Wow Factor

Fri 5 Feb 2010 00:00
24:07.37N 110:20.58W
05 February 2010 | Sonora to La Paz
Headed out from San Carlos, after cleaning organizing and more cleaning and organizing. Overnight accross the Sea of Cortez to Santa Rosalia went smoothly and "cool runnings" lived up to expectations. Out from there and down to Conception Bay and Coyote, a stunning anchorage and after Santa Rosalia, which mmm...was OK, our first taste of the Sea of Cortez wow! factor...... Wind gets up to 30 knots, and first signs our anchor isnt up to the job. Dragging and more dragging thankfully in daylight, but no restful night was had. Ate (and Margarita'd) after pulling the dinghy up to great Mexican beach shack and ordered the Mexican special. The 300lb bar "lady" when asked what was in it replied, "Mexican Things" in a baritone fit for the welsh valleys. Next night to San Juanico, towering rock formations around a moon shaped bay overlooked by an eagles nest....deserted of boats and people, with amazing fossils (aside from Nick and I) and scenery to die for. Hard to get accross just how shockingly beautiful and completely devoid of people this place is. Every day we sit there and just say "wow"
Off again and next night to Isla Danzante. Beautiful location, but our anchoring system once again was found lacking, with the windlass system now regularly jamming the chain due to the whole contraption having moved in the 50k winds, and the anchor consistently failing to hold. At 11pm, we decided to abort, and head over to Puerto Escondido, the "hidden" harbour, being even more hidden by the cursory Mexican navigation light maintainance (or lack of) which was as flawed as our weather data. As the night went on we dragged anchor consistently, the wind increased, the chain dragged, and the wind increased some more. Each time, with the windlass now not working at all, we retrieved 300lb of chain and anchor, by "driving" up the chain 50 meters, running to the bow and hauling, repeating this until the 290 ft was recovered to start again. As fun as this was, by 4am the joke was wearing a bit thin. Daylight saw wind gusts of 50 knots plus and it was obvious that we were having a day "hanging on" in the shelter of the harbour. Late evening saw the wind drop and a good sleep followed until we slipped out at 6am, and with hearty breakfast of rum and coke, headed for San Everisto, our next bout of man against Chain. After a quiet night, La Paz was getting closer and we had one of finest days sails Ive ever had in my life. Flat sea, weather perfect, wind at 10-18 knots, and the Cool Runnings romping along with Screecher flying. Just magic. Could it get any better? As late afternoon aproached we headed down a 2 mile "fjord" to anchor totally alone again off isla Espiritu Santo. Total silence and a dinghy in to the deserted beach for a quick "bath" in the shallows. We headed to the mouth of the bay in the dinghy to check out the next cove. Thus far we had seen smaller whales and dolphins, but we were about to have an almost mystical encounter that will remain etched in my memory. A pod of around 15+ dolphins came into the bay close to us, with 2 mammoth and a smaller humpack whale, and we sat and followed spellbound for an hour or more. They worked as a team, slowly heading down the cove towards the Catamaran, coralling whatever was in there. The whales blowing echoed off the canyon walls, and their huge flukes dwarfed the dinghy. Nick and I sat in silence, awestruck at what we were witnessing. As they left the cove, the setting sun over the mountains towards La Paz outlined the last sight we saw of the huge fluke going under for the last time. The crushing silence of the cove, was only interupted by an owl hooting in the cliffs. A very special place. Next morning, more Dolphins, breaching humpbacks and jumping Manta Rays greeted our traditional rum and coke breakfast as we headed out for the last leg to La Paz at 6am. We hit La Paz late afternoon, and headed into Marina Palmira against a strong tide and a stronger thirst. After tying up and showering off the salt it was off to town for hearty steak and a long appointment at the Mariners Bar with Don Julio. A good band and good service contributed to our unexpected arrest some way further down the street as we left. After trying to plant drugs on middle aged guys that were quite obviously "not up to it", The Police consoled themselves by stealing $200 out of Nicks Wallet, and setting us loose after I shouted con...shshulate at them in my finest Spanish. Ahh, Mexicos finest. Predicatbly Nick missed his 5am Taxi, his flight, and his brain cells lost to Tequila abuse. We both endured a "difficult" day as I caught up on work, and he tried to get back to the UK.

Nick as ever proved to be the finest cruising buddy one could hope for and I look forward to our next adventure/ with a big thanks for all his invaluable help and companionship. The Cat was hauled out Wednesday at the Singlar yard to fix all the things we broke on our "shakedown" cruise. She will be there, hopefully safe and sound for the 2 months until the family finally make it to see what Ive blown our life savings, house and childrens education fund on.