Leaving Carrizales with the destination of Barra de Potosí – aka our final, most southerly sailing destination of this season! Different weather models had us prepared for it to take up to six days, but we were hoping for it to be quicker.

Charles and I have family scattered around the Mediterranean & Europe – France, Netherlands, Spain, Tunisia, Ireland – and part of preparing Ayala for cruising included calculations of what would be needed to cross an ocean to visit family. Charles’ father recently moved to Barra de Potosí, and it’s a treat to visit family by boat so soon!

Trip Summary – 03/21/2023 to 03/24/2023

Pulled up anchor at Carrizales at 11:00 on 3/21, anchored at Barra de Potosí at 08:40 on 3/24. We started with 89% of our 48-volt bank and ended with 47%.

When we left Carrizales, the cove was full of fluttering butterflies and bees. I quickly ducked below for some work and meetings, while Charles navigated us around a container ship headed in to Manzanillo.

When I reappeared on deck, we got the hook in the water, and quickly caught a tuna! This was a good big one, by our standards, and we got some very tasty meals out of it. Cleaning and fileting it was a bit of a mess. We bought a filet knife in Mazatlán, naively expecting it would be sharp because it was brand new. Instead, I was swapping kitchen knife and filet knife, sharpening whichever one Charles was not using. We didn’t want to waste time getting the fish cold on such a hot day.

The wind was fine the first day, getting a little light overnight but we were consistently moving at around 3 knots. The first night on the water was unusually hot and humid. Thunderstorms were predicted, which fortunately did not appear, but the air felt charged. It was hot enough at 3 a.m. that we were both in bathing suits when making sail changes, just to stay cool enough.

The second day was dolphin day – there were dozens swimming around us for the majority of the day – it was so hard to focus on anything but the dolphins! The water was blue, clear, and clean, and they played in our bow wave, swam alongside us in the cockpit, and did big jumps. With calm wind, we could hear them squeaking to each other clearly.

Things were stable enough for me to bake bread. At this point, the only bread I bake underway is the No-Knead Crusty White Bread recipe from King Arthur Flour. It’s so easy to put together, and once you have the dough made, you can bake it any time in the next 7 days. Our second day on the water, I baked two loaves of bread, and made lentil stew with the bulk of our almost-bad veggies. Both turned out fantastic, but it was a hot process!

Not long after the cooking was done, the wind picked up significantly, and waves soon followed. 12 knots became 15, which became 18 gusting 20. Downwind it was not terrible, and we surfed the waves through a colorful sunset, but it stayed very bouncy. Charles took overnight shift, and had to fend of a boobie mid-defecation. It covered our solar panel. Totally rude guest.

In the early morning of day 3, the wind died, leaving us just drifting and bumping. Eventually, the wind settled on the nose at about 3.5 knots, so we got the drifter up at 08:00, but quickly packed it down into the ATN sock again for lack of wind. We motored lightly, intermittently, re-opening the drifter when we got optimistic. At 13:00, the wind finally stabilized above 5 knots and the drifter stayed out. Charles went below for a nap, I did some sewing. By 15:00, the wind was too high for the drifter, so we packed it all the way down and switched to genoa only through sunset. We cycled sails all day and night.

Sunset was beautiful and gentle, and with our proximity to Potosi I got sentimental that it would be our last sunset on our trip south. Our last night on the water did not disappoint, with clear stars and the Milky Way, light wind, and dolphins swimming with us, visible only in the intense bioluminescence their bodies disturbed.

By sunrise, we were at 67% battery, but the wind died, and we were ready to get to family. Coffee, fruit, showers, and company were all high priority, so we motor-sailed the last few miles. When they could see us in their binoculars, our family kayaked out to meet us and help us select our spot in the anchorage. We launched the dinghy and pulled it up on the beach directly in front of their house. Heaven.