Log #62f to San Evaristo

March 4, 2017 in Logs by Series, Series 62, Series 62, The Logs

At anchor in Bahia San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico

March 9, 2017

Hi Folks,

We are still in San Carlos, at anchor out in the bay, getting ready for haulout on Wednesday the 15th. We have our Yukon down here now, and will use it to return to Rusty’s RV Ranch in New Mexico where we will pick up the trailer and head back to Ontario for April 1st. The chartlet at the bottom indicates the travels from La Paz where we spent Christmas, up more of the Baja, and indicates where San Carlos is where we are at present.

We made a presentation to the San Carlos Yacht Club on the first of our series called Living the Dream Part 1, and will be giving another this Monday on Living the Dream Part 3. I have several presentations made up, and modify each a bit according to the audience (yacht clubs, boat shows, service clubs, libraries, retired groups, etc.) The series are listed below after the chartlet. If those of you in Ontario know of any organizations in your community that would be interested in such presentations, let me know.

I hope you enjoy this Log #62f.

All the best,

Aubrey

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Living the Dream Part 1 : Covers our departure from Toronto down the Mississippi, across the Atlantic to London and around the UK via the Scandinavian countries. Then it takes us through the rivers and canals of France to Paris and down to the Mediterranean. In the Mediterranean we go to the Balearic Islands, Tunisia, Italy, Croatia, Greece, and Turkey. We talk about the East Mediterranean Yacht Rally which went from Istanbul to Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Egypt. After circumnavigating much of the Black Sea, visiting Romania, Bulgaria and the Ukraine including Crimea and the Russian Black Sea Fleet Review, we returned to Rome and exited the Mediterranean through the picturesque Canal du Midi coming out at Bordeaux before we sailed down to the Cape Verde Islands and across to Antigua in the Caribbean.

Living the dream Part 2 : Covers the most of the idyllic Caribbean islands from Cuba and Jamaica, all of the Eastern Caribbean islands from Antigua to Grenada, down to Trinidad and Venezuela. It also covers the colourful Carnival in Grenada and race week in Bequia.

Living the Dream Part 3 : Covers our trip from Toronto through the St. Lawrence River through Quebec and Newfoundland, down the Maritime provinces and the New England states through New York City. From there we go down the Intra Coastal Waterway, North and South Carolina and Florida Keys to the Dry Tortugas beyond Key West. Dramatic pictures of this voyage will be shown, including weathering out Hurricane Irene in Massachusetts, old Quebec City, Newfoundland outports, whales in the Bay of Fundy, New York City, the navy base at Norfolk VA, the Florida Keys and the Dry Tortugas west of Key West.

Living the Dream Part 4 : Covers our trip through the Yucatan of Mexico to Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. It features archaeological ruins of the Mayans, exotic birds and animals in Guatemala, diving scenes from Roatan (Honduras), and preparations for trucking Veleda from Texas to Washington on the west coast.

Living the Dream Part 5 : The San Juan (US) and Gulf Islands of the Pacific Northwest portrays these quaint but popular islands straddling the Canada/U.S border. It will also include dramatic Howe Sound and vibrant False Creek of downtown Vancouver.

Living the Dream Part 6 : This covers going north in the Strait of Georgia to scenic Desolation Sound, into dramatic Jervis Inlet and the glorious Broughton Islands north of Vancouver Island. Whales, dolphins, sea otters, bIack bears and grizzles abound. It takes us through some of Vancouver Island’s east coast communities of Chemainus, with its 45 plus murals on local buildings, Campbell River, Port McNeil and its logging festival, and the totem poles and First Nations heritage at Alert Bay.

Living the Dream Part 7 : North to Alaska covers the long narrow northern inlets of B.C., including Bella Bella and other remote native communities, Fjordland and its glaciers, abandoned fish canneries, and the favoured route of cruise ships going up the Inland Passage to Alaska. In Alaska we visit several communities from Ketchikan to Juneau and then have many dramatic pictures of Glacier Bay, where we walked on and anchored beneath several glaciers.

Living the Dream Part 8 : Haida Gwaii (formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands) and its archeolgical remains of the Haida communities, a UNESCO World Heritage site, gives a dramatic revelation of First Nations now-abandoned villages. The totem pole collections on the island are fantastic! From Haida Gwaii we go down the scenic rugged west coast of Vancouver Island through the many sounds that indent that coast around to Esquimalt, the Royal Canadian Navy west coast fleet base.

Living the Dream Part 9 : This covers our odyssey 1900 miles down the west coast of the USA from Port Angeles, Washington, through the Straits of Juan de Fuca, to San Diego, California. We stop off in several famous and not so famous cities such as Newport, Oregon, San Francisco (where we spent two weeks exploring San Francisco Bay), Carmel, Huntington Beach, Los Angeles and Mission Bay outside of San Diego. From San Diego I have many pictures of USN ships, nuclear aircraft carriers, and the USS Midway, a museum ship of the first super carrier after WW 11.

Living the Dream Part 10 : This covers our trip down the Mexican Baja and up into the Sea of Cortez. The focus is on the small Mexican communities, bodegas, restaurants, and fishing villages along this peninsula, and the ochre- red mountain desert scenery, sandy beaches, and isolated RV encampments. Several expat cruising centres are featured where hundreds of Canadian and US sailors and retirees make Mexico their retirement dreams come true.

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Log #62f to San Evaristo

Caleta Catalina, Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico

March 4, 2017

After our New Year’s reef snorkel in El Merito Cove, on Jan. 2 we motored 7.3 miles north across San Lorenzo Channel to Caleta (cove) la Dispensa (24° 24.776′ N, 110° 21.066′ W) on the southwestern tip of Isla Espiritu Santo. The bay (bahia) immediately north of Caleta la Dispensa, Bahia San Gabriel, is a protected area, with no anchoring allowed, although we saw a couple of boats anchored in the NW of the bay. We dinghied around the bay enjoying the clear shallow water along the shoreline, watching the sting rays and flatfish scurry along the sandy bottom, and the frigate bird rookery, several males displaying the bulbous red breeding gullet, along the SE shore. Along the north shore is a berm, with a passage which might have been navigable in the dinghy at high tide, leading into a large lagoon which terminates in a trail leading across the island to the large sandy Playa (beach) la Bonanza on the SE coast of the island.

There are several bays on the west coast of Isla Espiritu Santo with good protection against all but SW winds. We motored up to the north end of Espiritu to anchor in Rincon in Partida Cove where a sand bar shoal separates Espiritu from its northern neighbour, Isla Partida. was a windy day, and we did not launch the dinghy to explore the sand bar.

We wanted to head back to La Paz to resupply before heading north on the Baja, and so next day we gunk-holed down Espiritu, looking in to Caleta el Candelero, a popular anchorage with a wide sandy beach. Our guide book refers to an underwater sculpture garden which was planned in 2012, but we have no idea if it was ever completed. It was a quiet day and we had lunch under way as we crossed the San Lorenzo Channel to go down and check out False Bay where we anchored for an hour. It was an OK sheltered anchorage just beyond the industrial port, and a popular beach with a shore-side restaurant and beach umbrellas. However it was also close to the main road. We decided to continue down to anchor back in La Paz (24° 09.478′ N, 110° 19.557′ W) after a 28 mile passage from Partida Cove.

Maintenance at Anchor

We stayed at anchor for seven more days while doing some maintenance tasks such as an oil change, topping up battery water and working the through-hull fittings. We change the oil and filters every 100 engine hours, and once a month work the through-hull fittings so they don’t seize up. We are happy with our four six volt golf cart batteries, especially as when we bought them two years ago we got Thermoil batteries which have a special oil treatment that has drastically reduced the out-gassing, bubbling, and loss of liquid from the cells and protects the plates. When we top up the batteries, little distilled water is needed each time. We are also pleased with our battery watering system whereby special caps are placed on the battery cells, linked by a hose with one fill port. When topping up the batteries, we need only put water in the one fill port and the individual cells are then filled to their appropriate level. This saves having to take up the cabin sole boards and open each cell to see how much water it needs. This system fills each cell to its optimum level as needed.

Our solar panels were not enough to keep the batteries charged up, and so we had to use, for the first time, the new Honda 1000 generator for about six hours for a couple of days to keep the batteries up. Something that we learned about the generator is that it should be run dry with each use. Our last Honda generator was destroyed as we did not run it dry, and had not used it for a year or two. Incidentally, it is the same for an outboard motor. If it is not to be used for a long period of time, run it dry before storing it.

La Paz is a good resupply port with several good grocery stores and excellent chandleries. We found their storage yards rather expensive, over 50% more than we were quoted for storage in San Carlos and Guaymas. The storage yard at Palmira Marina in La Paz was off-putting as there were several boats in the yard that were still blown over from the last hurricane a few years ago. Not good PR!

After getting our groceries, we also got additional filters and oil, sufficient for at least two oil changes. We try to keep at least two spares of engine parts such as impellers, alternator and water belts, as well as supplies for two or more oil changes, including oil and fuel filters. Redundancy is a good policy even when coastal cruising.

Jan. 11th we left the anchorage and motored up to Palmira Marina to refuel and get a pump out. On the way up the channel we were treated to some bottlenose dolphins leisurely feeding as we passed by. However at Palmira Marina, we refuelled (our five jerry cans), but did not get a pump out, as such cost $30.00 US! No thanks, we will pump out at sea.

We were now on our way north again, stopping at El Cardonal on Isla Espiritu Santo (26 NM) and The Hook on Isla San Francisco (21 NM) the second day. The Hook was a bit bumpy as the south winds rolled swells around the hook making it uncomfortable. However, we dinghied ashore and hiked across the desert isthmus to the far side of the hook. It was an interesting walk, our first hike through desert terrain here in the Baja.

 Crossing the desert saddle of the Hook

We waded through some warm shallow lagoon with mangroves on one side and an interesting rock sitting in the clear shallow water on another side. We crossed the saddle to the stark rocky south side of the hook. Bird life was minimal.

    

        Rock in the shallow lagoon water                                             Rocky south side of the Hook

Isla San Francisco is a small island immediately south of the larger Isla San Jose where we went early next morning to anchor in Amortajada off the lagoon (24° 53.000′ N, 110° 34.527′ W) after a short motor trip of only 5 NM. We dinghied into the extensive lagoon, enjoying the mangrove channels and the bird life. The mangroves were in the foreground of a cardon grove of cactus. Cardon cactus differs from the Saguaro cactus in that the branches are curved from the base rather than arms extending from trunk.

 Mangrove and Cardon Cactus

The anchorage was a bit rolly and so we left by noon hour for a short hop of 8NM across to San Evaristo on the mainland of the Baja.

Here we got our first awareness that the GPS is not properly charted, and that our actual anchorage (24° 54.477′ N, 110° 42.364′ W) was indicated on the GPS as being a mile inland. We were to find such errors more frequently as we went north in the Sea of Cortes. It is not well charted, especially in the northern areas.

We stayed two nights there and had a meal at the local, but primitive beach restaurant.

On our 26 NM passage to Tembabichi, again motoring all the way as we were headed into the predominantly northerly winds, I hooked a large tuna but it slipped off the hook before I was able to land it. However we were privileged to see a herd of white sided dolphins cavorting through the water. There were probably over 100 of them as they frolicked through the water, either feeding or possibly mating.

 

More about our voyage north in the Sea of Cortez in my next log.