Travelogue – Santa Rosalia to Caleta San Juanico

Travelogue – Santa Rosalia to Caleta San Juanico

I just had a peek, and the last time I wrote a blog post was 30 days ago. I can definitely use the excuse that we’ve spent the better part of that away from cell service and offline, or in range of inadequate cell service; however, that wouldn’t be entirely accurate, and certainly wouldn’t have prevented me from writing (just from posting). More accurately, I’ve just been settling into a different lifestyle and enjoying creating a new rhythm to life away from the computer screen. If I’m being honest, I’ve also read eight books in just over a month which, as Stu says, ‘is probably seven more than you read all of last year, not counting work stuff.’ In fact, the title of this blog post I took from the book I just finished reading: The Mapmaker’s Wife: A True Tale of Love, Murder and Survival in The Amazon by Robert Whitaker, as that was how they described the travel tales of one of the expeditioners. It is such a delight to be able to read what I want (albeit with constant interruption – don’t forget I have a two year old and three year old still), and Stu and I have an evening routine after the girls go to bed that involves an episode of the The West Wing, which we started from scratch. Add to that the fact that simple tasks such as cooking, cleaning, washing dishes and laundry take longer than they do at home, and somehow, along the way, 26 days have passed in a blur!

But, I know there are at least two or three of our huge following (lol) who might enjoy an update, and a bit of a description of what life at anchor has looked like, so I’ll try to paint a bit of a picture.

We last left off in Santa Rosalia, where we spent a lovely couple of days on the dock there at another Fonatur marina. We had the fortune of being docked right next to SV Totem, the folks we’d been working with since late last year, as they offer coaching services to cruisers on all sorts of topics from weather routing and boat maintenance to buying a boat remotely. It was such a treat to get to spend time with them in person, and to share a couple tasty meals together in the comfort of our cockpit. One of the various reasons we were drawn to the idea of a catamaran was because of the size of the cockpit, which allows us to spend most of our time outside, but under shade or wind cover…and in today’s COVID-conscious age, it also allows us to comfortably distance while also being social.

I described Santa Rosalia in a little detail in an earlier Instagram post, but was a special little place to visit, with its clapboard timber sided buildings and French colonial feel. It also had the best ice cream we’ve found to date at Splash. We managed to try the strawberry (twice, Ellie’s favourite is ‘pink’ ice cream), pineapple, caramel, and chocolate chip mint. While in Santa Rosalia, we waited out another Norther (the strong wind systems that come from the North this time of year), did some more provisioning (grocery shopping), wandered the town, Stu did some work on the starboard engine’s alternator, we had Jamie from Totem inspect our sails and rigging, and rested up after the two days of passaging from Puerto Penasco. We also had a lovely hike up one side of the hillside that encompasses the old part of town to the cemetery and cenataph at the top. A pathway winds its way in between homes to the top of the hill, and on the other side there is a pilgrimage-esque pathway heading down, lined by white painted rocks. The view from the top was lovely, and Stu was able to get some good drone footage.

One of the relics from the old mining company
Other parts of the old mining operations

From Santa Rosalia, we headed south 27 miles to a place called Punta Chivato, which had the most amazing beachcombing. The beach was made entirely of shells that washed up on the shore. Metres of them, and of all shapes and sizes. We spent hours wandering with the girls, showing each other our newfound treasures, and picking up one shell after another. We also wandered through an abandoned resort on the point, which we understand was owned by an Italian businessman who had used it for some monetary cleansing activities. It had gorgeous stonework and woodwork throughout, and was quite sad to see sitting there left to ruin. We waited out our first solid Norther ‘on the hook’ (at anchor) at Chivato, and when that passed, tried to use the trailing winds to sail 23 nautical miles further south into Bahia Concepcion.

Our journey to Playa Santispac in Concepcion started out exciting with both sails up and running downwind at about 8.5 knots in 14 knots of wind. For those who’ve sailed monohulls, you’ll know how exciting it felt to have this kind of efficiency in that strength of wind. Sadly, that lasted about 45 minutes before the wind died and we once again found ourselves motoring so we’d get into the anchorage before dark. We arrived at Playa Santispac, a lovely beach popular with RVers with enough time to hit the beach for a while before the sun set. The following days were very calm, so we enjoyed paddling around the bay on the paddle boards, looking for fish and stingrays. Santispac is very shallow, reaching quite a way out before the seafloor finally drops to the 20 foot depth we were anchored in. What that means in this part of the world is an abundance of bullseye and round stingrays, which are about the size of a dinner plate. Fascinating to watch, but don’t be fooled by their small size as we know from a first hand account from Totem that they pack a whallop of a sting. The good news is that they appeared easily startled by the paddle boards, and when walking in the shallows, shuffling one’s feet seemed enough to shew them away.

Looking back at the boat after paddle boarding to shore for dinner and margaritas.

We enjoyed a visit from Tony and Lynn from SV Mamala, a lovely, quirky couple from Portland (keep Portland weird!). Tony has built two different tenders/dinghies for their 65 foot MacGregor which are entirely powered by solar. He’s built big enough solar rigs on each that they could perpetually power his electric outboard engines (as long as there is daylight). Tony also played professionally in two different bands in his life, and we spent a delightful evening with them in the cockpit while he played his mandolin and sang for us. I loved that the first question he asked when approaching us the day before was whether either of us played any musical instruments. Tony and Lynn were anchored in the next cove over, at Posada Concepcion, a private waterfront community we had the pleasure of wandering through one day. Imagine your perfect idea of a small seafront Mexican home, with streets of white sand running between, perched at the edge of tourquoise waters and you’re halfway there. Add to it a temperamental landlady, who recently shut off the community’s main generator after being ratted out and shut down by local authorities for undertaking certain things without permits, together with a bunch of gossip, and you’re getting closer!

Just one small example of the little community of Posada Concepcion
Finding a playground that we had to ourselves, while Daddy got in a workout was a special treat of Posada Concepcion.
It was a special treat to enjoy the tunes of Tony at anchor in Playa Santispac.

The girls are definitely at their best on the days they get to hit the beach, explore and have some space to roam. For this, and RV families with young kids, Playa Santispac was a really lovely place to spend our first week at anchor. We even managed to wrangle some rides from new friends from the OX Family (check out their YouTube channel!) into nearby Mulege for extra food, some time on Wifi (for Stu) and a visit to a local taco truck. The beach campground permitted us to drop of a bag of garbage…or at least it felt that way when we snuck it into a garbage can after the sun went down :), and the beachside restaurant served a knock-out margarita. We decided to stay in Santispac until the packages we had been waiting to arrive back in Santa Rosalia had shown up, and then made our way the 50 miles back to pick them up. We managed to work through some kinks around the boat while we were anchored, including a faulty wind generator that we took down, took apart and remounted in 20 knot winds…which thankfully is working well again. We also felt it was a good time to get back to the dock to tackle a few boat projects that needed some attention including a broken head (toilet) and an issue with our water maker. Stu sorted out the head, but alas the watermaker is proving to be more of an issue, and we’re currently considering whether now’s the time to get a new one. More on what that involves later.

Nothing beats a beach bum
Real life chores look a little different on board

After a few quick days in Santa Rosalia again, another lovely couple meals with our friends on Totem, and some more ice cream we scooted back south to a place called Punta Pulpito, which is where we spent the two nights in the shadow of an incredible land mass, while the winds blew 35-45 knots around us (for those not in the know, that’s 65-80 km per hour). Pulpito is a fascinating landmark, with a huge bulbous point of land at one end of a crescent of cliffs, with an incredible deep black vein of obsidian running through it. Sadly, the weather was such the entire time we were there that we didn’t get to shore this time, but we did manage a quick toodle in the dinghy out around the point and through a beautiful arch/sea cave. I hope we’ll get back there in calmer winds so we can get ashore and explore a bit more. We were welcomed to the little anchorage by another pod of dolphins, which sound like a steam engine train as they puff out their blowholes one after another as they rise and dive through the water. We spent the two days reading, watching movies, baking and watching loads of pelicans sweep up through the air and then nosedive into the water seeking out their supper.

Enjoying the sunset before the wind started at Pulpito
Bottom right hand box shows max speed of wind in prior 10 minutes, which was 45 knots per hour. Left hand box shows current wind speed at 30.3…we had some big winds at Pulpito!

Thereafter we decided to make the hop another 8 miles south to a place called Caleta San Juanico, and I’m so glad we did, as we were able to take advantage of the 11-15 knots of wind to sail a bit. We only had our foresail out (the smaller one at the front of the boat), but still managed 6 knots of speed while swells from the days’ prior winds allowed us to surf the boat a bit along the way. We anchored between two amazing pinnacles of rock in gorgeous turquoise waters. I am going to write a separate post on San Juanico all to it’s own, as we enjoyed an awesome week there!

We are in the Loreto area now, and appear to have some cell coverage for a bit, so will try to get some additional tales up soon! Unfortunately, they are currently appearing photo-less as the coverage isn’t permitting me to upload photos…but one can’t complain when doing this from Mexico 🙂

The view from where we sat in Caleta San Janico