07/10/2011, Bahia Santo Domingo - Bahia Concepcion
Sea of Cortez - Northbound
June 28, 2011: It's nice to have a short journey to the next cove; you can sleep in, take your time with coffee and breakfast then have good winds to sail in the afternoon. What could be better? We pulled out the head sail and cruised the 13 miles to the west side of Coronados Island. This anchorage is tucked behind a spit and protected from the south to southwest swells. Other easy day except for the heat - and what to fix for dinner that doesn't require using the stove.
Coronados Island 26 06.587N 111 17.169W
June 29 - July 1, 2011: Onward to San Juanico, a lovely bay 18 miles further north where we met up with Adam & Cindy on Bravo, dock mates from Shilshole Marina in Seattle. Our days here were spent swimming, dinghy cruising, naps and our first attempt at laundry.
The shallow area near the beach was loaded with stingrays. It's amazing the speed they moved thru the water. I was quite happy to observe them from the safety of the dinghy. The water temp varied between 80-85 depending on the day. Bob & I both get the "stupid award" for getting sunburned - me more so than Bob. We have managed to avoid getting too much sun these last 6 months until now. Instead of swimming late in the day (like we normally do), we swam around 2 pm ... this after being in the sun on our dinghy adventure. Gosh, did I pay for it later ... and of all times, these last few nights have been the hottest. Nothing like trying to sleep with your skin on fire and no relief from the heat.
Laundry in the 5 gallon bucket washing machine went okay. The key is very few clothes, a good soak and a small plunger to "agitate" the water. Fortunately we acquired a small bar towel ringer from our brother-in-law several years ago and now it is becoming quite a useful tool. The laundry line is our life lines and in time we looked like all the other cruising boats with clothes hanging everywhere. Our system is not quite perfect but we will have plenty of opportunity to practice.
July 2, 2011: Darn ... we had to get up and out of the anchorage early this morning to make the 57 mile trek to El Burro Cove in Bahia Concepcion. This was like going to work!
We were hoping for a good sail the entire way since the wind forecast predicted 15-18 knots out of the south to southwest. Almost made it - we sailed about 50% of the time so that wasn't too bad. The fishing lines were deployed in search of a dorado but instead we caught 13 skipjacks. It was fun but the skipjacks are not good eating so they will live to see another lure. The dolphins and pelicans were enjoying a feast as we observed an old fashion roundup of a school of fish.
We arrived at El Burro Cove with numerous other boats hanging out for the big 4th of July party held by "Baja Geary" who produces the weather reports every morning for the ham nets. Air temp was 96 degrees at 10 pm with a water temp of 89 degrees. Uff Da! I am hot!
El Burro Cove, Bahia Concepcion 26 43.838N 111 54.300W
July 3 - 8, 2011: Our day started very slowly after our long passage day yesterday. Right now our biggest obstacle is getting enough hydration and rest in this heat. I have now moved into the stage of chronically tired and hot ... very hot. Sweat comes out of every pore possible and your clothes are drenched within 5 minutes of wearing them. No wonder clothing is optional up here.
Karen on Panta Rhei had a burning desire to cook a turkey dinner with all its trimmings. This was a lovely treat but how she managed to put together this meal in this heat I will never know. It was delicious and very much appreciated. Somehow I need to reciprocate this meal but not until the daytime temps are below 80 degrees!
The 4th of July picnic was a great success with about 30-35 boats attending. It was nice to meet up with old friends and meeting new ones. Throughout the afternoon people would drift into the water to cool off and carry on their conversations. Thankfully it was a cloudy day. By the way, the water temp is 89 degrees, just like tepid bath water, so "cooling off" may be a stretch in my description.
There are a couple of restaurants on the beach so it was necessary to enhance the economy a bit. Besides I was happy to leave the cooking to someone else. All the meals we had were quite tasty if you could overlook the flies and bees buzzing around your head, drinks and plates of food. One of our waitresses was all of 9-11 years old; her social skills were a bit lacking but she got the job done just fine.
One day was spent exploring Mulege, a small community located up the Rio Santa Rosalia a few miles. With summer storms and hurricanes the river has provided quite a flooding challenge to the town. I bought a couple of gringo tourist blankets to use on our cushions down below. We are sweating so much now we need to protect the upholstery. It's easier to wash towels or blankets vs pulling off the cushion covers and washing them. Besides finding a convenient laundry is a premium.
The next couple of days have been spent reading, napping and swimming. The nights down here in Bahia Concepcion do not cool down very much ... we wake up to 85 degrees. At least I am not the only one complaining and finding it challenging. There was a call out on the VHF radio looking for Gatorade - the man's wife was severely dehydrated and suffering from diarrhea. Thankfully we had plenty to offer them and the liquid restocked her electrolytes.
I couldn't stand here another night ... no wind and hot temps. It was time to move to the north end of Bahia Concepcion where we were hoping for more air movement and a few degrees cooler air temps. We spent 7 nights at anchor living solely off the solar panels but it was time for adding more juice to the batteries via the engine.
July 10 - 11, 2011: We took a longer route to the mouth of the Bahia Concepcion by turning south for a bit before turning back north. This gave us a longer run time to charge batteries and make water. Yeah we are having a bit more air but it is still stinking ass hot. The Sea of Cortez in the summer is like being in paradise hell - you are surrounded by beauty while being roasted to death.
Getting up in the morning is even a challenge, the bedding is soaked with sweat and the thought of turning on the burner to make coffee is unthinkable let along breakfast. This is not a good day in the neighborhood.
But it could be worse, we were listening on the ham radio nets this morning and one cruiser about 100 miles north of us had run aground. His 38 ft Shannon was listing about 45 degrees over towards shore and he had to abandon ship. This man was 80 years old and single handling the boat. How or why he ended up on shore we don't know but I can tell you that the ham radio operators were magnificent relaying info to the Coast Guard and Mexican Navy. Hopefully the man and his boat will come out okay. You gotta be impressed that an 80 year old is still cruising!
Bahia Santo Domingo 26 51.998N 111 50.777W
July 12, 2011: It was time to move on another 18 miles to the north side of Punto Chivato. Nothing to write home about this place, just a place to drop the hook. Here is where we laid out in the cockpit to watch the lightening clear across the Sea of Cortez on the mainland side. It was quite an impressive light show and glad to see it remained far away from us.
Most of the cruisers now have moved their bedrooms to the cockpit; we are no exception. I have to admit it is very cool to gaze up into the stars as you are falling asleep.
Punta Chivato (North side) 27 05.891N 111 58.985W
July 13, 2011: Our next stop is Sweet Pea Cove, sounds romantic doesn't it? We set a tandem anchor due to the notorious reputation of boats slipping anchor here; all that work and we had no wind and no chubascos and lots of heat. Oh well, be careful for what we ask for.
This cove lies on the northeast corner of Isla San Marcos. This island is home to about 600 residents that work in the local gypsum mine. We witnessed the loading of ore unto a ship and the dust created by activity was unbelievable. The local residents live in a constant dust storm ... and who knows what lung diseases they carry.
Sweet Pea Cove, Isla San Marcos 27 13.894 112 06.117W
06/28/2011, Punta Nopolo
Sea of Cortez - Heat, Heat & Heat
June 15, 2011: We escaped the bondage of La Paz and now are backtracking our way north for the hurricane season. It's been very hot in town so we are hoping to find some cooler temps and some breeze at least to help us tolerate the heat.
The islands close to La Paz are known for the winds picking up at night and sure enough we got our share again; which was okay since we knew we were firmly anchored and could use the fresh air flowing thru the cabin.
Ensenada de Grande 24 33.514N 110 23.910W
June 16 - 17, 2011: Friends, Paul & Judy on Grace, were anchored at Isla San Francisco so we moved on to join them along with Andrew & Anne on Windsong for some playtime on the beach and in the water. This anchorage is one of my favorites so far and the water is awesome to swim in. It was welcome relief to jump in during the hottest part of the day. We topped off the day by hunkering on the beach watching the sun go down and drinking our favorite beverages.
Isla San Francisco 24 49.123N 110 34.018W
June 18, 2011: While Grace and Windsong moved onto the bay at San Evaristo, Ponderosa went around the corner and anchored on the north side of the small community to get more protection from the south winds. The direction of the wind is now more southerly to southwest that makes for some nice downwind sails going north. It was a tough day moving a whopping 11 miles so we rested in the cockpit reading and maybe even napping, can't remember.
San Evaristo (north side) 24 55.356N 110 42.717W
June 19, 2011: Again the south winds were blowing and we sailed most of the way to Los Gatos. Our thought was by tucking in behind the shoal our anchorage area would be relatively calm from the winds. Boy were we wrong ... we had an awful night rolling from side to side. I was not a happy camper and to top it off it was hot. The only good thing that happened was our fisherman, Manual, stopped by to sell us some fish. We bought one and I asked him about lobster (langosta) - he didn't have any on his panga so he happily went out to the shoal area, anchored and dove for lobster. He brought back 3, a papa, mama & baby lobster that we eagerly paid for with $200 pesos ($16 USD) and two cold beers. You should have seen the look on Manual's face when he received the cold beer; it was quite the big smile.
Los Gatos 25 17.923N 110 56.594W
June 20 - 23, 2011: We are now back in Agua Verde but in the south lobe of the bay for better wind and wave protection. I like this area even better than the north lobe since we had a beautiful sandy beach and lots of snorkeling area to explore. Grace and Windsong have joined us here and our first excursion was to check out the "restaurant" in this small fishing community. Calling it a restaurant was quite a stretch of the imagination but we did get a nice Sunday breakfast of scrambled eggs with ham, beans and fresh tortillas. Our coffee was hot water ... we passed around the instant granules to "brew" our coffee.
Our eating area was on the porch right next to the double bed. One young man that could speak some English had helped set up tables, chairs and a wobbly old wooden bench. Grandpa helped serve the cups of hot water and breakfast plates in between his trips to the ice chest full of beer. It was an interesting morning ... our meal was not cheap. We paid $95 pesos each or ($7.50 USD) - we figured we tripled their monthly income. Oh well, once was enough and worth the experience.
Bob & I bought some sun shade material from the garden department at Walmart. We had three rolls of 6 ft x 20 ft to sew together, fit over the boom to shade part of the cockpit area not covered by our side curtains attached to the bimini. These joint projects sure can be deadly to a partnership especially since we both had strong ideas on how it should work. Anyway we worked through the differences with strong arguments, fits, temper tantrums and got the shade boom tent 90% put together. And like any accounting problem to solve, it's best to leave it until the next day and you can see things much clearer.
By late afternoon each day the comfortable 83 degree water lured us in to float around the anchorage on our "noodles". After 1-2 hours of getting pruned, our core body temp had cooled down enough to face the 95-99 degree temps still lurking prior to sun down. We have been eating dinners now much later and trying to find food to eat that doesn't require using the stove. The bbq and microwave are getting a workout.
Agua Verde 25 30.896N 111 03.716W
June 24 - 26, 2011: We are back in Puerto Escondido for a couple of days to do some light provisioning and laundry. Gads it is hot as hell here ... not much for air movement and I don't wish to swim in this water. Four sets of cruisers hired a taxi for the day and we went to Loreto for the Sunday market, bank cash machine and grocery store. This Sunday market is one of the best I have seen for fruits and veggies - for $13 USD I loaded up on all the fresh produce we normally can carry on the boat.
Anne & Andrew on Windsong invited Grace and Ponderosa over for card games but all of us were so hot that we decided we couldn't think clear enough to play so we just visited and drank liquids ... Gatorade was tasting pretty good along with beer and gin and tonic. Our biggest entertainment was watching each other sweat. One night we all gathered for a dinghy ride - at least we were off the hot boats and generating a slight breeze while puttering around the anchorage.
June 27, 2011: Aaahhh the wind was blowing as we exited Puerto Escondido and we had comfortable 10 mile journey to a small cove by Point Nopolo. It is located near a large resort area where we can get internet access thru our Banda Ancha. Nothing like catching up with emails, news and realities of the world.
We are working our way to Bahia Concepcion to join the 4th of July party in El Burro cove. We should meet up with most of our cruising buddies there and then continue to Santa Rosalia and Bahia de Los Angelos where we will hang out thru hurricane season. Our most immediate stops before Bahia Concepcion will be Isla Coronados and the San Juanico area.
Once again our internet availability will be very limited ...
06/14/2011, La Paz
Saga of a Root Canal
June 9 - 14, 2011: Lisa Caruso, a Seattle friend and sailor, offered to take Judy from Grace and me around town to do errands and grocery shopping. What a kind gesture! It was great fun to have a girl's day out shopping. We hit Sam's Club, a marine store, the Telcel office, a large grocery store called Chedraui and filled her van full of supplies. As we move up north in the Sea, our sources of supplies gets quite limited so you need to stock up the boat while you can. In turn, we share lunch or dinner with Lisa and help her out with chores. She will be having hip replacement surgery in the next couple of weeks so her mobility is quite limited. It never ceases to amaze me, how helpful the cruising community can be.
We got the boat washed down once again from all the dust and hired divers to clean the bottom growth off. Our intention was to leave on Monday the 13th. But a tooth of mine had other ideas. My teeth have been problems to me over the years; lots of cavities & teeth straightening as a kid, two bridges (actually 3 if you count the replacement), two failed root canals - teeth were cracked and teeth pulled, plus wisdom teeth extracted. As you might guess, I really really dislike going to the dentist. I can barely stand getting my teeth cleaned; in fact, I am a big time gagger!
I had tinges of pain on the right side of my jaw while in San Diego but I was really trying to ignore it. But on Saturday night the tooth declared war, the pain ratcheted up several notches waking me up and knew I was in trouble. Great, why couldn't this happen while in the states? I was in a full fledge panic now - I had visions of losing the tooth and having to replace the bridge (potentially the 3rd time). Where do I start to look for a dentist?
Well, Club Cruceros a non-profit organization that serves the boating community, had a list of dentists to chose from that listed phone numbers, addresses and whether they spoke English. It was a start but I had to wait until Monday before calling. The first dentist I called never answered his phone so the marina office staff found me another office that spoke English, was located just off the malecon and able to get in that afternoon.
Fortunately, the marina has a shuttle service to "el centro" or downtown that got us close enough to the dental office. I now have a raging infection, swollen right facial cheek, downing pain pills, sweltering in the ungodly heat and so crabby I can't stand myself. We arrived to a lovely and clean air conditioned office, we were off to a good start. The young woman dentist immediately began examining my teeth and taking a couple of x-rays of the tooth in question. After answering a few questions as to hot/cold sensitivity and pain level, she too believed a root canal was in order.
Moments later she called a specialist to come down to the office to perform the surgery that afternoon at 4:30 pm ... it was currently 3:20 pm. Wow, I couldn't believe it. The dentist was coming to this office and I didn't have to leave the wonderful air conditioning. So what to do for an hour you ask? Well both Bob and I got our teeth cleaned and examined. Bob had several filings that needed replacing so an appointment was set for Tuesday morning.
The woman dentist that did the root canal had it completed in 45 minutes with efficiency, professionalism and spoke perfect English. She was able to drill thru the bridge and extract the dying root. Yeah - bridge was saved. I also got an antibiotic prescription for the infection which was filled promptly by the nearby farmacia. Oh man, life was looking up. I was given a temporary filling for the evening until my appointment on Tuesday to have the permanent composite material inserted into the tooth and stabilize the bridge. Both Bob and I should be good for awhile, at least 6 months to our next cleaning. By the time it was all said and done here was our cost:
2 cleanings - $450 pesos ea ... $72 USD total
1 root canal - $2,500 pesos ... $200 USD
5 fillings (including my tooth) $700 pesos ea ($3,500) ... $280 USD total
1 antibiotic - $252 pesos ... $20 USD
We are now ready to leave town ... got lots of food, beer and gin. The tooth is feeling good. Just need to fuel the boat and get out of "Dodge". Internet access will be poor to non-existent way north in the sea. So be patient for cruising updates. The SSB will work for downloading text to the sailblog site and getting emails. Remember text only and no pictures or attachments to the Winlink email address.
This is what we did on our summer vacation ... all for now!
06/14/2011, San Diego
San Diego - Fun & Family
May 28 - June 8, 2011: Although I had no intentions about writing about our trip back to the states, it seems that many of friends and family are suffering from "blog withdrawal" and need a quick fix. So here goes ... it felt strange checking into the airport getting ready to fly back to the U.S. especially since our "home" was parked in Marina Palmira here in La Paz. But we both were ready for a vacation from our retirement, cooler temperatures (it's been in the high 90's) and a chance to be around little kids. They definitely have a way to rejuvenate your spirits while zapping you of energy.
Our flight was only 2.5 hours as we soared over the Sea of Cortez. Getting a bird's eye view of what's to come was quite pleasant. It was easy to spot the US/Mexican border ... those on the north side live in the land of plenty - straight roads, irrigation for crops, nice homes, mega shopping centers, etc. It was such a pathetic contrast. I was getting worried about our culture shock coming back to the U.S., too many cars, too much traffic, everyone being in a hurry, high prices and sure enough I wasn't disappointed in that category. I also can honestly say 70 degrees felt cool to me after coming from 90+ degrees - I thought I would never say that!
After meeting up with our niece and her 3 kids (dad is deployed in Afghanistan), we drove down to San Diego for our week's stay in a family condo. Our days were filled with running errands knocking off our want/need list for the boat and finding items hard to get in Mexico. The kids didn't care what the activity we were doing, they had fun doing boy stuff (Bob & Tristan) while Rachael, Allie, Bella & I did girl stuff.
We also visited the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, Wild Safari Park and Point Loma National Park. It was hard to say who was most tired by the end of the day. But there seemed to enough energy for swimming. Tristan, at age 4, wasn't so sure about playing in the pool until he saw how much fun his sisters were having (they are age 2 & 11). Once in, the rest was history - we could hardly get him back to the room and into bed.
We would wake each day with one or all of the kids crawling into bed with us to watch cartoons or a movie. It took hours to get everyone dressed, fed and the car loaded to start our adventures each day. But we weren't complaining - these are special moments. While touring Point Loma, the kids earned their Junior Ranger Badges by answering questions at each point of interest, coloring in animals or birds they saw on the walk, drawing lines from dot to dot, etc. The two youngest were quite pleased with their shiny badges and Allie, the oldest, was required to take an oath to uphold the spirit of the national parks and received a signed certificate.
Uncle Bob & I got our share of crying fits, giggles, wiping up after little critters, baths and wiping dirty bums after going potty. I don't see how my niece Rachael keeps it all going. But the most precious sight was Bella & Tristan peaking around a living room chair after coloring their faces, arms and legs with magic markers. They were supposed to be coloring in their books but I guess that wasn't as interesting. It was hard to keep a straight face in between taking pictures of their artwork and cleaning them up. Good thing is was washable markers. Allie is at the "tweener" stage - too young to be a teenager and too old to be a little kid. She is a great big sister and helped us out with the little ones while mom got to take a break for a couple of days.
The days flew by and it was hard to believe we needed to return to Mexico. It was so nice to have lots of running water for showers, flushing toilets, large comfortable beds, air conditioning, choices, choices and more choices of food to buy and nice restaurants to eat at. But for all of this fluff, we sure spent a pretty penny. We did splurge and buy ourselves 2 Kindles and a new stereo; everything else pertained to the boat. We kissed and hugged all the critters goodbye - it sure was quiet around the condo. Too quiet! It was sad to leave family.
Our tourist visas are now renewed once again for 180 days as we came back to 97 degree temperatures. It was back to reality in short order!
05/26/2011, La Paz
Sea of Cortez - Southbound to La Paz
May 13 -15, 2011: After our big circumnavigation of Isla Carmen, it's back to Puerto Escondido for a few days. This time we tied to a mooring buoy knowing the winds would be calm for a few days. A trip to Loreto was in order which meant taking a taxi. The taxi service knows they have a cornered market on getting gringos to town. For approximately $600 pesos or $48 USD, the drivers will take you to the bank, grocery stores, marine stores, etc and get you back to Puerto Escondido. During the morning cruisers net you generally find people to share the expense of the taxi; sure helps with the ticket shock. Laundry is not cheap either ... about $2.40 USD for each wash and dryer.
May 16 - 19, 2011: We are now working our way back to La Paz. At the end of the month we are flying back to the states in order to renew our visas. But for now, we can poke along from anchorage to anchorage exploring places we missed coming up from La Paz to Puerto Escondido for Loreto Fest.
Agua Verde (or "green water") is a well protected and beautiful anchorage along the east side of the Baja. There is also a small community located here with numerous fishing pangas lining the beach, a school, 2 tiendas, a one room jail and goat farm (which produces goat cheese). Within the anchorage are the familiar sights of Panta Rhei, Taking Flight and new friends on Blue Rodeo, Swift Current and Nancy Rae. Exploring the community and snorkeling have been the top activities these last couple of days. Top of the list seems to be eating; Panta Rhei served up freshly caught scallops by the local fishermen.
We heard that last week a whale shark was swimming in the bay. Who knows, maybe we will get lucky and see one. Bob & I snorkeled from the boat to the edges of the bay and saw a variety of colorful fish including numerous puffers. Others took their dinghies out to Roca Solitaria, a 115 ft tall lone rock just outside the anchorage, for diving and snorkeling. After four days of fooling around we moved further south to Puerto Los Gatos.
Agua Verde 25 31.343N 111 04.380W
May 20, 2011: Never fails when we want to sail there is no wind, today was no different. There was a mass exodus from Agua Verde as boats migrated to the next place to explore. We had an easy run of 17 miles to Puerto Los Gatos, an anchorage popular with cruisers with its distinctive red rock formations. We shared cocktail hour together with the two other boats at anchor here, told stories and passed on information about each place we have been so far. What a great community of knowledge all the cruisers share in.
Puerto Los Gatos 25 18.196N 110 56.765W
May 21 -22, 2011: In order not to be too lazy of slugs we launched the dinghy for a tour around the bay taking pictures and snorkeling from above the water. We said a quick goodbye to our neighbors and headed towards San Evaristo. We poked around till about noon, hoping our chances to sail would increase since the winds pick up in the afternoon. Fat chance! The sails went up and the sails went down ... and only when we were a mere 5 miles from our destination did we finally get wind - right on the nose at 15 knots. God I love this sport.
San Evaristo 24 54.531N 110 42.392W
May 23, 2011: We made the massive migration to Isla San Francisco, a whopping 10 miles. Once there we joined the other cruisers for a rousing game of bocce ball. It's an Italian sport which turns out to be quite fun - lots of ribbing, no athletic ability required and beer is optional. After our intense two games, we all took a swim in the 77 degree cool refreshing water. It was a good day in the neighborhood; fun during the day and a lovely sunset in the evening.
Isla San Francisco 24 49.182N 110 34.037W
May 24, 2011: Onward another 22 miles south to Caleta Partida; an anchorage that lies between Isla Partida & Isla Espiritu Santo. Bob decided to change the engine oil here instead of waiting to get to La Paz. Just as well, since we have a long list of chores to accomplish before flying out. I did my part by staying out of the way. It's a chronic issue among the women cruisers - how to escape their partners who are performing "blue" projects.
Caleta Partida 24 31.651N 110 22.618W
May 25 - 27, 2011: We are now back in La Paz getting the boat cleaned up and ourselves ready to fly to the US. We are definitely looking forward to the break from cruising. It's time to play with the little kids in the family, purchase stuff on our want/need list and enjoy the land of the plenty.
05/18/2011, Agua Verde
Sea of Cortez - Isla Carmen
May 5 - 7, 2011: We traveled 17 miles to Puerto Ballandra, a cove on the west side of Isla Carmen. For about 2 hours we had the whole place to ourselves, not so later. We were hoping to get internet access since this was a direct shot across to Loreto but no such luck. On Friday we took a walk inland to snoop around; although a lovely anchorage, bees, bobos (little flies) and mosquitoes were extremely pesky. The walk was interesting but the flies were relentless. Of course, the more I whined about it, I swear the more they flocked towards me. It didn't help that Bob just wanted to go a little further ? just the next ridge. Do you know how many times I have heard from him ? just the next ridge? Well you get the picture, on many a hike, miles later we will have arrived at the "next ridge". At least we took a dinghy ride after the walk and out ran the bugs.
Not so with the bees, they would fly out to the boat in the morning and early evening checking for fresh water. Nothing wet with fresh water could be left outside and all screens were firmly in place. Even after being freshly showered and sitting outside, they buzzed around me so much I finally went below to escape.
The air temps have been quite warm so the water at 75 degrees was sounding quite inviting. Kat & Bill from SV Island Bound were sharing lemonade with us and as they left Bill jumped in to swim back to their boat. That was enough to convince Bob & me that swimming was next on the agenda. So we paddled over to Jake and Sharon on SV Jake and enticed them into water too. After about an hour, we were all cooled off and ready to get out. No showering in the cockpit since that would bring on the bees.
Puerto Ballandra, Isla Carmen 26 01.194N 111 .09.833W
May 8, 2011: Our intent was to circumnavigate Isla Carmen, but we took a side trip to the south end of Coronados Island to pick up internet access. We anchored for the evening, got caught up on emails and other business. Thankfully the weather has been benign and we had a peaceful time watching the dolphins feed around the boat and later in the evening watch the international space station fly thru the skies.
Coronados Island 26 06.216N 111 16.673W
May 9 - 11, 2011: We started around the north end of Isla Carmen snooping at various anchorages along the way for future stops. Our destination is Bahia Salinas, a wide open bay on the east side of the island. This bay was the home to a large salt mining operation up until the early 80's. Old mining equipment and abandoned buildings waiting to be explored lie along the beautiful white sandy beach. As it was, Bob wasn't feeling very chipper and we decided to take it easy for a day or two before venturing into land. The winds were blowing strong so getting to and from the beach would be very wet and uncomfortable. It wasn't hard to slip into a good book and hang out on the boat. Two days later the winds died down and we made it to shore along with our neighbors in the anchorage - Windward Bound and Cuba Libre.
Although the mining activity has ceased, a couple of new buildings with caretakers now exist among the ruins. Apparently these are for housing tourists on fishing and hunting expeditions to the island. We received permission and cautions on where safely to wander around the area. As a thank you, a few beers left on the dock would be appreciated by the caretakers. As we gazed across the salt ponds, it looked like a frozen lake with ice. It was so bright you could barely look at it without the use of sun glasses. We were warned to stay on the trails or the road as the ground below the salt was like quick sand. A sunken 120 ft tuna boat lies out in the bay in about 35 ft of water. We did take the dinghy over there to explore but didn't get into the water. That will have to wait for another time.
Bahia Salinas, Isla Carmen 25 59.496N 111 06.232W
May 12, 2011: We moved a whopping 10 miles south to Punta Colorada after exploring Bahia Salinas. I love these short hops with the magnificent mountain scenery along the way. The rest of the day was spent with our noses in books and a few cursory glances around checking if the world still existed.
Punta Colorada, Isla Carmen 25 51.337N 111 11.656W