|Santa Rosalia to Bahia de Los Angeles
|Sea of Cortez. This is our hurricane season hide-out. So far we had one storm, Henriette, come close but thankfully not close enough
to cause any damage. In this installment we will describe our stay in Santa Rosalia and then tell you about our exploration of the
Bahia de Los Angeles (BLA) area. You can find corresponding pictures by clicking on the Photo Album button above. Remember, you can
always look at our previous ramblings by clicking on the archived Journal Entries above and the corresponding archived Photo Albums
on the Photo Album page.
We spent a few weeks in Santa Rosalia. We stayed in the new Singular Marina which turned out to be very nice. The crew at the
marina were extremely helpful in many ways. It was a great place to take care of some boat chores. You know, fun stuff like
rebuilding the macerator pumps that we use to discharge the holding tanks for the heads. Bet you don't have to do that around the
house! The Marina also had a great laundry facility and Joshua's favorite, a swimming pool! It's actually a small lap pool, but in the
summer heat to a 6 year old it looked like an Olympic pool. We also had a visit from our close friends the Morletts from Huntington
Beach, California. Jaime, Angie, and kids Jessica, Nicholas, and Bradley converged on us for a fun filled week of
sailing/swimming/snorkeling, etc. Nicholas is Joshua's best friend from So Cal so he was beside himself with excitement. We spent a
day in town messing about then headed for Isla San Marcos to spend a few days at the Los Arcos anchorage. The water was clear and
warm so the kids had a great time. Bradley, 2 years old, was cute as the dickens on the boat. He loved to follow the big boys around
as they split their time between sword fighting and torturing poor Jessica (11 years old). After our island time, we went back to
Santa Rosalia and spent a couple more days playing in the pool and visiting town. Santa Rosalia sprung up as a mining town when copper
was discovered in the area in 1868. In 1885 a French mining company, El Boleo, went to work in earnest and before they closed in 1958
had dug over 375 miles of mining tunnels. The town definitely has a French influence. There are wood-frame houses fronted by long
verandas in the French colonial style, a large French bakery, and the Iglesia Santa Barbara de Santa Rosalia (a church designed by
famed French architect Alexandre Gustav Eiffel). The Hotel Frances is one of the best preserved of the old French structures and is
still in full operation. We can attest that they have the best breakfast in town. The hotel is reputed to be haunted. Our friends
Mike and Dawn from So Cal spent a night there years ago, and they both swear that they were visited by a ghost that night in their
room. Oooooooh, Spooky! These days the town survives as a fishing port. Most notably as a squid fishing port. Each evening the
squid fishermen depart the harbor in their pangas and fish for giant squid (most in excess of 3 feet long) until the wee hours of the
morning. These hard working folks get paid 2 pesos for each kilo of edible squid. This roughly equates to about $50 for a ton of
edible squid. If you ever start thinking you are under paid... think about these guys. Sadly, the Morletts had to depart and start the
long drive back to the United States. We had a great time and will cherish the memory of their visit. You're welcome back anytime
We spent a few more days buttoning up everything on the boat and then headed north toward BLA. We did an overnight sail from
Santa Rosalia to the lovely anchorage of Bahia San Francisquito. We spent approximately 5 days in San Francisquito. We hiked and
fished in the area along with a few other boats who were heading north. One day we hiked along a ridge on the west beach of this bay.
It turned out to be an ancient reef. The entire ridge is made up completely of shell fragments (see the pics in the Photo Album). We
also weathered our first Northern Sea of Cortez summer storm. It blew in from the south during the wee hours of the morning (why
is it always the wee hours of the morning?!) and brought rain and winds in excess of 40 knots. Luckily we were prepared because
earlier that day a couple of boats at an island north of us reported being caught unaware by a small cell with winds in excess of 50
knots. From San Francisquito we worked our way up to BLA via the Midriff Islands. We stayed in the North Slot at Isla Salsipuedes
where we hiked the ridge overlooking the anchorage (see the pics in the Photo Album). We also anchored at Isla Partida for a night.
From the Midriff Islands we sailed into the BLA area proper.
BLA is a small village that exists for sport fishing, sailing and kayaking. The area is absolutely beautiful! With dozens of islands
within a days reach, it is an idyllic cruising ground. It also has the distinction of historically being unencumbered by hurricanes, which
appeals to all of us crazy cruisers. Great fishing, great snorkeling, great hiking, and a small town for provisioning..... what more could
you need? OK, you could also use an air conditioning system because buddy, It Gets HOT! During August and the first couple of
weeks of September each day was well over 105 degrees in the sun. Of course, we stayed in the shade where it was only 95, or better
yet in the water where it was a delightful 85 degrees. Everyone will tell you it's a dry heat. But dry-heat shmy-heat, when you get
over 100 it's bloody hot! Dave (from S/V Sweet Lorraine) and I even shaved our heads to help cope with the heat. We did it in
stages. First we went with a very stylish Mohawk for a few days, then we shaved down to a kind of boot-camp look.
We spent the summer fishing, diving, hiking, schooling Joshua, and cavorting with our sailing buddies. There were about 25 boats up
here for the summer and you get to know everybody pretty well. There were even a few boats with kids so Joshua had friends with
which to interact. As a group we all hunkered down for Hurricane Henriette in Puerto Don Juan (the local hurricane hole just 4
nautical miles from the village). Thankfully nothing from the storm came our way and we all celebrated by having a noodle party off
the stern of Adios (owned by veteran Sea of Cortez cruisers, Ray & Janey). During the summer there was also a full moon party at La
Mona and net controllers (having to do with ham radio) party at Rincon Beach. But our favorite party was Joshua's 7th Birthday
Beach Bash! We held this at the cool lighthouse beach by the village on September 17th. All of the cruising kids and approximately 40
adults were in attendance so it was quite the cool party. Magically, the weather turned cooler for the first time since we had been in
the area. We had tug of war, water volleyball, water balloon games, bocce ball, and a pinata. We had a pot luck dinner and birthday
cupcakes. Afterward all of the boys (4 total) spent the night on Southern Belle and stayed up to well past midnight. Talk about a
couple of tired parents the next day! We also visited some friends from So Cal who were staying at an Eco-Resort in Bahia Alacron,
about 10 miles south of BLA. It is a very nice little get away spot (See the pics in the Photo Album).
Now we are into October. The weather is becoming milder on a daily basis and we are starting to think of migrating South. Many of
our friends have already departed for southerly anchorages. As we think back on our time in BLA..., even with the heat, the potential
storms, the occasional bug problems, and the inconvenience of having to schlep all supplies (food, drink, and fuel) to the boat via
dinghy... We wouldn't trade this experience for all the air conditioning systems in the world!
Until our next installment we wish you all a fair breeze and following seas!