Merry Christmas from Pacifico, stuck in Oceanside.
We wish we could be sailing, but we are temporarily grounded for awhile. We hope our friends are all warm and safe. Enjoy the holidays.
Last leg and "Window-itis" and the stats
While in San Diego Mark and Susan Robinson came down for a visit and to reunite with C Monkey. You may recall C Monkey initially came aboard Pacifico with Mark in November for the trip down, but it turned into a lot longer adventure for C Monkey than for Mark. Now that he's back 'home' who knows where or on what boat he will turn up next! Anyway, we wish him a fond farewell and best of luck in his future sailing and boating adventures.
We made our last leg, San Diego to Oceanside on Thursday, June 30. That run was 42 nm and we motor sailed it right up the rhumb line. It was a perfect day, except we didn't have enough wind to make 4 knots of speed, but it was beautiful, mostly clear and sunny with 72° in the cockpit under the bimini shade. We were in our slip by 1630 all safe and sound! It was good to get the Bash over with, that is a long and challenging trip. We still have mixed feelings about leaving Mexico, but the cooler weather is helping us get over it. There is always next time to look forward to!
When we were bashing up, back at about Bahia Santa Maria, we were asking ourselves; "why are we here?" We understood that we were here to bring the boat back, and you rationalize that the days of slogging back up are the payback for all the fun you've had in the preceding months, but why did we leave Cabo when we did? We had planned to stay in the Cabo area until late June or even early July if needed, and to wait for a weather window to go north. We wanted to stay longer and had clearance from our insurance company to stay below Bahia Tortuga until July 15. So why did we cut it short and leave so early?
Mentally and emotionally we both felt that the trip was essentially over before we even left La Paz. Sure, we still had a few weeks left, but it would be waiting for that 'window' to head north on and you get anxious to get it over with. At about that time the first hurricane of the 2011 season was being spawned off the coast below Acapulco. This time of year they typically head north then go out to sea and die in the cooler waters. That said they are not a real threat to boats traveling north up the Baja and can be a big help, with their pressure system influencing the typical pressure gradients coming down the Pacific from the north. That's kind of an amateur version of it. Anyway, a lot of boats were gathering in the Los Cabos area looking for that 'window' of better weather to head north on, including us. With the weather forecasters saying, this is as good as it ever gets for the "Bash" and "go now" we got caught up in the frenzy. I'll call it "window-itis" and we departed Cabo before we had planed to. We found ourselves wondering why we were bashing and not sitting at some cantina someplace in Cabo! Oh well, nothing to do now but to get it done so here we are, home before the 1st of July. Oh well, things could be worse!
Not to bore everyone with numbers, but here is a recap of the some of the details and numbers from our trip. Our original plans were to go as far south as Zihuatanejo, which we did and as far north into the Sea as Santa Rosalia, which we also did, so we met those goals. We almost didn't get that far north, but Mike on So Inclined provided the enthusiasm and we made it. When we left Oceanside in November you may recall that we were in a mad scramble to get going. There was a lot left to be done and we continued to finish some projects on the way south. What I had over looked was keeping track of statistical details, like miles traveled. Our GPS units keep track of mileage, among other things, but I was inconsistent with recording that information. Initially I didn't reset the GPS odometer and did not have a good starting point, but I knew how far we traveled by retracing our tracks. I had it figured out by the time we got to Cabo and started keeping track of the starting odometer when we pulled anchor or left a marina and again when we dropped the hook or parked someplace. Periodically I kept a side record of stops and the actual mileage traveled between each point.
Here are the numbers: We traveled 4,046 nautical miles between 62 stops, anchor up to anchor down or to a slip. Those stops included 12 marinas for 84 days and 143 days at anchor in seven and one half months (223 days). Of the marina days those included ten days off the boat for the trip home and four for the Copper Canyon side trip, other than those events we were on the boat every night. Our longest passage was 354 nm, Cabo to San Hipolito and the shortest was 1 nm from Ensenada Carrizal to Santiago. We made nine passages of over 100 nm and six over 200 nm, just the two of us, who would have thought? We motored more hours than we ever thought we would, motor sailing the majority of the time, but we did have a few decent sailing days here and there. Between the lack of wind that time of year on the Mexican Riviera or wind from the wrong direction coupled with the constant need to recharge batteries and/or make water it was almost a necessity to motor. There were days we could have sailed, but had to run the engine anyway. I have to admit, I'm 'destination oriented.' That is, I'm not sailing at 2-3 knots when I don't have to!
So that's it for now, thanks for keeping track of us, sorry I wasn't more 'prompt' on my postings and we hope you've enjoyed what we've put forth to share with you here.
Our next voyage will be to Emerald Bay with the Oceanside Yacht Club in two weeks. There may be more adventures of C-Monkey on another boat. :-)
s/v Pacifico WDE6257, Clear! (for now)
22° 53.202'N, 109° 54.152'W
We picked up the anchor off Cabo at 0050 on June 12. It was a pleasant 75° with 6-8 knots of breeze and headed out into the Pacific. Around the corner it was 70° and going down fast with 22-25a knots from the NW. We slugged it out for about 8 nm up to Cabo Falso where turned more directly north. Thankfully it was as hoped a little softer around this point, only about 18-20a knots, but the temp was falling too. Before the day was out we would not see temperatures above the mid 60's for the remainder of the trip, often at night it would be in the 50's! Yikes, that's a 50° temperature drop in just a few days and only a few miles from La Paz!
We figured out pretty quickly that we were in for a very long and rough ride north if we tried to stay on the 'rhumb' line, which is the straight course line between where we were coming from and going to. We began tacking up our course with a long tack in towards the beach, then we'd tack back out to sea keeping our course line in the middle as a guide. The boat goes faster, usually about two knots and it's is a lot more comfortable on us and easier on the boat so we kept at it, but we are traveling farther.
We did this until about 2200 on the 13th or about 46 hours since leaving Cabo when we reached Bahia Santa Maria (BSM), our intended stop, which is 180 nm above Cabo. We had been taking turns on watch and both participating in tacking onto the new lay line. We were sailing some of the time to conserve fuel and motor sailing when it would help. We talked it over and we both felt good and decided to press on past BSM and around the corner another 90 nm to San Juanico, inside the 'bite' between Cabo San Lazaro above BSM and Pta. Eugenia just above Bahia Tortuga or Turtle Bay. Our original plan was to make as many as eleven stops at various anchorages of varying suitability on the way up to San Diego. There are no anchorages between Cabo and BSM however, so that is a dedicated non-stop leg. Also, this "San Juanico" is not to be confused with the San Juanico we visited on the other side of the Baja in the Sea. We have seen that there are numerous examples of repetitive name usage throughout the areas of Mexico we have visited.
We rounded Cabo San Lazaro, giving it plenty of room because it is notorious for strong currents and winds causing boats and ships to go aground and for some distance from the cape. As we rounded down into the 'bite' heading further in towards shore to San Juanico we found that the winds were lightening up and we were able to round up, that is to head more northwesterly and make good time while not pounding, to much. With that we decided to skip San Juanico and continue on to what had been our next intended anchorage, San Hipolito.
26° 59.023'N, 113° 58.356'W
We reached San Hipolito, which is 65 nm NW along the bite from San Juanico at 1500 on Wednesday, June 13. That was a passage of 87 hours and 354 nm after leaving Cabo. We averaged 4 knots, not bad for a small boat. This would be the longest passage of our entire trip. We were tired, had a good dinner and got some sleep.
The next morning we were off anchor at 0810 and under way to Bahia Tortuga, another 100 nm away. This passage was little better; the winds were mostly in the 16-18 knot range, but the seas were steep and close and we found ourselves sailing long tacks half the distance. Our decks were so wet, make that submerged that the stanchion bases were rusting and streaks of rust grew to the length of the deck. We got water in our anchor locker that because of the degree of heel overflowed into the bilge, sloshing around between the hull liner and hull and washing all the 23 year old construction debris into the bilge quickly clogged the pick up hoses. That was fun to clean out while underway!
I had these really nice jerry jug racks made in La Paz, but quickly found their weakness. They are built to hold the 5 gallon jugs on the toe-rail outside the life lines to keep the deck clear. All well and good, but when your healed over and the sea comes up under four of them the set screws don't hold and that forced the rail up, dropping the jugs. They were tied on and didn't leave the boat, but one of them lost its cap and the fuel was compromised. I found myself out on the rail, at night recovering the jugs and reconfiguring the tie down system. It was a wild ride out there and I got soaked.
27° 41.158'N, 114° 53.276'W
We got into Bahia Tortuga at about 0800 on June17. The weather outside had deteriorated and we held up for two days, mostly cleaning up the boat, fixing what got clogged, broken or didn't work, ate and slept. We took on 51.3 gallons of diesel on Sunday afternoon, which were delivered by "Ernesto" in his converted panga. It's a trip, I had to pull out my Honda generator and run it to run his pump system, but it works and the fuel is good. We were ready to go again.
Monday, June 20 we left under an overcast sky and with little to no wind and flat glassy seas. We motored up to Pta. Eugenia and ran the Dewey Channel across to up the inside of Cedros Island. Our consideration was to go inside Cedros or outside, which is good in calm weather only. Our original plan was to stop and anchor behind Cedros, then cross to San Carlos on the coast to stop again before proceeding north. The outside route gives you a better angle of attack to reach a safe waypoint outside the Sacramento Reef and for continued passage to Ensenada.
Cedros as they say 'makes its own weather'. It was cloudy and overcast right up to the south end of the island where it broke open and we had a bright, glorious 67° passage with flat seas for motoring about 20 nm to the north end of the island. At that point the north end of this island is about 50 nm off the coast across Bahia Viscaino and you could see it coming! It was blowing 20-25 knots with 6-8 foot seas foaming at the tops, steep close sets with a short wave period. We were sailing again, tacking across our course line towards a waypoint 90 nm NNW of Cedros at about 323°m 5 nm outside the Sacramento Reef. One of our possible intended anchorages, inside Pta. San Carlos, was about 80 nm at 345°m and essentially was on our lay-line. We made for it with the idea that we would anchor there for the night, and then get around Pta. San Antonio and then go in-between the coast and the infamous Sacramento Reef, which is a few miles off shore. The passage between Sacramento Reef and the coast is not recommended to be done in the darkness.
We got down to San Carlos late in the afternoon only to find that the wind was too westerly for this anchorage and it was blown out, blowing 20-25 knots off the point right through the anchorage. It was too late in the day to try to get around the point and between Sacramento Reef and the coast so there was nothing to be done but to tack all the way back out to intersect our original course line, 28 nm out. It wasn't a wasted day. We got in some pretty nice sailing, got to see San Carlos, kind of and it only cost us about 40-45 nm extra distance with all the tacking and half a day's time ..oh well.
30° 22.358'N, 115° 57.752'W
We got back up to our course line where we could turn and lay San Quintin, our next intended stop. The conditions started to moderated early the following morning and we got in at 1700 on the 22nd, almost 70 hours for a distance 262 nm. San Quintin is a great anchorage. This point has a nice inland bay, too shallow for most sail boats, but there is a large crescent arc of a bay outside with good holding in sand in about 20-25 feet of water, good protection from everything except a southerly and room for an entire fleet. We had a good, quite night here and could have stayed longer to rest, but our weather reports indicated things were improving from this point north and we were getting anxious to finish this trip. I'm not sure we were anxious to get 'home' i.e. back to reality, but we were ready to finish this trip.
We started our last leg up the Baja from San Quintin to San Diego at 0700 on Thursday, June 23rd and arrived at the San Diego Police/Customs Dock at 1400 on Friday. That was 162nm in 31 hours, all motor sailing in light conditions and mostly smooth seas. When we were just about to the international boarder we thought we were going to be boarded by the Mexican Navy again, but they chose to just interview us over the radio with questions regarding our length of stay in Mexico, last port of call and destination. No big deal, we never even slowed down. It is amusing to listen to other boaters call the US Coast Guard to report that the Mexican Navy wants to board their vessel and what should they do? Answer: "you are outside of our jurisdiction."
We put the time at the dock waiting for US Customs to respond to good use. They have a request phone here that you call in on and they send officers from the airport in-between flights. It can take a few hours. Anyway, we used the city hose and water to wash down the boat, pulled our dirty laundry out and generally got things cleaned up so that when we got to a slip we could relax.
32° 42.939'N, 117° 13.623'W
The Customs inspection was brief and we were in a reciprocal slip at Silver Gate YC at 1645. No time to relax yet, we had two weeks of laundry to catch up on. We commandeered a kitchen cart from SGYC and trucked all our wet and 'stinky' stuff (maybe that's why the customs officer left the boat so quickly?) to the laundry mat on Cannon St. Three loads in at a time and we were out of there and back to the boat in a reasonable time. The restaurant next to the laundry, Old Venice, had enticed us with their delicious aromas so we went back for dinner. We had mixed emotions, but it was good to be home, sticker shock and all.
Some fun in San Diego and one last leg to Oceanside and we really will be "home."
23 03.716'N, 109 40.413'W
We arrived at Puerto Los Cabos on Thursday, 6/10 at 1000 after a 24 hour run around the Cape from La Paz. Quite a few other boats were staging there including Sirocco. We got a slip close to them on the 'cheap dock' without power, but with this sunshine who needed it. Les George, a B-Dock mate from Oceanside and licensed Coast Guard Captain was going to assist Sirocco with their transit north so he was here too. It's a reunion! We got checked into the marina and checked out for the following day at the same time and utilized the services of a 'ships agent' to process our check-out papers from Mexico. It cost a few extra pesos, but this way when we get up the Baja we would to go into Ensenada to check out, but could continue on to San Diego, which is a real time saver and by that time of the trip all you want to do is to get it over with.
We spent the afternoon doing a few final things to get the boat and ourselves ready to head up the outside of the Baja for the "Bash" as it's called. The prevailing wind, waves and current are all coming down the Pacific Coast from Alaska and can make the trek northwards an endurance test for both the boat and crew. I know some of you are asking, what could you still have to do to get ready to go? Today, I dove the boat for a final bottom check, a little barnacle removal, check the zincs, prop and shaft. I checked everything that's tied down on deck and re-tied a few items, checked for loose nut, bolts and inspected rigging, a last check of the engine and mechanicals. Marisa made some food items up in advance, sandwiches, pasta salad and baked some cookies for snacks and we secured everything inside so it won't become a missle.
That evening a couple of Les' local friends came to the marina and picked us all up to go to dinner at what just so happens to be one of my favorite places in the Los Cabos area, "Zipper's" on Coast Azule between San Jose Del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas. A good time was had by all, and too much so for "Margarisa". But, she survived the night and we were off to Cabo in the morning.
The ride to Cabo San Lucas is a 22 nm run. We got over there around 1400, went inside the harbor to top off our fuel and then stuck our nose out around the point of land at the tip of the cape, known as 'Finesterra" or lands end. The bay before the cape is typically deceptively tranquil. It can be warm and sunny with a light breeze blowing across the bay while the other side of the point will be cold, overcast, blowing 20-25 knots with seas easily to ten feet and a short wave period, very uncomfortable. Going north directly into that for 800 plus miles to San Diego has been knicknamed, "The Bash". It may not have been quite that bad at the moment, but it was early afternoon and the winds were building. We decided 'out there' was no place to be and anchored off the beach at Cabo, between the "Office" and Pueblo Bonito Blanco, if you know where those places are located. We spent the afternoon napping and mentally getting ready to do battle with the forces outside that night after it calmed down; we hoped. Happy birthday to me!
24° 11.069'N, 110° 18.210'W
We decided to make the long run back to La Paz as painless as possible, so we just went for it with an overnighter! When we say overnighter, we mean no stops, you just sail or motor sail taking shifts until you get to where you are going. There are no Motel Six or rest stops to pull over for a rest at out on the water. We said good-by to our friends on Swift Current and Blue Rodeo on Tuesday morning, 5/31and started our run south. We initially intended to stop at one of the anchorages outside of La Paz for a day before going in and went that way to check them out before deciding to go into the marina and get a slip. I had made an appointment with 'Sergio' the stainless steel guy for some work on the boat and friend, Bob Stillmock was in town. Bob is actually my daughter in laws' step-father, married to her mom Pat and I know them from Denver where they all live.
Bob and Pat have a home in La Paz and Bob was in town, but only through the 4th, when he flew home. We had been invited to see or use the house when we were in town earlier and had gone to see it but didn't stay there. With Bob in town, and he has been coming here for years, it's like having a local tour guide; a great way to experience a city.
All things came together; Sergio started work as promised and Bob came by and picked us up. Bob keeps a car here in La Paz and he had offered to take us shopping. I had also been having problems with my HF radio and we found a local SYSCOM dealer, an international sales and repair franchise that services ICOM radios where we were able to take the radio and tuner for service. Of course that meant my emptying out the lazarette, which is like saying empty your garage to get to them, but I got it done, several times as it turned out. Anyway, with Bob's help we got all that taken care of plus some shopping, filled our propane at the propane plant, which was way out of town and had dinner and lunch at some of Bob's favorite hang outs, including Tres Virgenes Restaurant; great choice! We enjoyed Bob's company and all his help to get us ready to go and we got to hang out at his 'hacienda' and have a few cold ones together too! Thanks Bob!
All that said La Paz was hot with the daily temps usually around 100°. Getting Pacifico ready for the trip north was my primary concern. The afternoons when the day was at it's hottest we took a pool break, then back to the boat. Sergio finished our new stainless stern pulpit extension, jerry jug rail racks and a few other small modifications and we were ready to move to the Cabo area to stage for the trip north after a farewell dinner with the crews from Sirocco and Wind Rose at a great hamburger place, "Bandidos." You will have to see the pictures Marisa has posted of this place. It is an outdoor, back yard setting and they have this big BBQ that they built in under the hood of an old pickup truck. What a fun place, great food and service at a reasonable price.
If you are not aware the trip up the outside of the Baja Peninsula is called affectionately the "Baja Bash" and for good reason. The prevailing wind, waves and currents are all coming down the Pacific Coast all the way from Alaska at you and it can be nasty. We departed La Paz on June 9 and made the 125 nm an overnight run to San Jose del Cabo's Puerto Los Cabo Marina where we arrived at 1000, almost 24 hours later and one of our best times. I think we caught the current in the Cervallo Channel and around the Cape just right!
27° 03.949'N, 111° 57.660'W
Santa Rosalia was our last stop heading north into the Sea, from here on it will be all back tracking; the beginning of our journey home, about 1,000 nm away. We left Santa Rosalia on May 28 with So Inclined, both heading south and taking the inside passage between Isla San Marcos and the Baja Peninsula, around Pta. Chivato to the anchorage behind Pta. Mezquitito. It was an east wind blowing and a choppy swell making the anchorage rolly at first, but it calmed down in short order and we put the dinghy in the water to join Mike and Karen aboard So Inclined for our last evening together.
We have enjoyed our time in the Sea, and spending it with good friends makes it even more special. We will see Mike again in Oceanside and Karen again too, perhaps Oceanside? Perhaps La Cruz? But, we will! The next morning we picked up our anchor and waived our good-bys then headed south to San Juanico, 57 nm to the south.
I can't explain how this happens, but as we progressed north into the Sea we were always going into the wind. How then, can it be that when we turn around to head south that the wind shifts and we are once again heading into the wind? It seems life isn't fair and this is just the curse of the sailors; sailing to weather. We left Pta. Chivato with light winds of 3-4 out of the east, good enough. Later in the day, after passing the entrance to Bahia Concepcion we were approaching Pta Santa Teresa and it started to build, only into the 16-18 knot range, but here in the Sea and close to the points it gets pretty sloppy. The waves build to 6-8 ft and more but are closely spaced, a short wave period. That along with wind chop and it makes for a really rough ride. That lasted around this point and all the way to Pta. Pulpito and down to San Juanico. We went for the south end of the anchorage at San Juanico to get some protection from Pta. Mercenarios, the scene of our successful fishing day just a short time ago, and what a difference. Anyway, we got in at about 2000 and were happy to see Swift Current and Blue Rodeo anchored in the protection of the point.
The winds were abating and we moved to the north end of the bay with the predicted wind shift to the north by morning, at least that would save us a move. Sure enough, the winds died for a while then started filling in from the north. By morning both Swift Current and Blue Rodeo had joined us along with a few other boats, but this is a good anchorage and we all fit snugly. That following day it continued to blow, so much for spending the day with our friends or doing much of anything off the boat. By evening it had abated enough so that we all got together for one more last supper with our friends aboard Blue Rodeo. Swift Current was kind enough to pick us up in their dinghy and we didn't have to put ours down. While not the perfect day for it, it was a kind coincidence of fate. We had been trying to find these two boats via either email or HF radio for several days hoping for one last get together before we had to leave the Sea, and by luck we all ended up in the same anchorage together.
Dinner with our friends was as good as always and what a treat to see them again. After a nice evening together and some fond farewells we were taxied back to Pacifico. We were up the next morning to start an overnight run to La Paz, some 154 nm to the south.
When we started this voyage, way back in November, we had intended that Zihuatanejo would be our southerly most destination and Santa Rosalia our northerly most in the Sea. We had met these two goals, strengthened some old friendships and made some pretty nice new friends along the way.
27° 20.244N 112° 15.784'W
Our last northing in the Sea was from El Burro Cove in Bahia Concepcion to the old French copper mining community at Santa Rosalia, 48 nm north. We made the hop transiting outside Isla San Marcos on May 25 and went inside the old harbor to obtain a slip from the Fonatar's Singlar marina and were in by 1610.
Mining was begun here in the 1860s and this community was established by the French Company El Boleo in the 1880s. The harbor was built in 1922 using blocks of slag from the mining process. The French continued to operate the mines until the 1950s when it was turned over the Mexico. The mines were closed in 1986. A large number of artifacts from the French and subsequent mining operations remain and much of the original architecture has been preserved. This community is unusual for the Baja in that the French imported wood for the construction of much of the buildings and a steel church, Iglesia Santa Barbara, designed by Gustave Eiffel was constructed here. The community and mines have an interesting history that makes this place unique in the Baja. They have strived to maintain the wood facade of the community and it appears that much of the more recent construction is of cement block overlaid with wood, at least on the street side. Interesting stuff, other than that it was pretty typical Baja Mexican town!
Did I say it was hot here? Well it was, quite warm to about 100°, but we made the best of it. The marina, like all the Singlar facilities has a small pool that we took advantage of mid-day. The evenings were pleasant enough and we did the tourist thing in town, sampling a bacon wrapped hot dog from Chuyitas hot dog stand, buying fresh pan and pan dulces from the original, 1902 panaderia or bakery. We visited the mining museum and basically walked the entire town. There are no large hotels or any real developed tourist industry here, just a few roadside motels to service the motorists transiting Mexico's Highway 1, which passes through town.
26° 43.926'N, 111° 54.307'W
We departed San Juanico at 0640 May 22 to travel the 56 nm further up the Sea and into the large and beautiful Bahia Concepcion to El Burro Cove. There are quite a few coves, bays, islands and anchorages within Bahia Concepcion, which is about 21 nm long and 4-5 nm wide. Mexcio Hwy 1 runs along the western shore for much of its length and the community of Mulege is located 5 nm above the northern entrance to the bay. Mulege is described as a "date palm oasis" on the banks of the Rio Santa Rosalia. Bahia Concepcion was explored by the Spanish in the 1500's and Mulege was founded by Spanish missionaries in 1705 with the construction of the Mission Santa Rosalia de Mulege. The town has an old appearance and feel with narrow streets and many old, very old buildings still in use including the mission.
We anchored off the beach near "Bertha's Restaurant" in El Burro Cove at 1640. No sooner had we anchored that we were alerted to a whale shark or "ballena tiburon" swimming near our boats. As it turned out this was a small one, a "juvenile" at about 15 feet in length. I got into the dingy with my camera and was able to get a picture of Mike swimming with the big fellow. Very cool! They are harmless, but none the less the mouth on those things when open and coming straight at you is impressive! We were told the adults get to 30-35 feet overall, but we didn't see any that big.
El Burro Cove has a community of beach huts, small T-11 plywood cottages on concrete slabs one row deep just above the high water mark. We met "Geary" a retired American who has lived in one of these cottages for the last 16 years and does an amateur weather report on the HAM radio "Sonrisa" net at 0730 daily. We got a chance to thank him for his reports and Karen presented him with a plate of her home made cookies, for which she got an instant marriage proposal!
That evening we all went ashore to Bertha's where we learned that the restaurant is now owned by Celia, a Mexican lady who lived in Vancouver, B.C. for 20 years and of course speaks excellent English. After a few beers and Mexico tipico dinners and we were playing horse shoes, girls against the guys at the restaurant's pit. I hate to say it, but it was a long, very long game and while the guys were definitely ahead 6:1 the girls cleaned house with two ringers in a row to beat 7:1. We were only playing to 7 since none of us were any good and we knew it would take forever anyway, but it was fun. Several local customers enjoyed watching and especially at the end when C-Monkey got to hold the steak for the last few rounds. One of the families vacationing there turned out to be Italians from Rome. They were Roberto and Daniella with their two daughters and they told us they have been vacationing in this area every year for years. Roberto is a pilot for Air Italia and he lived in California for several years during which time he had the opportunity to fly to various areas of Baja California and fell in love with the Baja and Bahia Concepcion. They are also sailors and keep their boat at the Marina Lido de Ostia, outside Rome and where I had the opportunity to visit for several weeks in 2004 when I was crewing aboard "Rover" a Nordhavn 62 owned by John and Gail Maloney from Denver, but that's another story. It turns out Roberto and Daniella are interested in returning to California at some time and are especially interested in the San Clememte-Oceanside area. We had an interesting conversation and enjoyed meeting them. You just never know who you're going to meet in these places!
The next morning Celia gave us a ride into Mulege and provided an interesting commentary on the community. She set us up with a taxi for the return trip and we were on our own. We had the opportunity to visit the mission, explore the town and had a nice lunch at Las Casitas Hotel and restaurant. After that we did some grocery shopping and caught our taxi back to El Burro Cove. We could have stayed longer, but to make our final destination in the Sea, Santa Rosalia, we needed to get going, our time was running out.
26° 43.926'N, 111° 54.307'W
We bailed out on the rolly anchorage at Isla Coronado at about 0550 May 19 and headed 22 nm further up into the Sea to San Juanico, which would turn out to be one of our favorites and is described in one of the guide books as "one of the most picturesque" anchorages in the Sea. The winds out of the mountains that had been so uncomfortable turned out to be evasive. They were perfect for sailing north on, but they played hide and seek with the mountain ranges as we progressed further north. We actually got the chance to sail part of this trip and make good time while doing it.
We were anchored in 14 ft of clear water over sand inside Pta. San Basilio in one of the inner northern lobes of this two mile long 'caleta' or bay, which is well sheltered and scenic with "fantastic geology" by 1130. There are several vacation homes that have been built around the northern end of the bay and we could see the survey markers placed about the bay indicating that further development was coming. The water here was clear and about 78° which made for great snorkeling. We got the paddle board and kayak out and put them to good use as well, exploring some of the inner crevices of the anchorage as well as getting some exercise.
There is a "cruisers shrine" located ashore that is described in the guide book as a place to leave a memento of your visit at. The "shrine" is actually a big bush and it has been adorned over the years with all kinds of trinkets or mementos bearing inscriptions from the various cruising boats that have stopped here. Not to be outdone we prepared an appropriate memento to pay homage with as well, and what better than a portion of a 'Pacifico' can, signed and dated and hung like a Christmas ornament. Of course we memorialized the event with digital photography and Marisa has posted that along with quite a few others from this favored anchorage. We continued our trek ashore to explore the northern side of the point and to search for the allusive "Apache tears" or small pieces of obsidian rock that can be found in the washes along the adjoining canyons. We met several other cruisers who told us that clams and especially chocolate clams were plentiful in the shallow waters of the bay, but we didn't take any, however we did try out the fishing.
Mike and I took Pacifico's dinghy out to the outer rocks at the south end of the bay at Punta Mercenarios about 1.25 nm out from the anchorage at the south end of the bay were some pinnacle rocks project into the lower portion of the bay. The trip out was an event in itself in that we encountered a pod of dolphins. We were able to mix in among them in the dinghy and I took some movie footage of them playing around the dinghy as we were motoring out. Not to worry, they are too smart to get injured by the prop. They like to run in front of the boat playing in the bow wave pressure and even in the dinghy there was no exception. Marisa posted the video as well. Out at the rocks we bummed some pieces of bait fish from another cruiser fishing from his dinghy and snagged about six 'pargo' and two trigger fish. We actually caught most of the fish with a simple hand line, using a plastic coke bottle and a handle and a baited hook. No fancy fishing gear required here!
Back at the boats it was fish cleaning time for fresh fish for dinner. Pargo is also referred to by the Mexicans as a "red snapper", although I'm not certain of that classification it is a clean white meat fish. We all feasted on "red snapper a la Vera Cruz" aboard So Inclined that evening and had plenty for fish tacos the next evening and with plenty left over.
After several days at San Juanico it was time to pull anchor and continue north to our next intended stop, El Burro Cove in Bahia Concepcion.