Baja with the Cutters
30 October 2009
Heading to Loreto October 16, 2009. Great birthday present for Becky. I must admit that on one of the forms we had to fill out to tell the officials whether we had the swine flu or not I put my age as 45 instead of 46. This time we are with our friends Amanda and Travis Cutter. Upon landing we rented a car and headed to town for some fish tacos at McLulu's. Always a good choice for Baja fish tacos. We walked around town and stuck our heads in a few tourist shops. Then we headed south about 15 miles to Puerto Escondido and our sailboat Escape.
We spent Saturday morning scheduling our launch time with the marina and then headed to town to the grocery store. We then put the boat in the water on Saturday afternoon. Not more than an hour after the boat was in the water we found out there was a category 5 hurricane heading for Cabo. The storm was 600 miles in diameter and the winds were 200+ mph. That quickly changed our plans. Forecasters predicted if the storm continued on its current path, Hurricane Rick was going to hit land sometime around Tuesday evening or early Wednesday morning. Unfortunately that meant that Amanda & Travis would have to leave as soon as Tuesday to miss the storm. We did have a couple of incredible days before then and the weather was perfect. Temperatures were in the high 90's to low 100's. We talked to some cruisers who suggested we go to an island just southeast of Puerto Escondido where we launched the boat. Off we went to Isla Monserrat and Yellowstone Beach.
We arrived at Yellowstone Beach late afternoon on Saturday. On the way over we caught a couple of bonito tuna which we tossed back. This tuna isn't the best tasting for some reason so we passed on these two. After we anchored, we put our snorkel gear on and hit the warm waters. The snorkeling was amazing and we saw so many fish. Kelly found this amazing conch shell which was bigger than any I had ever seen. Dark brown in color and very shiny. Something you'd buy at a souvenir shop. I wish I would have taken a photo of him before we let him go. Sunday we spent walking on the beach and snorkeling. Was nice to relax and spend time with Amanda and Travis.
Monday arrived and we headed back to Puerto Escondido to ready for the storm. We tied to a mooring ball and listen to the weather. We heard that the storm was dying and was now a tropical storm that wasn't going to hit Cabo as it was earlier predicted. Amanda and Travis get to stay until Thursday.
Tuesday we were still waiting for the winds from the storm and hanging out in port to see what the weather would bring. We decide it is a good day to hike up the canyon on the other side of the road from the marina. What a treat that was. The hills around Loreto were super green from the last hurricane (Hurricane Jimena) that hit a month earlier. We feel like we are in the tropics as we look around. We start to hike up the canyon and are surprised to find running water in the creek. It's amazing. Waterfalls and fresh water pools. Of course we had to jump in to cool off. We were even treated to a few natural water slides that drop you into the fresh water pools below. The rest of Tuesday afternoon was spent relaxing on the boat.
Wednesday we decided to sail across to Honeymoon Cove just across from Puerto Escondido. We had about 20 - 25 knot winds and 8 - 10 ft seas. It was an awesome sail. We were able to snorkel after taking a short hike. There were so many fish it was amazing. Small sardines in the millions with larger fish below feasting on them at their leisure. Travis took the helm on the way back across to Puerto Escondido. We were having so much fun we decided to take another pass before heading back to the mooring buoy.
Thursday we bid farewell to Amanda and Travis and headed to an anchorage off Isla Carmen. As I had remembered from past years this anchorage had mangroves and no-see-umm. Sure enough we were hunted by them all night long. We woke up on Saturday and headed due west to Lorteo to re-provision. Upon arriving back at the marina after a little shopping and with groceries in hand we met Zack and Ross who were sailing on their 22 foot sailboat Sula. We ended up being in the same anchorages with them for most of the remainder of our trip. After our cupboards were resupplied we headed out to Isla Coronado just 9 miles north of Loreto. The swells were still coming in from the north and we tucked up in the cove of our favorite spot so we wouldn't be rolling all night long. We woke up to Mexican fisherman catching dorado just yards off our boat. We didn't put a line in but watched as they caught fish after fish. We spent most of the day on our favorite beach reading and relaxing. Late afternoon the winds picked up so we moved around to the east side of Coronado where the waters calmed and we went snorkeling. As we sat out in the cockpit reading we noticed dolphins swimming way off to our stern. Sula came in to anchor after being in the no-see-umm infested anchorage we had been in two nights earlier. Sunday morning we picked up anchor and headed for San Juanico just 17 miles north of Coronado. Sula also weigh anchored and followed our course north.
We arrived in San Juanico not knowing we would be anchored here for the next 8 days due to strong northerlies. We tucked in a shallow cove in 8 feet of water. There was 2 other boats in the anchorage when we arrived. The second day Robert & Virginia from the sailboat Harmony came over to say hi. They invited us to the beach at 4:00 to play Bocce ball with them and some other cruisers. This turned into a daily activity and more people joined us throughout the week. Kelly, Zack and Ross wake-boarded behind our dinghy with the help of their dinghy. Another day Kelly and Zach body surfed while Ross kite boarded. A good time had by all. We enjoyed visiting with Steve and Kathy on their 47.7 ft. Beneteau Lilly. They were kind enough to let us come aboard and check out the much bigger version of Escape. They in turn joined us on Escape for Limonadas just before the daily bocce ball game on the beach.
The next Saturday we pulled anchor around 1:45 p.m. and bid farewell to our newfound friends. We motored and motor-sailed across the Sea of Cortez to San Carlos with a full moon as our companion. During the night several dolphins joined us on our bow. We could see the phosphorescence as they jumped and played. As planned days earlier, Becky checked in with Robert (sv Harmony) who was net controller that morning for the Sonrisa Net. The morning brought a spectacular sunrise as well as a full-moon set. It was hard to decide which to watch as both the east and west views were mesmerizing. We arrived in San Carlos Bay in the morning around 9:00 a.m.
Back in San Carlos we walked to the boat yard to check and see if our trailer sustained any damage from Jimena the month earlier. Jimena dropped 27" of rain in 24 hours. This put a river through the parking area where our trailer was parked. Luckily we found it only received minor damage and was still useable. We had the boat hauled out once again. Because of the moisture around the area from the hurricane we decided to get a room for the night downtown. The next day we finished putting Escape to bed and caught the 11:30 p.m. bus to Tucson where we caught an early afternoon flight back to Boise.