Oh La La La Paz

Oh La La La Paz

Neither Stu nor I had much idea about what we’d find in La Paz. Since departing Puerto Peñasco, Everyone spoke of it as the next best place for boat items, shopping and all around provisioning. I wasn’t particularly excited about getting back to a ‘big city’ but we had a shopping list of things we wanted to get organized, and La Paz felt like the logical place to get started. Between (hopefully) steady access to services, as well as many of the trades we knew we were likely to engage, it was time to get down to work.

The kiddos love having their photo taken with the ‘letters’ that are in most Mexican towns…not a bad way to teach them the alphabet, is it?
The Malecon of La Paz has gorgeous sculptures every 100m or so, and the kids were fascinated with them all.
Catedral de Nuestra Señora de La Paz
These two.

Ask around and you will get a number of differing opinions about anchoring in La Paz. Some have done it for long stretches of time, and just accessed the town via the ‘dinghy dock’ at Marina de La Paz, and had absolutely no issues. Others have found the mix of wind, currents and tides to cause endless issues, particularly with other boaters dragging their anchors, and a general game of bumper boats ensuing. Knowing we had things to do, and that we wanted steady access to wifi, we decided to head for a marina instead of anchoring in La Paz. Unfortunately, we should have called ahead a lot further out than the few days before arriving, as the only marina that had the space for us (remembering that a catamaran is wider than the typical single-hulled sailboat, and usually takes up 1.5 slips at a dock) was the most expensive one in La Paz, Costa Baja (otherwise known as ‘Costa Lotta’). That being said, the cruising guide told us that there was access to amenities such as wifi, potable water, showers and laundry machines, a free shuttle to downtown La Paz, as well as access to a pool, so we figured it might well be worth the price. Unfortunately, it turns out Costa Baja is really a marina set up more for luxury yachts (that have their own services aboard) and charter vessels (who have offices there at the marina), than it was for cruisers. Sadly, there were no laundry machines, the showers left a little to be desired, the wifi was very weak and the pool they directed us to was the Beach Club next to the marina, which charged $20 USD per adult, per day, for entry. In addition, the shuttle to La Paz went three times a day, between 9:30am and 3:30pm, which wasn’t ideal for all the errands we wanted to do. Not exactly what we’d read.

Skookum V, before she had her name added, on her end tie at Costa Lotta, ahem, Costa Baja,

That being said, we settled into life at Costa Baja in due course. We figured out that if we went to the hotel attached to the marina, and just walked into the pool like we belonged, asked if we could be there, and be sure to buy a beverage, we were welcomed without a fee. The girls absolutely adored the pool, and we spent many long hours there as they grew increasingly more comfortable with floating in their life jackets and puddle jumpers.

While the kids think we go to the pool for them…we really do it for us to have some quiet time 🙂

We also decided to rent a car, so we had a much more convenient means of doing our errands, seeing that the marina was a solid 20 minute drive out of downtown. Having the car meant we were able to explore some more, and that we could do trips to Sam’s Club, Walmart and other shops, which wouldn’t really have been possible with the girls via Uber or taxi. This also allowed us to find a laundrette in town. You really can’t beat having your clothes washed, dried and folded for you for less than you would pay to use a laundromat back in Canada!

Getting all the important provisioning done.

On the long list of things to do in La Paz, our main priority was picking up our new 40 gallon-per-hour CruiseRO watermaker, and connecting with an incredible artist named Sergio Galindo of La Paz Welding and Fabrication for the purpose of some stainless steel work on the boat. Sergio isn’t just an artist in the figurative ‘he’s good at his job’ sense, but an actual artist who worked on some very famous steel sculptures. He’s incredibly talented, and we’ve now seen his work on many other boats, and are looking forward to the new arch he’ll be installing on the stern of Skookum V to hold some additional solar panels, as well as new davits for raising and lowering our dinghy, and some other bits and pieces throughout.

In addition to Sergio, we connected with a woman named Christy Flores, who helped us finally print and install the name, logo and hailing port on the boat. We finally have a name! Christy was a character, and we were reminded of the endearing element of having work done in Mexico, where they’re very quick to say ‘yes’, but timing is always optimistic for actually getting things done.

We’re official! Isn’t Kate Zessel‘s artwork amazing?

We also connected with Hector Escalante, who we had heard was excellent for canvas work. All of the canvas surrounding our cockpit was getting pretty tired, and the metal snaps and enclosures corroded. Hector did an awesome job of cleaning the lexan panels and replacing the snaps so we can hopefully get another long stretch of life out of the canvas before having to replace it entirely.

Over the months prior to our time in La Paz, our dinghy was getting sadder and sadder, to the point Stu would have to pump it up every time we wanted to use it. We figured there were a few decent holes throughout, so contacted Bob at La Paz Inflatables to see if he could help out with repairs. Bob spent a week repairing the dinghy in his awesome little workshop where he and his wife live and work tirelessly. He also spent the week trying to convince us to buy a different dinghy he had on site, which we momentarily considered with its console and electric-tilt motor. Alas, it was too heavy for our current davits, and he returned our little dinghy, newly freckled with patches. So far so good, as we haven’t really had to pump her up since!

Out for a test drive!
Dinghy parking lot at Marina de La Paz

As we’re nearing the 12 year age mark for the boat, and the standing rigging (ie. The metal cables that hold up the mast and sails) is getting ‘past best’ we knew we’d be likely facing a ‘re-rigging’ this year, especially since we intend to sail south of Mexico come the late fall. Often this involves hauling the boat out of the water, de-stepping the mast, and can come at considerable time and expense. Fortunately, we were able to find a rigger in La Paz who can handle the rigging work right at the dock. We will be coordinating with him when we return to La Paz in June for Sergio to install the stainless steel.

Finally, being in La Paz with consistent internet access meant we could get on ordering the various boat ‘things’ we had been thinking about over the last few months, such as new dock lines, some new running rigging (ie. The ropes attached to the sails etc), and a washing machine! Yes, once we have our new watermaker installed, we will be able to wash our clothes on the boat without needing a toilet plunger and wrecking our wrists wringing everything out! For those who have young kids, you’ll understand our excitement with this.

It wasn’t all work and no play in La Paz, thankfully. We were excited to meet up with fellow boaters Rick and Cynthia on Catspaw, who had been incredibly generous helping us out when we first arrived in Puerto Peñasco, and to get to meet their friends, Rob and Sarah on their boat Mapache. We also met a single-hander named Cheryl on her aptly named boat, Wahina Toa (meaning ‘Warrior Woman’), and fellow sailors Paul and Hazel on Susimi. We all did a trip to the Serpentarium where they have rescued and are rehabilitating many of the animals we’ve read about but never seen in the wild (like rattlesnakes!). Some margaritas were consumed on the Malecon for Rob’s birthday, and we were introduced to our first shopping experience at Soriana, another of Mexico’s grocery stores.

Two tortoises at the Serpentarium. Lily was a fan.
Seems Lily has things figured out here, making her big sister do all the hard work.

In addition to gallivanting around La Paz trying many of its tasty treats, we decided to take the opportunity of the rental car to zip down to San Jose del Cabo for a few nights to visit our friends Andrew and Gabriella from SV Journey. Andrew and Gabriella had set themselves up in a lovely Airbnb outside San Jose del Cabo for the month while Andrew was taking care of some back-related matters, and the owners had another unit available right next to them, so we took a little weekend trip to see them. We have always loved road tripping, and the girls do incredibly well in the car, so we all enjoyed getting to see a little more of southern Baja, with pit stops in Todos Santos, El Pescadero and Cabo San Lucas. While Cabo is definitely not our speed, the pace in San Jose del Cabo was much nicer, and a lunchtime visit to Flora Farms was a definite highlight of our time there (save for the visits with our friends, of course!).

Pretty public art in San Jose del Cabo.
Is there anything better?
Who are you looking at, Winnebago?
Lego and snacks and a dog? These girls were in heaven.
Enjoying the stunning gardens at Flora Farms. It felt more like norther California than Baja, Mexico!
More fun at Flora Farms.

Two weeks on the dock went by in a flash, but we really didn’t want to be there longer than we needed, as we had friends on their way south from Puerto Peñasco who we were really looking forward to seeing, and we wanted to head north toward them as soon as we could. After tearing the boat apart and putting it all back together again with the boat projects and provisioning, we were on our way with a very early morning departure through the busy waterways surrounding the town.

Our budding artists were excited to get their hands on some crafty supplies finally!
Adios La Paz, we will miss you and your tacos. we’ll be back!
Well, we’ll miss all your food.
San Evaristo to Isla San Francisco

San Evaristo to Isla San Francisco

After a quiet day of reading, puzzles, movies, paddle boarding, snorkeling and lots and lots of sitting and watching the small pod of dolphins that became our temporary neighbours while we were in San Evaristo, we decided it was time to move on in the morning. We awoke to the clanking and jingling of the goats in the hills above us, chasing the decreasing shadows as the sun rose overhead.

Our eldest boat kid learning how to use the windlass to pull up the anchor. In her Christmas pajamas, of course!

The seas were relatively calm, and the wind wasn’t predicted to fill in until later in the day, so we decided to take the opportunity to make a pit stop at a place called Isla Coyote, which sits between Isla San Jose and Isla San Francisco. As we made the crossing, we saw about a dozen different turtles, peeking their heads out of the water with curiosity, and then diving back down unimpressed. This is the most turtles we’ve seen in one place, and I can’t get enough of them.

On Isla Coyote, which rises a mere 40m above sea level, and appears to be about the size of a football field, sits a small fishing village. Just off the small island is a reef extending west, surrounded by azure blue water and abundant with coral, urchins and loads of different species of fish. 

Looking from the cockpit to the tiny inhabited island of Isla Coyote.

We dropped the anchor in about 30 feet of water and prepared ourselves for a little explore (sunscreen on the girls: check; hats on everyone: check; snacks in the bag for hangry crew: check). As Stu dropped the dinghy we noticed tiny, coin-sized transparent jelly fish floating by with long, trailing tentacles. From time to time a larger one would pulse by, more the size of a baseball or fist. These are the first jellyfish we’ve seen so far in the Sea of Cortez, and they were mesmerizing to watch float along in the current. As we don’t currently have a book for identifying them, I wasn’t sure whether they’d be stinging or not, so thought it was best to warn the girls against dangling their feet in the water off the transom the way they like to.

We putted about the rocks, piled high with sea gull and pelican guano, peering into the water as we went. We identified the usuals: sergeant majors, angelfish, groupers, coral, urchins and lots of trigger fish. We also saw some bigger fish who were a bit too far away to identify, as well as our fist parrotfish of this adventure. Their bright turquoise scales were so pretty to watch as they swam confidently among the rocks. We also saw red crabs about the size of an avocado scurrying up and down the intertidal area on the reef, and the gulls sitting above them eyeing up their next meal. 

After a toodle around the island, we pulled up to the shore where there were several fisherman cleaning their daily catch. We had read in Sean and Heather’s cruising guide that it might be possible to arrange a tour of the island, and to buy fresh seafood from the locals. As we approached the shore, a wizened old fellow with white whiskers all over his face approached the water’s edge with two massive crabs in his hands. They looked like Alaskan King Crab, or something like it, but alas my local species guide only described tiny reef crabs, so I couldn’t properly identify it. One kind man came down, and between our broken Spanish, and his patience, we were able to determine that they weren’t currently doing tours of the tiny island because of COVID precautions, which we completely understood and respected. We did purchase one of the big crabs, with a wingspan of probably 2.5-3 feet, as well as several fillets of fish. On completing the exchange of pesos for the fresh fare, the man we’d been talking to passed over two tiny, delicate pieces of coral for the girls to keep, which he said came from very deep down in the water. (Of course, on getting back to the boat we asked Lily where her coral was and she happily stated ‘in the water’ – nothing is precious in the hands of that little girl, which is probably good to be reminded of from time to time).

Stu, with a Panamanian Spider Crab (as far as I can tell from internet research), which we purchased from the kind fishermen on Isla Coyote.

From Isla Coyote we headed over to another reef barely peeking out of the water known as Rocas de Los Flocas, which is a known sea lion rookery. The wind had started to pick up from the east (and the sea lions were west of us), but as we passed on the west side of the rocks the pungent smell was undeniable. Several of the sea lions were floating in the water around the rocks, just at the surface, with their fins stick straight up like sails. A large sealion hauled his massive body out of the water and started expressing, what I can only assume was his protest to our presence, with his deep honking noises. Then, those in the water and surrounding rocks joined the choir, which Lily took as an invitation to join in. Hooting and hollering we enjoyed the concert before moving on.

Rocas de Los Floras with its sea lion residents. Look closely at the fins in the water and their big bodies all over the rocks.

We had originally discussed heading further south to Isla Partida, for an anchorage known as Bahia Grande, but as the sea state from the south was picking up and we were banging more into the waves, we decided to detour and head into Isla San Francisco. We originally had planned to avoid Isla San Francisco, despite it boasting one of the prettiest beaches in the area, as it is known to be frequented by charter boats out of La Paz, including those fancy ones we’ve all seen on ‘Below Deck’. But, we decided it was worth the risk of party central to have a more peaceful afternoon with some beach time for the kids. All told, if it weren’t for the insane amount of boats that worm their way in there (we counted 16 by the time we went to bed), this would likely be a favourite anchorage with its pretty white sand, it’s cerulean blue water dotted with green sea grasses, and the numerous turtles that swam around our boat through the evening.

Ellie capturing in us in all our beach glory.
Right before 100 more boats showed up around us!

Looking at the forecast for the following days, we decided it made the most sense to make our hop to La Paz the next day, skipping Isla Partida and Isla Espiritu this time around. We will take stock once we get to La Paz, so we can get a status update on some of our intended boat upgrades, provisions, shopping etc…, get back online, check out the various marinas and the location of our friends that are heading down from the northern end of the Sea, and make a plan for the next few months.

Signs of an early morning departure: red lights and coffee brewing.
Ellie has found a new favourite place to sit when it is calm while we’re under way.
Agua Verde to San Evaristo

Agua Verde to San Evaristo

I wanted to write this post as I want to make note of it so it doesn’t become ‘common’. There are such spectacular days back to back here in the Sea of Cortez, it can become all too easy to let them pass by without remark.

Our view one morning from one of our favourite anchorages so far, Agua Verde.

We awoke back in one of our favourite places, Agua Verde, after the failed attempt to head south from Puerto Los Gatos in short, steep waves that had us slamming into them at 3.5 knots per hour, despite engines running at 2500 Rpms (which would have us moving forward at close to 7 knots per hour otherwise). The morning was an unusual one, as we were used to waking to the sun coming up and warming the boat quite early. Instead, we awoke to very low-hanging cloud that better resembled the fog we see near the ocean back in British Columbia, which envelops the mountains and kisses the sea. Everything on the outside of the boat was damp with dew, and there was a chill to the air we hadn’t felt in a few weeks. It was beautiful, albeit a touch eerie.

Over our near-daily oatmeal we watched several boats leave the anchorage, taking note through the binoculars whether they were bouncing on waves or not once they hit less sheltered water outside of where were anchored. Determining that the waters looked calmer than the day before we decided to take the chance that the sea state had calmed and we could try to head south again that day. Shortly after our morning coffee we were visited by neighbours who had dropped anchor the prior evening; sitting in their dinghy and holding on to the side of our boat while we crouched down at the edge to chat. This kind of visit is very common these days, where we all want to meet each other, but don’t want to impose, and are also still mindful of giving wide berth due to COVID. We had the pleasure of a brief visit with Nicole, Larry and their beautiful daughter, Ellie, from SV Milou. We bore witness to the other side of the equation, as they are heading south to sell their boat and take a break from cruising life so their near-teenage daughter can go back to regular school (her request), and attend to other land-based personal matters. This led to an extended conversation between Stu and I about how we’d been originally thinking about waiting until the girls were closer to 8 and 9 years old before contemplating an adventure like this one, and what it would be like to be an only child on this kind of journey. We wish the Milou family really well in this new transition, and are only sad that we met them this late in their season such that we can’t spend more time with them on the water.

We pulled the anchor shortly after the visit, waved goodbye to our new friends Angie, Gary and their lovely dog Reggie aboard SV Nivasi, and headed out to test out the sea state. Not long after we exited the anchorage we were back in swells of close proximity, but decided to push further out to deeper water to see if it wouldn’t have the same fetch-like impact of shallow waters. Thankfully, this was the right choice and not much later we were rolling comfortably over the swells and heading south.

Cockpit dinner with our friends Angie and Gary from SV Nivasi.

Before we knew it, two blue whales made their appearance in the distance, their VERY long slick blue backs arcing through the waves. Before long, it felt as though whatever direction we looked, every 20 minutes or so, we’d see a spout of water shoot from the surface of the sea or on the horizon, and then the dark back of more whales glide by. I am fairly certain we mostly saw blue whales, fin whales and some humpbacks, who would dive deep and flip their tails up right before descending. At times we were close enough to make out the barnacles on their backs.

The sea state was choppier than the day we transited to Puerto Los Gatos, but regardless once in a while we could make out the unique disturbance in the water of manta rays floating on the surface. From time to time one would jump right clear out of the water, flip upside down and dive back in with a huge smack. My research tells me there isn’t much certainty about the reason they do this, but one theory is that they do it to alleviate themselves of parasites growing on their skin (the speed of the jump, the inability of the parasites to breathe outside the water and the force of the smack as they drop). There’s really no warning of their jump, so catching it was a matter of luck, and we spent more time responding to the slap of their fall and the white bubbles left in their wake than we did actually seeing their jumps.

About 6 nautical miles from our intended destination the wind finally shifted to the north and was in a position behind us that we could raise a sail. As Stu was entertaining the girls (who have done SO well entertaining themselves for the most part in the last three days of sailing, but needed a little attention), and I’m not strong enough yet to raise the mainsail on my own, I decided to just unfurl the genoa and motor sail the last stretch. Feeling the surge from 6 knots and hour to 8 knots an hour, just under the one sail was so fun. Then, as I stood on the side deck enjoying the lowering sun, the warm wind and the waves, I saw another strange disturbance in the water immediately next to me. It was another manta ray, this time quite a bit smaller, and it was lying upside down with its white belly to the sky. As we came close we must have startled it, and it flipped around and sped past the boat and down to the deep.

We arrived at San Evaristo, a small fishing village (but the largest community we’ve seen outside actual towns) near sunset, and dropped anchor in a little bight set away from the main part of the community, but well-sheltered from the now 20 knots of wind coming from the north. There were several large sailboats in the larger part of the anchorage and two other smaller boats tucked in with us. As we prepared our leftovers for dinner, we were witness to pangueros zipping their pangas in and out of the bay. Shortly thereafter a panga came right by us, dropping their anchor in the 200 feet between us and the shoreline. They dropped a net in the water, and then huddled down into the gunnels of the boat. They were still there when we went to bed, and later in the night when I was up for my middle of the night ablutions. This is not the first time we’ve had sleeping fishermen anchored next to us, and it does make one reflect on all the comforts we have tucked into our big boat here, as they sit with no light, no blankets or pillows, awaiting the right time to head back out fishing.

The kids checking out our new dolphin friends in San Evaristo.

As I sit here writing this I can hear goats high on the hillside above us, bleating like small children; their bells ringing constantly as they teeter back and forth on the precarious rocks that dot the ground. Next to me the girls jump up and down in excitement, gripping the lifeline and watching as a small pod of dolphins bobs up and down seeking out their breakfast on the reef that surrounds us, sounding like a steam engine with their huffing and puffing in the water just next to the boat. If this isn’t pure magic, I don’t know what is.

Postcript: The dolphins continued their pattern of swimming back and forth through the shallows, sometime no more than 25m from the boat, for at least another 12 hours (they were still there when we went to bed, but not when we woke up the next morning). I noticed about half way through the day that there was a tiny little dorsal fin dipping up and down next to one of the larger ones. Part of me wonders whether this was a newborn, and they were teaching it, and making sure it was ready before heading back into open water. Dolphins have also been known to show behaviour we exhibited while sleeping, as they can turn off half their brain at a time, and move languidly around while letting it rest (but still ascending and descending for air). Those may have been some very tired dolphins!

Stu snorkeling quietly in the vicinity of our new dolphin friends.
Catch Up

Catch Up

Ugh, once again I’ve been failing at regularly updating the blog, and really there is not much excuse, save for the fact the more ‘behind’ I feel in posting, the more I avoid dealing with it.

I’ve written a few posts along the way, and have held back on posting them because I hadn’t posted about the places prior to those ones, and didn’t want to get ‘out of order’, but I’m going to try to get over my OCD-like tendencies, and just post what I have so far, and then do some catch-up posts.

We’ve also filmed a tour of the boat that we’ve been trying to finish editing, and we’ve been procrastinating on that as well!

So, please excuse the fact we’ll be a bit out of order, as we catch up on the time spent since Puerto Escondido!

Just one example of the gorgeous street art we saw in San Jose del Cabo this past weekend.w
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