Thursday, February 27, 2014

Flying Rays - Bahia Agua Verde to San Evaristo

We sailed, mainly using the gennaker (good thing we had it repaired in Guaymas!), to Punto Los Gatos (18 nm) and on to San Evaristo (28 nm). Along the way, we saw many jumping, or flying, Mobula Rays.
From a distance, it looks like a very large fish has jumped out of the water, but when they are closer you can see they are rays about 5 feet across. They jump several times in a row, gaining height and distance each time, and often in groups. You can see them fly. 


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bahia Agua Verde

We sailed about 22 nm to Bahia Agua Verde, where we had purchased delicious goat cheese on our way North. We walked into town and purchased an entire wheel of goat cheese. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the same and we were disappointed with the lack of flavour.

On the way back to the anchorage we got a nice photo of our friends Alan and Ali's boat "Sea Boa"!
We hiked over the hill on the west side of the bay, past an old cemetery, along the sandy beach to a rock wall. Wandering inland along the wall, we found the small trail up to the cave that has what are reported to be ancient hand print paintings.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Caleta San Juanico

We sailed to Punta Pulpito , then to Caleta San Juanico and then, as we sailed past the NE corner of Isla Coronados, we saw many whales. We watched them for a while, but they went away when we fetched the camera.  So we got some scenic shots of Isla Carmen in the late afternoon sun.  We anchored in Puerto Ballandra, on Isla Carmen, and during the night we could hear the whales.

We motored the 10 nm across to Loreto and anchored just off the town beach. The Sea was calm and there was no wind when we took Tubby to shore. When we came to Loreto from Puerto Escondido on our way north, we had not been impressed with Loreto. This time, approaching the town from the shore, we saw a different side of it. Loreto has lovely little boutique hotels, many fashionable restaurants, cafes, and boutiques.
On the street, we ran into David and a couple of his crew from Purusha! They were making their way north and having a fantastic time.
We provisioned at the local super market and returned to Tubby to find the wind had built up and there were white caps in the bay. It was a wet ride back to the boat.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Bahia Conception

We had an amazing gennaker run into Bahia Conception. We spent about 5 days in the bay, but one could easily spend weeks here. There are six beautiful white sand beaches and as many little islands. Highway 1 parallels the shore of the bay making it easy for RV access. We first anchored in Playa Santispac. The beach is lined with RVs, but these are all luxury RVs, all with sanitation hook-ups, and completely solar powered so there were no noisy generators.

We then motored the 3.4 nm to Playa Coyote. As we were anchoring, an old America sailor rowed over. Without a word of welcome, and despite the fact we were in the middle of anchoring, he said, “If you find an anchor when you raise your’s, it is mine.” It was a bit confusing as his boat was anchored quite a ways away from where we were anchoring. He clarified that his lost anchor was from a different boat that had been in about the same spot we were and he was still hoping the anchor would be found. We assured him that should an anchor be attached to ours when we hoisted it, we would give it to him. As he rowed away he said, “It is movie night at Bertha’s.”

We finished anchoring and had just sat down when we heard, “Welcome Good as Gold.” We looked around and saw a cat watching us from a nearby boat. We thanked the cat for welcoming us. It was turning into a strange bay.

When Falcon VII arrived, we called over that if they, “find an anchor, it belongs to that boat over there and it is movie night at Bertha’s.”

We dropped Tubby into the water and as we went to explore, we drove over to the junk rigged, Bat Wing. This time, in addition to the cat, we found a couple aboard and learned that Bat Wing is from Vancouver Island. They provided a bit of background on the salty old sailor who had rowed over to us and confirmed that Bertha’s was a restaurant and it was indeed movie night at 6 PM.

We explored the shallow waters of Playa Coyote and were amazed at the number of rays. We learned later that it is where many rays are born.

Bertha’s is located in the next bay over, Playa el Burro. We took Tubby over there just before 6 PM. The place was packed with tables being set up outside. We asked to share a table with a woman who turned out to be the partner of the restaurant’s owner. We learned that an American with a laptop, a projector, and a white sheet, shows movies at various local restaurants for a free meal and tips. He claims he has an “in” with Hollywood, but we assumed they are pirated movies. For the past couple of weeks, he was showing all the Oscar nominated movies. That evening, we saw Philomena, with Dame Judy Dench.

The next day, with Jim and Trisha, we dinghied to Playa Coyote and walked to Playa el Burro to hike up the mountain, past the Amerindian petroglyphs and the high iron content “Bell Rocks". The trail is marked with rock cairns and has a series of switchbacks. We quickly lost track of the cairns and proceeded straight up the mountain. It was a difficult hike, but the views were gorgeous. We did manage to stay on the main trail on the descent.






We said, Goodbye, to Falcon VII as they were heading across the Sea of Cortez and south to Mazatlan. We motored over to Isla Coyote for the afternoon then anchored at Playa Santispac for a bit more swimming before leaving Bahia Conception.

Jim had told us where he had caught a large tuna, and sure enough, as we were leaving Bahia Conception, in the same area, we caught a 25-30 lbs. tuna!


Malcolm filleted the tuna, which was a messy job. There was blood everywhere. With bloody fingers Malcolm was sampling the fresh red tuna meat. He couldn’t understand why Dina declined the “sushi”.


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Mulege

We sailed from Santa Rosalia to Punto Chivito then on to Mulege, actually to the mouth of the Santa Rosalia river, 2 nautical miles from the town of Mulege. We anchored with Falcon VII and with Jim and Trisha in their dinghy and us in Tubby, we headed up the river. Although the river is known to flood, it is lined with date palms and many lovely homes. We touched bottom a couple of times as the river is very shallow in some places. We tied the dinghies near an RV located on the riverbank and walked into Mulege.

The Spanish discovered the town in the 1500’s and because of the fresh water from the river, it became an important settlement. The first mission was built in 1705. It was swept away in a flood and was rebuilt, further inland, in 1770 and is still there today.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Santa Rosalia

Our friends on Sea Boa had already left Guaymas when we returned, but Goldenheart was still there. We left the Fonatur marina together, but Goldenheart had engine trouble and turned back. There was no wind and an uncomfortable short swell, so we also decided not to beat into it for 16 hours, but to turn back and anchor in the bay near the marina.

We left Guaymas the next day at about 1 pm and sailed for about 16 hours as we crossed the sea of Cortez to Santa Rosalia. It was a lovely overnight sail with calm seas and good wind.
Once we were docked at the Fonatur marina, Malcolm went straight to the French bakery. Copper was discovered in Santa Rosalia in the 1860’s and two Mexican men started the first copper company. In 1885 the French purchased the company and ran it until 1952 when it was handed back to Mexico. The town’s architecture is French and the buildings are made of wood imported from Canada, Oregon and Ecuador. Original mining equipment can be seen throughout town along with the old smelter.



The copper mine was officially closed in 1986. Recently, a Korean company has taken an interest in revitalizing the mine. One evening, the restaurant we were eating in became crowded with Korean business men. Dina was pleased to see that the town had remained sustainable and had actually flourished as a result of mining.

We stayed in Santa Rosalia for a week. We found a wonderful pizza restaurant, a great birria wagon (a type of taco with an interesting sauce), and a famous hot dog cart where bacon-wrapped hot dogs were deep-fried then smothered in onions, chillies, and cheese. Plus we met up with Jim and Trisha onboard Falcon VII from Victoria who were also at the Fonatur marina.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Copper Canyon

After lots of work on the boat, we took a break, rented a car and drove to the colonial town of El Fuerte where we could catch the train to the Copper Canyon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copper_Canyon). Dina’s former colleague and dear friend, Felipe Valenzuela, met us for dinner. With Felipe’s wife, Magda, and his two sons, we walked around the beautiful old town. We celebrated Felipe’s son’s birthday with a delicious cake at a cafĂ© on the town’s main plaza.
The next morning, we boarded the scenic train to the Copper Canyon. The trip climbed up 6,000’ through beautiful canyons and along rivers.

We left the train at the Barrancas stop and were picked up by Dolores, owner of the Cabanas Arepo Barrancas. We dropped off our bags and Dolores pointed us to our first hike. The views of the canyon were spectacular.

The next day we went to the beautiful Hotel Mirador, perched along the cliff of the canyon. Every room has a balcony with a breathtaking view!



We hiked to the Adventure Park and signed up for the zip-line tour of the canyons. There were 5 zip-lines and 2 wobbly suspension bridges stretched over the canyons, finishing with a gondola trip 2,750 metres back to the Adventure Park. The longest zip line was over a kilometer long. It was heart-pounding fun!








We wish we had planned to stay another day as it would have been fun to hike or take horses down to the bottom of the canyon where the Tarahumara Indigenous people were farming along the river.

We boarded the scenic train and continued up to the town of Creel. It is a pine-covered mountain town that usually has several snowfalls per year. There was no snow when we were there, but it was cold! We stayed in one of the rustic pine cabins of the Creel Mountain Lodge Hotel Villa Mexicana.

The next morning, we boarded the train to return back to El Fuerte and drive back to Guaymas.