Posts Tagged ‘Baja’

Gulf of California Update

Monday, January 18th, 2010

We left La Paz a week ago last Wednesday and have been slowly working our way northward up the east coast of the Baja. We made a short hop the first night from La Paz to Caleta Lobos, where we met the owners and crew of ‘Firecat’, a beautiful Moorings charter catamaran, then pushed northward past Islas Espiritu Santo and Partida to gorgeous Isla San Francisco. We shared the anchorage at Isla San Francisco with several other boats, including probably all the other Caliber 40s in Mexico – ‘Hello World’ from Seattle and ‘Pamdemonium’ from British Columbia.

We went hiking on the beaches and rocky ridges during the days and had many happy hour get-togethers. The “crack was 90” as they say in Ireland. endless great stories of waterfront misfits and imprudent mariners, but the best was a 1 day old fish story. Kevin (from ‘Pahto’) and Steve and Charlotte (from ‘Willful Simplicity’) had been hiking across a ridge 500 feet above the bay when they saw a mahi-mahi swimming in the shallows just of the beach. “I’m gonna go get it” said Kevin to the amazement of his hiking mates. He flew down the precipitous hill with the abandon of a starving man, his hoofprints reportedly 8 feet apart by the time he hit the beach. He plunged into the shallows and swept the 3 foot fish onto the beach with both arms! We’d put down $5 that this was not a well mahi, but still, the guy caught a live pelagic upper-level predator with his bare hands from the top of a mountain.

We continued northward last Sunday, stopping briefly at Punta Evaristo for a night, then on to Puerto Los Gatos where, after a nerve-wracking passage between two rocky reefs K further tested S’s nerve by picking our parking spot right up near the beach. We dropped the anchor in only 7 feet of water and had an unbeatable front-row view of the beautiful red rocks that make up the northern point of the bay. A quick hydrographic survey with K snorkeling along the 5 ft isobath while S shot him in the back of the head with the laser range finder (she rather enjoyed that part) confirmed that the grounding shallows were out of reach with 40 ft of chain down.

After a quick visit ashore we tried to leave the next morning, only to be beaten back by the waves whipped up by the 20-kt northern winds. All the boats in the anchorage watched us leave, and a half-hour later they all watched us come back in; some provided good-natured commentary, others provided the socially crippled responses one might expect of people who live alone on the ocean in ageing plastic pods that whiff of raw sewage and mildew.

We were up before the sun the next day, following the parade as every boat in Los Gatos hauled anchor and, taking advantage of the morning calm, set off for their selected harbors to sit out the forecasted norther. We had selected Bahia San Marte, only about 15 miles to the north, and made it there by late morning. ‘On Verra’ was already settled in, an interesting couple of circumnavigators. Alicia’s been a full time blue water sailor all her adult life, Alfredo the Italian was high-end lingerie corporation exec ($300 bloomers, Italian dressage horses, early retirement) who at 60 is more fit than K was at 19. We shared the anchorage for the next several days, each boat spinning like a second-hand around the clock as the nominally “northern” winds whipped over the surrounding hills from a variety of surprising directions.

We left San Marte this morning and came around the corner to Agua Verde. There’s a small fishing village on the beach nearby and scads of sea birds. We’ll go ashore tomorrow to check out the town and hopefully buy some vegetables.

Happy birthday Kathryn Ann! We love you!

25°30.87’N 111°03.75’W 18-Jan-10 01:40 UTC

Bahia San Marte

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

We tucked in to Bahia San Marte for a couple of northers during our time in the Agua Verde region. It’s a big bay but the swell free area was quite small, tucked up in the northwest corner just out of reach of the north swells wrapping around the corner.

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The bay has a bad reputation as a rolly anchorage and that makes it one of our favorite on the long list of unpopular things with bad reputations that we love. 

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As a reward for our bad judgment we shared the place with our quiet friends on On Verra. K and Alfredo took turns spear fishing on the closest reef giving the groupers a few hours in between to re-group. It was a great arrangement and provided K with an opportunity to see what he hopes to be in his sixties, a manfish on a red kayak, assuming his place in the marine food chain.

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The mountains were ideal for hiking with miles and miles of open grassland and low brush. We landed the dinghy and began to explore.

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The first stop was a hidden pocket beach at the end of a steep wash.

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Next was a hike to the nearest pass for a look north at Agua Verde bay and the imposing pinnacle islet Roca Solitaria.

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We made it back down in time for some good low light. K took pictures and S worked on her Kokopelli shadow imitation.

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Then we ate a wickedgood stove top pizza.

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25°30.28’N 111°01.06’W   13-Jan-10 23:00 UTC

Gulf of California Update

Monday, January 11th, 2010

We left La Paz a week ago last Wednesday and have been slowly working our way northward up the east coast of the Baja.  We made a short hop the first night from La Paz to Caleta Lobos, where we met the owners and crew of ‘Firecat’, a beautiful Moorings charter catamaran, then pushed northward past Islas Espiritu Santo and Partida to gorgeous Isla San Francisco. 

We shared the anchorage at Isla San Francisco with several other boats, including probably all the other Caliber 40s in Mexico – ‘Hello World’ from Seattle and ‘Pamdemonium’ from British Columbia. 

We went hiking on the beaches and rocky ridges during the days and had many happy hour get-togethers. 

IslaSanFrancisco2 016

IslaSanFrancisco2 020

“The craic was 90" as they say in Ireland… endless great stories of waterfront misfits and imprudent mariners, but the best was a 1 day old fish story. Kevin (from ‘Pahto’) and Steve and Charlotte (from ‘Willful Simplicity’) had been hiking across a ridge 500 feet above the bay when they saw a mahi-mahi swimming in the shallows just of the beach. "I’m gonna go get it" said Kevin to the amazement of his hiking mates. He flew down the precipitous hill with the abandon of a starving man, his hoofprints reportedly 8 feet apart by the time he hit the beach. He plunged into the shallows and swept the 3 foot fish onto the beach with both arms! We’d put down $5 that this was not a well mahi, but still, the guy caught a live pelagic upper-level predator with his bare hands from the top of a mountain.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Kevin, the amazing Mountain Top Fisherman.

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K had his own excitement when he shot what he thought was a small snapper in a hole and pulled out a sweet, big, very dead Leopard Grouper instead (“It was dark in there”).

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We continued northward last Sunday, stopping briefly at Punta Evaristo for a night, then on to Puerto Los Gatos where, after a nerve-wracking passage between two rocky reefs K further tested S’s nerve by directing her to park right up near the beach. We dropped the anchor in only 7 feet of water and had an unbeatable front-row view of the beautiful red rocks that make up the northern point of the bay. 

PuertoLosGatos 129

A quick hydrographic survey with K snorkeling along the 5 ft isobath while S shot him in the back of the head with the laser range finder (she rather enjoyed that part) confirmed that the grounding shallows were out of reach with 40 ft of chain down.

After a quick visit ashore we tried to leave the next morning, only to be beaten back by the waves whipped up by the 20-kt northern winds.  All the boats in the anchorage watched us leave, and a half-hour later they all watched us come back in; some provided good-natured commentary, others provided the socially crippled responses one might expect of people who live alone on the ocean in ageing plastic pods that whiff of raw sewage and mildew. 

We were up before the sun the next day, following the parade as every boat in Los Gatos hauled anchor and, taking advantage of the morning calm, set off for their selected harbors to sit out the forecasted norther. 

BahiaSanMarte2 048

We had selected Bahia San Marte, only about 15 miles to the north, and made it there by late morning.  ‘On Verra’ was already settled in, an interesting couple of circumnavigators… Alicia’s been a full time blue water sailor all her adult life, Alfredo the Italian was high-end lingerie corporation exec ($300 bloomers, Italian dressage horses, early retirement) who at 60 is more fit than K was at 19. We shared the anchorage for the next several days, each boat spinning like a second-hand around the clock as the nominally "northern" winds whipped over the surrounding hills from a variety of surprising directions. 

BahiaSanMarte4 005

We left San Marte this morning and came around the corner to Agua Verde.   There’s a small fishing village on the beach nearby and scads of sea birds.  We’ll go ashore tomorrow to check out the town and hopefully buy some vegetables.

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Happy birthday Kathryn Ann! We love you!

MomMeKenDerrynane2

25°30.95’N 111°03.90’W   18-Jan-10 01:40 UTC

A Walk On the Rock

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

After a week of floating in the Puerto Ballena we made an amphibious landing on the cliffy peninsula in search of unusual life and geology.

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It was all unusual and its uniqueness was due to the unusual heat. Outside the mangroves its hard to find shade even for a slip of a girl with a big hat.

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This desert chameleon was hanging on the shady side of a rock.

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He was probably looking for a delicious purple striped cricket

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Or a big honkin’ desert berry

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There has to be a trick here. This wretched little plant is a desiccated and forlorn specimen and yet it pops out a huge delicious looking berry. Awfully suspicious.

And another thing, why bother with the vicious mini-cactus message if you are going to provide little succulent red morsels.

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Finally from the worst sticker bush ever, the no-nonsense desert behavior we expect, sending a clear message to anyone craving salad

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24°28.64’N 110°22.63’W 08-Dec-09 22:00 PST