Baja California Sur - Prairie SeaShell Sea Stories by Lynn & Don Campbell
Our first day out from Ensenada was quiet, we spoke to Francois from s/v CroquePomme who were also getting ready to leave. We saw no sea life today, and only had one other boat within range around midnight – maybe Francoise, but no radio contact.
The following day, by lunchtime, we had enough wind to turn off the motor, by supper time we put a second reef in the main, and by 9:00 pm we were hitting over 7kn under bare poles. Not a very comfortable ride, and we’ve lost two ball caps, a watch, and a bag of sail ties in the process. Winds were reaching around 16-20kn.
Around midnight we overheard a mayday, a 30ft boat, singlehanded, was taking on water. Fortunately, we heard a boat answer his call, a large sport fishing boat.
Dolphins near boat
The next morning, I was having a struggle to get the main sail back up, it kept getting stuck in the back stays. I was tired and grouchy, and almost in tears by the time I finally got it set.
I was still sitting on the foredeck when dolphins started appearing from everywhere. They were so close, I could almost touch them, they kept appearing in schools of 10 or more at a time, all jumping in unison. We were surrounded by probably 40-50 of them, they sure did know how to brighten up my day.
They stayed with us for about 15-20 minutes, however, they weren’t our first visitors of the day. We had three little squid on deck this morning. One on each side and one right in front of the cockpit window. I’ve heard of flying fish, but I didn’t know that squid could fly.
We had good winds the rest of the day, but the swells were still pretty big from the storm the previous night. We got to the entrance of Turtle Bay just at dark, so we proceeded only a little way in and dropped anchor. We’ll move in closer in the morning when we can see where we are going without radar.
We had a good rest, then tidied up and moved in closer to shore. Jack & Linda from Wyntersea (Grand Prairie) stopped by to say Hi, and told us where to dock the dingy. One armed Pedro collects a dollar to watch over your dingy while you stroll the luxurious dirt lanes of Turtle Bay.
We did find a restaurant that was open for lunch, and an internet café. While we were in the internet café, a couple came in and asked us how we had weathered last nights storm. They had also been out in it, as well as a friend of theirs who had lost his boat - the mayday that we had overheard.
We stopped and had a drink with them, Mitch & Laura s/v Hanali, and recounted to them what we had heard. Their friend was safely back in San Diego, but he did have to abandon his boat.
On the way back to town, we stopped in at s/v Reflections – David & Juliet, and met Beth & Boon from Splinters Apprentice, both British boats who have done lots of sailing, including two years on Canada’s west coast.
A quick run into town the next morning to check weather and get a little more fuel, then we’re going to head off - Wrong! Weather now says 25 kn winds coming today and not settling till tomorrow morning, so I’ll guess we’ll stay put.
We stopped at Enrigues Restaurant for lunch, with David & Juliet and Beth & Boon. Enriques is right on the water front, so we can look out at the boats, watch the pelicans, and not have to worry about eating dust.
Although this is Turtle Bay, I think it should be called Pelican Bay, the water is just swarming with them. Perhaps they know there is another blow coming and they are staying put here as well.
Mitch & Laura were anxious to see our boat, he couldn’t believe that one person could build an entire boat, so they came for tea in the evening.
We left Turtle Bay with just enough wind to fill the sails, but we kept motoring as we needed to make good time to reach Bahia Asuncion in daylight.
Only a quick glimpse of a whale today, of course, it was right after I put the video camera away.
Weather was gorgeous, finally got in some sun tanning and were able to sail in shorts & T shirts, all day, even after the sun set, it was still 77F.
We had to anchor in the dark, and almost ran over some lobster floats. We called Sirena on the radio and Sherry told us the best place to anchor to stay out of the swells.
As soon as she heard the name of our boat, she asked if the Prairie meant we were from the Prairies. She is a grey whale researcher, born in Ontario and lived in Tofino until she moved to Mexico, almost 18 years ago.
She was anxious to chat with some Canadians, and if we were going to stay for a few days, she invited us to come and visit her at her home and join her for lunch.
Unfortunately, we have to go when the weather is good, so off we went heading for Punta Abreojos (Point Open Eyes). The last hour or so was really tricky, zig zagging all over the ocean to avoid lobster traps.
We pulled into the first anchorage at the edge of town, a bit rolly, but I didn’t want to do another anchoring in the dark.
While doing the engine check before heading off the next morning, Don noticed the belt on the alternator was getting worn. He changed it, then we were on our way for an overnight to Magdalena Bay.
However, the tachometer wasn’t reading, so had to do a little more tightening and adjusting underway. When all was well, turned on the water maker to top up water supply and made a batch of muffins.
Again, just enough wind to fill the sails, but not enough to give us the speed to arrive in Magdelena Bay in daylight, so we motor sailed all day and night.
The following morning the sea was totally flat. Tropical Storm Sergio is taking away all our wind, but I’d rather have it that way than to have too much wind.
We anchored at Punta Belcher in Magdelena Bay, in the daylight, for a change. A nice big bay, fairly calm, and a beach to explore in the morning.
We listened to the HAM radio weather guru, and have decided to stay here a day or two.
Although there would be no wind for our trip to Cabo, once there, we might need a day or two for Sergio to blow himself out. Since the marinas there could charge up to $110 a night, we’ll hold up here instead.
Did our first dingy beach landing, no surf to deal with here and explored the beach for a while.
My mother would have been in her glory here, sea shells by the hundreds. There are the remains on an old whaling station here, a few whale bones and the pilings of a few old docks.
There are also a few shacks on the beach that are inhabited, and incredibly, one of them has a satellite dish on it, however, we see no sign of power or solar panels. Wonder how he runs the TV?
Not much to see in the water at shore, so we went back to PSS and spent an hour or so scrubbing the sides – a long overdue task.
There are a few yellow tailed fish and a big puffer fish hanging out right beside our anchor chain. Back on board, we heard a call on the radio from CH²O. (aka SeaWater) He has too much tuna to fit in his freezer, so he’s offering to anyone interested. We exchanged a few muffins for 3-4 lbs of very tasty tuna. That’s my kind of fishing … all cleaned and filleted!
Motored up to Man o’ War Cove the next morning where we tried to check in with the Port Captain, however, he was no where to be found. Stopped in for lunch at the only restaurant in town.
Saw a dingy going over to PSS, so I waved them down. Thought it was Ken & Judy from CopOut (Calgary), because I had a seen a Catamaran in the bay, however, it turned out to be folks we had never met, Serge & Denise from Kolea, a converted Pilot Boat.
And, talk about a small world, Serge is from Lachine, Quebec, the neighbouring community to where I grew up.
They joined us for lunch, and we waited for the arrival of the supply boat who was supposed to arrive in 2 hours “Mexican time” and have fresh fruits, vegetables & bread.
When it finally did arrive, no bread, so I guess I’ll have to bake some. A few minutes after we left, a dingy came racing up behind up, Rhumbline, who was also waiting for the supply boat, had found tortillas, so he brought me a stack – no charge – Pass It On!
This is main street Man o' War Cove. I'm sitting on some whale bones
Went for coffee on Kolea after supper and exchanged the rest of a loaf of cinnamon bread for some shrimp. Denise even cleaned them for me.
We left Magdelena bay the following day at 7am, under sail for a change. Was a quiet day, until about 5pm a visit from a single dolphin (bottlenose – I think – he was bigger, and greyer than the others). He was right beside the boat, and jumping all the way out of the water. I thought maybe he was trying to get aboard to hitch a ride!
Cabo San Lucas
We arrived in Cabo San Lucas around 2:00 in the afternoon. What a crazy place! The bay was teeming with para-sailers, seadoos, kayaks etc and we couldn’t find a shallow enough place to anchor until we were almost on our way out.
It’s a rather uncomfortable anchorage, partly because of the left over swells from Sergio, but also from the wake of all these speed boats.
Since we see several boats here that we recognize, and we know they’ve been here for a few days, we’re hoping it will settle down at night.
We left Cabo early and headed for Los Frailes. All was well until afternoon when wind on the nose started to kick up.
Main & jib were down, but just couldn’t make any headway. Had to put up small staysail, but it was still tough going.
Our wind indicator said constant 20kn, however, when we talked to Serge on Kolea, his anemometer registered up to 37kn.
These winds were not in the forecast, so we were glad to be anchored in a quiet bay, even though we had to do it in the dark again.
Looking around at Los Frailes in the morning, there is no need to go ashore. There appears to be only some motor homes on the beach and a bunch of tar paper shacks with a fishing boat (panga) parked at each one.
However, Serge came over by himself, he was heading to shore to get water. Apparently there is a fresh water lake over the hill with drinking water available – I’d question the quality and I’ll stick to our water maker water.
Don went along for the ride, and their surf landing wasn’t exactly by the book, the dingy almost surfed over him as he was getting out.
Apparently they just missed the fresh food truck which only comes once a week. Guess we’ll have to make do with what we have on board, and I did make some fresh bread while he was gone.
One of the RV’ers dingied over to tell us the weather in Edmonton was – 32C today, which made us appreciate the 85F even more. Went for a swim around the boat, and this time there are 6 or 8 puffer fish lined up along the anchor chain.
We left Los Frailes for Ensenada de los Muertos (Cove of the Dead – Ugh!). Don’t know where it got it’s name from, but the one and only local business, the Giggling Marlin Restaurant and a few high class local residents are trying to rename the bay to Ensenada de los Suenos (Cove of Dreams – much better).
Don standing beside giant cactus
I think perhaps they should call this Giant Cactus Bay, that’s Don standing beside some of the local flora.
We went to shore and joined David & Juliet for lunch and met Dirk & Linda from Jade.
Weather was extremely calm all morning, the beach landing here was a snap.
By afternoon however, the wind picked up considerably. This was again, not in the forecasts, so perhaps this is one of the very local “Corumel” winds which should calm down by daybreak.
We have a good internet connection here, so we’ll do some research for flights home for Xmas.
The wind continued all night, so we stayed put, make some bread, went for a swim and had a little visit from Les & Diane from s/v Gemini who we had met briefly in Punta Belcher.
We headed out the next morning along with almost everyone else in the bay. We are all trying to beat the winds that are forecast for a few days from now, up to 40kn.
However, it was a tough trip, wind on the nose all the way, about 20kn, and it didn’t calm down till about 4:00 in the afternoon, so once again, we had to do a night time anchoring. However, we did find a nice calm bay, and we did have a good sleep.
In the morning, we will go around the corner to Marina Palmira where we are going to stay until after Christmas.
This will be my last story until we return here in mid-January. Our family is well, Pam & Howard are kept extremely busy with Owen & Evan who are now 2 & 4. Under Greg & Julia’s guidance, Shannon seems to be adjusting to her new life, now that she is finished high school. She is working at a pet grooming/daycare operation, still active at cadets and Navy Band. She is trying to finish a Chemistry course and upgrade a little, so she can get into Olds College to take the Veterinary Technologist Program.
Hope all is well with you and yours, and we wish you a very Feliz Navidad and Prospero Año Nuevo!
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