Santa Maria Bay to Magdalena Bay to Cabo San Lucas

We spent one more day anchored in Santa Maria – a windy one, not good for going ashore. We had planned to leave the day after next, but we both woke up the next morning thinking it was the day to go. The weather from the net seemed to say there’d be wind that day but not so much the next. So we got the dinghy onboard and pulled up anchor. Our destination was about 8 miles away, as the crow flies – but it was going to be about a 30 mile trip to get around Isla Magdalena and back up into the bay. Here’s a good visual from our chart plotter after we arrived (pay no attention to the gangsta in the background).

MB Charttrip

Turns out there really wasn’t any wind – just 14 foot seas at 18 second intervals. Not the most comfortable trip and we had to motor the entire way. But it wasn’t awful, it was warm and sunny. Jonny caught a very nice bonita (kind of tuna) that would feed us for 3 days.   The mouth of the bay is 3 miles wide and the bay itself is just huge. You can’t see land across it. We anchored in Puerto Magdalena – just off the tiny fishing village. I had high hopes—groceries? Wifi? Shrimp for our traditional Christmas eve dinner? The Capitania de Puerto came out in a panga full of giant plastic containers – fuel. We arranged for him to come back first thing in the morning to check us in and sell us some diesel.

He arrived as scheduled and we filled up 2 of our jerry cans with diesel. He didn’t require us to show him our papers, but we filled out and signed his ledger. I asked him if the arborrotes had verduras (grocery store / vegetables). He laughed heartily and then shrugged a very discouraging “maybe”. He and his son then headed off for San Carlos – a much larger town on the main peninsula. It’s only 11 miles from here, but it’s a narrow channel to get there and apparently there’s a fee for using it and no real facilities or anchorage for yachts up in there. I know it has everything we need, but I think we are not going to make it up there by dinghy or hiring a panga (?). We are hoping he returns in a few days – because we discovered the diesel we bought is black. It’s supposed to be more on the clear side, and not smell the way it smells (perhaps there’s some 2-stroke fuel mixed in?). At any rate we are afraid to put it in our tank – so a little worried about this $50 worth of who-know-what we just got. And we may not have enough fuel to get to Cabo if we have to motor most of the way (which is likely, winds are super light).


When I first asked about a grocery store he misheard abborrotes and thought I said camarrones (shrimp) and I said “no, abborrotes” and then thought better….Y camarrones!!!”. Gomez was the link to shrimp. We were not sure if that was a boat or a man. Every year for my entire life I’ve had my Italian Grandmother’s traditional Christmas dinner of fried shrimp with a special spaghetti sauce and spaghetti. It’s one of the best dinners ever. The first part is cleaning and frying the shrimp, which takes a lot of time and requires you drink a lot of red wine while doing so. I have managed to save a couple bottles of Sante Archangeli Family Wines Pinots for the occasion (thanks, JB!!).

There are shrimp boats everywhere around here. This is shrimp county. How hard could it be to get us some shrimp? We decided to be bold and take the dinghy right out to a shrimp boat and see what we could do. We went pretty far out to a boat that appeared not to be moving. They were working hard pulling up their outriggers. We called out “camarrones?” and they told us not to get to close. It was more of a – ‘move back and we’ll let you know when it’s OK to come get some shrimp’ kind of gesture. We sat a ways off watching them work – it was pretty fascinating, really. But, when they were done, it appeared the crew was not able to persuade the captain to stick around for us. Off they went with their load of shrimp to San Carlos. No shrimp for the birds or us.

MB Shrimp Boat NOgo

Optimistically we headed ashore to check out this little village. I had my grocery bags and everything. The village seemed kind of deserted, except for a group of fisherman gathered under a large lean-to. It appeared they were having a meeting of sorts (it was probably a co-op – Fishing Co-ops are very important and set all the rules and regulations that the fishermen are supposed to follow). Jonny boldly approached to ask about camarrones and Gomez. We were told Gomez would be around early the next day. Also the grocery store was not open until the next day, either. I guess Monday’s aren’t ‘business’ days.

Looking up toward the Port Captain’s building in Puerto Magdalena:

MB Port Captain Office

The Rebar Stick Figure Jesus on the church in Puerto Magdalena was my favorite:

MB WR Jesus

We gave up our shrimp hunt for the day and went off to explore the dunes and see if we could hike across the ½ mile stretch of the island to come out on the beach at Santa Maria Cove (where we had just been – you remember, heavenly beach?). We decided to bring our soap, in hopes of a nice ocean bath. The dunes reminded me a lot of Cape Cod. We hiked up and down and through wiry vines grabbing at our toes – all in all I’m pretty sure that ½ mile was more like a mile with all the up and downs of the dunes! I could hear the roar of the surf, driving me steadily onward. When I finally saw the surf, I was a little dismayed. It looked reddish-brown. As I got closer to the beach, I saw all kinds of debris. Ah yes…the far end of the bay is where all the crap collects. Not sure what was in the surf – red tide? Some sort of plant stuff? At any rate, not very inviting. We decided to walk the beach a little and ‘treasure hunt’ – who knows what exciting things had washed up there?? Turns out it was just mesh bags, plastic bags, Clorox bottle bailers, rusty oil drums, giant pieces of Styrofoam. Nope. No treasures. It was a HUGE beach with an amazing, expansive view, though. And not a soul around.

We hiked back over the dunes to the huge and also deserted beach on the Mag Bay side. I spotted a coyote in the dunes.

We had a bath in the bay, which was actually quite nice (and I was 3 days without a shower, so it was a necessity).

Tuesday morning Jonny slipped away before it was light. He was on a mission to find Gomez – man or boat, we weren’t sure. He came back and apparently everyone in the village knew the gringoes were looking for Gomez. They said he’d be back in an hour or so. Jonny went back and I was feeling skeptical. What or who was Gomez and how was he going to get us shrimp? There were no huge shrimp boats that moored here. Maybe he knew someone on a shrimp boat and could arrange to go get some? After quite sometime I heard the dinghy coming back. I poked my head out to see what had transpired. Jonny held a huge bag of shrimp up. No way!!! I was very excited. It was at least a kilo, maybe more (well over 2 lbs). He said Gomez was a local / small time shrimper who caught them from his panga. He had just come in with a load of shrimp and Jonny helped him pull the heads off the ones in our bag. Freshest shrimp EVER! We had to go back and pay him – 100 pesos (I had set my max at 350 pesos for a kilo). I got dressed quickly because I had to meet this Gomez for myself. We gave him a few extra pesos and a t-shirt (one of our Minney’s Yacht Surplus shirts – try explaining what “Schooner or Later, We’ll Get our Ship Together” means in Spanish… I think I at least conveyed it was a very funny joke…)

Rafael Gomez and his wife (Amarela ?? I didn’t quite get it) offered us chairs and coffee. We sat out and chatted with them as best we could, for some time. Rafael has lived in this tiny village for 32 years. They will have turkey for their traditional Christmas dinner. Also, last year some cruisers brought them cookies at Christmas. I’m not sure if that was a hint. I’m also not sure they’d want my chocolate avocado cookies, which I have nicknamed “rubber dog shit cookies” – more due to look and texture than taste. Although I’m not sure they taste all that much better (hey, all my cooking experiments can’t be winners).

Rafael walked us over to the grocery hut. I was pleasantly surprised to see tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, limes, potatoes and avocados. I need all that stuff. Also got some eggs. Aside from that they had some canned goods and cleaners. Nothing else – no refrigerator, no junk food (and yes, we were kind of hoping for some chips and ‘sweets’! but we’ll be better off without. Besides, there’s always rubber dog shit cookies).

Satisfied with our great accomplishments for the morning, we proceeded to siesta for the rest of the day. It’s a rough life.

At the end of the day we spotted a sailboat entering the bay. Did I mention we were the ONLY boat here? As they got closer we realized it was a Hans Christian 33 (named Prism)– we’d met them in Turtle Bay. A husband and wife with the wife’s brother. I guess we’re not the slowest ones afterall!!

MB Prism

The next morning, Jon rowed over from Prism to say hi. They’d been stopping at a lot of places and having a great time. We told them we were thinking of moving about a mile farther up the bay – it was supposed to be nice and we were kind of getting over ‘town’ and all the fishing pangas going by all the time.

They pulled anchor and headed over there. That got us motivated to up and move, too. Not sure why we’d been so lazy for so long! We went a few miles past to check out the bay, but it wasn’t good anchoring so we went back nearby to Prism. We swam and hung out on Chrismas eve. Then it was time to cook shrimp. I opened some wine and got to cooking. We had a LOT of shrimp! It was the BEST shrimp EVER, I think. And of course the wine. Somehow we put away a lot of that, too.   All in all a very nice Christmas eve – I always like thinking about all my other family members all over the place who are having the exact same dinner. Even though we are far away and don’t even have phone or internet, we are connected by shrimp-nets that night.

MB JCFryin Shrimp

MB dinner Shrimp

Needless to say we were feeling a little sluggish on Christmas Day. I decided to row over to Prism and bring them a bottle of champagne and finally take them up on their hospitality to visit. Prism is GORGEOUS. I have to say it’s the first boat I’ve been on that actually made me a little jealous. Usually I come off of most every other boat thinking to myself “I still love Summer best of all”. I came off of Prism thinking “DAMN…” it’s 3 feet smaller but seems twice as big inside. Amazing seaworthy little boat it is, too. But it was great to get to know Jon, Shannon and Shawn a bit. Shannon and Jon did what we did—sold everything and took off – they’re all in and going cheap. So, you could say we’re all in the same boat 😉   Shawn is Shannon’s older brother and is along for the surf until Cabo.

I hung out with them for a few hours and then rowed back to Summer to have dinner (leftover shrimp! Yes, there was that much).   We were invited to come back for ‘game night’ in the evening. Jonny wasn’t up to it, so I rowed back over. We place cards and dice and Jon was kind enough to share his movie collection with us. It was fun to socialize – I realized how long it has been! The row home in the dark was fun- the stars were incredible.

The next morning Jonny went off fishing and caught us dinner. I had a relaxing morning getting a spa pedicure. NOT. I have to do my own pedicures now and I’m terrible at it, but not as bad as it was starting to look. In the afternoon we went ashore and hiked out on a ‘road’ to the other side of the island to see if there was surf at the point. It was probably a 2 mile hike. Lots of desert like flora and fauna, and we got to go along part of the estuary with mangroves and all sorts of birds. There was also a great abundance of trash. Everywhere. Real trash, too. In Mexico, the trash is very pure. There is nothing even remotely salvageable in what is thrown away here.

The tide in the bayside was still full of whatever it was that was making it all red. The whole bay looked like blood! But around the corner it wasn’t so bad. We found a pretty and remote beach and not much surf.

MB Red tide

The wind picked up quite a bit when we were heading back. We stopped to see how Prism was doing and they were liking the wind and decided to take off for Cabo right then and there. We went back to Summer to radio them some weather from our SSB grib files (which was occasionally sort of accurate…). We watched them sail off and decided that tomorrow would probably be a good day for us to head out, too. The wind looked to be picking up, a nice fast sail would be fun, and it didn’t look like too much swell.

MB Secluded beach

Well the wind picked up a lot in the bay and there was considerable chop. It was the roughest night we experienced there and not that comfortable. The next morning was extremely windy and Summer was hobby-horsing up and down. Getting our dinghy aboard was a bit of a challenge, but we managed to do so with out getting hurt or falling overboard.

I made some breakfast jars, some chocolate almond bread and black beans to hold us for our trip. We had everything ready to go and it was still early. We did not want to arrive in Cabo before daylight, so we had to plan to leave a little later in the afternoon. The wind died down and it got hot, so we decided to have one last swim/wash before the trip.

Out near shore we spotted what appeared to be a kayak. Kayak? From where? There were no other boats in the harbor any more and if they had come from San Carlos, that was like a 12 mile paddle. Sure enough it was a tandem kayak! They came over our way and said Hi. Debbie and Dave are from British Columbia and have a place in Pescadero. They like to kayak and camp all over. They were going around all of Mag Bay. They had camped on the beach the night before and had used up all their water. Dave thought he was shooting a noise-maker in the air to scare off an aggressive coyote, but it turnd out to be a flare. They set fire to the foliage! They used all the their water to put out the fire.   I think Dave would’ve been just as happy if Debbie hadn’t told us that story, but she enjoyed it very much. They asked if they could get water in town. Given our experience we didn’t think it would be a likely possibility. Since we were going to be in full-on civilization in 2 days, we thought we could easily spare some of our water. We gave them a few gallons of drinking water from our Water Fixer. It was fun to chat with them and think about life camping and kayaking – it really looked like fun! I can’t believe we haven’t done that…

MB KayakersDaveDebbie

We finally got underway, expecting a very pleasant, 36 hour or less journey. (Cue up Gilligan’s Island theme song…”the weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed”). Anyway, as we were exiting the mouth of the bay (a 3 mile wide area between 2 islands) it was rough and weird, and all of a sudden, within 10 seconds the wind switched 180 degrees and backwinded our main and stopped the boat dead in her tracks. We couldn’t turn in either direction and because of the force of the backwind, we couldn’t undo any of the lines to move the boom. We were kind of freaking out and not sure what to do, and then, just as fast as it happened, it switched again and we shot off really fast. We were doing 7 – 8 knots with just the reefed main up. We went with it to get well outside the mouth and hoped things calmed down a bit.   The winds were really strong and the seas were coming at us from either side. We were doing a beam reach at the fastest speeds I’ve ever gone on Summer. It was kind of fun. At first. It got darker and rougher. I made us some dinner and we ate. I started feeling really sick, so I went to lie down for a bit and hopefully sleep it off as I often do. Things got really bad and it was necessary for us to reef the main again. Jonny came down and told me I needed to get out there and take the wheel. I had no idea how I was going to get my foul weather gear on without throwing up. I thought if I just eased it on as I lied there, it might work. All of a sudden there was a terrifying noise outside, shuddering and whipping of sheets. I knew that we had to do something FAST or we were in big trouble. This is when I learned that there is a hierarchy of bodily functions and apparently sheer terror will override the need to vomit.   I don’t even remember how I got my gear on, but I was suddenly behind the wheel, trying to hold us steady, ready to turn us into the wind if need be. Huge waves were washing over our beam, often hitting me in the face. I kept my head up, trying to see the windex to keep us on a beam reach while Jonny tried to take down more sail.

Jonny finally came to take the wheel from me and let me go throw up…but I didn’t just then. I sat for awhile watching us plunge up and down through the waves, still going at top speeds. I ended up sitting on the cockpit floor, kind of scrunched up with my head down. This was by far the roughest weather I’d ever experienced. Even Jonny started to feel seasick. He lost his clean record of never having gotten seasick on Summer as he lost his dinner. I somehow held it together for a while longer, slumped on the cockpit floor. I had my head on the seat and my arm up and a huge wave sloshed over the side and went down my sleeve. The jolt and scare of that propelled me to the edge of the boat where I also lost my dinner. Those black beans were actually almost as good the second time. Almost. Unfortunately for me, getting sick doesn’t make me feel better afterwards, as it seemed to for Jonny. I went down below and tried to hide under the covers for a while. There was nothing remotely approaching sleep possible. The waves were hitting Summer so hard that sometimes it sounded and felt like we were hitting something solid. If it weren’t for our CPT Autopilot, I’m sure we never would have survived. That thing is simply awesome. Jonny tweaked things as much as he could and eventually he started coming down below to rest for spells as well. It was cold and miserable out there. And it Did. Not. Stop. Morning came and there was a spell of it being less than horrible. I thought I might be feeling better and poked my head out like a groundhog. That was as much as I could handle, I ran back into my cave. Good thing for the breakfast jars, I was in no way going to cook breakfast. I really don’t remember much more of the day. Jonny was optimistic that we were done, but I remembered the forecast looking like it was going to blow for one more day. Sure enough, it came on strong again for the second night. I managed to make some sort of soup, but I was unable to eat any of it.

I couldn’t believe we were in for another night of hell. Several times this thought crossed my mind: “People in their right minds do not do this sort of thing”. But, I guess we knew that, no? At one point we completely dropped the main and we did 6-7 knots with bare poles for almost an hour.  At the speeds we were traveling, we were going to get to Cabo way too early. We decided to heave-to (make the boat stop, basically, sort of…) for a few hours and both try to sleep. As we were heaving-to, things got more violent and somehow the dishes in the cupboard slid up and hit the latch and opened the doors – dishes started flying out. Somehow we both managed to catch everything and nothing broke. But Jonny had to go out and finish up with the sails, and I tried to gather everything in the dark. I didn’t know what to do with any of it and I was afraid I was going to get sick again (into a bowl I was holding seemed like a good option?). I sat on the floor in the dark holding onto a pile of dishes and whatnot (and trying to pick up the trash that has spilled out when the trash can came crashing down on top of me). I just wrapped it all in some towels and soft stuff and pushed it under the settee. Then I got really sick again – this time in the bathroom, which was far more luxurious than overboard (tp and running water and a safe place to wedge myself in). Jonny held my hair (which was quite a brave thing to do – who knows what was in it from before and salt, oh the salt! I thought it had gone white from fright, but turns out it was just salt). Anyway we finally tried to lie down for a while, but sleep didn’t quite happen – but some rest anyway. The motion and sounds were just relentless and scary. We drifted out to sea and a little backwards during this time. When we finally started going again we had maybe 6 hours to go. Somewhere around 3 am I started to feel myself coming through to a more normal state. I was starving – my body had been completely purged of every last shred of anything inside it for more than 24 hours (do you think I could market this as some sort of ‘cleanse’??). I found my travel mug full of soup I had made the previous afternoon – I ate it cold, it wasn’t half bad. That’s when I knew I was going to survive. The sun came up and things had calmed down a bit. We were suddenly near land and surrounded by big, fancy sport fishing boats. We were almost to Cabo! It got warmer and sunnier and scenery got more interesting.

We saw the hotels, condos and beaches near Cabo Falso and the arches and pinnacles of Cabo. As we came into the bay area we slowed down and radioed the marina. We did not have internet access for weeks, so we were not able to make a reservation. But it was our hope to get a slip for 3 nights to be able to enjoy the luxuries of a marina – such as showers and laundry and a boat that wasn’t moving much if at all. The marina said they had a slip for us and told us the dock and number. We were SO relieved. As we approached I thought I saw Prism anchored out down the way. I was hoping we’d run into those guys again.   We made our way through the narrow, crowded marinas area and found our dock. A guy was waiting to help catch our lines and I somehow made a perfect docking. As we were entering the slip I heard people behind us yelling “Summer!! Summer!!” I knew it was Jon from Prism – they were on shore and spotted us coming in. I was glad they were seeing where we’d be.

Cabo Arch Cabo Lovers beach

We did what we had to in the marina office. It’s ridiculously expensive – more than 2x the cost of a slip in Santa Barbara!!! And no wifi – the hurricane knocked it out and they hadn’t had it repaired yet (and still, no discount?). We had high hopes of showering, getting food and doing some errands. Oh luxurious, clean, hot shower!! How wonderful. We managed to find food (at a Jonny Rockets? Really? Just not in the mood for fish tacos that day). After lunch we realized we were both zombies and the only thing we would accomplish that day was going straight back to the boat to sleep. We did for a few hours and then managed to find a store to get some food to cook for dinner, and found the Starbucks, which is very close and has wifi.

Next day I spent 4 hours in the morning doing laundry and Jonny de-salinated Summer. She was a mess, along with our foul weather gear. I talked to the guys in the office about our Black Diesel situation. They thought it sounded bad and we shouldn’t try to use it. They said they could help us dispose of it. Turns out it was going to cost us 480 pesos to dispose of it. I kind of threw a fit and refused. Which made Jonny really mad at me, because he wanted the whole situation to just be overwith and we find some clean diesel (I left out a lot of trying to return it in Mag Bay…but it’s been a thorn in our side). Anyway we managed to find a guy who was extremely happy to take it from us for free. As this was going down, a little dinghy showed up – Jon, Shannon and Shawn had found us! Cabo GuestsWe all hung out and caught up on our most recent journeys. Theirs was rough, but not as bad as ours – they were smart to leave when they did and missed the worst of it. Finally the boys went off to find a fishing store, Shannon come to Starbucks to work on their blog ( and I went off to find a TelCel office to see if I could get my cell phone working in some sort of fashion. We then hung out on Summer some more before they had to take off to get back to Prism before dark. They have quite the cute little motor and dinghy….

CaboPrism Dinghy

Tomorrow night is New Year’s Eve. We are going to have a nice dinner out somewhere with our Prism friends and then probably do what most Americans do in Cabo. On the 1st we are going to head out to the anchorage area –our cushy, expensive slip days are over. We will anchor out there for a few days or however long it takes to get a good weather window to cross over to Mazatlan. We are hoping to do some snorkeling and other fun stuff around here before then, too.



Turtle Bay to Asuncion Bay to Santa Maria Bay

I believe I last posted the day before we were to leave Turtle Bay. After 3 days recovering there, we decided to check the motor before our departure. This is when we learned to check the motor upon *arrivals* from then on… Turns out our heat exchanger bracket broke off. The unit was now wedged down against the engine. Too much vibration over our 3 days of travel? We were uncertain if the unit itself had been damaged. It appeared that maybe there was more fluid in our exhaust manifold? We were a little freaked out, because this heat exchanger was fairly new –our old one busted after our first big trip from Half Moon Bay (was that 2012?). At that time we had ended up with salt water running through everything and it was a big ugly process to flush it all out and get it all working again. We thought we needed a new exhaust manifold then, too, but it ended up being OK.

So, here we are in Turtle Bay, a town of very limited resources. If our heat exchanger was really broken, our only option would be to hitchhike or find a bus (?) out to a more main town and try to get a bus to Ensenada, rent a car and drive to San Diego to get a new part. Not a very exciting or affordable prospect. Our first order of business was to remove the heat exchanger and try to test it. We also went to search for an auto parts store and/ welder to see if we could get a new bracket made. The old bracket was not fixable – as it was already welded once after the last time it broke… Ideally we should move the heat exchanger to a different location, but that would take extra lengths of hoses that we will definitely not find for purchase anytime soon.

We ventured back to Turtle Bay town for a little recon to see what might possibly be available to us.

TB Beer StoreWe discovered it was much bigger than we initially thought, although still quite limited. It was ALL dusty and dirty, though. And the wheelchar accessible sidewalks left something to be desired (check out the pole in the middle…) TB Handicap sidewalk

We learned a lot of new Spanish words! The auto parts store owner didn’t carry any anti-freeze (anticongelante) but he did know a welder (soldador) he recommended to us. He took great pains to write down everything and teach us a few new words. Very nice guy.

Meanwhile, back on Summer we checked out the heat exchanger and ran water through it and blew through the ends.TB Heat X broke It appeared that the salt water and fresh water lines remained in tact and were not mixing with each other. This was quite a relief! Now all we had to do was to get a new bracket welded. Luckily Jonny had save a couple pieces of leftover heavy stainless steel bars that would be much beefier than the previous bracket, if we could get them fabricated into a new bracket.

TB Soldador

The next day we hunted for the soldador. He was not at his shop. We stopped back by the auto parts store to ask Juan if he knew where we might find Manuel the welder. He ended up loading us into his giant Toyota truck and driving us around town until we ended up at Manuel’s house. He called from the truck “Manuel! Manuel! Clientes! Clientes!”. Manuel came out and Juan translated for us (although Juan spoke not a word of English). Somehow we managed to convey we needed a new bracket the exact dimensions of the old bracket and he said he could do it and use our stainless. It would cost 200 pesos (around $15). We left everything with him and said we’d come back in the morning.

We met some really nice folks also anchored in the bay, Sugar, Jake and Alyce, who were aboard a gorgeous yawl. Sugar is a very accomplished sailor/captain who has a much larger boat up in Port Townsend, but was on this trip aboard his father’s boat. Alyce, his daughter was also quite a sailor who has worked aboard sailing/teaching boats, Jake was a college friend of Alyce and also a sailing instructor. They had some extra mahi that they thought they couldn’t finish- so they invited us to be their dinner guests that night. We were very excited about the prospect of our first ‘boat visit’ in the anchorage! I decided to make a batch of brownies to take over. I have to say this batch was the BEST I ever made!

TB Best Brownies

We rowed our dinghy over to their boat and had a wonderful evening cooking and chatting. Sugar had some amazing stories – including a tale of being first mate aboard a tall ship that sank off the east coast. Four people died and he spent 5 days in 6 person life raft with 8 people. He had a lot of happy stories, too…

TB Sugar Dinner

The next morning we went to Manuel’s house and he had the bracket. It seemed as if it needed a little bit of tweaking, so he drove us to his shop and made some adjustments for us. Once we had it just right, we asked the price (assuming it would be more for all the extra work). It was still 200 pesos!   We stopped back by Juan’s shop to bring him some brownies to thank him for all his help (we never even bought anything from him). I learned how to say brownies : bizcocho de chocolate.

Jonny also gave Manuel a sanding disk for his sander – as a propina (tip).

Jonny spent an entire day working on further tweaking the bracket so it would all fit back together. There wasn’t much to do in Turtle Bay except sit at the restaurant and use wifi and wander to all the tiny markets trying to piece together a decent food supply. Greens are not something very abundant around here. Baja is a desert, so there’s not much local produce to begin with, and these little towns are so remote and deliveries infrequent. There’s just not much variety or availability of anything. I need to learn more cabbage recipes.

TB Summer Moon

I think we spent 4 more days in Turtle Bay after we had wanted to leave. But finally the day came for us to depart. We were really anxious to get more south, still wearing fleece and uggs every night…no bueno!

TB JC Internet

We left Turtle Bay just before dawn. The sunrise was incredible (and gave Jonny a scare, thinking about the “Red Sky at morning, sailors take warning” saying – but it was really more of an orange, not red…

TB Sunrise leave

We had a lovely sail – plenty of wind and everything going in the right direction. It did get a little hairy at one point – huge seas and fishing buoys everywhere, but we got through it and on to more smooth sailing.

We anchored in Bahia Asuncion. There was only one other boat there aside from the local fishing pangas. We saw a lot of people come and go from Turtle Bay – and we were the only ones left when we finally departed. Kind of felt like we ‘missed the boat’ or something… But Asuncion seemed pleasant enough from the boat and I was anxious to check it out. The bay was full of hundreds of baby sea lions, who were VERY curious. They swarmed our boat the entire first night. I wasn’t entirely sure what they were, but there was definitely “something out there” making noises all night. In the morning we discovered they liked to swim around and through our anchor chain – often stopping to bite at it (later in the week they actually loosened our bridle).

Asun Sealions – VIDEO*******

Asuncion has cliffs that vaguely reminded me of Santa Cruz.

Asun Cliffs

There was a main ‘beach’ that panga fisherman landed on and seemed to have the least amount of swell. Jonny was not interested in going ashore the first day, he’d been working on the motor and after the long sail, he just wanted a day to chill on the boat. So he kindly dropped me off so I could explore town. It pretty much blew Turtle Bay away, making me think “Wow, Turtle Bay was a real dump!”. The main drag was clean and tidy and had well kept bougainvillea plants down the center.Asun Flowers I went into the first tienda I saw and bought a Jumex pina (the best pineapple juice around) and asked the woman where the internet café was (first things, first, right?). She told me and I understood, sort of. I headed off in the right direction and figured I’d find someone else to ask if I didn’t see it. I saw it, but the lure of what was up ahead had me pass it by. I figured I’d just walk to the end of town so I could see it all and then come back to it. Just before the end of town I noticed Campo Sirena – which I had read about in one of our cruising guides. Apparently the owner is an ex-cruiser who settled here to run this camp. It was rumored they had a shower and other facilities. I wandered over that way and noticed a nice view overlooking the water. I went down to take some picture of Summer at anchor (how many of these pictures do we need? Why can’t I stop taking them?). As I was admiring the view, a bearded man driving a red quad with a puppy in a shopping basket on the front came out my way. The tiny puppy was ferociously barking at me. Of course I went over to say hi. This is when I met Perry and Bonz. I had a short chat with Perry (which later I realized turned out to be over an hour). Perry was caretaking a house next to the camp. He used to work at the camp and filled me in on all the details. There was a washing machine, shower, fresh water hose, and wifi that could all be obtained at this magic little hut in the midst of the campground. I was ecstatic! We needed ALL those things.

Perry Bonz1

Perry is from Shasta CA and looking for a less stressful retirement situation here in Baja. He recently found Bonz, a 3 month old mutt who was abandoned at the dump – which is what often happens to litters of pups down here. She was apparently the only one of her litter not eaten by coyotes. She was desperately in need of a good home –and as it turns out, Perry came to realize he was desperately in need of a good puppy. Both of them are quite lucky.  Bonz was giving me flashbacks to Flaco, the puppy I rescued one year down at 9 Palms (where we used to go camping every December). Flaco was taken in by a Canadian family and (I hope) is romping in Vancouver to this very day.

Asun Mermaid

The next day I did a load of laundry over at the camp, while Jonny took a load of water back to the boat in our jerry cans. This is when I met Ricardo, a plump guy who was doing work at the camp. He was taking a break to check his phone at the little wifi/shower/laundry hut. We chatted for quite a while. He was a pretty friendly guy, young and speaking almost no English (at least to me…maybe he spoke more?). Most of what he wanted to talk to me about was if I had a lot of boyfriends and sex…and if I wore a bikini or thong. He tried to show me some porn on his phone, claiming it was a friend of his. I said I wasn’t interested and he laughed at how rojo (red) I got. Most of you who know me, know that sort of thing wouldn’t normally freak me out, but I was suddenly very aware that it has been a long time since I had to be mindful of my safety – and I was “not in Kansas anymore”… I decided that I would wait till Jonny came back before taking a shower in the bathroom with no lock on the door. I left the comfort of the magic hut to sit outside and wait for the washing machine (which was outside the hut) to finish up – and leave Ricardo and his phone in peace. When Jonny returned, Ricardo kindly offered to watch our dinghy – for a tip. We were not worried about the dinghy at all, but when someone offers you protection, for a price, it’s not wise to turn them down. I‘ve seen enough mafia movies.

Jonny and I had a brief walkabout to the end of town after our showers and found the ‘big’ grocery store. There was also a store that looked like it might carry hose clamps. Oh yeah, on the trip to Asuncion, although there was very little motoring, the 2 hose clamps holding our heat exchanger to the new bracket – sheared right off. More work needed to do something about the apparently extreme vibrations.

The following day we went ashore for more laundry (we had SO much) and I brought some leftovers in the event we ran into Perry – to help fatten up Bonz. Luckily we did run into Perry and Bonz right when we got to the magic hut. He suggested it might be nicer if we did our laundry in the machine at his place. What a sweet guy! We went over to the house/compound where he was staying – nice and secure with a great clothes line! Jonny and Perry got to talking about our heat exchanger situation and they got to rummaging through Perry’s stuff looking for parts to help with our vibration issues. I realized that Perry reminded me of Cliff (see Chula Vista Time post) – which endeared him even more. I ended up getting 2 loads of laundry washed and hung while we visited with Perry. He is full of fascinating stories and the day just melts by when you are with him. We all went to lunch at a great restaurant at the end of town. I loved the bathroom there…

Asun toilets

We spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out with Perry and finally made our way back to Summer.

The days went on and on with a number of fun visits with Perry and unfortunately several days of a bad headache (in which I did not get to visit with Perry! He was certainly a highlight of Asuncion Bay). Anyway I’m not sure entirely what happened, but 9 days went by… We kept saying we were going to leave, but the weather kept being off – either the wind was coming from the wrong direction, or the waves were huge. I think in the end I said at least 4 “goodbyes” to Perry.

Jonny had caught a tiny nondescript fish and a small mahi. We brought some to Perry (along with more leftovers for Bonz) and it turns out he was just on his way to have tacos at the best taco place in town. We went along and met Spike (from Hawaii) and ran into another gang at the taco shop. I finally met Shari who owns the camp at which we’d been so grateful to shower several times, and a nice couple from Canada traveling around Baja in their Subaru.

Asun Jonny FIsh

One last shower, using wifi to Skype with Mom and Dad, chatting with Spike, yet one more goodbye to Perry, and a final grocery shop and we were READY to depart. We were cleaning up, putting the dinghy onboard and I was cooking up a storm (beans, breakfast jars, all sorts of passage eats) until well after dark. We had planned to get a few hours sleep and then take off so that we could arrive roughly 38 hours later at our next destination in the daylight. By the time we’d finished, it was kind of too late to get any sleep, so we decided to just take off then and give ourselves a little extra leeway on the arrival end. It was kind of smart, but also kind of dumb (we were pretty exhausted already). Neither of us slept the first night, really. It was REALLY rough, big seas. I was glad it was dark because I was pretty sure I didn’t want to see how big the waves were. And cold. It was cold. We were bundled up. Still not far enough south!! This trip would help quite a bit with that, though.   A huge disappointment was that with our dinghy on deck we cannot use our whisker pole. This was a perfect trip for the whisker pole, too. We have yet to come up with a solution – dismantling the dinghy is such a hassle. We may try to find a different storage solution for the parts to make dismantling it easier. Right now it involves taking everything out of our aft lazarette and wedging in the 6 floorboard pieces, 2 rails and seat, and then putting everything else back in on top of that. Putting the dinghy together is that in reverse.

Mahi letgo

The next full day was a little calmer. But I found myself wondering how we were going to make it through another night – we were both completely exhausted. We contemplated just heaving to and both going down to sleep. We were 50 miles off shore, hadn’t seen land all day and not another boat in sight, it seemed like a safe thing to do. I went down to sleep and Jonny was going to hold out as long as he could before shutting it all down and coming to sleep, too. But after almost 4 hours I felt kind of OK – so I stood watch and Jonny got about 4 hours of good sleep. The 4 hours watch is a common amount of time when underway and luckily our VHF radio sounds an alarm every 4 hours. No, it’s not supposed to do that, but when it can’t find satellites to maintain lat/long position, it sounds an alarm – and when we use our chart plotter, the GPS doesn’t work on the VHF (someday we’ll fix that, it’s a wiring thing). So, we have a handy dandy watch alarm. It was quiet and the air was getting warmer and I did OK staying awake 11pm – 3am. I did wish Perry were there to regale me with some of his great stories, though. I missed him already!

We arrived in Bahia Santa Maria early afternoon on the 16th – only a few hours later than projected. There was only a powerboat anchored in the giant bay. There’s a tiny collection of lean-tos and pangas on the beach. There are mangroves and a giant long beach. The surf was pounding and we did not go ashore for 3 days. We watched the family from the powerboat try to take their dinghy ashore. They went back and forth behind the surf and finally gave up trying to land. Boats came and went and suddenly there were 5 other sailboats in the anchorage. It’s fun seeing other boats come in – when you’re down here, every boat is a cruising boat – there are no daysailors in this neck o the woods. So I nosily watch everyone come in and see what kind of ‘stuff’ they have on their boats, how they anchor, etc. Hey, it’s my only entertainment!

Today we finally (after much cajoling from me) went ashore. We had been watching the fisherman for days to see how they approached and got by the surf. But the distance makes things look quite a bit different than they are. We ended up going too far and too close to the rocks/ shallows and beached quite far from where we’d expected. We love our dinghy wheels! We dragged Peugeot down to the estuary. [OH, did I ever tell you how our dinghy got it’s name? It got this weird rust stain from being in the rafters of our garage – it looks like a lion – you know, the Peugeot logo? So yeah, that’s that, it stuck].

Puegeot towing

Anyway, at the mouth of the estuary, it all started making sense. We got the dinghy in and were able to motor up a ways. There were a couple of fish camps set in among the mangroves. It got really shallow a few times and we had to row – it was really low tide and we probably should do that when the tide is higher. Finally we gave up and just floated back down stream. I really wanted to go ashore and hike up a hill to see the other side– apparently this is a narrow strip of land and the ocean is just on the other side of the mountain. I tried to get out of the dinghy and drag it ashore in a really shallow spot. The shore turned to deep and suction-y mud. Jonny refused to get out and said we had to wait till the tide was higher and it wasn’t so shallow. So I pried my feet out of the muck and pulled the dinghy back out into the deeper water. I had packed some snacks so we ate and floated along slowly. We were both laughing at how we decided to get off our big boat, which we’d been on for 5 days straight, going really slow and are now spending hours in our little boat, going much slower. But it was kind of nice floating down among the mangroves and watching crabs on the bottom and all kinds of neat birds in the shallows.

SM JC Beach

We decided to check out the beach when we got to the mouth. We beached and started walking. There’s like 14 miles of pristine, untouched, completely deserted beach here. And if that wasn’t enough, the most AMAZING sand dollars I’ve ever seen. Hundreds and hundreds of them. The ocean was gorgeous, the shells amazing, the weather perfect, no one around anywhere. If there is a heaven and I was allowed to go there, that’s what it would be like for me.   Another dinghy did come ashore and I briefly crossed paths with a woman from Seattle on one of the big boats anchored out with us (yeah, they’re ALL big boats compared to us! Get used to it). SM Shark

SM Shells jh

SM beach windy — VIDEO******

So we were going to leave here 2 days ago and we don’t have a new departure date yet. I don’t know why I’m bothering to write that, because we also don’t have wifi yet and by the time we do, that sentence will be meaningless. I guess I’ll have to end here and start a new post for whatever is to come before we find wifi again.