Despite plans to head north into the Bay of LA to wait out hurricane season; we didn’t. You’ve all heard that cruising plans are written in the sand at low tide, ours are too. We took off north, but just didn’t make it all the way to Bay of LA. Sitting in a cove on the way north, I was self-appointed anchor watch as gusts of wind started on several different nights around 1am. With the boat heeling from blasts of 25-30 knots that lasted several hours and howled from between the shore canyons, I started thinking through proceeding further north knowing that we needed a re-rig and how the miles would put us further from any repair resources; not to mention the burden we could become on fellow cruisers if anything happened to the rig. Bay of LA is a small fishing village surrounded by islands and coves perfect for cruisers but far from the main Baja highway and certainly without Towboat US. There is no marina, no yacht services, no breakwater and limited supplies. Most cruisers cannot tow a boat of our size (or would not) and most don’t carry much spare rigging that would have an effect on our rig. A significant problem with our rig would probably start a failure chain; meaning that we could lose spars or break critical rigging pieces that would spiral into an emergency. In my judgement an emergency of our own making is unacceptable so I started thinking through the best options to avoid a dramatic outcome. The best option was to baby the boat back to the cruising grounds we had just come from, avoid any hurricanes and tropical storms and wait till the boat gets professionally re-rigged. Of course I’ve figured out that this plan isn’t fool proof either…as hurricanes and storms do make it to the Loreto area; if a large hurricane were to move our way we could still exercise the option to run to Bay of LA to hide.
After several lengthy discussions with the HelmsMistress we made the big boy decision not to carry on with our trip north to Bay of LA and turned the boat back south. I can tell you wholeheartedly that I’ve wanted to cruise Bay of LA for a long time but it just isn’t in the cards right now.
Getting the standing rigging redone on Tulum will be another milestone, a turning point that will reinforce our confidence in the boat and allow us to make better decisions as to where the trip goes next, as we look closely into the void that COVID has created.
As for the upcoming cruising season…we’re still not sure. We’ve always a loose framework where we’ve nested specific plans and are still inside that framework despite COVID, we’re just not sure about the upcoming cruising season. To our relief, the uncertainty of the upcoming cruising season isn’t unique to us. As a cruising blogist, I’m always interested in how people came to cruising and where they’re going; but this year is different. COVID has taken it’s toll on cruising plans and cruisers; because most cruisers are not socializing or leaving their boats like they did prior to the pandemic, lots of places cruisers want to go now come with closures or cumbersome restrictions and because more and more cruisers with plans to (once again) try for a Pacific crossing are realizing that those dreams might be crushed for a second season in a row. Why? COVID is still around, still not cured and probably won’t be eliminated anytime soon…so counties like Australia and New Zealand will be very challenging to get into once cyclone season starts in the Pacific. With Quincy Dane we’re not doing a major ocean crossing anyways and we have no desire to bash back to the US…so we’ll probably make the decision to continue south once we figure out what’s open and what’s not. For now…we spend A LOT of time on the boat, watch the weather carefully, conserve our fuel, water and energy in case we need to run from weather, wash all of our food and try to make sense of the changes wrought by COVID as time goes on.