Monthly Archives: January 2017

Christmas 2016 on Stray Catz

A strong downwind sail for Stray Catz the next day made for a quick 10 mile trip. We stopped off just south of Punta Chuvato at a little village called… Chuvato. When we rounded the corner at the point it became obvious how bad the sea conditions were. There were six commercial shrimp boats in the protected anchorage. If the commercial guys aren’t going out, you know it can’t be good. Just ask Scuba Ninjas who had two sails tear on the trip.

Chuvato is a fly in village. Most all of the residents arrive in their on private planes and the taxiway is the main street. There is a closed down resort there and golf course if you don’t mind the dusty greens.

We met a super nice guy who goes by the name of Steel. He owns the casa next to the boat ramp and plans on opening a cruiser hangout in the near future. I can’t wait.

We stayed only one night, because we really wanted to get out of the wind and waves. The next stop was cove in Bahia Conception called Playa Santispac. We finally found a place that was protected from the strong northerly winds and waves. On the way down, we hooked a fish, but in the high winds and an upcoming gibe (downwind change of direction), we took a picture and released him. If I had known it was a Spanish mackerel and really good eating, I would have tried harder to keep it.

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Before that a seagull had spotted our lure and spent some time trying to figure out how to go about capturing it for dinner.

He did finally swoop down and pick it up, but by that time, I had gotten tired of holding the camera on him. He didn’t get hooked and released it.

Playa Santispac is a popular place for campers, and the beach is lined with motor-homes and tents. Some who stay for months at a time. It’s located right next to Mexico Highway 1 at the bottom of a hill, so trucks are coming from both directions using compression brakes making it a bit noisy at times.

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It is very pretty there with lots of good snorkeling. The problem was the water was still to cold. There are two restaurants and many entrepreneurs selling water, veggies and meats every morning at the campground. Also located there is a hot spring. Diva must have really enjoyed it, because she didn’t hesitate to jump right in. Anna and I did step in, but it was a little silty/muddy for us to sit and enjoy.

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There is easy hitch-hiking into the closest town of Mulege just 13 miles north where there was phone service and internet.

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After an all night rain, we got up early to give Stray Catz a bath. People who had spotted us were very impressed at our drive, but mostly it was something we should have done in Guaymas, but didn’t want to use our water.

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With weather not improving it became clear we were going to spend Christmas there. The good thing was we had met all eight other boats that were stuck there too prior to here, so it was like being with old friends. We had a bonfire on the beach on Christmas eve, eve.

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Then on Christmas Day, all the other cruisers came to Stray Catz for a potluck dinner. Seventeen people from five countries all gathered to celebrate. At a Christmas time when we were missing all our family, it was great to be able to still gather and celebrate this special day.

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A special bonus for both of us, but especially Anna. Whale sharks came and visited the bay. These gentle giants are sharks and grow up to forty feet long. Luckily they are not meat eaters and swim slowly along with their mouths open wide enough to swallow a person, but only eating plankton and tiny stuff that live in the water. One of Anna and mine’s bucket list items is to swim with these giants, and Anna was able to do just that. This was just a juvenile and only about twenty feet long, but still quite impressive.

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From Santa Rosalia we made the 10 mile journey over to Isla San Marcos to a little spot called Sweet Pea Cove. With a name like Sweet Pea Cove, how could we go wrong? There were a few small beaches near the anchorage. One with an old fish camp. Anna found many pretty shells and lots of sea glass. It looked like some good hiking up the hillside, but I kept forgetting my boots and my sandals just wouldn’t cut it on the rough terrain.
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We did a dive, but there wasn’t anything spectacular. I did finally use the spear gun I had bought in Panama in 2015. Yeah, fish for dinner. But the water is still pretty cold which made for a shorter dive. We had a fire on the beach the first night which was really nice, but even more amazing was the bio-luminescence the next couple of nights. I was throwing some left over food parts into the water and with each splash the entire spray lit up brightly. It looked like a fireworks display. Or more like Tinkerbell touching the water many times with her wand. Each time came another brilliant burst of color. We tried many times to capture it on film without success.
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Sweet Pea Cove was a nice, little anchorage, but located just a short distance away is what is now one of our new favorite spots, Caleta de los Arcos. Unfortunately this anchorage has little protection from the prevailing winds, otherwise we would have stayed for a few days. We dinghied through an arch to a beautiful secluded beach. And the underwater world was great.

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Brent and I snorkeled around through the caves and arches in awe of the number of fish and the variety of sea creatures in this small area. Anna and Dee Dee found lots of little treasures on the beach before also taking a gander at the beautiful underwater world. I provided fish for dinner again that night.
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The next morning we woke up to 20 knot winds, so as planned we pulled anchor and headed down to what was supposed to be a more protected harbor.
This new anchorage at the south end of Isla San Marcos did not live up to its reputation as protected, so after one night we left and continued on. Sorry Diva, no shore today.
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On our way!

Most everything is working on Stray Catz that is necessary to survive. Our roller furler is broken, so we have no working head-sail. The roller furler is what makes it possible to let out and pull in the jib or head sail without raising and lowering it each time. Once the device is installed, it’s not an easy task to raise and lower the sail without the furler, and not one I want to have to do in dangerous situations. So no jib till I get it fixed. I knew it was going out when we parked Stray Catz, but I kind of forgot about it. And after 17 months it didn’t fix itself.

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While anchored in San Carlos, we had fun watching the pelicans on a feeding frenzy. The bay was swarming with these little fish so much that you could see dark clouds in the water. The pelicans were obviously taking advantage and started before the sun was up and fed all day long until after sunset.

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We’ve been on a couple of short trips in the San Carlos area and were ready to say goodbye to mainland Mexico and cross to the Baja peninsula. It’s about a 75 mile trip across the Sea of Cortez. Not that impressive compared to some of our other jaunts, but still long enough in open seas to respect the journey. We travel just over 5 knots normally while cruising, so the journey should be under 15 hours. Not something we can do in daylight hours.

We will be buddy boating with our friends on Scuba Ninjas, Brent and Dee Dee who are rather new sailors and a little nervous about an open sea crossing coupled with an all night sail. Scuba Ninjas are very into videos and photos, so be sure to check out their YouTube channel.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbWbqy8jMJXekFj4Gg80UXg

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We took a nap in the evening and set the alarms for midnight. By 1am we were leaving Bahia San Carlos and headed out to sea. The trip through the night was just what we could hope for, boring. Albeit very cold. When daylight finally arrived we were blessed with a few dolphin sightings, but none who came to play in the bow wake.

Now we are anchored in Santa Rosalia. We’ve gotten to go out and explore the town. This town has some very interesting history. Without trying to repeat everything that’s already written in the guide books I’ll give you a little run down. Santa Rosalia was a major player in copper mining back in late 1800s and early 1900s. French owners of the mine had a major influence on the architecture of the homes and buildings throughout the town.

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Mine shafts are seen along the highway through town as well as many structures that are about to collapse. Most of the town would have a fence around it for liability reasons if it was located in the USA.

Of course that only slowed us down from exploring the crumbling structures located in the city. No fence means it must be ok, right? Unfortunately the mining museum and Mahatma Gandhi Library(so named because of a personal visit to dedicate it) were closed for rehabilitation. It would have been nice to learn more about the structures we were climbing through.

We will spend another day here knocking stuff from the to-do list for Stray Catz before heading south along the peninsula.