Ensenada, MX to Turtle Bay, MX

As mentioned in the previous post, arrival into Mexico was pretty easy, although involving a fairly long cold foggy motor. With clearing into Mexico out the way it was time to head on south down the baja california! First stop was a place called turtle bay, 290 NM away. It would be by far the longest leg I would have done in one go, and I was well aware I didn’t have enough fuel for the whole way. If they weather was not great I would just have to make it work!

The first day was fairly uneventful, though we caught another couple of Bonitos which went into the fridge/freezer. That night we saw dolphins swimming through the bio-luminance alongside the boat again, which is always wonderful.

The landscapes are looking very bleak and brown, with lots of volcanic peaks and cones

We’d been moving in not very good wind, in fits and starts and I actually motored through most of the night.

The next day was a lot of the same, very light winds flitting around the place which meant sailing was extremely frustrating! The fishing turned on though and we caught a bunch of stuff including


Skipjack Tuna

and even a small Mahi Mahi (which changes colours and then loses all its colour as it dies which is actually really sad)

We also caught a small yellowfin but we had to put it back as we had no more fridge freezer space – noooo! We pulled the lines in after that.

We also saw a TON of dolphins

Around midday on the second day we got visited by a small brown bird of some kind – he sat on the boat and then hopped around, sat on our knees, tried to get into the cabin (after being shooed out a few times) and drank some water. We were 40 miles offshore at this point so we figured that he had been blown out to sea as he was obviously not a sea bird.

He stuck around for a while and then left.

Shortly after this, I managed to get a handline wrapped around the prop due to stupidity, and with no other option, I had to heave-to and jump over the side with a knife to investigate. I stripped off quickly before I got too scared, and hacked away with the knife while trying to not let the boat land on my head which was bouncing up and down in swells, and also tried not to think of the 2800 ft depth we were in! Also trying not to think of sharks (I was doing a lot of not thinking about stuff). Eventually, the shaft was free and we carried on, as the wind picked up

This shifted around to a nice gentle beam reach as the second night approached

The third day the wind was great all day meaning we flew along, well into the night. We also got followed by a family of sealions for a way, all three of them throwing themselves out the water and following us for over an hour. One guy was particularly energetic





And then came night again.

Night watches are still not my favourite thing in the world but are a LOT easier with two people. A LOT easier. By the third night we were getting into more of a routine but it was still really tiring – but eventually, we got to turtle bay in the early hours of the morning


Blatently ripping off another blog I’ve decided to do a quick sum up in numbers.

Distance from Ensenada to Turtle Bay – 290nm

Time taken – 76 hours

Average Speed – 3.6 knots

Average walking pace of a human – 3.1 miles an hour (we were just ahead!)

Hours motor run – around 12

Fish caught – 23 (9 skipjack tuna, 12 bonito, 1 mahi mahi, 1 yellow fin tuna)

Fish kept – 6 (3 skipjack, 2 bonito, 1 mahi mahi, all others returned safely)

Different ways of cooking fish attempted – 8




  1. How does catching fish work as you travel down the coast. Do you need a license like when you’re in BC, with daily limits?

    • Yup, license needed for everyone on the boat if you have any fishing gear onboard at all. There are daily limits as well but it’s a lot simpler than in BC, limit of day a day with different fish counting different amounts

  2. Great post and pictures! Thanks for quickly taking picture before the colours fade. And great to see you are bleeding them out properly for good quality meat!

    I asked my gf about the bird and she said it looks like a Brown Headed Cowbird. I’m looking forward to seeing the stats pile up on the fish and bird observations over the course of your journeys.

    And, I’m always looking for new recipes for my tuna. Please share if you come across great local recipes.

    • Thanks for the bird ID!

      And yeah I started bleeding my salmon a couple of years ago, makes such a difference. I’m actually really strict about it now – a fish is bleeding over the side no less than five mins after its caught and killed, and then instantly chilled and gutted after bleeding out for a while. No lying around in the sun!

      One weird thing we’ve found is the number of people (all American) who won’t eat bonito or skipjack – a couple of people gave us weird looks and refused fish and we’ve had several comments about how they are only good for bait – I was wondering if this is due to them not processing the fish correctly? Because they are really tasty.

      • Bleeding and cooing down fish is essential and proves that old adage that ‘Proper fishing doesn’t end when one lands a fish, it ends at the table’…(Ok, I made that up). Bleeding and cooling is especially important for tuna-like fishes which have histamine in their blood and maybe skipjack and bonito are relatively high in histamines compared to other species?

        I’ve heard people up here say that pink salmon and even white chinook (which is sooo good on the bbq) is only good for bait so maybe the skip jack/bonito comment is a spoiled north american thing. Most of us here need to learn how to eat nearer to the bottom of the food chain. Fresh herring is also really tasty but I tend to save it for salmon or halibut bait so I’m guilty in all this. People around here look at me funny when I mention eating dog shark but it is all about preparation. I’m guessing you don’t have the set up required to drag a 2 kg piece of bait behind you and have a 100kg sailfish nab it? Can’t wait for the marlin story!

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