up into the Sea of cortez, take 2

10th-14th November still in Frailes!

Nothing much happening here! Just to fill in the blanks, there is nothing in Los Frailes, a few holiday houses for some rich folk, but no store, no town, nada… so we just hang out on the boat, cleaning up a little, and waited for the wind to die…

oh theres also no cell coverage in the bay, which means no internet, which means no weather!  I managed to get a short forecast off a sport fishing boat who also came and hid in the bay, and it called for a couple more days of wind then dieing down some….

While we waited, we did finally open up the back of the boat a little, moving a couple of sections of handrail that were useless where they were and taking down a big section of the canvas dodger to let in a breeze and some light, makes a huge difference!  Now I just have to fix the steering an we can use the “backyard” properly!

The remnants of the Ha-Ha crowd started showing up too, and we soon had around 30 boats in the bay, turns out a couple of catamarans had headed this way on the same day that we had headed north, and had had to turn back too, good to know we weren’t the only ones who had to do it!

After another updated weather report from the a neighbour,  we made the decision to head north again on the 15th, a day after a lot of the other boats, but seeing as they were mainly half boats(monohulls!), they don’t have to put up with the slamming we do if we time it wrong!

15th November Frailes to Bahia los Muertos take 2

Took off at sunrise again, as did everyone else who was left in the bay and again found ourselves motoring north, still a little bit of swell around, but now that is was actually a swell and not just wind waves and chop, it wasn’t a problem… all I ask is that occasionally we get something in between wind wise, this none or too much from the wrong direction is starting to bug me! arrrrrrrgggghhh!!

Once everyone else finished overtaking us, we chugged away towards the anchorage at the back of the pack, seems there was enough wind for some of the smaller and racier mono-hulls and I guess most other catamaran owners are better off than us and can afford to motor with both engines, but nice guys finish last or something I suppose….

how the other half live, Bahia los Muertos

When we got settled in the anchorage, we unloaded the dinghy and headed into the restaurant onshore for an over priced but not cooked by us dinner and celebratory drink, chatting to a few of the other crews anchored in the bay.

We were planning on just heading straight out again in the morning while there was no wind, I know, I can’t complain about no wind one second then love it the next, but the 2 channels we had to go through to get to La Paz are renowned for being nasty with even a moderate swell and breeze, and seeing as we’d made it this far with out wind we figured lets keep rollin!

But, then I checked the fuel again….

I knew the first failed trip north had chewed into our tanks, but had hoped to at least be able to motorsail at some point on the final stretch.  with that looking unlikely, I decided that we should try and find at least another 10 gallons to make sure we weren’t trying to cut it too fine….. now there maybe a restaurant here, but thats about it….. worry about it in the morning!

16th November

We got up early and loaded up the dink with a couple of diesel jugs and headed to shore to see about hitching the 20 or so km to the nearest town to get some fuel… after looking down the dirt road aways, we thought asking at the restaurant if anyone was heading that way could be a good idea…. and we were right!  The guy working said he lived that way and could just fill the cans up and have them back for us the next morning!  Sweet!  So we left him some cash and headed back to the boat to get back to the important stuff… finishing my book, playing cards and snorkeling the reef near the boat!

The snorkeling was great, only about 15′ deep, so perfect and plenty of fish around, had some trouble with the spear-gun, so no dinner unfortunately, but no biggie….

Just as we were getting comfy, a call came out on the vhf that one of the boats at the back of the anchorage looked to be dragging, I looked out the window and agreed, and let the observant neighbour know that the owners were on shore, I’d spoken to them earlier when they had asked whether the restaurant gave rides to shore or not…

Into the dinghy we jumped and took off after the runaway boat!  When we got there we made sure there was no one asleep on board, and tried calling the bar to see if they were paying attention, no luck. Not really wanting to try and fire up somebody else’s boat or windlass, we sped towards shore to find the owners.  They were just leaving the beach in their dinghy, and rowing their little hearts out towards their accelerating boat, not very successfully though, with 4 of them in an inflatable, choppy seas and half a mile or so to go and climbing, I wouldn’t have liked their chances if we hadn’t picked the captain up and started chasing their boat down.

It wasn’t too hard to catch up with the outboard blazing, and we helped him get her started and I took her towards shore while he got the anchor up and loaded up the rest of his crew when we got to them, still rowing away merrily!

Crisis averted.

They were pretty glad we helped out and we spent the afternoon on their boat talking and even scored a dinner out of it!  Another meal not cooked by us!

17th November Muertos to Caleta Lobos

ahhhhh, another uneventful day, motoring to our next port! I guess we should be happy the usually unruly channels were like glass for us, but it does get old just listening to the motor hum away, especially when there is zero wind and plenty of sun… the worst part is knowing just how much better it would feel if you could jump over the side and rinse off, but we wanted to get there by dark so we just kept on chuggin….

hot….. flat…… and no breeze….

Everything was on track to have us dropping the anchor with a little twilight left to see in until I went an hooked a fish just before sunset!  Whoops!  But after dragging lines for weeks and only getting one fish waaaaayyy back before Santa Maria (and to be honest that was a foul, the hook was in the poor buggers forehead! ) I wasn’t gonna let this one go!


It took about an hour of fighting to tire him out enough to pull him up, with Sabi at the helm as it got dark constantly telling me to hurry up as she couldn’t make out the random lights everywhere!

After I’d cleaned him up by head-lamp, we negotiated our way through the last channel in the dark, not too hard, then found the bay we were aiming for with only the radar as eyes.

I know better than to blindly trust a chartplotter at night, but with the radar display and the paper charts out, we made it in to the bay and managed to dodge the other boats already there (even though some clown was too cool to use his anchor light), and get ourselves settled successfully, it almost looked like we knew what we were doing!

And the dorado tasted great!

18th November – the home stretch to La Paz!

Slept in till nearly 7.30!  a quick brekkie, and off.

We only had about 10 miles to cover and half of that was in the entrance channel, so we just chugged away, taking in the sights, dodging the fishing boats and one huge ferry that decided to charge up on us!

The channel here is pretty well marked and easy to follow, out of it though, it gets shallow real quick and without warning! we missed our original turnout when the boat that we had been following up the channel for an hour decided to stop dead and wait for the marina they were headed to to answer the radio – its a sunday in mexico, good luck with that!

I called him up and let him know I wasn’t to stoked with him just stopping on me, and as a result we had to turn into the anchorage a little further along the channel, after I had passed him.  Its lucky we only draw about 3.5 feet, otherwise we would have been stuck as soon as we turned in, but with some nifty reversing we just kicked up a little dirt off the bottom and moved on down the anchorage until we found a better, slightly deeper spot and shut down….

After a quick argument about how much chain we were letting out, and whether we were too close to anyone or not, we unloaded the dinghy and headed for dry land!

One of the good things about La Paz, is that even though we’re anchored out and paying pretty much nothing (I say pretty much, because technically you’re supposed to pay something, but no body does!) there is a Marina right across from us that lets you use the dinghy dock for a dollar a day, less if you pay by the month.   With a 5 minute ride to shore out of the way, there is a laundry right there, and you’re a shortish walk from town and a really short walk from the buses that will take you all over the place, as we found out a few days later when we got on the wrong one and got a 1 hour tour of the outskirts of La Paz for less than a buck each!

After wandering around town for a while, we found a cheap place to eat, and treated ourselves to lunch!  Then back to the boat to chill and rest for the day, tomorrow we start trying to figure out the lay of the land and meet some of the locals!

sunrise over the anchorage, La Paz






One response to “up into the Sea of cortez, take 2

  1. Sweet…. Great to get your … blogs… (almost said stuff – wha!) Anyhow, we are setting sail from San Francisco in about 4 days! See if we can catch up with you guys! – Jim and Jess

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