Back in Baja

We spent a fantastic week in Bahia Concepcion. It was great to be back out at anchor, where our daily schedule was something like: eat, read, drink a beer, sleep, repeat. For a little variety, we occasionally took a swim, or drank a margarita.

We also met Geary at his palapa in Playa El Burro. Geary gives a weather report every morning on the Sonrisa HAM net, and has the perfect radio voice. He’s also a really nice guy, and we had a couple of pleasant evenings chatting out on his porch.

Our birthdays were made special by morning soaks in the natural hot springs. The tide was a bit too low for the makeshift tubs that others had built, so we built our own little tub that mixed the scalding spring water with sea water to achieve an agreeable temperature.

Another great birthday treat: a full moon! What a pleasure to put on some music, mix a margarita, and sit out on deck to watch the sun set, then turn around and watch the moon rise.

In Mexico, the week before Easter is called “Semana Santa”; in English this can be roughly translated as “Mexican camping week”. The beaches of Baja, particularly those easily accessible from the main highway, are swamped with tents and families on holiday. These are serious campers, too, not the ThermaRest crowd. We saw one pickup piled 4 feet high with futon-like mattresses. These families also bring a wide variety of water craft, from little power boats, to paddle boats, and inflatable toys of every size and color. Once, Todd had to hop in the dinghy to retrieve a giant orange spider that was being blown out to sea.

One morning, Todd was gripped by the unfolding drama of a truck caught in the sand after launching a small boat. Capn Bob Costas watched with the binoculars and gave a running commentary. “The driver is gunning it again…No! It’s not working! What we have here is a rear wheel drive vehicle, and it just can’t get any purchase. Another go… a lot of bubbles from the exhaust, which as I’ve said is below the water line…No! It’s not moving. The tide is rising here, they’re running out of time… Wait! They’ve brought in an SUV! A big SUV to pull the little truck out! They’re hitching a tow rope, the crowd is making room, and… YES! They’ve done it! GOOOOOOOOOOL, Mexico!”

On leaving Concepcion, we’d hoped to make it to San Juanico, but the wind was light, so we anchored in Bahia San Nicolas, north of Punta Pulpito. Luckily this gave us decent protection from a southerly blow the next day, so we stayed put. Just a day later, the wind and seas had reversed, so we had good sailing to Isla Coronados, and then to Agua Verde.

In our first year of cruising, Todd meticulously entered waypoints and tracks (series of waypoints) in our GPS, to make sure we navigated safely. Last year he got a bit more relaxed about it, and this year Capn Lackadaisical has slacked off even more. So, for instance, as we were leaving Concepcion, he told me he’d entered a waypoint to take us clear of a sandy shoal. I had us right on course, and watched in horror as the depth sounder rapidly counted down from 20 ft, to 14ft, to 8ft! I swerved to deeper water, asking, “Where did you get this waypoint?” “Oh,” he said, “I made it up.” Hmmm.

Then, as we reached the mouth of the bay, it looked as if our course had us going right through Punta Aguja. Confused, I said, “I think this waypoint is wrong.” “Oh, don’t look at that,” advised Todd with a chuckle, “That takes us to the anchorage at Santo Domingo.” Huh. Glad I asked!

As we left Agua Verde, he tried to reassure me about the course. “I’ve got us on the track that will get us all the way there,” he boasted, “and what’s so great is that this year, I haven’t had to enter a single new track in the GPS!” Then, after we’d navigated clear of the reefs outside Agua Verde, the little compass on the GPS just started spinning around. “What’s up with the GPS?” I asked. “Oh,” he replied, “it just doesn’t have any more waypoints.” “But I thought you said this track will get us ‘all the way there’?” I asked.

“Oh, yeah,” he waved me off, “I meant, it will get us around the reef. I don’t know where we’re going next.” Interesting. So now I know, these ‘courses’ are more like, you know, suggestions, that may or may not lead anywhere, and possibly go over land. Ok, I get that. What I don’t understand is why he is always asking me how many degrees off course we are. I mean, if the waypoints are either (a) made-up, (b) on land, or (c) non-existent, does it really matter how far off course we are?

We had a great swim and a wonderfully calm night at anchor in Gato y Toro. Unfortunately the calm conditions continued through the next day; after going about 9 nautical miles in about 4 1/2 hours, we had to motor the dozen or so remaining miles to Cazaderos on Isla San Jose, in order to arrive before dark. What a great sunset we got there!

The following day, the North wind filled in as promised, and we had a great sail down to Caleta Partida. It felt great to be back in our old stomping grounds.

The sail into La Paz went pretty well too. About 5 miles from the channel entrance, the wind really picked up, and we had all sails flying. We were doing about 7.5knots, which is super fast for us. Capn Larry Ellison noticed another sailboat up ahead. “You see that ketch? I’m gonna eat them up like a snack cake!” He set about trimming the sails, trying to run down his quarry.

As we drew nearer, he pulled out the binoculars to take a closer look at his prey. “No way, I think that’s Isis!” he exclaimed, handing me the glasses. Sure enough, it was our old friends, who were also headed in to La Paz, after a long stint on the mainland.

So we’ve had some fun times here in La Paz, catching up with old friends, and meeting new ones. And, we’re just about bursting with excitement because TOMORROW, Sequoia is coming with our friends Anna and Naresh! We’ve got the boat all cleaned up and just can’t wait for them to get here! See all of our Baja pics here:

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4 Responses to “Back in Baja”

  1. MArcus says:

    I love the shots of Eves steering. He did such a great job for us.
    “What I don’t understand is why he is always asking me how many degrees off course we are. I mean, if the waypoints are either (a) made-up, (b) on land, or (c) non-existent, does it really matter how far off course we are?”
    Well as the former skipper I can reassure you that Todd always knew how far off course to be in order miss that sandy shoal, or that island. As far as the non-existent ones they are going to be input in the future. Any good captain knows, it is important not to dwell on the past.
    Love hearing about all the fun you guys are having. Your smiles are infectious. 🙂

  2. Buster says:

    I don’t think I’ve every seen a shot of your boat under full sail. Could one of you jump–or get pushed–off with the camera while the other sails away?

  3. Bumper says:

    I notice less “bite” in this year’s blogging. Less snap in the scorpion’s tale towards Captain Toro. Is it true that marriage takes the piss out of a woman? Toro, did you pacify her with the ring? Where’s the edge? Where’s the venom? Is it a nautical miles under the sail kinda function? Too many months at sea starting to soften you? Is it like Bono’s success taking away his angst? When’s Hawaii!?! I think I might fly out to meet you. Should we schedule something so I can bring Koiya?

  4. Sequoia says:

    Hot springs!

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