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Seasons are starting to change down here, and there are less 'Nortes' to deal with. Temps are also starting to rise again (90+ yesterday).

Took a short 3 day cruise to some of the local islands near Puerto Escondido and camped out on their beaches.One great thing about desert beach  camping is the lack of bugs. We also timed the cruise so tides weren't too extreme either.

 First day was a short run over to Isla Carmen and a spot called 'Bahia Marquer". Wide open beach that gave us protection from the SE winds that day, but not a lot of shade to keep the Sun off of us (next cruise will include a foldable 'cabana' style shelter....).

Second day we spent all of our time trying to beat against wind/tide through the pass between Isla Carmen and Isla Danzante. 7 miles in 7 hours in 90 degrees....  By the time we made it through and found the second camp site we were whupped. BUT the second camp site was pretty spectacular! Too small for larger boats, but protected from winds in 3 directions with large over hanging cliffs/caves for protection.

As you can see from the attached pix having a small, beachable boat opens up big territory. We would anchor fore/aft in a way we could adjust our distance off the beach in case of weather, and in the worst case scenario we could still swim out to the boat and haul ourselves beyond the surf line. A Bruce anchor worked well on the bow, while a Danforth type was perfect as the beach anchor as it really dug deeply into the sand. Bottoms here can be rocky but if you make an exploratory pass before anchoring you can usually spot sandy patches as the water is SO clear.

 At night we could hear dolphin swimming off the beach, and near dusk we could see the "blows" from Finback whales running through the channel. But we missed the Blue whale by a few weeks. Since the ONLY way to get out to these locations is by boat, and it IS a national marine park  there wasn't the usual tourist trash. Instead we'd find skeletons of prior sea life occupants.

last day of the cruise we finally got to run downwind for hours on end, but as we neared the marina the wind shifted again, and the 10 knot breezes went to over 20 in a heart beat. We just pinched along until we got under the lee of the headland and then got the sails down to motor into the marina.

Looooong political story but ALL of us who were moored outside the marina were 'evicted' last month as the marina decided it wanted to "expand", so we were all given 3 months of free mooring inside the marina. Next season I will probably be trailer sailing Petunia down here which will open up my range tremendously....

Gonna leave her down here for the Summer while I drive North to Mendocino and finish off 'Rancho Palumbo'. Then I have to fly back East load up a U haul with the rest of my tools/gear and drive it back West. Rented a house down here for next year which will allow me to work on Petunia a little and do some maintenance work she is deserving of...





East Isla Danzante.jpg



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Thanks for the report, but mostly the pictures!

You may want to post it in this section: https://messing-about.com/forums/forum/29-boating-crusing-stories/

It will be among other stories and easier to find in the future.


I took a little "trip" on Google Earth over there. What a fantastic place to cruise!

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Man, that reminds me... we've explored both coasts of the Baja peninsula, but only where accessible by (mostly sketchy) roads with our Eurovan poptop and a big 2-room tent for the girls.


I mean this in a most respectful way, but sir, you suck ;-)


Wow. Just wow. Please continue to chronicle your explorations for the rest of us to envy!


How far do you expect to roam?

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   I will gladly embrace the suckiness of Baja.... :D

This might be my last cruise of the season due to our untimely displacement into the Puerto Escondido marina mooring field. I am easily the smallest boat in the marina. The moorings are about 3-400 yards away, and usually upwind of the dinghy dock and I only have my 2.5 hp Suzuki down here this trip so it's a case of motoring out to Petunia, swapping the motor over to her, motoring outside  ( they don't "allow" sailing in/out of the marina so I have to motor through the channel which isn't always easy due to the narrowness and velocity of tides), and then reversing the process when I get back into the marina. Royal PIA...

However NEXT season the plan is to rig a tabernacle for the masts to facilitate raising/lowering them, and then taking Petunia for a "tour" of the peninsula. Lopes Mateos lagoon on the Pacific side with it's sand dunes on one side, and mangoves on the other is particularly interesting as long as I get there before the gray whales do and it is then closed to private boat traffic.

And then there's Bahia Concepcion which could be a week or more of beach hopping, and Cabo San Jose down off the tip of the peninsula, etc., etc.

I am fortunate to have a good friend down here who was the sailing master for NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership Schools) for many years so he knows every small boat beach within 300 miles.

Winter winds can be limiting since the entire Sea of Cortez side becomes a lee shore, and beach landings aren't always graceful depending on how much gravel/rock has been deposited after the Summer storms/hurricanes. That also limits beach launchings in many areas as you have probably learned that the standard "rules of tire deflation"  mean dumping over 50% of your air to make it across the sand to even GET to the beach. And then you have to reinflate when you get back onto hard pan, etc.

SO, while the water side of things is obviously wonderful it's access TO the water that we spend a lot of time dealing with. Luckily there are SO many islands within 20 miles that we can usually find a place to hide from the "Nortes", but this Winter some of them lasted 7-8 days with winds exceeding 40+ mph and sizeable swells in the channels (water depths can run to 1,000 feet between islands....).

This Winter was exploratory and I learned a lot. Next Winter I hope to use some of that knowledge and expand our range....


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A big two thumbs up to Bahia Concepcion. Wiggle your fingers through the sand in waist-deep water (bring a mesh bag) and harvest a bunch of little clams; we steamed them in white wine and garlic in our Jetboil and snacked away... There was also a motel near the thatched roofs that offered the use of a room for rinsing and showers for cheap, which was welcome in 100° weather in late June.


...and wallow in fish tacos everywhere!

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  • 7 months later...


 Not a tough choice between the fires/rain of Northern CA., and here...Gonna give her a good working over while i have the facilities and then try to hit some new places in convoy with a few other small boat owners. No need to go too far for that...

Reports to follow.

OH- one bit of "survival gear" we tested on this last coastal trip might be of interest to anyone who might potentially get stranded. We  used a "Steripen" ( https://www.katadyn.com/us/us/products/steripen#/1/filter?categories=46025) UV water purifier to clean up some stream water whose origin was of question...Tested it against iodine tabs, and clorox bleach , and it tasted great (in all fairness compared to the others, anything would have tasted better even though we went strictly by the instructions AND used more tabs that were supposed to erase the iodine taste...) . No ill effects from any of the 8 riders who drank it either.

Katadyn seems to have absorbed many of their competitors and one can only hope the prices of their desal units drop soon too.

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