Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Perfect Day

Bahia los Frailes
It’s 6:15am and the dawn is just breaking.  We’ve been traveling all night for the 2nd night in a row and our destination is in finally in sight – Bahia los Friales.  It’s a fairly large bay about 45 miles past Cabo San Lucas and it is also the unofficial end to our long push south.  We have traveled almost 2500 miles down the entire west coast and while it hasn’t hit me yet (as I’m exhausted from not getting enough sleep), the fact that we have made the turn in at the bottom of the Baja Peninsula and can finally start to relax will soon set in.

We reach Los Frailes and get the anchor set, just off the beach in the northwest corner of the bay.   Far enough out to be safe, but close enough to hear the waves breaking over the beach - peaceful.  By the time we put the boat away and clean things up it’s about 8:30am and the sun is shining in earnest.  We drop into bed wiped out, but we are too excited to sleep.  Something has changed – what is it?  We give up on sleeping and get back up.  I make a hot breakfast and we linger over it with our coffee in the cockpit.  It’s so nice to be at anchor again!  The sun is shining, not a cloud in the sky and it’s already at least 78 degrees outside.  It. Is. Perfect.

I look over to another boat anchored nearby – it’s a large catamaran and I see a woman on board jump off the boat into the water.  She has her snorkel gear in hand and quickly sets off.  Swimming I think?  I could actually go for a swim?  The water is registering at 88 degrees here – it is clearly warm enough to jump in.  I look at Brett, relaxing with his coffee next to me and say – I’m putting on my swimsuit! 

I jump in.  The water is wonderful – clear and blue and just slightly cool, which feels amazing on my sun heated skin.  It’s only 10am in the morning and I am swimming in the OCEAN!!!   There is a huge school of fish below our boat – there must be 200 of them.  They move slowly, lazily away as I move through them – then come right up to me as I just drift with them.  The fish are about a foot long and about 2 inches wide and are colored black, white and yellow.  They are beautiful and I am literally swimming with the fishes on a Wednesday morning – unbelievable after years of working – now I am finally getting to play. 

After taking care of some chores, Brett and I decide to go to shore and walk the beach.  It is the first time my feet have been on land since we left Ensenada nine days ago.  The sand is warm between my toes, but not too hot to walk on – it feels wonderful to exercise my legs and we revel in the long stretch of open beach before us which sweeps around the entire bay.  We walk the whole span at a nice clip, walking in the surf when we get too warm.  This beach is so different from other times I have been to Mexico – only in touristy cities.  There is not a single “vendor” on this beach.  No one is trying to sell me anything – there is just pristine white sand, sun and blue water.  Perfection.

Two manta rays jump at once!
Back at the boat we are reading in the cockpit when suddenly we hear a loud spash.  Than another, and another!  Low and behold, multiple manta rays are jumping out of the water just 100 yards off our boat!  They are mid-sized – about 2 feet across or so.  They fly out of the water, flap their “wings” for a moment and then do a crazy hard belly flop into the water.  The rays launch about 4 feet out of the water and when they land the water splashes up about 2-3 feet high.  It is and incredible to watch and they jump on and off for hours – as many as 5 at a time!  I feel amazed and blessed to have seen so much on this trip already.

The mantas make a BIG splash when they land
Later we watch the sun set as we have dinner in the cockpit with a nice glass of wine.  Many boats have come in over the course of the day as the Baha Haha group has departed from Cabo and many of them are working their way to La Paz as we are.  We thought they would have been long gone by now (having left a week before we did) but we’ve heard that many were waiting for a good weather window to transit the bottom of the Baha coastline so it appears we have caught up with them.  It’s been entertaining to watch over 50 boats come in and anchor as things got more crowded – but thankfully they all seem to know what they are doing. 

After the sun sets we stay in the cockpit drinking our wine and marveling that the temperature is still so comfortable considering we are in shorts.  It must be 77 degrees or so and it’s only a week until Thanksgiving.  A light breeze blows but it is not cold – this is heaven on earth.

Beautiful sandy beach!
I think over the course of the day and realize it has been the perfect day.  After two months and over 2500 miles, we’ve pushed very hard to get here and it hasn’t really felt much like the “vacation of a lifetime” that I’ve dreamt about.  It has been 100% about accomplishing projects, provisioning and making headway down the coast – not about what you dream of when you think about taking this sort of trip.  True, we’ve had fun along the way, but it has also been a lot of work and long hours of travel.

But here in los Frailes, I realize we have literally and figuratively turned the corner.  I have swum in the ocean, walked on the white, sandy beach and enjoyed the sunset with my husband while listening to the waves crashing in the background.  I am finally living my dream and it….feels……wonderful.

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