Team McCulley–Chilling on the Islands
Frankie and my week together in the Loreto islands
Monday May 28th
We said goodbye to our Rally crew yesterday and made our way back to Puerto Escondido south of Loreto, sailing down in the afternoon. Frankie and I are polishing our team sailing skills as we will be sailing just the two of us over the next week. We’re looking forward to spending time in the nearby anchorages with short sailing passages and time to enjoy.
Some of the Rally crews were here at the marina and we had a very nice pizza dinner at the marina restaurant as we say our final goodbyes. Rally boat “Miss Grace” will be joining Gato Loco on the journey to Penasco when we head north on then 13th of June. Miss Grace was hauled for the summer in Penasco last year and is returning again this year. There are a least two other boats heading to Penasco that we might run into heading north. One of the boats with Brian and Sue on “Sea Rose” are from New Zealand and hope to get some significant repairs done while on the hard in Penasco. All in all it could be fun interesting sail north.
Our plan today is to head to the close by anchorage Marquer on Isla Carmen. 1sh winds are up and we’re off. Marquer has clear water and sand beaches BUT we find bees soon after anchoring. We have wet carpet with fresh water and the bees soon discover it and start coming by the hundreds. Plan B, we have time and wind to sail across the channel to a Baja anchorage in front of the Juncalito community. Our anchor is down 6ish in time to enjoy the evening and a early sunset as we have huge mountain range the reaches almost to the sea to our west. This is the home of Coni and Elvin who hosted the Rally last year. They’re out travelling this year.
Tuesday May 29th
Very calm night and cool sleeping. Before departing we take a long paddle board tour of the beach and the interesting beach palapa homes here. The local Mexican homes are out on their boats early fishing and diving for clams. A quick flight of the drone gives a good overview of the community.
Our plans today is to sail north to the Loreto Bay resort area with a stop that Vista Al Mar or “the clam shack” as we call it. Leaving the anchorage we find another school of bat rays putting on a great aerial show popping out of the water 3 or 4 at a time. Very entertaining.
South East winds let us sail north under screacher head sailing alone. Very pleasant. The clam shack is only 6 miles north and we’re anchored out front in no time at all. We see their open as we dinghy in making a perfect landing in a bit of surf. There’s 3 tables enjoy our show as we land the dinghy. The fish dinner and Frankie’s fish tacos were excellent as always. We need to try their clam specials sometime.
We’re on to the anchorage in front of the Loreto Bay resort where we find some nice protection from the SE winds that continue in the low tens. Another screacher only head sail from the clam shack. This is a favorite anchorage of cruiser because the resort will give internet access that reaches to the anchorage if you go to the front desk and ask. We make the trip in and enjoy internet through the night. Beautiful spot with white sand beach in front of the resort and private homes stretching way north from the resort into then village of Nopalo.
Loreto Bay has a very nice golf course that needs to be played
Wednesday May 30th
The Rally boat “Free Luff” with Randy and Jodi on board are anchored here overnight. Before leaving, we paddle boarded to the point off the resort and found a huge school of fish. I’m sure there was hundreds. Their yellow tails made us think they one of our favorite eating fish. Back on board we saw two options, Yellowtail or Yellow goat fish. The red in the photo was not a true color only created by my photo editor.
Not wanting any barnacles to grow under our feet we’re off to Vee Cove on the north end of Isla Carmen today. Vee Cove is our favorite of the close by anchorages but subject to rollers if there is any north wind/seas. North east winds are not forecasted but as we attempt to make the north end of Carmen a solid 15kt wind build in our face. After a few hours we’re convinced that winds will foul Vee Cove and opt to go into Puerto Ballandra conveniently on our way to Vee Cove. This anchorage is directly east of Loreto and is usually pretty crowded. Today is our lucky day only 3 other boats and the best catamaran south bit anchorage is open. We have beautiful very clear turquoise water as we drop the hook.
Those NE winds that caused us to abort on Vee Cove soon dissipate and the anchorage is smooth as glass. No wind makes it a bit warm so I setup the bow shade to relax with the best chance for a breeze.
Thursday May 31st
Another lovely night with a very calm anchorage. Leg 1 crew Terry and Dave left some nice USB rechargeable fans on board which come in handy on the quiet windless nights. The Ballandra anchorage has lots of rock outcroppings and rocks just below the surface. Water is crystal clear making it fun to paddle board the whole anchorage enjoying the reef fish below. I put the GoPro camera on the bow of my paddle board taking photos every 30 sec and got a few cool photos for Frankie and I in action.
The morning weather report indicates things are changing as a “norther”
wind pattern is forecast over the next 2 days. This totally eliminates chances to enjoy our Vee Cove anchorage.Based on the forecast the south shore of Isla Coranados would be the best spot but it has very little charm. The north anchorage where we had the Rally beach party could be acceptable if we anchor on the far north shore giving us protection for the north north-west winds. Good winds in the tens give us a sailing only broad reach sail all the way from Carmen to the Coronados anchorage. Arriving we find we have the anchorage to ourselves. I guess the forecasted winds have scared everybody to more protected anchorages. We’re loving having it to ourselves and the full moon that came up after sunset.
Friday June 1st
Today marks one month that I’ve been on Gato Loco. Wow time flies.
We did have a little of the forecasted winds last night and the north shore of the anchorage gave us the protection we hoped for. We love the anchorage and having it to ourselves is very special. I hoped to fly the drone and capture us here alone but as soon as I launched the drone the seagulls would attack. They must have nest on the nearby shore and don’t want any intruders so I was only able to get some close by aerial shots.
Friends and crew mates, Steve and Cindy flew in to Loreto yesterday. They have a home here in Loreto and arrived for a few weeks to check on some construction they have underway. We invited them out for an overnight visit on Gato Loco.
As we leave Coronados winds are piping up. We headed to the Loreto waterfront to pick up them up. Light swell makes it a bit challenging to board but their gear and cooler are soon on board and we’re off back to Puerto Ballandra. Ballandra which will provide the best protection for the winds that continue build. Steve has done some passages on Gato Loco and soon begins managing sail trim as we reach toward Ballandra. We find more boats this visit due to the norther blowing but there is still room.
Saturday morning June 2nd
Windy night as forecasted. We actually moved Gato Loco further north in the anchorage to get out of swell bending it’s way into the southern portion. Winds blew in the 20s until after mid-night and then went flat making for a calm morning for us to enjoy the paddle boards and swimming.
Interesting note. Doing some repairs on the main sail near the head we find the sail is in very poor condition. Lots of sewing, sail tape and even some duct tape I hope it will be good for the sail north. Stay tuned to this potential drama issue.
After dropping Steve and Cindy off back in Loreto we power down to Marina Puerto Escondido so we can put Gato Loco on a mooring while Frankie and I fly back to Phoenix tomorrow. We will be visiting the Prescott cabin and music weekend in Cholla with Murril and Al before I return with northbound crew taking Gato Loco back to Penasco starting June 13th. This will be Frankie’s last night in Baja after having a good 2 week stay.
A mesquite fired pizza for dinner with the marina as the background was a perfect way to conclude this leg. Well actually we found the store still open and finished dinner with a nice ice cream bar.
Mother nature said her final goodbyes with colorful solute to our departure.
Sunday June 3rd
The marina panga picks us off the boat just after 9 and Steve is waiting at the marina to take us in to town for breakfast in Loreto and on to the airport.
Wow this month long journey is coming to a close. I’m finishing this blog setting at the Phoenix house with all the memories from the past month fresh in my mind. I hope everyone enjoyed sharing it with us. We still have more to come as we return to Penasco over 10 days. The northbound crew will be seasoned veteran Jeffrey, hopefully Lynnie and a newbie Doug Lee a long time blog follower who was chosen to help crew north. Stay tuned. More updates coming soon.
Unit the next Update