Excitement swirled with apprehension in the rigging above our heads, our emotions palpable, like dense fog on a windless San Francisco morning. As we motored out beyond the sanctuary of Ensenada’s protective sea wall, the tranquil waters of the harbor were abruptly replaced by jarring short period swell and erratic, splashy wind chop. By the time we had coerced the sails into place, the slightest hint of a grumbling began down in the deepest reaches of my belly bringing with it the nagging sensation that started approximately 1 hour earlier, as the last bite of fried fish taco passed my lips. The rough seas and greasy street food paired well with the intense pain that had been radiating outward from my eye sockets for the past two days, the result of a tenacious sinus blockage. Exhausted and overburdened with emotion and sickness I wearily succumbed to my first bout of sea sickness approximately 10 minutes into the 4 day, 360 mile sail from Ensenada to Bahia de Tortuga. While Erik propelled us into the restless sea, I curled into a tight ball in the back of the cockpit, my arms like jib sheets wrapped tightly around our port side winch, clinging and hugging it to me while my head rested lazily on top. I huddled there for hours, unfolding myself intermittently to crawl clumsily over the cockpit comings and while desperately clasping Resolute’s beefy toe rail return the contents of the taco to the sea. At some point during my delirium, Erik disappeared down the companionway, returning several minutes later with a plastic Ikea cup brimming with a fizzy white substance. He shoved the cup in front of my nose and suggested rather authoritatively that I consume its mystery contents. I hesitated for a moment, realizing that my pitiful groaning and melodramatic mutterings of “kill me now” may have been enough to lead any man to murderous tendencies, especially one trapped on a 36 foot piece of real estate with access to a profusion of toxic boat chemicals. I sniffed at the milky liquid, trying to weed out the presence of any exotic contaminants. Finding the smell mildly pleasing and for once not in any position to argue with him, I weakly dislodged the cup from his grasp and poured the chalky liquid down my throat. Within minutes, I lay sprawled and snoring in the crisp folds of our new lee cloth. Drugged and happy with, Erik informed me later, two nighttime Alka-Seltzer tablets coursing through my system.
A day and a half later (I know, I know, I am very sensitive to antihistamines) I peeled myself away from the settee and stumbled out into the moonless night, just in time to watch Resolute surf down a massive wave at a hull speed crushing 10.2 knots. Green water spat and foamed from threatening heights as the waves fitfully alternated between hurling us forward on their crests and stalling us in their troughs. I turned toward Erik, huddling from the Beaufort force 7 winds under Resolute’s sturdy hard dodger, his eyes bloodshot and swollen, no doubt exhausted from his 36 hour watch. Less frightened than I should have been since my head was still a cumulonimbus of drug induced euphoria, I nonchalantly inquired, “do you think we might want to reduce some sail?” He abruptly snapped out of his own delirium and we hove to for the rest of the night, permitting Erik to catch up on some much needed shut eye, and myself ample time to awaken from it.
The monstrous waves and howling winds accompanied us for our remaining two days at sea, and when we finally limped into Bahia de Tortuga we were completely and utterly exhausted. However, five minutes into our visit to the sunny, placid bay we had half of a gorgeous (25 lb) Yellowtail filleted and delivered to our boat for the minimal cost of 50 pesos (an equivalent to 3.5 US dollars) and two cold beers. We smiled and lit the barbecue, already forgetting about the tribulations of the last four days and excitedly planning our next jump down the coast.