Skipping Down the Baja
Now we are really enjoy the fruits of our labours. Out
of the oh so urban Hotel California and Ensenada and into the
raw uninhabited beauty of Baja California. Our first stop was at a wild life preserve on
Isla Todos Santos (All Saints Island) reminding us of
cruising in remote British Columbia. We stern tied in a cozy cove with crystal clear
waters where the fish just love to take your bait. Click
here for a visual parade of Isla Todos Santos' delights.
A few days later we had a
during an easy motor sail south to the wild and
woolly San Quintin. (pronounced San Queenteen). At
San Quintin the surf breaks everywhere and the
whales while away their days in the shallow waters. The raw energy of the place
was humbling. Big booming breakers thundering away
continuously. And not just on the beach. In the middle of
the bay and on the left of us and on the right of us. The
whole place just seemed to vibrate with energy and some of that
energy seemed to flow into my veins. Awesome display.
All this created quite a dilemma deciding where a safe place to
But the whales people, the whales. We had observed frequent
blows and it was obvious whales were in the vicinity.
Well, a little later this big barnacle encrusted guy comes right up behind Sally
with an amorous look in his eye. Sharon spotted him and just
about jumped out of her skin. She was afraid that he was going to tip
the boat over.
As we watched the big fellow snuggled up
beside Mustang Sally, I dove below to grab my camera - he was a foot away and rolled over on his
side to look us over.
I guess he decided Sally wasn't his type because after a few
minutes he slowly ambled away. We couldn't believe it and
kept looking at the whale
pictures over and over.
For a view of some of the rest of San Quintin click
We had an awesome sail
across the Sebastion Vizcaino Bay. Leaving at 4:00
am to make our arrival in daylight, we began with a reefed main
and full jib. The 25 knot wind held until about noon
powering us across the bay at 8-9 knots. In the afternoon
the breeze faded to 10-15 and up went the chicken chute (our
Then, over a 50 foot deep shoal, we came upon a pod of blue whales.
Sharon counted five of them, basking on the
surface, their bodies turning huge splotches of water into a
soft green aquamarine color. We sailed amongst them for a
hour, watching them blow and amble away from the boat. Then the dolphins came.
Hundreds of them, leaping, bounding and and hopping right
out of the water, black and white bodies glistening in the
sun, diving under the boat and zig zagging between the
hulls. They were playfully slapping Sally's bows and hulls
with their fins. It was like they were daring Sally to
slap back. More than a few dolphins left with
splotches of blue bottom paint on their fins and back! The
little guys are wearing the bottom paint off of Mustang Sally's
And just to make a great day better, this little
tuna ended up on our dinner plates.
next stop was the extraordinarily beautiful
Islas San Benito.
Thanks to Rick and Suzie of VYC for recommending it!
group of three islands about 2/3 way down the Baja. This place is really out back Mexico. I thought
I would find such arid and harsh environments barren without
beauty. But I was
wrong. Beauty abounds.
A hike to the top of the highest mountain on the island
reminded me of just how great it feels to hike in the wild hills.
The hike made
me think of my brother George and his family who regularly spend
weekends hiking in Wales. I also realized the
ankle I sprained back back in July is 100% healed. Yahooo! Four months to heal
and regain the original strength
town at San Benitos was an interesting seasonal fishing village. At the
time of our visit the population was eight! Ramon,
pictured at the right was fishing for lobster there. Ramon is a pilot
but flying work is scarce, so he fishes to keep his Ensenada
based family fed. And he enjoys meeting the people who
come by and helping them get to know the area.
here for some buena vistas of San
Benito. If you love nature you will love the slide show.
On October 31st we are sailed to Turtle Bay which is located at
just about the center of the west coast of the Baja. As we
walked through the dusty town I said to Sharon, "Why the hell
leave a beautiful place like White Rock to wander around the
dusty unpaved streets of a Mexican town like this?"
"Well" Sharon answered, "Its the people and the adventure
of landfalls in different worlds. Here in Turtle Bay
everyone is friendly, they all smile and some are having as much
fun as us. If it were the same as White Rock it would not
be near as much fun."
Turtle Bay is a beautiful location but the nino's - (the
children) - sure got to be a pain. Their incessant bickering while
begging for tips or jobs, and the chaos that would ensue each
time we came ashore. I wondered how their parents felt about their kids
groveling for a few pesos. We tried to seek advice from
adults in the vicinity - such that we could get with our meager Spanish.
people we met all seemed so kind and friendly. Hortes for one, drove me all over town and helped me chase
down parts and fishing gear. I felt I was imposing so
would set off on foot, only to run into Hortes again when
looking for the next item. He and I would laugh, then it
was 'get in Amigo' and we would go bouncing through town looking
for an opened store. It happened to be on the Mexican's national holiday
Day of the Dead.
The next mornings, at 4:00
AM I awoke to the smell of diesel fuel. A quick check of
the bilges and tank confirmed it was not coming from Mustang
Sally. At 5:00 AM I couldn't sleep the smell was so
strong. 6:00 AM as the sun came up we could see the slick
on the surface of the water. At 8:00 AM it was still
there, so I said to Sharon, "lets vamous". Up anchor
and outta Turtle Bay. Click
here for a virtual
tour of the town at Turtle Bay.
Bahia Santa Maria
provided an awesome display of rugged Baja beauty. On November 2 we sailed
overnight to arrive at this isolated and windswept bay. We
anchored 100 yards of the beach and slept peacefully that night
to the gentle sounds of surf rolling up the beach.
got soaked to the bone on numerous occasions in the Bahia Santa
Maria. We were landing and launching in the surf. Great fun in the warm water.
To land on a surf beach, we wait for a bigger wave
moving toward the beach, then we use our motor to run up the
back of the wave and try and drive the dingy as far up the beach
as possible. Just before the engine starts to suck sand into
the cooling system, the engine is raised and we jump into the water
to drag the dingy up the beach before the next wave swamps us. Tricky!
On departure from a surf beach, you try and time it
carefully to catch a lull in the waves. Then you run like
hell, dragging the dingy seaward until you are waste deep in
water. The rower - Sharon - jumps aboard, grabs the oars
and pulls with all her might. I stay in the water a little
longer pushing the dingy further, holding it straight into the
Sharon starts pulling. Then I jump aboard and try and get
the engine started. If you don't time it right a
wave can soak you to the bone and fill the dingy with water.
If you really blow it a wave will toss you and the dingy back onto the beach like a piece
of driftwood. Good thing the water is warm.
The Baha Ha Ha caught up to us in Santa Maria. The Baja Ha
Ha is a sailing rally. This year about 150 boats left San Diego on October 31 and made two stops on their way to the
tip of the Baja at Cabo San Lucas. They have lots of
parties, and enjoy the comfort and camaraderie of traveling in a
group. It was neat to watch the nearly deserted Bahia
Santa Maria fill up with 150 boats. It felt like we were
in the Caribbean at Tabago Cays! 30C air
temperature. The 25C water temperature. The surf.
The crystal clear water with 30 foot visibility. Ah yes,
life is good!!
Click here for a
slide show of Santa Maria.
Now it is November 10th
and we linger in the Bahia
Magdelena. This big
bay reminds us of the Straights of Georgia with it girth and
smooth waters. We are anchored just off the village of
Puerto Magdalena pictured on the left.
We are delighted to be joined here by the crew of Maestra Del
Mar from Bella Bella shown on the right. We are like
minded people and enjoy enjoying the fruits of Mexico together.
Puerto Magdelana is easy to fall in love with. Groceries
beer and limited supplies a short dingy ride away. Both
priced half of the prices back home. Miles and
miles of beaches. Clear water, great diving. Very
hard to do it justice in this short space - but go there if you
can, take your time and relax. Everything is OK.
Wonderful friendly people that ask for nothing but offer
generous hospitality and fair value for their goods and
services. Pinch me amigos, I must be dreaming. This
be the real Mexico. A place where everyone is laid back
and happy with life. Where the one resturant opens in a
few weeks when there is one visiting boat. But if there
are a few boats - what the heck, they open today! Tomorrow
- we will see!
Follow this link to
tour Puerto Magdelana.