The Fleet

Category: Ships Log


Time period 12/08/13 - 12/09/13

Sailing in the company of four other boats was a fun experience, especially on the the challenging trip from Ensenada de los Muertos to La Paz

 

One aspect of the cruising life which we learned to enjoy is that you meet fellow cruisers in each new port or anchorage. When rowing the dinghy to shore, exploring the beach, or checking out the local restaurants at some point you run into each other, start talking and share your cruising experiences,  future plans, the latest weather report, a good recipe, you name it. Sometimes the conversation starts already when coming into a new bay to drop anchor. It happened to us a few times that we were greeted with "Hallo wie geht's?" when we approached an anchorage and fellow cruisers saw that we fly the Austria flag. It goes without saying that we made a lot of new friends that way already.

Out there on the ocean it's a different story. When you leave an anchorage or marina you are out there by yourself. Once in a blue moon you see another vessel passing by or a few fishing boats when sailing closer to shore, but there are days and nights when you don't encounter any other boat. So it was fun for a change when all 5 sailboats anchored in Ensenada de los Muertes decided to use the weather window and sail to La Paz the same night. A wise decision as it turned out later because the strong Northwest winds picked up again the next afternoon and were blowing hard for the following 10 days. Anyway we chatted in the restaurant on shore and later on the VHF radio and decided that we will all leave together around 6pm and sail in a convoy, or as the skipper of Mandalay put it as a fleet.

 


The fleet! Clockwise from the upper left, Pelagia, Mandalay, Sound Discovery, Confidence and in the middle
Green Panther.

 

So shortly after sunset at about 6pm one boat after the other hoisted anchor and motor sailed north around the cape entering the channel between isla  Cerralvo and the mainland. Other cruisers told us to watch out for the tides since boats were reportedly "trashed" in the channel when they tried to enter against the tidal current and the NW wind. But everything worked out as planned, the tide was pushing us and the NW wind was weak (< 10kts). The vessels at the front of the fleet shared their sightings (speed ferry, navigation lights on shore, etc.) with us in the back of the fleet - Green Panther was number 4 out of 5. At about 3 am we entered another channel "Canal San Lorenzo" with a lot of rocks poking out and some dangerous shoals, so we were really happy that the navigation lights marking the narrow deep passage in the middle of the channel were working fine. We made good progress and even slowed down so we would make it to the entrance of the La Paz channel after sunrise.

 

Green Panther at night Los Muertos to La Paz
That is what you actually see at night. The deck of Green Panther with our dinghy on it, lit up by our spreader light
and the dark night. Well in this case you can also see three white lights. The two in the middle belong to Pelagia and the
one on the left is from Mandalay.

There was some confusion when we tried to enter the channel because a huge oil tanker seemed to be cutting us  off, and suddenly we heard a loud bang.  Turns out he dropped a gigantic anchor - larger than Green Panther - right next to us and anchored close to the channel entrance. Navigating the rest of the channel was easy and by 7:15am we were tied up in Marina Palmira, our home for the next month.


Oil tanker La Paz
The oil tanker finally anchored right next to the first two La Paz channel markers. SV Pelagia is following us - on the right.

 

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