How We Spent Our Summer Vacation
04 September 2014 | Bahia de Los Angeles
Joan-Marie aka Cricket Hot!
So, here we are --presently--for summer, or now the end of the summer, hanging out in the north part of the Sea of Cortez. Yes, it's hot and clothing is optional except when heading ashore or anchored in close proximity of other boats. Paying attention to the weather is a must...the summer Chubascos are here and the tropical storm season is in full swing. But, the breezes are everyday and plentiful, the water is cool and inviting, and the sailing has been better than great.
And, you may be wondering ---Chubascos. They are the storms that come up quickly and generally can last less or more than a few hours with high winds and usually some lightening and thunder, if you are close enough. It may conclude with some rain. The ones we have sat out have been at night, that is midnight and after, and haven't lasted but a couple of hours and no rain, just wind and lightening in the distance.
When I started writing this piece a few weeks ago, about the middle of July, we were on our way up north and anchored in a place called Bahia San Francisquito --- I dare you to say that three times fast! It is north of Santa Rosalia on the Baja. We were there just a day under two weeks and disconnected from the world, no cell or internet service, just a couple of other boats doing the same thing as us, on a stopover as we were heading north. We do have our SSB radio, VHF radio, and Sirius music to give a wee bit of connection.
We moved further north to Bahia de Los Angeles and the surrounding area, where we have been be for August and now September staying out of the above mentioned weather. We are starting to think about our trek home to La Paz, weather permitting. Although the hurricane season lasts until the first of October, we will take care to stay out of harms way.
The village here in Bahia de Los Angeles or BLA as it is known, is where cruisers are usually based for the summer when this far north in the Sea of Cortez. From here we can head out to a number of anchorages or head a little further north if we would like. Since the the distances in and around BLA are short and unless it is dead calm, we've been sailing. There is usually some bit of wind blowing from the right direction to take us where we want to go. It has been very nice.
The village is also where we can stock up on fresh veggies and any other provisions that we made need. The end of the week is normally the time you see the other boats --there are about twenty-two boats up here this summer by my count-- since the fresh veggies arrive late on Friday and the tiendas get stocked up for Saturday. There is limited internet, no cell service, bank, or ATM. Several of the stores have computers and phones, if you need to make a call. We seem to be surviving just fine with several wifi hot spots and Skype. And, if you run out of pesos for groceries, oh, well, there are plenty of fish to be caught, since the nearest larger town is forty miles west on Highway 1. I know it seems rather strange to be in places like this anymore. I can't discuss the latest news headlines with you. I don't know if it is a good or bad thing, but, it is refreshing to be disconnected.
If you are wondering what we do all day--as we get asked that question by our non-cruising buddies-- we keep busy. There is weather to listen to on the SSB radio in the mornings and evenings, fish to be caught for dinner, and books to read. But, yes, I think we have finally reached that point that we have started to slow down and have figured out that we are on that long extended vacation called retirement. Our biggest decisions for the day usually start with what's for breakfast ---oatmeal, cereal, or eggs-- and are we staying here or leaving for another anchorage, and, oh, which anchorage do we want to head to? Not necessarily in any particular order. I must add there are always boat chores to do, meals to plan and make, and anything else that may come up with life on a boat. We are just going at a slower pace.
Our eating habits have also changed this summer with the warmer weather. We are eating less and eating foods that don't require a lot of cooking. I've only used the oven twice since May and we tend to use the barbecue as much as possible. We even gone to iced coffee in la mañana. Although here lately the both of us have been enjoying a cup of hot tea. Go figure. We are on our third canister of the Costco size powdered Gatorade. A new batch gets mixed up every night.
Ron's turned me into a pretty good fisher person and we manage to catch fresh fish every few days. It seems that I tend to reel in a few more than he does, but he cleans 'em. We have gotten the bigger Dorados when we are under way, but in the anchorages, we catch the various sand bass, groupers, and California Yellow Tail, which is a type of tuna. I caught a fourteen pounder earlier this summer that fed us and friends for a few days. Most days fresh fish becomes fish tacos and sometimes I'll make fish cakes.
Our adventures this summer also took across the Sea of Cortez to San Carlos on the mainland. At the last minute, we decided to follow friends, Jonathan and Thea from Zwerver II as they had planned to haul out in Guaymas, just south of San Carlos. We thought it would be a good chance to check out this port town since many cruisers base out of these two locations hauling their boats in and out for the season.
We also thought we might catch up with Wendy and Mac off Kookaburra before they headed back up to Washington for the summer. See earlier blogs of our hits and misses. We once again kept trying to catch up with them the latter part of the Spring. We were successful and managed to have dinner together and introduce new friends all around. They will be back in the Fall and heading across the Pacific next Spring.
San Carlos turned out to be a place to get a very necessary project completed. We had on board the materials to make our sunshades for the boat. Since it gets pretty hot up in these parts, we needed something to provide shade over the boat, so it would help lower the temperature below. I kept referring to it as her prom dress since we were dealing with meters and meters of material. Ron kept calling it her sundress. It was a three week project of varying hours and days as we would take a break every few days. It was something that we could have managed at anchor, but it was much easier working at the dock. When completed, we had two top pieces that now cover the house from our cockpit to the bow and side curtains all around that attach to the top pieces and come up and down as needed. And, it has made a vast difference in temperature below decks.
The weather in San Carlos offered an interesting change for us, triple digits when we got there the second day of June and very high humidity. We found ourselves up by 5 am to start work on the sunshade or anything else we wanted to get done before it got too hot and sticky. Our hose from the dock facet hung down in the shower hatch as we would rinse off several times a day. It was here that we started drinking iced coffee in the mornings.
As usual, we found plenty of time to explore and check out the area. Wendy and Mac, as well as Thea and Jonathan had hauled within a week of our arrival and were well on their way north. We decided that this would be a good place to do some additional provisioning for the rest of the summer before we headed back across. The local bus stopped right by the marina so it made easy for the heavier, bulky things that we needed to get on board.
Despite the rather warm weather, and the pesky mosquitos that love to chew on me, we were glad we made the trip, but we were happy to get back on the Baja. Although, we have had a few humid days here and there, the Baja tends to be drier in the humidity house.
So, your probably wondering about the picture that I selected to post with this blog. . .it's a whale shark. Our first encounter was in the village a few weeks ago on our way back to the boat. Ron killed the engine on the dingy so that we could row and not disturb their feeding. They were all around the boat and we watched these majestic creatures gracefully move through the water. There were about five that day varying in size and they stayed for a few hours.
This encounter and picture was taken across the bay in an anchorage called La Mona. This guy was a wee bit shorter than the boat and hung in and around for about hour and I finally got one decent shot. Some people do swim with these creatures as they are known to be harmless, but we prefer to give them their space. This particular shot shows the whale shark coming to the surface with its wide mouth open. The wide large mouth is one of the characteristics of these whales sharks for feeding. This picture doesn't even bring justice to these beautiful, graceful, marine creatures.
As I wrap this blog up and post it, we are leaving the village for an anchorage in a few hours. We haven't decided which one yet, but it will be one that gives us protection from higher southeast winds expected today and tomorrow. So, off we go for a little sail, some more fishing, and, of course, reading.