My dad was a good-old Texas boy and he loved him some Hee-Haw. He enjoyed the music and the corny sketches (if you’ve seen the show then yes, pun intended). I liked to watch it for the chorus line of dancing pigs that would high-kick their way across the television screen during some of the musical numbers (I was eight. And easily entertained.) I bring this up because after 40 years, I have a Hee-Haw song stuck in my head. If you’re under 40, picture a group of farmers lamenting about their troubles. Their spoken woes are bookended by a song punctuated with moans and crying. The lyrics go thusly:
Gloom, despair and agony on me
Deep dark depression, excessive misery
If I had no bad luck, I’d have no luck at all
Gloom, despair and agony on me
If you’re over 40, I apologize. You’ll now have that song stuck in your head for three weeks.
So by now you’re probably guessing that the journey from Turtle Bay to our next anchorage at Bahia Asuncion did not go so well. And you’d be correct. It started out bumpy when the motor on the dinghy wouldn’t start and the Captain and HMS Cliff had to row back to the boat after taking Otter to shore to do his thing. A very agonizing row against the current. But then our luck seemed to change once we got underway—beautiful weather and a fairly smooth ride. Not enough wind to put up the sails, but a relaxing five hours of motoring along the Baja California coastline. Then we made the turn toward Bahia Asuncion and our luck changed. The wind whipped into a state of agitation (to give you an idea of the frenzy, our U.S flag was sticking straight out one way while the Mexican courtesy flag stuck out the other), the water became choppy and confused, and we started getting pummeled by large waves. HMS Cliff was at the helm when we took a wave over the port side and it nearly knocked him off his feet. It was a bumpy ride. And then the engine started to act up. It would rev down then back up. And then it would die. The Captain would run down below to start it back up, return back to the helm, and we’d struggle forward through the slop till the engine would die again and the process would repeat itself. It was grueling, it was miserable, and it lasted for over an hour. When we finally got to the anchorage, we had to drop the anchor in wind and chop but luckily got a good hold on the first try. There was a big sigh of relief throughout the crew and anticipation of a (fairly) restful night before heading out the next morning. And then the Captain and I went below.
Now in my last blog post, I gave the account of the mysterious self-operating fire extinguisher that covered our cabin in halon. After hours spent cleaning and still not getting it all eradicated, I remarked to the Captain that the whole cabin really needed a good wash down. Well, as luck would have it, we got one. But not in a good way. That big wave to port that nearly knocked HMS Cliff down? The hatch above our desk was open—a hatch that neither of us remember opening—and who knows how much water poured in. There was water on the desk, on the shelves, in the drawers, and on the floor. But the major casualty? The Captain’s MacBook. The one that ran our satellite email. The one that ran our GRIB weather software. No MacBook, no accurate weather forecasts. The F-bombs were loud. They were vehement. And they were totally warranted.
We spent the rest of the night drying out our belongings, commiserating over multiple glasses of wine, and trying not to be too downhearted. The Captain and I finally retired for the night and decided to put in a video—you know, get our minds off the situation. That’s when we found out that the water had shorted out our electrical outlets. Now we’re depressed.
The next morning we prepared to set out for our next anchorage at Bahia Abreojos—about 50 nm away. Everything was stowed, the boat was made ready, and the hatches were checked. We went to raise the anchor. The windlass worked for about 30 seconds, then completely died. There would now be no way to raise the anchor except by hand. Using the manual function on the windlass, we can bring up 6 inches of anchor chain per pull. The anchor chain is currently set at 175 feet. Gloom…met despair.
So now here we are. We had planned to stop in three or four anchorages along the way to Cabo San Lucas to break up the trip. But with no way to drop or bring up the anchor except by hand, anchoring would be difficult at best, (literally) painful at worst. So we had a crew meeting and decided that our only course of action is to head straight to Cabo—360 nm away. Tomorrow morning we will set the alarm for 4:00 am—when the wind and water is still—and start hauling up the anchor, which by our estimates will take a solid hour. We will then set out for Cabo. Should only take three or four days.
So wish us luck. Or better yet…don’t.
No photos were taken during this portion of the expedition. Which is good because given our luck as of late, I probably would have dropped the phone into the water. So please enjoy this instead...