Passage: San Jose del Cabo to Isla San Benedicto…..

Dear F&F,
December 15-17, 2008

The distance to our destination was such that no matter how we calculated our possible speed & distance we would be underway 2 days & 2 nights in order to time a daylight arrival. Going to an island unknown to us, it is only prudent seamanship. Before exiting the marina, we took the time to calibrate our autopilot & main navigation system compasses to be more synchronized & accurate.
There was only 5 knots of wind but we knew as soon as we were abeam of Cabo Falso off Cabo San Lucas, we would get more breeze & pick up speed. It tried our patience some to slog along so slowly under sail. We have been used to motoring a lot in Mexico since there is frequently not enough wind to sail. Or it is strong & coming from the wrong direction. Anyway, we were motivated to conserve our fuel so we sailed at an embarrassingly slow 3-4 knots for about 3 hours. Then we decided to just get going & motored on 1 engine for 2 hours. Then a beautiful breeze came up off our starboard beam and we really got going.

We did 4 hour watches timed to have Scott awake during the radio nets. The first night he talked to two ships on VHF radio that we saw crossing RIGHT in front of us. We really like the AIS (automatic identification system) that shows us these ships on our navigation screen long before they can be viewed by eye.

Despite my scopolamine patch I, became motion sick if I tried to read or write. Sea legs: no problem. Sea head & stomach: not so good. So I just enjoyed the sky, ocean & Sirius radio. I drank hot tea, cocoa & thought of fun snacks I could eat to reward myself for the passing of an hour. Scott has only rare seasickness in very boisterous seas. So he occupied himself with reading & writing emails, both personal & for requested weather reports.

The 2nd night we deliberately slowed down, sailing with the main up only, to insure a daylight arrival.
Overall we had fine conditions and a very comfortable trip. The only incident was a loud thumping noise on the starboard side as if something was hitting the boat. We weren\’t sure if we had hit something or if our newly rebuilt starboard transmission was having some sort of problem. We did several \”back downs\” to see if we could shake whatever we might have caught on our sail drive or dagger board. Eventually all seemed well. We ran the motor for an hour just to make sure.

Our second day and night were very slow, but by design we covered the last 1/3rd of the trip (total 249 miles. We could see Isla San Benedicto in the dark 20 miles away. It was Land Ho! Isla San Benedicto is a dormant volcano which last erupted in 1952. The most recent eruption created about an additional 20% of the islands land mass and looks just like the Hawaiian lava fields. This island chain is on the \”Rim of Fire\” which goes around the entire Pacific Ocean. The island looks like the moon – volcanic, no vegetation. There are quite a few booby birds which look cartoonish. The weather is ideal: mid 80s day & mid 70s night. The water is 80 degrees!

After a 2 hour nap we did an under the boat dive to check what our anchor was set in and see what we could see. It was just sand, 45 feet deep, we didn\’t see much, a few boring fish. We took it easy, just settling in. My brain & body decided I should still keep watch, so I was awake most of midnight to 3 am. Scott snored away peacefully. It takes me a while to get over these passages. We are eager to discover all the wonders that are in store for us here. Late that night, the commercial live aboard dive boat, \”Nautilus Explorer\” arrived outside the anchorage. We had spoken with them on the radio two days before and they told us they would be back here soon. We were anxious to find the manta rays and hammerhead sharks!

Scott & Cindy