Monthly Archives: March 2017

Puerto Escondido and Surround

Puerto Escondido

Puerto Escondido

Puerto Escondido 2/23/17 – 3/3/17

We hurried north to Puerto Escondido to hide out from a forecast norther. This was a great place to hang out.  We met up with some old friends from the HaHa and La Paz.

Hiking Tabor Canyon (Steinbeck Canyon)

We took a walk, crossing Highway One to see this famous canyon that climbs up into the Sierra Gigantes with beautiful rock pools and palm trees–amazing.

Carnival in Loreto

We rented a car for a day so we could get some shopping done.  Carnival was happening across Mexico, and for the sleepy little town of Loreto, this meant a parade.  We had a great time taking photos of the participants.

Mission in Loreto

We walked through the mission in Loreto which was the first Spanish mission in Baja California that inspired the other missions in California.

Gary the vegetable guy

So we are walking over to the hotel to get lunch and we hear some chatter on the radio, sometimes we carry our portable VHF, about Gary is at the hotel… we are confused, several people are talking about it.  Who is Gary?  We arrive at the hotel and Gary has a table set up to sell produce.  He is an expatriate American with his wife he live in a fifth wheel up in the hills.  They have a vegetable garden and come here once a week to sell produce.   Cabbage is a staple vegetable of cruisers because it holds up a long time without refrigeration.  And Gary has CABBAGE, and kale, chard, beets and other great stuff. That cabbage was amazing. I hadn’t had a cabbage roll in decades, these were delicious.

Agua Verde 3/3/17 – 3/10/17

After the weather calmed down we went back south to an anchorage called Agua Verde.  Another great place to hang out with more wind coming. We anchored alone, but in the end, seven other cruising boats were hiding out in our little cove.

After the Blow

After the Blow

The first day we stayed on the boat and read all day- guess we were tired.   Had a couple of meals at the beach restaurant including Chicken Mole.

Lisa paddle boarded and even dove in for a swim and then got ambitious and cleaned the 192 feet of waterline which was covered with brown slime.

Cleaning the bottom of the boat

We went to the local Tienda and bought the world’s best cantaloupe and the world’s worst bacon. Lisa will often ask me what I want for breakfast. She’s thinking yogurt and fruit or oatmeal, but  I ask “bacon and eggs?”  Kind of a joke, since we generally don’t have bacon. So, I buy this package of bacon at the Tienda. When we open the package, the bacon is actually made of pressed pieces of unidentified pork meat rather than the strips you would normally think of as bacon. The strips are very fragile and impossible to cook in the standard bacon way.  We wind up with a pan full of browned bits that smell somewhat like bacon, and taste somewhat less like bacon. We add it to a scrambled egg burrito, still pretty yummy.  Oh—what I’d do for a package of Dailey’s with pepper on the edges.

Lisa has been nursing a sore knee since we hiked the Ensenada Grande trail, so I went by myself to visit a prehistoric site with cave paintings.  About five miles there and back. I didn’t see a soul. Sitting in this cave, high above the beach by myself, I looked out over the ocean enjoying what must have been a very familiar scene to those those people who left their hand prints at the entrance to the cave.

Handprint cave (6 of 11)

I spent the last day cleaning the bottom of the boat.  With the aid of the hookah, I could go down deeper to clean where Lisa couldn’t reach. It is getting dirty faster as the water warms up and our bottom paint approaches the 2 year mark. The clean bottom gave us a ½ knot of boat speed!

Bahía Candeleros 3/10/17 – 3/11/17

We began moving north again hoping to circle Isla Carmen before returning to Puerto Escondido to meet our neighbors from Tideway who will be joining us for a few days.

We anchored off a hot spring near San Cosme, but never found the hot spring. Later that day we anchored at Bahía Candeleros off a large new resort. We enjoyed a late lunch/dinner. The resort has a golf course, but so far only 11 holes have been completed. A group of golfers next to our table at lunch reported that it’s a beautiful course, complete with whale watching. Quite a site from the 17th tee box!

Bahía Marquer 3/11/17 – 3/12/17

We had planned to stop at Honeymoon Cove, but it turned out to be a little on the small side with one boat already in the “sweet spot” and rocks too close for comfort, so we moved on to Bahía Marquer.

We even enjoyed about a half hour of actual sailing. If you get the right conditions this boat really goes.  With only ten knots of wind we were faster than we are motoring.

This bay has many large Manta Rays basking in the water and occasionally jumping out of the water. The rocky shoreline had lots of colorful fish to see. Dolphins visited too. Unfortunately, so did the flies.  We’ve had an increase of pesky flies aboard. We’ve misplaced our repellent, so we’re motivated to go buy some at Loreto.

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Loreto Landing Lights

marquer (2 of 2)


Loreto 3/12/17 – 3/13/17

We had very light conditions and were able to anchor off the town of Loreto, which does not have a marina big enough to take yachts of any size. There is a small enclosure for pangas and a dingy dock.  Loreto is a roadstead anchorage and not a good place to be if the wind is blowing.

After dropping anchor, we were boarded by the Mexican Navy. Two young men boarded and checked our passports and boat papers. These guys were totally pleasant and beamed when we mentioned how much we were enjoying our stay in Mexico. I would much rather deal with these pleasant yet earnest young men rather than the self- important Homeland Security Officer we dealt with on our entry to the US from Canada a few years ago.

I took a trip to the store to top off our coffee supply and buy some bug repellent! That night we sat on the porch and had the unusual experience of hearing both the music from Loreto and the sound of a large number of Whales passing in the channel between Loreto and Isla Carmen.  The whales sounded like a person exhaling through a piece of 3 inch plastic pipe… Amazing.  As the sun was setting, I was able to see the large humps on the far side of the channel.

The next morning we took a walk on Loreto’s Malecon and enjoyed breakfast at The Oasis. While walking about we met an American couple walking their dog, Gilroy, who have lived here for 25 years.  It was interesting to hear them talk about the early days of Loreto when they were the only gringos in town and the fishing was bountiful. Loreto is pretty “gringofied” these days and the fish are fewer- sadly.

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Loreto Malecon

Isla Carmen

We circumnavigated Isla Carmen.  Isla Carmen is across the channel from the town of Loreto.  This is the largest Island by far, in the Loreto National Park.  This island is privately owned and visitors must stay below the high tide mark.  The Loreto National Park is intended to reduce fishing pressure from large trawlers, and preserve the biological diversity of the region.  At Isla Carmen, Desert Bighorn sheep have been re-introduced.  As the herd increases in size, some are relocated to other islands in the sea.  I found this interesting dissertation on the topic of preservation efforts in the Sea of Cortez.

Puerto Ballandra 3/13/17 – 3/15/17

In the afternoon, we moved Footloose across the channel to Puerto Ballandra. The only other boat in the bay was Tinmar, a Bruce Roberts steel boat. Aboard were Ed and Charlene who live in Farmington, a small town in Northwestern New Mexico, which is also where my brother lives. Charlene does graphic design and has designed brochures for the San Juan College Automotive Technology program, where my brother works. Small world?

As we waited for the Tinmar crew to join us for dinner, I was scanning the hillside around the small bay and just as I was remarking to Lisa that I was surprised that I never see any animals, I spotted three Bighorn Sheep at the top the ridge.  I have never seen a bighorn in the wild before.  Pretty cool. Wish I had a longer lens for that picture

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Find the Bighorn Sheep!

The next morning,  a panga showed up with three North Americans in fatigues, who got out and began to hike toward the ridge where I had seen the bighorn. I was rooting for the wily sheep.

Bahía Salinas 3/15/17 – 3/18/17

The next day, we motor sailed around the corner to Bahía Salinas, Our third salt works. This one also abandoned years ago.  This time however part of the remaining town was torn down and in its place was hunting lodge.   Three women lay basking in the sun.  Waiting for their men to return from the hunt.  The place has a lot of no trespassing signs as the whole island is owned.  In an odd juxtaposition, a hunting lodge dedicated to killing the animal that they are also trying to preserve.  One reference I found indicated that as of 1999, people were paying $50,000 to take a single big horn sheep. While we were restricted to the beach area we did sneak in to take a look at some of the old abandoned structures.  I would have loved to see the salt pond but the presence of the hunting lodge gave the place an unpleasant threatening feel.

Plastic Bighorn Target

Plastic Bighorn Target

The next day, we got one of three wishes, wind on the beam for about 45 minutes and had a good sail towards Puerto Escondido..






Three Wishes

March 3, 2017

We left Puerto Escondido this morning to travel 24 NM to Bahia Agua Verde. We have three wishes for every trip (other than safety, of course): 1) sailing with 15 knots on the beam, 2) seeing a whale, and 3) catching a fish. Our average is quite poor to date, but we remain steadfast with our hopes. We motor off under still, glassy, calm seas. It’s misty, a few dark clouds overhead, sun peaking through, not a breath of wind.


No Sailing Today

Michael cheerfully, whistling, puts out “Rich’s lucky rod” with a cedar plug. On the other rod, he attaches the new Zuker lure (a red-feathered fish magnet they say) to the line.

Attaching the Zuker

Attaching the Zuker

I strap the Fujinon, stabilizing binoculars around my neck, put my camera in my pocket and head for the bow seat for whale watch. The sea remains glassed off with sun sparkling. I stare off into it, mesmerized. Any disturbance to the sea surface stimulates a heightened awareness. We spot fins sticking up out of the water and determine these to be Manta Rays basking on the surface. Sea Lions are warming up, floating on the surface, fins in the air.


Michael turns on the fish finder. He sees that the fish are all cruising along the bottom, miles below the Zuker. After 10 miles of this, he pulls in the line and attaches a different lure specific to attracting deeper lying fish. I walk around the boat, staring off in every direction. Suddenly, Michael exclaims – I see something- there! Where? There, where I’m pointing. Oh my, I see the spout. I look through the binoculars to see the magnificent whale swimming. His dark mass breaks through the surface to breathe several times– and then with a final wave of his tail, he disappears into the great depths. After that first sighting, many more followed. We saw about 10 whales this day, each one thrilling. We didn’t sail, and we won’t be having fish for dinner, but we are excited as we anchor at Agua Verde. A wish was granted!