26 October 2017
Ahhh Cedros! You will always be a little piece of heaven for me. The quiet peacefulness, your rugged terrain, and all the sea life, including the new life you showed in the rookeries. During my stay here, I often wondered what it must be like for this island’s inhabitants. What would your life be like, what do you think about during the day, do you ever think of leaving this island with it’s harsh heat and dryness? Do you know what you are missing in the world but the truth is, are you really missing anything? Maybe your life is more peaceful without the things that we now feel stressed without.
As a parting gift, the fishing lure that was mocked numerous times for it’s robust size and dazzling eye-candy like colors, and your sea gifted us with three fish to fill our freezer. You enabled me to experience making my first ceviche which I anxiously awaited doing. You vindicated my choice of lures. And it was good.
We are off to Bahia Tortugas. This is in the guidebooks as the last real place to get fuel or groceries until Cabo San Lucas. It is also a stop over for the Baja-Ha-Ha. Until the Baja-Ha-Ha, it is rumored that this sleepy fishing village is quiet and uneventful. Little entertainment is to be found. We have the “A” sail up for a bit as the waves and the wind are off our starboard stern. Captain John says things just get better. After Cedros Island, I am not sure how. Nearing the entry point to Bahia Tortuga, what do we have here? It’s late afternoon and we have…fog. Now this is interesting. Fog is not, I repeat, NOT my favorite. It is still daylight, and it is, oddly enough, warm out. This may be doable. I am not completely miserable as I was in the fog coming down the coast. With the radar on, we make our entrance and the fog begins to lift. One other Ketch sits far out in the bay. We start to the west side of the dock for possible anchorage but decide on the east side of the dock as it seems like it would be less busy. A few pangas and a large fishing boat bob merrily on their moorings. All are adorned with fifteen pelicans or more. The pelicans stand guard, lined up and almost shoulder to shoulder like soldiers all in a row. Seagulls dot the sky and the water, relegated away from the boats and pelicans it seems. The only dock, which extends out into the bay stands higher than one would imagine ever needed in this bay. Fuel can be received a this dock in a med (mediterranean) mooring style delivery. It looks, well, a bit sketchy but who am I to say. They have been doing this for years. As we are setting the boat up for a short stay, the dingy from the other lone sailboat swings by. It is one of the Canadian boats from Ensenada! Kirsten and Jerron (liberty taken with spelling of their names) came in this morning. With a few beers in hand, they pulled up along side Bella and engaged us with various stories that had us wrapped up in laughter. They had been here since the morning and had also noted the fog’s attempts to envelope the bay. The town is as sleepy and quiet as anticipated based upon their trip to town. Little boys waving you down, yelling and telling you where to bring your dingy in for them to land you and then for a 1USD (preferably for each kid), will stand guard over your dingy. All good things to know for the morning. It’s movie night on Bella. Popcorn and Captain Ron, always a favorite.
“Deb! Deb! Come out here, you have to see this! Come out here!” Somewhere in the what appeared to be the fisherman’s version of Alfred Hitchcock’s timeless classic “The Birds”. The fisherman gathering sardines for bait to use with lobster season has all the pelicans and seals for miles around going crazy around his boat. The buzzing in the air, the squawking and splashing is loud and fills the air.
We dingied to the dock where a couple of young lads, no more than eight or nine years old, begin to beckon us over towards the dock, then point to the beach with infamous two fingers pointing to their eyes and our then to our dingy. Of course the mom in me wanted to ask why they weren’t in school. They ran to the beach and as we approached, did not come out completely as described by others. It was a hard landing as the wave threw our dingy onto the beach. Lesson learned. They took the painter line and said they would watch it for a dollar and held out their hand. An older guy came up behind then and asked what we needed. Fuel? Food? Somehow, Pedro became our self proclaimed personal guide. Maria’s is the eatery right on the beach. It is also where Enrique could be found. Enrique is The Godfather of fuel to the boaters. $6.99/gallon. Diesel. What? Yes, indeed. However, when you are the only game in town and this is the only real fuel stop then you can smile and wait. They (the customer) will always be back. As the customer, you suck it up and smile as you hand over your wallet. We requested forty gallons. It will be delivered tomorrow morning at 10 am. Pedro waits quietly on the beach, ready to resume his role as our purser. Groceries? Onward we went. He is a big guy, a quiet fellow who is bereft of of his right arm, some sort of amputation? It seems he has a fairly defined occupation and he takes it seriously. His English isn’t what the young kids are but he is able to understand our needs. In my best attempt to make light conversation, I inadvertently switched the Spanish word for “Hot” with “Spicy” when discussing the air temperature. This was after I used the word in Spanish for “Be Quiet”. Grocery store- check. About $30USD. Fresh fruit, vegetables, Lucky Charms, and other necessary items were purchased for the remainder of the trip to Cabo. John had Pedro find us another liquor store, hoping it might be cheaper. Again, everything is brought in to this place. We returned back to boat with our foods to unpack and store. We broke the first cardinal rule of not bringing stuff onto the boat that had not been washed. Ugh. John doesn’t seem to think will be an issue and it frustrates me as I know how he will react (think elephant gun to shoot a pigeon response) if it were to happen. The fear is cockroaches. They are prolific in these areas and are boaters nemesis. They lay their eggs in cardboard and the glue of paper labels on products as well as can hide in leafy parts of fruits/vegetbles. I immediately prepared the sink with a Clorox/water bath and everything goes in it. The cardboard didn’t make it off the combing and was quickly stashed in wet Clorox soaked plastic bags. Which are prolific here as well. Every time we try to pack our groceries into our “re-useable” backpacks, we receive the oddest looks .
When the boat chore was done, and yes, it is a boat chore, we returned to beach, beached ourselves and this made the kids unhappy. We did better without their help, sadly. We weren’t going to need their skills in watching our dingy either. We were going to eat only fifty yards away. This meant no earned money. Pedro was there, standing tall as a statue. Really? We had been gone at least an hour! We politely declined his services at this time too, since our eating establishment was fifty yards from the dingy. We enjoyed a late lunch at Maria’s, with steak tacos and some sort of “Fish pillow” special. I didn’t ask, it was healthy and palatable.
Persian, the restaurant cat, was by far one of the most beautiful cats I have seen. A pale salmon tangerine coloring with pattern similar to a seal point siamese, with eyes bluer than the sea. He has a thing for straps and found my drybag/pack straps ideal and the warmth of the dry rubbery material to be a wonderful and warm place to nest in spite of the waiter – Victor- insisting that he get off the chair and backpack. I didn’t mind. Here we finally had wi-fi which I feverishly put together the previous blog. Blogging is a bit harder than I anticipated. I have several things on my “I am going to do when I have so much time on my hands” but it rarely seems that I have that time! I worked on as much as I could as we were meeting Kirsten and Jerron.
We changed to a different place as we thought it was a bar and everyone wanted a different view of the bay, we had been sitting in the same chairs at Maria’s for quite some time now. It is, but not open or ready yet, but will be for Baja-Ha-Ha. Hmmmm….. well okay then. We decided to walk through town and perhaps find another restaurant or even a bar. This dusty and dry town. Where it’s sole survival is based upon the fishing markets of Japan and China. Color can be found in the flowered bushes that seemingly grow vibrantly with little or no water. Amidst the dust covered vehicles- a car wash is a non existent concept where water is so precious – color can be found on the buildings, the homes, and other places. The sidewalks or the idea of sidewalks is less of a need as the streets suffice for both vehicles and pedestrians. This is where we learned how quiet the town can be until the Baja-ha-ha’ers get there. After a great attempt that just did not turn out, we returned to our boats. Tomorrow would be fueling and then off again as we make our way down the Baja.
28 October 2017
John brought me over to Maria’s to upload blog and photos around 9am and returned to the boat for fueling. The panga would bring it out to him. He took on 40 gallons of fuel but would then need to come back to Maria’s, not just to pick me up but to pay for the fuel. The panga fills up with the amount requested by the sailor. That is what they bring you. No more, no less. He would have to wait until Enrique would be available in order to pay. We all know how he feels about waiting. Welcome to Mexico. It gives him time to sit back, kick back and have another cervaza. So…. the 10am refueling has now been delayed halfway through the process. It would be around 1400 when we would leave instead of the plan of leaving by noon. Once completed and we were on our way back out to Bella, we saw Kirsten and Jerron heading into to town. They are going to wait until there was more wind in order to conserve fuel. There is no real wind in forecast. Once again, the models make predictions. Outside the bay, wind picked up and we used the A (asymmetrical) sail again for several hours before going wing and wing. We had a GREAT sail and winds.
30 October 2017
We sailed well into the darkness before the winds collapsed. It was a good ride as long as it lasted. Another night motor. We arrived at Punta Abreojos around 0900. We set anchor to the east of Bahia Abreojos town. Many pangas could be seen on the beach as well as floating markers indicating many lobster traps. Another great reason to enter in daylight is the maneuvering course lobster pots provide. You certainly do not want the line to foul your prop or cause loss of their pots potentially holding lobsters. These pots may only be marked by a floating empty coke bottle. Or a line with a few bottles signifying potential multiple pots. It is on the edge of a regulated San Ignacio whale preserve lagoon. Although whales are common out here, we did not see any. During December through May is courting, mating, birthing, and nursing of the grey whales migration. Laguna San Ignacio whale park is only a small part of the Vizcaino Biosphere Preserve, and the Bahia Ballena (Bay of Whales) is a UNESCO World Heritage site. One must be careful to not take their private boat in there as it is protected, requires hiring a licensed park guide and limited time in the park. We left Punta Abreojos around noonish again, just long enough to get a good nap in for John and I. I find the name amusing. Abreojos means “Open Eyes”. It seems our only reason for being here, was to close ours! Of course, they mean “Open Eyes” as there are many below water navigational hazards. Again, another good reason to not enter a new anchorage in the dark. We took this opportunity for a cat nap as we will have another overnight as we proceed to Magdalena Bay. The winds were good during the day again but by nightfall, they dropped less than 7-9kn and we were a motor boat once more. Through the night, it was warm and didn’t seem to be as wet on deck as previously, even though there seem to be more cloud cover. The night was pretty uneventful. I have a new shift, from 2200 to 0200. It seems to be okay. It was around 1500 when we set anchor in Man Of War Cove. John and I are joking, okay, it’s really me making the jokes and a dry facial response from him as I remind him that our travel has been just like the movie “Captain Ron”. We are always going to “Ted’s”.
We had a late lunch, John thought Kraft Macaroni and Cheese would be good. I will never turn that down! As we have some eggs that will need to be eaten soon, that can be our protein even if it is a bright yellow and no other color meal. Hey- I never said I was a great, not even good, creative cook before I started this adventure. I started lunch or the macaroni & cheese just before the tuna was caught. Over the next hour, I spent my time in the galley trying to eat in between rinsing Tuna and packaging for freezing. Again, sailing for part of trip, wind off of the stern quarter. The famed purple/black lure has taken a beating. Perhaps poor knockoff quality as imported? Maybe hard hits from fish? It’s still hanging in there. Spanish Mackeral caught, but thrown back in. Next hit was a 40# yellowfin Tuna. What?!?! This is getting crazy! 18 frozen packages or 18 meals. I think we have enough tuna. We haven’t finished the first yet. Stop fishing! Bring that lure back in! ¡No más!
31 October 2017
Man of War Cove and then to Belcher’s Cove. In Man of War Cove, we took the dingy down to see what was in this town. Sadly disappointed, our view from afar was confirmed as we neared it with the dingy. We did see one or two human forms but other than those, the town could have been a ghost town. There is an Aduana (customs office) but there were also no vehicles moving either. The FUBAR which is the power yacht version of the Baja-Ha-Ha reportedly stops here. The restaurant Miramar looks ghostlike. It was about 1400 when we decided to pick up anchor and move an hour south along the coast. It would make our trip an hour shorter to Cabo tomorrow, but it also meant different scenery. In retrospect, this would have been a more idyllic spot for the entire time spent in that stop. We had our own private and secluded Mexican beach!
Belcher’s Cove. John has proudly noted he has lost twenty pounds since beginning this trip. Since our lunches are now frequently grilled or fried tuna and rice, I am sure he will. At 2pm we left for Belcher’s Cove, a few darker colored dolphin started to follow us out but chose not to take chase with our bow. It was less than an hour motor to this cove. The wind picked up a bit, when we anchored in 10 feet of water and a beautiful serene Mexican beach filled with solitude. We towed the dingy so it was ready for us to take to the beach. Such a nice shelling beach. Recent high water or storm surge had stranded some crabs whose shells have now been bleached in their entirety. Beautiful, clean and clear sand and water. On a small bluff overlooking the beach is a small box memorial with a glass front, a cross and a Mexican prayer candle inside, and obvious offerings of more candles outside, some lying aside, shells lined up between it and the simple wooden cross approximately two feet in front of it. Further down the beach, more whole bleached skeletons of crabs and an occasional snake spines are strewn quite high above the water’s edge. We walked the beach as we did some shelling. The course brown sand and the moderately warm water was refreshing. The water occasionally throws itself higher up the beach and twice it came up to steal our dingy. Thanks to John’s spry old legs he was able to safely reach the dingy before it took off on its own adventure. While I could have walked and looked forever, there wasn’t much to keep John interested. He began digging a hole in the sand for his feet and burying them. I brought back my loot consisting of shells, more shells and a few crab mummies, even a live hermit crab, but none could compare to a fine specimen he had already found. We dingied back to the boat when I asked if I could be taken back to shore for a few photos as we would be taking off in the morning. All was well until I saw what appeared to be a recently shed snake skin. I was pretty much done. I don’t like snakes. Once we arrived back to Bella and started the process of unloading the outboard and raising the dingy, we were surrounded by another pod of feeding dolphins surrounding our boat as they moved through the cove. No photos as once the Captain gets in a process, there is no stopping. Not even for dolphins which was annoying to me. So you will have to sit back now, close your eyes and feel slight movement of the water rocking the boat ever so slightly while you hear the forceful exhale of the blowhole so close you could touch it. Now, add some gentle splashes and imagine all those sounds happening in front of you, behind you, and even to your side. As you open your eyes (abreojos!), you see dark grey arched bodies going up and down, again in front of you, behind you, and on either side of you. This is peaceful and serene. I wish I had some video to share.
The perfect spot again. My lovely dolphins. The perfect beach, water, shells. What could possibly make this not perfect? It is movie night again, and I am thrilled. Popcorn and a Bond-athon! Yes, I have James Bond on the boat. Daniel Craig, the Bond I declared not to love but now find completely irresistible as Bond and was mortified when he was not going to be future Bonds. The same Bond that when I found out he would return, celebrated with my friends by having MacCallan Scotch and Vesper Martinis. This just could not get better! Way off in the distance, slight motor sounds could be heard. Sport fishing boats settled in for the night and early morning fishing. So far away, they were barely visible on the horizon. Only the stillness of the night carried the sound for us to hear. But wait, there is another sound. Sorry for this, but what the hell? A panga of two fishermen. They have literally anchored fifteen (yes, you read that correctly) fifteen fracking feet from us! All of this beautiful shallow water, miles of of water, miles of beach. The anchor FIFTEEN FEET from us! Now they have our attention. They don’t speak to us but settle in for the night. FOR THE NIGHT! With their little red anchor light on. FIFTEEN FEET from us! John was not happy. I wasn’t either but wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt that they would only be doing some night fishing, or that we were a wind break for them. I tried to think of any plausible reason that they would anchor their boat so close to us. Surely, they knew that we would not be pleased? We have these wonderful stainless security bars that John had manufactured for the hatches and one for the companionway as well. All are locked. It allows air to move freely throughout the boat without having to worry about unwanted bipeds also moving freely. We placed those and finished watching Bond when we would decide if we would up anchor and move across the bay. Ultimately, we decided to make our stand. Throughout the night, Captain John took note several times if they were still within snoring range. They were. Only the winds have shifted. We are no longer bow to the south east but now turned 180 degrees to north west. So are the fishermen. Which means our anchor lines are now crossed and there is an opportunity for entanglement. Again, did they really have to anchor so close? In the wee hours of the morning, before I was up, the fishermen and taken off. John heard some noise from the motor and that was simply the end of that. We will never know why. We now readied the boat and will take off ourselves. Belcher’s Cove was indeed beautiful and I could spend more time there, but it is not Cedros Island. It still holds top spot in my memory. This will be the final transit, through the night again, to make Cabo San Lucas.