Posted by: Carol | January 18, 2008

Headed (further) South

2008 Mexico – San Diego to Barra

CBParker_D3_20080116_BajaMex-430-1We had an intense visit in Bahia de Magdalena – three days of sightseeing with much more left unexplored. Just not enough time to see everything if we want to enjoy the tropics further south. As reported, our first day in Mag Bay included a dinghy ride to the south end of the bay and a walk along the coast through the cactus forest, and the morning of day two we relocated to the more northern end of the bay along a stretch of sand dunes. There were six other yachts already there, anchored all in a line just off the beach. A long curving stretch of sand, several miles long, separates Mag Bay from the Pacific Ocean on the north end. On the bay side a beautiful sand beach, an estuary lined with mangroves, and tidal flats with tiny ripples of surf about 3 inches high. Then a spine of sand dunes about half a mile wide, and on the Pacific side another long sandy beach with breakers rolling in from the sea. Spring wildflowers starting to bloom, very idyllic. In the afternoon we put in several hours of climbing through the sand dunes and walking along the breakers on the Pacific side. Thanks to our encounter with the local fisherman we enjoyed boiled lobster salad for lunch, and lobster again for dinner, baked this time – yum!

Late in the day an official from town came alongside in his panga to check our permisos and boat documentation. All was in order, so after a brief pleasant visit he departed but offered to come back the following morning to give us (and several of the other yachties on the other boats) a panga taxi ride to town. Really we suspect the official paperwork just gave him an excuse to visit the yachts and drum up some paying passengers for secondary income! Regardless it saves us a long wet dinghy ride, so Thursday morning Mike and I joined the other cruisers for a morning in the big city, Puerto San Carlos, the largest town on the bay with a population of some 4,500. This Puerto San Carlos is not to be confused with the Puerto San Carlos near Guaymas – we’ve noticed that a lot of place names in Mexico enjoy repeated use.

Rod stayed behind to repair the water pump which we had jinxed by commenting on its reliability! It failed within hours of the remark, but we had a spare on board so no big problem. Mike commented this morning on the reliability of Raven’s Yanmar and Rod and I just about threw him overboard! Two of the other yachts anchored here need engine repairs and are waiting to have parts shipped down from the states to La Paz, to be retrieved there. There is an informal cruisers’ net where assorted individuals driving this way bring down boat parts from the states for yachts awaiting them.

We enjoyed a high-speed boat ride to the beach near town, waded ashore, and then the group split up to pursue separate errands in Puerto San Carlos. Mike and I mostly spent our time walking the streets and sightseeing, but we did pick up a few supplies in the supermarket, and enjoyed a quick lunch at a nice little seafood cafe – shrimp tacos for me. Then back to the panga for another high-speed ride back to the yacht anchorage and Raven – entertained by the sight of another panga that passed by us carrying a full-grown palm tree, roots and all, longer than the boat – apparently on its way to a landscaping project in one of the smaller villages.

More beach-walking in the afternoon – several miles worth. We are really getting our exercise! Then early to bed with a planned dawn departure for the overnight sail to Cabo San Lucas.

Now it is Friday noon; we have been sailing since six or so, thoroughly enjoying ourselves. We set a troll line for fishing and caught a fat yellowtail mackerel (kingfish). I reeled in the fish, then let the line back out again to clear the kinks and then stow it. As I was winding it back onto the reel, another yellowtail hit the lure, so we wound up landing two. They have been fileted, zip-locked, and frozen – and we have about six meals apiece for the three of us saved up – plus lunch today was fried fresh fish with wasabi sauce – absolutely delicious (unfortunately Lean Cuisine for dinner tonight!).

We also caught up with another gray whale and got close enough for some pretty good photo ops – again I am totally blown away by what I can accomplish with my new Nikon D3 camera.

We will arrive in Cabo San Lucas early tomorrow morning, refuel and take on water, then head to a new marina being built in nearby Cabo San Jose. We’ll spend a night or two there – we’re thinking of renting a car and driving to La Paz to check out the availability of marina space there for parking Raven during hurricane season next summer. And then we’ll set sail (or motor) towards mainland Mexico by way of Isla Isabela, an island bird sanctuary some 42 nautical miles offshore of Puerto Vallarta.


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