Monday, April 25, 2011

Great cruising to Loreto

Doug and the Bell Rock


Apache tears in matrix - most were loose finds

Diver Fran

Fran's first photo underwater: Floating sponge

Locals harvesting Gayo clams

Gayo clams in the wild.

2030, 18 April, 2011. Anchored in Burro Cove, Bahia Conception
We are anchored in a nice quiet (at the moment) cove in the beautiful setting of Conception Bay. There is no wind and the water is a full 10 degrees warmer than anywhere we have been so far this year. Ka-Em-Te is just beside us having arrived earlier yesterday after their crossing from San Carlos. Doug and Trish are looking good and their spirits are high in preparation for their long trip back to Oregon in June.
It has been a busy 3 days since the last entry. We remained in Puerto Ballandra for another very windy day with winds up to the mid-30 knot range but shortly after midnight everything went quiet and when we got up the next morning the bay was like a mirror. We weighed anchor about 7AM and headed out towards San Juanico, arriving there by early afternoon. What we thought would be a lazy day’s motorboat ride turned into a lumpy one as the wind filled in from the north for one more blow reaching 15-17 knots at times but we only had to endure that for an hour or so before we reached San Juanico. Allegro arrived shortly after we did and we had a very pleasant evening with Scott and Marlo.
We spent part of the afternoon exploring the beaches and letting Rosie run. A few other cruisers arrived later and Rosie had a friend to chase along the beach. We visited the cruiser’s shrine at the head of the bay where boats leave a memento of their visits. There are many mementos displayed, everything from shells to shorts, all bearing the names of the boats, dates of visit and many with the names of the crew. Imagination is the key here so the more outlandish the creation the better. We saw many familiar names including Doug and Trish’s contribution of 3 years ago, a shell with their names painted on it in durable marine enamel. We’ll be passing here again so, until then, we will have to create something to mark our 3 visits. We took the time to explore 2 of the many beaches lining this beautiful bay. On one we found veins of basalt threading down to the beach from the limestone cliffs. More rocks for the collection jar....
We early left the following morning, again into calm seas. We caught 2 small Yellowfin jacks, just large enough to have a meal from each, before the wind picked up from the south. We took the opportunity to hoist the spinnaker for about an hour before the wind died again. By early afternoon we had reached Punta Conception and entered the bay. We had been calling KMT periodically but had received no answer but as we approached the anchorage areas we heard a vessel tell another that KMT was beside them in Burro Cove so we made a bee line for that anchorage. Needless to say Doug and Trish were very surprised to see us rounding their stern a short time later. The fact that they were taking baths in the cockpit may have had something to do with the surprise factor.
It was obvious from the number of tents and motor-homes filling the gaps between the permanent Mexican and Gringo palapa homes that this was the start of the Easter 2-week holiday but credit must be given to a few of the campers who put out a string of buoys to mark the swimming area and for organising a 10PM noise abatement. Too bad this doesn’t occur everywhere else in Mexico.
That evening we were invited to a pot-luck at one of the gringo residences where one of the cruisers, JC on Whiskey Charlie, was bar-b-cuing a roast of beef and one of pork. What a treat!! Luckily Fran had just baked a chocolate cake so we didn’t feel sheepish about joining the group.
We are anchored just off the residence of Geary the Sonrisa net weather man. We dropped in and paid our respects on our way to the 2 must-see sites that this place is noted for, the bell rocks and petro- glyphs. Both are a short walk away. The bell rocks are boulders with some kind of mineral content that makes them ring when hit with another stone. Once we had found and “rung” the one identified as “The bell rock” we were able to recognise several others that had similar qualities. The petroglyphs are strewn all over the hillside on boulders that must have fallen down the hillside centuries ago. Most have subjects that are unrecognisable while others depict mostly sea creatures.
1500, 20 April, Anchored in Bahia Santa Barbara
The number of personal watercraft buzzing around Burro Cove was too much so yesterday we decided to move a few miles south to Bahia Santa Barbara with an almost deserted beach. We left Bob, Pat and the Rocketman (MV Dark Side) who had just arrived the previous afternoon. Bob has been keeping us all advised on the sightings of the International Space Station sightings. The full moon and these sightings have been spectacular over the past 2 days. Whiskey Charlie and KMT also moved here and anchored close to a Canadian boat, We Rave On.
Today was one of the most enjoyable on this trip. We joined Trish and Doug on a snorkelling outing to an old wreck and then to the shallow waters near the beach. The water was much warmer than we have experienced to date, anywhere in our travels. Some locals were gathering Gayo clams and showed us how to prepare them. They have a muscle similar to a scallop’s that is primarily used in ceviche. We later had steak dinner onboard with a few gayos on the side.
After 2 days of Santa Barbara we decided to start making tracks south towards Puerto Escondido. We still have 5 days to get there but there are lots of really nice anchorages along the way. We decided to anchor in Bahia Santo Domingo near the entrance to Bahia Conception for the evening and then head out during the night to San Juanico. Santo Domingo has a very nice shell beach and we spent a few hours there and wondering what it would be like to snorkel offshore in the shallows. That will have to wait till another time. When we brought the anchor in we found a pink murex shell caught in the flukes. Now we have to convince the critter to leave his home....
We departed with KMT early this morning into a calm sea and moonlit night. We had 45 miles to go and arrived just before 1100. Rosie stood guard duty the entire way protecting us from any bad dolphins or pangas. After a few false alarms she actually saw a few dolphins but all we saw was their phosphorescent trail streaking by the boat. She is quite the different dog from last year when she hunkered down behind J-G’s pillow as soon as the engine was started. That is still her position when it is rough out or when the sails are up.
1000, Monday, 25 April 2011 At anchor in the north anchorage at Isla Coronado with KMT
It is a quiet morning in a beautiful bay, bordered with white sandy beaches and clear azure water. We woke this morning to the tell-tale “whoosh” of a whale nearby. It was a large fin whale about 100 yards from the boat feeding in the shallows. What a sight, another fin whale sighting for our log.
We spent 2 days in San Juanico with Doug and Trish exploring the beaches and shoreline around the bay. We deposited our contribution to the cruiser’s shrine. Ours is a large scallop shell with the boat name, our names and the years of our visits. Fran did a great job on it. Just hope it survives a few seasons. There are some there that date back to the mid-80s. The guide book also tells about a deposit of obsidian pebbles, better known as Apache Tears. We were able to find quite a few on a walk down the main road.
After moving to the southern anchorage we explored that coastline, found a few agates but not the clam beds we were hoping for. We’ll have to come back to this side in the future to explore the underwater ledges for lobster. We spent a very rocky night rolling in the swells that were produced by the afternoon wind.
We left San Juanico yesterday, mid-day, for the north anchorage of Isla Coronado. This has been a good choice. It was a very quiet night, no wind or swell. We are within range of the Loreto phone services so we have a good connection to the internet. Hopefully I will be able to get this blog sent with the photos that we took over the past few days.
Tomorrow we head for Puerto Escondido. We will also part company with Doug and Trish who will continue to La Paz where Doug can get some medical attention and where they can get ready for their trip back to Oregon in June.

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