We hung around in Guaymas a couple extra days waiting for a strong northerly to blow through the area. We did not feel like crossing the Sea when it was too lumpy or breezy since our destination meant that we would be abeam of the wind and the swell - which makes for an uncomfortable experience. Finally the weatherman called for decreasing winds and after waiting one extra day to let the swell lay down, we decided to jump off for the Baja side.
The crossing from Guaymas to Conception Bay is about 78 miles, so it wasn’t going to be an overnighter if we got an early start. We usually figure we will travel at 5 knots of speed - that’s usually a little on the slow side for us, but it just gives you something to be happy about when you best it. So at 5 knots, we would need 16 hours to complete the crossing. With that in mind we left at 4 am. It would mean that we might be anchoring in the dark, something we have done maybe three other times in the three years down here. It’s not a smart thing to do, but we had been to the anchorage before, it has a big open bay with sand bottom, and we had waypoints for it on a night with a full moon. We figured we would be okay.
We got off fine, but from the get-go there was more wind than we figured on, or that was called for by both the weathermen we listen to. We decided to keep going, figuring that it would lay down as the day progressed. Wrong. By mid-afternoon we had about 25 knots of wind on the beam (the side of the boat) with 4 to 6 foot swell coming in fast and steep. For a catamaran, this is as lumpy and uncomfortable as it gets. It was very lumpy. Books and things were leaping off shelves and loud crashes and bangs reverberated through the boat as the waves hit us. We put two reefs in the main sail (which reduces it’s surface to less than half) and we were STILL making 8 knots of speed. We were making good time, but it was a little scary. At one point, one of our bows was lifted up on a wave, the other was deep in a trough and then the front half of the upside pontoon hung out over the air before it caught up to the next wave. You could tell that we were suspended in the air for those few seconds. It was a very unsettling feeling, and one I would not like to experience ever again in our catamaran. We changed our course angle against the wind a little so that we were slightly more into the wind to stop that from happening again.
With the extra speed, we reached the Baja side before the sun set, and we set our anchor down on Santa Domingo which is on the lip of Conception Bay.