Please consider this an invitation for one and all to come by in any of the three cities.

We took a slip in Ensenada, the first one since the end of November when we were at a marina in Gomera before we left the Canaries for the Atlantic crossing, and so the first hot shower in about six months except for Las Hadas. The pleasures of a hot shower are vastly underrated. The marina here must be the quietest place in the world for a harbor of this size.

Ensenada puts us beyond the worst of the "Baja Bash." In all, it wasn't so bad. Most of it was sailed in 20-25 knots on the nose and as I mentioned before the most unpleasant thing was how cold it seemed. We stopped at Bahia Santa Maria, Bahia San Juanico, and Turtle Bay, and the trip to Ensenada was the last leg. All along we had been listening to a weather guru to try to get some miles under the keel in mild conditions, but in the end I don't think we could really tell the difference. We didn't see over 30 knots so I guess the windows were good ones.

Several cruisers waiting to leave Turtle Bay had professional weather routers they were in touch with on satellite phones and on the day we left, the weather guy we listen to, Don on Summer Passage, didn't agree with the professionals, who are admittedly giving a more specific forecast for a particular passage. But actually, there are not too many variables. This time of year the wind blows from the northwest down the coast almost without exception, in the range of 10-30 knots. So the weather prediction is either you get the high end of that, or the low end. Don said low, the other guys said high for the three days or so it would take to get to Ensenada in a sailboat. One way to look at it is that they were both right. Or another way to look at it is that they were both wrong. Sometimes we had 12 knots, sometimes 25. About half and half. Is it really worth downloading all that stuff from the internet and spending all the time analyzing it, when you could just flip a coin and get the same results?

We left with a pretty large group on Saturday morning, going with Don's promise of an easy passage. Besides the wind, another variable is the sea state. As it turned out, there was a gale near Catalina that sent some pretty good-sized seas our way. But there was another split decision here, as we had very calm seas for about sixty miles, but about 15 miles north of Isla Cedros we began getting into some fairly heavy going with the seas at ten feet and the wind in the 20-25 range. The big boats who were faster than Maverick and so ahead of us all cracked off a bit to ease the boat's motion, but guess who didn't. By dawn we had passed everyone, and of course this completely made up for the lack of sleep and consequent splitting headache. This kind of behavior may be the reason we broke the boat. At any rate, before this happened we started to think we were going to get cheated on the Baja Bash and not get our share of bashing, but now we're happy. Some guys whined to Don about his forecast, but not us. Weathermen are not to be held to the same standards as other professionals. The reverse is also true, and if it weren't, we'd see automobiles with the wheels on the top, and toothbrushes that weigh a hundred pounds and are made out of balloons.

Ensenada is pretty pleasant, by which I mean that if you walk up into town, chances are real good you won't be hit by some big wave. It's a nice feeling.

PS to Jim: Try to stay in touch with email so we can work around your trip on Orca and see you in San Diego.


Seaman Jim Mead, a good man even though he is a weatherman for the federal government, is also webmaster extraordinaire, world-traveler, bikist, baseball fan, make that Oakland A's fan, and supporter of the American Way of Measurement. He writes in on a botanical note, another one of his specialties. He says that as we were south of the Sonora desert on our trip inland to Oaxaca of the beautiful name, the cactus we observed was not saguaro (Cereus giganteus) but cardon cactus (Pachycereus pringlei) which is from an entirely different genus yet still of the family Cactaceae. He also claims, and no doubt he would not tell a fib, that Pachycereus pringlei is the main ingredient in Pringles, so Mescal isn't the only product of this region.

The use of the apostrophe in the above mention of the A's brings up a painful topic. Theresa Fisher, linguist, email monitor, and betrothed of your Captain, found not one but two embarrassing errors in the missive entitled "With God On His Side" involving the use of the word its, or it's (which were corrected in the version posted to the website). This no doubt had Elizabeth Spinner, the English language professional on the Maverick staff, reaching for her nitro-glycerine tablets. I informed Ms. Fisher that as a result of her find, she would receive, absolutely free, two days and nights aboard Maverick. She didn't sound the least bit excited! Girls are so weird.

The misusage of the apostrophe has a proud history in the field of country music, and I am personally fond of it, along with the equally notable creative application of quotation marks, and this goes a long way towards explaining my lapse. For example, it wouldn't surprise me to see a sign reading: Country Jamboree "Featuring" the Judd's. Which Judd-Naomi or Wynona? What is being featured? There should be another word at the end, like davenport. Who is being slyly mimicked-Truman Capote?-by the quotation marks?

And speaking of the Judds, here we have another tie-in with our last missive. The show-business debut of that duo occurred on the stage of the Rancho Nicasio we mentioned last time. Mom and her young daughter sat in with the Moonlighters, a band that was led by recent Grammy nominee Bill Kirchen and had the distinction of "featuring" your Captain on drums. Actually, using the title Captain when subject is show-biz stuff has unfortunate associations. Anyway, Naomi was a waitress at the Rancho and she said she was going to take her daughter and move to Nashville to try to make it. I doubt if anyone in the room that night thought they'd be famous, except Naomi Judd, who, it turns out, is nobody's fool.

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