The Salsipuedes Channel became legendary in our minds. First of all, there’s the name. Salsipuedes translates to “leave if you can.” Then there were the local fisherman that warned of us of the bad waters in this area. We had seen for ourselves the bizarre currents and upwellings that can only be described as creepy. There were pockets of slick water when everything else around was whitecapped. There were current lines that pulled at the rudder as we crossed through them. There were tidal rips around the headlands that kicked up waves like rapids in a river. It is a constriction in the sea, between the Baja peninsula and the San Lorenzo archipelago that is thousands of feet deep, and all that water moving in and out makes for strange and powerful motion.
Our first attempt to escape southward was thwarted a few weeks ago when an unforecasted norther blew and we had to run for cover. We couldn’t simply go back to the anchorage from whence we came and wait it out, since there was little northerly protection. We had to motor north to find refuge, and after that we were low on diesel. We then had to backtrack even further north to Bahia de Los Angeles to resupply. Tucking tail, in these remote waters, meant many miles and many days in the wrong direction. That’s no big deal, because in our situation, there really is no wrong way.
It weighed heavy on us though. We were knocked back once already, and we knew we would have to face the Salsipuedes, and its potential for heavy seas, yet again. We planned our escape, playing the tides, watching the weather, calculating every variable we could think of to ensure we would make it out.
We woke at 3:00 am, pulled anchor in the calm waters, and slowly motored out of the anchorage and into the sea. In the pitch black, we made our way through flat water, around the points and southward through the channel at a blistering five knots (for our boat with its 21’ waterline, this is like light speed). The day couldn’t have gone better, seas were flat, winds were at our back and the current was running with us.
We made it to Bahia San Francisquito in about 8 hours, with only a few whale sightings, an incredible sunrise, and some welcomed raindrops to add to the excitement. All the trepidation and all the emotional buildup resulted in nothing more than a pleasant motor sail. The channel, as with the greater sea, can have many faces and many moods. We were lucky that day to see her softer side.
**Email followers will have to check out the post to see more photos of the trip down the Salsipuedes Channel**
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