Finally, yes finally, we have Marina Puerto Escondido behind us! It was a great home while we needed it, but it is so exhilarating to get this girl moving again. The sails had been enclosed in their shells, longing to be unfurled and we needed to start heading south if we had hopes of getting to Panama. Our plan was to creep down the coast on day hops, hopefully meet up with a buddy boat along the way, and head straight across to Banderas Bay in time for Thanksgiving. Now you know because I refer to this as a “plan” that it didn’t happen quite like that.
We head south for the first time with our sights set on Los Gatos which would’ve been a decent day’s sail/motor sail. After a little time underway, with the tachometer bouncing and let’s just say “some things that just weren’t right” in the engine department, we decide our familiar grounds of Agua Verde will be a safer call for the first day. We have good protection from anticipated evening winds here and we’re close enough should we (please no!) need to return to Puerto Escondido for more work. With no one in the southern anchorage, we drop the hook, shut down the motor, and briefly pause to celebrate being off the dock for the first time in months.
With Chad working in the engine room, the girls and I jump on the paddle board (all three of us aboard is quite the workout!) and venture into the quiet beach to explore. The girls thankfully agree that we will NOT be bringing back any hermit crabs to the boat. We stretch our legs a bit and enjoy the comfortable swing of a quiet evening at anchor, agreeing that we can continue our journey south tomorrow and make-up the mileage.
Isla San Francisco was next on the list. This is a favorite stop for many and it isn’t difficult to see why: long white sand bay with clear water and some of the best sunsets located just far enough away from the bustle of La Paz. The last time we were here we had our outboard go out and rowed the entire family back with our rinky-dink wooden oars, then had a chubasco (high sudden winds occurring at night) come through with a charter boat right in front of us with a full-fledged discoteque, partying through the whole thing, so we wondered what this time would look like. Plenty of boats this time, but tonight proved calm with a beautiful moonrise.
We jump from here to Playa la Bonanza where we met up with fellow cruisers. We enjoy the reunion, share stories from the past eight months and swim in the clearest water ever. We’ll make the next two legs of the trip together and then Tulum V will head on her way across the sea.
The next two days we trek to Muertos and Frailes on the southeastern cape of Baja. We try to strike a balance between passage making and enjoying the sights that we hope we are seeing for the last time. I am insistent on snorkeling in Frailes unless there is a weather window we can’t refuse, and of course… you know we went snorkeling! Bahía Frailes is just south of the world famous Cabo Pulmo Marine Park which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It became internationally known for the stunning recovery of the reef and wildlife following a brief 10 year period of formal protection put in place to allow the ecosystem to return after overfishing and tourism had taken its toll. We leave the dinghy on the beach and begin our snorkel from just beyond the surfline. There is such diversity in the fish population and the reef looks healthier than we’ve ever seen! I love to see the pairs of fish: 2 baby barber fish, 2 guinea fowl puffers, and Kellyn’s favorite – 2 moorish idols. Then Teagan yells at me, “Mom! Look down.” A huge parrotfish is swirling around beneath me feasting on algae just long enough for us to capture some photos.
We enjoy the comfort of toes in the sand again and meet a few kid boats from the Baja Ha-Ha 2021 or otherwise having traveled south down the western cape of Baja. I’m reminded of where my state of mind was at Bahía Frailes just 2 years ago: Having completed the long awaited Baja Ha-ha and departure from all things familiar, I was feeling accomplished in getting my family safely down Baja, amazement in my beautiful and unspoiled surroundings, yet complete trepidation for the uncertainty that may lie ahead as now a bona fide cruiser away from my homeland.
It is good to see the anchorages lively again. I can’t say that I know what a typical cruising season is like because my departure and transit on the Baja Ha-Ha was a blur of newness and excitement, then we had a few months of exploration before the world-wide pandemic emerged, impacting the cruising community among everyone else in the world. Now, with boats following the favorable winds around the western side of Baja and others in their seasonal migration south along mainland Mexico, the anchorages are packed with cruisers and the marinas are full. Marine services take careful calculated planning and patience as they are in high demand. What you may perceive as your schedule could easily change – plan ahead and be flexible. On the upside, there is a positive vibe all around as it seems we are all grateful to be enjoying our floating labors of love (and hate) and the wondrous scenery they afford. We continue to monitor COVID-19 and the impact it may have on our so-called plans, but we are able to enjoy being a part of the community again and damn, it’s good to be underway again!
Next time…..In search of Thanksgiving
You have not heard from any of us here at LF2SF because we’ve been on the move the last two weeks away from Baja south. We spent a week in La Cruz getting more work done on the boat and moved south again, starting our trek to Costa Rica and Panama. Tune in next Weds for Part-2 of this story, In Search of Thanksgiving. The HelmsMistress LOVES writing these stories and I love publishing our website and blog…so we hope you keep reading and supporting our independent site and travels!