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Visitors from the States

January 18, 2013

We are joined on January 4 by Sandie’s cousin JoAnn and her husband Ed who fly down from Santa Cruz, California.  We meet them at the marina offices in Puerto Escondido and dinghy them out to their vacation home for the next two weeks.  We plan to head back to the marina restaurant in the evening for dinner but the north wind makes the short dinghy ride very wet and we decide to eat in.  This was a harbinger of winds to come!

The next day we rent a car and drive the 15 miles to Loreto for provisioning and a fabulous lunch at Orlando’s.  The ladies buy a ton of groceries while the men make do with their meager ration of beer.  We arrive back at the marina to find that the wind has picked up.  We toy briefly with the idea of multiple dinghy runs out to the boat, but where’s the fun in that?  We load up with four adults and a ton of groceries (and a meager supply of beer) and head out into the inner harbor where Persephone is anchored.  We get sufficiently soaked that Sandie has to fire up the dryer and dry the precious few cloths that our guests have brought.

We wake up the next morning to clear skies, calm seas, and light wind and raise anchor headed for Isla Coronados  19 miles to the north.  But first we stop at the fuel dock where they have finally received a load of diesel after months of being out.  Like many things in Mexico you buy it when you see it because you never know if you’ll get another chance.

The trip is pleasant and uneventful and JoAnn appears to be having a good time even though we know she is deathly afraid of the ocean.  We anchor off the southern end of Coronados and enjoy a memorable evening of food, drink, and competition “dice”.  The next day Brian and Ed go fishing for dorado or tuna but are disappointed.  The bait fish and game fish have moved elsewhere as the north winds have churned up the Sea causing the water temperature to drop.  Fortunately, Ed’s persistence yields a nice snapper that we make into fish tacos.

The following day we raise a reefed main and sail the 7 miles to Ballandra in a rolling beam sea that causes some white knuckles among a certain female crew member and some cross words from Sandie directed at the skipper.  But we cheat death and arrive safely in a lovely calm anchorage.  The evening follows the same pattern of great food and drinks while the sun sets beautifully in the west.  Then tensions mount as the games begin and we add Phase 10 to the competition suite.   We are fortunate that each night seems to have a different winner and there is no clear candidate for keel hauling.

Brian and Ed continue to try and catch a big game fish and fail miserably.  However, the weather is mild and we spend a day ashore hiking and collecting shells.  This is one of our favorite anchorages for both its protection and beauty.

We listen to the weather the following morning on the Sonrisa Net and learn that we will have a day of southerly weather and take the opportunity to head further north to Caleta San Juanico that we remember fondly from our previous cruising.  It’s a pleasant 24 mile run and we (Brian) opt to anchor in the south end of the bay while the wind still blows from the south and we settle in for a comfortable evening.

Then around 3:00 AM the north wind fills in and we are on a lee shore with a building swell coming in across the Sea.  We (Brian) deem that we are well anchored and in no danger and opt to wait until dawn to move to the north end of the bay.  Our guests in the forward cabin are bounced around a bit as the swell continues to build.

At first light Brian and Ed raise anchor and move across the bay while the women are gently rocked in their berths.  Well, that may be a bit of an understatement.  We notice that the Canadian couple anchored next to us have decided to move as well and are a wee bit animated.  We later learn from the woman that they sailed down to Puerto Escondido in what she swears are 30 foot seas, or was that metric?

We nestle between two islets in a well-protected part of the bay that we make home for three days as the winds blow.  The fishing isn’t great but Brian dives for scallops and Ed continues to catch fish.  We are situated about 100 yards from an islet with three osprey nests, one with a young bird that we see peeking over the edge.  We watch the adults as they fish and bring their catch back to the nest.  At one point there was so much commotion in the nest that the male took the fish to a cactus perch and ate it by himself.

JoAnn successfully trained Ed to bring her breakfast in bed each morning while she reads her stack of books.  Brian thought this was amusing until Sandie started joining her.  We can only hope that normal behavior resumes when our guests are gone.

After several days we take advantage of all of our northerly travel and sail downwind the 34 miles to Honeymoon Cove on Isla Danzante.  It’s a text book sail and the women enjoy laying on the foredeck in the sun being served drinks while they read.  Their reading is a constant theme on the trip and they look forward to the book exchange at the marina.

Sandie prepares a superb dinner in honor of the skipper’s birthday, including homemade tortilla soup, beef tacos, and iced cupcakes.  Our guests enjoy the views that are uniquely Honeymoon Cove.  It’s a perfect day.

In the morning Sandie, JoAnn, and Brian go ashore for a hike while Ed continues to catch snappers.  The hike takes us to the north end of the island with views of all the surrounding islands.  A storm is approaching and the winds have cleared the air providing breath-taking seascapes.  We view great schools of bait fish and manta rays from the headland before hiking down to the protected beach for some shell collecting.   The two boats that we have shared the anchorage with have left for the safety of Puerto Escondido but we enjoy the afternoon hoping to spend one more night.  But late in the day the storm clouds move in and the wind builds and we too feel it’s time to head in.

The short trip into Puerto Escondido has four foot seas on our beam and it’s a rolly ride across the channel.  The decks remain relatively dry as we take in the spectacular scenery of clouds, sun, and mountains.  The conditions look worse then they are and JoAnn has a permanent look of fright plastered on her face.  We safely anchor in the inner harbor and back down hard on the anchor to insure that it is set for the 40 knot winds that are coming.

By morning the harbor is frothy with whitecaps and spindrift as the full force of the storm is on us.  The women choose to stay on board and read (duh!) while Brian and Ed make the treacherous dinghy ride to shore to buy tomatoes for salsa.  At the marina we meet up with our Canadian friends from San Juanico and we hear their tales of “30 foot seas”, loss of their generator, and life aboard without electricity.  They are astonished that our greatest hardship was our dwindling salsa supply.

On Wednesday we make multiple trips to ferry ourselves, guests, and luggage to shore and a waiting car for the trip to the airport.  It’s a sad moment as we say our good byes and watch as JoAnn and Ed head for their plane.  On the up side, Brian bought a ticket to the States and will be accompanying Sandie on her February trip north.

JoAnn wakes up for the dolphins

JoAnn wakes up for the dolphins

Launching the dinghy in Honeymoon Cove

Launching the dinghy in Honeymoon Cove

The beach at Honeymoon Cove

The beach at Honeymoon Cove

Homemade tortilla soup for Brian's birthday

Homemade tortilla soup for Brian’s birthday

Sandie preparing the B-Day dinner

Sandie preparing the B-Day dinner

Putting the engine on the dinghy

Putting the engine on the dinghy

North headlands on Isla Danzante

North headlands on Isla Danzante

Osprey in action

Osprey in action

Osprey on break

Osprey on break

The "twins" hiking on Isla Danzante

The “twins” hiking on Isla Danzante

Picturesque Honeymoon Cove

Picturesque Honeymoon Cove

JoAnn "catches" a shell for her grand-daughter

JoAnn “catches” a shell for her grand-daughter

Ed's patience provided us with fish

Ed’s patience provided us with fish

Ed hooks the odd puffer fish

Ed hooks the odd puffer fish

Rough waters in the Puerto Escondido inner harbor.

Rough waters in the Puerto Escondido inner harbor.

JoAnn did not enjoy the short trip from Honeymoon Cove to Puerto Escondido

JoAnn did not enjoy the short trip from Honeymoon Cove to Puerto Escondido

The channel as the storm moves in

The channel as the storm moves in

Ed supplied us with Snappers and Brian does the cleaning

Ed supplied us with Snappers and Brian does the cleaning

Whale shark out of plastic bottles in La Paz (old photo)

Whale shark out of plastic bottles in La Paz (old photo)

Lunch at Orlando's

Lunch at Orlando’s

Everyone got wet bringing out the provisions

Everyone got wet bringing out the provisions

Going ashore at Ballandra

Going ashore at Ballandra

One of the islets in the north anchorage at San Juanico

One of the islets in the north anchorage at San Juanico

Morning book club

Morning book club

Brian & Ed trying to find fish

Brian & Ed trying to find fish

Hiking at Ballandra

Hiking at Ballandra

Osprey nests and a young bird

Osprey nests and a young bird

Our neighbors in San Juanico

Our neighbors in San Juanico

Competition "dice"

Competition “dice”

Relaxed sail from San Juanico to Honeymoon Cove

Relaxed sail from San Juanico to Honeymoon Cove

From → Travel

2 Comments
  1. Ed and JoAnn permalink

    Despite the white knuckles – it was the trip of a life time. We had so much fun winning at dice – we will definitely have to return for a rematch!! Ed still has the fishing bug, but would be willing to make an extra dinghy run, over those white caps, to bring more beer. Thank you ever so much for the wonderful hospitality, five star accommendations and gourmet meals – and to think I was worrying that you guys were roughing it! We’re both looking forward to finding you again, somewhere in the world. Love ya, Ed and JoAnn

  2. Dave Wong permalink

    Nice pictures. The one shot where Sandie’s friend is all wrapped up looks like a typical day on the SF Bay.

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