CRUISING THE MEXICAN ALPS
My biggest surprise in the Sea of Cortez is mountains coming down to the sea. As you sail up the western shore, you cruise in the Mexican alps.
These mountains are high and rugged, and that is the definition of alps.
I have never cruised in alps before, and it takes time to adjust.
Mountains effect the wind and weather in different ways as the seasons change through the year.
Sometimes the mountains protect you from adverse weather on the far side of the alps. At other times, mountains create weather that sweeps down their steep eastern slopes. Massive gusts of wind can knock a monohull sailboat flat in the water or capsize an over canvassed multihull.
Cruising in Alp Land presents special navigational challenges. Much of the coast remains unsurveyed, and that applies to off lying islands as well. Large swaths of water along the shorelines hide rocks and reefs that do not show up on charts because no charts exist.
Eyeball navigation is king along the shores of the Sea of Cortez. When navigating in uncharted territory, you have a lookout on the bow scanning for rocks and reefs. At times Dito climbs the mast to our crow’s nest enabling us to see farther ahead to stay out of harm’s way.
When we navigate in uncharted waters, we don’t have our sails up. We use our engines to maintain control of the situation. We motor slowly in risky areas so if we make a mistake, it will be a small one.
It’s nice to have accurate nautical charts that show the way. It gives an even greater sense of accomplishment when eyeball navigation gets us safely through uncharted waters. We are doing it the way sailors did it five hundred years ago except we have the luxury of an engine.
During the summer season, prevailing winds are usually out of the southeast. This makes it easy to sail north. This pattern of wind is particularly helpful when you need to head north to escape oncoming hurricanes and tropical storms.
When it’s time to make mileage up and down the Sea of Cortez, you have to decide whether you are going to take an inside route close to shore or head well offshore for the passage.
Sailing north to the hurricane hole at Bahia San Juan is a two night passage, and some people take the offshore route because it’s safer. If someone on watch falls asleep when you are offshore, at least you won’t end up putting your boat on a reef or the rocks.
When we sailed up the Red Sea, a solo sailor fell asleep as he was tacking up the sea, and he drove his boat on a reef with loss of his yacht.
If we have plenty of time and can day hop north, then I would opt for the inside passage because there is no risk of someone falling asleep on watch.
If it’s an overnighter, my preference is to sail offshore. I would hate to see Exit Only come to a tragic end in the Sea of Cortez.
Cruising the Mexican Alps is for the self-sufficient sailor.
There are no tow boats to save you if make a serious mistake in the far reaches of the northern sea. Towns are few and far between, and there is no cell service to summon help.
If you get in trouble, you are on your own, and you will have to sort it out yourself.
If you are addicted to marinas and marina hopping, the northern sea is not for you.
If you want to experience the joy of sailing in remote desert alps, you are in the right place.
We did not plan to sail in the Sea of Cortez.
When Covid 19 shut down the world, and we needed a place to go.
The Sea of Cortez extended a warm welcome, and much to my surprise, the Mexican alps are now one of my favorite destinations on planet ocean.
Awesome music video that captures the essence of what it's like to sail offshore in a catamaran around the world when conditions are less than perfect. David Abbott from Too Many Drummers sings the vocals, and he also edited the footage from our Red Sea adventures. This is the theme song from the Red Sea Chronicles.
Sailing up the Red Sea is not for the faint of heart. From the Bab al Mandeb to the Suez Canal, adventures and adversity are in abundance. If you take things too seriously, you just might get the Red Sea Blues.
If you like drum beats, and you like adventure, then have a listen to the Red Sea Chronicles Trailer.
Flying fish assault Exit Only in the middle of the night as we sail through the Arabian Gulf from the Maldives to Oman. And so begins our Red Sea adventures.
Sailing through Pirate Alley between Yemen and Somalia involves calculated risk. It may not be Russian Roulette, but it is a bit of a worry. Follow Team Maxing Out as they navigate through Pirate Alley.
Stopping in Yemen was just what the doctor ordered. We refueled, repaired our alternator, and we made friends with our gracious Yemeni hosts. We also went to Baskins Robbins as a reward for surviving Pirate Alley.
After you survive Pirate Alley, you must sail through the Gate of Sorrows (Bab Al Mandab) at the southern entrance to the Red Sea. The Gate of Sorrows lived up to its name with fifty knots of wind and a sandstorm that pummeled Exit Only for two days. Life is good.
Captain Dave and his family spent eleven years sailing around the world on their Privilege 39 catamaran, Exit Only. During the trip, the crew shot 200 hours of video with professional cameras to show people what it's like to sail on a small boat around the world.
The Red Sea Chronicles is a one hour and twenty-two minute feature film showing their adventures as Exit Only sails through Pirate Alley in the Gulf of Aden and up the Red Sea. The professional footage documents their experiences in Oman, Yemen, Eritrea, Sudan, Egypt, and the Suez Canal. It chronicles the rigors of traveling in a remote section of the world rarely visited by cruisers. Exit Only dodges Yemeni pirates, fights a gale and sand storms in the Bab al Mandeb at the southern entrance to the Red Sea. The crew explores deserted islands on the western shores of the Red Sea, and learns to check the cruising guides for land mines before venturing ashore.
The Red Sea Chronicles also has outstanding Special Features including an Instructional Video on Storm Management that tells sailors how to deal with storms at sea.
The Red Sea Chronicles is a first class adventure that stokes the sailing dreams of both experienced and wannabe sailors alike.
Join Team Maxingout as they sail through Pirate Alley and up the Red Sea
See what it's like to cruise on a catamaran before you spend a bazillion dollars purchasing one
After watching the Red Sea Chronicles you will be able to see yourself sailing on the ocean of your dreams
Although I like the feel of a paper book in my hand, I love trees even more. When people purchase an eBook, they actually save trees and save money as well. Ebooks are less expensive and have no negative impact on the environment. All of Dr. Dave's books are available at Save A Tree Bookstore. Visit the bookstore today and start putting good things into your mind. It's easy to fill your mind with positive things using eBooks. No matter where you are or what you are doing, you can pull out your smart phone or tablet and start reading. You can even use electronic highlighters and make annotations in your eBooks just like paper books.