The Sea of Cortez
Trip Start Dec 01, 2010
35Trip End Ongoing
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On the hook.
Ballandra, Isla Carmen
Sailing in the Sea of Cortez is amazing. We are thrilled to report that the sea is alive and teeming with wildlife. It’s also remote and stark and hot and wild, but mostly it is beautiful beyond description.
Since leaving La Paz we have been out of reach; no phone and no internet. It is slightly disconcerting to be so disconnected. Dois calls it “off-the-grid”. We have more time to worry about our family and friends out here and no quick or easy way to reach out. We also know there are expectations of hearing from us and we can’t always oblige at will. And believe it or not, in the midst of all this beauty, discovery and adventure, we miss you.
From La Paz we sailed to Isla Partida, to San Evaristo, to Puerto Los Gatos and El Toro, to Agua Verde, to Honeymoon Cove (Isla Danzante), to Puerto Escondido, to Bahia Marquer (Isla Carman) and to Puerto Ballandra (Isla Carman), where we are now
Each place has been lovely and unique, although they all to contain our requisite elements; turquoise water clear to thirty feet or more, abundant sea life, a reef on which to dive, and a safe place to land our kayaks and swim with the dogs.
Daisy has added a new obsession to her life besides fish; crabs. The size of coconuts, they scurry across the rocks as we invade their territories, colliding with each other in their haste to put distance between us. To Daisy’s immense pleasure, their confusion is her opportunity and she comes alive. There is nothing old about Daisy when she’s chasing crabs! She scours the beaches and tide pools for hours on end. Ginger swims. Constantly. She spends so much time in the water that we keep their lifejackets on them because we are afraid one day she will just swim out of the bay! The girls really like this life.
I have changed my approach to fishing, I’m using a drag line instead of the poles. It has proven to be fairly fruitful with dorado, yellow tail, and tuna and it’s actually easier than dealing with a fishing pole
Every single day we have some sort of show. Huge manta rays leaping as high as ten feet from the water turning flips and splashing hard on the surface, the occasional swimming turtle holding his head high to keep a suspicious eye on us, lots of dolphin frolicking all about us, and recently a magnificent twenty foot whale shark who swam along side and then a few feet under our bow. If all this weren’t enough, add fiery red sunsets, white sandy beaches, painted mountain cliffs, and nights filled with so many stars they light up the boat.
We are able to sail during the day and spend our nights at anchorages. It is always a guess what the wind and waves will do during the night. We get winds generated from all directions and every anchorage has an exposed entrance. If we guess wrong and lay our anchor in the wrong place, we can find ourselves up at three o’ clock in the morning with our bow plunging and rising over steep chop. We catch weather reports from Don Anderson on either the Amigo Net or the Southbound Net, both networks can be heard on our SSB radio. The reports give us prevailing winds and hurricane warnings but don’t predict local conditions. The hot mountains and deserts create “Elefante” winds and “Chubasco” squalls from the east and west
Our favorite has been Los Gatos. We sailed into the bay with only one other boat and it happened to be our favorite boat.. Cabaret, a pretty emerald green Petersen 46 owned by Captain Heather with Charlie as crew. We were hoping we’d catch up with her on their leg back from picking up sister Jeanie from Loreto, but there are so many anchorages between here and there, we couldn’t believe our luck in finding them at Gatos. We had a perfect anchorage, extraordinary diving with thousands of tropical fish, amazing rock hunting on a beach covered with geodes, beautiful red rock walls, and a good friends sharing the evening meals, setting sun and rising moon. Just before we pulled our anchor from this pristine bay, a local Mexican diver pulled up in his panga and took our order for lobster. Less than an hour later he brought us five lobsters still wriggling and we ate them all for dinner.
Puerto Escondido is a marvel but after our solitary voyages, we felt a little claustrophobic with the Gringo-bingo set, so we moved on. We are now entering our last two hundred miles for the season. When we pull up the anchor from here, we should surface in a couple of weeks in Guaymas. There we will haul the boat for the worst of the hurricane season and pick up our RV. We plan to strip the boat down and leave it on the hard until late-October. Then we will return, prepare her for our next adventure; Panama next December. In the meantime, we’ll be on the land yacht looking for good windsurfing spots and fishing holes for our kayaks.
See you on the other side!