We are returning, returning to La Paz. Steve with his bushy hair two months overdue for a cut. I with my hair bleached by the sun, all frizzy on the ends the consistency of cotton candy. Our lean tan bodies so healthy from sailing, kayaking, snorkeling and hiking. The taste of salt on our skin, the mellow grins of satisfaction on our faces. The peaceful temperance of our nature when we spend time at anchor letting the rhythm of the sea dictate our lives. We are returning to the dock and letting go of the freedom that comes with living a life untethered. Oh but I can imagine the feel of standing in a stream of hot water in a shower being piped in from some unknown location, so different from the camping showers taken in our cockpit while we carefully manage our daily water usage. And the thought of wifi, free flowing wifi where we can communicate and get information whenever we wish so unlike the touch and go and sporadic weather reports and miscommunications of our inReach satellite device. Grocery stores, real grocery stores, with wide varieties and plenty of options, so different from the tiendas in the small villages where you take what you can find. And how I relish the thought of having my laundry done in a washing machine rather than by hand in a bucket. Please don’t misunderstand me. While this may sound like drudgery, our life on the boat, I assure you it is not. It is hard work to be sure and most every task takes three times as long to complete but the rewards are so fulfilling. Yes we are returning to La Paz after three fabulous months of adventure, wildlife, friends, and exploration while sailing to many of our favorite locations in the Sea of Cortez.
We began our cruising season by joining 80+ women from the Annual Women Who Sail rendezvous leaving La Paz on April 6thand participating in several of their events as they traveled between anchorages and islands. We sailed with them back in 2016 when they were in this area before. This time we had the good fortune of being in the position to help with their donation collection and distribution as they adopt a project each year in the location they visit. We acted as a bridge between the donors and the community of San Evaristo. With the help of our friends on location we were able to identify that the school was in bad need of repair. Then using the funds donated by the WWS we purchased supplies and coordinated the people to complete the repairs. The WWS even raised enough funds to buy a new pair of tennis shoes for every child in the community. It was so rewarding to play a part in this endeavor as San Evaristo has become very near and dear to our hearts.
When the ladies left we found ourselves exhausted. In the weeks running up to our departure from La Paz we had worked double time getting our boat projects finished and assisting with the fundraiser. So since our hook was down in one our favorite places we decided to just stay at least for a while. We hung out in San Evaristo for two weeks visiting with our friends in town. Several of our fellow cruising friends passed through the anchorage and we got to spend time sharing meals, plans, and sailing stories. There is nothing like swapping tales with another cruiser to make us realize how beautiful and nutty this lifestyle can be.
Our next destination was Aqua Verde, another small fishing village. We had endured some bad weather already this season and experienced a horrible wind event while in San Evaristo so we were ready for calm peaceful waters and gentle breezes. Aqua Verde did not disappoint. I finally got to put my new kayak in the water, which became part of my entertainment for the rest of the cruising season. Our friends Dave and Jan from S/V Severance joined us and we spent one morning going on a 6 mile hike to a cave that had ancient petroglyphs of hand prints. The hand prints were not that impressive but the walk was great and the views were stunning. Our days were spent playing bocce ball, kayaking, and exploring. Our nights spent watching the stars in the sky and the bio-luminescence in the water. Often it’s hard to choose which one to look at as they are both breathtaking. On multiple occasions Steve and I ate scrumptious tacos on the beach at a cute little palapa restaurant run by Leonor and her family. They cook up fish that her husband Antonio catches and its some of the finest fish tacos we have ever tasted. The town is known for its goat dairy farm and we ate goat cheese with almost every meal. It really is a picture perfect anchorage that offers so much to fill your time and spirit. This time around we stayed for ten days. Later in the season we would return and stay longer.
At the beginning of this journey (actually at the first anchorage of the season) our Bluetooth headsets failed. One might ask what we use those for. Well, we use them to communicate while we are anchoring. Some folks have prearranged hand signals to communicate while others just yell instructions back and forth. Since Steve and I have never been all that good with remembering hand signals (despite the fact that we go over them just before arriving at an anchorage) and since Steve faces away from me yelling into the wind while I have the engine roaring under my feet the whole “yelling thing” doesn’t work real good either. You can visualize how that goes. We arrive in some sweet, serene anchorage, so calm and peaceful until we show up yelling to each other as our frustration levels rise. Steve: “Go forward.” , Me: “What?” Steve: “GO FORWARD”, Me: WHAT? I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” Steve (now looking at me): “GO FORWARD”, Me: “ok…..” Next communication – again Steve is facing away and the engine is still running Steve: “Slight reverse”, Me: “What?, Steve: “REVERSE!”, Me: “FORWARD?, Steve: NO!…. REVERSE… SLOW, Me: “I CAN’T HEAR YOU!”. Anyway, you get the picture and it really is not very flattering.
Enter Bluetooth headsets (known amongst cruisers as “marriage savers”) and no more yelling or at least until they broke. So with quick thinking we texted our daughter Bella using our inReach satellite device and asked her to order us some new ones and ship them to our mail forwarding service. Now we just needed to come up with a location to have them delivered to us. This should be an easy task. However we are on a sailboat traveling in Mexico and although we have gotten a little better with our anchoring communication via hand signals we want those babies back. So the marina in Puerto Escondido gave us permission to have the headsets shipped to them. Oh, and while we are ordering new headsets let’s get Steve some new shoes. What could it hurt? We spent 10 days waiting for our DHL shipment of headsets and shoes as they got hung up in customs and the import duties on the gear were in the $100’s, costing us twice as much as they would have cost had we purchased them in the USA. Needless to say we should have gotten better at hand signals and glued Steve’s old shoes.
Sitting and waiting on a mooring ball for 10 days in Puerto Escondido was not in our cruising plan. It’s a great base for supplies, fuel, laundry and a good dinner out but for us it really is not a destination location. However Steve and I have always made the most of every situation so we rented a car for a few days and spent some time exploring the town of San Javier and in addition to Loreto. We got a hotel for a few nights and made it into a vacation from the boat. That may sound odd as most people think of our lives a vacation but it really is just a way of life and like everyone else it’s nice to take a break from the routine. We went to museums, walked the streets of the towns, and ate in some really fabulous restaurants. We also made good use of the car and re-provisioned our food supplies to carry us through the rest of the season. If you’re in Loreto I recommend staying at Casa Mangos. It’s a funky little place but we liked it for its charm and location. Also you get an amazing breakfast at Orlando’s restaurant since Orlando owns both the restaurant and the hotel.
Back onboard Pablo with food, clean clothes, shoes, and headsets off we go! We make a quick stop for a few nights in Bahia Marquer, a stop in both Balandra Bay and Isla Coronados and then off to spend some time exploring San Juanico. We were so excited to return to this beautiful bay. Last season we only got to spend a few nights due to sea conditions. This year we got a fabulous 13 nights, 14 days of hiking, kayaking, shelling, bocce ball, beach pot lucks, turtles, wild life photo opportunities, and we finally found the famed obsidian stones that we had heard about but eluded us last year. We celebrated my birthday by writing a limerick on a stone and leaving it at the cruisers shrine, hiking, meeting new friends and receiving a gift of fresh caught yellow snapper from some camping spearfishermen. Oh, oh, oh what fun we had!
We made San Juanico our furthest northern port this season and from there turned ourselves back to the south and revisited some of our favorite places. First stop was back in Bahia Marquer where we were entertained daily by dolphins and the water finally got warm enough and clear enough to do some real snorkeling. We had a gigantic bait ball of tiny fish that swarmed the bay the entire eight days we stayed there. Once while making water, which for us requires running the engine, we sucked up a little fish into our engine water intake. Easily resolved by having Steve jump into the water to clear the intake but lesson learned – Don’t run your motor over a bait ball. From there we moved further south back to Agua Verde where we spent another two weeks seeing old friends, making new ones and pretty much doing the same stuff we do in every anchorage; Hike, kayak, snorkel, play on the beach. This time however thanks to friends Dave and Jamyne from S/V Magic Dragon Steve has become a spear fisherman, using a Hawaiian sling. That will add a little something new to our anchorage activities and possibly our dinner plates if he should catch anything.
We didn’t want to season to end without trying out a new location so we made a stop on the east side of Isla San Francisco were we anchored for three nights. We could easily have stayed longer but the winds and sea conditions were predicted to change for the worse so we had to cut it short. I do believe we will be exploring this little cove further in the future. The multi colored rock formations combined with the incredible snorkeling makes this a perfect place to spend time. The season closed out with us spending five nights back in San Evaristo where we celebrated our wedding anniversary with friends. I don’t think either of us could have pictured a better spot to commemorate our special day.
When we sailed away from Moss Landing in 2015 we called it the “Grand Adventure” and that it certainly is. Although at that time we thought we would travel much further and that we would be exploring new places more than we actually do. Our Grand Adventure has really turned into a way of life. We have found a routine that suits us. November thru March in La Paz, April thru July cruising the Sea of Cortez and August thru October visiting our family and friends by traveling in the RV. Wash, rinse, spin, repeat. Our lives are full of Adventure and we find it to be pretty Grand.