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Baja Day 2 | Ensenada to San Quintin

Today is a 16 hour, 105nm run with only 11 hours of daylight. Even though we don’t like running at night, we’re forced to on this leg.

Generally I prefer to depart in the dark rather than arrive in the dark. It’s easier to follow our tracks out of a marina we’ve already been into than it is to find our way into a new spot. But that’s not practical today. In order to arrive during daylight we’d have to leave Ensenada sometime around 1:00 a.m. That didn’t sound like much fun. The anchorage in San Quintin appears large and easy to enter, so we decided to “sleep in” until four or five. We’d depart and arrive in the dark.

In the northwest we rarely run at night. Anchorages and marinas are plentiful, so there’s little need to cruise in the dark. That’s a good thing since it’s not uncommon to see entire trees floating in the water, waiting to mangle a prop or crack fiberglass. Down here, there just aren’t many floating hazards, so it’s a whole lot safer to be underway in the dark. My biggest fear is running over an unlit panga. Thankfully, the big Furuno radar picks them up from several miles away.

By 4:30 a.m. we were underway and clear of the marina. Once again, the Pacific cooperated. No wind and a low, lazy swell. As the morning wore on we were treated to our first sunrise at sea. Magnificent!

We had an easy, uneventful day: reading, napping, playing with gadgets on the boat, using the internet before it disappears… We tried fishing and caught two bonito. Not great eating, apparently, but fun to catch and useful as bait.

Wind increased throughout the day and seas built to 3-5 feet. The weather was behind us, and I was impressed with how effectively the stabilizers eliminated rolling and corkscrewing in the following seas. The autopilot rarely had to apply more than a few degrees of rudder to keep us on course and nothing slid off the counters. Fin stabilizers only function when underway (there are a few exceptions…), and when we stopped the boat to bring fish aboard we got a taste of what it’s like when the stabilizers aren’t working. Simply put, they’re amazing. They don’t eliminate motion, but they make moderate conditions comfortable.

Sunset wasn’t quite as impressive as sunrise, but it was still a treat. Other than the sunrise and sunset, there wasn’t a whole lot to look at today. The shoreline was too far away and we didn’t spot any wildlife.

By 7:30 p.m. we had the anchor set and dinner on the stove. We didn’t stay up long after dinner–the combination of a couple early mornings, travel, and getting ready for the trip had us pretty tired. Tomorrow we’lll head out first thing for the overnight run to Turtle Bay.

Today’s route, 105nm: