Baja Bash

2021-12-10
If you are a boater in California you’ve heard of the annual migration of boats to the Sea of Cortez in November, known as the Baja Ha Ha… it’s is a funny name for a boating rally and it reflects the sailing conditions for such a passage: going South, with following seas and trade winds, one can sail with ease, taking time to stop along the bay. Most boats stay in and around the Sea of Cortez for the winter and make their way back to California in June… and that return trip is known as the Baja Bash… which also reflects the conditions going North against the wind and the waves…

All the books and advice from other boaters will tell you: wait till June, don’t do the Bash in March or April,conditions can be difficult then. And yet, the intrepid captain and crew of Clapotis 2 a Lagoon 52, chose, decided and agreed to bring the boat back to Marina Del Rey from San Jose Del Cabo in early April 2021.

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We left Cabo on the afternoon of April 7, to take advantage of a good weather window and pass the Cabos (capes) early evening. Then motored to Magda Bay for a first stop after a XXhours passage. This first part went according to plan and was perfect. Turtles swam by us, we anchored in Magda Bay just in time to avoid a bad weather system, met our fishermen friends with whom we bartered lobsters and settled for 2 days in 30knots of winds. We left on April 10, our second leg was Magda Bay - Los Benitos, a group of 3 very small islands offshore which enabled us to avoid a strong weather system and bashing along the coast.

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April 11 was the captain’s birthday, it was not celebrated as the winds and the waves were constantly in our nose and one of the crew felt sick for most of the day. We arrived and anchored at Los Benitos on April 12, midday, tired and happy to rest in a sheltered anchorage. After a well deserved nap we went on the island which is inhabited except by 6 guards who rotate every 2 weeks and are in charge of looking out for the abalone poachers. We went for a walk around the island with Jesus Orlando and his buddy, who showed us young Elephant lions, the island is also a refuge for nesting birds, and shared their fish with us in exchange for chicken and candies.

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The next day we walked to the lighthouse, said goodbye to the guards and left Los Benitos promising to come back for a longer stay next time. April 14 and 15 we motored against the wind and the waves once again and reached Ensenada in the afternoon of April 15 as the wind changed, and finally we were able to raise the sails for the entrance into the bay!'

We spent 2 days in Ensenada, the time necessary to process our paperwork, and while that was happening we hired a driver to explore some of the wineries, olive oil makers and restaurants in the Guadalupe Valley. This was a well deserved break from the constant bash, and a pleasant surprise: great wines, great olive oil and fantastic aged balsamic vinegar.

April 17 morning was time to leave Ensenada, we crossed the border around 5:30pm and went through the US customs and check-in procedures offshore by phone, no need to pull in San Diego…. We celebrated the end of the Baja Bash with a local Ensenada beer and admired the last sunset of this passage. We arrived early morning in Marina del Rey, tired, happy, proud, full of great memories from the Baja Bash, and with a new understanding and respect for that well deserved passage name….

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