We awoke the morning of our intended departure from Puerto Escondido to a message from our friends on SV Alegria asking us if it was windy where we were. Mike and Katie on Alegria, and Dave and Marla on SV Cavu were both anchored in an anchorage about 7 nautical miles south of us called Candeleros. It turned out they’d had an incredibly rolly night in the anchorage with sustained winds over 30 knots for about 18 hours, gusting up into the 40s. The seas were choppy around them, causing damage to a neighbour’s jib that accidentally unfurled and flipping a dingy unexpectedly. In the meantime, this is what it looked like where we were:
We were surprised to hear of the conditions, and admittedly a little hesitant to head out in that direction if it was going to mean another rolly non-sleep. But, itching to catch back up with our friends who we’d not seen since February 1st, we decided to do it anyway. But, before doing so, a few final chores:
- Getting in some last-minute internet for research, emails etc.
- Filling the water tanks, which involves unearthing the hose from the forward lazarette, hauling it along the boat to the dock, connecting it and watching as it fills so we don’t overfill one of the tanks
- Getting rid of our last garbage up at the top of the dock
- Topping up our dinghy fuel (taking jerry cans up the dock to be fueled at the fuel dock)
- Saying goodbye to our dock friends
- Most importantly, buying an ice cream to enjoy on the way out
Once we’d covered all those items, we took off from the dock. Stu and I have been taking every time we land at the dock, and every departure, to practice our dock-related skills. This time we were departing with a wind that was blowing us back on the dock, and we wanted to try a slightly different technique where we re-rigged the dock line at the bow so I could release it while on the boat after having let off the stern line, instead of our usual technique where I release the bow, then the spring line (at the middle of the boat), and then we pivot out on the stern line, and I release it last as I step on the boat. Our new technique worked, and it was nice to have another practice under our belts.
The rocky and rolly seas our friends had slept through the prior night were evident as we left the protection of the marina and headed out. We played around with the sails a little bit. There is a funny passage between a few islets as we turn toward the anchorage, and it really played with our sails the last time we passed through, so we just decided to save ourselves the hassle and motored most of the way.
The anchorage we were headed to is called Candeleros Chico, and is noted in the cruising guide as quite small, without much room for more than one boat, but our friends assured us it was great and proving way more protected than where they’d been the prior night. We were a little suspicious as we rounded the corner and saw it from outside in the passage, as it didn’t look protected at all, but it really turned out that it different once we were inside. We nearly missed our opportunity to anchor here as we approached, as a small fishing power boat arrived at full speed and passed us entering the anchorage, looking to drop its hook right where we intended. Thankfully, they were very generous and asked if we were with the other boat already anchored (which we were) and elected to leave so we could have the spot.
An awesome reunion with SV Alegria was had, and we were really spoiled by Mike and Katie (and their buddy Chris who was joining them for the week) sharing their self-caught yellowfin tuna with us. Sashimi and rolls were quickly made, and devoured! While we have continued our plant-based ways most of the time while we’ve been here, we’re not inclined to turn down a treat and opportunity like this.
We are so thankful to our friends on SV Alegria for sharing this beautiful anchorage with us, as it has quickly become a favourite. Situated facing north-east, it isn’t an anchorage that would really have been possible before this time of the year when the winds switch from prevailing northerlies to more prevailing westerlies and southerlies. We were tucked inside a little ‘hook’ of rock that rises about 5 or 6 stories, and offered great protection from the north. On the other side of us was a small window out into the Sea, which empties to a shallow passage at low tide, with lots to see from the paddle board. A variety of cactus cover the surrounding hills, and, as pointed out by Mike on Alegria, the bigger mountains in the distance that form part of the Sierra de Gigante range look like the mountains of Cambodia near Ankor Wat, temple-like in their appearance.
The water at Candeleros Chico was clearer than we’d seen since leaving La Paz, and we could see straight to the bottom in the 15 foot depth we were anchored in.
Close at hand in Candeleros Chico is the reality of the fishing industry that surrounds us in the Sea of Cortez. Littering the beach on one side is what Stu dubbed the ‘fish graveyard’, where we can see the heads and tails of mobula rays who were likely bi-catch in the fishermans nets. While mobulas aren’t traditionally caught on purpose, they’re commonly caught unintentionally in the fisherman’s nets. It isn’t entirely uncommon for the mobula’s ‘wings’ to be sliced off, and sometimes hole-punched to be sold as scallops (so beware when ordering scallops in this part of Mexico – if they’re too perfect a circle, they’re likely not a real scallop). As the wind shifted several times while we were there, we ended up downwind of the rotting carcuses from time to time, which was a tough reminder of those dead rays.
We had a lovely time catching up with Mike and Katie, daydreaming of future adventures and sharing sailing tails. I was able to join them and Chris for a hike over to another bay south of the anchorage, where we saw many different cacti in bloom, crabs scurrying over rocks by the water and a small dolphin show in the neighbouring bay. This is the first time I’ve seen the dolphins as active as they were, jumping clear out of the water and flipping around as if they’d been trained to do so. It is impossible not to whoop and holler when witnessing this display of what I can only imagine is pure joy!