We take back our previous bad mouthing of Escondido. It seems like a totally different place than the one we came to last spring. Whatever was the problem seems to have gone away cuz we really like the people here this time around. Everyone is friendly and the net is funnier than hell, with sound effects and everything (wish we had a good sound effect).
We hitched a short ride with campers to the Modelorama and got some supplies and spent time doing internet stuff. We let the net know that we lost our anchor in Ballandra in case anyone wanted to do some treasure hunting and had two people come back to offer to dive for it for us (no charge). Well we didn't expect that at all! Gave us all kinds of warm fuzzy feelings about Escondido.
Avery & Theresa on Tuna Can called back and said hey we're going to go out today and try to find it, can you go? Well sure, what the hell. They picked us up on a bitchin' red powerboat and we did 30 miles an hour over the water back to Ballandra. He tried for an hour and used up a tank of air in 60 degree water but Avery was unable to find our anchor this try. He said he could sure tell we got our asses kicked by the ravines our chain and rode made on the bottom. And he said it looked like we dragged both anchors a couple of times 30 feet this way and 30 feet that way! Wish we had an underwater picture of that. Yeah Delta anchor rocks! Like Timex, Delta takes a licking but keeps on plowing. Yeah ok so it doesn't have a snazzy rhyme but hooooooaaaaa baby it works! At least we have backup to our "we got our asses kicked out there" story!
Now we're finishing up our Escondido visit with food at the singular restaurant and the SuperBowl. Next internet will probably be in La Paz, which we think will be this week.
Ok here's the poop! We heard there was a damn big blow (referred to as a norther) coming so we decided to leave San Juanico for a smaller hidey hole (being Ballandra). We'd been there last spring and sat out a windy spot ok so we figured it should do us well.
We got to Ballandra on Monday, 2 days before the winds were supposed to start. We went ashore on Tuesday (breaking the law as we didn't have park passes) and quickly walked the beach and stopped to talk to another on the beach (Katherine from Loose Pointer, the other boat in the anchorage). The picture is of the fishing shack on the beach there. We went back to the boat and hunkered down for the rest of the day, checking in with all the weather gurus Don on Amigo/Southbound single side band net and Gary on the beach on Sonrisa ham net as well as the Escondido VHF net. Everyone was calling for 30 + winds and seas of 10 ft plus at insanely short second intervals (like 5- 9 seconds). North of 27 degrees in the northern part of the Sea and all the way to San Felipe and the Colorado River was calling for gale with winds to 60 knots. Ok so we were suitably nervous about this storm. And here it comes.....
Wednesday. the winds start at about 5 am and just keep coming all day. From where we are you can see out into the Sea and the waves are just getting crazy. Now as everything is building (no letting up at all) we are starting to swing back and forth and rise up and down with the huge swells coming into the bay. I'm too nervous to watch all the activity from the cockpit so I start cleaning the boat. The boat should be pretty darn clean by the time this blow is over! At high tide, the waves started rolling in and breaking on the reef and all the way around the cove. Now we're getting worried that the wind will push us too far at the wrong time and catch a swell and wrap us around into the shallows near the rocky beach. What crap! And so anchor watch begins.....all day and all night long. Jim got his first happy birthday wishes at 12:01 since we were up. Let's just say 2 hour watches suck!
Thursday, yep it's still blowing and we're still swinging violently and the other boat drags. Their anchor reset but were really close to the beach and ended up pulling forward and dropped a second anchor before nightfall. So as bad as we were getting we did the same, hoping to make us stop swinging so bad and get us away from the rocks (where of course the wind wanted to push us).
Friday, winds are dying down but still get gusty. The seas look less hostile too. We actually get to sleep like normal people but in the salon so not quite as comfortable.
Saturday, after hearing the weather reports we decide with only 2 gallons of drinking water left, we're running to Escondido (14 miles away). As Jim begins pulling anchors, we unfortunately have one less anchor than we tossed out. The secondary (a nice 40lb danforth) was just on rode and chaffed itself through. Darn it! Seas were a bit rough and the wind died down so much we actually had to motor for a while. Longest motoring we've done to date (a couple of hours).
So we have survived a big blowing norther here in the Sea of Cortez! All the locals have said that the winds were almost as bad as if it was a hurricane, outside of a hurricane. And the temperatures were and still are freaking cold. We got a temp reading out of Escondido of 42 degrees. On one of the mornings out there, I put our temperature gauge outside in the cockpit and it dropped from a warm fuzzy temperature (not) of 57 degrees in the cabin to 50 degrees in under 5 minutes. Ok now that is just too damn cold!
Unfortunately birthday boy had not much of a celebration this year. Just like last year (when we were getting beat down in Santiago), we were getting big time booty whooping in Ballandra on Isla Carmen on his birthday. Jim wants to go somewhere next year where that won't happen again on his birthday! No more spanky town birthdays!
I'll explain about spanky town in the next blog!
What a great spot! This trip we got to anchor in the north end of the bay as opposed to the south side by the reef. There are campers here (and we met them as they kayaked and we went ashore for walking/exploring time). They are from Oregon, Colorado and Utah. Wish we had more time to organize a horse shoe tournament!
We checked out the cruiser's shrine-a tree that is decorated with stuff cruiser's have left behind. It reminded us of Shoe Tree on the 10? in California. Instead of all shoes though it's very interestingly decorated. Engraved rocks, pieces of drift wood or leftover teak, shells, lots of bottles with messages. A very interesting collection of art. So we had art day and made our own contribution. Hope we see it there next year (or at least at the end of the season so I can take a picture)! We did see lots of names that were familiar just from the nets but we did not find anyone from Ventura. Darn.....wanted to see what artistic Heather on Meerkat dreamed up.
What a great bay to walk. Lots of beach and rocks and even inland paths. This trip we've managed to walk 3 of the beaches. Maybe on the way back we can do the rest if we can park in the south end again.
Clouds blew through and we had a nice rainbow off the ocean and it actually sprinkled for a bit during the night. Much better than the tropical rains we got last winter!
We tried for San Sebastian. We sailed without issues and even dropped the main and looked around at quite the cute and hugely small cove that was to be our anchorage. Unfortunately the wind was blowing us in and Jim had to swing us around in a 10 point turn to attempt anchoring. We tried twice and said forget it!
So on we went another 7 miles to Pulpito. We made it there before sundown and sat it out nice and easy.
Next morning we had a drive by of the military. They swung around and asked us where we were from and how many aboard. They never even tied up to us. All of them were wearing different uniforms and the driver didn't have a shirt on! Yeah for us.....they must have been relaxing!
Off we went another 8 miles to one of our favorite anchorages....San Juanico
Well we had planned to cross from Esenada Julio Villa and go to Santa Rosalia. But you know how plans change with the wind! Well we had too much wind and too much from the west so we had to adjust our route. We were going way too fast (surfing down waves at 9 knots even with the main reefed) and passed halfway by midnight. So I told Jim that either we're going to be 10 miles south of Concepcion (our adjusted go to destination) or we'd better slow the hell down. So we slowed down and hit the point of Concepcion by dawn.
Motoring was a challenge as we never seem to have the correct path in so we get uncomfortably shallow but we made it to our favorite anchor spot. We anchored next to Leonard on Vallee Cachee.
A few days in Concepcion with a nice hitch hike into Mulegee (my first hitch hike at 43). Once there we saw some of the other sailors and ended up going on their schedule (lunch & provisioning) so we didn't get to run around and check out the town as much as we would have liked. Maybe another time. We also cannot say enough good things about the campers at Santispac. We were able to trade out water bottles with a camper who was going to get water on 2 for 1 day. What nice people!
As we left Concepcion we finally got the right path and it was so nice to be in deep water!
I'm sorry my picture for Concepcion is so uninspired this time.