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  • Capt. Eric

Bahia Tortugas

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

We left Ensenada late on a Sunday morning, after having topped off our fuel tanks with another 80 gallons. It is the first time I bring our fuel load so close to our total: We left with 880 gallons of diesel against a full up capacity of 920. Only 20 gallons free left in each tank.

Enfin felt heavy, especially since we also had full water tanks and we'd filled up our black water tank with clean water for an maintenance flush as well.

Gorgeous sunsets.

The forecast proved correct once again, and we had beautiful weather all the way down. We had planned for just under 48 hours passage, but we ended up hitting a little current most of the way along. That dropped our speed a little so we ended up taking about 50 hours on passage. Still, we arrived rested and in good spirits.

I believe that was our longest continuous passage to date. We've got our rythm worked out with Di, where she covers the day and I cover the night. Basically we do a 12 on 12 off watch system. On Enfin, where watches are fairly easy in the comfortable pilothouse that works just fine. It's the same watch system I observed in the British Navy during mine hunting operations, and I believe its regularilty allows the body to adapt well. It also allows for long periods of rest.

Dark night in Enfin's pilothouse.

Both evenings delighted us with wonderful skies, and the 2 nights were completely moonless. The resulting darkness with no light pollution whasoever from the distant shore was very deep. It was even disorienting at times, when the boat would roll gently but your eyes -even after being well accustomed to the night- could not see any horizon.

So far away from any civilization I couldn't even see tell tale faint lights of distant cities.

Every time I stepped out on the Portuguese bridge to check things out, I was welcomed by an incredible spectacle of thousands of stars in clean crisp air, with the Milky Way taking center stage.

Enfin behaved very well, just purring with a contstant reassuring humm, rolling slowly and so gently that we never even thought about using our stabilizers. I'd go down the engine room to check things out regularly, as well as check out the various cameras, and -fingers crossed- had nothing to report.

Aperitif on the foredeck.

During the days we had dolphin pods investigating us and playing with our bow, and off-watch we were able to relax in the salon or even on the foredeck, watching the world go by.

Passage making doesn't get much more pleasant than this.

In Bahia Tortugas, we anchored in about 30 feet of water a bit further away from the village than the few other cruisers already there. Within 30 minutes of arrival, we landed ashore with the tender for a well deserved Princess' walk.

To my surprise, despite being well sheltered, the beach at the center of the village had a small old surf that made launching back out difficult and borderline dangerous. One wave broke over the tender, and dumped a lot of water in the tender, some even managing to find its way in the fuel tank through the air vent. Luckily I had a second full backup tank, vent closed, that I was able to easily swap out to get back home to Enfin safely. Backups are good.

Lesson learned: Our heavy tender isn't practical on this open coast, so we'll be using our kayak from now on. It is much easier and much safer to punch through small surf, and worse case scenario we just get wet. No big deal.

Pre-watch dinner.

On the second day we moved Enfin closer to the beach at the head of the bay. It is a huge long deserted beach offering beautiful walks. Princess was in paradise, running and zooming around at every opportunity.

The bay was teaming with life: Dolphins, seals, sea lions, pelicans and so many more. Local fishermen around us laid spiral nets, trapping fish in huge quantities. These in turn attracted all sorts of wildlife from far across the bay.

We found ourselves surrounded by life, and from inside the boat we could hear dolphins breaching the surface to breathe, or seals coming up to look at us.

We often found ourselves in the cockpit or on deck, enjoying the show.

We found that wildlife so mesmerizing we decided to extend our stay in Bahia Tortugas. We'd been told there wasn't much to be done here, but for us looking at the wildlife provides a lot of fun entertainment. We're not the cocktail on the beach restaurant type of crowd, so we're happy to find empty spaces and beaches instead.

Anchored in Bahia Tortugas off the village.

I tried many times to get close to seals or dolphins while swimming. You actually don't really swim with them, they decide if they want to swim with you. A few dolphins came up within 30 feet of me, but none came closer. Still a lot of fun!

Huge beach for our walks.

Twice a day we'd hop on the kayak to get to the beach. Princess turned out to be a fast learner. She'd never been kayaking, so at first I took her out alone. We work well together and she trusts me so we'd figured it'd be easier that way.

It didn't take her long to adapt to the new experience, especially once she understood that going on the kayak meant going ashore! Soon we were all 3 of us on the kayak with Princess sitting politely and calmly between us. We now have our new mode of transportation.

Enfin's auxiliary fleet.

I also got to try our new hookah diving compressor. Everything functionned as expected and the hose is long enough to easily reach the whole underside of the hull. It allowed me to check our zincs, scrape barnacles off the rudder and clean up the log wheel.

It's good to know that I can dive on the hull and propeller if needed.

Wildlife wanting their share of the catch.

Of course that meant swimming in open waters off the back of the boat! I'd really missed my open water swims over the last years, so being able to finally get back in the water was just a joy.

As we push further South, the waters should get even warmer, and I'm really looking forward to that.

Princess learning the kayak under the watchful eye of a seal!

The scenery and wildlife was just incredible. The far-west on the Pacific? Sometimes looking at the desert to the horizon we felt like being in Utah, but the temperate weather reminded us that we're in a special place in the world. And there are no wild dolphins in Utah that I know of.

Princess very relaxed in the kayak.

After checking the beach out a few times, I got Princess back on her long 100 feet rope rather than her usual leash. I wish Princess could be let free, but huskys are notoriously difficult to recall and have a huge prey instinct. Even though she loves her pack, I have no doubt she'd run after a prey for miles before realizing we couldn't follow.

The long rope is the best we can do in open spaces and she makes full use of it. We can go for long runs on the beach, where she forces me to start running again, and she can roam around to investigate all the smells around her.

Once in a while, when she is tired at the end of a walk, I let the rope go and train her to stay close to us. I'm not 100% confident she'd do it if a very tempting prey showed up, but it's good to work on her recall when we can. The hope is that if she did a runner the rope would eventually get tangled somewhere around a bush or a rock, and we'd be able to catch up with her. Let's hope we never have to find out.

Fun walks.

Seeing her run, zoom around us, invite us to play, always brings joy to Di and me. We love starting our days with a kayak adventure followed by a run on the beach, all 3 of us full of joy and Di and I laughing regularly at Princess' antics. Certainly a good way to start our Mexican wildnerness adventure.

Huge deserted beach.

Almost reluctantly we're going to leave soon, but we're excited to find out what the next stop has in store for us. Friends have told us Mags Bay is beautiful, so we hope to enjoy it as much if not more.

The good life.

We'll be leaving end of morning after our morning beach walk. The leg is slightly shorter than Ensenada to here, but will still include a couple of nights at sea. We're all well rested and ready to go.

Enfin still has plenty of diesel, our water tanks are all full thanks to the watermaker and batteries get filled up once a day by the generator. Ready to keep the adventure going.

We haven't made any plans for Christmas and New Year Eve, but for the first time since owning Enfin it's looking like we will be able to spend it all of us together in an anchorage somewhere.

That alone will make it very special.

Testing the hookah.

A happy swimmer!

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