ith reports this month from Volare on what seemed to be the abrupt end of summer in the Sea of Cortez; from Celebrate on completing a rare Northwest Passage; from Rise and Shine on the Seychelles; from Geja on 10 years in the Med; and Cruise Notes.
Volare — Caribbean 50 Jason and Vicki Hite End of Summer in the Sea? (Long Beach) Summer ended rather abruptly on the fall equinox at the Don Juan anchorage, near Bahia de Los Angeles in the middle of the Sea of Cortez. We were getting ready for Vicki's birthday party, planning on eating fish, drinking cool drinks, and enjoying water sports to stay cool. Instead of the usual very hot weather, we got a Norther. The wind Thanks to perseverance, wasn't just out Jason got the fish he of the north, as it needed for the party. would blow from the west, too. The wind was cold, shifty, and relentless. Outside the anchorage waves pounded the shoreline. What a change! We had invited the fleet over for fish tacos and flan. Terry Kennedy — who has been living on and diving in the Sea for more than 40 years — and I planned on going spearfishing the day before Vicki's party to get the fish. But every day the wind blew, the sea got uglier, and the visibility decreased. Furthermore, the water temperature fell from 84° to 79°. The wind was still up when we made our first attempt to get fish. We anchored just inside the entrance to Don Juan, and tried going out and around under-
What do cruisers do much of the time in the summer in the Sea of Cortez? They socialize more than cruisers anywhere else in the world.
water. As expected, visibility was terrible, and we only saw small fish. Terry and Dawn on Manta offered to supply fish from their freezer, but we decided to try again the next day. Luckily we had a relatively calm night, and the morning of Vicki's birthday we were able to get to a promising spot. Terry and I both speared two fish, although Terry's were twice as big as mine. The biggest fish weighed 11 pounds, and we got 36 pounds in all. I had to wrestle one fish away from a sea lion, but that's another story. We did get a lull in the wind to have some watersports fun. But rather than the usual, "What can we do in the water to stay cool?" question, it was "I think it might be warm enough to go wakeboarding — if you take a few sips from this flask first." I rigged a bridle, and Terry and Dawn pulled people around on the surfboard and paddleboard, depending on their skill level. I've never gotten up on water skis or a wakeboard. Now I can add surfboard to that list. But the paddleboard was easy. We had halyard catapulting scheduled too, which is where you somehow fling people into the air off your boat using a halyard and a dinghy. But the wind was blowing too hard to make water sports a desired activity. But Vicki had a great party anyway. I cleaned the fish, Dawn fried them up, and we had fish tacos for everyone. Dawn also made her awesome flan, which is almost like cheesecake. Another boat brought a lemon meringue pie. Good food, and good company! Still, it seems odd how quickly the weather changed. One day you're keeping your hair wet all day for cooling, lying on towels to soak up the sweat, and always seeking shade and/or a fan on fullblast. The next day you're wearing cotton clothes — including shirts! — and the fans are off. But things are good up here in northern Baja. We are starting to look at the chart and see if there are any last spots to hit before we start setting our eyes on moving south. We're going to move south a lot slower than last year, because last year we
discovered that if you go south too fast, you find yourself back in summer again. And summer in the Sea can be a challenge. All day long you're either doing something in the water or under the water. If you're out of the water, you do as little as possible — preferably in the shade with a nearby fan blowing at you on the highest setting. I had to give up coffee. It's just too hot, and you don't want the energy it gives you. Energy makes you want to move, but moving makes you sweat. It's so humid that when you sweat, you wear the water like a coat. Gravity helps it pool beneath you, so you need a towel or you'll be in a puddle in no time. We use a lot of water to drink and to rinse off. We use a lot of energy, too, in order to run fans, refrigerators, freezers and watermaker. We eat dinner around 10 p.m. because it's too hot to cook or eat while the sun is up. We enjoy the nice, cool temperatures as long as we can stay awake, because sweating all day is hard work.
The November 2017 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.