We came to the tip of Cerralvo and were looking forward to rounding and heading in the correct direction. We knew from our charts that there was a reef at the tip of this island. It looked a bit larger than we had hoped. As we got closer it extended out much farther than the charts indicated. We motored about 3 miles out of our way and were anxious to turn south. Oh no! Another float! Was it a net or a float? We looked way into the distance and did not see another float identifying the other end of a net. As we cautiously motored toward the float (yet another 1/8 mile out of our way) we searched the horizon. Putting the engine in neutral to stop the propeller, we slid across the area next to the float…..nothing! Whew….lucky again! Finally…..we turned south and began our trek across the Sea of Cortez and into the Pacific Ocean, which we had not seen since February.
Nighttime at sea is a bit unnerving, especially if there is no moon. The first night, the moon did not come up until after midnight. As it gets dark at 6 p.m., we spend half the night in pitch black. Since this was to be a multi-day and night crossing, we take sleeping shifts while the other drives. Dale had the 6 – 9 p.m. shift on this first night. The day had been calm, but at 5:30, the winds picked up and out came the sails half way. As the darkness fell, and Ken settled in to his evening nap, the wind increased more and more. In pitch black, Slow Dancer was raveling at 7.25 knots. The top safe speed for her is 7 knots and this is not something that we do often. Dale began turning into the wind. The wind shifted. Time to wake Ken. Together they reefed the sails slowing down considerably. Stars came out and eventually the moon, which made for a much friendlier night.
About half way through the night we were joined by a sea bird, a Booby. This is a relatively large bird with webbed feet. Apparently they are not afraid of humans, at least not this one. This bird made it’s evening perch on our boom and refused to leave. Feeling sorry for this lost creature, we let him stay (knowing that we would have to clean the deck upon arrival). He clung to the boom and eventually to the solar panels as we rolled in the waves. About 10 in the morning, we noticed him fly off and he was soon joined by a dozen other Boobys. That bird used us to get to his friends! We spent the next hour yelling at these flying poopers and waving our boat hook to keep them all from landing on our home.
The second day gave us rough seas as the Sea of Cortez mixed with the Pacific. However, these slowed down as evening approached and we enjoyed a calmer night, complete with dolphins swimming and jumping beside the boat.
As daylight broke on day 3, we could see the rough outline of a city…Mazatlan! We motored past shrimp boats and saw a whale in the distance. We had arrived and it was only 9 a.m.!