December 3 Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men and Boaters

December 3 – Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men and Boaters…

Well, the weather man has spoken – our trip north is once again being cut short! Not that we have to go home right away, just that we have decided to head south now to avoid the Screaming Blue Norther that is threatening. And of, course, according to the weather charts, the worst of the blow is right when we were planning to be up near and in Bahia Concepcion and then heading down to La Paz. It is predicated to last for the whole week…which means we could be coming down with a big ugly swell following behind us. NOT that the boat and we can’t take it but we do have a plane to catch and this is a holiday, after all. But oh my I was sad this morning when I realized we weren’t going any further north, and that we also had to leave our little paradise. So, after a little snivel, I made banana muffins (when the going gets tough the tough get baking) and went for one last kayak. The water around the rock formations was crystal clear and calm, and I could see fish ten to fifteen feet below me. I saw many we had seen while snorkeling yesterday, and I even found a tiny guinea puffer fish. I actually considered racing back to the boat to get geared up for snorkeling, but we slept in this morning and we have a deadline to meet – which means cleaning up and putting away kayaks (I think I am getting stronger as the holiday progresses, where once I whined about hoisting the kayak up to the top deck via a system of ropes that takes two of us, I am now pulling my end up hand over hand and lifting it into the cradle with nary a peep. Great. The last thing these arms and shoulders needs is to have more muscle! But, there you go…).

Anyway, muffins were a big hit, and I started the preparations for dinner: in honour of Valerie who never had a chance to cook her famous bouillabaisse, and because I found leeks, celery and onions that needed eating, I started a pot of bouillabaisse. The stock is simmering on the stove (I figured out how to use which fiddles where to make sure the pot is going nowhere) and the place smells wonderful. The seas are flat calm so I am not that concerned anyway – just the thought of sliding into an anchorage this afternoon and all I have to do is add the dorado and the shrimp and butter some buns and dinner is made. Has to be an upside to leaving our last anchorage. I’m clutching at straws…

As we head south the clouds are miraculously clearing and everything is looking beautiful. I contemplated putting a line in the water, but unfortunately we are towing the dinghy today and the thought of playing a big fish with that line out there causes some anxiety. Also, all the fish guides say that now it is December there are few fish to be caught. I will see about that! Maybe not today, but I know there is another fish with my name on it out there!

Later….1900 to be precise. Dinner is done, dishes are done…generator is just- yup- being turned off. John Denver is singing Rocky Mountain High. After a few minutes of reflection, I decide it’s time for a glass of wine (I just hit it out of the ballpark with dinner, bouillabaisse with an appetizer of stuffed jalapeños – irresistible according to the recipe…yes, they were). We left Honeymoon Cove (very sadly) because of the weather, and had a few. M ideas about where to stop tonight. First choice was Bahia El Gato – obviously a great place based on the name, but also there are some pretty nifty red rocks to climb and a nice beach. After hours of very flat calm travelling, we entered the cove and – yes – no – two little sailboats (including the aforementioned Bristol Channel Cutter) anchored smack dab in the middle of the only bay that is safe to anchor in….mind you, we would have done the same thing, but…we moped around a bit, trying to see if the other part of the anchorage would work for us but all I saw were the rocks and reefs on the chart, and chart plotters that are pretty good at telling us where we are but really, in the middle of the night when it starts to blow – are you going to actually get any sleep thinking about all those rocks just itching to get you? Meanwhile, two little sailboats sleep sweetly in the knowledge that they are in the best place ever.

Anyway, I put in my two cents worth, and after some discussion we left. Next stop…Tembabichi… also a new one for us so it ticks off a few of my boxes. After another calm run, with clouds ruminating above us making me think that a storm was imminent – we ran into a pod of porpoises, or dolphins – big ones that had no time for us. They were porpoises with a purpose, no time to stop and play with the powerboat. We passed by some amazing red cliffs, and as the sun was settling down into Sierra La Giganta, we turned into Tembabichi. Not the same as El Gato, for sure, but pretty. Long white beaches and some jumbly rocks that look good for snorkeling. It is a very shallow bay, and anchoring is done almost as soon as you turn the corner. It seems quite counter-intuitive, we are practically sitting out in the middle of nowhere, but we took the dinghy in for a look-see and yes, we have ten feet under our keel and it doesn’t take long for that to turn into four or five feet. There is a small estuary into what is called an aguaculture lagoon… looks great for bird watching. The pangas get dropped off and picked up on the beach, so there are a few trucks and trailers and one patiently waiting dog, but there is not much other than that. Down the beach a way there are some deserted buildings (including Casa Grande, build in 1910 …most recently an abandoned attempt at a hotel, supposedly not something the locals wanted).

Tonight, the sunset was fabulous. We were in the dinghy heading back to the boat and the sky was lit up like fireworks. I took lots of pictures, and we went back to Northern Ranger II. As I was working on dinner, Lawrence said something about the mountains looking like volcanoes…sure enough, what had been merely pretty was absolutely jaw-dropping. Something about a few clouds set just right – amazing.

But soon it was dark – typical – we ate the irresistible jalapeños on the back deck and suddenly there it was – the full super moon. Just half of it – the moon played hide and seek with the clouds, and it reminded us of watching the eclipse of the sun this summer. Now you see it… bright red and huge! and then just a bit of it…and then none of it…next time we saw it, higher up, through a break in the clouds, it was back to its usual white self. Not something my camera or myself can figure out, so I contented myself with sitting on the back deck and just enjoying the view.

The bouillabaisse was great, just right for this evening. best part is I froze most of it, along with a bunch of those jalapeños…so somewhere in the next week I can have a repeat without the work! BONUS! The wind is supposed to stay calm tonight, which is good because I don’t feel this will be the greatest anchorage in a strong norther…hopefully we have some time to hang around and do more exploring tomorrow, and then we will head further south. Next stop will be a better place to get out of the wind if it comes. And maybe if it stays calm I can put a line or two in the water and we can see what happens!

The next morning…well, how about let’s just say 00:30 for accuracy’s sake. That wind that wasn’t supposed to come up and wasn’t supposed to come from a certain direction? It did and it was. I was exhausted after dinner and after watching the moon rise, and doing dishes, etc. etc.… I thought I would sleep… wrong! Lying in bed I was pretty sure we were moving around and the waves were slapping us, not seals or rays. I got up, ostensibly to have a drink of water; Lawrence was reading (I have lots of cruising stories on board, this one is one of my favourites, An Embarrassment of Mangoes). Yes, the wind had come up, it was blowing about 20 – 25, from the wrong direction. We had anchored in about16 feet of water over sand, to the north of us and not very far was the rock reef…south was an expanse of bay with a fair amount of water but now the one sailboat whose lights we had spotted earlier heading north had decided to turn and head in, to anchor next to us. East was miles of open water and west was the beach. Where it shallows pretty quickly. Anyway, to make a long night short we both managed to get some sleep (why do we question the holding power of a Rocna…??) and by the time we woke up and I had made breakfast and coffee that wind had dropped. Unfortunately, the prediction for the next week doesn’t get better, in fact every time we look at it it’s worse…whatever wind speed the gribs predict, you always add 5, so 20 becomes 25 and 25 becomes 30. Ugh (lots of bright red on the forecast maps).

So…discussion time…how far do we go today? Final decision – we move as far south as we can and still have somewhere nice to stay for the week. That done, boat cleaned up – I tried CLR on the rust spots on the deck upstairs to no avail. Don’t know what caused them, and don’t know what will take care of it. Lawrence keeps talking about abrasive cleaners and a toothbrush. I imagine that may be what it takes. As long as I can find TWO toothbrushes! The seas are calm, the sky is blue (yay) we saw what looked like a whale, and have seen some big rays jumping. Life is good. Now if I could just get a line in the water, it would be perfect.