I have created this blog with the hopes that you, my friend, will follow me as I sail around the world (figuratively or literally, not sure yet) with my parents on their Contest 48. Whereas I hope to keep you updated with exciting adventures of exotic ports and epic waves, keep in mind that cruising - that is, traveling by boat in a leisurely fashion - tends to be filled with days of intense boredom, punctuated by moments of sheer terror. Please keep this in mind as you read these entries, for this platform will be just as much an attempt for me to maintain my sanity (and connection to the California-based world), as entertainment and reassurance for you. And so, follow me as I sail the world.

P.S. All material on this blog, words and photos alike, are copyrighted by me. Copyright 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018. If you decide that this material is worth re-publishing, please give me credit and lots and lots of money.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Baja Smash

"They" call sailing North from Cabo San Lucas the Baja Bash because it is notorious for being an awful stretch of sea to get through, usually with 25 knots of wind in the teeth, with the swells to match. There are people who have sailed around the world and said that the Baja Bash was easily the worst part of their entire trip. Going South, however, is not so bad. Especially for us, it has been really easy. Although we have had a lot of South winds, both the wind and seas have been relatively calm. This is in part due to the fact that Dad saw a weather window approx. 12 days ago, and we took advantage, even though it only gave me 5 days to make the transition from being a college student/teacher to a sailor bum, so to speak (or whatever you want to call a 22 year-old tagging along to cruise with her parents).

This transition has been both easy and difficult for me. I went from interacting with 100+ people every week: students, professors, friends, house-mates, random people at parties- all the people you would expect in a college atmosphere- with particular emphasis on the fact that about 98% of them were my peers. This number of people to interact with (aka friends) has been drastically reduced to 2: Mom and Dad. And because I beat both of them so badly at Scrabble last night that number is dwindling around the zero range (just kidding).

In all seriousness, this is serious. Aside from the fact that over the past 4 years I spent a total of, maybe, 5 months with them? Now we are together, within 50 feet of each other, 24/7. This might freak a normal person out, and sometimes it freaks me out, but it is all part of the adventure. And adventures are not always fun. On the other hand, that I do not have any obligations except to do cockpit yoga with Mom every day, no peers to hang out with (yet), and do dishes occasionally, this is awesome! No papers to grade, no lectures to attend, no phone calls to answer (which goes both ways, I suppose)... It is really a radically different lifestyle. Sometimes fun, sometimes scary, sometimes aggravating, and (quite often) kinda boring.

Baja California is one of the most rugged and remote parts of the world. Aside from Tijuana (which is not really Baja) and Cabo San Lucas (the tourist trap that it has become), Baja has one of the lowest population densities in the world. Yesterday Mom, Dad and I (duh, who else?) went for a hike from Bahia Santa Maria to the other side of the lagoon to see the ocean. It probably looks really cool on Google Maps. While we were hiking up the lagoon we came across little patches of fishing village- if you can call a few plywood huts and lines strung up with fishing net to serve as both fish and clothes drying racks- a village. What I am trying to convey is that we are out in the middle of nowhere.

Today we sailed to Mag Bay (Bahia Magdalena) and took a walk on a deserted beach where the only sign of life was the remains of an old whaling station, which I guess is more a sign of death and decay than life. On the beach we found the skull of a pelican and two dead sharks. Actually, they were only shark heads, and let me tell you, those teeth are SHARP. Hopefully that is the only time I will ever touch them.

Alas, the most rugged and remote part of the (Mexico) trip is about to be over, as tomorrow we head for Cabo!! Yes, the tourist trap, that will have things like: cell service, a marina to stay in, reliable internet, supermarkets, (hopefully) more cruisers that I can make friends with, and civilization in general. We do have about 30 hours of sailing to do before we get there, but no problem! I will be so stoked to have other people to talk to (although don't get me wrong, M and D are great company), and just mayyyybe, a surf spot with a few other people out. Never have I had the problem of a spot being too uncrowded, but I have not seen another surfer in almost two weeks. Dude, my surf lingo is drying up.

Ok! Enough. Drop me a line, let me know you are out there, remind me that I do have more friends than my parents!!
At 12/28/2010 3:06 AM (utc) Rutea's position was 24°34.51'N 112°04.12'W

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A few pictures

S/V Rutea aka home

Charging the gnar in San Quintin

The Endless Summer-esque hike over the sand dunes to the beach at San Quintin.

Dolphins riding the bow.

People are always curious to know what we eat on the boat. As you can see, we do not go hungry.

Unfortunately I did not include any of the fishing pictures because I did not know it would take 30 minutes to upload the first 5, and I am not about to do that again. But I hope you can get an image in your mind of what I am doing! Stay tuned, maybe someday we will get faster internet and I will upload more! And of course, I will continue to write whenever I can. (turns out there is much more internet coverage in Baja than I expected, although it is slowwww)

Moby Dick stylee

I was just sitting down to write another eloquent blog entry (ok, I'll admit it, I was on Facebook) when the boat was jarred by something from below. Not a good sign. We all ran up on deck and found a seal trying to get on board to find a nice, safe place to sleep for the night. Fortunately we have high freeboard (tall sides) so it could not get on board, and Dad has resumed preparing fish tacos and I decided to blog about it.

Fish tacos! The first of our trip, thanks to my (and mostly Dad's) fishing expertise. On the way from Turtle Bay to Bahia Asuncion we put a line in the water because there was tons of activity in the water: huge schools of fish, pods of dolphins, and I am sure much more that I could not see. After an hour or so the reel started to spin, and being the totally inadequate fisherwoman I am, I started yelling that we caught a fish but failed to do anything about it. Although (eventually) I did reel it in most of the way, when the 15lb Yellowtail started flopping around on the deck, I realized how ridiculously scary fish are. I mean, in the water, fine. But when they are struggling for their lives (and this probably goes for all living creatures), they are quite ferocious. Dad killed it and then went below to change into proper clothes to filet a fish in, and I was supposed to watch it to make sure it didn't go anywhere (fish still flop when they are "dead"). When it started flopping I screamed and screamed (for reals). I finally got up the courage to step on it so it would not flop off the deck and waste a life for nothing. We have a great picture of it and I totally look like a savage (in both the connotative and denotative senses of the word). If the internet behaves tonight I will try to post it and a few more. That was the most exciting part of the day, and I promise that if I catch another fish I will not write about it in such detail next time. Unless it is a really great story.

The rest of the day was much less eventful, but we got to sail (finally!)-- the first time on the trip so far! Normally the wind down the outside of Baja sweeps down from the northwest, and today it did, but until today we have had southwesterly winds. While the air is still cold (57), the water is slowly starting to warm up (63). I know in a few weeks time I will be wishing for some cool breezes but right now I can't wait to get into that 80 degrees weather!

Stay warm my friends, fish tacos beckon.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Halfway down Baja...

First of all, I would like to commiserate with you on how terrible the weather is in California right now. But it looks like it should be generating some good swell and good snow, so I hope you are making the best of it. And then I would like to go and tell you that here in Turtle Bay the skies are blue and the cabin is a comfortable 73 degrees.

Aside from the nice weather, a fuel dock, and a protected anchorage, Turtle Bay (Bahia de Tortugas) does not have much to offer. It is a dirty little town full of stray dogs and dirt roads, although it does have a certain charm about it. To get here, we left San Quintin yesterday morning and sailed through the night. We arrived here about noon, after 30 or so hours of sailing. Not bad, considering the conditions (flat calm with 5-10 kts on the nose).

Last night I had the midnight to 3 a.m. watch. It was not so bad considering I went to bed at 7 p.m. During my watch I entertained myself by eating cheeze-its and M n' Ms.... I hope I don't get fat. I was also reading The Fellowship of the Rings but had to stop because I was getting too creeped out by orcs and thoughts of Moria, etc. Also, while we could not see the lunar eclipse last night, when I went to bed the sky was bright with the full moon, when I got up at midnight it was pitch black, and by 3 the sky was very bright again. That certainly added to the creepiness of the situation. But alas, we are safe and snug in Turtle Bay. We hope to leave tomorrow- weather permitting- and head to Bahia Asuncion.

One more thing before I go: I got to surf in San Quintin! ...if you can call it that. Mom, Dad and I trekked nearly a mile over sand dunes from the lagoon to get to the beach at the ocean. I totally felt like I was in a surf flick- surfing a wave that potentially has never been surfed before, in a remote place; no roads, no people, just open beach. This is why I did not really paddle out. I felt like a kook, but I was too intimidated by the strong current and lack of support (although the 'rents were on the beach, not that they would be of much help if I was sucked out to sea..) to paddle outside, so I just caught a few whitewash waves and called it quits. This is why I had a friend there to say, "come on, Corie, its not that big; you'll be fiiiine." Unfortunately I could not convince myself of this, but next time, I'll charge, I promise.

Until next time, charge the gnar! I'm there in spirit.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Whales and internet

Today I am really wishing I had a surf buddy on board. While it is thrilling to be in the water with whales, dolphins and seals, they do not make best companions. Dolphins rode the bow while we sailed today and kept us entertained for a few hours of sailing, and there are two California Gray whales hanging out at the entrance of the lagoon we are anchored by. Whereas these animals are freaking awesome to watch, swimming/surfing with them, alone, in a remote part of Baja, is scary.

We are currently in San Quintin right now, sitting at the mouth of a big lagoon surrounded by dormant volcanoes. The moon is nearly full, the smell of dinner cooking in the galley is making me hungry, we just took a roll and something fell (we couldn't anchor in the lagoon where the water is calmer because it is too shallow), and the ipod is playing eccentric but excellent music.

There is not much around here, just a little fishing village, if you want to call a few shacks and pongas on the beach a village. Now you might ask, in such a remote place how does one have access to the internet? Banda Ancha, an awesome gadget that fits right into my computer, communicates with the internet gods (through the cell service Movistar) and allows me to blog, to you, from the middle of nowhere. Cool, huh?

Perhaps I will be able to post more often, as now all I need is cell service! And it is incredible that there is cell service here, but hey, welcome to the 21st century.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hola de Ensenada

Heyyyy! I finally figured out what "new post" is in Spanish (accadecer, or something close to that), because apparently blogger changes languages when you go to another country. I hope it doesn't change to some obscure Polynesian language if/when we get there...

Anyway, we made it to Mexico! Orale! Of course, it only took about 10 hours (the beauty of leaving from San Diego), but it is a whole other world here. Everything seems to take a bit longer, but that's ok, we are not in much of a hurry.

As for the trip down, it was fairly boring, which is a good thing. We did see one whale (Mom thinks it was a blue whale but it could have been a Humpback or a Grey), we did not do much sailing. The seas were flat, and I think this was the first time in my life that I was genuinely stoked for there not to be any waves.

I am currently sitting on the aft deck praying to the internet gods (i.e. the tower up at the head of the dock) to not delete this post before I get it up on my page. Ensenada is a cute little city, somewhat of a mixture of Rosarito and Tijuana. Lots of raunchy bars with loud bass pulsing out of them, over-friendly vendors selling everything from panchos that say "Chargers" on them to glasswork and fish tacos. The Immigracion and Capitania del Puerto were charming, and it only took us about an hour to do the whole process (light-speed for Mexico), which included getting 6 month visas for the country (for the bargain price of $20!). Apparently they can be real assholes and keep you there for upwards of 8 hours, so we were lucky. We also have a mexican cell phone-- hit me up and tell me where the party at!! (I'll get you that number ASAP.)

This might be the (first and) last city we are in until we hit Cabo San Lucas, which is at the end of Baja, about 700 miles away. We will probably spend Christmas in some little remote cove down the coast. I am so happy not to have to shop for gifts for anybody, although I told mom and dad that I would wrap up some of the random crap I have in my cabin and give it to them.... they were not stoked on the idea. Mom said the only thing she would want of mine is my Xanax, and although I have yet the need to take one, there is not a chance in hell I would give those away.

I wish you all a preemptive merry Christmas and a late happy Hanukkah. Please send me emails and messages and funny comments so I still feel somewhat connected to the "real" world. Miss you all!


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I hate leaving but I love going...

Often times I get very anxious when I am about to leave a place, whether it is my San Diego home, my Santa Cruz home, or just a place I enjoy being. The funny thing is that I seem to do it a lot. And I will do it even more so being on a boat. However, the thought of staying in one place for the rest of my life is much more terrifying than the prospect of new countries and open ocean.

Today I cancelled my cell phone service; over the weekend I sold my car. The time that I have spent in San Diego since moving here last Friday has been a whirlwind. I am not sure what I have been doing, but something to the effect of grading finals (you got an A+), buying essentials for the tropics (new longboard leash, tropical water wax, whole leaf tea, bathing suits and flip-flops), and of course, surfing. Surfing keeps me sane, and although at times I felt like I was going to have a panic attack from all the things I needed to do, I still found time to get in the water with my favorite SD surf buddies.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, we leave (we being my awesome parents and myself). I can't really fathom what that means at this point, and in all honesty I do not know. I hope to be gone as long as I feel is right. Vague? yes. Esoteric? maybe, but I do not want to assume too much or too little. Without expectations one can't disappoint, right?

Anyway, I apologize for the incoherent rambling. At this point I am a bit overwhelmed, but I wanted to post once more before I head out. I hope the next one is from another country. Hasta luego amigos!! Keep in touch.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Moving Sucks

One of the things about being a History major is that we have a lot of books. Hella books. And while I love these books and refuse to sell them back to the university for an offensively low price, they are a pain in the ass to move. Most of them I will never read again, however, I am taking an ambitious stack on the boat with me. Some of them include Blood and Oil, A History of Life, Malcom X, Rome and the Italian Renaissance, and many of the other books I was assigned over the years in college but never got around to reading. This is my chance. Will (re)learning about the Franco-Prussian wars and the unification of Germany appeal to me as I stare into the aqua-blue, 75 degree waters of Mexico? I have no idea. But better safe than sorry, so I pack the German history text book in the "For the Boat" box.
Really, I am trying to be as conservative as possible with the things I intend to bring on the boat. Dad has already acquiesced to allowing me 2 surfboards on the boat (great success!!), my longboard- the budnana, and my bitchin' brand new short board-which I have yet to name. Mom already has her classical guitar on board, and I have decided to bring my steel-string guitar, one, because we are going to start a family rock band, and two, because...well... I love that guitar. The skateboard is still up for debate. In the way of clothes, well, let's just say I am not planning on wearing too many. Bathing suit and boardshorts all day every day!
However, I am not in warm water yet (the good kind). I am still in Santa Cruz; the books are still on the bookshelf; a pile of finals wait to be graded. The water is cold but the surf is good.