We made better time than Greg expected and we arrived in Muertos Cove at 3:30 in the afternoon. As usual, the bay was full of Ha-Ha boats, just not as many as at Los Frailes. (I think they are starting to disperse a bit.) The trip was pretty much uneventful. We motor-sailed the whole way with light winds out of the northwest. The only marine life we saw were porpoise which were on a mission and did not come over to our boat. We had the fishing line out but no luck. We are pulling dinghy along behind us and I think all the fish thought he was a big fat shark.
Greg was very tired and did not want to put the outboard on dinghy so we could go ashore. We have not been off the boat in three days and Rocky and I are chomping at the bit to get off the boat and be on land for a little while. Besides, there is a restaurant on the beach and that means no cooking & dishes for me. I also heard people on the radio saying there was wifi at the restaurant. Greg quickly decided life would be much worse living with a pouty wife for the night than going to the trouble to go ashore. Shawn on Althea arrived soon after us and we stopped on our way to shore to invite him to dinner with us. I told him about the wifi and his eyes lit up too.
Muertos Cove is much smaller than Los Frailes but it is full of pangas. There is also a hotel at the south end of the beach which I heard later is owned by some football player. There is a game room at the hotel that is full of football memorabilia as well as slot machines, video games, pinball, etc. There are also 2 swimming pools and the hotel is cruiser friendly. (Some are not cruiser friendly as we are a pretty scruffy lot and don't spend a lot of money.) We are only staying here overnight as we are anxious to get to La Paz so we don't have time to explore this trip. We will be back when we go to Mazatlan though. Hopefully we will plan on staying a day or two. There are also some very fancy houses (even one villa) out on the northern point. There is also a golf course that wraps around the beach. My preconceived ideas of Baja being desolate, barren and undeveloped are quite a bit off for this area. Ever since Cabo San Lucas there has been lots of development. Its spread out more this last 50 miles, but it's still there. Lots of fishing resorts as well as fancy houses. One thing I notice about the houses is that even though they are large and expensive, they all have dirt roads leading to them.
The dinghy dock by the restaurant is next to an old dock from the days this used to be a port for shipping out silver from the mines. The dock floats and is tied to land by a couple lines so the surge moves it back and forth as well as bounces it up and down. I am getting pretty good at judging when to step off these kinds of docks. I just wish I was more graceful getting in and out of the dinghy.
When we arrive at the cantina it is already full of Ha-Ha boaters. It feels good to be greeted by people we know as we wind our way through the tables. The first thing I do is get the laptop out and connect to the internet. Email first. I am disappointed that there are only 2 emails from friends and family. Thank you Ann and Veronica. I promise to answer the next time I have internet access. Please feel free to email us anyone who wants to. It is our only real connection. The next thing to check out is how the Ducks did Saturday. I am relieved again to see they won and are still #1 (still can't believe that one) but I'm surprised it was such a low scoring game. I sure hope it was just a fluke. Next we check weather and I check another blog that I've been following. It is Yodersafloat and is about Stephen and Lulu Yoder from Silverton Oregon who have also started their cruising life on their Westsail 28. I emailed them a long time ago as I was curious about which Yoder clan they are attached to and if I am related to them. I didn't get a very straight answer other than he comes from the Whiskey Hill Mennonite Yoder's. (That doesn't narrow it down much.) Anyway, he writes a great blog and it is on bloggers.com.
Greg is rushing me as he wants to get back to the boat before dark so I quickly send an email to Sylvia and one for Rocky to his lady. I forgot to bring Jody's new email address so I can't send one to her. Sorry Jody. When we get back to the boat it is almost completely dark but with not too much trouble, we get the outboard mounted back aboard and things cleaned up a bit and put away for tomorrow. We are all very tired and Greg goes to bed before 8 o'clock. I have to force myself to stay awake until 10 most nights or I will be wide awake and up by 5 in the morning. I can only make it to 9:30 tonight though. Today was a very good day. Tomorrow we head out early again for Puerto Balandra which is about 40 miles away so we will have another long day.
Cabo Los Frailes is our first real anchorage without the Baja Ha-Ha fleet, although we are sharing the anchorage with about 25 other Ha-Ha boats. The weather report is predicting a "Norther" in the Sea of Cortez with 20 knot winds between us and La Paz so Greg decides we'll just sit it out here until it ends on Sunday. The journey to our next anchorage is 47 miles and we do not want to have to beat into the wind for that distance. Otter doesn't do well nose to the wind. Too slow. I don't mind staying a couple extra days as this is a beautiful anchorage.
The beach runs about 4 miles from the Los Frailes cape back to the west. There is a small ridge along the back side of the beach on the east then an open valley in the middle and more ridges to the west with a few very nice houses spread out and a small hotel complex at the west end. In the middle of the beach is a fishing camp with a couple dozen pangas. The guide book tells us there is a RV camping area behind the fishing camp. Back behind all of this are mountains running along the west side of the valley. Everything is green which I didn't expect. I guess this is the end of the wet season and maybe by spring everything will be brown but for right now, everything is a lovely shade of green.
Greg and I get the outboard mounted on dinghy and away the three of us go to the beach for our first "surf landing". Because there is hardly any surf on this beach (today anyway), the landing goes smoothly. It's when we are leaving the beach that we have a couple problems. We didn't coordinate very well and we got some water in the dinghy and we all got a little wet. Good thing we had our cameras in dry bags. Anyway, we explored the beach looking for shells and walking barefoot in the water. Ummm.......We also walk back and up on the ridge to see what is behind. Actually the guys climbed up on the ridge and I waited below to see if there was anything worth climbing to see. There wasn't, just more ridges. We notice cow and horse manure in the ravine we walked in. There is a ranch a little farther back from the beach and the animals must wander down here on occasion. (The next day I saw a mare and her foal walking along the bluff eating.) Even though it is morning, it is already getting hot and we are soon ready to go back to the boat.
The sailboat Althea arrived the second day we were here. Shawn was sharing the same slip with us in Cabo. He comes over in his dinghy to visit. We had stopped by Red Sky to visit on our way to the beach, but have not really gotten to know any of the other Ha-Ha boats that are here. On Friday Shawn comes over again and takes Greg to the beach with him as he heard on the radio there was a truck selling produce and groceries at the fishing camp. The truck was gone by the time they got there but Greg did buy some fish from a panga for our dinner. Two red fish that we have no idea what they are but they tasted pretty good.
Saturday we were boarded by a park ranger who thank goodness speaks English quite well. He wanted to collect park fees of 50 pesos per person per day but was so apologetic about it I wasn't sure he would collect the money or not. I hadn't realized this side of the cape was also a national marine park. That is why there have been improvements made on the beach. The only living hard-coral reef system in the Sea of Cortez and only 1 of 3 such reefs in North America is located on the other side of Los Frailes rock. It is a very popular dive area and is protected by the Mexican government.
The north winds are subsiding so we are planning on leaving for Muertos Cove at 6 am Sunday morning. We have not been off the boat the last 2 days so even though this is a beautiful anchorage, I am ready to move on.
We left the Cabo San Lucas marina mid morning and began motor sailing to our next stop, the Puerto Los Cabos marina about 15-25 miles away (distance depends on which cruising guide you read) along the bottom of Baja. We had read in our cruising guide books that the small town next to the marina, San Jose del Cabo, was well worth exploring. It was described as "old Mexico". After Cabo, that sounded great to us. I was completely astounded by all the resorts along the coastline. The entire distance was packed with resorts and condos, crammed right next to each other, one after another after another. Some of the architecture was truly amazing (and some, not so amazing). I don't know what you would call the styles but they seemed to fit right into the land, almost like they really belonged there.
It is nice to be back out on the water again. Cabo was an interesting place but the noise and commotion and people out all hours of the night kind of got to us. The loud lousy music all night long was irritating and then there were jackhammers going at a construction site across from our boat all day long. Enough noise. Also the frenetic, "Have I got a deal for you" vendors everywhere you went got old really quick. Even the restaurants had hawkers out on the streets trying to get you to go to their establishment.
Greg's brother, Rocky seems to be handling the heat okay. It was in the mid 30's when he left Juneau and it has to be in the upper 80's here in the daytime and low 70's at night. I still have not adjusted to the heat here. It is too damn hot!
We arrived at the Puerto Los Cabos marina in the early afternoon. It is full of Baja Ha-Ha boats headed to La Paz. We elect to moor at the special Ha-Ha rate dock, no wi-- fi included. It is also on the opposite side of the marina from the office, showers, bathrooms and little bar/restaurant. They have to send a golf cart over to pick up new arrivals to bring them to the office to sign in. The ride must be a half mile or more but it is interesting to look at all the landscaping they have put in. Lots of statutes and sculptures dispersed throughout the landscaping of cactus, palm trees, bougainvillea and lots of other plants I don't recognize. It's a shame they didn't invest in power hookups, showers and bathrooms on this side of the marina instead of landscaping. But then the rate would be $92 per night instead of $30. This marina is part of a "top of the line" resort which is way behind schedule in construction. The parts that are finished are very, very nice but there is much left to build. What a mixture of boats here. There are all the Ha-Ha sailboats, lots of fishing boats from small to extra large, and right across from our dock there are three mega yachts tied up. We are talking $10+million, huge, fancy things. Wonder where they come from and what the people are like.......I doubt they will ever come over and talk "boat talk" on the docks with all the other guys.
I' m disappointed to learn that the quaint old town of San Jose is 1 ½ miles away from the marina so we will have to take a taxis instead of walking as I don't think I could handle the heat for that long of a walk. Greg & Rocky couldn't handle it either. I'm embarrassed when I am waiting to register at the office. Another sail boater is registering before me and he has brought all his boat documents which the clerk is going through. I didn't bring anything but my credit card and a few pesos. The marina manager comes into the room and I mention I didn't bring any papers from the boat. I told him in Cabo all they wanted to see was my money. He laughed and said if I knew the boat's documentation number that was all they needed. Luckily I have it memorized now. (Can't remember where I put anything, but I remember the boat's silly documentation number.) We don't need a dock gate key on our dock, but we will have to ride the dinghy across the marina to use the showers and the docks require a key card on that side. They want a $50 deposit for the key card which I don't have with me so I will have to come back later. I don't mind because the office is air conditioned and I think I could sit there all day long.
A pleasant surprise was that our cell phone works here. I called Jody and my mom to let them know where we were. Greg and Rocky discover a small grocery store just up from our dock and both arrive back at the boat with the largest Gatorades I have ever seen. They both promptly drink their whole drinks.
The next day we call the marina office on the vhf radio to request a taxi and off we go to town. The part of town by the beach is all expensive resort stuff so we head for the back side of town where the tourist area is. There is a large, lovely square with a stage for music and dancing, a beautiful church with bell towers and lots and lots of shops and restaurants. I had hoped they would ring the bells while we were in town but no such luck. We ate breakfast outside on a patio (hot cakes with pineapple & cinnamon for me. Yum. ) and checked out lots of shops (just what Greg loves to do). After a couple hours we were ready to go back to the boat for naps or reading or both.
Late in the afternoon I walked along the road that went back out along the entrance to the marina. I found a very steep beach with people fishing with nets and poles. I decided I had to at least get my feet wet in the ocean and discovered the water is warm. Very nice on the feet.
We are leaving for Los Frailes (The Friars) early tomorrow morning as light winds are predicted and we will probably have to motor most of the way. Los Frailes is 38 miles away at the very eastern tip of Baja.
We are leaving Cabo San Lucas this morning to start working our way to La Paz. Greg's brother, Rocky, arrived from Juneau AK last night and will spend a couple weeks with us. He is also suffering climate shock like we are. It will be better when we get away from the docks and are out on the water. We are both anxious to get going again. We are only going to Puerto Los Cabos today about 25 miles down the coast and will have wifi again tonight.
I woke up at 4 o'clock when the guys changed watches and couldn't go back to sleep so I finally got up at 5:30. I made coffee for Greg and I (not spilling a drop this time) and we sat out in the cockpit and watched the sun come up and talked about our journey. These little times with just the two of us are very important to our relationship.
We had completely lost our wind last night so we motored most of the night. The wind picked up enough this morning to turn it off and sail for awhile but then we lost it again. As we were motoring along mid morning, a school (pod?) of porpoise came towards us. I quickly made my way to the bow of the boat and for the first time was able to watch three of them swim in front of our bow. I talked to them telling them how stunning they were and one turned on his side so he could look at me. I'm sure he smiled too. What magnificent creatures they are.
Not only have we noticed how much warmer it is today, we also have observed the color of the water is changing from deep blue to a turquoise blue. It is quite pretty. In the early afternoon it got so calm there were no ripples at all on the water. Then about 2 o'clock Greg called down to me to wake Ronnie. All of a sudden we were in like 20-30 knot winds being tossed all around. These winds are from the east which is very unusual. As they worked with the sails I tried to close all the port holes and pick up and stow away things that had been knocked all around down below. I managed to save the brownies I had baked for them this morning too.
What a battle to reach Cabo. With the wind on our nose we had to fight for each mile of progress. We finally reached the marina at 8:30 pm. It took a little while to find the slip assigned to us. It is a 70' slip which we are sharing with another Ha-Ha boat. Very nice people out of San Francisco. Since the marina office is closed they offered us the use of one of their key cards for access to the showers, etc. and also gave us their wifi code so we could go online.
First order of business was to go get something to eat. At the top of the ramp is a cobblestone walkway which runs all the way around the marina and is filled with restaurants, bars and shops. After eating an okay meal we headed for the showers. The bathrooms aren't too bad, but the toilets flush in an odd way and one of them was plugged. Back at the boat, we sat in the cockpit for a little while looking at all the activity and bright lights and listening to the very loud annoying music coming from a cantina across the marina from us. We learn through the night that the music doesn't stop until around 4 am. Greg and I slept through all the noise but Ronnie had a hard time.
We were up at 6 am, had coffee and got the boat ready for the 7 am start time. We started out with 14 knots of wind but by 8:30 we were down to less than 5 knots of wind and 3.5 knots of boat speed. They declared a rolling start to commence so we were able to turn on the engine and motor sail up to 6 knots without losing our "sailed the whole leg" designation. We have to average 5 knots the whole leg to be able to reach Cabo before dark.
It is a beautiful warm and sunny morning. The guys say we are going to stay close to the shoreline this last leg, but we'll see. They always seem to go way, way out looking for more wind. It would be nice I think to be able to look at the coastline for a change. We have already seen a sea turtle this morning and we caught a small tuna on our fishing line. FINALLY!!! Had to throw it back because it was too small but it gives us hope we may still have fish for dinner. For breakfast, I gave the guys a choice of eggs & sausage or oatmeal if they wanted me to save the last eggs to make brownies later today. They chose the oatmeal.
At 9:30 we caught a yellow tail tuna that is just the perfect size for dinner. Greg quickly cleaned and skinned the fish and it is now safely in our frig. Since we have enough for us, we put away the fishing gear, which consisted of a 65' line with a lure on the end of it that we put out the hole for the stern dock line. We tied off the line on one of the cleats.
Late morning we pass the entrance to Magdalena Bay. This bay is about the size of San Francisco Bay and we have read in our books that this is where the gray whales come to have their babies and mate. I always thought they went to the Sea of Cortez. The water is so calm today that I'm allowed to go sit at the front of the boat to look for whales. I don't see a single whale although I hear other boats in the fleet reporting sightings on the radio. For some reason I expected the entrance to the bay to be full of whales going in and out and breaching and tail slapping, etc. That would be what I would be doing if I was a whale and had finally arrived at my warm, sunny winter destination in Mexico.
We had to motor sail until the wind picked up a little late in the afternoon. Then we turned off the engine and sailed for a few hours. Of course we started sailing (and heeling over) just when it was time to start dinner. I had to cook dinner with things tipped a bit but it wasn't too bad. Tuna, rice and cooked carrots for dinner. It's a good thing we will reach Cabo tomorrow night as we are running out of most of our fresh and frozen foods. Will have to start digging into the canned foods tomorrow.
I stood my watch from 8 to 10 pm with no incidents. Actually, the watches have all been pretty boring. I would much rather be bored than to have a crisis during my watch however. The climate is warming up too. This is the first night that we could stand watch in shorts and tee shirts. The only surprising thing to us on this trip has been how heavy the dews are and how foggy it has been at times. The dew starts forming many nights before it gets dark. We usually get "wet butt" from the dew on our cushions. Tonight is very, very damp with fog forming all around us. The dampness even makes its way down below.
When Greg relieved me I asked him if he would like me to make him some coffee. Of course he said yes and as I was pouring water from the tea kettle into the filter, I hit the plastic filter holder with the tea kettle spout and spilled coffee and coffee grounds all over the stove, the floor, the counter and me. What a horrible mess to clean up just when all I wanted to do was go to bed. It made me very grumpy.
Oh yeah, we were passed by a cruise ship last night which was kind of interesting to see it all lit up. The guys both reported seeing 4 falling stars each. I only saw one.