Excitement levels were high as we left Bahia Santa Maria behind us on the final leg of our trip. As usual we fell into our rhythm of watches, naps and eating but there was definitely a “watch countdown” happening. After two weeks of broken sleep everyone was really tired (except me, because I had the princess shift!) but also pretty stoked that we had traveled all the way from Ensenada to Cabo in our boat!
While the rally was to end in Cabo, it was not the ultimate destination for most. Some were continuing on to the mainland, others heading into the Sea of Cortez, quite a few were joining another rally, the Panama Posse, and others were heading to the South Pacific. Everyone was looking forward to getting to Cabo for a few days R&R before continuing on though.
As we neared the Tropic of Cancer the ambient temperature noticeably increased and we saw more sea life than previously. While we'd seen lots of dolphins along the way, now we were also seeing turtles and a even a whale off in the distance! So exciting but so incredibly difficult to get on camera! There was also talk of perhaps jumping into the water (conditions permitting of course) as we crossed the Tropic, but of the four of us only one was truly excited at this prospect. It was decided instead that a good dousing on deck with a bucket of salty water as we crossed would be sufficient to mark this momentous occasion, but even that was met with a considerable lack of enthusiasm by the majority. I mean, it was definitely getting warmer but not THAT warm. Trivialities such as water temperature were no deterrent for Kimberly though. As we three whiny wimps watched the GPS to call out the exact moment of crossing, she ceremoniously dumped an entire bucket of Pacific Ocean water over her head, thanked Neptune for safe passage thus far, got dressed and put out a line to catch a fish. No grass growing under this lady's feet!
We hadn't really done much fishing during the trip, Daz and I are not fisherfolk at all. We have a few hand lines onboard but nothing in the way of any decent fishing gear but that wasn't going to be a show stopper by any means. And lo, before too long there was much excitement in the cockpit as Kimberly screamed “Fish On!!” She landed a beautiful Dorado! Not squeamish in the slightest, she killed it, filleted it and had it marinating for our dinner that night! Is there anything more delicious than a fish caught from the back of your boat and cooked by someone else for dinner? I think not!
With the sunrise came our first sight of the arid cliffs of Cabo Falso, deceiving us like a thousand other sailors into thinking we had arrived to Cabo San Lucas. Alas, it would still be a few hours before we would reach the nirvana of a cold beer and tacos!
As we drank our coffee, the landscape slowly changed from barren desert to artificial oases of palm trees and riotous bougainvillea spilling over the walls of giant empty vacation homes. The boats around us hauled in their spinnakers as we rounded the famous the rocky arch of Cabo San Lucas.
For thousands of years the indigent Pericu subsisted in the area on the bounty of the ocean and the cacti and agave growing in the surrounding hills. From the mid 15th century there was sporadic contact with the Spanish explorers, until the Jesuits established a mission in the mid 1700's. Unsurprisingly, the Pericu objected to this and a few years later the Jesuits retreated after the murder of two of their missionaries. Sadly though, weakened by disease brought to them from the old world and their numbers depleted by hostilities, the Pericu went the way of the other aboriginal inhabitants of the Baja and were extinct by the late 1800's. A small fishing village was established by Europeans in the early 1900's which has evolved, 100 years later, into the tourism mecca of nightlife and fishing that is Cabo San Lucas now.
It's a busy place! Huge hotels lining the beach with their music blaring, sportfishing boats coming and going, vacationers on jetski's tooling around between boats, sailors taking their dinghy's to shore, mega yachts with helicopters on their foredecks immovable while the churning water in the anchorage had those of us in slightly smaller boats rolling and pitching like a bucking bronco on crack. With the addition of an extra 150 boats from the rally, space to anchor somewhat close to shore was at a premium but we found a little slot in the crowd, dropped the anchor and promptly Kimberly and I jumped into the water. It was so deliciously warm! The boys got the dinghy in the water, we got ourselves cleaned up and headed into town for those longed for beers and taco's we'd been dreaming of all day.
An early night was had by all and we all slept well despite the rolly anchorage and the wind. A boat that was next to us when we went to sleep dragged in the night and ended up on the other side of the bay by the arch! Most boats were trying to get into the marina to get out of the uncomfortable conditions but there was no room as a big sportfishing tournament was going on. We got onto the waiting list along with the others but expected to have to wait for 3 or 4 days.
In the meantime there were several parties organized for the rallyers which we had no intention of missing. We found a water taxi to take us to the town dock rather than take our dinghy in. The first party was at Squid Row and we had a great night letting loose with 300 other sailors celebrating their arrival to Cabo! Only problem was the water taxi's running from the dock to the anchorage stopped running at 10:30pm. We were gobsmacked by this – a party town like Cabo, where clubs and bars are open just about all night but the transportation stops at 10:30pm?? Well it was no time to debate the idiosyncrasies of local portage rules because we needed to get back to the boat. Fortunately for us, a lovely fellow sailor had his dinghy and he offered us a ride to our boat. Not so fortunately for him because we couldn't find it. I know that sounds weird, but it's dark, there are a hundred white hulled boats with masts out there, there may or may not have been a few adult beverages consumed and what looked like great landmarks during the day simply disappeared at night. We went back and forth several times and put a few miles on this guys outboard before we finally found the boat and apologized profusely to our good samaritan for the extra half hour it took him to get home. I want to add here, we have LED lights in our cockpit that were on so we would be able to find the boat in the dark, but what we didn't realise was that the frame of the cockpit cover rolls down and obscures the lights completely when looking up from the water. A few lessons learned that night!
Over the next few days we moved into the marina, cleaned up the boat, sadly said goodbye to our fanstastic crew and planned our onward passage to La Paz.
I can't even describe how fabulous it was to arrive into Cabo San Lucas, 2 weeks and one thousand miles from our starting point of Ensenada. I can't believe I did it to be honest. I feel a huge sense of accomplishment for overcoming my fears about being on the open ocean and all the dangers associated with that. I think what made it so good though, aside from the weather being mild compared to other years, was the incredible crew that we were so fortunate to find and of course the Captain, who made sure we were all safe and happy as he navigated our little boat all the way down the coast to those fabulous tacos and cold beers we had been looking forward to. How awesome is that!