Leg 11_Part 3 - Santa Rosalia to La Paz (summer in the Sea)
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Summer in the Sea
October 14, 2007 thru November 18, 2007

Sailsoon is back in La Paz. We are re provisioning and repairing the boat for our crossing to Mazatlan this fall.
We cruised over to Isla San Marcos  from Santa Rosalia and anchored in Sweet Pea Cove for a few days. While
there we took the dingy to the north side of the island, hoping to explore the caves. However, the seas were
running quite large and we didn't dare run the risk of entering those caves so we were satisfied to view them
from a distance. You can be sure we'll go in better weather the next time! This end of the island had many
beautiful pinnacles where a large variety of birds perch and chant their welcome song.

From Sweet Pea Cove we moved on to Punta Chivato. This was a must see, as there is a "famous" shelling
beach that  we missed on the way north.   Because Hurricane Henriette had recently passed, the beach had a
fresh supply .We collected some very fine specimens in just a few hours. Punta Chivato doesn't have a great bed
for anchoring. The bottom is hard and appears to be covered with a thin layer of sand. It is also quite rocky.
Beware if you plan to anchor there that you may drag in a blow, as the large shrimp boat did while we were
there. Each time we looked out our ports we noticed that this boat seemed to be getting closer and closer to
Flying Cloud. Eventually, they fully blocked our view of Flying Cloud and then continued to drag several
hundred yards, thus allowing for full view of Flying Cloud yet again. We have concluded that this is a normal
anchoring procedure for the shrimp boat; when it drags, it only goes further out to sea, bit by bit, and by nightfall
has a shorter passage to make when it's ready to depart.

Ah, Bahia San Juanico! Thanks to reports of Santa Ana winds developing with expected winds of 35 to 40 knots,
we had to find a safe  anchorage with protection from north winds. This is one very lovely place to be. The
water was crystal clear, warm and, for the first day or so, flat calm. We were finally able to rendezvous with
Adam and Christina of s/v Estrella, who we hadn't seen since Cabo San Lucas.  The reunion wouldn't have been
complete without the gang from Flying Cloud! A underwater fishing fleet was established. Adam, Jamie, Scott
(s/v Idefix) and John gathered for the ambush. The hunt was on for the largest, trophy sized pargo in the Sea. It
had been spotted by Adam a few days before and was still lurking.........In the end, the pargo won and continues
his happy life of spawning.
That is not to say there were no fish to be had as you can see from one of the photos below. Thanks to the the
young men, Adrien (s/v Flying Cloud),and  Saylor and Elliot (s/v Idefix), who spent the afternoon collecting
firewood and building a fire pit. Because of their hard work, a  beach pot luck was  held on the beach with many
varieties of fish cooked on the  wood fire. Bob and Lynda of Tahoma donated generous helpings of chocolate
clams which Adam served up as an appetizer with his special recipe. Sailsoon's contribution was dog snapper and
BROWNIES. Here's the glitch ...what can one expect to experience at a picnic? Ants, right? Of course! Problem
was, we hadn't thought of that when we put the marshmallow frosted brownies down on a makeshift table.
When it was time for desert it was really pretty dark out; a flashlight revealed the evidence of ants. We did our
best to brush them off, but, let's face it..they were on the marshmallow..stuck really well! The boys were
informed and said it just didn't matter. They happily took their share and then some. S/V Tequilla Rose saved
the adult night life when they offered dark chocolate cake with icing right out of the oven..still warm!
The next evening we had a final dinner with Estrella on-board Sailsoon. Adam and Christina had a departure plan
of midnight to head to San Carlos and go back to the U.S. to work for a year. They left just about on time. We
really enjoyed each visit we shared with them and will miss them in the upcoming months. We wish them the
best!

The choice wasn't an easy one...apply for residency in San Juanico and buy that million dollar home on the hill
or move on. So, after more than a week, we brought up our anchor and headed for Loreto in the company of
Flying Cloud, where we spent a few hours to get a few provisions. By late afternoon we were anchored in
Ballandra Cove on Isla Carmen. Bob and Lynda (s/v Tahoma) served us up a magnificent dinner, complete with
wine, home made brew and great stories after the long day. We were really treated in style, including cloth
napkins! The following day we did some snorkeling/gathering with them and Ray and Jayne (s/v Adios). That
evening we all gathered on Tahoma for a special dinner of fresh scallops, cooked to perfection by Lynda. We
could get used to this! We stayed for a week while the other boats move on. That happens and it's all good.

Next stop.... Honeymoon Cove, Isla Danzante. Ha! Can you believe it??? We were so worried that there would
be no space for us in any of the 3 small coves. For sure they would be filled with boats. What a surprise when
we arrived..... they were all empty! We had our choice of the lot. Although we really had a great time earlier in
the season in the north cove (very private with room for only one boat), we were not in the mindset to set a stern
hook out so we opted for the southern anchorage. No regrets at all. What a backdrop as we look out at the Sierra
la Giganta mountains behind Puerto Escondido. There isn't a camera in the world that can capture the splendor
of those beauties. We had the nicest weather the whole 5 days of our stay. We took our dinghy to the southern
part of the island and snorkel "drifted" with the dinghy in the current around to the western side of the island.
The visibility was 60' to 80' and clear. Swimming below us was a sea turtle, manta rays, a wide assortment of  
fish..you name it! The following day we packed a lunch and circumnavigated the whole island by dinghy,
stopping at hot spots to drift and snorkel. With the exception of a few local fishermen, we had the island to
ourselves. The thought that we should buy real estate here crossed our minds until we remembered that this was
part of the National Park System and not for sale.

Jan and Vivian (s/v Capriccio) met us in Puerto Escondido as a favor on their way south from San Diego to La
Paz, where their boat was in the marina. They were carrying some goodies to us that we had ordered and
shipped to their house. One of the items was a replacement camera for the Sony that went snorkeling without
being properly installed in it's underwater housing. (that would be a Bridget oops!). This also explains the lack of
recent underwater marine life photos... Anyway, enough of that. We had lunch at the Tripui Hotel, Jan and
Vivian checked into the hotel and then joined us on Sailsoon for dinner. They departed the next day for La Paz
and we moved on to Bahia Agua Verde for the night and on to Punta Timbabichi. There's not much to report
here The winds were quite sizeable, making for a choppy but not uncomfortable anchorage. It just wasn't the
type of place we could launch the dinghy and explore given the conditions so we didn't stay. Manuel, a Mexican
fisherman who "borrowed" some gasoline for his panga  while we were in Ballandra Cove, happens to live in
Timbabichi. When he noticed our boat anchored in his bay, he approached to say thank you for our generosity.
Since he was in no position to replace the gasoline, he offered to sell us fresh shrimp at the discounted price of
70 pesos per kilo and 2 beers. Sold! They were delicious! He invited us to visit the family the next morning but
the weather report was telling of another possible Santa Ana so we moved on.

We had already been to Bahia Evaristo a few times so we made this a quick, overnight stop before moving on to
Bahia Amortajada. (see story on
Bridgie's Babble-November 17, 2007).

Ensenada Grande on Isla Partida was our last planned stop before heading into La Paz. At the tip of the island
resides Isla Islotes, where sea lions live and frolic. You can swim with them. That's what we'd heard. What trip
is complete until you've done that? The weather was in our favor, as were the seas. On Wednesday, Nov. 14th,
we made the 3.5 mile dinghy trip to the island and tied up to one of the mooring balls installed by National Park
personnel. We donned our snorkeling gear and jumped in. The water was much clearer than we'd imagined...all
those sea lions....well, you get my drift. Sea Lions come in all sizes. The ones we shared the water with ranged
from about 3' to 8' and very flabby (perhaps fat is a better word). Within moments a 5' beauty was paying us a
visit. She (?) decided to nibble the tips of John's fins. When she was finished, she tasted mine. Really, this was
quite unnerving. We don't speak sea lion and weren't sure if we were too close to a pup or what was going on.
As it turns out, she was just playing and meant no harm. Once we realized we were not in danger, we spent
several fantastic hours pretending to be one of them (and visa versa, I'm sure). The following days were spent
swimming with sea lions near a secluded rock closer to our boat. It was a fine way to end our season.

With a bit of sadness we hoist the anchor on Nov. 18th and head for La Paz. It's so hard to imagine a full 5
months have passed and we're at the conclusion of  Season 1, The Summer in The Sea.  Tomorrow we will start
to plan Season 2, Mainland Mexico.
Los Arcos (The Arches) at the north end of Isla San Marcos near Santa Rosalia, Baja.
Dolphins like to play with boats of all sizes, even dingys.
Hotel Posada de las Flores at Punta Chivato.
Looking north at the beach of Bahia Santa Inez.
Punta Chivato in the background.
The great shelling beach of Bahia Santa Inez.
The spires in San Juanico Bay.
Flying Cloud in the foreground.
s/v Estrella on the hook at San Juanico.
Fresh from the sea 'Chocolate' clam dinner.
The fleet at San Juanico, Oct 2007.
Fish for the beach party at San Juanico.
Holland America cruise ship anchored off Loreto.
Fresh sushi dinner at Amortajada.
Flowering cactus at Amortajada Lagoon, Isla San Jose.
Tennis ball size hermit crabs in Amortajada Lagoon.
Dingy ride thru Amortajada Lagoon.
Isla Partida
Ensenada Grande, Isla Partida.