Baja Bash: Part Two

Five days in Turtle Bay was a little too long… Don’t get me wrong, we made the best of being there. We spent an entire afternoon jumping off the pier with some of the local kids, hiked the surrounding hills, ate lots of food and caught up on sleep. I am pretty sure there has to be more going on there when the Baja Ha-Ha is headed south, but during the rest of the year it is pretty dead.

Leaving the calm of the bay, we started out into bumpy and uncomfortable seas. Luckily the winds were light, but as we passed through the Dewey Canal the winds began to pick up into the mid 20’s and were forecasted to continue through the night. We thought about anchoring for the night, but when we got close enough to what we thought were anchor lights, we realized they were small buildings and pier. It looked like a small navel base so we decided to just keep pressing on through the night.

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Pier in Turtle Bay.

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Agápē on the hook.
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Turtle Bay

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Eerie morning on the water.

In the morning when I woke for my shift we were completely socked in. I could barely see the bow through the dense fog. This was probably the most uncomfortable watch of the trip for me, everything was so wet! The mist collected on everything. The dodger, the sails, my face… Everything was consantly dripping. I tried to stay inside for most of my watch and just kept an eye on the radar. On a positive note, the sea was like a lake and we where making great time!
By 18:00 we where just over 100nm away from Ensenada!!!! The morning of the 14th was clear and beautiful, we even got to see a huge pod of whales. We were almost to Ensenada and our next stop at Baja Naval. It was a great trip and good shake down cruise to test our boat. We got into the Ensenada Harbor on May 14th, just as the sun was setting. We tied up at the dock for the night, awaiting haul out in the morning.

For the most part everything went well, nothing broke or fell apart and Mr. Perkins ran great the whole bash back. I think I definitely psyched myself out on how hard the trip back was going to be. I’m so grateful to have had Conor, from SV MoonShadow, on board for this trip. He was extremely helpful and was a wealth of knowledge, I defiantly could not have done it with out him or my brother Chris, aka the constable.

During Agápē’s survey and haul out back in La Paz, we discovered that she had some small blisters on the hull and a few larger ones on the rudder. We had made a reservation at Baja Naval, up in Ensenada to have the work done and the bottom repainted. It was going to be considerably less money to have the work done in Ensenada then down in La Paz. We left our boat at the Baja Naval boat yard for three weeks and after the work was completed we would return to bring her the rest of the way home.

In the picture you can see where we had popped one of the blisters on the rudder during our original survey and scrapped away some foam and fiberglass to see how bad the damage was. If you ever need any work done and in the Ensenada area, Baja Naval does great work and are extremely accommodating. (Read more about the work we had done at Baja Naval.)

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Click to read more about the work we had done at Baja Naval.

When the bottom work was done, my brother Chris and I returned to Ensenada. We took the Amtrak to San Diego and a bus from the border down to Ensenada. The Baja 500 was just starting when we arrived in Ensenada and the city was packed. It was fun to walk around town and see all the race cars and trucks as they lined up. It’s crazy to think how much money is put into those trophy trucks and even crazier to think what they are put through.
Back at the boat yard we had some last-minute preparations to do before our last leg home. We still had to refuel, change the oil and restock the boat with food. At 16:00 it was go time! The lift came and picked up Agápē and returned her to the Pacific. Chris and I rode in the boat and as soon as the lift’s slings were clear, we where out of there!!! Conditions were pretty perfect, the winds were light and right on our nose, with little to no swell.
It’s a quick overnighter from Ensenada to San Diego, we arrived in port checking into the US around 05:00. Just in time to catch the customs officers on the dock before their shift was over. For us it’s seemed faster and less painless to check into the US than it was checking out of Mexico. The customs agents were friendly enough, though they did make us throw away our pineapple and cabbage. We threw away our remaining fruits and veggies, paid the $26 fee and were on our way. We sailed back out of the Port of San Diego and headed north for Ventura.

The port of San Diego has a huge Naval presence and as you leave you often get to see the warships, submarines, and the coastguard practicing and patrolling. I’m sure it says somewhere on the map but unbeknownst to us, we happened to try and go right through a military testing area on our way home, about a mile from the entrance. We had no idea until the warship that was about five nautical miles to our west started heading our direction. When it look like they’re close enough to ram us they hailed us on the VHF notifying us that we were in a US naval testing zone, kindly asking us to alter course before they would “remove us from the area”. They didn’t have to ask twice! We headed out of the area as fast as our little Perkins would take us.

From there it was a less eventful overnighter, watching freighters go by as we slowly made our way home. Approaching the Ventura Harbor the winds were light and the seas were calm. Rachel’s parents, Jack and Lynn, were waiting to greet us on the jetty, waving to us as we pulled in. They met us at the slip where my grandparents were also waiting for us to arrive. It was a huge relief when we finally got the boat tied up to the dock and the trip home was officially finished! We had managed to get our boat home without breaking or ramming anything! ( Well other than the dining table, which I wait to tell Rachel about for several months). I’ve never been so proud to own anything before!!!! The whole process was a huge learning experience. One thing I took away from our trip is that ‘slow is pro’!  Whether it is moving around on deck, working on a project or docking, take your time!

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