Considering a sailing adventure to Mexico? Just look at how engrossed that guy is in the book! Grab a copy of the Unauthorized Guide to Sailing in Mexico, and you too can find yourself sitting on a Mexican dock with an oversized (but very attractive) hat.

Unauthorized Guide to Sailing in Mexico

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puerto escondido to la paz

We had actually decided to leave Puerto Escondido (Spanish for "a goat's filthy asshole") two weeks ago. We got as far as Candeleros, 7nm south, but Hurricane Manuel headed our way so back to Puerto Escondido we ran. When we finally dried off from that we put our metaphoric foot down: we're done with Puerto Escondido. We bought whatever miserable provisions we could: stale bread, paper towels, and Red Bull. We spent two days prepping the boat for passage making mode and away we went.

Sunrise on the Sea of Cortez. Single reefed main, heading south.

I was pretty happy with my planning on this one. Diesel usage in the Sea of Cortez is normally a huge joke. The joke is you motor around all day and then get blown out of an anchorage at night. But on I saw a pretty good window of steady N-NE winds in the 10-20 knot range and combined with Charlotte wanting to put some miles between us and Puerto Escondido we punched it.

In the end, we managed the whole affair in two rather straight forward days. Twenty four hours, sailing through the night, then dropped into Isla Partida for some rest the second night. Woke up this morning, motored down to La Paz, and clinked our margarita glasses together to a safe and speedy passage. The total diesel consumption was somewhere around 4 gallons: a joke in these parts.

Moonrise over the Sierra de la Giganta.

Ever since single handing the Pacific side of Baja I've grown to favor the longer and more offshore routes. Granted, "offshore" is a relative term in a Sea that's barely two hundred miles across in some places. But in the middle of the Sea you get steadier winds, less refracted waves, and less of the current-induced choppiness that can be common in places such as the San Jose Channel. 

I've done and will continue to do night time gybes between islands in the dark, hoping that your plotting skills are dead accurate otherwise a rocky cliff is in your future. But if I can avoid that by going around something, even if it adds a few miles, count me in. Two hours spent with white knuckles in the middle of the night versus three hours relaxed listening to some MP3's of This American Life while sipping tea: which would you pick?

Cora with the Hydrovane in the background.We managed to knock out just over 100 nautical miles (of a ~130 nm run) without running the engine which is a miracle on the Sea of Cortez. Even better, we hauled ass. This was really my first time putting the Hydrovane through it's paces and I've got to tell you: I'm impressed. If there was enough wind to sail, the Hydrovane could steer. Even better it doesn't use a single electron of electricity and is built like a tank. Note to self: trying to pull into a marina with the rudder down is like walking around your friend's apartment holding a 20' long pole. The reduction in steerage response is dramatic in close quarter maneuvering so typical in a marina. We had a cross wind and cross current (opposing each other), but still, I'll be popping that sucker off before we take up another slip.

Our plan is to sit tight here, wait out Hurricane Raymond who hopefully doesn't come up this way, and haul butt down the 4-5 day passage to La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. 

Reader Comments (9)

Love the video Eric! All the best to you and your family. I love following your blog and would happily trade our fog up here (we live just outside Vancouver BC) for your warmth and sun down there!

October 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSue

I love this video!!!!

October 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCintya Bimbela

Great video! Is that still the go pro? i think I remembered you mentioning going to the contour HD? I've got one and been pretty satisfied with it, seems well made.

October 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMyron svDiscovery

Sue - We're headed to New Zealand so we'll definitely be getting our share of cold and less-than-sunny weather; I think I'll miss the tropics for sure. Ditching the mosquitoes, heat, and cyclones will be nice though!

Cintya - Glad you liked it!

Myron - It's a Contour Roam. I've been pretty happy with it. I heard that GoPro fixed their firmware that made them so horrible so I might try to update my model and give it a spin. Did you hear Contour is getting out of the camera business? Finally a good competitor to GoPro arrives, everyone loves them, and they vanish. Shame.

October 21, 2013 | Registered CommenterEric

I'm jealous!!!

Good lack!

October 22, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterstranger

What a romp this video was! And I loved hearing your voice again, Eric, while explaining the importance of human contact and generosity. Dan and I are certainly not on a boat, but in a tiny studio. It's only through the generosity of local volunteers that I've discovered the mountains around here in order to detox from the city and such things. People willing to put something out there, just cuz.

Wishing you and "the girls" a relaxing few weeks. hugs and kisses. maria

October 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMaria

Great video bro. Can't wait to get underway and reduce latitude next year.

October 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNate

So, just taking a shot in the dark here, but am I to infer that you didn't care for Puerto Escondido?

Oh, and thanks for trying to make sense of Obamacare as it applies to us ex-pats. Really appreciate your efforts.

s/v Siempre Sabado (not the m/v Siempre Sabado that you may have seen/heard in Puerto Escondido)

October 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Yoder

Steve -

For us it was a hard, hard, place. We were there during the hottest and stormiest weather of the year, there were no other families with kids around, decent produce was next to impossible to find, and with little kids we couldn't really enjoy the natural stuff (snorkeling, spear fishing, hiking) like so many others.

I'm really trying to separate the Sea of Cortez from "the Sea of Cortez with two small children", and I know lots of people really dig the place.


October 22, 2013 | Registered CommenterEric

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