4/18/2012 – A Night Passage

Monday night would have been a good one to leave San Evaristo. It was dead calm all night long. Unfortunately, on Tuesday it blew out of the north and northwest all day so our destination of Ensenada Blanca would not have been a god place to be. But we waited another day as planned. It blew off and on all day Tuesday and, to tell the truth, at the end of the day it didn’t look like it was going to calm down enough to meet our standards.






This is Lulu’s idea of a perfect passage and I must agree. Other conditions need not apply.

We sat around kind of tentatively ready to get going as sunset drew closer. But, it was still gusting off and on. It was unclear whether or not we’d go at all. Finally, the sitting and anticipating got very old and we decided to just have a normal evening. If conditions met our specs later, we’d shove off, if not, we’d stay put. Things got much easier after we made this decision. Lulu made pizza for dinner and we enjoyed it while watching an episode of True Blood. When the show was over and the pizza was gone, it was obvious that our waiting had worked out. It was flat calm outside.

We hoisted the anchor and got underway about 8:30 PM. It was still light (barely) as we exited San Evaristo leaving 20(!) boats behind.

My Mom asked in a comment earlier, “Why would you want to sail at night? Don’t you need to be able to see where you’re going?” The answer as to “why” is partly logistics. By leaving San Evaristo at 8:30 PM we were able to anticipate arriving at Ensenada Blanca at around 10:30 AM the next morning. In order to arrive in the daylight and to leave in the daylight would have required at least one and maybe two overnight stops along the way. Not that the stops aren’t worth stopping at but we’ve already seen them and we’re kind of in a hurry to get past Puerto Escondido so we can have time to make a few stops in new territory on our way to Puerto Peñasco. As to the “don’t you need to be able to see…” part of the question, the answer is “yes, sort of”. We had almost no moon last night. Oh, we got a thin fingernail section but it didn’t come up until around 5 AM and didn’t shed much light then. The stars, however, are so bright down here where there’s little light pollution that the night never really seemed pitch black. We could always see the land masses for instance. Other boats are required to have lights that tell us which direction they’re going.  They don’t always but I’d say they generally do. We have AIS which allowed us to see the National Geographic ship “Sea Lion” while they were still over 10 miles away. We received information about who they were, what they were, how fast they were going and on what course. But really, other than the NatGeo boat, we saw one panga and he had a light on. Otherwise, there was nothing. This is a very empty area. As far as a path, I had a route plugged in to the GPS. We’ve used the route before and, as long as we follow it, we won’t run into anything. What if the GPS fails? Besides spare GPSs, we also record, every hour, our course, speed and position. If needed, we can transfer this info to the paper charts to allow us to proceed on.

But the bigger question of “Why” still exists. The reason is that traveling at nighttime, assuming you have a good GPS path, is awesome. It’s quiet, the sun isn’t beating down on you, and there’s a good chance you’ll be the only thing moving on the water. The stars are amazing! There are so many of them and they’re so bright. Last night, I was sitting in the cockpit reading when a splash happened right alongside the boat. Near enough that I got a little splashed. Then I heard the familiar exhalation of breath that indicates dolphins. I stood up and looked but couldn’t see much. Then I saw three streaks of phosphorescence coming towards the boat at high speed. It was dolphins. They swam with us a little while and then split. You can’t see phosphorescence during the day.

The trip was great. It was dead calm with nary a breath of wind. We motored along happily. At one point this morning Lulu said, “If it could be like this all the time, I don’t care if we ever sail again. This is perfect.”






We arrived at Ensenada Blanca about 10:30 AM. The cove was empty when we first saw it but now there are six other boats besides us. The resort is happy about it. They tell their guests that, when you see the sailboats arriving, it means we’ll have good weather for awhile. That’s true. We avoid this bay when the north winds are blowing. But there are no north winds predicted for the next 3 days at least.

The wifi here is working great so I was able to download over 150 e-mails. Thank you all for your comments. I think I answered most of the comments but I’ll check again. Now I need to get caught up on blogs and update our position on ShipTrak.

Más mañana.


About sryoder

Steve & Lulu... retired. Had enough of the cold wet dreary fall/winter/spring in the Pacific Northwest. Bought a boat, fixed it up, sold our home and sailed to Mexico in November, 2010. Been here ever since except for occasional forays to the States (summer only, thank you) to visit the kids, parents and siblings. If you're looking for a sailing blog, this is the wrong place. This is a traveling, hunkering in, eating blog. Sailing is just how we get from place to place when we can't walk.
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6 Responses to 4/18/2012 – A Night Passage

  1. Nita Conlan says:

    Steve and Lulu, We are enjoying following your journey. I finally signed up to get notification of new posts and it makes it so much easier (and enjoyable) to keep up with you. When you get ready for a trip back to the PNW to get out of the heat keep us in mind. We have a guest room all ready for you anytime. Nita and Mike

    • sryoder says:

      Thanks Nita and Mike. We’ll keep it in mind. Glad you’re getting the automatic notifications. I’m doing that on some of the blogs I follow and it definitely makes life easier.

  2. Dani says:

    ahh..such a refreshing story to wake up to. I can just picture the stars and easy going evening.

    I imagine it’s like those long road trips at night with hardly anyone else in sight. Only the radio, highway, and the stars.

  3. Joan/Raymond Yoder says:

    Dad just showed me how to find out where you are. I did click on the first here but I said that doesn’t tell me much so Dad said click on the second here and i did. How much further are you going up? What is your destination before heading back to Oregon and when will you be doing that? Love, Mom

    • sryoder says:

      Mother! Aren’t you paying attention? Okay, here’s the “plan”: We plan to go up as far in the Sea as we can, to Puerto Peasco on the mainland side. Then down to San Carlos/Guyamas on the mainland side where we’ll leave the boat and fly back to Oregon in mid-July. Well, we may fly from Mexico to Florida to get our drivers licenses and then fly to Oregon a few days later.

      BTW, on the first “click here” you can zoom in using the controls in the upper left-hand corner.

      Love, Steve

      • Joan/Raymond Yoder says:

        Well,honey, allow for a “senior moment”. Memory not as good as would like.Love, Mom

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