Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Dreams and Realities

Three thousand...hard to believe that is how many miles we have sailed this season. Our grand adventure, dreams turned into reality, the fruits of our hard work realized. It often still seems surreal that this is our life. And is it what we thought it would be, does it look like all the pictures we have swooned over in blog posts? Well, yes and no, sometimes a lot more of the no.  In this life we are quickly realizing that when things are not working out, parts are breaking, swells are pounding, winds are howling or everyone is just feeling out of sorts... being on a 48' boat is, well,  hard.

 I wouldn't say we are on rock bottom (although with the next tidal swing who knows) but arriving in Puerto Peñasco will make the list of low points. Although we were elated to relish in our accomplishments of reaching where many cruisers dare not travel, our celebration was short lived.

We arrived on a slack tide in less time than expected after an overnight crossing from Puerto Refugio, where 20-30kn winds had been rocking us for two days. The passage was lumpy but overall good. We motor sailed the whole way to keep our arrival within a favorable tide and current window. We were unsure what to expect since we had been unable to reach any of the marinas to confirm availability for docking. We were all dreaming of hot showers, internet, phone service and a cold cerveza. The sun had risen with the harbor entrance in sight and we followed our buddy boat, watching them disappear behind the breakwater about half an hour ahead of us.

Peñasco is the place we had heard of from another couple who had ventured to the top of the sea. They had spoken of their amazing experience hauling their boat and having work done and to top it off we would be just 60 miles from the U.S. border! It would be perfect for us. We needed to haul Empyrean out and paint her bottom plus we had a project list that we wanted to complete in the off season to prep for our Pacific crossing. So we scrapped our original plan to go to San Carlos and set our sights for a late spring arrival to Puerto Peñasco, almost 500 miles into the Sea of Cortez.

We turned the corner into the harbor and we can see nothing but shrimp boats, dozens and dozens of giant shrimp boats rafted together everywhere. We slowly maneuver through the tiny waterway and spot our buddy boat, S/V Luminesce, waving us onto a side tie. We are grateful to be tied on and quickly begin to assess the situation at hand. To our dismay it appears that there are no available docks to accommodate our boats, fortunately the man on the dock says we can stay here to figure out a plan.

A meeting with the boat yard reveals we will be unable to haul out until Monday, five days away, when there is more water in the haul out slip. Here in the northern part of the Sea of Cortez there are large tidal swings that come into play.  We walk the circumference of the harbor and talk with each of the dock masters only to confirm our original speculations, the only dock available is the end tie, in all its glory (insert sarcasm here). Our arrival has been perfectly aligned with the end of the shrimping season.  For the next few months we will share the docks and boat yard with shrimp boats prepping for the next season, definitely not the neighbors we have grown accustomed to.

So this morning I am enjoying my coffee in the solitude of fish jumping, Mexican music blaring from another slip and the sound of shrimp boats being pounded, grinded and sandblasted back into submission. Still tied to a dock that may float away in the next big blow, still not showered, with no water or electricity to speak of and no hopes of any internet connection to upload these ramblings. But it could be worse and I am aware of even at the lows, I am fortunate. I am enjoying this coffee while my senses are entertained with scenery that is different than yesterday and the day before and even the day before that. My mind is free to wander and reflect, not cluttered by the endless newsflashes of yet another day of the same old ramblings on the morning news. Or worse yet, coffee wasted down the front of my shirt as I manipulate sips through a morning commute with thousands of others going through the motions of life. Life is good, not just good enough.

I leave you now with some pictures of our travels through the Sea of Cortez. And don't worry there will be more ramblings and videos of the past season to come soon. Although this season is coming to a close it is starting to feel like the door to the world is just beginning to open.

Los Muertos, Baja Sea of Cortez

After 7 days on the boat the girls were obviously happy to be on land!

Somewhere in the Sea of Cortez
Underwater in Puerto Balandra
We were all amazed by the beauty of the sand and crystal clear water
Clear water in Puerto Balandra was perfect for paddling and snorkeling

San Evaristo-a quaint fishing village in the Sea

Beautiful waters surrounded us in each anchorage

A little bit of cave exploring

Zoey doing a little "research"
Sitting in Puerto Refugio with our buddy boat sv Luminesce waiting
for a weather window to make our last overnight sail of the season

Shared the dock in Puerto Penasco with this guy, locals call him "Harvey"

Out of the water for the summer after 3000 miles of sailing this season

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