05/08/2012, Sea of Cortez
Nothing too new to report, except that it's getting HOT in the sea! Agua Verde is another great place to hang out in the water, maybe venture out for another hike if anyone has the energy, explore some caves, or go find the small tienda for some provisioning.....after school and daily chores of course. So that is what we did for three days. We swam & hung out in the water hammocks, kayaked, hiked, explored the beaches and tide pools, ventured into their little community, which is beautifully cared for. I was impressed with the tienda! They had everything we needed, most importantly, produce and cold beer!
Sydney and I slept out in the cockpit for two nights. Well, one night for me as my bed is too comfortable to leave. On the first night as we laid there looking at the stars, telling stories, we heard a whale swimming in our small cove, blowing out air and making a crazy, eerie, moaning sound. We couldn't see him but we heard him! The next morning, two other boats shared they had the same experience, one being my friend Diane on Harmony. Pretty cool.
As the weekend approached, this popular anchorage began to clear out as most boaters moved on north to enjoy the goings on at Loreto Fest. Over 100 boats gather for this annual 4 day event held outside Loreto in Puerto Escondido. We chose to skip the festivities this year and explore a few surrounding anchorages. We look forward to visiting Loreto after the dust settles, sometime next week. In the meantime, it'll be just more of the same. Our next stop is Bahia Candeleros. We've heard great things....
05/07/2012, Sea of Cortez
Red Rock Hills in Los Gatos
Evidentially the bar was raised a bit high after our stay in Isle San Francisco. When we arrived at our next stop, San Everisto located 9 miles north, it was a bit of a letdown. This small fishing village was nestled in a bay with a few dozen primitive homes beyond the beach and meandering along the base of the hillside. The bay water was murky but at first glance, our surroundings looked fine. After a walk into the community in search of the tienda, we were disappointed by the amount of trash that was discarded along the roadside and in the bushes. We found the casa with the "mini Mercado", met the proprietor's goats, dogs, and cows, but no proprietors. We were told by a neighbor they are only open for business on Mondays. Oh well. So we head back and walked the length of the beach before climbing back into the dinghy. Along the way were fishing pangas, fishermen, fishing huts, a lot of dead fish, and more debris. There was also a nice little palapa at the end where a local woman prepares a fish dinner every evening for interested cruisers. Maybe next time.
The next morning we have our sights on an anchorage 29 miles north called Puerto Los Gatos, which means port of the cats. Another beautiful day to be out on the water, but I must focus on getting a few chores done. I've been spoiled rotten with the convenient and inexpensive laundry services that were readily available in most towns along the Pacific. In the Sea of Cortez, the laundry facilities consist of a 5 gallon bucket and a plunger! I've given everyone the lecture on conservation. There's nothing wrong with living in a swimming suit for the next month!
When we arrived we found only one boat in this gorgeous and secluded anchorage. I have completely run out of adjectives to help me explain the beauty so I'm going to stop, and again, depend on the pictures to tell the story. As we sat in our cockpit taking it all in and contemplating the different beach walks and hillside hikes to partake in, a fishing panga approaches our boat. Aboard are two very friendly lobstermen, Manuel and Manuel, offering to catch this evening's dinner. I love this place already! The cost is $10.00 per kilo, which is about $4.00 a pound. Assuming they would be on the smaller side, like the ones we enjoyed in Puerto Vallarta, we ordered 10, to be shared among 6 of us. They promised to return by 6pm, so we quickly read up on how to clean and cook lobster! With a few hours to spare, Rick took the kids exploring on one of the beaches and among the red rock hills, coming back with a bounty of seashells, a thunder egg, a beautifully dried & sun bleached sea star, and some advice from a fellow cruiser on how to get the lobster from the sea to our dinner plate.
Manuel and Manuel returned at 5:30 and filled our 5 gallon bucket with 10 of the biggest lobsters I've ever seen. Ok! Baja's Spiny Lobsters should not be under estimated! Another lesson learned on why one shouldn't assume! Oh what a feast we had. Lobster with risotto and veggies. Between the four of us we only ate 2 ½. Lobster enchiladas are in our future and maybe some lobster melts, lobster bisque, lobster fettuccini......
The next morning before school, Rick and the kids took me on their hike. We started on the beach with the plethora of seashells and the huge sand dune behind it. Sydney and James climbed to the top and ran down full speed, amazingly without falling. Brought back childhood memories of Honeyman Park on the Oregon coast. Next we hiked over to the rocky beach with cool caves and tide pools. This is where we found thunder eggs. Auntie Karen, you would love this place! Before heading back to start school, we hopped back into our dinghy and buzzed to the gorgeous red rock hills located on the opposite side of the bay. The contrast was amazing and our walk turned into a worthwhile hike. A great way to start our day.
Back on the boat, we started school while making our way to the next destination; Bahia Agua Verde, the Bay of Green Water.
05/06/2012, Sea of Cortez
Our 2 night passage from Mazatlan to the Sea of Cortez was a calm one. Rick's quick trip to San Diego for the retrieval of a new auto pilot drive helped make the passage enjoyable and uneventful. We did have a few whale sightings, one very exciting dolphin experience, no seasickness, and a whole bunch of sunshine. The night watches were good, but darker than usual with a bit of a cloud cover and no moon to speak of. The wind picked up out of nowhere, which might prove typical for the Sea of Cortez, on the 2nd night about 2am. It gradually worked its way up to 25knots at our nose. The ride wasn't terrible, just annoying, making it difficult for the person off watch to get rest. It continued to blow until we dropped our anchor in the bay at Isle San Francisco.
We made it! We are in the Sea of Cortez for the last chapter of our 1st year of cruising. The water is ridiculous! We can see our anchor in 30 feet of crystal clear turquoise sea. The setting is...yes, another crescent shaped beach with white sand but with rugged dessert mountains reaching up behind it, and the dramatic Sierra de le Giganta in the opposite direction, reflecting layers of dessert color as if it were painted in the sky. It's a living postcard.
We spent the next few days enjoying the water, kayaking, beach combing, and finally, we climbed the mountain. Well, I suppose it's technically a very large hill with mountain-like boulders and steep cliffs... but it offered plenty of challenge for me. I'll let the photos in the photo gallery tell our hiking story but I will say this. All the sweat and sore muscles was well worth it. The views were breathtaking. And who knew that my son, who has always had a healthy fear of heights, would turn into a mountain goat.
This first stop exceeded my expectations, and although I hate to leave this piece of paradise, I'm confident there will be more breathtaking views and lovely anchorages as we explore our way north.