After leaving Puerto Escondido we made the short way to Honey Moon Cove on Isla Danzantes where there was only one boat but a very large mega yacht which with swinging room took up the whole main section.The smaller lobe, although cute was a bit too cozy to the narrow rocky shallows; only a double anchored smaller boat would fit in calm conditions.The other lobe was a bit larger so we set the hook in over 40 feet in rocky sand bottom.We set the anchor by backing down in reverse to test the bottom, it seemed to bounce off some rocks before setting but held solid in high reverse.After some board games the wind shifted & put our aft just beyond the comfy zone, to a point we expected but given the anchor bounced across some rocks before setting the first time if the anchor had to reset itself with the new wind shift there would not be a comfortable distance to the rocky edge.The water gets deep fast so anchoring out far enough would require more chain & again we would be in the same situation, so we hauled anchor south for the next possible anchorage south.There was one boat tucked into the sweet spot, again anchoring far enough out that our scope won’t be too close to the boat in the sweet spot, as indicated by ‘rapido’ flashing deck lights :-OWe headed out for Loreto about 16 miles away in the dark.
We arrived in Loreto about 11pmish in the dark to a calm ‘roadstead’ open anchorage, which was a pleasant surprise given that we hit a spell of 20 knot winds on the way over.The next day we took a gas jug to town to get dingy fuel & groceries, we took a cab back which only charged 7 bucks; we gave him a $3buck tip & he gave us at least $20 bucks worth of dorado & marlin.After stowing our booty we went back to town for nice meal ashore & came back with a large bag of mostly used books for summer reading.The following day we took the tour of the old church & it’s museum.The history from pre-Cortes hunter gathers & the building of the missions were nicely portrayed.
After two nights in Loreto we sailed about 10 miles over to a fantastic anchorage of Puerto Ballandra in Isla Carmen.The cove is almost completely enclosed, open only to the west which only 10 miles of fetch away.With plenty of room we choose a spot a very comfortable distance away from the nearest boat & enjoyed an immediate swim in very clear water with perfect water temperature; soon we will be getting into a lot warm & less refreshing water :-OThe bees found us right away & wave after wave kept coming & ultimately ending up being swatted & tossed overboard but most bounced under the cockpit floor grates for later retrieval ( they can still sting when their dead:-OAfter a while they must have run out of bees & we enjoyed a nice evening of family game night.With lots of swimming to keep cool & have fun Bobbie & I also took a 2 hour hike up the easily traversed trail up the dry river.There where lots of large plant life & trees just not found in most of the barren wastelands of hot dry parched sand & gravel, but here there was an abundance of plant life that thrives during the raining season & sustains life through deep roots into the yearlong underground water.
We sailed most of the 30 miles up to our next anchorage which Punta Pulpito, which turned out to be quite rolly & hot; each day the air & water is getting hotter :-OAfter putting up our sail covers & sunshade we take a dip to get cooled off, soon after we don’t see the point in rolling around so much & we take off for just around the corner to flatter waters of Behia San Nicholas.The winds were pretty calm & the large cumulonimbus clouds way far across the sea to the mainland were magnificent in the sunset but were a cautious warning of possible trouble a head & sure enough just after we all fell into a good sleep the wind picks ups enough to rattle the sun cover but not enough to get us out of bed, then it picked up more & we just went ‘chubasco’ on the sun cover.The wind was blowing over 30 knots with gust over that & the sky was a wash in a spectacular lightening display, huge in magnitude but so far in the distance the thunder could not be heard.
The next morning again after a brief swim, we set sail for Santa Domingo in Conception Bay where there is to be a 4th of July party put on by the weather guru & funny guy Gary in El Burro Cove. We had a very festive down wind in following seas that were building into quite the aft thumpers.During all of this full sail ride we hooked our first dorado, our largest catch to date & BBQ’d it after we set the hook & jumped in for a swim :-) While rounding in towards this anchorage we felt the heat rise at least 10 degrees from out in the sea & the water is 80 to 85 degrees, even at night the water is like bath water.The next day I snorkeled for hours, walked thru the water looking for shells & swam around the boat most of the day & in the evening Robin & I jumped into the water after movie night.The awesome phosphorescent displays of millions of glow in the dark stuff in the water was very cool which for the most part over came the un nerving thought of what else is lurking below the other wise dark water :-OPeering below in the water just before jumping we see numerous large phosphorescent movements testing our resolve, but Robin was not scared & declared that I go in first :-OWe did this night swim ritual the next night too.
That night we noticed some thunder clouds in the far distance & again we had to take down the sun cover in the middle of the night.The wind was still blowing +20 in the morning & while boat anchored just ahead of us was doing the morning ham radio net a huge steel fishing boat that had anchored in with us cruisers began to drag his anchor on to Jacaranda.The wind driven waves were causing all boats to do a rocking horse motion & the big mega fishing boat was very slow to move but finally was able to retrieve it’s anchor & move on with only putting small scratches in Jacorando’s bow roller. Shortly after that escapade was settling down Oso Negro’s dingy took off but was retrieved by Alex on ‘Mi Ti Roa’.Finally the wind clamed down & we put up our sun cover, which must have been a signal for the wind to pick up but at least it’s keeping us cooler; it has been about 97 inside the boat most of the day & dropping to 85 a the coolest moment of the day.
It’s July 2, 2008 & soon we will be heading to El Borrow cove.
We set sail from Santa Domingo in a good sailing breeze but the wind kept shifting as we rounded the main headland of Conception bay so we motored in the large bay & anchored in Behia Coyote where we found the water to be even warmer, in fact at times we felt like we were being cooked like lobsters :-OOn July 3rd there were over a dozen other cruiser boats in & around El Burro cove ready for the festivities of Geary the weather guys famous hot dog extravaganza & fire works on the 4th of July.Robin had learned the dominos game called Mexican train back in La Paz which is a favorite past time of the cruisers & he got to play for hours with the adults.He also got to sell his hand made bracelets & necklaces to other cruisers & even the restaurant owners of Bertha’s bought a few; he made about $30 bucks, a big score for the enterprising kid.
We left Robin in the company of other gaming cruisers while Bobbie Jo & I took off on a short hike up a path leading towards a nearby hill top with pictographs on the rocks painted by millennia old Indians.Although is was a relatively short hike the trail was pretty steep & got steeper as we went along.Some how we missed the established trail that safely ascends the mountain & ended up taking on the mountain straight on.We had be following the dried arroyo mountain run off for nearly an hour when we spotted an ancient Indian cave up ahead.With our eyes on that prize we went right past the non-descript trail.After viewing the old Indian cave with noticeable fire burns on the caves ceiling, we continued along the same arroyo that we had be hiking up for the last hour but the trail was beginning to become very steep at this point but the top was only about 100 yards away but nearly straight up.After only 25 yards the inclination was getting sever & the once firm large rocks became small loose shale.Like the curious cat that gets stuck in a tree we soon became aware going back down this way would become hazardous & our only chance of a safe decent would be to climb to the top of the ridge & find a way across to the safety of the established trail that we now finally see from this scary height.With loose rocks tumbling down with each step we began to separate to avoid pushing rocks onto the other.Soon we were attempting to scale straight up the face of this percipience in loose shale rock, with each hazardous step the consequences of a mis-step would be a sliding fall of 25 to 50’, becoming more & more sever.Soon after separating we lost sight of each other while now climbing basically straight up the last 35 yards when Bobbie called out that she had lost her water bottle.By this time I had toss my water bottle up to the next crevice in order to use both hands, after several life threatening maneuvers to retrieve my water I came to the realization that my life would be better preserved if I just leave the bottle in that nearly impossible crevice.It seemed to take forever to reach the top, being out of sight of each other was full of dread for the other.My path was the most hazardous climb to date, any wrong move at this point would surely be very disastrous; my thoughts of Bobbie’s safety were very unpleasant.After an eternity Bobbie calls out that she has made the top.After quite a few more life or death maneuvers I finally make the top feeling quite like one that has escaped the jaws of death.
We bush whacked our way across the rocky ridge line for quite a ways until we came upon the main trail.The sun had already set when we began our hike back down, the last half was completely in the dark.Oh the pictographs on the rocks painted by millennia old Indians were found within the first few feet of the trail :-O
Geary Ritchie broadcasts his weather reports on a Ham radio from his beach house here in El Burro Cove in ConcepcionBay & puts on quite the cruisers 4th of July party.There must have been over two dozen cruisers lined up on the 4th to get their special Geary dogs served by Geary wearing a large hot dog hat.We all got to see the faces behind the voices we hear faithfully on the long range hi frequency radios we all use to keep an eye on the hurricanes that blow thru here this time of the year.We got to see Oso Negro’s ‘Poncho the dog’ but missed their ‘Bad Ass Billy the Cat’ whom I’ve heard rules pet-dom aboard their sport fisher boat.We met Mi Ti Roa’s cat which looks just like a cat I had years ago.There were quite a number cruisers & cruising pets meet & try to match up with their radio voices, the grand who ha of ‘em all was Geary the weather guy.His radio voice is bright up beat & articulate of perhaps a high ‘faultin’ biz exec but you wouldn’t guess that that biker dude hippy surfer beach bum with ‘Santa on vacation’ groove & a George Carlin wit was our beloved weather guru :-)
Geary lives the dream a lot of us have while stuck in the rat race of life.His beach hut is right on the water’s edge high tides tickling this front porch.His design was inspired while he was sailing around some south pacific islands years ago & duplicated the palm thatched construction he saw there.Here in El Burro cove there is no electricity or running water, Geary has some solar panels on the roof & drives 15 miles into Mulege to get water.He has a satellite dish to bring in the internet to gather his weather report.He has special area with all his equipment that looks like he could launch space ships from while the rest of the hut looks like a scene from Gilligan’s Island :-)For the six years of our cruising we are keeping an eye out for that special ‘some place’ where the quality of life is high & the cost of living is low, a little off the beaten path but close enough to supplies & support facilities; Geary’s El Burro cove & beach hut represent our first inspiringview of that special ‘some place’.Other requirements for our ‘special place’ will be a nice kid friendly place where Robin can go to high school which we will be looking for while cruising the south pacific.
On Monday July 7th we had to make a Skype internet phone call to our bank to transfer cruising funds from a CD account to our checking account.Geary was going into Mulege’ to get his 125 gallon water tank filled & a large handful of us cruisers got to catch a ride in his pickup truck into town.Traveling at about 40 miles an hour was the fastest I’ve been for nearly a year & it seemed like 100 mph :-OMulege’ is a cute little town rich with old Baja legends, the Padres established missions here & was an important staging area for many others to be built.
After a few days in Behia Coyote we moved the boat a mile or so around to Playa Santa Barbra, a cute little undeveloped cove (if you call beach huts developed :-)Here we observed the locals harvest & clean some cone shape scallops & clams, what a treat.Robin earned his first $6 bucks cleaning the bottom of Sun Bow the 48’ catamaran for an hour.A 48’ foot cat is really like a 96’ mono hull boat; perhaps there will be more employment possibilities soon to finish the rest of the endless bottom.We’ve just finished listening to the morning weather broadcasts from Geary on the Ham radio & Don Anderson on the SSB, after breakfast we will be moving over to El Burro cove to pick up some internet & then head out tomorrow for Punta Chivato about 25 miles north up the sea.We got an email from the only other kid boat we know of this summer in the Sea of Cortes, the French family with their son Sasha; they were in San Carlos having work done on their motor & then were going to fly back to France for the summer…bummer.
We had planed on heading out of ConceptionBay on the 10th but we got an invitation to play Mexican train, a dominoes game that Robin had mastered while in La Paz.That evening we tuned into the 7pm south bound radio net to hear Don Anderson’s weather report & we heard a call from another ‘kid boat’:-)If we had left on the 10th we may not have met up.4 Pack had been hiding out in Mazatlan & passed thru La Paz after we had left.Each of us was heading in different directions but altered course so the kids could hook up & we met at Santa Domingo at the head of ConceptionBay.We stayed a couple of nights again at Santa Domingo enjoying the cooler water & breezes compared to within the bay.
The 2cd night we invited the crew from 4 Pack & Gemini to a fabulous cockpit concert at our boat.Everyone brought great side dishes & we baked some freshly caught Dorado we bought from a local fishermen caught from his skiff ‘Mary Jane’.Marty, the ship’s skipper is a Vietnam vet who retired early on his veteran’s disability & bought the nicely equipped boat from back pay from his war service; the name of his boat derived from one of his favorite past times :-)
On July 14th we buddy boated over to Punta Chivato to do some sea shell admiring in one of the best shell beaches in the sea.There is an abandoned airplane tower which was nearly complete but never finish.The area has a long time fly in resort with very nice rustic resorts.After a few hours there we both headed up towards Isla San Marcus.While anchoring I had forgot to bring in the fishing hand line we troll off the back of the boat while sailing, Robin saved us from possible a very bad situation when he asked if the line had been brought in.The line had got caught in the prop & I had to dive down & cut it loose.While in the water, a pair of large manta rays glided past me about 15 yards away.The force of this has caused a bit more water to trickle thru the prop shaft thru the packing gland, a disturbing reminder not to make this foolish mistake again.Isla San Marcus has a gypsum mine that is constantly loading very large tankers with the dry wall material & there’s a constant cloud of powered in that area; we’re in a little cove a few miles north called Sweet Pea cove.Bobbie took off on a kayak paddle & after Robin did a bit of home schooling he took off for kid play while I’m enjoying a very rare quite moment hacking away on this log.
Each morning & occasionally in the evening we tune into the Ham/SSB radio to hear the weather reports.We are now nearly two months into the hurricane season.So far there have been about 5 named hurricanes & even more tropical depressions & tropical storms brewing in their birth places about 500 to 800 miles south of Cabo San Lucas.At this time of the summer they form around the ClippertonIslands & head north, north west before heading harmlessly out to sea to the west.As the Sea of Cortez warms up the big spinners will be drawn up the sea.The water temp back in Concepcion was around 85, near the surface it seemed like over 90.The water in the La Paz channel is 90; while we were there we were amazed when the water hit the 70’s, being the warmest waters we’ve been in up to that time.The reports are that the water temp around Cabo San Lucas is still too cold to permit the big spinners to come up this way, most of the hurricanes don’t come up this way until late August thru early Oct.We’re about 135 miles from our summer destination of Bahia de Los Angeles & the relative safety of Puerto Don Juan, the nearly land locked bay of refuge.
While at Isla San Marcus I went on a night snorkeling dive, the excitement of it all way exceeded the creepiness of the dark water.The only way to beat the heat is time in the water, spending two hours in the water at night I was treated to a nice refreshing bit of hypothermia, just a slight tingling of the finger tips which made for a nice cool start of the evening sleep; of course even this cooling is temporary.The days are hot & sunny & the evenings are typically hot & muggy without much or any wind to cool things off.As of July 18th we are on our 6th named hurricane Fausto which should be harmlessly making way out to sea with its 100mph winds diminishing before reaching Hawaii.With the heat of the summer & these major storms, the humidity is quite a challenge.Geary the weather guy calculates a heat index using a sophisticated formula, the opposite of the cold wind chill; he calls it ‘the beer index’.The beer index has around 117!
On Friday morning, July 18th we sailed over to Santa Rosalia in company with 4 pack the other kid boat & Sun Bow the 48’x26’ catamaran.Along the way we spotted very large pods of pilot whales & some of them came very close to the boat.With luck four boats had just left the small marina & we all got a slip, with the large cat taking up two spaces :-)We were only going to stay a few days but after finding out they had a functioning Jacuzzi I think we’ll stay a week.Bobbie went with other cruisers to the veggi stand where fresh produce is delivered in on Friday mornings.Later that night we all went over to the famous hot dog stand to have hot dogs wrapped in bacon & fried on a sweet freshly baked bun from a centuries old ‘pandiera’ bakery.Tonight there’s a pot luck cruiser party & tomorrow the Cat folks are taking all the kids out for pizza; such brave souls :-)