Sunday, July 22, 2018

San Carlos to La Paz and a Passage Back to Puerto Vallarta

We had decided to go to San Carlos because so many cruisers end their season there and store the boat.  San Carlos. to me, was a hot hot hot place in a dry area of the desert of Mexico, with little to offer but am inexpensive dry storage.  I'm so glad we made a stop in San Carlos.  I can't say we would chose the area to store the boat for the summer, I'm still a believer that boats are better off in the water than on land in the heat of the desert, but after a week in San Carlos I can see the appeal to visit.  We had a really good time in the anchorage, there's beautiful coves to visit nearby, good hikes, and several fun restaurants and bars.  While San Carlos itself is really a small, quaint town, supplies are plentiful and the large city of Guaymas is just a 45 cent bus ride away.

Alas, we had friends about to visit and we had to return to Baja 80 miles away.  We left with Shamaya to return to Santa Rosalia and had a very good day of sailing where we sailed 50 of the 80 miles.

Steve and Claudia are friends we made last year as we passed through Cabo.  They opened their home and showed us around areas of the east cape we wouldn't have been able to see on our own (see blog post from last year's visit: San Jose del Cabo) so we were excited to be able to show them a side of Baja they might not have otherwise had a chance to see.  They joined us for a week as we sailed from Santa Rosalia to Loreto and had several stops along the way.  The weather was fantastic, warm and sunny in the day but cool enough to sleep well at night.  Loreto was another surprise stop that we enjoyed more than expected.  We visited the first mission of the Calfornias.  Steve and Claudia were excellent boat guests and we can't wait to hang out with them again soon.

After Loreto, the SeaGlub crew headed south fairly quickly with new stops in Marquer and Amortajada, and return visits to Puerto Escondido and Agua Verde.  In Puerto Escondido we sat through what was drummed up as a hurricane to fear, Hurricane Bud, but turned out to only be something we nicknamed Bud Light.  After making our way back to La Paz and reuniting with Volare, we started to plan our crossing back to la Cruz de Huanacaxtle in Puerto Vallarta area. This also included getting our car back to the mainland aboard the ferry to Topolabampo and then a 10 hour drive to PV.  Chris left the girls in La Paz to get this done and flew back two days later.

The 3 day passage to PV could've gone better if we had had any consistent wind, but as it was we motored for 300 of the 375 miles with our first morning having rough seas for about 5-6 hours as we ran head on into the Sea of Cortez meeting up with the Pacific Ocean.  The rest of the trip the seas were fairly benign, just the motoring drives you a bit stir crazy, particularly since we were motoring with a transmission that we know is on its last legs and an engine which is burning oil too quickly.  

We pulled into La Cruz at 3am, thankfully we had confidence at night because we had spent the entire previous summer there and the weather was super calm when we pulled in.  So now we're back in the marina for the summer, our car is back from Baja, and we're looking forward to months of drinking and dining on the dock with friends, pool volleyball, and lots of play time on the beach for Penny.  

Here are a few statistics from our travels this season, and some pictures to better tell the story:

Miles Sailed:  431
Miles Motored:  1,594
Total Miles Traveled:  2,025
Fuel Used:  293
Average Water Usage: 5.1 gallons/day
Generator Hours: 6.5
    - we ran generator for maintenance only, or solar kept our batteries fully charged 
Nights at anchor:  71
Nights at Sea: 6

Steve and Claudia at the wheel
Penny checking on Steve's catch

Penny let's Steve know that this one is a keepr

Santo Domingo anchorage

Add caption

La Lancha moonscape

San Juanico

Keeping things cool in Loreto

The very first mission of the Callfornias

Shoving off on the ferry

Final approach to PV

Friday, June 1, 2018

Angel de la Guarda to San Carlos

So after getting Shamaya off the rock near Bahia Ventana, we headed north to El Refugio on the north side of Angel de la Guarda.  This is as far north as we'd go and, when we left several weeks before, hadn't really planned on making that far north.  But then again, that's probably one of the best things about the cruising lifestyle, plans change all the time.  El Refugio was amazing, beautiful, we got in some great fishing but we did have a major downside event, Monica got hit by a sting ray.  We landed the dinghy and there was only 6" of water below the dinghy, she shuffled and took a step towards the beach but then turned around to help drag the dinghy to shore when she got hit by a sting ray that had been under the dinghy.  A painful day to be sure, but she made it through like a champ.  We soaked her foot in hot hot water for about an hour and then she rested and by the next day she was walking on it again.

From there we headed to the south end of Angel de la Guarda and had a most amazing experience with dolphins while anchoring.  After we had the anchor down the dolphins hung around and we got the dinghy down and played with them.  See video clip below:

Dolphins in Estanque

Next up was Isla Tiburon.  We tried to sail as much as we could and were going along fine until the tides changed and we caught 3 knots of current on the nose.  Boat speed was 5.5 knots but speed over ground was only in the 2s.  Bahia de Perros was nice and we enjoyed the hiking.

Our next landing was on the mainland, Bahia San Pedro.  A scenic bay, but be aware, there's a lot 'stuff' under the water, trash, cables, old refrigerators or something and we had to help a single handled sailor get his anchor unstuck.

Algodones was a fantastic place and our first reintroduction to regular society, cell phone reception, bars and restaurants.  San Carlos was just around the corner and we thoroughly enjoyed our time there.  We took a bus into Guaymas, the town was fine but the Fonatur marina was crap, very exposed, rundown, and couldn't guarantee depths through the bay to approach.  So back to San Carlos it was for us, where we took a tour of the storage yard and enjoyed a few more days at anchor.  We would go back to San Carlos if the opportunity arose in the future, one of the upsides was the proximity to the USA border, just a half day drive.

Next up in the following blog post, we would cross back to Baja to meet friends from Cabo for a week long sail along the central Baja coast.....

El Refugio

Angel de la Guarda

Cactus island at El Refugio
Penny giving Lance some love

Lance finally got his pot pie, and it was DELICIOUS!

Lance and Pam playing in the dinghy at Estanque

Dolphins from the dinghy at Estanque

Penny flying around the beach
Bahia de los Perros

Penny and Chris finding some shade at the top
Bahia San Pedro

San Pedro hike

San Pedro hiking
Algodones anchorage

View from Marina Real near Algodones

San Carlos anchorage

Nacapule hike, amazing place


Nacapule ladder

Nacapule greenery

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Santa Rosalia to Bahia Los Angeles

The leg to reach Bahia LA was going to involve some longer trips, the first of which to San Francisquito was almost 80 miles, our longest leg on this trip to the Sea of Cortez.  As we went north over the course of the two weeks from SR to Bahia LA we encountered much colder water (mid 60s) and no wind to wind on the nose out of the north and one afternoon of extremely heavy fog.  We did find beautiful anchorages and had two buddy boats with us, and Shamaya.  I'll let the pictures below tell the stories:

Bahia San Francisquito

Bahia Animas East

Bahia Animas East little bay
Monica in a whale bone
Group photo

Movie night on SeaGlub

Puerto Don Juan
Four pretty girls
3 drinking boys in Bahia LA

Lunch in Bahia LA

La Ventana anchorage

The time of year (or, more appropriately, the time of the month) that we made La Ventana was during a new moon, which meant large tidal swings.  In the picture above, the boats look tight but with plenty of water around.  By 4am things changed dramatically.  On SeaGlub we woke up to a loud grinding noise at 4am, turns out we had our keel swing across the bottom of rocks so we got up and pulled in some anchor chain to get us into deeper water.  As we were doing this we noticed Shamaya was very close to a rock wall, and they had already moved (at 3am).  By sunrise we wanted out of there and aimed to leave, Shamaya left before us, turned north out of the anchorage, and lodged the boat up on a submerged rock with the tide continuing to fall.  Two dinghies and 30 minutes later, Shamaya was clear and moving on with only a 3 foot long scratch on the very bottom of the keel.

Ventana was also where we lost Volare for a month, they had an unplanned visit from friends, but they were going to arrive several hundred miles to the south in La Paz, so Volare and to turn around and get to where they had started.  We would see them again in about a month, but SeaGlub and Shamaya had some further exploring to do....

Shamaya hard up on a rock