San Carlos to La Paz

October 2006

 

Marina Real in San Carlos with one Tetas de Cabra in the background

The other Tetas de Cabra at sunset

Leaving San Carlos at sunrise--Tetas de Cabra are to the left

Marina Santa Rosalia

Hotel Frances

Mining Museum in Santa Rosalia

Village at San Marcos

Gypsum mine at San Marcos

Church made of gypsum in San Marcos

Dorado

San Juanico northern anchorage looking south

Isla Coronados

View from the top of Isla Coronados

Dolphins

Dinner on the beach at San Marquer

Puerto Escondido--
Clouds and rain associated with Hurricane Paul

Leaving Puerto Escondido at sunrise after Hurricane Paul

Bahia Agua Verde

Surfing down the backside of a wave on the way to Isla San Francisco--the pictures never truly capture the reality

Isla San Francisco

 

After spending three months in the cool mountains of northern New Mexico, we returned to a very, very warm San Carlos at the end of September. We spent the next two weeks putting the boat back together and installing the new water maker and solar panels. The landmark for San Carlos are the Tetas de Cabras, and you can see them as you approach San Carlos from the Sea.

On October 11 we left San Carlos at 4 in the morning to cross the Sea of Cortez and return to the Baja side of Mexico.  Traveling with us is the sailboat Vagari with Stan and Rhea aboard. The crossing was calm and uneventful except for spotting a fishing long line stretching across our path. We pulled in our fishing lines and went over the line with the transmission in neutral so that we would not snag the line. We arrived in Santa Rosalia around 5:45 in the evening and pulled up at the end of the marina dock.

The next day we all went to have breakfast at the Hotel FrancÚs. This hotel was built in 1886, and it is absolutely beautiful inside. We enjoyed a delicious breakfast and then left to tour the mining museum containing items from the copper mining days. The museum had many original pieces of equipment and ledgers on display that were fascinating. This is our second visit to Santa Rosalia, and we really love it here.

We left on October 13 and went south about 15 miles to Isla San Marcos where we anchored at the south end at Puerto El Viejo. San Marcos has a large gypsum mining facility on the east side of the island so Steve and Stan went ashore and walked over the hill to the village. The village was lovely and the young kids all came to follow Steve and Stan around. The mining facility was very interesting; however, the dust that it kicked up was not much fun. We had it all over the boat by the time we left.

The next day we left for Punta Chavato and enjoyed a beautiful sail all the way down. The winds were light to moderate all the way, but as we made our turn into the anchorage, the winds really began to blow. We think they reached 30 knots or better so we were sailing at 8.2 knots pulling into the anchorage. We stayed just one night but made a quick trip to shore in the morning to hunt for shells. We then left for Caleta Santispac in Bahia Concepcion.

We spent time in Bahia Concepcion last May and stayed in the same anchorages. This is really a lovely area, and it is much cooler at this time of year. The water so far is still nice for swimming, but it is cooling off. Clamming is still very good.

On October 17 we left Bahia Concepcion and planned to stay at the entrance to the bay, but instead we went around the point  and anchored in Los Pilares for the evening. The large swells were coming into the anchorage so we spent a very unpleasant night rolling approximately 20 degrees to each side. Steve ended up sleeping on the settee while I turned sideways on our v-berth so that the motion would be more comfortable. We left early the next morning for Caleta de San Juanico.

We started out motoring down the coast since there were only light winds. Steve hooked several skipjacks, but they are not good for eating. Then a very large fish hit one line and cut completely through the leader. Steve put a new lure on the line and a short time later he hooked a beautiful dorado. It was a real battle getting him aboard the boat. He had swum under the dinghy that we were towing and had also crossed the other fishing line that was out. Steve managed to get him up to the boat, but I had trouble getting the gaff into his gills. At one point I simply stuck the gaff through his head, and we were able to get him aboard. However, he was flopping around so hard that he got off the gaff and went back into the water. I was now determined to land this fish as Steve had been trying for quite awhile to catch one of these amazing fish. Steve got him along the side again, and again I jammed the gaff through him. This time we got him on board and kept him there. I ended up with two gaff injuries--one to my leg (plus a black-and-blue spot) and another to my hand, but I looked better than the dorado. As you can see from the picture, he was a beauty. We then pulled in the fishing lines (we didn't have any more room in the freezer) and got enough wind to sail the rest of the way to San Juanico. That evening we enjoyed a wonderful dorado dinner aboard Vagari with Stan and Rhea. We vacuum packed the rest of the fish to savor it another day.

We stayed one more day at San Juanico and then left the next morning for Isla Coronados where we anchored on the southwest side in a small bight. The water here is a bright turquoise, and it is absolutely spectacular. On the way down, Steve caught a small dorado that we had for lunch as fish tacos. Around 2:30 Steve and Stan decided to hike up to the top of the volcano at the northern end of the island. They radioed us from the top of the volcano to say that they had made it and were on their way back down, and we were able to see them from our boats. Steve said that it was a very difficult hike with the very last leg going up at about 35 degrees. They were both quite tired by the time they got back.

We left the next morning and anchored just outside the breakwater at Loretto. We wanted to get some groceries and cerveza, and we are also able to get wireless out on the boat. This is an open anchorage, but the seas were pretty calm with just light winds so we decided to stay overnight. Canace was anchored next to us so we had a chance to visit with Dan and Denise for the first time since June.

On Sunday, October 23, we motored down to San Marquer, which is one of our favorite anchorages. About a third of the way down, dolphins began to swim with both Vagari and us. Steve went up to the bow to watch them and was able to get some great pictures and videos. On the video you can actually hear the high-pitch sound that they make, and at one point one of the dolphins began jumping completely out of the water between our two boats. We were thoroughly entertained for almost an hour by these wonderful creatures. It is so amazing to watch how they swim, crossing over and under each other, and rarely bumping one another. We had a nice potluck on the beach with Canace and Vagari. There was a young couple, Mike and Molly, who were traveling in kayaks and camping on the beach, so we invited them to join us for dinner. They had not heard about Hurricane Paul that was approaching Cabo, so the next morning we filled them in on the latest weather report, and they said that they would cross to Puerto Escondido that day in order to get more protection.

We moved into Puerto Escondido on October 24. Hurricane Paul had been developing in the eastern Pacific for several days and was predicted to hit Cabo San Lucas and then turn northeast toward the mainland. We thought it would be best go get into a designated hurricane hole, so we picked up a mooring ball, one that had been checked and was secure, and began to get the boat prepared for strong winds and heavy rains. The winds picked up to approximately 25 knots in the afternoon, and it began to rain. In the evening the winds died down quite a bit as did the rain, so we slept rather well that night. This morning it is very overcast and raining. It reminded us so much of the Pacific northwest only it was much warmer.  The next morning we learned that Paul had weakened and would not be a problem.

Our next stop was in beautiful Bahia Agua Verde. This time there were only 5 other boats in the anchorage, and we really enjoyed our stay. We had some strong north winds but the anchorage was secure. After two days we headed to Bahia San Francisco. We had strong winds and 4- to 6-foot seas.  Heading out we were directly into the wind and were getting a pretty wild ride, but once we turned south, the winds were from our stern, and we were sailing along  between 7 and 9 knots with only our head sail poled out. What a ride!  Along the way Steve caught his third dorado. We spent the night at San Francisco and then decided to move on to Caleta Partida since the bugs were somewhat bothersome.

At Caleta Partida that evening we played Mexican Train dominoes with Stan and Rhea aboard Aquarius with Sally and Jerry. The next morning Steve and Stan did another hike, and they were eaten alive by mosquitoes. They didn't even bother to try to count the bites. Around noon Vagari and Aquarius left for Isla Lobos, and we headed directly into La Paz.

It was good to be back in Marina Palmira. We got to see Ron and Anita from Liberty Call II and Phil and Madelyn from In the Mood for the first time since June. Vagari pulled in the next day, and we all had a great time together going out to dinner and having dinners aboard our boats. We had a chance to clean the boat, do laundry, repair the spinnaker, etc. We will be here for another week before we head across to Mazatlan--weather permitting.