Bahia Tortugas

For all the interesting places we have visited and will visit, and all the beauty that surrounds us, this has so far been the most difficult thing we have ever done. We have been constantly challenged along the way, the ocean will always show you what you’ve yet to learn, and will scold you for your mistakes. The trip from Ensenada to Bahia Tortugas was one of those times.

I had been watching the weather prediction for days. Tuesday and Wednesday were going to be 25 knots gusting to the higher twenties, perfect for a downwind sail to cover some serious miles. From the perspective of the relatively protected waters of our Georgia and Juan de Fuca straits, maybe, but on the open ocean, not so much.

It started out picture perfect. Genoa poled out and reefed, single reef in the main. As the wind increased we put the second, then third reef in the main, letting the reefed genoa do most of the work. The wind was not a problem, the boat was well balanced, and we were sailing nicely at a good clip. The problem was the seas. Not the huge rolling swells we experienced when we were caught the the gale after leaving Newport, not even half that size, but these seas were confused. The swells came from at least two directions, forming random peaks and valleys that gave the boat an unbearable motion. We regularly had water wash the cockpit, and we spent the whole time in our foulies. It was the worst 47 hours of our trip.

It challenged us to the limit of our endurance, and made us question our dedication. Lessons learned, moving on.

Bahia Tortugas is a well protected anchorage, and a welcome sight for sore eyes. We have spent three comfortable days here recovering from the passage down.

The trip into town starts with a local who wants to watch your dinghy. At 20 pesos a boat, or about $1.30 CDN not a problem. Our guy, Jose, insisted on earning his money. When we went to pull the dinghy back to the  water he was no no no, and pulled it out himself. Chris gave him a 1 USD tip and he was shocked. She didn’t realize she had just doubled his earnings.

As you walk into town it has a bombed out look at the water front, with many of the buildings appearing to be in mid demolition. Further in it appears to be a place of terrible poverty, except all the late model cars seem to suggest a certain amount of wealth. A sailor gang of crew from four boats might have been a spectacle in a place like this, but this is nothing new for Bahia Tortugas. Just a week and a half previous the bay hosted the 190 boats of the Baja Ha Ha.

The people here are happy and friendly. Always a smile and a hola, and there is the ever present entourage of the local dogs that followed us everywhere.

We came across an unmarked door in the side of a brick wall. Inside was a beautiful and well stocked grocery store. Everything you would expect to find including fresh and inexpensive produce.

No Chris, you can’t bring that puppy with us!

One response to “Bahia Tortugas”

  1. Thanks for such an interesting read about your travels. I’m so impressed with what you have set out to do. Too bad Rob wouldn’t let Chris take home a puppy!


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