A common weather pattern during winter in the Sea of Cortez is the strong northerly winds that funnel directly down the Sea of Cortez. Called northerlies, or El Norte, these winds gust into the high 20’s and kick up five foot swells at rapid intervals. For our trip to to La Paz, this is a prescription for a sea bash (not of the good kind) or staying in the harbor. Over the last five days we have tried both approaches–a number of times. Twice we ventured out and made it six and nine miles north respectively before the drama of burying our bow a couple of times encouraged us to turn around and run with the wind and waves (actually quite delightful) back to port. These sails were not total busts as we learned more about Elizabeth Jean’s handling and had some remarkably close encounters with whales as we each navigated the white caps. During our in-port time we took the bus to San Jose del Cabo, swam and sunned on the local beach, and had a wonderful pot luck dinner with other cruisers.