In all, I spent 5 days in La Paz before successfully hitching a ride on a sailboat to MazatlÃ¡n. Sean and Adrian, a couple from the San Francisco Bay area, generously let my bike and me aboard their 38 foot sailboat, the Tiki Iti.
We took 4 days to sail the roughly 250 miles to MazatlÃ¡n. The first two nights we anchored in protected coves along southern Baja, and the second two we sailed across the Gulf of California without stop, rotating shifts at night to keep watch. Highlights included swimming to an isolated island’s shore, catching fish for dinner, watching dolphins play in the bow wave of the boat (see movie below), and feeling deathly seasick.
The trip gave me new appreciation for the power of the wind and ocean. The first day winds blew at 20 mph and water sprayed across the deck as the truck-sized boat bobbed like a cork in a bathtub.
Indeed, wind power will be a major energy source if we are to fight climate change. Already, many wind turbines produce electricity more cheaply than fossil fuels. There is huge potential for wind energy in the world, especially in certain places such as the north central U.S. and parts of nothern Europe.
The major problem with wind power is that the wind doesn’t always blow. On the last two days of our voyage, the wind nearly died, and we used the diesel engine on the boat for many miles. For wind turbines, this problem can be solved by connecting the power grid to wind turbines across a continent, as although the wind may not be blowing near Chicago, it may be blowing off Cape Cod. Electricity grids, however, are highly regulated by the government, and switching to wind power will require action by the government. In other words, you need to make your representative do something if you want wind power.
A special thanks again to Sean and Adrian, who not only agreed to share a small space with a stranger for 4 days, but were great boatmates and also took great care of me during my seasickness. I am now in Mazatlán, a large Mexican city that is both a major port and tourist destination. From here I will head inland to Durango and the center of Mexico.