Papa Showed Me There Could Be Days Like This
24 December 2013
Terri Potts-Chattaway, Photo by Dominique
December 18, 2013
My father was the one who first shared this incredible life style with me. He loved anything to do with water and I quickly inherited his passion. When I was seven years old, he took our family to Fort Lauderdale and charted a private sailboat to take us to Bimini. Waking up at dawn on the bow of the boat wafting on a sea of turquoise water and brilliantly white sand, overlooking a small island with palm trees gently swaying in a warm breeze, I was hooked. This began a lifetime love affair with sailing and the ocean and is what brought me to here, now. Papa showed me there could be days like this.
We left Los Frailes at 0500 under a full moon. Absolutely beautiful. We wore shorts and a light sweater and twenty minutes later the sweater came off. Following Captain Rains' suggestion, we headed three miles east and then turned north for five miles to avoid the reefs along Cabo Pulmo.
Heading north, we watched as the full moon set over the mountains to the left of us. At the same time, to the right of us, we saw the sun rising, causing what few clouds there were to turn orange and yellow. The seas had started to smooth out and although we were motoring and only making 4.5 knots over the ground, we couldn't help but be enchanted by the light and the air and the sea.
This day, the ocean waves stayed low and gentle and we had enough wind for a sail.
Because of the good weather conditions we arrived at Bahia de Los Muertos earlier than we had anticipated. It was only 1330. Enough time for a snorkel. Or so I had hoped. We were dropping the anchor close to the reefs and I imagined myself jumping off the boat and swimming only a few feet to get a glimpse of the fish. But anchoring close to a reef where the ground is sand and rock can be quite a challenge and not always a good choice. Our anchor was skipping and we weren't satisfied that it was holding so we pulled it up and moved to an area that was all sand and no rocks. This time the anchor held right away. But now it was 1430 and we were no longer close to the reef and there was still some tidying up to do. Hmm... now what?
Minutes later our friends from Meridian came over (Heinz, Margrit and Dominique) on their dinghy and we hitched a ride onto shore. So much for boat chores! We quickly got a hat and shoes and jumped on board.
Muertos refers to "dead man anchors" which were actually train axles buried under the sea. In the 1920s, they were used to secure barges that came to load silver ore that was delivered there from El Triunfo. When developers arrived to build a new resort they didn't like the name so they came up with a new name for their hotel and golf course, Bahia de Los Suenos or Bay of Dreams.
I have to say, they got it right.
This bay is one of the most beautiful bays we have seen so far. There is one view from the boat to the shore and then there is the other view, from the shore. Wow! The sun was setting over the mountains and the sea was sparkling, reflecting light across the water. The shadows of the palm trees added contrast to an already stunning horizon.
We wandered over to a panga pulled up on the beach and sitting behind a pick-up truck with its hatch down. We noticed a bunch of Pelicans waiting patiently in line by the panga. We assumed there was fish somewhere close and we were right. A Mexican fisherman was fileting a Marlin. It was about 9 feet long and maybe weighed as much as 300 pounds. It took two men to move it from the boat to the back of the truck. He had caught two marlin this size and was extremely proud of his accomplishment. I guess so.
We stood watching as he cut him up into filets and then cleaned them in a bucket of sea water and then threw them into a cooler. We didn't ask to buy one. I am not sure why. Another missed opportunity, I think.
On to the restaurant. We walked into a beautiful open palapa with an incredible view of the bay. It was there we shared a few drinks with our friends before heading back to the boat for dinner.
We loved Bahia de Los Muertos so much we wanted to stay another day but the weather forecast had other ideas. There was a "cold" front coming in and with it some wind and rain. We still had to go through The Cerralvo Channel and the San Lorenzo Channel and needed a good weather window. The following morning we pulled anchor and headed out around 0500 again.
We had another great day. At first we had a two-knot current running against us when we headed through the Cerralvo Channel but only for a couple of hours. Then the current switched and we were running with it, so no problems there. The seas were flat even though we picked up some wind. We were a little worried about San Lorenzo Channel because it goes from about 1000 feet to 50 feet rather quickly and leads into a narrow channel with reefs and shoals on either side, but all went well there too.
We arrived at Marina Costa Baja around 1430. There were no fireworks. There was no drama to speak about. We were just here. In La Paz. Jay and I kept looking at one another, "Is this for real?" We checked in, found our slip and sat down and shared our last beer. "Cheers."
We did it.