Merry Christmas to all! Or as they say here in Cabo San Lucas, Feliz Navidad! I arrived on the morning of December 26th and have been catching up on sleep ever since. Upon my arrival, I received the best Christmas present that I could ask for in the form of lots of messages of warm wishes from family and friends.

Casting Off
After, what seems like a lifetime, I finally departed on my voyage aboard, Shannon, my 41 foot sailboat. I didn’t think I would ever complete my endless list of to-do’s and boat projects, but alas, I did get it all done and departed from San Diego for Cabo San Lucas at 5pm on December 19th.

Because of some unexpected scheduling conflicts, I had to postpone my original departure date by a few weeks. As a result I lost my three crewmates and decided to hire another captain friend of mine, Mike Kelley, to join me for the 750 mile run. Captain Mike has a breadth of experience including five passages through Panama Canal. Mike is also a very good diesel mechanic which is an art that seems to have escaped my genetic make-up. The Baja Peninsula is one of the most desolate places on earth – there is no pulling over to the local village for quick repairs, so I’m thankful that Captain Mike was able to join me for this leg.

The first three days were uneventful. We had very little wind and ended up motoring the entire way. Mike and I would take three hour watches, which is just enough to give you enough rest to function without ever letting you feel well rested.

Turtle Bay
On the morning of day three, we arrived at a little town called Turtle Bay. TB is a dusty little town surrounded by mountains and lies about halfway between San Diego and Cabo San Lucas. Its people are warm, simple and quick to smile. This oasis is also a great place to get some fuel and much needed rest. After taking a power nap, I climbed a small mountain that overlooks the bay. As I sat on top looking out at the endless Pacific, I felt nothing but gratitude for my life, my family and my friends. Sweaty, dusty and sleep deprived and I’ve never been happier – go figure!

Stormy Seas
Mike and I left Turtle Bay at dawn on December 23rd. We immediately found ourselves in 25 knots of wind with building seas. By midnight we were 60 miles offshore in 8-10 foot seas and 30-40 knots of wind on the stern. I’m happy to report that Shannon had no problem with those conditions. On the other hand, it was quite exhausting for both Mike and me in that we had to steer by hand the entire night. With a very large following sea, it’s just not practical to use the autopilot.

While I’m learning to trust my instruments (radar/GPS) more and more, I must admit that sailing at night is on the edge of my comfort zone. The fact that I’m making the boat go as fast as possible while not being able to see one foot beyond the bow is a bit disconcerting. My logic tells me that it’s one big empty ocean. However, the sensation is one of driving your car without headlights on a moonless night!

I like the 3-6am shift the best, because I get to distract myself by looking for the first hint of light, the sun, a new day, and best of all, my ability to see beyond the bow!! With night after night of cold spray, slapping waves, and consuming darkness, I found myself feeling overwhelming gratitude for the sun, it’s warmth, and life giving energy. Trust me, without the sun we would be just another cold lifeless rock in the universe.

 “It’s been a long cold lonely winter…It feels like years since it’s been here, here comes the sun, here comes the sun, and I say it’s all right.” –George Harrison

 The Three Kings
A few years ago I ran across a story that stipulated that the Christmas story of three kings going east to find the son of man was symbolic in nature and actually adapted from ancient sun mythology. The article went on to say that Orion’s Belt is often referred to as the “Three Kings” because of their equidistant symmetry. As legend has it, on one day a year, December 25th, the three kings line up vertically and point to a spot on the horizon where the sun will rise that day. In other words, the three kings were not following a star in the east pointing to where the birth of son will take place to give man new life. Rather, the three kings were stars pointing to the east where the sun will rise that day to give man new life. With nothing much to do on a clear night while sailing the high seas, I put it to the test and took a bearing on the three kings as they pointed to the east. Well, as predicted, the sun made its appearance in that exact spot at 5:30am on Christmas morning! What a miraculous and enchanting world we live in!

Midnight Voyageur - Sunset

Warmth and Wally World
On the morning of December 26th we rounded the distinctive rock formations that make Cabo San Lucas so breathtaking. In addition, the water is clear, aqua and 80 degrees!

In contrast to the natural beauty of the outer harbor, the inner harbor has apparently been discovered by more than wayward crusty sailors. The best way to describe the inner harbor is to note that Hooters is between Starbucks and Cartier – enough said!

Well, that’s all for now. I have three days to rest before setting off on the next leg for Puerto Vallarta.

Wishing you and yours a very happy new year filled with peace and joy.