October 9, 2016
The locals say that when the yellow butterflies appear the hurricane season in Mexico is over. Well, let’s hope so! We are seeing the yellow butterflies everywhere. They just started appearing one day, and now they are everywhere you look.
We decided to begin the journey back south to La Paz where we will cross over to mainland Mexico. It was hard to make the decision to go, as we loved the northern part of the Sea and we were sad to leave friends behind. One of the great things we discovered about cruising was meeting all of the other boats. But, inevitably our paths will diverge and we have to say goodbye. We were especially sad to say goodbye to our friends on Kenta Anae. Merle, Allison and their two boys Shandro (14) and Matero (11) had been traveling with us for about the last month as we went up to Puerto Refugio, out to Isla Partida and all the stops in between. So many of the cruising boats are older retiree couples that it is fun to meet a younger boat. We all had so much fun snorkeling, diving, hiking, fishing, having fish feasts, making bonfires and just hanging out that we regretted leaving. But, we know that our paths will cross again, hopefully sooner rather than later!
We left Isla Partida and made the 30 mile journey to San Francisquito. We had a calm night’s sleep in the little cove called Cala San Francisquito and prepared to leave the next day for Santa Rosalia. Santa Rosalia is 77 miles south, so we would have to make an overnight trip in order to arrive in daylight. We left San Francisquito in the afternoon and turned south.
We had an interesting night sailing to Santa Rosalia, as the wind just couldn’t decide what it wanted to do! Initially we had some light winds, but enough that we could sail for a little while. But, the wind kept changing direction. So, we kept changing sail configurations. We’d put the pole out on the jib to sail wing and wing, but as soon as we got it up, the wind shifted. Then we put up our reacher asymmetrical spinnaker, but then the wind died down completely. Ugh.
The wind finally appeared to hold a steady 8-10 knots for a couple of hours. I was on watch just cruising along when I noticed the wind start to climb. Mike came up from resting downstairs and we decided to proactively put a couple of reefs in the main. We were approaching an area called Las Tres Virgenes, which is named after three prominent volcanos. The area is known for funneling wind from the west, so we were expecting it to pick up. Well, about a half hour after we had reduced sail the wind was up to about 28 knots! Good thing we reefed that main!
Mike was able to get some fun sailing in and see how the boat performed in the big winds (pretty well), but the winds had calmed down by the time I was back on watch. It was early morning and the wind was almost completely gone, so we made the decision to take down the sails and motor the last couple of hours to Santa Rosalia. Well, the wind didn’t listen to our decision because about an hour later the wind was back up to 25 knots. What??? Mike came back up to the helm just as we were about to round the corner to enter Santa Rosalia harbor when a huge wave swamped the cockpit and drenched him. Welcome to Santa Rosalia.
We spent a couple of days cleaning up the boat and reprovisioning in Santa Rosalia. And, we had to make several trips to our favorite ice cream shop Splash while we were there. Seriously, they have the best homemade ice cream! Then, we were off again headed to Punta Chivato.
We had a fantastic sail to Punta Chivato. The best part for me was the dolphins. I never get tired of seeing dolphins. Often they will come and swim in the bow wake of the boat, but usually it is just for a minute and then they head off. But, this time the dolphins hung around for almost an hour. Not only did they swim in our bow wake, but a couple of them jumped clear out of the water putting on a show. There was a bit of a swell and the dolphins just surfed the swell right next to the boat. So fun to watch. I was up at the bow at one point watching them when a mama and baby dolphin came to swim in the bow. The baby was only about two feet long and swam right above mama. So cool! I’ve never seen a dolphin so little!
Mike, always the fisherman, of course had the trolling lines out. First we pulled in a really big skipjack, so he went back. A few hours later the line started peeling away, so we knew we had something big. It took Mike a while to reel him in, but we had a 45 lb jack crevalle! Not an eating fish, but Mike had fun fighting him into the boat. We took a picture and let him go. But, third time is the charm. Just as we were about to get to Punta Chivato, we picked up a nice sierra! The sierra is by far my favorite fish we have caught in the Sea. Not only are they beautiful with their silver and blue skin with yellow dots, but they are delicious. We had some of it as sashimi and cooked the rest in just a little lemon butter and garlic. We’ve now hooked a couple sierra with our rapala lure, so we’re nicknaming it the sierra slayer.
Here is the Jack Crevalle…
We got to Punta Chivato just before dark and were the only boat in the anchorage. The next day we decided to drop the paddle boards in the water and go exploring. Right at the point behind which we were anchored was a hotel. We had been told by other boats that the hotel was closed and the property abandoned but that you could walk through the grounds. There is a private airstrip at Punta Chivato, and apparently the hotel was once popular with private aviators that flew in. We walked around the grounds and found what was once the outdoor bar overlooking the water that still had tables with benches set up. The view from that patio was fantastic.
While we were playing around a few other boats pulled into the anchorage. We had seen a couple of the boats before but didn’t really know them well. We decided to paddle over to say hello and suggested that we all get together for sundowners at the abandoned hotel bar. So, an hour before sunset we paddled back to hotel with a bottle of wine and the baba ganoush I had made earlier in the day. (I was excited to find eggplant in Santa Rosalia!) The other two boats also brought some wine, apples, cheese, crackers and smoked oysters. We seriously couldn’t have had a better happy hour with the most amazing sunset views. It’s always fun to make your own party, even if it is at an abandoned hotel!
We’re now off again sailing to Punta Pulpito. It is a gorgeous morning, and I’m watching the yellow butterflies come out to our boat from shore. I don’t know if they really are a sign regarding hurricane season, but they sure look like a good omen for something.