Friday, December 18, 2015

San Carlos to Puerto Vallarta

Blog post by Jim...........
With new starter motor installed, we left our slip at Marina San Carlos at dawn, Nov. 9,  putted out into bay and dropped the hook for final prep to cross over to the Baja side.  Left about mid-day in a small but confused lumpy sea state and light wind.  Ended up motoring all day and all night.  Arrived Puerto Escondido Nov. 10 around 9 a.m., about 12 hours ahead of next forecast N’ly.  Water temp 80 degrees!  Jumped in for a swim, refilled fuel tanks, joined the “circle of knowledge”  happy hour to learn the latest, and say hi to friends.  Wind came up that night.  Typical three-day blow, 25 kts plus, with gusts above 30.  Time to hunker down, and Puerto Escondido is good for that.
Leaving Marina San Carlos
Sunset in the middle of the Sea of Cortez
Sunrise as we pass Loreto - Baja

Sunset Puerto Escondido
Sunrise Puerto Escondido

A few days later, with N’ly coming to an end, we headed South to hunker down again, the next one only two days away.  There was wind, but the left-over seas caused too much motion for the sails to stay full, so we motored  25 miles to Agua Verde.  This is what we call ‘seas bigger than the wind’.  Nice to see the anchor in 20 ft of clear warm water.  Snorkeled, beach-combed, inflated the paddle boards and explored around.  Right on schedule, next N’ly started the night of Nov. 16.  It’s so nice to receive these good forecasts via the single side band and ham radio nets!
Leaving Puerto Esondido heading to Agua Verde
Everything is greener on Baja than we've ever seen.
This is the village of Agua Verde with the green mountains behind 

This palapa on the beach by the north anchorage in Agua Verde
was a victim of the summer storms
Dinghy exploration while the lull from the northerlies lasts
This car went off the very primitive and washed out road right
 above our anchorage. The driver was lucky she didn't just
keep rolling down the cliff to the beach below.
Loomba-Loomba in the foreground, Safari Endeavor (an "uncruise" ship)
to the right. While in Agua Verde the 100+ passengers kayak,
snorkel, paddleboard, and go for a mule ride up this road above the
anchorage that goes to the village. The car that went off of the
road was the school teacher's car (a gringo). She was headed down
to the beach to help translate for some local women who were selling
jewelry to the cruise ship guests.
We walked to the village on this road to go to the store
to get a little fresh produce.
On the way back most of the males from the village were there helping.
The cruise ship Safari Endeavor donated a long length of heavy rope.
With muscle and Mexican resourcefulness, plus one come-along,
they got the car righted and back on it's wheels.
Wow!  it was still off of what little road surface was left...
a bad wash-out, but they had made impressive progress.
We hope the school teacher bought them lots of beer.  It was hot and sweaty work.
It looked like they would be successful, but we left the next day
so we don't know if they were able to get it turned around and
back to the village.....seems doubtful because there really
isn't much of the road left after all the rains and flash floods.
We'll find out on our way back north in the spring.

Nov. 20 left Agua Verde heading south.  Seas bigger than wind again.  
Motored until we could sail in Canal de San Jose 18-22 kts downwind, 
right into Isla San Francisco. Enjoyed a couple of good days there.  
Strong N’ly, but excellent anchorage, nice walks on beach and across island.  
Weather predictions start on formation of Hurricane Sandra, and deterioration of Rick.  

View from the anchorage of Isla San Francisco looking toward
the mainland Baja
Hiked over to the other side of the Island.
This is the view hiking back......
only masts :)

 We didn’t want to tangle with Sandra, so moved closer to La Paz.  
Once again, seas were bigger than wind, but this time plenty of wind, 
so we had a rolly sail to Ensenada Grande, on Isla Partida, 
about 25 miles from La Paz. None of the lockers flew open.  
Chrissy does a good job loading the boat with food.  
Sandra went on by.  She was a big one, Category 4 out at sea, 
but diminished and was no threat to us.  She turned right 
south of Cabo San Lucas heading across the southern entrance
 of the Sea of Cortez, but missed us.  We had rain, 
which cleaned the boat, and we didn’t see the sun for almost four days.  
A very late, late-season storm, on what is considered to be the 
last day of hurricane season.
Interesting rock formations on the shores of Ensenada Grande
The snorkeling was great
A huge fish ball........the pelicans were having a hey day
It was fun to watch the Pelicans dive one right after the other

We did quite a lot of beach combing, paddle boarding,
 and snorkeling
while we were at Ensenada Grande 
Fisherman's Cross - Ensenada Grande
Thanksgiving gathering on the beach
On December 4th the seas flattened out enough to get to La Paz 
so we decided to go to Marina Palmira and wait for a good three day 
weather window to at least get to Mazatlan. We also needed 
to do some provisioning which we hadn't done since leaving 
San Carlos on November 9th.

Couldn't go to La Paz without going
to La Fuente!

Don't think this sculpture was here the last time
we were here - Spring 2014?
This cow is outside the market we ride our bikes to from the Marina

Finally we got a weather window that opened up enough for us to cross over to Mazatlan.  189 miles from Bahia de los Muertos (translation:  Bay of the Dead.  A very exclusive small hotel there is trying hard to re-name it Bahia de los Suenos, Bay of Dreams.)  Our crossing was uneventful: a dark, moonless sky, fantastic starry night. 
Hurricane Odile damage in the dry storage yard by Marina Palmira
We left La Paz on December 9 with a good three day forecast and
headed to Ensenada de los Muertos (a full day trip) to sleep
 before jumping off to cross over to Mazatlan .
Sunrise leaving La Paz
Sunrise leaving Muertos on 12/10/15
Sunrise approaching Mazatlan (about eight hours to go)

We arrived in Mazatlan at 3PM Friday 12/11/15.

That night it poured and continued to rain off and on 
for the next 24 hours. 

We needed to go to the bank - this is what the streets looked like
on Saturday morning.
Left on a Monday afternoon for San Blas, Mantanchen Bay, 131 miles down the mainland Mexico coast. Another overnight with fabulous stars, this time meteor showers put on a great show, some

with long-lasting comet-like tails  and the southern cross was visible for a few hours. 
We got a long and needed full night of sleep in sleepy Mantanchen Bay, left at dawn to continue farther along the coast to Bahia Banderas, where we will have Christmas with the kids in Puerto Vallarta.  Whew!  We made it here in time.  Everybody on a cruising boat says that it can be tough to keep to a schedule, and we wholeheartedly agree to that.