Sunday, November 21, 2010

Southbound to Cabo

We spent a couple nice days anchored in Bahia Santa Maria. This is a huge bight just north of Bahia Magdalena.  The water still wasn’t warm enough to swim on my comfort scale. But there were lots of birds, fishermen in pangas and a good hike along the shoreline.


A hike along the shore of Bahia Santa Maria

We left Santa Maria to head for Bahia Magdalena (aka ‘Mag Bay’ among the yatistas), about a 25 mile run. It was light airs but we eked out  a nice sail. Past by a few whales, but still no good whale shots. The jumping rays were very cool. These guys would leap out of the water hell-bent to get somewhere, wings furiously flapping. Then they’d do a classic belly flop with their white undersides slapping the water. These guys were clearly here for our entertainment.





A frigate bird watching the flying rays

We anchored off of Belcher Point in Mag Bay. It sounded interesting as it has old rusty stuff from a whaling station that had been there until the international moratorium on whaling was passed. Right now it is used as temporary housing for the panga fishing fleet who are  scraping by a living.


I was excited to go ashore after we anchored late in the afternoon to look at rusty stuff. Since this was the locals homes, we walked around the outskirts to be a little less invasive. There was a long set of breams that were from the old whaling station. Between the two there was a gully about 50 feet wide and maybe a 1/3 of mile long. We walked along here only to realize that it was vying for the prize for the worlds largest outdoor latrine.

In the morning we pulled anchor at 7am to head for a day and half crossing to Cabo San Lucas. Picking up the anchor was a drag. There were 10 million hard shelled barnacle like crustacean thingees firmly attached to 75 ft of chain which had to be removed before going into the chain locker (or else it could get pretty stinky).


Winds were light most of the day giving us a really nice downwind sail using our asymmetrical spinnaker polled out.


Even Saben got into the light wind sailing game and they poled out their headsail for a wing-on-wing downwind run.


We had good winds till about 5:30 in the morning. Then it was a motor boat ride into Cabo.


Above is Cabo Falso, the first cape next to Cabo San Lucas. You can see (if you click on the image to enlarge it) the old lighthouse down low and he new one at the top of the hill. The new light can be seen from 35 miles out to sea.



The famous Los Arco of Cabo San Lucas.

When we got around the point headed into Cabo it was a complete zoo. Jet skis every where. Sail boats with dual outboards taking tourists for a ‘sail’. The cruise ship Osterdam was in, with two more cruise ships planned for the next day. There were only two boats in the anchorage in the lee of the cruise ship and it looked really rolly (and nausea provoking). Paying for a transient slip in the Cabo marinas is highway robbery. You can get hit for over US$100 a night. We decided to just keep going and head to Cabo Del San Jose, about 19 miles further on. We picked up a slip here for US$40 a night in this high-end swanky resort development that is not quite complete – like no water or power on the dock we were on. Still a bunch cheaper than Cabo and very secure, and friendly.


Marina in Cabo Del San Jose

The C-MAP electronic charts we’ve been using down the coast of Baja have been surprisingly accurate. That is until we got to Cabo San Lucas. The different or unknown datum that chart was plotted to starts to cause problems. The datum of a chart is the essentially the world model that the chart is laid on. The world ain’t perfectly round, so different models were created to represent its actual shape. Then on top of the model someone had to pick where zero longitude was and where the equator should be. Well, everyone did this a little different. Any chart done now is done to WGS84 datum, i.e. it matches the GPS satellites. Older charts have dozens of different datums, some unknown. The problem effects paper charts, just as it does electronic ones. Take a look at where the boat is just past Cabo in the image below; cutting right across the land. The red you see on the left is the overlay of the Radar image showing where the shore edge actually lives.



Here’s Chris dressed for the weather, listening to old Jimmy Buffer A1A album and waiting to get to Los Frailes (‘The Friars’) so we can get in the water! The water is 77*F here, probably warmer there. We’ve read that there’s some good snorkelling and diving to be had in this area and we can’t wait.


So, we’re off for the anchorage at Frailes and hopefully get in some skin diving in the morning.

Buen viento-- Paul


  1. It's freakin' cold here in Ensenada this morning. We're headed your way after breakfast.


  2. Sounds very cool. Scary about the C-Map datum snafu.