We planned our 85 mile jump to Isla Isabel as mostly a night sail. If the forecast was accurate, we were going to depart in the afternoon with the breeze, sail until the nightfall and motor through the night to arrive at the island with the rising sun. This plan gave time for me to use the last minutes with internet to attend a Zoom meeting organized in Turkey. For a long time, I have been disconnected from my first sailing club, Boğaziçi University sailing team, except for some occasional emails that I read. This Zoom meeting gave me a chance to say hi to many old friends and spread the word about our sailing adventure. It felt good, however, the agenda of the meeting was depressing. The Covid pandemic had put the sailing club in a dire situation and folks wanted to discuss with the alumni about the alternative activities they could plan to keep the club functioning. Kolay gelsin guys! You have a big storm ahead but I have confidence that this club will go through it and will be much stronger when the sky clears.
We cast off at around two o’clock in the afternoon and quickly started sailing on a beam reach. The forecast was right but we were unexpectedly fast. Fast enough that we were going to slow down at some point to anchor in daylight. The sail was relatively uneventful but not the most comfortable. We were beam to the wind but also beam to swell. We had lost our sea legs enough during our marina stay that we both felt the old friend, nausea, paying a short visit. Fortunately, we were both functional and ready to take shifts after dinner, a delicious penne bolognese from the French-Italian chef onboard.
The night shifts were also uneventful, except for the paparazzis! Tire-Bouchon’s keel must be a celebrity for the sea life in this part of the world. As we sailed through the night, disk shape lights were flashing in the water pretty strongly, enough to effect my night vision. I am familiar with the bioluminescence but this was new. I thought that they were probably some form of jelly fish but I am curious to know what they are. Watching the wake of the boat and these flashes along with it was hypnotizing.
With our last shift change, we were five miles from the anchorage and two hours from the sunrise. Marie came to the cockpit and I was ready to go for a rest. What I had in mind was to keep approaching the island and, hopefully, after an hour, with the first lights of the day, we could set anchor. When she reminded me the warnings of the guide book about the fishing nets around this island, I was unprepared and I dropped the problem onto her lap. Yes, I said, “I agree that we need to slow down, basically stop, as we don’t want to approach the island in dark any more than this. But I need to rest now so, please figure out what to do. You can wake me up when there is enough light to carry on.” I fell asleep quickly enough that I didn’t hear a thing, but apparently she hove to jib-only like a champ and Tirb behaved nicely. Who would dare to do else after hearing the consant stream of carefully picked swear words in French, Turkish and English from a freshly woken up French sailor. Wait, I think that was my guilty subconscious messing with my sleep. When I woke up, we were slightly closer and ready to fire up Monsieur Engine.
As we approached the anchorage, we saw two other sailboats and a panga. The anchorage wasn’t not very big and the bottom known to be rocky. Would we be able to anchor here this morning? When we had mentioned our plans, we were encouraged by our friends in Mazatlan, Jeanette and Neill, as they said the water is so clear that you can see the anchor dig into the small sandy patch that you may find (and they gave us the location of such a patch). When it comes to the clarity of the ocean water, I take these remarks with a grain of salt. I have been disappointed enough times that I try to keep my expectations as low as possible. I was extremely happy to be proven wrong this time. We dropped the hook and saw it fall onto the sand. After backing on it to dig it in, we went on with the next task of the day: Catching up on sleep.
Thursday, May 6th and Friday, May 7th