It’s early evening, the sun having settled over the peninsula of Point Loma only a short time ago, and I’m sitting outside enjoying the placid anchorage where the crickets can be heard from the shoreline, the ducks are nearby silently paddling their way about, and the stars who have been dodging the persistent clouds announcing the coming gale are bright. Minerva and I are fit, at least as best as we’ve gotten in the last months, provisioned, and ready to go on another adventure. We are only waiting for a good weather window to head our way south. A fellow solo wood boat man has been talking of heading south as well, so we are planning on heading out together.
2/15/12 – 2/17/12
The anchor came out of the muddy sand at 1000 hrs. on a fine sunny morning. Don and I had planned to leave at this time but I saw him working on his self-steering vane as I made a sweep around Princess, Don’s 36’ Herrshoff ketch. He had one bolt to insert before weighing anchor himself and I had to top off my water tanks at the Harbor Patrol dock, so we agreed that I head out of La Playa anchorage to meet up with him at the dock, on our way out of the harbor channel, or sometime later. After filling the water tanks and waiting for a while, I decided to get away from the dock and head to sea; we would meet up somewhere out there. I raised a minimum of sails to allow him more time to catch me but some 10 miles and 4 hours later his sails never cut a contrast on the backdrop of San Diego so I raised sails to full and made my way south in light SW breezes. Rather than tack toward the north in the light breeze, I made my way inside of Los Coronados Islands just past the US/ Mexican border until the wind died completely at dusk. I dropped all sails, made and had dinner before deciding to motor away from land before trying to sleep, so fired up the Perkins and motored 1 mile before picking up another breeze, upon which we sailed into the night. Early the next morning, in the wee hours, the lack of wind allowed me to drop sails once again and get 2 one hour shifts of sleep. A bit of a breeze came up until 0800 hrs. when it picked up to 10 – 15 knots on our starboard beam. We had a fine sunny sail all day and were getting fairly close to Bahia de Todos Santos but it was getting late and I didn’t want to enter the harbor at Ensenada at night, so I diverted slightly to Isla Todos Santos to anchor for the night and make the short hop into the harbor the next day. The anchorage had been taken over by the locals for aquaculture so I found a small indent protected from the seas and dropped hook in 60 feet of water, very near shore and some outlying rocks. I don’t like to anchor in that deep of water or in such proximity to dangers, but the depth dropped off sharply further out and it was getting dark. I placed my stern hook away from the dangers to keep me safe, ate and turned in for the night. Sometime later, the NW wind changed into the east and my main anchor chain apparently looped around a large rock below me and with the second anchor out as well, I still felt safe until the east swells started heaving Minerva which now had a very short leash on her bow. All of the upward motion was trying to be restrained by the anchor chain and ended up pulling the bow roller, over which the chain was running, out and through the bowsprit, splitting it into an ugly mess. I was able to ease out some more line and reroute the rode and get a couple hours of sleep before morning. Despite the bowsprit being split, my biggest concern was how I was going to retrieve the anchor which I was then sure was wrapped around a rock. Perhaps with some fancy boat maneuvering I could dislodge the chain and head out, but I was dreaming. Minimally, I could buoy the line and return from Ensenada with a local to dive for it, but as it turned out a couple of local abalone divers happened by and fetched it for me. What a relief! With both hooks up I raised minimal sail to avoid breaking the split sprit and got into Ensenada with no further mishaps. I was directed to a small marina where I could work on the sprit, check in to the country, and resupply. I spent a week there doing just that and met many locals and another sailor who was spending some time in his boat at the same dock. All is once again well.