We spent two weeks in Santa Rosalía. The small marina is extremely friendly, and conveniently close to the town. There was quite the group of cruisers passing through – EXPRESSION, YATRA, GEN-M, all with kids on board, CAVU, SLIPPER (with recently acquired dog), and the 68’ Italian boat we had seen on our way north.
Santa Rosalía was HOT!, and we were there at peak heat. The weather forecast one day gave a ‘feels like 43 degrees” description. They weren’t kidding.
The town is very picturesque, being the site of a mine that was developed by the French, the architecture is decidedly ‘European colonial’ and even features a church designed by Eiffel, of Eiffel Tower fame, constructed mostly of steel. A highlight was the tortilleria with a spectacular tortilla press/oven machine that looked like something from the 1800’s.
Santa Rosalía to San Franciscito
80nm / 323.23 hrs
With an anticipated 14 hours trip ahead we left at 4:00am, leaving the breakwater and the lights of Santa Rosalia behind us, we could see significant lightning storms on the mainland. Unfortunately, more lightning developed both ahead and behind us, and this made for a nervous few hours. We stored some phones/tablets in the oven (a possible protection for those devices against a strike) and at one point our electronics turned off. Although the chartplotter continued to operate, these was no wind/depth reading but after a bit of fiddling (switching off and on) things returned to normal, other than two of the Triton displays which needed a complete reset. A few hours later we also realized the solar system was not charging, and that too needed a reset.
Fortunately, dawn came (not too soon) and the lightning disappeared, leaving us with a windy sail with choppy seas, from behind or on our quarter. We sailed the whole day with a reef in the main and saw winds consistently 20 – 25 and gusting higher. Just as we were settling into the lovely morning sail, we were visited by dolphins and treated to a short but spectacular display including a ‘Seaworld’ three-dolphin leap.
With such good weather and consistent wind, we took the opportunity to set the Monitor windvane which we had only really used effectively a couple of times, and the clever contraption worked like a charm, steering us perfectly for more than 5 hours. Needless to say, despite taking a circuitous route for the last 15 miles to avoid a dead downwind course, we arrived in San Franciscito around 5:30 pm, having maintained speeds around 7knots for a large part of the trip. A great sail … marred only by the unnerving first few hours, and definitely an ‘off-day’ by the captain, suffering from mild sea sickness most of the trip.
Lessons learned: 1) Don’t sail into a lightning storm. 2) If we find ourselves in lightning, turn off all our electronics. 3) Leaving on a passage in the dark, and into choppy weather – particularly in an uncomfortable/unfamiliar situation (lightning) is a pretty sure condition for sea sickness, and we should mitigate for that. 4) Use the Monitor more – its fun and saves the autopilot.
We enjoyed a few days in San Franciscito, and caught up with CAVU (Dave & Marla, and wonder-dog Gomez) who we had met in Santa RosalIa. They had anchored in the lagoon – definitely a nice spot, and well protected.
San Franciscito to Cala Puertocito Enmedio (Punta de Los Animas)
33.5nm / 326.36 hrs
Purely by chance, we perfectly timed the current for the trip to Los Animas enjoying a 1+ knot advantage most of the way, and almost perfect sailing conditions for a good part of the journey with the spinnaker up, until the wind died. As we approached Punta del Los Animas, however, we hit a wind acceleration zone and tidal action and pulled into Enmedio in favor of the more popular, but tighter, Animas Slot. Enmedio is pretty, and fairly desolate, but the swell found its way in, and it was a bit rolly, and gusty throughout the night and we woke to the boat tripping over the snubber lines as the current swirled around the little bay opposing the wind – time to go!
Cala Puertocito Enmedio to East Bahía de los Animas Anchorages (East one)
5.2nm / 327.47 hrs
A quick motor, with jib, and making water, we made our way around Punta de Los Animas, we saw an interesting boat in the first of the two ‘East Anchorages’ – it turned out to be TAIKO – and pulled into the second. We were later joined bu CAVU in the anchorage, and enjoyed a few dingy/paddleboard chats with Dave and Marla during the few days we spent there, and Dave passed on a heap of great weather resources, movies, and tips. With some reasonable protection from the healthy southerlies, this was a very pleasant place to spend a few days, and there was a good walk from the beach onto the bluffs overlooking the bay and down to the valley. A few dinghy excursions were had, and snorkeling enjoyed.
East Bahía de los Animas Anchorages to Enseñada el Pescador
We left the East anchorage with the intention of going to Quemado, but looking at the beaches on the shore we were passing, we saw SUNPIPER on AIS pulling behind the island at El Pescador and it looked too good to pass up. Sure enough, the beach there is pure fine white sand and there is the remnants of a palapa resort that is interesting to see. As soon as we were anchored (in the first 25’ we found) Leo and Kate from SUNPIPER came over to say hello. We were soon joined by both CAVU and TAIKO, and after a dinghy ride, seeing where the others had anchored, and a check with the handheld depth sounder, we realized the 25’ depth extended well into shore and we re-anchored. The snorkeling was great and the variety of fish (particularly at the north end of the bay) was excellent, unfortunately, the visibility was not so great.
During the trip, we took the opportunity to swap out our anchor, changing the 45# Rocna for the 65# Mantus (It wasn’t doing us any good in the locker).
Enseñada el Pescador to Enseñada el Quemado
4.8nm / 333.28 hrs
An Easy motor ‘around the corner’, we anchored in line with BOHEMIA (Tom and Peter), MAKANI (Fred & Veronica), DOGFISH (Marga) and MAZU (Pete), and Peter came over to say hello, and retrieve the few parts we had brought for Bohemia from the U.S. Later that day we had drinks on board Bohemia – our first ‘social’ on a boat since leaving La Paz.
El Quemado was fun – TAIKO and SUNPIPER soon joined and we enjoyed a group hike to Don Juan, a ‘Tostado pot luck’ on SUNPIPER, and some excellent spearfishing/freediving instruction from Fred from MAKANI. Fred and Veronica are amazing to watch spearfishing, spending much time ‘hunting’ under the water among the rocks. They were extremely generous with sharing the ‘how to’s’ and also fish caught, and we enjoyed a delicious grouper (cabrillo) thanks to Fred, for Colin’s birthday.
Enseñada el Quemado to La Mona (BdLA)
8.8nm / 336.26hrs
With no fresh vegetables remaining, we headed for the tiendas of Bahía de Los Angeles village, and had a pleasant downwind sail around the point, passed the entrance to Don Juan, and through Los Gemelos islands (the twins). On entering the BdLA however, the wind picked up and we saw some ominous clouds to the south, and, thinking we would probably not go into the village until the following day anyway, we opted for the southerly protection of La Mona, and enjoy the 7+ knot sail down to the south end of the Bay. Of course, within a few hours, and after twelve drops of rain, the whole thing had passed and it was a beautiful evening, and we were left hearing SUNPIPER and DOGFISH chat on the radio about meeting for Tacos (dammit!). La mona was very pleasant however, Julian took a short walk on the beach in front of the vacation homes, and the big moon rising over the hill was quite the sight.
La Mona to Bahía de Los Angeles Village (Punta Arena)
5.0nm / 339.06 hrs
With a strange mild northerly during the night in La Mona, we motored into the wind the few miles over to the Village in the morning, and after getting settled, went ashore at Guillermo’s for our fist access to WiFi since Santa Rosalía, and some well earned tacos/quesadillas. A walk to the tienda gave us some fresh eggs and vegetables, and we had located some laundry services. Excellent! The ‘village’ is supposedly about 500 people and it has some reasonable services (no cellphone), so it will be a good base for a few days while Colin does a bit of work, and we catch up on our long-lost Amazon and Defender Marine deliveries.