2:22 PM GMT-5
From Sea to Shining Sea
Location: San Diego, California, U.S.A.
Coordinates: 32° 42.773’ N 117° 13.789’ W
We successfully finished the Baja Bash on Thursday evening, thereby completing our transit from the East Coast to the West Coast of the United States.
It took us 5-days, 6-hours to cover the 760 nautical miles. We were fortunate have nice weather for most of the passage—we had only one 24-hour period where it actually felt like a “bash”. We averaged just over 6 knots (about 1/4 knot faster than I expected), and we burned about 360 gallons of diesel fuel. All systems performed perfectly, and I was especially happy with the engine room temperature hovering around 100-degrees (due mostly to a new blower and stack installation).
As I wrote in my Before the Bash blog, Kathryn and Ayla were not aboard for this part of the voyage. I did, however, have a stellar crew in Dick and Todd, and I am very grateful for their assistance. They were skilled, disciplined, helpful, and cheerful—just what you want in a crew. We ran 4-hour rotating watches, so each of us was on for 4 hours, off for 8 hours. The seas sometimes made it difficult to sleep, but we all got enough rest overall to make it a pleasant passage. Thank you, Dick and Todd!
This is a very lonely stretch of coast. Many 4-hour watches passed with zero contacts, and most watches had no more than a single contact (usually a freighter). One cruise ship passed us on its way to San Diego, and we saw a handful of fishing boats when we were close to shore (near the capes). We saw one other cruising trawler as they exited Turtle Bay, but they were soon out of range because of their longer water line (65 feet) and therefore faster cruising speed. The radio was silent for most of the five days.
The fishing was terrible. We put two lines in the water almost as soon as we exited the marina in San Jose Del Cabo, and we caught 14 bonito before we rounded Cabo Falso (all of which we returned to the sea because they don’t taste very good). We thought this was a pretty good sign for the fishing to come, but it wasn’t: we caught only two more fish on the entire voyage! We caught one nice bluefin tuna, and it produced the best sushi I have ever eaten. And then we caught another bonito, which we initially mis-took for another tuna, but alas it was simply a bonito. We tried every lure in our fishing box, but there just weren’t many fish interested in this cruising trawler’s offering. Oh well—at least we had a couple good meals from the one bluefin tuna.
The wind and seas were excellent. We had been watching the weather for about six weeks before our departure, and it was clear that 2-3 day weather windows were possible, but a 5-day window would be unlikely. In the end, we got lucky, and we know it. We had one 24-hour period during which the wind and waves were pretty uncomfortable, but the rest of the voyage was quite mild. One day was so calm that Dick couldn’t decide whether his log entry should describe the seas as “glassy” or “oily”. Sweet! We went out on the bow that evening for happy hour, and the photograph makes it look like we’re at anchor. The skies were mostly cloudy/foggy with the typical Pacific marine layer, so we didn’t see much of the sun. The temperatures were mid-high 60’s during the day, and around 60 at night. Brrrr!
Wildlife sightings were numerous. We saw a handful of whales, all at a distance, and one gave us a beautiful view of its tail fluke as it dove. We saw dozens of seals lounging on the surface, especially on the very calm day. Pods of dolphins would show up daily to surf the bow wake. And we had a couple of stowaway birds ride along on deck for awhile. I thought we would see more whales than we did, but I didn’t expect to see so many seals—you just never know.
We arrived in San Diego one day earlier than expected because of our higher average speed, which was a bonus. I fully expected to be boarded (or at least hailed) by the U.S. Coast Guard once we crossed the border, but we encountered no military or law enforcement of any kind. We slipped into San Diego bay without incident, being greeted only by harbor seals lounging on one of the channel buoys. It was eerily quiet for such a busy port. Our check-in with Customs and Border Protection was uneventful, and we were soon moored snugly at Kona Kai Marina on Shelter Island.
We will stay here for about a month while Ayla finishes her school year and I travel for business, and then we’ll begin making our way up the California coast in mid-June. We’re looking forward to exploring the west coast of our beautiful country, and we’ll eventually make our way up to Seattle, British Columbia, and Alaska. It’s the start of another new chapter in our adventure!