The trip North
27 April 2010 | La Paz to Isla Carmen
Below are all the daily blogs from La Paz to Isla Carmen.
After leaving the dock at Palmira we motored in smooth seas to Raza Bay on Espiritu Santos Island dragging a fishing line. We had stayed in Raza Bay once on December 8th and found it to be a nice quite spot but very buggy with this little tiny fly like things. We wanted to give it another shot thinking perhaps it was just a time of year.
We dropped anchor all alone there behind Gallo Island around 2pm. We had a bite to eat and then started to get into anchor mode by curling up with our books. Soon, it became apparent that this indeed is a buggy place as by dinner the bobos were all over the boat and we locked ourselves inside to escape until sundown when they seem to disappear.
On the deck after dark finally no bobos! We watch the stars and decide in the morning we'll put the engine on the dingy and go explore shore which looks like it would be a pretty good place to see.
No Cormuels overnight so good sleeping. We wake up to bright sun with just a few clouds we go out on deck and immediately get swarmed with bobos. 'We're out of here" Scott says. So we decide to pull anchor and go up to Cardonal. This is a spot on Espiritu Santos we've not been before. It is a very deep cove between Calida Partida and Ensenada Grande. It shows a great hike over to the east side of the island.
Again, no wind to sail so we motor the quick hour trip. This is a very neat spot, no one else here. It is about ¾ miles deep in a cut on the island with a small white sand beach at the head. We anchor in about 20 feet of clear turquoise water and put the engine on the dingy so we can explore.
Going ashore we see all kinds of fish in the water and even the biggest sting ray to date, about 15-18 inches across. This is the kind that buries itself in the sand and you take care not to step on not the flying Manta Rays we see out in the water. The hike is the best one we've had on the island yet, a clear trail to the other side along a mangrove lined marsh where we hear birds singing which echoes off the walls of the island around us. Small geckos dart across our path like a game of chicken. The hike is only about a mile or so, mostly flat so easy enough. The other side is very rugged and rocky; our trail ends high on a bank with no obvious way down to the water. The rocks look too big to be walking on anyway so we enjoy the view.
Back to the boat we are both warm so we decide to take the dingy to a spot on the canyon walls where we can snorkel. By the time we get our suits on, our snorkel gear out and find an anchor we can use for the dingy the wind is blowing pretty good straight down the anchorage. So much for the snorkeling. We decide to read away the afternoon as the wind blows about 15 knots right at us.
At sunset standing on the back deck of the boat, having a cocktail and counting our blessings to one another we look down at the dingy and see one tube is deflated. Springing into action we get the dingy motor off and everything out of the dingy in case it decides to sink itself. So much for a perfect day!
The wind blew all night but surprisingly not a lot of fetch built. We decide to go up Isla San Francisco where we can pull the dingy on the beach and take a look at it.
We knew our dingy is on its last leg and needs to be replaced. Being 18 years old and multiple patches we have been waiting for the day when old dinky doo takes its last trip. Basically, we don't want to spend the chunk of cash it would take to replace it any sooner than we have to. Especially with the boat work coming up and a daughter's graduation gift pending. Cash shortage is the game right now. Anyone have a dingy they'd like to donate?
We pull anchor and motor out, hoping it isn't going to be too rough our there as we really don't want to be taking water on the boat again after last weeks wet ride. Out into the sea we have southerly winds and seas which are terrific since we are going north! Out comes the sail and we decide to test the watermaker Scott worked on last week to better the water pickup. It must have worked at we motor sailed with the engine a little more than an idle, topped off our water tanks and made way at between 6.5 and 7 knots. We had one hit on our fishing line but that was it, chicken for dinner.
Isla San Francisco is my favorite spot so far and it looks as wonderful as I know it is. We get a spot in the hook and prepare the boat for anchor mode. First order of business is lunch or BBQ'd hotdogs. Second order is to row to shore and check out the dingy. Upon getting in and checking it out, Scott notices that the cap of the tube is off. Could it really be that simple? We pump it up (ok Scott pumped it up) and look for leaks in the water where we see no obvious signs of air leaking. We row to shore, flip it over and see the likely spot where it should fail; it was just patched there 2 weeks ago. It still looks fine, except where water does leak in between the tube and hard bottom. We decide it may be fixed and to wait to see how it is in the morning before we call it a victory. We both do know that if we dodged the bullet it still is something that we need to address sooner rather than later as old dinky doo is running short of life and finding a replacement under our terms when it isn't dire is better.
I'm reading a book where a woman has an Italian restaurant and talks about the food so we are having pasta for dinner!
The large motor yacht that is anchored where we'd prefer to be is leaving so we'll move up into their spot which is more in the hook and offers more south protection which seems to be the direction of the wind and swells although light. We anchor with 7 feet under our keel, yikes!
The weather is to be calm so we decide to have a beach day. We pack the now totally inflated dinky doo with our beach chairs, umbrella, backpack with juice and sandwiches, the inflatable repair kit and our sandals. We beach the dingy and flip it over to dry as Scott is going to use the remaining patch material to cover some expose areas to try and get old dinky doo to last another 2 weeks. While waiting for it to dry we hike across the salt flats to the other side of the beach for a nice hike. When the dingy bottom is dry Scott works on it while I sit under the umbrella in my chair and read a book.
A couple of new boats arrive in the anchorage and one of them comes to borrow a wrench to work on his stuffing box. Scott volunteers to go over and assist. It never ceases to amaze me how handy Scott is and how great at fixing things. Upon his return I learn that the nut that needed to be moved was seized and he was unable to assist and advised them to wait until they were closer to a haul facility incase of catastrophic failure.
Dinner and a movie make it a very calm night with no compel. However the lack of water under the keel has Scott on edge and makes it for a very long night keeping watch on the depth. Note to self, never do this again!
Isla San Francisco to San Everisto
Up early to catch the weather on the SSB radio and we hear of a small norther coming tomorrow. We decide to try this spot on the north end of Isla San Jose that Rod told us about but isn't listed in the guide books. We travel about 12 miles north and pull in, boy it sure looks beautiful and is very well protected to the north. When we try to set anchor however the shore is very steep too so for us to anchor in less than 40 feet deep and have adequate scope out it puts us in 8 feet of water right by the shore. (See notes about last night!). We pull up anchor and consult each other and the guidebook and decide the best place is about 4 miles south back to San Everisto. I make lunch while underway and we eat it in the cockpit before we reach the anchorage.
San Everisto is a small enclave that is mostly fishing village but does have a permanent residence base. There is a small cantina, tienda and school. There are about 12 boats here, quite a lot for this place. We see our friend Rockstar are here. We find a nice spot behind a reef and get anchored. We get settled in and Amber and Jeff from Rockstar come over to visit. They bought a large yellowfin tuna from the fishermen on shore and invite us over for sushi for dinner, yumm! We take a short trip to the cantina ashore and have a cerveza and buy a small fish which I believe is a snapper which we'll save for tomorrow's dinner. We try and communicate with the people with our limited Spanish and their limited English and find out the guy who filleted the fish has a mother named Monica.
A great evening about Rockstar with also the family from the boat Qualchan came. I brought salad and a rice dish. It has been since Los Frailes that we've had Sushi that Megan prepared. It was so delicious that I'm committed to getting what ever will be needed while in Seattle and learning how to do this. While about Rockstar a couple more boats come in making this a very crowded anchorage. We are expecting a light cormuel
Tonight and hope it isn't too much or it will be a very exciting evening.
April 13, 2010
Not a bad night. It was only a light cormuel with winds probably to 20 knots. Scott of course stayed up until it ended so he is a bit tired this morning and I let him sleep. Today after weather and breakfast we go for a nice hike over to the salt ponds which lead to a beach on the other side of the point. It is very rugged but beautiful. There is a little cemetery next to the rock wall. We walk as far down on the beach we can and I find a few shells for the collection.
We see our friends on Avalon who were at the same dock in San Diego are here so we go by for a visit and see a new boat here from Seattle so we go and meet them as well. Yesterday afternoon a boat that anchored right behind us had a couple we met in Newport Oregon on our way down the coast. What a great life this is that has us constantly meeting new friends and bumping into old friends! We end up having sundowners with Katie and Phil on Avalon and get caught up on their adventures and tell them of ours.
April 14, 2010
San Everisto to Punta San Telmo
We decide that the weather is perfect for a run a bit further north. We are going to an anchorage just past Los Gatos a very popular spot sure to be crowed and one we've already been to. This place is called Punta San Telmo and the guide book says that it wonderful but rarely has anyone in it as most favor Los Gatos. It is a great run, we put up the sail and are able to motor sail for most of the way. We are almost to the tip of Isla San Jose and a whale surfaces about 100 feet in front of us. We quickly take off auto pilot, throttle down and quickly see about 20 feet to the port the slick it left where it dived down. Whew, close and exciting, we think it was a blue whale but didn't really see enough for a positive identification.
We arrive to the anchorage and have it all to ourselves with the exception of a group of kayakers camping on the beach. After a quick lunch we set off on our dingy to go exploring. This is a very cool place with white sand beaches, lots of areas for snorkeling and water that is pretty clear and about 75 degrees.
About 4 o'clock we see a couple of boats approaching and one is Rockstar who cruises into the anchorage saying that Los Gatos which has been their destinations was pretty crowded. They get anchored in and then in comes the second boat, Qualchan who anchor between us and Rockstar. Rockstar comes over for a quick visit and drinks, I show Carden their 3 year old my shells.
A panga fisherman drives up and offers to sell us lobsters that he will go dive for, sure to be fresh for 80 pesos a kilo or 2 medium lobsters. Alright, dinner is decided! He brings us 2 still twitching good sized lobsters, says he'll check back with us tomorrow and we prepare the feast! With left over rice and salad along with some garlic butter it is a wonderful way to end a glorious day.
April 15, 2010
Punta San Telmo
What a peaceful night it was. There was a light breeze out of the west keeping everyone in place but not enough to cause any ripples, the perfect conditions for an anchorage. After pancakes and bacon for breakfast we pack up a small backpack with water, sunscreen and the camera and set off to go exploring ashore. We take a hike along the water which is about 3-4 beaches separated by lava flows into the water creating reefs that we will snorkel later. We then hike inland and find a trail we follow which leads us over to the other side of the bay's head which opens into a huge long white sand crescent shaped beach. We walk along the beach and I find some pretty good shells, some that will be given to Cheryl who has a new condo and is creating a seaside motif for one of her bathrooms. Shhhh, don't tell her it is a surprise!
We see in the distance a green oasis in this desert landscape. We walk the length of the beach and find a grove of palm trees and date palms with no one around. We find shade for a rest and snack before starting the trek back. This has been a great hike except I take a little fall climbing up the rocks from the beach. Lucky I was wearing the backpack as it saved me from hitting my head and I only got some scrapes on my left leg. Scott is so wonderful and insists on doctoring me up through my protests. It is only some scrapes and will be fine in a day or so....if it doesn't attract sharks while I snorkel that is!
We buy lobsters again from Manuel the panga diver and plan with everyone else here in the anchorage for a beach bonfire at dusk.
April 16th, 2010
Punta San Telmo-Aqua Verde
We decide that it is time to move on and head with the other boats in the anchorage to Aqua Verde. We motor pretty peacefully, get 3 fish, black skipjacks so they go back to the sea. We make water underway and are still relieved to see that Scott's repair is working wonderfully and we can make 25 gallons an hour going 1800 RPMs.
Aqua Verde is a small little community consisting of 30 families, a tienda, 2 schools, a restaurant and a small police station. The industry is fishing as is always the case in these little communities. The shoreline is lined with panga boats each evening after the fishermen return.
We anchor in front of the town off the beach and take the dingy to shore to explore. We come upon the local community baseball game. It is the Loreto Dorado's verses the Aqua Verde Pescadores. We join a group of local youngsters sitting under a tree and watch a few innings. They offer us a beer when someone delivers them in a bag, local hospitality! The game is exactly like at home except the umpire stands behind the pitchers and calls the game from there using stones on the ground to help keep track of the balls and strikes. We aren't sure who won but the Dorado's were playing mighty fine ball.
We find a boat called Follow You Follow Me here. I had watched their blog from the year before as they did the Haha and spend 3 months in Mexico and only after they left for the South Pacific did I quit cyber stalking them. We go up and introduce ourselves and find we're about the same age and end up on their boat for sundowners. Rhina and Alan, both very very nice people. We agree to meet up again the following day.
April 18, 2010
We have a quiet evening and this next morning hear the local SSB weather guy Don Anderson call for very strong winds from the north specifically for our area the day after tomorrow. We decide to move the boat to a place with better north protection in the anchorage. We don't want to alarm anyone since even Don said that it wasn't a sure thing that the wind event would take place but by 10am there was a parade of boats from the sound side of the bay moving over to the north side. Others obviously also heard his weather prediction.
There goes from being 4 boats in this bight to now 7 or 8. A community grows! Scott and I go for a nice long walk through the surrounding hills into town the back way. We figure it probably is about a mile walk. We come into town right by the restaurant and decide we need a cold beer and could have lunch. Why not support the local community after all. So we each have 2 beers and fish tacos. Boy are we surprised when she tells us the bill is $166 pesos. Downtown Seattle prices. $14 dollars for lunch here. Oh well.
We walk back to the boat the same way and then I am warm so I jump in for a snorkel and swim. The water is pretty murky here and there is a bit of a surge from the SE wind coming in so I don't stay in long but wish the water was clearer as there were many many fish and some I hadn't seen before.
We have Rhina and Alan aboard Scottfree for sundowners and she brings appetizers even! We are starting to get down on stores since I don't want to throw anything away when we haul out so the appetizers were very thoughtful and appreciated since I only had trail mix to offer. We enjoy the evening and really like these two.
April 19, 2010
Don Anderson this morning backs off on this forecast for 40 knots of wind so people are beginning to go back to the south side of the bay where there are less of these little bobo flies. We find out that Monday is fresh vegetable day and walk into town with Rhina and Alan and buy some lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini and avocados, plus a coke, $70 pesos, or about $6.25. We walk back all along the shoreline which is very cool.
We decide that tomorrow we will leave and head for Bahia Candeleros which looks like a very nice spot and about 7 miles from our final destination of Puerto Escondido.
April 20, 2010
Aqua Verde to Isla Carmen Balandra
Well, the weather this morning is calling for some northerly winds in a day or so. We decide to go to Balandra on Isla Carmen which will have good protection from the north. The wind is non existent, so we motor and top off our batteries and fill the main water tank and all of our containers. We drag a fishing line and catch a black Skip Jack which is not an eating fish, well, unless you are starving! It is a pretty good size one though and gives me a good fight before we let it go.
We arrive in the beautiful little bay directly across from Loreto. We'll look for the lights tonight. We set anchor in the north part of the bay anticipating the north winds. Immediately, we are surrounding by the little Bobos. Probably because we are near some green plants on shore. We take a quick snorkel around the boat then lock ourselves inside in the "Bug Free Zone". The bugs didn't seem to obey the zone and we had to close our hatches as mosquitoes found their way inside and if there is a mosquito around it will find me. This was clearly demonstrated for Scott when at dinner I squashed 4 as they were on me as Scott sat next to me and had none.
April 21, 2010
We awake and talk to another boat in the anchorage, there are only 4. They are more towards the center to the South end and they said that the bugs were not as bad. We up anchor and move first thing in the morning to more center of the bay. The good thing is that we get better cell signal there and will be able to see the lights of Loreto at night.
We explore the shore, picking up the best sea shells available and find our very first paper nautilus. These are the egg sacks of the octopus and are very fragile, think potato chip. We are now in the mode to collect shells for our friends and great nieces and nephew so they can pick a good collection from our pile.
The weather is very nice and we are invited for sundowners aboard Lillianna the boat from yesterday anchored more center in the bay. Late afternoon before we go Sea Raven, a Hans Christian we met in La Paz came in and anchored next to us so we went over to great them and get caught up.
We enjoyed a couple hours aboard Lillianna and at dusk made our way back aboard Scott Free. About 20 minutes later the wind started to howl directly from the west which put all of us at this part of the anchorage on a lee shore. Sea Raven and Katie Hill anchored next to each other both pulled anchor and left as well as another boat. We couldn't reach Sea Raven so we can only guess that the wind drug them towards shallow water. We spend the evening taking anchor watches while the wind howls.
April 22, 2010
The wind continues a bit this morning but not as bad as last night. The seas are still lumpy and boats continue to leave the anchorage. Someone on the radio asked one who left what direction the wind was out of the anchorage they said SSW. By noon it has smoothed out and life aboard is good.
We just hang around the boat today since we didn't get a lot of sleep last night. We do take a nice walk on the beach looking for anything interesting the waves may have washed ashore. No great treasures but a few nice shells.
After a very low key day we head to bed early. We had attempted to watch a movie but our DVD player has decided that it needs to be replaced so we'll need to find out how the movie ends at another time.
April 23, 2010
The weather calls for the wind to shift to the north, there was only a brief period of wind last night that had Scott up for an hour or so. The area here is just wonderful so I'd like the wind to stop and things to be warm so I can go snorkeling. There are many areas here in this anchorage that we've dingy snorkeled (me leaning over the front looking into the water).
By noon the winds are indeed coming from the north and blowing pretty good, we have a nice spot here but those winds are chilly, we'll be luck to get above 70 today. In the morning before the winds started we took the dingy down the island to some great rocky areas doing some dingy snorkeling and also to a little beach area. We dubbed this Sea Urchin Beach as there were a lot of dead urchins and their skeletons on the beach.
The evening on the boat became rocky as the fetch from the north winds wrapped around the point and our nice spot in the middle away from the bugs was no longer the best spot in the place but the side right next to all the bugs.
April 24, 2010
The winds seem to come and go but the rocking continues. It isn't terrible but where we look from shore it sure looks like we are rocking more than it feels like while in it. A couple other boats have come in and they are anchored right over by the bugs and I'm sure they think we're crazy for rocking away instead of moving. We'll take being rocked instead of being bugged!
The day somehow wiles away, we take another trip to walk the beach and start packing up some things on the boat. Certainly giving lots of thought on how we should get the boat ready for storage on the hard for 10 weeks. Tomorrow we'll head into Puerto Escondido.