Sailing Golfo de California (the Sea of Cortez) – 19 42 North 105 48 West

I remember when I was about 12 reading the John Steinbeck novel, The Log from the Sea of Cortez. It seemed such a mystical faraway place with Steinbecks words painting a picture of a world abundant with vibrant marine life. Well today we’re now passing the Sea of Cortez and joining the dots up. In the Pilot book, we learn that the early Spanish navigators at one time named this the Vermillion Sea due to the extensive patches of red coloured water. It’s been discovered that they are caused by the presence of a great numbers of organisms floating on the surface of the water giving it a milky red colour. Nearly every species of edible fish found in European waters abounds in the gulf as well as other species. Immense swordfish are found and sharks of every species are prevalent some of which can grow to an enormous size.

We’re 290 NM from Cabo San Lucas at the Southern end of Baja California. It’s full of shipping – some 37 cargo vessels and tankers are currently showing on our AIS. We have a photo of the chart plotter with us picking our way carefully through the shipping lanes and regularly calling vessels up to make sure they have seen our tiny vessel. With the exception of the 2 Clipper Yachts, we’ve still seen no other yachts on this coast. It remains the road less travelled. It somehow feels appropriate.

Aretha yesterday was turned into a fitness studio that my former trainer, Niki would have been proud of. Organised by our Iron Man Champion, Frank, we had 5 stations. Pull up’s in the companion way, press ups on the starboard aft deck, squats on the port aft deck, calf raises in the port cockpit and then a starboard cockpit rest station. 3 circuits. 45 seconds on each station.15 seconds to change station. 15 minutes in total. First proper exercise I think I’ve done since running in Cape Town. With Frank firing us up we finished – some in better states than others. Tripping over climbing back into the cockpit wasn’t clever and a clear sign I need more exercise!! Today the burn of worked muscles is a good reassuring feeling that we’ve actually done some exercise. Circuits planned for every day so by the time we reach San Fran, we should all be in better shape. Columbus was less excited by the idea and instead and totally unprompted sat on the coach house roof and meditated.

I was in the hot seat yesterday planning out the next 10 years – having a bunch of super smart brains pick over your ideas, challenge you and suggest creative thoughts is something that would benefit everyone. I came out full of thought and a list of action items.

The day actually started in earnest for me at 3am – I’ve had so much useful and insightful feedback on the first 3 chapters of the book, that its taken a while to assimilate it all and I spent 3 hours yesterday adding, re-writing and repositioning things. I think that substantially all the content is there for most of the book – so its now back to my editor and agent Jen for her take on it and hopefully about to approach publishers. Fingers crossed.

We’re pressing hard today (as we have been every day) – the wind off Cabo kicks in pretty hard tomorrow, some 20-25 knots from the North East (which will almost certainly accelerate a lot more around the Cape) which will make it a very uncomfortable sea state. We’re likely to make Cabo on Tuesday morning all things remaining the same.

Can’t believe Nichola has had 2 weeks in San Fran today and is now flying back to the UK – it will be good for her and Willow to be back with Bluebell and connect with family and friends again. Nichola has been writing again and I have her latest thoughts to share from her desk.

Mindy has just written out a maths quiz for Columbus (inspiration from some super helpful feedback by Jo Avery). We may send it out in the coming days so standby,

The crew are all fit and healthy and in good spirits. The sun is shining and the temperature continues to moderate – most of us now wearing a jumper on deck at night as there is a chill in the air. The moon is waxing and the night sky is bright and starry – its a joy to be on deck on your own at night and get lost in your thoughts. Truly magical times.

We press on – we’re over half way on our voyage from Panama to San Fran and have plenty more sailing and adventures ahead of us.

Team Aretha, Out.

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