Thursday, December 8, 2011

La Paz To Banderas Bay

11/29/11 in Los Muertos: We left La Paz at about 7:30 am morning, clear skies, winds about 12 knots. We had an uneventful trip making the 45 miles from La Paz to Los Muertos, the place where Terry tangled with the mystery sea creature. We had sundowners on Endeavor and met Sherry, Bob, Sydney (another one!) and Annie aboard s/v Pearl, who joined us on Endeavor. They are from Olympia, have lived aboard there for years, which is how the Phillips family met them. What a nice family. They had hoped to cruise for a year or two, but the cruising kitty isn’t quite big enough, so they will be in Mexico for only six or seven months and then bash back north so Bob can go back to work at United Airlines. Sherry and Gina talked a lot about homeschooling, Sherry has been doing it for years, so Gina is always glad to talk to other homeschooling moms. I think doing something like this with your kids is fantastic for their education.
It’s so nice to be back on the hook. The only reason I like marinas is for the chance to get online.We’ll be leaving around noon or so tomorrow to begin the passage across the Sea of Cortez to Isla Isabel, about 250 miles.
The water temp here in Muertos is 74 degrees, considerably cooler than it has been over the last several weeks, when it was in the 80’s. The nights are also cooler, but we still sleep with all the ports open even in the ‘winter’ here.

11/30/11 – 12/1/11 Crossing the Sea of Cortez: We left  Los Muertos at about 11:00 this morning ahead of Endeavor bound across the Sea of Cortez to the Mexican mainland. They were going to give us a head start since they can go faster than we can. We aren’t sure yet exactly where we’ll land. Possibilities are Isla Isabel, Mazatlan or Matanchen – all around 250 miles away, so it will be two nights offshore. It will depend on the sea state and what kind of time we can make. We left under calm winds and sun, put the sails up and sailed for a couple of hours and then the wind died. I had first watch at 8pm, which was pleasant and uneventful. The moon was a crescent turned up like a cup. It was high in the sky, then in what seemed like only a few minutes, it turned bright red and sank into the Pacific.

The next day was very warm and the sea was glassy and no wind again. We saw sea turtles and lots of flying fish. The sky and sea blended into one blue canvas above and all around us. Again I had first watch and it was so surreal. There was kind of a haze that smudged the line between the sky and the mirror-like water, the stars were brilliant. It was sort of like drifting in space—I can’t really describe it. I kept thinking about that song I used to sing and play guitar to--Winken Blinken and Nod…’they sailed on a river of crystal light into a sea of dew’. As we motored along in the dark, there were some kind of critters in the water about the size of an small dinner plate that kept firing off an iridescent glow as we went by – hundreds of them. It was the most mesmerizing watch I’ve ever done. It was like a dream really. I don’t know what they were, but what a show with the glassy sea, the stars, the smudged horizon and the big fireworks going off in the water all around us.
It was decided to bypass Isla Isabel this time around and head for Ensenada de Matanchen because we had made very good time on the crossing and would have had to go into Isla Isabel before dawn—not a fun thing to do.

12/2/11 Matanchen: We saw humpback whales this morning just before we reached Matanchen. It’s a roadstead anchorage and had only a few boats in it when we got anchored and settled at about 9am. Just as we were coming in we heard a man on the VHF from the vessel Jama who was warning all of us about some serious theft problems in the San Blas and Matanchen anchorages. He advised us not to leave our boats unattended because very recently a boat had been boarded while the owners were ashore and the thieves had broken through their companionway and cleaned them out. Apparently the thieves had someone onshore who was signaling when the owners were on the way back to the boat, allowing them to get away. None of their stuff was recovered Terry recognized the name of the guy on the VHHF giving the warning and said he had read in Latitude 38 that this guy was kind of a troublemaker. We had a little meeting with Endeavor and decided that whether the guy was a troublemaker or not, we would be wise to follow his advice.We all (six of us) jumped into our dinghy and went ashore after arranging with Twyla and Ken on SV Sail Time to keep an eye on our boats and call us on our portable VHF if anything suspicious was going on.

The long beach is lined with many palapas and ramshackle buildings, dusty and hot, with the ever-present stray dogs. In stark contrast to the aridity of Baja, the vegetation here is lush--like a jungle.  Apparently the town is a short walk down the dirt road running along the beach. From our vantage point on the boat it looks quite deserted, with hundreds of plastic chairs at empty tables in all the palapas—a bit unnerving. I guess the economy is suffering quite a bit.On the beach we met Baro who directed us to his palapa restaurant where we had all kinds of tasty dishes. Finally, we are in a palapa eating and visiting with the locals. Baro was so kind to us. He practiced his English, and we practiced our Spanish, and we learned all about his life. His house was behind the palapa, with a neat little yard in front. He’s lived here all his life, and he truly feels he lives in paradise. He used to be a professional surfer and has travelled all over competing. He has four grown children, a couple of whom live in Denmark, one in New Mexico and one someplace else I can’t remember (LA?). He cut some lemon grass out of his yard and gave it to us so we could make tea. All the while we’re visiting with him, an older woman is in the little cocina cooking away while the Mexican soap operas blared on the TV above her head. After eating lunch at the beach we went over to Endeavor and had the marinated FRESH dorado they had caught this morning. OH WOW! I guess the menu name for this fish is Mahi Mahi, which I’ve had before, but what a difference FRESH makes. Even Terry, my die-hard beef man is starting to order seafood and ceviche in restaurants!

12/3/11 Matanchen: We watched their boat while the Phillips’ took the panga tour up into the mangroves to see the birds and crocs. Then we spent all afternoon at another palapa eating and drinking and battling jejenes and mosquitoes.

12/4/11 Matanchen: This time Endeavor watched our boat while we took The La Tovara Jungle Tour. Eduardo was our excellent guide pointing out the crocs, iguanas, storks, herons, falcons, lilies and turtles. Then another afternoon at another palapa eating and drinking, the kids swimming. Tomorrow we leave – next stop Chacala.

12/5/11 Matanchen: We have been eaten alive by the jejenes and mosquitoes, and are out of OFF. We don’t have mosquitoes or bitey things in Anacortes and I had forgotten what it’s like to itch 24/7. To continue my little whine, we also had a very rolly night and didn’t get much sleep. Anyway, we finally said uncle and pulled up anchor to head the 54 miles to Punta Mita. We decided that Chacala was going to be just as rolly as Matanchen, so we changed our float plan and headed to Punta Mita. We do that a lot—make a plan of some sort and then change it on the fly. Endeavor fished all the way and we always knew when they had a fish on because they’d start going around in circles to chase the line. Punta Mita is small, mostly condos and a few nice palapas on the beach. The next morning we went ashore for a tasty breakfast after spending the night at anchor in Punta Mita, then headed out early the next day for Banderas Bay. It was only about a 2 hour motor over there.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Diane - how beautiful!! Sounds like you really are in paradise, now! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the photos! Love hearing your stories! Mia


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