Crossing the Sea of Cortez

On Thursday, August 9, we bid farewell to Santa Rosalia at 4:30 p.m.  Along with Santa Rosalia, we said goodbye to our friends from Nilaya, Jim and Laura, who would continue south to Mazatlan.  We cast off our dock lines and headed out into the harbor.  We had studied the weather and knew that a storm should be approaching that evening, but shouldn’t travel out into the sea very far.  Our goal was to be 10 miles out before it hit.  The sky was clear and the wind was minimal, but enough to pull our sails and enjoy a smooth sail toward Isla Tortuga, 17 miles into the sea.  As we were gliding along, we noticed some clouds building over the land and Santa Rosalia.  Not a problem, they didn’t look to be coming our way.  On we went, and together we watched the clouds.  Building, building, building and now we saw lightning and thunder AND the wind had shifted slightly and the storm seemed to be heading toward Isla Tortuga.  In went the sails and on came the motor.  This doubled our speed and on we went, watching behind us.  Loud cracks of thunder and bolts of lightening pursued us.  As we reached the island and were about to enter the darkness of night, we saw that the storm had reached it’s limit and was behind us….whew!  On we went into the night.  The winds became non-existent,  but the seas grew a bit and came from several directions.  It was a bumpy, but otherwise calm night, filled with shooting stars.  We did see lightning in the distance over the mainland.  We kept our eyes peeled, but it seemed to be localized over the mainland.  About 3:30 a.m. we saw the lights of San Carlos and Guymas.  Wow….we aren’t supposed to be here this early!  We did notice that we were going quite fast, even though our engine was set to low RPMs.  Hitting 8 knots, when we should have been at 5, we realized that there was an incredible current carrying us. We had arrived too early and would need to waste time until the sun came up and we would be able to safely enter the tricky harbor into San Carlos.  We motored in a huge loop and tried to stay abreast of the confused waves.  Finally at 5:30 (which by San Carlos time was 4:30) we headed toward the land.  The sun came up an hour later, which was just right.  We found our way into the harbor and attempted to call the marina to locate our slip.  No answer.  Hmmm….there is a fuel dock, let’s tie up there until we get a response.  We were tied up by 6:00 a.m.  We waited until 7:45 for the attendant and again until 9:00 for the marina personnel.  Finding our slip, we motored into the tight row and noticed that there were no marina personnel to grab our lines as they had told us there would be!  We were in a double slip with another boat that was taking more than their half.  And of course, the wind had picked up.  Yikes….how are we going to do this?  Dale grabbed the lines and prepared to leap as Ken was trying to keep us off our slip neighbor.  Hooray….another cruiser jumped to our aid and grabbed our lines just in the nick of time.  Cruisers are a wonderful family!  Tied up, we breathed a sigh of relief!

San Carlos is beautiful, but equally as hot as Santa Rosalia.  We secured Slow Dancer, grabbed a cab and headed to Guymas in search of the Home Depot and a small air conditioner.  Mission accomplished, we relaxed aboard and enjoyed a well earned respite.  

On Monday, we were offered a ride into Guymas by a local that worked on boats on our dock.  We had been told of a brand of paint offered in only one store in Guymas that we would need when Slow Dancer was hauled out to have bottom paint applied on Wednesday.  We enjoyed our visit with Jose as well as our tour of downtown Guymas.
The storm was closing in!

The sun sets behind the storm as it begins to dissipate

Our first sight of San Carlos, Sonora Mexico

San Carlos Marina

We drove into Guymas for an afternoon


With our friend Jose

View from the marina

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