How’s my Spanish? Just thought that since we are now traveling through Mexico we should put a lot more effort into actually speaking the language. It seems that the cassette tape language lessons that we have been listening to must be at least slightly beneficial, we are still relying on pantomiming our conversations, which it takes all four of us to have with one poor unsuspecting Mexican person who may have inadvertently stopped and greeted us with “Hola, Como Esta?” We seem pretty able to communicate but it may be more due to their willingness to understand English than our abilities to speak Spanish, but I am thankful for those High School Spanish Classes oh so long ago.
We sailed to Bahia Tortuga or Turtle Bay from Ensenada by way of three anchorages for very short but much needed rest stops.The first stop we made was at Isla San Martin in the late morning for an 8 hour rest. We pulled in and were greeted by a man in a ponga who offered Darius a lobster in trade for a Cerveza and some Cake. We Don’t tend to have Cerveza on board as Neither of us are beer fans but clearly we should have reconsidered our choices at the last tienda. Darius promised the man two wine coolers and three Cervezas and some cake for 5 lobster. The man agreed and went to check his traps with the two wine coolers already in his boat and you won’t believe it but we never saw Raphael again…guess his catch wasn’t what he expected or he didn’t want the cake as much as he said he did. So, sans lobster, we headed off toward our next layover spot, Punta Baja.
We arrived at Punta Baja at 12:30am, in dense fog, with a 5 knot current going against us. We were approaching land at no great pace and it took all of the power our engine had and more guts than we knew that our crew (me) had but Captain persistant pants got us close enough to shore to get past the long 40 foot deep bay and into a more reasonable 18 feet of water that allowed us to set our anchor with 7:1 scope, so 150 feet of heavy to retrieve in the morning chain. The hostile anchorage and sea state made for a rough rest and so we headed right out from that anchorage at 7 o’clock the next morning for a 125 mile passage across a huge bay to get to Isla Cerdos.
Shortly after sunrise the next morning we rounded the northern tip of Isla Cedros but had to travel down the east side of this long Island for about twenty miles to get to the anchorage. As we passed the first fishing village we were circled by a ponga with 5 men in it who had been out fishing and had a beautiful huge fish laying across one of the benches in the boat. As they approached us, we congratulated them on their catch but they told us it was just a small one. Then, in perfect English, the man in the bow asked if we had 5 cigarettes because they hadn’t had cigarettes on the island in many months. Captain generous pants tossed a pack of cigarettes to the men and they were so thankful that they kept telling them that we saved their lives…I’m not sure that they weren’t headed across that 125 mile bay to find cigarettes in their small ponga on their own when we came along.
I guess word travels fast and Mexican ponga fishermen are very friendly because we were circled and waved at by that and several other pongas all afternoon until we arrived at the anchorage and set our hooks and took a much needed nap in the peaceful lee of the island. We slept and then headed out on our last leg of that passage arriving at Turtle Bay around 10 the next morning.
We pulled up to the town of Bahia Tortuga passed up several anchored cruising boats, fishing boats, and pongas to get as close to shore and the protected 12 foot anchorage as was possible and set our anchor just ahead of a tropical storm which settled in that evening and blew at 40+ miles per hour all night while Captain “Is That all You’ve Got” pants sat a storm watch in the cockpit overnight while our anchor held firm and others around us slipped back on theirs. It seems that Darius may not have been the only one watching over us that night.
We spent three weeks in Turtle Bay and got to experience all sorts of mexican culture from Carnival,to a circus, street tacos, buying boat parts from an auto parts store, and shopping for “crazy glue” in a town that sleeps in the afternoon and comes to life at dark. We took a dinghy trip to the beach and had a GoSun cookout with the other boaters in the bay, mastered doing laundry in a bucket and hung it to dry all around the boat because we looked just like everyone else in the neighborhood and counted our blessings including having a water maker on board when the whole town ran out of water for “maybe 3 weeks or a month”.
Finally the winds changed from 40+ to 0 and then to a more reasonable 15 and we decided it was time to once again head south and we set off for Bahia Magdalena or Mag Bay with 3 other boats. We all have different styles of boats with different sail configurations and we travel at different speeds but the wind was up and the waters were calm and it was time to head south. We were the third boat into the anchorage that we landed at in Mag Bay a full 8 hours behind the other two boats who settled into a different anchorage than we planned due to radio problems, engine problems, navigation issues, and trouble powering through stronger than expected currents. The anchorage was very rough, wind and currents were pushing us hard offshore for two days and then the wind and seas settled and we were ready to start our last leg to Cabo San Lucas.
We pulled around the cape and headed into the harbor at Cabo San Lucas and we felt like we had finally made it. We looked forward to real showers, doing laundry in machines, and Sarah could smell french fries for miles. The beaches were sandy, the water was warm, Jake saw huge fish jumping, and we were ready for some MaiTais on the beach. We pulled into the inner harbor and went into a marina for a few days to get our chores done, enjoy the city, get some delicious food and restock our groceries. We let captain sleepy pants and crew get some much needed rest and recovery from a lot of hard work that it took to get this far. After 4 days we went out to the anchorage in the outer harbor but that was rough so after two more nights, we headed off to round the east cape and head into the Sea of Cortez.
Our first stop on the Leg to LaPaz was in Las Frailes, where we were able to dinghy out around the point and snorkel on a reef for a day and camp on the beach with a campfire for two days and really relax and enjoy our surroundings in a peaceful anchorage. Darius and I got to take some walks on the beach holding hands and to really enjoy having each other to share this amazing journey with. Sometimes God presents you with opportunities to really take a look at what you’ve got and really be thankful for your life and for the beauty around you and for each other, and this few days was that for us.
After feeling refreshed and renewed, we set off for the next leg with the intention to stop at nearly every anchorage we passed and enjoy a night or two and then head into LaPaz to resupply. After an overnight trip we were headed toward our first anchorage when Captain D saw a window to make it one anchorage further up because we would have to travel up a narrow channel with a strong current and if we continued on we would approach it early in the morning on an incoming tide with light winds in relatively calm seas… all signs said Go For It! So we did. It was still a very difficult leg as the wind picked up on our nose and the current against the boat’s top speed had us going at about 0.4 knots (a long trip at that speed) but the next morning we pulled into Puerto Balandra, which was the prettiest anchorage I have been in.
So, April is a pretty awesome month in our family because Darius and I both have birthdays and our anniversary is in April too. I picked Balandra to anchor in for my birthday and we celebrated by baking a cake and lasagna in the GoSun and playing at the beach which extended way out into the middle of the bay at two to three feet of depth. A really huge sitting pool with palapas for shade that we found out were available to rent. From Balandra we ventured out on dinghy excursions to Playa Tecolote where we ran into stinging jellyfish that were so small we could barely see them in the water and scorching hot sun with only our picnic blanket and oars to make shade for ourselve, but an adventure it was.
Our next stop was in Caleta Lobos where we spent a couple of nights and found some amazing snorkeling on a small coral reef just inside an island that sits in the middle of the opening of the bay. Jake was a bit stressed that the miniature barnacles that were on the rocks we left the dinghy tied to were going to rub a hole in it and Sarah freaked out over the jumping sand crabs. Darius and I sucked it up and got them over their issues, literally, and we all enjoyed snorkeling over many beautifully colored fish and coral and we even saw some sea urchins and all kinds of colorful wormlike creatures.
Next, we traveled a few more miles to Bahia Falsa and found a Palapa that sold cold water, margaritas and really good hamburgers, so we splurged, for four days in a row. Needless to say, it’s been a while since we had eaten burgers or those french fries that Sarah smelled a month ago heading into Cabo, but that she never found. We met an interesting fellow named Jose who is a waiter at the palapa restaurant who was raised in the US and we spent some time talking with him over a campfire on the beach in a pre-birthday celebration for Darius (Captain Birthday Pants likes beach fires almost
as much as sunsets). We had lots of fun and even dinghied across the bay to explore an abandoned palapa restaurant building
that we were admiring from the beach for it’s interesting look. Then Darius’ actual birthday arrived so we baked brownies
in the GoSun and headed to LaPaz to hunt down some celebration ice cream.
We pulled into Marina de LaPaz on good Friday as the city is closed up and the beaches are filling up with locals heading to the beaches for Easter. We headed into town to find any source of ice cream which we learned there are actually two mexican words for,(Helado or Nieve) and after a short walk up the malecon we were successful! We spent the next few days getting groceries on board, getting our alternators (yes we broke three alternators) repaired, doing laundry, exploring some of the local breakfast restaurants (Darius always loves breakfast), and celebrating our anniversary (matrimonio). We have met some great new people along our travels and are set to spend a bit of time here to explore more mexican culture and share love life and adventure along the way. Hasta Amigos.