When it comes to survival, what is more important than food? Any guesses? The title of the blog gave it away. The answer is water – but not just any water – potable water.
Potable Water in Mexico
Potable water, in Mexico, is a rare resource in some areas. Almost everyone drinks bottled water. The local residents get it by the truck load, enormous plastic multi-gallon jugs, or more manageable bottles. Some resorts make water with their own water purification equipment. It’s safe to drink the water in many resorts – for one reason – they don’t want you sick, telling your friends, and not coming back. (Always ask, before drinking.) Many restaurants have purified water for drinking, but they don’t offer it like it is offered in the USA. You must request drinking water. I was often given a bottle of water, which was fine with me. I knew I was getting safe drinking water.
Mexico Resort/Marina Water
We took water, at the dock from Paradise Village, Mazatlan Marina, Costa Baha Marina, Marina Coral and Cabo San Lucas Marina. On the way south we stopped off in Cabo San Lucas for fuel. Bruce asked if they had water and they said yes. I can’t tell you why, but I insisted he ask if it was potable. It took me a couple nudges before he asked. No, it was not. And they wanted $2.00 a gallon. Amazing.
We used the resort water for bathing and washing. We drank bottled water. To be safe, Bruce treated our water tank with 1/8 cup of bleach about every third fill. We have a PUR water pitcher, and we used that filtered the water for cooking and coffee. We had absolutely no problems with marina water while we were in Mexico.
Water Drives Decisions
Water drove our cruising decisions on our first real cruise in 2005. We were in British Colombia and cruising in the Broughton Archipelago. There are wonderful outpost marinas in that area that offer many amenities. However, their water is sometimes scarce and they limit how much water you can have. Also, though they say the water is safe to drink, the water does not have their government stamp of approval, so we hesitate to take that water on board. Sometimes the water had tannin in it, making it look the color of ice tea. We took one load of that water and vowed not to do it again. It was safe, for our uses, but the tinge of color was unpleasant.
By now, most of you know our mantra aboard DV is “quality of life aboard at sea, at the dock, and at anchor”. That means we take regular showers, flush the heads, wash dishes and clothing, rinse the decks, and wash down our anchor – all with fresh water. We carry over 300 gallons. That is plenty of water for our purposes for many days. However, we found that washing down the anchor took large portions of our water if it was a muddy anchorage. So, we based our water supply on how often we could move the boat. It became quickly apparent that we did not want water availability to make our decisions. We wanted to be in remote areas for extended periods of time. So, Bruce installed a water-maker the winter of 2006. Water ceased to be part of the decision equation.
Potable Water in the Sea of Cortez
Fast forward to this past spring in the Sea of Cortez. The Baja Peninsula is mostly desert and potable water is scarce. There are many islands in the sea and most of them are have little or no obvious water source. Our first indication of just how dry the islands were came when we were anchored off Isla Carmen in Puerto Balandra. We kick up salt spray as we motor along and Bruce washes down the aft deck, after each voyage, so we don’t track salt into the house. This is a normal practice.
We arrived mid-day, and as Bruce was rinsing the deck a swarm of bees came upon us. Not just one or two – a swarm. Bruce, thinking he could discourage them, tried spraying them with water. They just kept coming.
He finally gave up, and retreated inside. The bees were all over the deck. Anywhere there was water. What was this all about? They didn’t seem interested in anything but the deck which we felt had no food value. We were trapped inside, on a beautiful aft deck afternoon, until after 4:30. We looked out and they were gone – all of them. At dinner, on board AARON SAWYER, we got the answer to our question. The bees were thirsty. They smelled the water and came and drank. This happened at two other anchorages. We let them drink their fill. It helped knowing they would leave of their own accord.
Bees weren’t the only ones needing water this spring though. While traveling with friends, their water-maker failed. And, as I said earlier, water drives your cruising decisions. DV became their water source so they could continue their cruise.
Since replenishment was Bruce’s trade, this was no big deal. This replenishment was done while at anchor. MV AARON SAWYER came along side, we tied them to us, and pumped water to their tank.
And there we are – the water crew. Pearl was a big help, too. 🙂
We visited Bahia Aqua Verde two times as we transited the Sea of Cortez. It is a lovely and protected anchorage. I could have spent more time there.
You could call this place the Bay of Beautiful Sunsets.
The morning after the photo above was taken, while we were doing morning boat chores, we watched a dirt bike come from somewhere off to the left of the photo. We actually heard the bike long before we saw it come over the hill, then coast down to the beach. Hm..a dirt bike out here – is he lost?
Apparently not, because then came another and another, until there were more than two dozen bikes parked on the beach. As we watched the gathering, bikers started jumping into the water for a refreshing swim. Next thing we know two of the guys began swimming out into the bay toward us.
We visited with the guys as they tread water. When asked if they were thirsty, they gladly accepted our offer. We gave them bottled water. They were happy to get the hydration. We asked about the bikes and they told us they got together with their biking buddies for a “ride”. The ride called “Rip to the Tip”, was filmed for television . I scribbled their names down and now can’t find it, but I did find this on the web.
There were cameras on the beach and in the air. The bikers arrival on the beach was filmed. DESERT VENTURE made it into the video and there are several shots of her. [If you look close, Bruce is standing in our dinghy and I am on deck.] How cool is that? The fellow talking on this video, while removeing his biker clothing, is our buddy [on the right of the photo above].
We invited them aboard. They sat on our swim platform, resting and drinking water, while chatting with us. Pretty soon the fellow on the right starts looking around the boat, he is very interested in the topside.
“Can you get to the top of your boat?”
“Well…do think we could jump off your roof?”
The guys got the attention of the shore crew, and the “big jump” was filmed. Check it out at the link above. Cool!
Ready. Set. Jump!
Hasta la vista, amigos!
There’s a spit of land between the Sea of Cortez and this bay. During that same stay, we watched a couple of kayakers row into the bay, and haul out on the spit. I was amazed to see the couple. Where did they came from? Where did they launch their kayaks? We were pretty far from anywhere. In fact, the main road – Highway 1 on the Baja Peninsula, is 25 miles from Bahia Aqua Verde. They rested, ate, and walked around the area. It wasn’t long, though, when the man paddled out to DV. And you guessed it – did we have water to spare. Of course! We would have gladly given them much more, but his water pouches only held two or three gallons. For this water rich girl it didn’t seem like much. Their story was they drove from Sacramento, CA to Loretto, BCS, MX, where they launched their kayaks for a two week cruise. Okay, I admit it – their idea is definitely not my idea of a two week cruise.
Remember me telling you about Bahia Santa Maria, on the outside of the Baja Peninsula on our voyage north? These very nice men asked for water for their fishing camp.
Of course, we gave them water. We gave them water twice, and offered it one more time before we left, but they politely refused.
Water is everything – when you don’t have any or enough. We had the ability to make water, and had plenty. We were happy we had something so basic to life to give.
Note: We were told that Annabelle’s Fuel Service, in Turtle Bay, will deliver potable water to boats for a fee. We haven’t needed water and so haven’t asked. A fellow boater told us they got water from them. A good thing to note – if you don’t have a water-maker, or are in need of water on the outside of the Baja Peninsula.
There are one or two lingering thoughts on Cruising in Mexico left to share with you – standby for a last look at our winter and spring in Mexico.
Meanwhile, Cruising the Sea and giving potable water was good for us all. We met nice people, helped friends, and watered the bees. It gave us satisfaction in sharing, and some great memories to look back on.