Ensenada Trip

Just thought I’d give you a quick review of the trip I just made from Ensenada to Cabo. My friend and crew Carlos and I took a service vehicle from Cabo to the airport in San Jose for the Volaire flight to Tijuana at 7:30, then a taxi to the downtown bus station, boarded the bus to Ensenada (one leaves every 30 minutes), then a taxi from the Ensenada bus station to the marina at El Corral where we met the boat with the owner, his wife and a friend. It took a while as we finally arrived at midnight. We set up and talked for an hour about the trip then went to sleep for a while.

Carlos and I were up early and underway at 7AM. We passed an enormous sailing ship on the way out of Ensenada bay, it was a 4 masted ship with an Asian name and a bunch of kids waving at us from the rail. A short distance outside the bay we saw a few whales and then powered up to 10 knots and headed down the coast. We powered on through the night with the radar on, taking two hour shifts at the helm, dodging all the sailboats involved in the Baja Ha-Ha sailing regatta. We passed Cedros Island at 9AM and arrived at Turtle Bay at noon. We took on fuel, finding we had burned about 7 gallons per hour (with the generator going full time) and Enrique (the fuel panga guy) bought us some more ice and limes (got to prevent scurvy ya know!). As we had passed Cedros on the way in the wind had started to pick up (the area is known for this) and when we left Turtle Bay it had gotten stronger. Since we were traveling down swell and downwind it was not uncomfortable, but it did make the boat veer a lot. As we got into the evening we could not keep on auto pilot so we kept double watches with each man taking the wheel for an hour. Mid morning we were at the mid-point on the Ridge north of Mag Bay and the wind finally died down, the water calmed and also started to warm up a bit. We had left Ensenada with green, 64 degree water and by the time we reached the upper Thetis Bank it had turned much more blue and had warmed up to 72 degrees. With the water warm, clean and much calmer we proceeded to put four lures out and made a pass on the Thetis. This resulted in catching the owner his largest Wahoo to date, estimated at 65 pounds! Several more passes resulted in no more strikes so we continued on to the lower Thetis Bank. This area had plenty of Striped Marlin and we had a fish in the pattern constantly. The owner was fighting one when another one swam right up to the transom and Carlos quickly dropped another lure in the water. With the swivel at the rod tip and 10 feet of leader he swung the lure back and forth a few times and the second fish bit and hooked up! Thankfully it only stayed on a few minutes then jumped off and we were able to leader and release the fish the owner had been fighting. Wanting to arrive in Magdalena Bay before dark we continued on and spotted some shark buoys Making a few passes with the lures we were able to bring several Dorado on board to join the Wahoo already in the freezer. We then powered up and ran into the bay, anchoring up for the night at the Man of War anchorage. With the underwater lights on we caught a few live Mackerel for bait the next day and caught some shut-eye.

Up again early, our plan was to head straight out to the deep-water ledge and see if we could find some tuna for sashimi. As we were exiting Mag Bay we spotted several areas where the Mackerel were feeding and caught another dozen to put in the live bait tank. We spotted a frigate bird and caught a d

Dorado about 20 minutes out, then under another frigate 45 minutes later we had a Sailfish come in on a lure and hook up. A short fight resulted in a release at the boat. The rest of the day was uneventful until we spotted more buoys on the way in and caught three more Dorado, then had a Wahoo strike just off the beach on the way into anchor for the night.

We were going to head farther into Mag Bay to San Carlos for fuel, but the mayor of the village at Man of War told us he could supply us at the same price and save us the 2 hour round trip so we went for it. He offered to take the crew into San Carlos for some shopping after we fueled, using his panga for the trip so I stayed on the boat until everyone came back. I asked for some fresh shrimp and scallops (instructions from my wife when she found we were going to be in the bay for the trip) and they were able to get the shrimp but it was too late in the day for the scallops. The crew also brought back fresh tortillas, more bottled water and ice and of course, more fresh limes (it’s the scurvy thing, you know that margaritas have lots of lime juice, got to keep the scurvy away, don’t ya know). After a much later than planned exit from the bay we put the boat on course for the Finger Bank, hoping to arrive there at first light. We ran along the coastline for Wahoo and had a few strikes and saw a couple of shipwrecks on the beach. As we swung offshore at Tosca we had a Dorado hook-up and landed him. While making a turn for another pass the life raft came unexpectedly to life, springing off the forward deck and inflating in the water. Why it happened we could not figure out, the hydro-static release did not get wet (they are not supposed to deploy unless deeper than 20 feet anyway), but anyway, thank goodness it happened in the daytime at slow speed. An hour later we were back underway, and a short time later hooked into, fought and released a Striped Marlin we estimated at 180 pounds. As night fell we were back on single man, auto pilot two hour watches.

At around 3AM we were at the Finger Bank, about three hours before planned, and I was on watch. The water was bouncy, everyone was asleep and I watched three long range boats and several private boats at anchor or drifting the Bank. I saw no one on deck fishing on any of the boats so continued on, hoping to find tuna at the Golden Gate Bank, 23 miles farther on. As we fished across the top of the Gate later on we hooked, fought and released another Sailfish. Just to the west side of the Gate I marked some large tuna on the depth sounder, but they were 250 to 300 feet deep, and I figured we would find some school fish a bit later on so continued on. Looking back on it, we should have put a bait out on the down-rigger, but hind-sight is 20-20, or so the saying goes. As we had left the Finger Bank the water had started to warm, it was 81 degrees there, 83 degrees at the Gate and as we came across the San Jaime Bank it had warmed to 86 degrees. Once we had rounded the turn toward San Jose the water became glassy and warmed to 88 degrees. We saw a pair of Humpback Whales breach and a few turtles, but that was the end of the action for us. As requested by the owner we arrived at the dock in the San Jose marina in Puerto Los Cabos at 5PM after a safe and successful trip!. Carlos and I both left the boat with fresh Dorado, Wahoo and Shrimp as well as our pay and plenty of great memories.

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