Sunday, November 21, 2010

San Quintin to Cedros Island

We left Bahia San Quintin on a beautiful clear morning with the plan being to sail just a short distance to a protected indentation on the coast called Punta Baja. Mark remembered his surfing friends having talked about it as a place to surf, kiteboard and windsurf. A short time after getting underway we were joined by dolphins that approached the boat from every direction doing the kind of tricks for us that one would normally expect at Sea World. We could see them jumping 10 feet out of the water and doing flips. By early afternoon we were passing abeam the bay and with little or no surf showing and a steady wind beginning to build we decided to continue on toward another overnight option, the small island of Isla Jeronimo. As we neared the island we recognized a steel hulled Canadian boat that we had shared moorage with in both San Diego and Bahia San Quintin. The islands only anchorage looked like it offered reasonable protection from the ocean swells but with perfect sailing winds we decided to continue once again and aim for Bahia San Carlos. If we were able to keep our speed up we should be arriving just before dusk. We sailed along with 12-15 knots of wind from behind and nearly flat seas. Conditions couldn’t have been better! As the sun sunk toward the horizon the winds eventually lightened and we fired up our trusty diesel engine to help push us the last few miles and we entered Bahia San Carlos and anchored as darkness fell upon us. With a desire to keep moving south toward warmer water and more interesting anchorages we decided to leave at 3am for our next 80 mile leg to Cedros Island. Fortunately, skies remained clear through the night and as we raised anchor at 2:40am an almost full golden moon was still shining on the waters around us. Once underway, we motored until 6am when the first zephyrs of a building northwesterly breeze were felt. Mark had taken the first watch and when Anne awoke after sunrise we decided to hoist our spinnaker to take best advantage of the breezes. With our beautiful multi-colored spinnaker set and filled “Blue Rodeo” was happily pulled south toward Cedros Island. The day seemed to go by quickly and by late afternoon we passed abeam the north end of the island and began looking for our place to anchor for the night. A guide book mentions a spot off a gravel beach near some rocky pinnacles just south of a simple fishing village with a dozen white stuccoed houses and a church. As we dropped anchor in calm conditions we were immediately amazed by the variety of sounds made by the seals and sea lions that lived on the nearby rocks. We sat in the cockpit and giggled at the almost comical barks, grunts, growls and moans made by our furry neighbors. Fortunately their bedtime seemed to coincide with ours and we slept peacefully through the night. On Friday we motor sailed the 18 miles down the islands east shore to Cedros Islands only real town. After anchoring north of the harbor we gathered up our paperwork and took our dinghy ashore to check in with the Port Captain. We were a bit unsure as to the requirement to do so but as a courtesy and also to cover our rear ends we figured it best to go through the formality. The half mile walk through town to the Port Captains office gave us the opportunity to see what the little town offered in the way of markets and restaurants. We entered what appeared to be the largest grocery market and satisfied our curiosity by examining their inventory. Although the store was not much bigger than 7 11’s in the US it contained a reasonable selection of canned and packaged goods and some vegetables of questionable freshness. When Anne noticed that most of the produce was completely covered with fruit flies she decided to make do with what we had aboard. I’m sure that over the next few months our acceptance of this type of fruit and vegetable selection will likely increase to some degree as we adjust to this life. We do know though that the bigger cities have selections and quality on par with the US and several even have Costco’s and Walmart’s. Like most cruisers we’ll do the bulk of our shopping there and fill in from time to time in the little out of the way places. The town is quite simple with few paved streets but we’ve been told that the Japanese corporation Mitsubishi operates an enormous sea salt refinery a short distance away and the community there is quite modern. From a distance, during our sail down the island we could see the refineries enormous cranes that are used to load its product onto ships. We are finishing our day with dinner on board after watching local fisherman cast their hand lines from the breakwater and beaches around us. One gentlemen in a small wooden rowboat who is fishing nearby seems to be having great luck bringing in 14-15 inch sole on almost every cast. When he returned to the beach his family greeted him warmly and will no doubt be enjoying fresh fish for the next few days. As we write this blog we’re already yawning and thinking about an early bedtime. After another day of perpetual motion we find ourselves tired and happy and looking forward to drifting off to sleep as “Blue Rode” is gently rocked by the ocean swells.

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