Mexico Cruising – Bahia Santa Maria to Asuncion

We had a beautiful sunrise as we left Cabo San Lucas. I thought you would enjoy this shot. I didn’t have time to put it on the last post.

The arch outside Cabo was aglow with the sunrise.

We shared Santa Maria with 6 sailboats. We were the only boat with internet – we love our Mexican Banda Ancha data aircard! So, with us having weather on a very timely basis from several sources, we became a bit popular – especially since Bruce and John delivered it on a memory stick to each boat! Bruce and John were the heroes in Santa Maria. The weather was not good there – exactly why we were there – very windy. We were the only ones that launched a dinghy, and that was to deliver weather. Boats in the anchorage were SV WINDWARD, SV BRISA, SV BIG SKY, SV COMOCEAN, SV MUSIC, and SV SIMPATICO. The last two boats were single handed. Dennis on WINDWARD stopped by and visited with Bruce while we were in Cabo. BLUE SKY, with two children and a crew member are headed north after a six year circumnavigation. BRISA is returning from an extended cruise, too. COMOCEAN was 900 miles to Hawaii when their autopilot failed, and they turned round and came back! While in Santa Maria the captain was able to repair the autopilot and they decided to make for Hawaii again, planning to make the trip north to northern British Columbia. This is supposed to be an easier trip than bashing up the coast, taking advantage of fair winds. I believe the single handed boats were out for the season and headed back north, like us.

We had visits from a local fishing boat – Jimmy and Evaristo on board, asking for water for the fish camp. Jimmy spoke excellent English. The fishing village in Santa Maria is very basic with no water. When asked what else they needed they asked for candy for the one little girl in the camp. No  problem!

We gladly gave them water twice and they brought us fish!

Shark – not too big thankfully, and nice. It was interesting watching the fillet process. The man obviously does this for a living!

After three days of rest, most of us got underway to fight our way north. Though the conditions weren’t our normal fare, they were the best we could get and so we all left at varying times – as early as midnight. We departed about 0400, leaving two boats in the anchorage. And we all arrived in Bahia San Juanito within a couple hours of each other late that afternoon. It was a 12 hour voyage for us – the most uncomfortable voyage we have ever had. I spent over half the voyage – the worst part of it – in my bunk! Not my normal cruising mode, but John was topside with Bruce, and our bunk was the best place for me. We were not in danger.  DV did her most excellent job of moving us north.  And at the end of the day we had eaten some more miles.  Conditions finally settled down to something like the bumpy ride we had into Bahia Santa Maria – which has become a “tolerable condition” – if we ever want to get off the Baja Peninsula.

The conditions on the Baja Peninsula, this spring, are unusual – does this surprise anyone? This is making news around the boating waterfront as the longest period without a single real weather window – now more than a month long. And we still don’t see a true window in the forecast. Our most credible weather source, on this trip, has been Passage Weather. Besides all the offshore information, it gives a near inshore forecast. And, we have been making headway, taking advantage to their near-to forecasts.

We all finally met on shore in San Juanico at El Burro Restaurant – the restaurant we ate at on Thanksgiving. This is popular hangout for the locals, too. The town supports a surfing community and it appears that surfers came and never left.  You can rent surfing and diving equipment from the restaurant.  I believe they offer lessons, too.

Great looking group of cruisers, don’t you think?  The BLUE SKY folks didn’t make it into the photo, unfortunately.

Everyone wanted a few fresh groceries, and others found showers and Laundromats. In fact, I was amazed at how much business there was. The town is much bigger than it looks from the anchorage. There were several small tiendas (grocery stores), and two laundries, several little restaurants, our favorite being the place we ate at in November. There was no aircard action in San Juanico, and no wifi we could use from the boat – so for two days we dingied ashore, had lunch, visited with our new boating friends, and accessed the internet through the restaurant wifi.

And finally, it happened. After years of dry dinghy excursions we met our wet one. (No. There are no photos of the event.) For those of you not experienced in launching a dinghy on an ocean beach, it is all about timing incoming waves or swell. We all managed to get aboard, and were timing the incoming swell – until one of our dinghy tires hung up. John and I were moving forward trying to get the weight on the floating forward end of the boat, when – whoosh! We all got washed – in the face – with the swell! This was no ordinary swell of ocean salt water. Yeah, yeah, I know you think yours was just like ours – but….was your dinghy baptism by ocean with a serious Red Tide ocean swell? Yuck!!! And about ten more eee-uuuuu-Yucks! It was like being dowsed in dead fish salt water and that, friends, is not fun. There was no loss or damage, as often happens when you get swamped by a wave like that. There was about three inches of water in the bottom of the boat, but fortunately the airtight cereal bags held, and Bruce had the backpack on his back – with the computer and camera – instead of tossing it on the deck before launching. It was a cold, breezy, wet ride back to the boat. It took no time for us all to get a warm and reviving shower. Then it was funny…but not something I wish to experience again. And, the worst part – I had just done my hair that morning! Timing is everything. J

We discussed a window we saw with the sailboat people that would let us get to Abreojos, putting us about 60 miles up the coast. John has put this voyage in terms anyone can understand. It starts with a question. How do you eat an elephant? Answer: a bite at a time. And so we have been taking every bite we can. And we are trying to minimize the overnights we have to do, too. So, yesterday, the guys were up at 0300 and we made our way to Abreojos. It was the nicest cruise we have had since we were in the Sea of Cortez, and much like our normal cruising conditions. It was an eight hour voyage and we arrived at 1220. And, just as we set the anchor we could see huge westerly swell rolling into the anchorage. Bruce expected the waves to break just forward of us. This photo is of the reef in Abreojos and the surf.

This put us in an untenable situation – possibly putting our anchor system in jeopardy. So we hauled anchor, and ran another seven hours, arriving here in Asuncion at 1930 – still daylight. The second half of the day was that uncomfortable bumpy ride at times, but we ran in the lee of the headland as we could, and the ride was better.

And do you know the really good news? We put another 118 miles behind us. We are in a safe anchorage, where we will ride out some big winds due in today. Though the winds are piping up, the town of Asuncion is protecting us, giving us a mostly flat anchorage with ripples, but no swell or waves.We expect to make the 60 mile run to Turtle Bay on Tuesday – another bite out the elephant – poor elephant. Our buddy Tom Collins, who just returned from an awful trip home from Mexico, described our trip to Joanne as, “they are clawing their way up the coast”.

And, we continue our Mexican Cruising – in Asuncion waiting for a window on Tuesday to Turtle Bay.

2 thoughts on “Mexico Cruising – Bahia Santa Maria to Asuncion

  1. Gorgeous pictures and great, nail-biting narrative as usual, Angie! Glad you are in a nice safe place until you are ready to move on! Even the weather here has been strange! Larry is in Las Vegas and the temperature at 1400 hours was in the sixties!! Here in Tucson the winds have been so strong and persistent that we can hardly see across the street because of the dust! Of course we could be dealing with temperatures in the 100’s instead of the 80’s so we’ll take what we’ve got! Looking forward to your next post!

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