Monday, February 9, 2009

Ensenada de La Raza and Grande

Tanque de Tiburon at anchor ....
From the anchored boat in Ensenada de La Raza

A full moon at anchor!
And some lovely geographic features of the
bay walls.

Bill relaxing after dropping anchor
in Ensenada Grande - what a view!!!
That is El Gallo, a small Sea Lion Isla
out from the cove.

Yet another lovely beach with a boat at anchor just to the left - this shot taken
from our boat.

Return to Espiritu Santo Island !
As noted previously, we already visited Espiritu Santo several times before - en route to La Paz, we stayed overnight at Calleta Partida, the bay between the north island of Partida and the south larger island of Espiritu. When Barb and Randy visited, we visited the southern coves of San Gabriel and Bonanza. So far, we have only been able to dinghy in and walk the beach at Bonanza, a two-mile white sand beach full of shells! I am starting my collection of shells and specializing in painting mermaids on them. Bill is groaning.
4 - 5 Feb 2008
We decided it is time to get away from the dock for a few days, set some sails and head north, find some new coves and explore some islands. Leaving at 1000, the first day took us once again through the La Paz channel north, passing several coves we have visited before - Calleta Lobos and Balandra. Finding a little wind, we put the main sail up and caught a couple of knots of wind as well as motored, averaging 4-5 knots. Pretty day, sunny and a very pleasant breeze cooled us. I even had a few goose bumps!
Just as we passed the last inlet, we hear our San Carlos buddies on s/v Seabourn on the radio! Calling them up, we found they were finally headed into La Paz and we would actually pass them mid-channel. Binoculars out, we watched for each other. Ron and Beryl intended to depart with us in November but due to boat problems, found they needed to stay longer in San Carlos. So they were anxious to get south and we were anxious to see them again. Now we are heading away from La Paz as they arrive, boo hoo. They sound tired and needing a good restaurant. So suspect they may need a few days R&R and then will be ready for some “docktails”. So we did finally see them and Bill does a 180 to travel by them for a few minutes and shout and wave hello…then off they went and we turned back toward ES.
Passing San Gabriel, we opted to go a little further to Ensanada de La Raza, a cove amongst three coves with two small islands out front (La Gallina, the hen, and El Gallo, the rooster), arriving at 1600. Anchoring easily (we are getting good at it, needing only one drop lately!), we note just one other boat anchored with us - no one we recognize. Soon, we are joined by a third boat, s/v Morning Calm III, a gorgeous, larger sailboat we have seen in our marina. Oops, they had a little trouble dropping their anchor - a mate having to climb out over the anchor line and kick it out with his foot….owch. There are also a few tour boats traveling through the coves.

The sunsets are fabulous - but no green flashes as we see the sun set over the Baja mainland…so not on water! Although, I swear I do see an occasional green flash. Setting our deck chairs forward, grabbing a book, sunset snack and a cold beer, we settled in to watch the daily happening and "ooh and ah". The geologic formations are also a sight to enjoy and again, we are sitting inside a cove surrounded by rock formations to amaze anyone. If you filled the Grand Canyon with water, it might look like the Sea of Cortez.
To bed early, sort of, and up early, not really, we enjoyed a gentle rocking through the night, checking our anchor occasionally. Had a nice moon with a ring up the first night!
FOOD: Meals are simpler at sea and, luckily, Bill doesn’t mind. Oatmeal or PBJ on toast or eggs or a Medifast shake make breakfast; lunch is cheese and crackers, fruit or an avocado or a PBJ (unless we had it for breakfast!), Medifast soup or a protein bar. Dinners are chili, pasta or a stir-fry rice and frozen or fresh veggies when available and BBQ chicken, beef or fish. We try to plan dinner before dark when we can, so we can relax and enjoy the rest of the evening. Sometimes we have a later breakfast, skip lunch (perhaps a protein bar or shake) and have diner at 4 or 5. We had purchased a kilo of local, marinated arrachera meat to grill, lasting several meals. Yummy stuff! My favorite snack treat when I need a “rush” of chocolate is Nutella, chocolate hazelnut butter. To die for! (But I do ration it due to the calories). I also keep a stash of caramel vanilla suckers, about 20 calories each and good for a sweet-tooth fix, too. Bill doesn’t do sweets, so that’s easy! No cookies, pastries, cakes, puddings, ice cream and very few chips. Our favorite snack is popcorn. Thanks to Barb, I now have Molly McButter, too - thanks, Barb!
Mr. Dinghy, Sharktank went in the water on day #2. Always a pleasure to start the little motor (NOT!), Bill finds new words to coax the dang thing to start. We actually wanted to head to the beach and do some shelling, but the shoal area was huge and very shallow. We traveled as far as we could toward the beach without dragging bottom. We probably could have walked in, dragging the dinghy for a long hike in 1-2 feet of water (and unknown sandy bottom), but opted for an abbreviated dinghy boat tour of the rocks, El Gallo and back around. The water is clear and the shallow areas sandy, grassy and a few rocks, fish and birds.
Once back to the boat, we were approached by our boat neighbors in their dinghy, a couple from Colorado on the s/v Blue Chip. They had been snorkeling - in wet suits! The water is about 68 degrees, too cold for me to stay in long! They are heading back north, back to San Carlos but taking their time.
Day is done, gone the sun…off to read, listen to Sirius Sinatra and the news. Testing the batteries, we did watch a short movie!

6-7 February 2008
Pulling up anchor and motoring out of bay about 1000 again, we headed north, passing Partida. There appeared to be 5-6 boats at anchor in Partida - a major stopping point when folks travel south, from the Baja mainland, out to the island then south to La Paz. The destination on the GPS is waypoint #180 that Bill put in the computer. We have a nice program, reading a continuous chart as we go. We took turns motoring - no wind in sight! No sails today! Passing panga fishermen, some sailboats coming and going and a few power monsters, too, we just toodled north and enjoyed the day.
We pulled into Ensanada Grande about 1230. The water was extremely calm, very turquoise, several nice beaches and only one other boat in the three-bay area. Dropping the anchor at 20 feet, it settled in nicely the first drop and we watched for a few minutes before turning off the motor, to make sure the anchor held. It holds, so off with the engine and back to peace and quiet. After a short lunch, Bill dropped the dinghy to the water from its davit mount and mounted the (*&!!#$%@!) motor aft. As soon as we were ready to take a tour, hit the beach and explore - Bingo! - the wind started blowing like stink - instantly! Weird weather! We noted gusts from 10-20 knots for several hours. After dark, the wind died to nothing for a few hours but picked up during the night again. So no boat tour and we’ll head in early tomorrow! The seagulls are begging - and I did share some crackers with them. One decided sitting on the dinghy was a fun ride.
Staying two nights in Ensanada Grande, both rolly with the Cormuel winds, we didn’t sleep well but it was pretty - a full moon and the swells rolling in under the moonlight. Bill discovered the second night that if he actually held on to the steering wheel, he could control the way the boat hit the swells, making us not quite so rolly. Luckily, we were faced into the swells, hitting our bow and making the stern "smack" into the water, so we just bobbed forward/backward versus side-to-side (the rolls that make one sea sick, usually). The anchor held tight. We are joined by six other boats for the night…. including several power boats from our dock and two more sailboats.
We did have a wind break on Saturday afternoon and able to get out in the dinghy and take a tour to one of the beaches. The tide was heading out, so we pulled in as far as we could toward the beach, - until the motor hit bottom! - dropped a small anchor and waded the rest of the way in. Nice sandy bottom, not too many shells and very clear water. In the shallow water, the temperature was probably 85 degrees and felt very nice. I could probably have snorkeled easily. The water was so clear and shallow, we walked the shore and able to see lots of smaller coral heads, tiny fish and several bright blue ‘skinny” star fish.

We departed Ensenada Grande Sunday morning to head back to the marina. The weather report noted a norther would hit Monday or Tuesday and we did not want to be caught in higher winds than we were comfortable with. We did find some wind, though!!! It ranged from 5-15 knots all day! We had both the main and the job up and made an average of 4-5 knots, sailing all the way back, from 10 AM to 5 PM. It was sunny, breezy and a very pleasant day “out to sea”. We only saw one sea lion acting odd - flipping up and about as he passed us.
Arriving back to the marina, we found s/v Seabourn and they invited us over for a cold one - and we did. Had a shower and dinner at the marina restaurant, La Panga.

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