Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Loreto to Bahia Concepcion
Heading north from Loreto, we continued up the east side of the Baja peninsula to a lovely bay and cruiser favorite known as San Juanico. By early evening we anchored there behind a reef that offered some protection from the wind driven choppy seas coming from the southeast. We shared the spot with Lynn and Howard from “Swift Current” and one other boat. Shortly before dark, our friends Dave and Marisa from “Pacifico” rendezvoused with us after sailing down from points north. With a brisk northwesterly blow forecast for the next day, Dave and Marisa chose to anchor that night in the north end of the bay that provided better protection from those winds. When we awoke the next morning, the winds had indeed switched direction and, although safe, our anchorage had become uncomfortable. So, by 7am we raised our anchor and motored through the chop to the north side of the bay where we anchored in the lee of a hill and rocky islets. “Swift Current” soon joined us and we all spent the day aboard our boats checking the security of our anchors and listening the wind howl through our rigging. At some point during the day, our instruments recorded a wind gust of over 27 knots (30 plus mph), nothing too significant but enough to produce rough water in the anchorage. The choppy water however did not discourage Anne from a swim to one of the islets and a nearby sandy beach. Mark stayed aboard, feeling a bit under the weather from some sort of stomach bug that he had picked up. He did however watch Anne swimming away through the rough water and thought to himself what a powerful swimmer she is and how she looked like a Coast Guard rescue swimmer heading out into stormy seas to save a life. That evening we hosted a dinner aboard “Blue Rodeo” as “Pacifico” was planning to head south the next morning and it would be our last opportunity to share an evening with Dave and Marisa. Everyone contributed to the delicious meal and emotional hugs were exchanged when it was time to call it a night. The next morning, we watched them weigh anchor and continue south. We have spent so many good times with them this season that it was hard to see them go. Later that morning, we took our dinghy to shore and hiked a few of the trails and dirt roads surrounding the bay. We continued to be so impressed by the stark, desert beauty of this area. It is made even more so by the contrast with the shimmering blue water and white sandy beaches. The vegetation is limited to but a few thorny bushes and enormous, gnarled cactus.
While in San Juanico, “Blue Rodeo” suffered an electrical short that could have been very serious. While running our auxiliary motor, the entire DC electrical system suddenly died. After some trouble shooting, Mark determined that a shunt (a device connecting large battery cables and used to measure current) had burned through due to a short circuit. More trouble shooting revealed the location of the problem as a place in the engine room where a positive cable’s insulation had chafed through allowing contact with a metal mount which was part of the ship’s negative ground system. Fortunately, Mark had the supplies aboard to repair the cable and, by the end of the next morning, we were back up and running. Whew!! After the repair, another pleasant day was spent swimming and snorkeling around San Juanico before we were again bit by the urge to see what lay beyond the next point of land.
Shortly after an 8am departure from San Juanico, we sailed through an area of fish activity in the water and, before long, Anne had two fish on lines that she was trolling behind the boat. After bringing in one to release the unwanted bonito that she had caught, she began struggling with what felt like a whopper on her rod and reel. Both Mark and Anne struggled trying to make progress reeling in the catch but soon had to actually turn the boat around in order to lessen the drag on the line. As we fought to reel in whatever was at the other end, we noticed a large group of pelicans diving into the water and feeding on other fish in the area. Soon, to our horror, we realized that a pelican had swallowed the fish that we caught and was being dragged to its death behind our boat. With no alternative other than to continue reeling in the line, we finally brought the now dead bird and the still flopping bonito up to the stern of “Blue Rodeo”. In amazement, we noted that the pelican had not actually been hooked but had swallowed our fish and couldn’t disgorge it before drowning. Never the less, we were saddened by the incident and Anne chose to pull in her lines for the rest of the day.
By mid morning, the breeze had freshened so we shut down “Blue Rodeo’s” diesel engine and had a delightful sail for the remainder of the 44 mile leg to Bahia Santo Domingo, just inside the huge Bahia Conception. In this area, would spend at least a few days hopefully interacting with some of the whale sharks that are known to frequent the area.