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Logbook:  June through October, 2005

On June 22, we left La Paz heading north to explore the Sea of Cortez.  Over the next four months, we dropped our hook in over 30 anchorages, crossed from the Baja to the mainland and back and squeezed in a four-week trip to the U.S. to visit family and friends.

Click here for photos.

     Anchorages we visited:
  • El Cardonel, Isla Partida
  • Isla San Francisco
  • San Evaristo
  • Isla San Diego
  • Los Gatos
  • Agua Verde
  • Yellowstone Beach, Isla Monserat
  • Candelero Chico
  • Pyramid Cove, Isla Danzante
  • Loreto
  • Isla Carmen
    • Bahia Marquer
    • Bahia Ballandra
    • Bahia Oto
  • Isla Coronados
  • San Juanico
  • La Ramada




  • San Carlos:
    • Catch 22 Beach
    • San Carlos Bay
    • Club Med Beach
    • Las Cocinas
    • Bahia San Pedro
  • Ensenada Quemado
  • Bahia de Los Angeles:
    • Puerto Don Juan,
    • Las Rocas, Isla Smith
    • La Gringa
    • Pueblo BLA
    • Islas Pata & Bota
    • La Mona
  • Santa Rosalia
  • Bahia Concepcion:
    • Santo Domingo
    • Playa Burro

    and back to La Paz...



Below, we provide details on all the anchorages we visited in the Sea of Cortez.  (Of course, these are our subjective observations.)  For those who prefer not to read the details, we'll summarize our overall impressions. 

Although we visited 30 anchorages, we didn't even scratch the surface of what one can see and experience in the Sea of Cortez.  It's with some regret that we're moving on, but if we wanted to see it all, it would take several years, and we'd never get anywhere else. 

For folks who are used to cruising in lush tropical areas, the rugged desert terrain of the Sea of Cortez might not be appealing.  Perhaps because we lived in Southern California for a long while, we've come to appreciate the beauty of it.  The weather in the Sea was hot, and it rarely rained, but we found it was quite tolerable as long as we could find shade and a breeze (provided by a fan, if necessary).  And, there was always the option of jumping in the water, and we did a lot of that.  

We enjoyed the snorkeling and diving in the Sea, but found it to be very different from what we've done in the Caribbean and South Pacific.  In a few places, the fish life was abundant, and we saw stuff we've never seen before.  Seeing a few turtles and a spotted eagle ray were special treats, and some of our favorite fish sightings were the King and Cortez angelfish (especially the babies) and golden grouper.  Puffer fish were abundant in the Sea, and we often saw green moray eels swimming outside their holes in the daytime (in the Caribbean, they usually only come out at night).  There were no colorful coral reefs in the Sea of Cortez.  What our guidebook called a reef was usually a pile of rocks covered with algae.  We did see some beautiful fans in the southern part of the Sea and some colorful sponges in the BLA area. 

Our snorkeling and diving took on a new dimension in the Sea of Cortez.  In the past, we were mostly sightseers underwater.  However, we've morphed into hunters.  We bought a pole spear in La Paz, and Rich got to be quite a good shot with it, and we enjoyed lots of fish dinners as a result.  Jan tended to be the finder of the scallops - the rock scallops were good, but the free-swimmers were the best!  We both learned to find a variety of clams, and Jan learned some new cooking skills and recipes since she'd never cooked with clams before.  We never scored any lobsters.  They always knew when we had our spear with us.  If we left the spear behind, we found lobster.  If we brought it with us, they were hiding deep in their holes. 

The sea life  was at times incredible and at others disappointing.  We could spend hours watching manta rays jump out of the water, loved it when dolphins swam along with our boat, and seeing whale spouts always excited us.  The fishing was disappointing, which we understand is the result of over fishing by commercial enterprises.  We always dragged a fishing line behind Slip Away as we moved from anchorage to anchorage, and only caught 2 dorado (one too small to keep) and 4 bonito/skipjack, which aren't all that great eating.  (OK, we've gotten to be fish snobs!)  We also fished quite a bit from the dinghy, and only caught one trigger fish (at Isla San Francisco) and 5 yellowtail (in Bahia de Los Angeles).  Fortunately, Rich had that pole spear! 

The sea temperature was a little cool when we left La Paz (mid 70's), but it warmed up to the high 80's by the end of July, so it was quite comfortable.  We always found it necessary to wear at least a lycra suit to avoid being stung by the variety of stingy stuff in the Sea - string of pearls, agua-malas, etc. Visibility was just OK - maybe 50 feet on the best of days. 

There were very few boats cruising in the Sea of Cortez this summer, so if we wanted a quiet cove to ourselves, we could always find one.  If we wanted to find others to socialize with, we could usually find that, too.  We enjoyed our Summer in the Sea and are very happy we had the opportunity to explore this corner of the world. 

For those who are interested in the details, here they are:

Baja Peninsula:

El Cardonel, Isla Partida (6/22-25).  It was a 25 nm trip from Marina Costa Baja in La Paz to this anchorage.  We motored most of the way - only able to sail for about an hour.  The hiking here was very good.  The snorkeling was OK, but visibility wasn't great, and the water was still a little chilly (mid 70's).

Isla San Francisco (6/25-7/1).  It was 21 nm to Isla San Francisco, and we were able to sail wing-and-wing for a couple of hours.  Isla San Francisco was one of our favorite spots.  The anchorage looked like a postcard with white sand and clear water.  We found the snorkeling around this island to be some of the best in the Sea of Cortez.  Our favorite snorkel/dive spot was at Isla Coyote (off the north end of Isla S.F.).  The varieties and numbers of fish were excellent!  Rich speared his first fish here - a giant hawkfish - which we shared for dinner with our friends Doug & Joan (s.v. Charlotte Ann). 

San Evaristo (7/1-3).  San Evaristo was only 11 nm away.  There was a light breeze blowing and seas were flat, so we set our spinnaker and sailed the distance in 3 hours.  We were having such a nice sail that we passed by the anchorage and had to turn back.  Oops!  Our first morning here, we awoke to a rainbow - very pretty!  The water wasn't as clear here as it was in Isla S.F., so we weren't eager to snorkel or dive, but the terrain at San Evaristo reminded us of  the Grand Canyon, and we took a long hike.  On our way back to the boat, we found a skeleton of a sea horse (completely intact) on the beach.  We had some strong westerly winds our second night in this anchorage, but it wasn't a big problem since the winds were coming off the land. 

Isla San Diego (7/3-4).  We motored the 20 nm to Isla San Diego (no wind).  The anchorage at Isla San Diego was very open, but it was protected from the south, the direction from which we expected any winds and/or swell.  When we arrived in the afternoon, it was completely calm.  We swam and snorkeled (saw a turtle) and enjoyed a nice dinner in celebration of our 6th wedding anniversary.  About midnight, the winds came up from the west to about 15 knots.  The winds weren't so bad, but the seas came up quite a bit, and Slip Away was riding them like a bucking bull.  It was very uncomfortable, and we didn't get much sleep.  By about 9 a.m. the next morning, the winds and seas died down, and it was flat calm again.  We had a good morning snorkel (saw the turtle again, as well as lots of cabrilla, some of them golden), but not wanting to spend another sleepless night, we took off in the early afternoon.

Los Gatos (7/4-5).  It was only 15 nm to Los Gatos - no wind, so it was a motor trip.  Los Gatos is a beautiful anchorage surrounded by mounds of pink sandstone.  We snorkeled here (saw another turtle), but visibility wasn't all that great.

Agua Verde (7/5-9).  Los Gatos to Agua Verde was 20 nm.  Winds were light, but we managed to sail under spinnaker most of the way.   Agua Verde has a small village with a tienda that sells good provisions.  We were out of fresh fruits and veggies, so we were happy to find some.  There was some good snorkeling and diving in this anchorage (lots of sea fans, and we saw another turtle).  It was nice to find some of our cruising friends here, and we had a potluck dinner on the beach one evening.  It was also in this anchorage that we came to the aid of a large catamaran who wrapped their dinghy painter in one of their propellers while anchoring.  The catamaran was chartered by two Belgian families on holiday, and after we helped them secure their anchor (with the help of our new 15 hp outboard), Rich donned his scuba gear and cut the dinghy painter away from the propeller.  Afterward, they shared some beers with us and gave us a bar of Belgian chocolate.  Very nice folks!

Yellowstone Beach, Isla Monserat (7/9-7/13).  It was 13 nm to Yellowstone Beach, and we had a great sail - a beam reach - all the way.  We were anchored here by ourselves for four days.  We attempted to hike on the island, but it wasn't easy because the sticker bushes were pretty thick.  We snorkeled and scuba dived here and saw a nice variety of sea life, including some lobsters, but unfortunately, we didn't have our spear when we saw the lobsters, and when we came back with it, they weren't around.  Darn!

Candelero Chico (7/13-15).  It was a short run (9.5 nm) to Candelero Chico, and we had another nice beam reach all the way.  Candelero Chico was Rich's favorite anchorage.  It was a very small anchorage - not really room for another boat, so it was good we were here alone.  The scenery was like a postcard.  We hiked one day, snorkeled the other and enjoyed both.  Rich also saw some big squid in the water here while barbequing dinner one evening.

Pyramid Cove, Isla Danzante (7/15-16).  We motored the 9 nm to Pyramid Cove (no wind).  Of course, as we approached the anchorage, the wind started blowing 15 knots!  From this anchorage, we dinghied 2 miles away to dive on a ship that was sunk as an artificial reef.  Visibility wasn't great, but there was a ton of fish life here.  We really enjoyed seeing a couple of eels hanging out on the back deck of the boat - completely out in the open. 

Bahia Marquer, Isla Carmen (7/16-7/20).  It was only 6 nm to Bahia Marquer, and we motor-sailed to charge our batteries.  We intended to stay at this anchorage for a couple of nights, but we enjoyed it so much, we stayed four.  We made some new friends here, Bill and Linda (s.v. Creola), and they taught us how to find and prepare chocolate clams.  The four of us did a dive together, and they also helped us to identify free-swimming scallops.  Our dinner menu was expanding for the better! 

Loreto (7/20).  Loreto was just over an hour (8 nm) away from Isla Carmen, and it was a good place to get some provisions.  We weighed anchor at Bahia Marquer early in the morning, sailed to Loreto, shopped for provisions, ate lunch and then sailed back to Isla Carmen.  Lynne, a cruiser who lives on her boat in Puerto Escondido (~10 miles from Loreto), met us in Loreto and helped us with our errands with her car.  One of the things we really love about this lifestyle is the willingness of all cruisers to help each other out. 

Bahia Ballandra, Isla Carmen (7/20-7/22).  After provisioning in Loreto, we sailed to Bahia Ballandra on Isla Carmen.  We can't really remember what we did in Ballandra - cruiseheimers setting in!

Bahia Oto, Isla Carmen (7/22).  Bahia Oto was just a few miles away from Ballandra, on the northern end of Isla Carmen, and we moved to this anchorage in the hopes of doing some snorkeling and/or diving here.  When we dropped our anchor at Oto, the winds were blowing about 20-25 knots.  The winds were coming off the island, so the seas weren't bad, but that's too windy to leave the boat and go swimming.  We heard on the radio that another boat, Two Can Play (Dennis & Susan), was anchored at Isla Coronados, which was only 10 nm away.  We called Dennis and Susan and asked them what their conditions were like there, and the wind was much lighter - only about 10 knots.  So, we weighed anchor and headed to Isla Coronados.

Isla Coronados (7/22-7/26).  Isla Coronados was another of our favorite spots.  The sea life here was excellent!  We were constantly entertained by small manta rays jumping out of the water.  One morning, Jan saw a whale swim right next to our boat - incredible!  We were anchored here with two other boats, Two Can Play (Dennis & Susan) and Po Oino Roa (Jerry & Kathy), and the six of us had a great day snorkeling together.  Another day, we went diving with Dennis and as we were about to anchor our dinghies, we saw a spotted eagle ray (wing span about 4 feet) just below the surface - awesome!   Dennis was very helpful to us in identifying slow fish (i.e. easy to shoot) that also taste good.  Dennis & Susan also showed us how to find the very small wedgie clams, which went well in pasta. 

San Juanico (7/26-7/27).  We continued north (20 nm) to San Juanico, where we again ran into Po Oino Roa who left Isla Coronados a day ahead of us.   We spent the afternoon snorkeling and then invited Jerry and Kathy to Slip Away for dinner.  After dinner, we noticed quite a bit of lightning in the sky, and we wondered if we might have a "chubasco" approaching.  Chubascos are storms that usually don't last long (maybe an hour or so), but they can sometimes be quite violent - lots of rain, wind and lightning.  If you cruise the Sea of Cortez in summer, you can almost be assured of running into at least one or two.  When we went to bed that night, we rolled up our sun awning and double checked to make sure everything on deck was secure (steps we took every night since sometimes chubascos come without any warning).  About midnight, the winds started to pick up, which woke both of us, and we went up into the cockpit.  The winds built and were pretty steady in the 25-30 knot range for about 40 minutes.  The highest gust we saw was 38 knots (about 44 mph).  We were in radio contact with the other two boats in the anchorage, and all of us came through with no problems.  The seas grew to about 5-6 feet during the Chubasco, and when the winds abated, we unfortunately turned beam to the swell, which is very uncomfortable.  When a light breeze started blowing off the land, we raised our mizzen sail, which turned us stern-to the swell, and allowed us to get some sleep.  Since the anchorage was still quite rolly the next morning, we weighed anchor and moved to La Ramada, 2 nm away.

La Ramada (7/27-7/28).  La Ramada was literally around the corner from San Juanico, but more protected from the sea swell.  After anchoring, we took a nice long hike back to the anchorage at San Juanico to take some pictures because it's a very pretty anchorage.  We also snorkeled here and found more chocolate clams and free-swimming scallops for dinner.

Mainland (San Carlos/Guaymas area):

Crossing to the Mainland (7/28-29).  From La Ramada, we did an overnight passage (96 nm) to San Carlos on the mainland.  For the last 2 1/2 hours of our trip, we had a refreshing rain storm.  Winds were blowing about 20 knots, so we enjoyed it - the first rain we'd seen since January in Zihuatanejo. 

Bahia Algodones (7/29-7/31).  We dropped our anchor at Bahia Algodones, about a mile down the beach from where Jan taught water-skiing and sailing at Club Med in the Summer of 1987.  Needless to say, change has come to this once-remote area.  There's been quite a bit of development since 1987, with hotels, homes and a new marina.  We met up here with our friends John & Linda (s.v. Nakia), who crossed to the mainland a couple of days before us.  They caught a dorado on their crossing and brought some for dinner on Slip Away.  We spent a day snorkeling with them (since this was Jan's old neighborhood, she knew the good spots).  Jan also took Rich on a tour of the old Club Med, which was sold to another resort company called Club Paradiso.  Seeing the old village was somewhat bittersweet - it brought back lots of good memories, but it was sad to see that the village was quite run down. 

Bahia San Carlos (7/31-8/5).  After a couple of days at Algodones, we motored (6 nm) to the anchorage just outside of Marina San Carlos.  We made sure our anchor was set securely because we were leaving the boat here for a day while we drove up to Tucson to pick up Rich's son Andrew, who was coming to visit for a week.  Andrew arrived on 8/3, and our friend Bob (s.v. Kay II) also met us in Tucson and caught a ride back to San Carlos with us. 

Club Med Beach (8/5-8/6).  After a couple nights anchored out in San Carlos Bay, we headed up to the beach around the corner from Algodones, and anchored right in front of the old Club Med.  We spent an afternoon snorkeling with Andrew and came back with quite a catch of fish, which would cover a few dinners.  Rich shot the first few, and then Andrew asked to try, and he was quite good at it. 

Las Cocinas (8/6-8/8).  Las Cocinas was 23 nm from Club Med Beach.  At the start of our trip, we set the spinnaker and had a nice run with it for a couple hours.  However, we doused it when the wind got squirrelly, and it started to rain.  We caught four fish underway - 1 bonito and 3 skipjack, which we threw back.   We snorkeled and scuba dived at this anchorage, and found scallops and clams.  We also received three fish  (corvinas) in trade when some fisherman stopped by our boat and asked if we had any drinking water.  When we gave them a gallon of water, they offered us the fish in return.  Andrew cleaned them and we had enough corvina for a couple of dinners. 

Bahia San Pedro (8/8-8/9).  Since we needed to head south back to San Carlos, and that meant motoring into the southerly winds and seas, we decided go half-way (13 nm) and spend a night a Bahia San Pedro.  It was an overcast day, and Rich was feeling under the weather, so when we arrived, we didn't do much.  The clouds that evening made for a beautiful sunset. 

Marina Real, San Carlos (8/9-9/26).  We motored the last 11 miles back to San Carlos and pulled into a slip at Marina Real, where we planned to leave Slip Away while we traveled back to the States.  Hertz delivered a rental car to us at the marina, and we took Andrew for a tour of the town of Guaymas before his return to the U.S. 

The next day, we drove Andrew to Tucson for his flight to Oakland, where he was meeting his brother Erik, who was finishing a summer internship at an architectural engineering firm in San Francisco.  The two of them were driving together back to Kansas, where Andrew would return to work and Erik would begin his final semester of college. 

After dropping Andrew off at the Tucson airport, we continued on to Phoenix to visit Jan's friend Lori Helton.  We stayed with Lori and her family for a couple of days, and Lori helped us do some shopping - something Lori enjoys and is good at!  On our return trip from Phoenix to San Carlos, our friend Kay (s.v. Kay II) and kitty Sophie hitched a ride with us. 

When we got back to San Carlos, we spent a few days preparing Slip Away to be left for a month while we went back to visit our families in the U.S.  Since it was hurricane season, we needed to clear the decks as much as possible and store everything (including our sails) down below.  We even stowed our outboard down in the salon since it was brand new, and we wanted to be sure it was still there when we returned. 

U.S. Trip (8/15-9/15).  When Slip Away was "put away", we caught an overnight bus from Guaymas to Tucson (7 hours on a very comfortable bus), and there we caught a flight to Baltimore, where Rich's sister Kathleen met us at the airport.  We spent the next four weeks traveling (with Rich's mom's car) between Maryland, Florida, Georgia and Ohio and visited with both Moms, all of our siblings, nieces and nephews, a few cousins and several friends.  We spent Labor Day weekend at the Schwab Family river camp in Kentucky, and Jan had an opportunity to water-ski.  She also twisted Rich's arm to go see Cincinnati's annual Riverfest fireworks show (like no fireworks show you've ever seen).  We enjoyed the visits but were quite eager to get back to our cruising life. 

When we got back to San Carlos, we spent a week in the slip putting the boat back together, provisioning  and adjusting to the heat.  It was quite hot and humid in San Carlos, and it didn't take us long to decide to turn on our air conditioning.  After a week in the slip, we anchored out for a few days, finished some final boat chores and got ready to cross back over to the Baja Peninsula.

Baja Peninsula:

Crossing to the Baja (9/26-27) Our 144 nm crossing from San Carlos to Ensenada Quemado (just south of Bahia de Los Angeles [BLA]) was a motor trip (with the exception of about an hour).  Winds ranged from 3-6 knots - not enough to move our full-keeled boat.  On the bright side, the seas were flat calm.  We dragged a fishing line as we crossed the sea and caught a nice-sized dorado.  However, just as we got him to the boat, he shook the hook out of his mouth and got away.  I thought we were both going to cry! 

We initially intended to stop at Bahia San Fransisquito, but we were arriving very early in the morning, and the current was favorable to take us further north, so we took advantage of the push and continued on to Quemado, arriving mid-afternoon. 

Ensenada Quemado (9/27-10/1).  We enjoyed three days of swimming and snorkeling in Quemado and stayed close to our radio for weather reports because the day after we arrived, our weatherman alerted us to a system further south that looked like it would develop into a hurricane.  The system grew to hurricane strength - Hurricane Otis - off the coast of Cabo San Lucas, and there was a possibility that he would head our way. 

Puerto Don Juan (10/1-10/7).  With Hurricane Otis threatening, we headed to Puerto Don Juan (PDJ) at the south end of Bahia de Los Angeles.  Lucky for us, it was just around the corner from Quemado.  PDJ is one of the best "hurricane holes" in the Sea of Cortez because it is almost completely surrounded by land and provides protection from the heavy seas that accompany a hurricane.  There were already a couple of boats anchored in PDJ when we arrived, and by the end of the next day, there were a total of 14 of us.  Everyone quickly got to work removing roller furling sails, tying main and mizzen sails down to their booms and either moving things on deck down below or tying them down more securely.  Rich and a couple other guys dove on everyone's anchors to make sure they were well set, and all boats put out extra rode (anchor chain) to make sure we would hold in high winds.  Fortunately, Otis stalled and then fizzled out.  We all breathed a sigh of relief, put our boats back together and then had a party on the beach to celebrate.  We spent a couple extra days in PDJ because some strong north winds started blowing - a sign that Fall was arriving.  Although we were "holed up" for almost a week, we had a great hike and did some fishing, and Jan caught a couple yellowtail. 

Bahia de Los Angeles (BLA) (10/7-10/20).  We spent the next two weeks exploring several anchorages in BLA.  The weather continued to be a bit blustery - the other cruisers in the area remarked about how it was nice and calm before we arrived!   One of the main reasons we came to BLA was to see the whale sharks, which come to this bay every fall, usually in late September or early October.  They hadn't arrived yet, but we were willing to wait for them. 

From PDJ, we went to Los Rocas, spent a night and did some snorkeling and fishing (Jan caught three more yellowtail).  But, we had to move to La Gringa when some strong west winds came up.  We spent our windiest night ever at La Gringa (blowing 25-30 knots all night long, with an hour in the 30's and several gusts over 40).  The winds were coming off shore, so the seas weren't bad, but we didn't get much sleep!  Fortunately, the next night was much calmer.  When our friends Linda & John (s.v. Nakia) called the next day and asked if we wanted to meet them in town for 2-for-1 margaritas, we weighed anchor and sailed the 6 nm to "Puebla BLA" in an hour (with just our headsail in 20-25 knot winds).  Fortunately, the anchorage in front of the town was well protected.  We spent a few nights in town, provisioned with some fresh vegetables, and in addition to the margaritas, our friends showed us a great hamburger place and taco stand (Tina's Tacos).  Our friends also highly recommended that we visit the museum in town.  BLA is a very small town (I don't know the population, but I'd bet it's only a few hundred people - more in the winter with the snowbirds), but this little museum has an outstanding collection of shells and fossils, mining exhibits, whale skeletons, Indian artifacts and ranch life re-creations.  We really enjoyed it.  After Puebla BLA, we spent a couple nights anchored between the two small islands of Pata & Bota.  We snorkeled, fished (got skunked), hiked and took a dinghy ride out to Isla Calaveras to see the sea lions.  From there, we moved to the southern end of BLA and anchored at La Mona.   Cruisers who sighted whale sharks in previous years told us they saw them in the Southern BLA area, so we thought maybe if we showed up, they would too.  No such luck!  We spent one night in La Mona, collected some clams and had a nice snorkel, but the next day, the winds got blustery again, and we moved back into the shelter of Puerto Don Juan.  Our friends Bob & Kay (s.v. Kay II) showed up in PDJ, and we spent a couple of nights here, did a nice hike and dug some clams.  We then went back to Puebla BLA with Bob & Kay to show them around - 2-for-1 margaritas, Tina's Tacos, provisions and the museum.  By this time, we had given up on the whale sharks and made plans to head south. 

Underway to Santa Rosalia (10/20-21).   We left BLA intending to stop at Isla Salsipuedes, but a few hours out, Kay II called and said they had a problem with their engine - their fresh water pump was spewing water.  We anchored temporarily at a small bay called Enmedio and tried to fix it with a spare from another cruiser, but it wasn't the right fit.  Since the wind was blowing from a favorable direction, we decided we'd sail and continue on to Santa Rosalia (a little over 100 nm away) where we believed they could get the pump re-built.   We left Enmedio at 3:30 in the afternoon, and sailed through the night - sometimes slowly, but we were able to sail.  At 11 a.m. the next day, the wind pretty much died, and we took Kay II under tow.  None of us had ever done this before, but we'd had some classroom training on it, so it was time to put our skills to the test.  Rich rigged a towing bridle off the stern of Slip Away, and Bob rigged the towing line on the bow of Kay II.  With Jan at the helm of Slip Away, we passed by Kay II, and Bob passed us his tow line.  Jan slowed, Rich attached the tow line to the bridle, and we slowly started underway.  The seas and winds were very calm at this time, so the towing went quite smoothly.  A couple hours after we started towing, some dolphins started swimming along with us, and we also saw the spouts of some whales further away - a nice treat.  We were able to travel at about 4.5 knots, which we calculated would put us into Santa Rosalia right around sunset.  We towed Kay II for just under 4 hours, and then the winds started building again, so we dropped the tow line and both of us continued under sail.  We arrived Santa Rosalia just as the sun was setting.  We had radioed ahead, and two cruisers who were already in Santa Rosalia (Mark on Sea Angel and Lou on Reflections) were standing by with their dinghies to help Kay II anchor in the harbor, but we needed to rig our tow line again and tow them into the harbor.  By this time, the wind was blowing 20-25 knots and the seas were choppy, so passing off the tow lines from Kay II to us was a bit more challenging.  We needed to get close enough to catch the tow line but stay far enough away so that our rigging didn't entangle.  Jan took the helm again, and managed to pull off the maneuver with no problems.   We towed Kay II into the harbor, and once we were in calmer waters, the dinghies tied up one on each side of  Kay II,  we dropped the tow line, and they took Kay II and got her anchored securely.  After Kay II was anchored, we did the same, and we all slept well that night.  The next evening Kay II hosted happy hour for all who helped out - Mark & Debra from Sea Angel, Lou & Shirley from Reflections and us.  

Santa Rosalia (10/21-25).  Santa Rosalia has an interesting history.  Copper was discovered near here in the late 1800's, and shortly thereafter, a French mining company acquired mineral rights to the area for 99 years.  They mined and smelted copper until the ore began to run out, and the French company sold its mining facilities back to the Mexican government in 1954.  Copper ore from the Mexican mainland is occasionally smelted in Santa Rosalia, but the mines closed in 1985.  We enjoyed exploring this town, especially the "French Mesa" where houses were built in French colonial-style architecture, and the former mining company's headquarters, which is now a museum.  The biggest negative about Santa Rosalia was that it was dirty.  When we left there, we had a layer of black soot on Slip Away, and we were eager to wash it off.

Bahia Concepcion (10/25-29).  We moved on to Santo Domingo at Bahia Concepcion (41 nm), and Kay II stayed behind and waited a few more days for their rebuilt pump.  Santo Domingo was a quiet anchorage for the night, but the next morning, the wind brought in some choppy seas, so we decided to weigh anchor and moved further into Bahia Concepcion and more protected waters.  Of course, the wind lightened considerably as we weighed anchor, but we didn't have far to go, so we set our spinnaker and sailed down to El Burro Cove.  It took us four hours to sail 10 nm, but we enjoyed it, and we heard later that folks on the beach were talking about us - "the boat that came in under spinnaker" - because most boats motor in.  We snorkeled here one day but didn't see much fish life.  However, we had a great hike - beautiful views of the bay and also a good workout. 

Back to La Paz ... (214 nm)  On the afternoon of 10/29, we left El Burro Cove headed for Puerto Escondido.  We had very little wind and motored through the night.  As we approached Puerto Escondido early the next morning, we listened to the weather forecast for the next few days and decided to continue on to La Paz.  The wind was predicted to come up, but didn't show up until about 6 p.m. - but that was just in time because we had a gremlin in our engine.  Rich has since diagnosed the problem to be a short causing the starter to engage, but at the time, we weren't sure what was wrong.  We were a little nervous because the evening weather forecast said the winds could get quite strong by early the next morning and with no engine, it would be difficult to stop in an anchorage if we wanted to get shelter.  However, the winds were quite cooperative and blew us to La Paz so that we arrived at dawn (on Halloween).  As we approached the channel markers for entrance into La Paz, the wind died down, and we needed to start the engine.  By this time, Rich had figured out the problem, and we started the engine, then disconnected the starter and motored in and anchored safely.  Another repair to add to our "to-do" list ...

We were eager to get back to La Paz to renew our travel visas, have the boat hauled for bottom paint and some other projects, visit the dentist, do some provisioning (we were running short on beer!), see some friends and prepare to cross to Mazatlan and continue south on the mainland for the winter.