06/19/2007, Sea of Cortez
We sailed north from Playa Burro day before yesterday, hoping to make it to Muleje and Punta Chivato. However, we encountered 22 knot winds from the East. The winds did not concern us, but the anchorages we were heading for are good for North or South winds, but totally unprotected from the East. This would have likely ben a very unpleasant, or even dangerous, anchorage on a lee shore at our destination.
With that in mind, we headed to the nearest anchorage offering protection from the east, which was Santo Domingo, on the northern extremity of the eqst end fo the Bahia de Concepcion.
There's a boat here, INCLINATION, captained by GARTH and his dog VELA, who's a regular here. Garth is really well connected with this area, he has an uncle at Mujele, who grows vegetables (he gave us tomatoes), and other family at a fishing village on the peninsula (he gave us come clams also, and we bought a kilo of fish fillets from the villagers). All I can say is, Garth on INCLINATION is a great guy to know, extremely nice and helpful.
He even showed our boys how to dive for clams, and the boys brought up a dozen "chocolates" (clams named for the brown color of their shells) and "steamers" (traditional U.S. clams, so named because the only way to open them is to steam them).
So we had a lunch of clams, even ultra-picky Antoine tasted his first clam, and loved it).
Here's a video with the highlights of our sail from La Paz northward into the Sea of Cortez, to Puerto Escondido. We are visited by a pod of dolphins along the way!
We found internet access in the most unbelievable spot, at a beach in Bahia de Concepcion called Playa de los Burros (Burro beach), a palapa at the water's edge. This hut has a palm leaf roof, stick walls, solar panels for electricity, no piped in water, no plumbing, but a satellite dish for internet access!
There's also a rustic palapa restaurant on the same beach called Bertha's where we had lunch and dinner (a Palapa is a wood hut with its roof made from palm leaves).
Today we went snorkeling in the very warm waters. The temperature at the surface is about body temperature (98 degrees), so hot that it's like a hot bath. But if you dive a few feet under it gets refreshingly cooler. We came up with a few clams and about a dozen oysters.
It was a long and rolly night at Juanico. There was a thunderstorm far to the east of us with silent lighting flashes every few seconds. The east wind and rollers continued til 5 a.m. when it became calm.
We raised anchor at 8:30 a.m. and are heading to Bahia de Concepcion. We're heading to an anchoage called Posada Concepcion in a little cove called Coyote Bay. It's an 8 hour sail so we'll arrive soon.
We saw a pod of huge whales, and numerous dolphin. We tried, but failed, to catch fish. We did hook a bird though. A dumb booby dived on our lure. I had to cover him with a towel so he wouldn't peck me while I removed the lure from his wing.
Navigating here takes great care. The charts often show our boat position miles inland, because the charts are so inaccurate. Radar becomes an essential tool to determine, and correct for, the errors in the charts. The radar always gives a true reading of how far away land is.
We sailed north to San Juanico, a beautiful cove with sandstone cliffs, white sand beaches, and rocky spires rising out of the water. It was a beautiful sail, with 10 knots of breeze on the starboard beam.
The anchorage is a bit rough, since it's exposed to the east and that's where the wind is coming from.
06/14/2007, Isla Carmen
At Puerto Escondido this morning we refueled and took one last swim in the lap pool at the port headquarters before heading out in the 100+ degree temperatures. We sailed to the noth end of Isla Carmen, to a tiny cove called Puerto De Ballandra.
There are about 20 sailboats anchored here and there will be a potluck party on the beach at 6 PM tonight.
We sailed from Agua Verde to Puerto Escondido day before yesterday in light to moderate winds. We arrived in the afternoon and anchored in a part of the bay called "The Ellipse".
Puerto Escondido is a strange place. The government and some investors had grand plans, and have spent many millions on a very fancy administration building and port facilities, but there is no marina, just mooring balls, for which they charge an exorbitant rate. So all the cruisers avoid using the main port, and anchor out in the cheaper or free anchoring grounds just outside, e.g., the Ellipse and the Waiting Room.
Besides a fuel dock and a lap pool (pictured here), there are no services for miles, and we had to pay a taxi $60 U.S. to take us round trip to Loreto to visit the town and reprovision. Loreto is 25 KM away, and has a church dating to the 17th century. Loreto is an agreeable, if dusty, small Mexican city (pop. 8000). It's the largest town north of La Paz on the Baja peninsula.
While in Loreto we went to an internet cafe where I tried to upload for this blog a 7 minute video I made of our passage from La Paz northward. Unfortunately it took an hour and a half to upload the 64 MB file and then the upload halted completely when it was about 3/4 of the way done. So I won't be able to get the video on this blog until I find a better internet connection.
For now our only communication link is email via the SSB radio.
Today we sail north to Isla Carmen, a national park island off the shore of Loreto. It will be a 20 mile trip.
06/11/2007, Agua Verde
We departed Isla San Francisco yesterday morning and headed north. Our destination was a cove called El Gato, named after a puma that used to hang out there. This is an interesting cove with red sandstone cliffs that have been polished by wind and waves. We arrived around 2:30 PM, dropped the anchor and made lunch.
The anchorage was not very well protected, however, because it was open to the southeast, and the prevailing wind was from the south. We decided not to spend the night there, and to continue to Agua Verde, about thirty miles to the north.
On the way, we were visited by a pod of bottle nose dolphins. I got some good video of the dolphins, which I'll post on the blog when we next get an internet connection (these posts are uploaded via SSB radio).
We arrived at Agua Verde at around 7 PM, and anchored in a cove at the south end of the bay. There were two other sailboats anchored there, one of them was Chere, with our friends Charlie and Cathy Simon on board.
This morning around 7 A.M. we felt a few rain drops, and the sky was overcast. The cloud cover was a welcome break from the typical morning heat. Charlie from Chere came over for coffee, and he, Pascale and I dinghied to shore to visit the village's tienda (store) for supplies. We jokingly referred to the store as "Wal Mart", for its tiny size (about 80 square feet).
Agua Verde is a remote, rural village, with dusty dirt roads, pigs, goats and chickens everywhere, no electricity, and almost zero vehicular traffic. The typical house is just one or two tiny rooms. It has a tiny one room school house and a tiny church.
Afterwards we went on a dingy excursion to a nearby rocky beach, where we found hundreds of fish skeletons washed up on the beach. The boys examined skeletons of all sorts and took dessicated hammerhead shark heads as souvenirs.
Later in the afternoon, the winds increased to about 22 knots, much to our consternation. When we're at sea, and could USE the wind, there wasn't any, and now that we're at anchor, and would rather not have wind, it's blowing! Charlie and Cathy tell us this is the first windy afternoon they've had during the week they've been here. Just our luck!
We visited Charlie and Cathy aboard "Chere" for wine and guacamole in the early evening, and the winds died just as the sun set.