Loreto to Mulege

Two nights in the bustling city of Loreto was enough for us to need some time away from civilization once again. Luckily, right across just a dozen miles of water is an anchorage on Isla del Carmen with a vacancy, just for us. We even got to sail nearly the entire distance, which as any long-time reader would know, is rare.

The tiny little bay of Puerto Ballandra brought back memories of the pacific north West. Not because of the flora, or view, but because of the geography of the anchorage and its roughly 300 degrees of protection. Only the most westerly of westerlies would blow any wind into here, which gave us some peace of mind to sleep well. It was a little crowded, thanks mostly to the steep depth drop off where all us cruisers want to anchor, but it all worked out. We enjoyed a couple sunsets and a walk on the small beach before parting ways.

When we did leave, we moved to the south side of Coronado Island, both for a change of scenery and to sit out a northerly. Even though there was no wind forecast that day, once we raised anchor and got out of the bay we had a gentle breeze on our nose. Since we were in no rush, and didn’t have a huge distance to go, we hoisted the sails and sailed the majority of the way to Coronado. Again, it was a nice and refreshing day on the water. Kerri was able to work down below while I skippered Meriwether the correct direction. We were the second boat to drop anchor here, but before the sun would set there would be another half dozen doing the same. It really was the spot to ride out the wind.

Each morning we would be mauled by a huge school of small fish

A couple days, and nights, we hunkered down as the wind blew. Nothing of any degree of seriousness, but enough breeze for us to stay where we were. We got laundry done real fast, thanks to the hot breeze drying our clothes. We took one day to go for a hike up the volcano (did I mention the island is a volcano?). We almost made it to the top when Kerri’s vertigo stopped us and told us to turn around – I was happy to abide. The hike down took twice as long, and had a much greater risk of an ankle injury. It has been a while since either or both of us have taken any rigorous hike. It can be another while now.

Hey there buddy…

The lower portion of the trail was deceiving

After 850 of the 900 foot climb up, looking back towards our anchorage

Once the wind passed by, we moved around to the north side of the spit, anchoring in the bay with the camp on shore. Not much to really speak of here, just a change of scenery to curb the itch in our nomadic brains. We almost stopped here on our way to the volcano, but a guided tour was in with dozens of people clogging up the beach, so we waited for another day.

Yep, the spinnaker came out again!

Finally leaving Isla Coronado, we had a big day of back and forth between motoring and sailing to get to ourselves up to San Juanico where we stayed a couple nights in the next bay over to avoid being in Juanico with that night’s southerly blow. We are just finding that “zone” in our travels again, with sailing taking place more frequently then not, even though the forecasts say we will never see our sails again.

We hadn’t made any plans to move to Juanico-proper as it was an easy enough hike from our anchorage to a “Cruiser’s Shrine” in the more popular bay. We had hiked out there but twice supposedly passed the exact tree that is the shrine without noticing it. Frustrated and hot, we returned to Meriwether, unfulfilled. The San Juanico anchorage however, was stunning. We both kinda wished we had stayed on that side. Next time!

Another quick hop to the next anchorage to our north brought us to Punta Pulpito where we stayed a single night on the north side of the point to avoid another southerly that night. This was becoming more common, which brought hope that the winds had finally shifted in our favor. The first anchorage wasn’t well protected, but it did have some protection from the south, unlike the only other one around. So, we slept through a bit of rollinous {how is this not a word?}, woke in the morning, and moved Meriwether to the south-exposed anchorage now that it was safe to do so. From this anchorage we were able to explore yet another sea cave, gawk at the enormous onyx vein in the rock cliff overlooking the bay, and even saw our first Blue Footed Boobies. With the boobies out, all of this sailing life can now be considered a success.

One more single overnight at anchor and another half-day of moving – oof – got us to a tiny anchorage in which we overnighted-only… again. The anchorage was so small, it required stern anchoring between reefs, but it gave us a manageable distance the following day to make it to our next big destination; Mulege. The night went fine and took off early the following morning for what we knew would be all day at sail.

The day on the water was 8.5 hours, but we got to sail more then 6 of those hours, many under spinnaker again. You really can’t ask for a better day on the water then spinnaker sailing in a gentle breeze. It is so quiet, calm, and relaxing… well, other then the constant fear that the wind will kick up and try to kill you because you have your spinnaker up. There is such a fine line between comfort and near-death with that big boy out there.

The fear was unwarranted, however. We actually dropped our spinnaker and replaced it with the jib at the right time, and kept our speed up the whole way to Mulege – our favorite town in all of Baja. Mulege isn’t know as a great anchorage. It is exposed to all winds and can get very rollie {hmmm} in any breeze. Luckily, we arrived on a few-day window of dead calm, so it allowed us to stop here and reprovision.

#cockinabox was going to be the hashtag of the year, but Kerri refused to use it

The nearest grocery store to provision was two miles away, but two miles up a river. This allowed us to take the river all the way into town, get our supplies, and return to Meriwether via dinghy. While the dinghy travels at roughly walking speeds, it was a lot more comfortable two miles without the heavy packs on our backs. The only thing that caused us trouble was the large blob-like jelly fish in the river. There were so many, and they were so dense, that as our propeller would inevitably hit some, it would jar the whole boat. Of course, one of the jellyfish was so buffed, it broke our prop forcing us to limp back home at an even slower speed than normal.

While there were still two more days left on the month of April, and we would still move two more times in those remaining days, I hope that the last three posts on this blog have illustrated how NOT to travel on a sail boat. Even though we were forced to sit still in one anchorage for a full week, we still moved our entire 16 ton home 17 times during the month. Sure, we saw and did a lot, but it was grueling, exhausting, and made me quite grumpy at being a sailor. Sadly, Kerri is the only person around and takes the brunt of my grumpiness. May has already gone much better. But, we are only now arriving at a location that I wanted to be at in December of 2022.

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