15 November 2010
Greg and I are both awake by 5:30 so Greg starts the coffee and soon discovers a bunch of other boats are already leaving. He decides we better get going too so I finish the coffee, get dressed and go up to help pull the anchor and get underway. I love these early morning departures when it is just getting light and we can watch the sun come up. I like sunrises so much better than sunsets. They seem to be so full of promise. Oh yeah, before I forget, I actually had goosebumps on my arms this morning because of the chill in the air. I haven't felt a chill in the air since about Turtle Bay. I am becoming acclimatized and the heat is not bothering me as much as long as there is a breeze. We have our fans for down below on the boat too which also helps.
Shawn on Althea is going along with us today as our "buddy boat". It is nice traveling with him as he has already sailed these waters, albeit many years ago. It makes Greg very nervous being in unfamiliar waters and the charts for Mexico are not the greatest.
We have to travel through Cerralvo Channel this morning and we are going against the current and there is no wind, so we are not making very good time. Cerralvo Island is to the east of us and is 16 miles long with some pretty high mountains. There are lots of gullies and ravines which make the mountains look wrinkled, kind of like my face. Our cruising book says the south end of the island is an ancient burial ground of native sea gypsies called Vagabundos del Mar. While alive, they roamed the Sea of Cortez in dugout canoes powered by sails or paddles. They lived in small family groups and avoided outside contact except for minor trading. When they died supposedly their bodies were brought here. Ray Cannon's 1966 book "Sea of Cortez" says fewer than 300 Vagabundos were still alive then, yet he found crosses, gravesites and lighted candles on the island. I say a little prayer as we motor by.
The day passes slowly as we motor along. Because the engine is running, I can keep the computer plugged into power and I spend most of the day below playing my game and doing some writing. I went up on deck when we passed Punta Coyote as I was curious if this point resembled a coyote or if they hung out there. It just looked like another point of land, maybe browner than farther south. We pass through San Lorenzo Channel in the early afternoon. This channel is between the Baja peninsula and what everyone refers to as "the islands". The islands are Isla Espiritu Santo and Isla Partida and are supposed to have some of the best anchorages in Mexico. Our plan is to go into La Paz for a week or two and then come out and explore the islands.
We reach our destination for the night, Puerto Ballandra, around 3 pm and it takes my breath away. It is a beautiful cove where rocky arms encircle a brilliant white, sandy beach backed by mangroves and smaller beaches tucked in little niches around the sides. There is a rock called Mushroom Rock where the bottom is eroded away making it look like a mushroom. The hills above the beach are sprinkled with cactus (the fun kind that have the arms). We can see people wading way, way out in the turquoise water so it must be shallow for a long way out from the beach. We are anchored in only 15 feet of water so we can easily see the bottom and all kinds of fish swimming around. Our guide book says that on weekends 100's of people drive to this beach from La Paz. Today the only people are from the dozen boats anchored up. Shawn caught a couple tuna on the way here so we make the rice and head over to his boat in our dinghy for BBQ fish, salad and rice for dinner. It is fun to have some more company and listen to some new stories.
We are only a couple hours away from La Paz so we don't have to leave the next day until late morning. Greg goes exploring in the dinghy while I decide I would rather wash my hair in the cockpit. We will stop here on our way to the islands and explore it then. On to La Paz!!!