Best laid plans blah blah blah
We have had some really wonderful days at Costa Baja, with friends around to hang out with at dinner ( great
restaurants here… after a week of cooking it’s nice to eat out!) We haven’t been going to the Beach Club
because of the Great Beach Club Affair…. basically we don’t want to pay for something that used to be free
and which we supported by buying food and beverages, and tipping our servers well. Oh and we pay a fairly
substantial amount in monthly moorage fees. And take advantage of the four restaurants that are part of the
marina. But I digress. We don’t need the beach club. We like to think that they miss us more than we miss
them. Besides it’s not exactly been stinking hot in the afternoon…yet…
Anyway the time has come to cross over to La Cruz, our first order of business on this next great boat
adventure. Wind kept us at the dock and having friends there made it extremely easy and tempting to stay,
but we have to get moving and there appeared to be a weather window this morning.
We got away from the dock and headed out…
And of course it was windy. And as we came out of the lee of Espiritu Santu it got downright nasty. After much growling and a lot of rolling around with a few crashes ( things falling, not boats colliding) thrown in, we opted
to turn around and head up to the island and anchor somewhere out of the wind for the night.
The boat can handle it, we can handle it, but honestly we don’t really have to. So we don’t.
Now of course various weather predictions are giving us different forecasts. Hopefully the right one will give us a window to cross.
Espiritu Santu is a magical set of islands just a stone’s throw from La Paz. It is frequented by day-tripping
pangas schlepping eager tourists out for a snorkel or some whale and seal watching, kayak groups who enjoy the aqua crystal warm waters and pink sand beaches, and boaters like us who have a number of bays to
explore and find shelter from the storms. This is where we last spent almost a week as the northers blew up to 45.. we opted to not choose that bay this time! A bit further along is Ensenada Grande, an anchorage on the northern island made up of three different sized lobes. You can anchor several boats in each one, but yesterday
there were only two boats total and the most northerly bay was empty. Perfect!
I had hoped to be somewhere special to watch the lunar eclipse and the red blood blue moon (or something
like that).. however as the evening darkened the clouds thickened and I was apprehensive about even seeing
the moon let alone the eclipse.
And sure enough… no lunar shots for me. However my overly active dreamimagination took over and I had
two rather fun dreams about watching the moon from several different exotic locations on the boat so I didn’t
feel as though I missed anything. Much.
This morning I cooked a breakfast of oatmeal and we left the anchorage nice and early.
It was calm, it was warmer, but it was cloudy. I will take cloudy if it means no wind.
As soon as we rounded the south end of Espiritu Santu I had both lines in the water, but the only
entertainment of an aquatic nature was one solitary whale, a pod of dolphins, lots of baitfish… and not much
else. Silver lining- didn’t have to kill a fish today. I was ready though.. have my turkey baster and bottle of
cheap vodka ready to anesthetize the fish before I have to do my fish bonking…and all the other stuff I won’t
mention that has to be done before the fish is ready to cook. It’s a lot of work… just saying…but worth it..ugly
job but someone’s gotta do it.
We came around into Bahia des Muertos in the mid-afternoon and had pretty much our pick of spots to anchor – we stayed away from the four or five sailboats already settled in and got ourselves firmly hooked. As soon as we were done, a big old sailboat came barreling in straight for us – he stopped not that far away, went forward and dropped his anchor, and then disappeared belowdecks. We laughed, because really, what else can you do? A huge bay with tons of space and you get close enough to almost touch us? As the afternoon slid into evening more and more sailboats have come in. Those that choose to anchor close to us are in for a bit of a surprise when we start up our engine at midnight and leave. Ah well… no wind, no one is swinging, it’s all good. We hope.
Later – we had dinner early and went to bed. Muertos is a good anchorage, a popular spot for fishermen to
drop their boats in the water and head out. There is a good restaurant on the beach, and some small resort
rentals. Up on the hills are huge houses, owned by who knows whom but they definitely have money! The
beach is long, with lovely sand and some very interesting rock formations that look more like fossils than rocks. We didn’t get a chance to go ashore this time – quick dinner, a few hours sleep, and we were gone by 1230
am. The full moon behind the clouds provided good light, somewhat obscured and soft but still good for
travelling. I love it when the full moon also doesn’t set until the sun comes up – makes for more comfortable
night cruising. Travelling in inky darkness, even with radar and good charts, electronic and otherwise…can be a bit nervous-making.
Lawrence took the first watch and I got in the first chance to sleep. It was pretty calm when I went to bed..
and I was surprised to actually get a few hours in. However by the time I woke up I could tell the wind was
picking up. I took over, and although the wind was steadily crawling up, the seas were staying relatively calm. Lawrence took over again around 0800 and surprisingly enough I got a few more hours in. This time the wind
definitely picked up – now it is about 20 – 22. However at this point the seas are still just choppy. The sun has
come out too. There are big clouds all around us though and I worry about lightening and thunder. Not in the
forecast… but who believes in those things 100 %?
So we appear to be less than halfway across, between Cabo and Mazatlan. But we aren’t going to Mazatlan so we still have a ways to go! When I think about it, this is probably going to be the furthest from land we have
Friday morning, 0732
Sun has risen – we have had one and a half nights and this will be our second full daytime leg – we are abeam of the Islas Marias but over 20 miles away because that is how far you are supposed to stay away from them..lovely islands, penal colony, they think poorly of people getting too close. 20 miles at least it is!
Last night was good – first of all we seem to have definitely figured out the watch rhythm, and even sticking to
three on three off we get lots of sleep. When we aren’t on watch, or making a meal or doing engine room
checks…we are sleeping.
There was to be a course change in the early hours so our watch reflected that – I fed us ( leftover leftovers…
chicken and beans and rice done Mexican style can be turned into so many different things!!! ) and then took
over. It was cloudy and rainy… a bit windy… but not rough. As the sun set a couple of birds did some recon on the boat and then, one by one, they settled onto the rail at the bow. It took bird number two a while to get
himself down…and when he did he sidled up to the first bird until they were huddled together , and the two proceeded to preen. That lasted almost my whole watch… I went to bed, after pointing out various fish boats and other issues and the birds, of course, to Lawrence. Three hours later, there was another bird on board. Identifying them at night was hard… big… not gulls… not frigates… maybe boobies? Gannet? Anyway – one more sleep and when I woke up at six they were still
As the sun came up I got lots of pics of them, silhouetted in the beautiful sunrise…no one seemed too
Back inside, Lawrence and I were talking about something and both looked up in time to see a splash the size of Krakatoa not that far off our bow. My once in a lifetime Fox Talbot moment and I missed it! So worried about the silly birds ( yes they pooped on the bow) that I missed seeing one of Nature’s most magnificent creatures
do what had to have been a complete out of the water broach or breach RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE
One can only dream about something like that. Ah well… We saw the splash. We know it happened.
And now- we still have one very silly youngster who refused to leave when his parents did, although they
cajoled and threatened…and even the human with the camera did not get him off the rail. So there he sits.
A picture of misery, scanning the skies every few minutes, gazing into the water wondering if a meal will
magically appear, and the object of ridicule as several elegant terns have swooped by close enough to have
only been taunting him.
Sun is up, he’s all dried off after last night’s deluge…. time to leave the nest and get launched, buddy!
Huh.. just put down my computer and went to get my hat and when I returned he was gone. Guess his friend
or parent or sibling convinced him it was time! Or he got really hungry.
After a few days of clouds, this looks to be a beauty. Wind has died back down ( it got up to around 22 – 25 at one point ) seas are just the tiniest bit choppy or rolly- and I have a foredeck to wash later on before we get to La Cruz. Don’t want to be handling lines and fenders and stepping in that stuff!!!
Anddddd… we are here. We were treated to the most amazing whale show ever as we cruised into the bay.
We were given our slip assignment – close to Colibri!
And we were tied up and receiving visitors within an hour. Our friends showed us a great place to eat that included dancing horses( who doesnt love dancing horses!)
(don’t think good restaurants will be a problem here) and then gave us dessert and a tour of their lovely condo after. This seems to be the place where everyone thinks they have discovered a hidden gem… everyone! Gringos of all walks abound- old salts in old shorts with long white pigtails and flip flops, white-haired women in walking
shorts and tight tees clutching a water bottle in one hand and a cel in the other… with a small dog at the end of a leash somewhere in there… tanned and fit and definitely established mommies with scampering blonde
children playing with the Mexican children … and people like us, eyes round like saucers, skin still northern
pale, wandering over uneven cobblestone and broken sidewalks hoping we don’t wrench an ankle.
But there are lots of smiles, it’s gorgeous and green here, and I think we will have a good time.
La Cruz is small town on the north side of Banderas Bay. Originally a fishing village, the creation of a large
marina with an extended breakwater gave the town a new appeal. We talked to several people from Canada
and the US who discovered this town years ago and have enjoyed its quiet nature, compared to Puerto
Vallarta, their boisterous neighbour to the south.
Whether they come by boat, car, or plane, many people have fallen in love and now make La Cruz their home, especially in the winter.
The town square has some beautiful examples of the Huanaxactle tree, from which the town got its full name -according to the story a woman was buried beneath one of the trees. Whatever the story, the trees are
There is a good anchorage too, very secure and well-utilized by numerous sailors who are able to come into the marina with their dinghy to use the facilities and go into town for supplies.
We have paid for three weeks here, and I am hoping to take advantage of the Spanish lessons and free yoga,
as well as do some exploring with friends who live here. And maybe just maybe we will get to take part in turtle releasing! Bucket list stuff!