Santa Maria to Cabo San Lucas

We stayed in Bahia Santa Maria for 10 days. After posting here last we were planning to leave… but the wind! my god does she blow!! We rode out another 30+ night on the hook and were joined by several boats looking for some protection from the seas. Spray from the waves was making it clear to the cockpit and the decks were soaked even though the sun was out. Two guys in a rib came by with surfboards and before a word was exchanged the guy points and says, “Hey, that’s my old wind vane.” And it was. We bought it from him in Santa Barbara a year beforehand off craigslist. small world. He was delivering an Offshore 48′ power boat from La Paz to Newport. Andrew was stoked to have some mates to go for a surf with and they scored a good session at the point followed by a delicious dinner aboard their yacht, complete with beer and wine (Lucky us! We ran out of booze a week prior). We knew he had sailed to Peru in his Catalina 27′ from Santa Barbara so he is one of our heros. It was a great night – buena onda. Stuffed full of chicken mole they sent us off with hand fulls of limes, guavas and oranges (and a half forty of Tecate for the “road”)!

You can’t get here by car or airplane…

We also had the pleasure of meeting Patrick aboard Traveler, a beautiful steel boat we had seen now 5 times. Both of these large boats in the bay did not have any way to get the weather other than making a phone call to someone who did. Being the only boat in the bay with access to it we were happy to offer up our internet cafe and I wrote down the weather and we took it over to him. Turns out, he was living aboard at Ventura West only three docks up from us! small world. Patrick was the man. He had built his boat in Santa Rosa, CA and was single-handing down to Mag Bay to see the whales. He had unfortunately lost his autopilot and was now hand-steering his boat, NORTH! It was great to meet him and exchange our stories and we hope he and our other friends have had a safe trip back up the peninsula.

We continued to hold out on the passage South and spent a few more days getting blasted through the shore break on dinghy missions to shore. On one exit attempt from the estuary mouth we poorly timed the approach (being a little overconfident at this point) and barely escaped a throwing lip over the bow. Andrew gunned it over the shoulder and I went completely airborne along with at least the front half of the boat. It was a thriller.

This was the situation at the estuary mouth…

We spent our days making flat bread and ate a lot of lobster…

Making bread. Just flour, salt, oil and water… make a dough, smash it down, fry it up. YUM!

Lobster feasting

Then, we met some new mates aboard Patience. These guys, two Austrian, one Floridian, were chuggin over to the waves in their dinghy just after pulling into the bay. Both Austrians were Greeners… went to college down the street from where I grew up. small world. Go Goeducks. They left from Santa Cruz on a Coronado 34′ and are on a mission to Costa Rica. Similar to us they are on the steep section of the learning curve and their best story, which I am going to share is this: After their first night at anchor in the rolly, rocky lee of Point Sal they went to pull up their anchor and the spliced eye of the rode which connects to the chain was hanging by two threads!! This, my friends, is my worst nightmare because it equals you and your yacht while fast asleep crashing into the rocks! They were fortunate to have pulled that puppy up just in time. Being unaware of the quality of splice having inherited it from the previous owner they didn’t know the thing was all loosey goosey. They fixed it. Learning curve. Their report from the passage down baja was… it was either blowing hard or not blowing at all and motoring. This was the same report we got from Traveler. He said he had had NO good sailing! Either motoring in calms or reefing with seas. Same with us really… although we did have some nice sailing from Cedros to Turtle.

A moody morning shot of Patience. It rained a little this day… the tail of a front.

So, we finally left for Cabo! We sailed out of Santa Maria at dusk. We had not been at sea in a while and were excited for the adventure. A few miles out of the bay, it now being pitch dark, no moon, we could see a light off the bow that was looking more like a stern light… but it was coming for us with no navigation lights (the green and red ones that help you determine which side of the boat you are seeing) and within in minutes, it seemed, we were 100 feet from a Mexican fishing boat just charging north. It was surreal. This little encounter had us on our toes then entire passage. The first night was still as cold as every other: ski socks, three jackets, hat, gloves, double pants, hot drinks. There wasn’t a moment on any of my watches where there wasn’t the glow of some cruise ship coming or going over the horizon. Lit-up like Christmas trees those damned things.

We sailed for a few hours that night before the wind died and we motored until morning when we had what I would call for the first time – smoooth sailing. All day it blew about 10-15 knots and there wasn’t any ground swell to speak of. We waited out a massive NW swell from the low pressure that swept the West Coast of the US and Northern Baja a few days earlier. Sometime in the mid morning I was on deck messing with the preventer on the boom and I looked up and there was a humpback whale RIGHT IN FRONT OF US, one boat length or less. I mean like… we are going to hit it. I flew into the cockpit and grabbed the tiller to turn up yelping for Andrew and as he stuck his head out of the cabin a mamma humpback whale and her calf went right along side us.

We approached the Cabo the next morning at sunrise. I woke up and took my ski socks off for the first time in 38 hours wiggling my toes to a new scent in the air… it was WARM!

Approaching Cabo Falso at sunrise

Coming around the Cape into the bay with it’s massive rocky cliffs and aqua-azul waters was really something. Unfortunately there was a nasty ol’ cruiseliner spewing up black exhaust, but it didn’t matter, because we made it down Baja!! Whoo-hoooooo! We anchored just off the beach in 15′ of clear water and rowed ashore and drank a margarita (that cost 10 bloody dollars!). With a big sloppy grin we stripped down to our swim suits and jumped overboard.

Rounding the Cabo at the famous arch

Baja Fishing Report: We trolled a hand line with a purpley gold squid on it and a rod with a red and silver one almost the entirety of baja… we caught nothing. Our Santa Cruzian friends caught three bonita off Santa Maria, they had caught nothing until then and caught nothing after.

We’re just hangin’ out in Cabo provisioning and getting high on jetski exhaust at the anchorage. It feels good to be on vacation! My hand was sore for three days after drawing this.  I started it in Santa Maria but I couldn’t draw in the last track until we got here…

9 Responses to “Santa Maria to Cabo San Lucas”
  1. Tyler and Fabienne says:

    So excited you guys have made it safe to Cabo! Those waves look awesome, but I guess not ideal for sailing. Definitely a small world. The lobster and bread looks very tasty, but most importantly your map is beautiful! How long are you guys planning on staying in Cabo? Love you and miss you, and love reading your posts, I read them aloud to Tyler and then we marvel at the photos.

  2. Chris says:

    Julie that picture is awesome!
    Congrats on the making cabo, hopefully it will be warmer and less windy.

    Ru man, the situation as you put it at the estuary is rediculous. Frothing. Mag quality.
    Please report back from Zippers. Off season score opportunities should not be taken lightly.

  3. Patty Layton says:

    Hi Julie…your drawing is beautiful and so is the photo of you drawing your drawing. I haven’t checked in with you and the arc for a while…it was such a pleasure. I am loving your adventure from my cloudy, rainy Olympia desk. Also looking forward to hearing about your mom and dad’s time in Hawaii. Be safe. Love, Patty

  4. Jenny Shade says:

    Wow! You are doing fantastic! I’m so happy to see and experience all of your adventures along with you. Next time you come across a humpback, take a picture! You keep saying you see whales, but no pictures! It’s exciting to see the pics of the food you are eating. The dead sharks were wierd. We’re all keeping up with you, so keep writing. Nice drawing!

    Back in port -Jenny

  5. Huiro says:

    Muchas felicidades amigos!!
    looks like you’ve got to a piece of cielo!, can’t believe those empty left handers!!! much like puertecillo!, you add warm water, equals magico!. Stoked to see how you made your pancito! muy rustico! and the fresh langostas! hummmmmmmmmmmmm!
    Hope the heros that came from Peru revealed the right moves to make it down here!!! vamos peruvian broder!!!

    Hey hermano; Me and Juan Pablo were on our way to Chorales the other day on a solid 3 mts swell just like the radical day at my birthday when we charged the Big Red all around the hills to find the spot!! it was the influence of the paraguayan filete.. Malaso!!!!!!!. There was a big difference this time, we carried our filete de la planta santa and scored a glass mid tide perfect choralazo!!!

    Keep the buenda onda amigos!! Bendiciones del viento 🙂

  6. JD Speas says:

    I just saw Charlie and Leeann at the Channel Islands yacht club and they told me of your adventure. We sold the Matrix to them!
    I loved that boat! We sold it because the wife wanted one that smelled better! I became a Yanmar mechanic working on that little engine. The boat always sailed well.
    I’m not ready for any cruising so I will vicariously do some with you guys if you don’t mind.

    Nice blogging!

    Be safe and have a blast!

    JD Speas

  7. josee says:

    Wow Julie and Andrew, what an adventure; i love reading about you sailing down Baja Peninsula . Julie you are a fabulous writer, I feel like I am right there with you, without your sea legs I am sure. Stay safe and keep the posts coming. Are you heading over to the mainland now? Easa and I will be in Mazatlan from March 30 to April 10; we’ll keep an eye out for you on the horizon.


  8. Vanessa jones says:

    Jules… I feel like I transform into another world when I read your posts… they truly a work of art. I love looking out in to the Monterey bay and out past Santa Cruz just thinking about where you started in California and how far you have gone and how many incredible experiences you have had.
    Thanks for keeping us tuned into your travels at sea. . . it keeps my mind fresh and imagination going . . . hugs. Vee

    • followthearc says:

      Thank you Vee! I like thinking about you and your good vibes. You are so happy and fun you make the world a better place. I also like thinking about you in Santa Cruz and moving there someday!

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