Night Sailing: Ensenada to Cabo San Lucas.

Night Sailing; what a trippy and spooky new experience for us. All of our senses are hightened to the fullest, because it’s damn dark out here! Every little noise keeps us on our toes: waves, hull splashes, wind in our sails, rigging, water foaming at our stern, the creaking of drawyers and hinges in the galley, or a random hallyard clanging the mast. We also hear various ships using the VHF radio. San Diego had many military announcements round the clock. Ensenada had shrimp boaters and fisherman rambling quickly in Spanish. When in Bahia de Santa Maria we primarily heard our new sailing friends chattering about where they will anchor or what’s cooking for breakfast. We hail nearby sailing vessels that we know, asking if they have reefed their main, put away the whisker pole and/or furled their jib. “Sea Bella, Sea Bella, Sea Bella calling Reverence, over”… “change to channel 62”. One night, we discussed the waxing sliver of orange moon setting on the horizon. I have never seen such brilliant stars, millions of stars just above brightening the pitch black sky. The biggest challenge of night sailing for me is sleeping. We rotate night watches every few hours, while the others try to sleep down below (the various sounds and rock n rolling is much less though if you sleep outdoors in the cockpit). The person on ‘the watch’ glances at the chart plotter screen for navigation. Always checking waypoints and rum lines. We look for other boats, weather and/or objects on our radar. We regularly peek at the wind direction and speed indicator, as accurate sailing is very important for boat speed and maintaining full sails. Watching depth wasn’t critical on this leg, as it is extremely deep 20 miles off the Baja coast, averaging hundreds of fathoms, I guess. We have had fun watching one nautical guage monitoring the water temperature as we were sailing down the coast. The temperature in Morro Bay when we left was 59 degrees and Cabo San Lucas just turned 84! Since we were Hobie racers for so long, watching boat speed is habit. We get a thrill when Sea Bella reaches 10 knots on a downwind sail, surfing the 10 foot waves! We also like to log our latitude and longitude every hour, and it was exciting to close in and cross the Tropic of Capricorn. But, the biggest mystery is to see how many squid have jumped up on deck by first light, Andrew and Jane Weeks counted about 19. Other friends collected squid and fried them up for a sunrise breakfast!

Our great crew for the BajaHaha; Andrew Ensler and Jane Weeks

Leave a Reply