Finding some time to relax
As we left the Bay of Conception we had positioned ourselves in Santa Domingo, just before the land gives way to the Sea of Cortez. This stop was only for a single night and only really used as the first stage – of two – in positioning ourselves for the coming days. With a mild southerly blow forecast, and us wanting to travel north, we wanted to take advantage of that very weather on our passage up to the next “big” port on our route.
We were far from alone in Santa Domingo, as we rejoined the kid-boat tour (a group of other cruisers on separate boats, all with kids) schedule by accident. No judgement, but we aren’t really kid-friendly people most of the time. Drinkers [and a smoker if I had tobacco] we are, and sometimes I like to walk around on deck in little to no clothing at all, it being warm and all for the first time in our sailing lives. The energy and enthusiasm of children though… it is nice to see.
The second stage of our positioning was just 15 miles further to the north at Punta Chivato. A pleasant sail got us there the next day and we promptly dropped anchor and did not poke either head back out of the boat for the rest of the day – hence no photos. However, we were now in the perfect position for the following day’s southerly blow that we could ride all the way up to Santa Rosalia. And a glorious day at sail it was too, seven hours of it before arriving at Santa Rosalia and it’s protected harbor where we could anchor once again, immediately taking the dinghy to shore for our first hot dog during our stay.
We would spend a few days resupplying, eating out as much as we could, walking about, and eventually topping off the fuel tank before a big over-night sail to pass through a large gap between anchorages in this area of the Sea. Our time here would mark our 500th night at anchor since we started this whole sailing-life.
We had a 120 mile hop to make, which would require a full 24+ hours to transit. Our weather planning worked beautifully [this time] allowing us to sail most of the journey. Nothing of importance happened during the trip. Just how you want it if I am being honest. We did try watching a movie together that evening, but as luck would have it the wind would begin to pickup half way through so we had to set the movie aside for another day.
As the sun rose the following morning we altered our plan a bit and pointed Meriwether towards a few islands off our original destination of Bahia de Los Angeles. Isla Partida – a U-shaped island – beckoned us over. By early afternoon we we had dropped anchor and were resting amongst the thousands and thousands of birds surrounding us on land. It was a noisy anchorage, for sure, but at least the noise of nature and wildlife, not humanity. We ended up staying here another full week, completely unplanned. It was just such a peaceful place to be, so well off the beaten path, and I really needed the time to do absolutely nothing for days. Partida turned out to be one of our favorite places – if not our #1 spot outright – in all of the Sea of Cortez. We even had a few foggy mornings, bringing back fond memories of our time in the Pacific North West.
We’ve been here here at this anchorage in Isla Partida for four nights now — the longest we’ve stayed in one place by choice (not due to weather) in a very long time. We didn’t even intend to stop here. On our overnight passages from Santa Rosalía, we chose to skip the usual stop at San Francisquito and haul on further —straight to Bahía de Los Angeles — since we were overnighting it anyway. But, last-minute we altered course a tad to come here instead, amidst the nesting grounds of thousands of varied species of sea birds. And we can stay as long as we want. We were rushing on a timeline up to where we’re hauling out (and and there would have been more rushing to meet obligations immediately after that), but we rearranged things and are now able to just relax for a bit. It’s been such a treat.
Birds we’ve seen so far here: Pelicans (of course), Heermann’s seagulls (a species exclusive to these nearby islands), magnificent frigate birds, cormorants, blue-footed boobies, grebes, SO many terns. I’m sure I’m forgetting some.
Though the first nights we were alone, we’ve had the company of a single neighbor (two separate boats), the last two nights. The night before, we were up until dark chatting away in the cockpit with our neighbor long enough to find it was a great night for bioluminescence. What we didn’t expect was the show it would put on. The sea lions made their nightly commute into our bay for fishing, and the stir they created in the water made something akin to a monochromatic, inverted aurora borealis, with shapes and curtains of light moving everywhere. Large, darting fish escaping the sea lions jaws would draw sharp, intense bright lines in the water, while the sea lions stayed aglow in their own subtle diffused blobs. Then, suddenly, a sea lion would break up a large school of bait fish, and nearly the entire bay would light up in a progressive semi-circle as the fish scattered. I don’t know how long I stayed up, straddling the boom like it was a horse for the best 360° view, watching it.
I’m not sure when we’ll leave here. Nice to know we don’t have to until we want to (or until weather makes us). – Kerri