When we left Puerto Escondido, we were headed north to Santa Rosalia which we had loved last year. The first day out we did not run far, only to Isla Coronado, because I wanted to stay in phone and internet range through the night. We were on the SW side of the island in a bay which has a large sandbar to the south and it is a lovely anchorage. We were not the only ones there, but there is plenty of room for all and we enjoyed a peaceful evening at anchor before heading north.
Our first stop, on the 8th was Bahia San Juanico. This is an extraordinary bay, with wonderful rock formations which rise around you like church spires. It has wonderful protection from the north as well as small area on the south side that would be great in south winds. And there we remained for two lovely days while the wind came up and blew 35 from the NW on the 10th.
There seemed little point in bashing into the waves when we were in such a nice place. We wandered the beach with Daisy looking for agates. I don’t think we found any, but we did pick up some extraordinary rocks which I will take home to James, our grandson. I am toying with the idea of buying a rock polisher. Some of the rocks are conglomerates of wonderful colors. I don’t have any idea if they will polish or not.
Our first afternoon, we invited a young couple that had rowed around the bay in for a beverage. They are Marni and Mike, from Sidney, Vancouver Island. They have a 37 foot steel sailboat named Picara on which they have done a ton of work. They plan to go back north to replenish their bank account, but next year they will continue their cruise. It is always a pleasure to see young couples enjoying the cruising life. They do all the more active things - like rowing around the bay and hiking the hills. I asked what Picara meant and Marni said she would like to know. They understood from the dictionary that it meant hobo or wanderer in Spanish but given the smirks they get from the local men they are curious as to whether it has a somewhat racier meaning, at least in Mexico. She hopes that it is not too wild. I discussed it with Maria Luisa and Marni can relax. In addition to meaning mischievous, naughty or cheeky, the most common meaning in Mexican slag is flirt - but definitely not slut.
The next day, the wind howled. That morning we had a visit from the smallest inflatable dingy I have ever seen - certainly no more than 5 feet long - rowed by a pretty petite young woman named Nina. She was hoping we could fill her 6 gallon water tank, which was not problem at all. She came in for a cup of coffee and we learned she and her husband are Norwegian and have been living on a 27 foot sailboat, Bica, on which they have sailed from Norway. 27 feet is really very small. Her husband is a serious writer and has published a number of novels. When I asked, she admitted that being written for Norwegians they were not light hearted. She is busy writing a book on Seppala who ran the serum to Nome by dogsled in 1925. She is from the very northern part of Norway. Seppela came from a nearby village and, like her, was part Finish, since many Finns over time migrated from their northern hills to the Norwegian Coast. Somewhat embarrassing for us having spent 30 years in Alaska, she knew far more than we about the early 1900s in Alaska and in Nome specifically. Earl had a great aunt and uncle who had lived there in 1905 so it is particularly interesting to us. We invited her to come over in the evening for drinks and she said she would bring us copies of some of her research materials, including a who’s who from Nome in the early 1900’s.
Nina brought over a portable drive. In addition to a special file that she had compiled for us about Nome, she had several thousand digital books, a translator which would put them in Kindle format, a bunch of books on tape including all the Harry Potters and some NPR podcasts. The last two should be wonderful for night watches.
We also invited over Marni and Mike from Picara and Lewis and Laura from the sailboat Cirque which was anchored next to us. Everyone brought goodies. Marni had bread and humus, both of which she had made from scratch that day. Most impressive, Nina brought some sweet Norwegian yeast bread that she had baked over charcoal in the barbecue - she said they were running low on propane. Lewis and Laura are racers and had lots of stories to tell of the Puerto Vallarta sailing regatta. They have won several years in a row and this year the race committee gerry rigged the handicapping to try to favor others - they still won. We made fun of the dour nature of Norwegians and Finns. Marni brought up the subject of Margaret Attwods books - she is Canadian- and I said I liked them but found them rather dark. Nina respond that for her it was comedy. Lots of fun. We are happy that we will be seeing Nina and Hendrik (who was busy with his manuscript and did not join us) this winter. They will be house and dog sitting in Wasilla, Alaska.
The next day the wind out of the north was gusting 35 and we decided against heading north into the seas. We will leave our visit to Santa Rosalia until the fall and combine it with exploration of the Bahia Los Angles area. Instead we headed south, back to Coronado with the wind and seas on our tail. This boat is made for such weather and we had a lovely ride.
Because of the north winds, we anchored on the south side of the island and watched the surf curl around the ends of the land, while we sat snug as could be at anchor. As predicted, the next morning, the 12th, the winds had died allowing us numerous alternatives. We chose to stop first at Loreto. Earl took me into the small boat harbor in the dingy and I went shopping for milk, fruit and vegetables. Then we headed over to a beautiful little cove on Isla Carmen called Balandra. In addition to being lovely, it gets good cellphone reception which was important. Everything was perfect, except for a swarm of thirsty bees which decided to populate our back deck in a search of fresh water. Since it did not look as if we would be able to barbecue, we took off and headed for another anchorage, La Lancha, on the north side of the island. We had it to ourselves and enjoyed the beauty.
The following day, we headed south. The forecast for the following days was for big winds from the north so we made our way to Agua Verde which is a wonderful anchorage for north winds. The first thing we saw was a man fishing from a tiny kayak. We had a chance to visit with him the next day. He is Milo from the Chek Republic and told us that he had come to the USA in 1988 as a cook on fishing vessels in Alaska. 9 years ago he retired, quit drinking, and found a young Chek girlfriend. He has been living in Mexico ever since. He had been in Agua Verde since October, living on the beach in a 20 year old white van with a blanket over the back, subsisting on fish and love.
We had a lovely time exploring the beaches on Agua Verde. The water was exceptionally clear and appropriately green and in the shallower areas of the bay we could clearly see lots of colorful fish. Daisy loves going on dingy rides. She hangs over the front like a hood ornament.
One of the boats in Agua Verde was a 46 foot Nordhavn, Discovery. We had met her last year just north of Conception. Frank was the one who returned Earl’s cap to him in Escondido and we were lucky to have a opportunity in Agua Verde to get to know Frank and Linda better. They worked in the Seattle area and a couple of years ago they cruised south in the boat which is now their home. They will continue the life style as long as it suits them both. They invited us over for drinks. Their boat is lovely. it has a large salon and a good galley. The master stateroom is in the bow which allows them lots of light and air on a normal basis while the smaller mid-cabin is available if the passage is rough.
The wind howled the second day we were in Agua Verde. In this dry desert land, we found that the wind off the land brought with it lots of red dust which coated the boat and got in our eyes. Hopefully this is an unusual thing. We have not encountered it before.
The next day, we headed south. Our friends John and Maria Luisa were headed for the Hook on the south side of Isla San Francisco and we had arranged to join them. The plan was to stop on the way at Los Gatos and buy some lobsters for dinner from Manuel. We stopped for about an hour at lunch time and called several times on the radio, but no Manuel, no lobsters. Happily, I had a kilo of small scallops in the freezer and I know there is nothing that Maria Luisa loves better than scallop ceviche. It is, additionally, simply to make. Cover the scallops in lime juice and a little salt. While they sit, chop up onions, tomatoes, jalepenos, and cilantro. Mix the vegetables with a little olive oil, drain and add the scallops, add salt and a little tabasco to taste. By the we arrived at the Hook at 4:30, we were ready to entertain. Maria Luisa, John and their friends, Guy (born in France of Danish and Hungarian parents) and Lolita, his Mexican wife, came and feasted on scallops and white wine. It was a lovely evening.
Early the next morning, the wind came up from the south so we pulled anchor and moved to an anchorage on the north east side of the island. The beach was very rocky, large cobbles, of wonderful colors, including reds and greens.
After a stop here, I pulled up the weather for Earl. To our surprise it was suddenly calling for significant east winds. If it was right, we were not in a good place. We pulled our anchor were headed south, when Earl pointed out the the forecast included 16 to 17 foot seas. WOW! Well, to err is human. The weather report was correct for latitude 24 and longitude 110 - in the southern hemisphere. Earl has significantly reduced my performance rating as meteorologist and is threatening to cut my salary.
Since we were already on our way, we headed to our favorite anchorage at Caleta Partita. Glad we did, for once again, the winds came up and it was good to be in a safe anchorage. It was blowing from the SW, so we thought we would go around Isla Espiritu Santo to Bonanza on the SW side. As we left the anchorage, we ran into bumpy seas and a south wind. After bouncing around a little, we found a lovely cove, Galina, and pulled in. It was good in a south wind, but would not be good in the forecasted SW, so after lunch we pulled anchor to head around the island. We did not get far before Earl decided that the wind was definitely more S or SE and that the Bonanza anchorage would not work. So instead we headed to Balandra, a lovely anchorage not far from La Paz. The wind had disappeared, the water was 74 and beautiful and we floated around and enjoyed ourselves. As we watched a lovely sunset, all of a sudden we had a south wind gusting to 35. It was a rocky night, and Earl was up multiple times checking our anchor and keeping and eye on the other boats around us.
Today, after having spent almost 2 weeks running from the weather, we headed back to our slip in Costa Baja. Our supplies are low, the boat is dirty, the temperature is in the 90;s and we are happy to be ‘home’.