Sea of Cortez 2006

 

Punta Candeleros

 

Chocolaté clams

 

La Lancha anchorage

 

Dolphins feeding

 

Trigger fish

 

San Juanico southern anchorage looking north

 

San Juanico northern anchorage looking south

 

Caleta Ramada

 

Sardine stuck in salt water pump

 

Beach Party at Bahia Santa Barbara

 

Bahia Coyote from the south. You can just see our boat behind the small island.

 

Eiffel Church

 

Church Sanctuary

 

Marina Santa Rosalia

 

Sail from Punta Chivato to Punta Santo Domingo

 

Beach Party at Bahia San Juanico

 

Dolphins swimming with the boat on the way to Loreto

 

Open roadstead anchorage at Loreto

 

Bahia San Marquer

 

Noodling at San Marquer

 

Bocce ball

 

Brie and Tim

 

North of San Juanico

 

Approaching San Carlos

On May 8, we left Puerto Escondido and went south to Punta Candeleros with Liberty Call II and Lady Pamela. I was still not feeling great, so Steve went out to gather clams with Ron and Anita and their guests Dave and Mary. The chocolaté clams are large and quite delicious, and in about 15 minutes Steve had collected 30 clams.

The next day Steve and I went out to get more clams. After about 20 minutes, I ended up with 13 clams. Steve, on the other hand, had dug up 57 clams! That night we had everyone aboard Liberty Call II over for drinks and clam cakes, which turned out to be delicious.

On May 11 we returned to Puerto Escondido to pick up some gasoline and get a few provisions. The next day Terry on Manta was kind enough to give us a ride to Loreto. He took us to a couple of tiendas that had all the items we wanted and the quality was so much better than the large grocery store we had been to previously.

We left Puerto Escondido on May 13  to cross to La Lancha on Isla Carmen. We had some wind for the first part of the journey, but it soon died. We motored the rest of the way and pulled in to La Lancha around 5:30 that evening and were very pleased with this anchorage.  There were only two other boats, Interlude and Integrity, in the bay with us. The next morning they both took off leaving us alone in the cove. We got into the dinghy and went exploring. The bluffs were beautiful, and there were quite a few sea caves. As we were exploring, three dolphins came into the cove to eat, and they didn't seem to mind as we drove beside them in our dinghy. After they left, we went ashore for a few minutes, and then we went snorkeling for awhile. In the afternoon, Steve went fishing and caught three nice trigger fish so we were able to have fish tacos for dinner and freeze some for later.

From La Lancha we headed for Bahia San Juanico where we anchored in the south anchorage. The next day we discovered Lady Pamela anchored close by so that evening we had dinner on Lady Pamela and met Adrian and Milan from Integrity. The next day we moved to the north anchorage to join Interlude and Flying Free for dinner that evening aboard Interlude.

We spent the next day ashore exploring the northern part of the island. There were dead squid all along the shore where we landed our dinghy. After the squid spawn, they die and wash up on the beach. We found the tree that had become the Cruisers' Shrine where boats leave something hanging on the tree or at its base with their name and date. We found a piece of wood and painted our name and the year on it and hammered it into the ground at the base of the tree.

We walked over the hill to take a look at Caleta Ramada on the other side of the point, and we discovered that it was quite a nice anchorage for southerly winds. We then returned and took the dinghy over to the lagoon and hunted for shells along the shore. That afternoon, the southerly winds came up and the anchorage was becoming pretty rough so we pulled the anchor and moved north to Caleta Ramada where we had a very nice, calm evening and a beautiful day the next day.

The morning that we were to leave for Bahia Concepcion we both woke up early because fish were swarming around our boat making all sorts of noise. Later in the morning when we tried to use our salt-water pump, but it was clogged. When Steve removed the hose to the pump, he found a small fish had swum up the hose to escape whatever was chasing it. When we used the pump, we sucked the fish into the fixture. We ended up removing six fish from the line. Then while we were under way, we found another 12 fish that were dead in our cockpit drains. Steve used the plunger to suck them out so that we could throw them overboard.

We motored most of the way to Bahia Concepcion; however, as we came to Punta Concepcion (the point at the entrance to Bahia Concepcion) the wind picked up, and we ended up sailing at 7 knots almost all the way into the bay. We anchored at Santispac around six in the evening.

Santispac is a large bay in the northern part of Bahia Concepcion. It got pretty windy the next day, so we moved the boat behind a small island in order to break the swells coming into the bay. Steve and I went snorkeling for some steamer clams and went ashore at Caleta Tordillo where there is a self-sufficient community with lovely homes. Interlude asked us to go clamming with them at Isla Pitahaya one afternoon, and this time Steve and I had a total of 100 clams.

We joined Interlude and Flying Free in moving to Bahia Santa Barbara. We were the only boats in the cove, and it was just beautiful. This whole area had warmer water, which made snorkeling nice, but the air temperature was also much warmer. That evening we all went ashore and built a fire. We contributed steamed clams dipped in butter and garlic and German chocolate cake for dessert. The other boats brought the main dishes. It was a beautiful evening, and we all had a great time.

We moved to Bahia Coyote to spend the next two days. This is a very small anchorage so we were the only boat there. We snorkeled around the two small islands on its northern point and saw some beautiful, large angel fish. We loved this anchorage.

Our next stop was Santa Rosalia, which would be as far north as we would go this season. Marina Santa Rosalia is a very small marina with about 12 slips, but the people there are all very friendly and helpful.

Copper ore was found in Santa Rosalia in 1866, and a French syndicate developed the mines. This became a very active port with square-riggers bringing in coal for the copper smelter and taking on refined copper. The copper industry dropped off for awhile, but now the mining has resumed.

Iglesia Santa Barbara is a pre-fabricated metal church designed and built by Carl Eiffel for the Paris Exposition of 1889. It was rebuilt in Brussels, then taken down and shipped to Santa Rosalia to be re-assembled there in 1895.

We enjoyed a four-day stay here with trips into town to provision and use the internet. We found some wonderful restaurants and enjoyed exploring the town. Our last night there began a celebration of Ancient Mariners' Day so the carnival rides were set up  on the malecon and the music lasted well into the early morning.

From Santa Rosalia we enjoyed a slow but enjoyable sail south to Punta Chavato where there is a very exclusive resort with a landing strip for private planes. During the night the winds picked up so we spent the night watching to make sure that our anchor didn't drag. The next morning we went to the shell beach where Steve and I spent several hours looking for shells. We then returned to the boat and had a beautiful sail south to Punta Santo Domingo.

We spent just one night there and then left for Bahia San Juanico to meet up with Liberty Call II. The winds were right on our nose the whole way down so we motored with the main sail up. This leg was one of the strangest ones we have had as far as weather is concerned. It began just fine, but a few hours later the winds picked up to about 25 knots and the seas began to build. Just when we thought that we should pull in to an anchorage, the wind would die and the seas would calm down. Then the wind would build again, the seas would build, we would discuss stopping, and then it would die down. This pattern continued all day long. Going around Punta Pulpita was the worst. We had a current going against the wind and waves, and it was as though we were in a washing machine. We were taking waves over the bow and had large swells; however, the boat handled just fine, and we finally got through the worst of it. We arrived in San Juanico around 5 p.m., just in time to clean up and go aboard Spirit Quest for a pot luck. Liberty Call II, Orea, Jellybean, and Milagro were all aboard, and we had a wonderful dinner.

The next night Steve and I organized a pot luck beach party with all the boats. It was windy, but we set up behind a ridge, and later the wind settled down. We had a lovely, although warm, evening. Steve built a fire so that we could roast the marshmallows that Jo from Milagro had brought, and they went very well with my German chocolate cake.

We spent one more day at San Juanico before heading south.  We needed to get closer to Puerto Escondido by June 15 when our daughter Brie and her husband Tim were arriving to spend a few days with us.

We decided to try Isla Coronados next. It is supposed to be very pretty, and there is a trail up to the top of the volcano. Unfortunately, when we arrived, the smell of dead squid on the beach was a bit much for us, so we passed it by and headed for Ballandra on Isla Carmen. We arrived later in the afternoon and anchored with about six other boats. We were very hot so we dove in and swam for awhile to cool off. We had a calm but very warm night, and we were happy to get out of the bay the next day to find a cooler anchorage.

Next we headed for Bahia San Marquer. What a surprise! This is a small bight on the west side of Carmen, and the water was crystal clear and a beautiful turquoise color. We were anchored in 20 feet of water, and we could have seen a penny on the bottom. We just love this place and will definitely come back here.

We made a quick trip up to Loreto in order to pick up some supplies. While we were there we met Dan and Denise on Canace. We enjoyed dinner together that evening and Sunday brunch the next day. We then returned to Bahia San Marquer to spend another few days.

On June 13 we left San Marquer and went into Puerto Escondido. We got fuel and water and cleaned the boat. We also had our laundry done. Then on the 15th we took a taxi to the airport to pick up Brie and Tim. Their plane was actually early. They cleared through customs, and we immediately went to the boat and left to go back to San Marquer. The winds were blowing around 30 knots, and we had a great sail across the channel. The anchorage at San Marquer was pretty calm, and we found our usual spot in about 16 feet of water.

That night we just relaxed enjoyed the evening. The next day we took it easy in the morning and then went clamming in the afternoon. Once Brie and Tim got the hang of it, they found quite a few clams. All together we had plenty of clams for a couple of dinners, and that night we had clam cakes.

The next day we all snorkeled ashore and walked the beach looking for shells. While we were talking with Dan from Canace, Steve felt a movement under his foot. He was high-stepping it out of the water when he realized that he had been stung by a stingray. Luckily, the cut was not deep or long.  Steve made it bleed as much as he could, and that helped to reduce the swelling and pain. We went back to the boat and poured vinegar over the cut and then bandaged it, and it healed just fine.

In the afternoon we went snorkeling off the point and spotted two rather large moray eels, many species of fish, and Steve found some scallops that we added to our clam chowder for dinner that evening.

Around 5:30 we went ashore to play some bocce ball with several other boats. Steve and I ended up on the same team, but Brie and Tim were split up. We had quite a competitive game; however, Steve and I did win in the end. None of us had ever played, but it turned out to be a lot of fun, and we met some more great people.

Unfortunately, the next day Brie and Tim had to leave so we headed for Loreto where we had an excellent brunch in town, and then we sent them on their way to the airport. We had a great visit with them, and the weather was absolutely beautiful.  We wished that they could have stayed longer.

We still wanted to see Isla Coronados, but again the smell of squid was too strong, so we decided to head back up to San Juanico for that evening.  The next day we made it up to Santo Domingo where we met Ron and Anita from Liberty Call II and passed on their mail that Brie and Tim had brought with them. We had a great dinner the next night with them aboard their boat. The next day was June 21--the summer solstice; therefore, we decided to have a summer solstice beach party. All the people aboard boats anchored at Santo Domingo came ashore in their dinghies. We all just sat in the cool water, had cocktails, and talked. It was a beautiful evening and a great gathering.

We returned to the boat to prepare it for crossing the Sea of Cortez the next day. Around two in the morning the wind began to blow and there was lightning to the east, and we thought that our anchor was dragging so we stayed up to be sure that we were all right. Around three o'clock the lightning had stopped so we decided head across the Sea to get to San Carlos. We cleared the point with some nice winds from the northeast, but the seas were very confused and rough. When the wind died a short time later, we were having a pretty uncomfortable ride. We started the engine and had to motor the rest of the way across the Sea, and luckily, the waves calmed down after awhile so the trip became more comfortable although it was pretty hot.

We pulled into Marina Real in San Carlos around 4:30 in the afternoon. As we approached San Carlos the marlin were jumping everywhere, and Steve almost caught one that was chasing his lure. They were just beautiful.

We were able to get a slip at Marina Real so we decided to leave the boat in the slip for the summer. We spent the next few days stripping the boat of sails, spray cloths, spinnaker poles, etc. We ended up getting an air conditioned room for the last few days as it was getting very hot in San Carlos. We left Guaymas on  June 28 by bus and arrived in Phoenix the next day around 9 a.m. where we were able to catch a flight to Albuquerque. We were glad to be in a cooler climate. We plan to be in New Mexico for a few months working on projects and visiting family. We will return to the boat around the first of October.

It has been a great season in Mexico for us, and we have met so many wonderful people. Steve volunteered to be a radio net controller, and we really enjoyed meeting other cruisers on the net. We look forward to being back next season. Our plans are still flexible, and we are not quite sure where we want to go next. I guess that we will decide that as we go.