Friday, November 9, 2012

The Ride to Mag Bay

It's getting greener... 
We took off from Bahia de Tortuga as the sun set, about 12 hours before the bay undoubtedly filled up with the 120 boats that make up the BaHaHa flotilla. We motored as the full moon came up, just 15 miles around the “corner” to Thurloe Bay. Our purposes were two-fold. We wanted to get a jump on the next morning and we felt like it would be a good place to practice anchoring in the dark. It was. No problems, but definitely a new and not totally comfortable sensation to be easing in toward shore, and decide where to set the hook without a visual of the surrounding topography. The depth sounder is great, but we have learned we can’t rely on the GPS coordinates that are given in the guidebooks or the electronic charts of Mexico lining up with reality. It was a calm restful night and fun to see the surrounding bay (another big wide open one) in the first morning light.

Another day, another fish! An hour and a half into the next day, we needed to slow up and take about an hour out to “process” our second big Dorado catch within the week. We are getting more efficient (safer and less messy, too) in our gutting, filleting, and packaging routines. This one gave us 6 large steaks, more beautiful sushi, and ceviche. The rest of the day was fantastic sailing! Running downwind, 14 -20 knots, 5-7 mi/hour, nothing but the sound of sun, wind, and waves! We turned into Bahia Asuncion (you never get to “tuck” along this coast – the bays are too big – they require a 10 mile detour to get anchored). Fish BBQ, good holding, and off the next day.

An hour and a half into the morning travel, just as we were deciding whether to make it a shorter day, or start our long overnight run to Mag Bay, we had another fish on the line! Who put that hook in the water?? Lanham??
This one was a 10 lb tuna (yellow fin?) with deep purple meat. That helped us decide. Time to go in and cook more fish – the freezer was maxed out! We cut the day’s mileage at 20 (now seems like a short day) and found a sweet anchorage by noon off a village called Hipolito. For us it will always be the Easter egg town. The houses and shacks were all painted bright happy colors, looked tidy and well cared for. As it was a holiday, El dia de los Muertos, we did not want to intrude on family celebrations, so we stayed aboard and enjoyed a relaxed afternoon napping and reading.

Hipolito in morning light
Off at 8 am, Friday November 2 gave us a great ride. We flew the spinnaker (or it flew itself) without any main, which is the best because you have such a great view. The wind kept going our way, so we kept going through dinner, evening watches, and until after midnight when it finally died and we had to motor. It was a big cooking day for me in the galley. I was feeling overdosed on fresh seafood (can you imagine!) and made a big pot of beef spaghetti sauce (Italian spices, not a bit of cumin) and a loaf of banana chocolate chip bread.

We are one of the few boats sharing this giant bay, before the
BaHaHa boats arrived.
Saturday, we pulled into the famed Bahia Santa Maria. This is 20 miles north and on the other side of a low sandy bar from the famed Magdelena Bay, the only true all-weather anchorage or place to take care of boat repairs on the Baja coast. Fortunately, we did not need either so we stayed at the beautiful and more remote Santa Maria for 3 days! 

Our first two days we shared it with 4 other boats, and then “overnight” the BaHaHa boats arrived, and we were joined by 120. There is room for a 1,000 in the bay so it wasn’t really crowded, just populated, and kind of fun as a contrast. We ended up sharing a fish dinner with John (acquaintance from Ensenada) and his crew, we listened in to their social net, and scooted out 24 hours ahead to get some southing on the group.

We brought the kayaks up this estuary into mangroves. Tons of birds and even saw a hungry looking coyote.
Better than "Wild Kingdom"

A couple of bathing beauties -- just trying to even out our tans!

            We couldn't get enough of photographing the miles and miles of wind sculpted dunes.
Walking barefoot was like a Dr. Scholl's spa!

This stop, Bahia Santa Maria, may be our favorite so far – for its shear beauty and the variety of geography to explore. First we were taken by the greenness of the hills – realizing how little green we’ve seen. We took the dinghy in to the sandy beach (another soaking in the surf on the way back!) and ran the beach barefoot, walked the incredible miles of dunes, and checked out the estuary. Lanham did some snorkeling and we kayaked the surf (no camera with us for that, thank goodness). The swimming was wonderful and a breeze kept us cool day and night. It was nice to feel so secure in the holding of the anchor, be able to leave the boat open and unattended and we got the dinghy wheels out and working.

A highlight was our hike to the top of one of the 1,000 foot peaks. It was easy footing, the cacti were just interesting and healthy, not aggressive, and the views – well, check it out!

 Once we reached the ridge we had views of the bay, dunes and estuary on one side and the wide-open Pacific on the other. We had a picnic lunch, felt proud of ourselves and didn’t want the day to end! I finally got out my art supplies and did a landscape of the hills. It’s one of the places I won’t soon forget!
The fishing huts located at the head of the estuary are the only settlement on the whole bay.
The micro-views of cacti and desert wildflowers
were as impressive as the macro-views.

Can you say "Gringo"?

The scene at our early morning departure. BaHaHa boats just waking up.

On to Cabo – expected to be a 30-hour run. We left at 6 am to get in the following day about noon.

1 comment:

  1. Such gorgeous sand!! I'm amazed at how empty the beaches are! Thanks for another fabulous blog entry! Love you both tons, Weeze
    ps Rob is safely in Seattle.