Our first visit to Muertos, Nov 2009:
What can I say about Muertos. We were drawn there with the promise of a great inexpensive meal in a 5-star resort for Thanksgiving but learned multiple cruising lessons that we’d rather not repeat. We were forced to motor all day to get there from Frailes into upwind swell and wind, but it wasn’t that bad this time. Just outside of Frailes the engine started lugging and I noticed our temperature was going up. After taking a close look, I noticed that one of our alternators had fallen off and was simply hanging in place with one small bolt (with NO NUT on it). The upper bolt holding the alternator in place was completely gone and the second bolt holding the alternator in place didn’t have a nut. Luckily, I found a bolt and nut that fit and was able to reattach that alternator. I found one that fit and was able to get that alternator secured before it fell off. Luckily, this took care of the overheat issue but once again, after this our RPM gauge went capuut. The first night we were in Muertos it was ok. Then the storm rolled in, a southerly. It was rumored to miss us or not be that bad but it didn’t miss us. All the next day it rained and winded the whole day to the point we were stuck on the boat. But it did give me the chance to deploy my new water catchment system..which worked perfectly and we were able to catch at least a ¼ tank of water in about 4 hours. In the afternoon, it started to roll a bit and we should have thought through the flopper stopper right then. I could see that the wind and swells were starting not to match but didn’t take much from it. I deployed my own homemade flopperstopper, but it simply swam toward my hull on every upswing and would have damaged the hull if we hadn’t gotten it out of the water fairly quickly (in the middle of the night in the storm). Note: It will work perfectly when hung from a pole or the boom but not when it’s just hung overboard. That night…it rolled ALL night and it rolled all night long the next night (Thanksgiving night). When I say rolled, I mean stuff breaking all over the boat and no one sleeping as they were trying to hang-on rolling. Quincy had to be sedated cause she was so nervous and I stood anchor watch cause it was the most comfortable place on the boat. Thanksgiving morning. we debated leaving but decided to stay for the Thanksgiving dinner. Finally the weather abated to the point we could launch the dinghy and get Quincy Dog to shore for some exercise. We went in for lunch at the resort and found the fabled restaurant. They have a 3-pool slide that our kids were welcomed to use and we sat with drinks and a great lunch with an ocean view. It was cool. That night we put on the dog and went in for Thanksgiving dinner. Among a table full of cruisers on boats that had stayed, we enjoyed a good Thanksgiving dinner at this restaurant in the middle of nowhere…not knowing the cruising lessons ahead of us that night. Lesson 1: Put your dinghy where you can get it out. See the tide and the storm swells came in at the same time…creating multiple large tiered breakers that we knew we couldn’t get our dinghy through with heavy engine and wheels. Lesson 2: Bring a flashlight! Lesson 3: Go with your gut- mine told me we could not get through the surf. Lesson 4: Consider dinner and drinks while there’s daylight…so you can see your surf exit! However…others had their dinghy’s on mooring balls and swam to their dinghys…to come pick us up at the panga landing station two miles away down the beach. No problem, except we had kids, two dogs and others not relishing a long dark cold walk. So the manager of the restaurant loaded all seven of us in his van and down a washed-out dirt road we went…in the middle of the night. He dropped us at the panga launch ramp over by Restauraunt 1535 and we were able to get ferried to our boats. Our dinghy and several other boats worth of cruisers stayed on the beach that night…while our boats went back to rolling all night long. The next morning, we were hauled back into the beach where we swam in through the waves to get our dinghy. Of course, me and michelle swamped it in the medium size waves still coming in and got a bathtub full of water in the dinghy. We just swam it out and then were towed for a bit. With a dinghy that was bathtub full of water and a floating gas tank…the dinghy engine miraculourly started and we got back to the boat. Soooo..this is why we didn’t get started with that day’s voyage at 0700 but were able to finally get going by 0900. We moved out of Muertos after two exhausting days for a long day’s trip toward La Paz….settling on Caleta Partida for the night.
Visits to Muertos since that fateful Thanksgiving:
We’ve been back to Muertos several times since this fateful Thanksgiving, but never in another southerly. Each time we go, we fall back in love with Centro de Trenes (the Train) restaurant that’s hidden from view if you’re on a boat in the anchorage. It’s just a short walk from the beach up the creek bed to come out to the restaurant, which welcomes cruisers. They have a giant train track and display on the second floor and a three-tier pool w/slide where the kids are welcomed to play. The beach in front where we land dinghy’s does get surf, but it’s usually gentle. We have spent 5-6 days sheltering here from a good norther and the wind comes across pretty nicely but there’s little fetch and good holding. We’ve also come into Muertos at night towing another boat…like Frailes it’s a nice open anchorage that’s easy to get into. By the time you read this, we may have gone through Muertos for our last time while in Baja or soon will go through Muertos again, on our way south.
Here’s more info:
Ease of anchoring: Muertos doesn’t have an anchoring shelf. We anchor in 20-30 feet of water over sand and we have always had great holding. This is a huge bay with plenty of room for lots of boats, but the north end of this bay has panga moorings and a panga ramp that the fisherman use. If you anchor in tight in the northern end of the bay, expect panga wake as they don’t slow down.
Noise at anchor: Not much, unless my reggae is too loud again.
Provisioning: None, Just one resort, two restaurants and some high end houses.
Cellular reception at anchor: Not really.
Wifi in the anchorage: None unless you can pull it in via a super antenna from the restaurant or eco resort.
Water Clarity: Clean water but spotty clarity. I’ve dove my anchor here and was able to see it, once.
Protection: Northerly protection but there’s still wind that comes through. Because swell usually rolls from the north to the south, there’s swell protection with some wrap around. Little protection from southerlies or southerly swell. See our story above.
Here’s another story we’ve written about Muertos: