10 April 2011 | La Paz, Mexico
Part of the plan for the month of April (subject to change, of course) is to use the Marina Palmira as our base of operations and to do small mini cruises out to the off laying Islands of Isla Espiritu Santos and Isla Partida and some of the other anchorages in the area. On Wednesday Peter, Sharon, myself and our newest crew member Bob headed out of the marina for the first mini cruise since being here. We were able to put up the sails right out of the harbor and sailed to a beautiful cove on the mainland called Balandra, you may remember that we had stopped overnight in Balandra on our way into La Paz. Balandra is home to the "world famous Mushroom Rock" (pic). Mushroom rock was created by thousands of years of erosion undercutting the rock. Due to further erosion, hurricanes and locals climbing on it, the rock gave way, since it is "world famous" the city of La Paz went out and propped the rock back up with rebar and cement. More erosion, hurricanes and climbing caused further failures. Finally the city of La Paz, unable to prop it back up, had a fiberglass replica made and that is what you see in the pic, BTW it is rumored that La Paz has a storage room full of fake Mushroom rocks so when there are future failures they can run right out and replace the fake with another fake.
We didn't really have a plan when we left La Paz and due to wanting to check out Balandra better, we decided to hang around the next day and night. Balandra is a beautiful cove which has shallow shoals extending out for several hundred yards, meaning that you can walk out from shore for what seems like forever and still be in knee high water. We hiked, we laid on the beach under a palapa and we mixed it up with the locals. The weather during the day was perfect, but at night a local wind called a Corumuel can come up ranging from a comfortable breeze to a full blown nightmare. The first night we experienced our first Corumuel and it blew pretty good all night and into the morning before dying out mid morning. The second night the Corumuel came up again but not as strong. On Friday we decided to head out to the islands, and due to the Corumuels I picked a large bay between the two island of which the cruise books all said provided the best protection. The bay was beautiful when we arrived in mid afternoon, I set the hook (anchor) and laid out plenty of anchor chain to better hold us should a Corumuel come up. God decided to test my anchoring skills as the Corumuel did indeed come up and with a fury. The wind was howling though Si Bon's rigging, the boat was being violently thrown about and the crew was all awake holding on for dear life. Mini waves were breaking off of our port quarter and I had to put on my life vest and clip into a jackline (safety line) just to crawl out to the bow to check the anchor in the middle of the night.
Morning came and while it was still blowing it had calmed down enough to weigh (pull up) the anchor and head back to the marina. The good news is we were able to sail almost the whole trip, which is very unusual in the Sea of Cortez.