Thursday, June 23, 2011

Santa Rosalia to El Burro Cove

Upon arrival in the French built mining town of Santa Rosalia, we secured a slip in the small marina for three days in order to do some sight seeing and re-provision. On our first night there, we made a bee line to a street vendor’s hot dog stand that was recommended by many other cruisers. While ignoring our common sense about healthy eating, we happily devoured the delicious dogs served with various peppers, onions and sauces on fresh buns from the nearby French bakery. While not something we would do on a regular basis, the meal allowed us to indulge our guilty pleasures. After dinner, our group of cruising friends walked to the nearby town square where we watched a dance exhibition put on by local children. We couldn’t help but smile as we watched the cute kids do their best to stay in time with the music while clad in traditional costumes.

The next day, friends Howard and Lynn joined us for a whirlwind tour of the town’s landmarks. Having been built in the 1800’s by a French mining company to extract copper ore from the surrounding hills, Santa Rosalia features architecture and construction unlike any other place in Mexico. Rather than brick and concrete, most of the structures are made from either steel or wood brought in by ships. The town even features a metal framed church designed by Eiffel of the Eiffel Tower fame. We toured the two locations of the mining museum and gazed with interest at the old machinery and artifacts from the mine’s early days. Part of another day was spent shopping at several markets and a fruit stand to restock “Blue Rodeo’s” stores. While in the marina, Anne did several loads of laundry and Mark spent the better part of a day rewiring our boat’s instruments due to the failure of a seventeen-wire connecting plug that suffered from years of exposure to the salty environment.

On our last evening in town, we shared a restaurant meal with friends Howard and Lynn who would soon be heading across the Sea of Cortez to San Carlos as we begin our southbound trip back to La Paz. We have grown so accustomed to their company that it was a little bit difficult to say farewell for now. We do look forward though to crossing paths with them again in the fall as the winter cruising season starts once again.

We had budgeted about thirty days for the trip back to La Paz so that we would have time to visit a number of places that we skipped on the way north. After departing Santa Rosalia, we sailed back over to Isla San Marcos, this time heading down the east side to a small cove where we would spend a lovely evening all by ourselves. Unfortunately, soon after dropping our anchor in the picturesque bay, Anne’s sweet inner self attracted a renegade bee that promptly stung her on the back of a thigh. Even though Mark quickly removed the stinger, Anne would suffer from pain, swelling and itching for several days. Our evening at anchor was pleasant and far cooler than what we experienced in Santa Rosalia and we both slept well until four am when the evening breeze died completely and we found our boat lying sideways to short-period, steep swells rolling into the anchorage. We make a habit of raising our dinghy out of the water each night and, as “Blue Rodeo” rolled with the incoming seas, the dinghy began swinging wildly and we had no choice but to hurry on to the deck to re-secure it. With the anchorage now bumpy and uncomfortable, we decided to raise our anchor and begin motor sailing back toward Bahia Concepcion where we planned to spend a few more days.

Rounding Punta Chivato, we spotted the boats “Phanta Rei” and “Taking Flight” belonging to friends Larry and Karen and Dave and Anne anchored in a bay. Knowing that they were northbound, we motored slowly by them to say a brief farewell and learn more of their plans for the summer. After wishing them well, we continued to the entrance to Bahia Concepcion where we anchored once again in the shallow bay known as Bahia Santo Domingo. The bay is open to the north and west but provided shelter from the light southerly that was blowing. We spent two nights there snorkeling and beach combing before continuing to El Burro Cove where we had seen the whale shark on our previous visit. Sadly, the whale sharks were no where to be found. What we did find though was hot, hot weather and very warm water. Daytime air temperatures approached 100 degrees fahrenheit with water temperature was in the high 80s. Shade became a very precious commodity and, after anchoring, we quickly erected the three awnings we use to cover “Blue Rodeo’s” deck. Just prior to bed time one evening, we noted that our cabin thermometer registered 97 degrees. Needless to say, sleep was difficult that night, even with all of our cabin fans running at full speed. Anne even resorted to sleeping outside in the cockpit until 3AM. We are slowing acclimatizing to the intense heat but a mid afternoon walk down the road from the anchorage to small restaurant with internet access was almost unbearable. It was so hot on the surface of the paved highway that the laminated soles of Anne’s Teva sandals began to separate.
The “death march” was made worse by our discovery on arrival that the restaurant was closed for the season. Thankfully, a small market nearby was open providing much needed cold beverages to fuel us for our return hike. Once back aboard, we quickly donned our snorkeling gear and swam to a nearby reef for some site-seeing and cooling-off. We would find though, the water to be too warm to provide any relief. We did have dinner ashore that night with cruising friends Hugh and Anne and Tom and Lori in the shade of Bertha’s Restaurant. As the sun set behind the nearby mountain, galvanized buckets containing ice water and 8oz beers were passed around the table. The great company, cold beverages and the spectacular scenery around us quickly made us forget about the heat and savor another wonderful evening in the Sea of Cortez.

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