- Updates from GatoLocoSailing - http://www.gatolocosailing.com/blog -

Conquering Baja, The Final Leg – Oct 2003

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The greatest thing Gato Loco provides is a constant urge to venture to uncharted waters. I think we all already feel the urge… I’m sure you will hear about the next adventure soon. Baja is not really conquered as we have just scratched the surface. We plan to get to know her better in the near future..

In quest of BIG FUN!

The Gato Loco Crew

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The crew and support crew preparing for “The Final Leg”.

Gato Loco will do the final leg to completely sail the coast of Baja Mexico. This will conclude our epic cruise we refer to as " Conquering Baja ". The adventure started in San Diego last Oct 29th 2002 with the Baja Haha race/rally to Cobo and should conclude Oct 17th as we arrive in Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point) just as our annual "Big Fun" week long Cholla Bay party begins. If things go right we should sail across the sunset as Big Fun friends have their first sunset happy hour toast of the 2003 Big Fun gathering. A fitting celebrations for Gato Loco’s arrival to her home port.

Last year we had tropical depression Lowell threating the Haha cruise. This year’s hurricane season has been very active. It’s amazing how much more aware you are when your boat sets in a hurricanes path. Marty was a big problem in the Sea (Sea of Cortez) causing huge destruction in La Paz. Many friends boat’s were damaged. Gato Loco was setting in San Carlos and was spared a direct hit with winds only at 70kts. We think she made it through ok. In the coming week the area has a triple threat that we will be watching very closely. We think they will make their direction and impact clear by the time we begin the cruise.

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Watch these three at the link below.

Bill, Tom haney and Lowell will crew Gato Loco while Frankie and Marilyn (Tom’s wife) enjoy some quality time at our Cholla Bay homes in Mexico. This will be Tom’s first cruise in the Sea. Bill and I figure to break him in right (cleaning, cooking…). Don’t tell him.

Bill will be going by bus to the boat mid week (Oct 8) to get an advance look at Gato Loco and see if Marty might have caused problems. Tom and Lowell will fly from Phx to San Carlos Friday afternoon. Our hope is to head north mid day Saturday hurricanes permitting. The map and rough cruise plan to the right shows what this leg should be like. We’ll be in some of the best cruising grounds in the northern Sea. Bahia De Los Angeles and Bahia Willard are both great small village anchorages that we are looking forward to seeing again.

Updates should begin when we arrive in San Carlos on the 10th. We have email working from the boat and will keep Frankie and Marilyn (& everybody) posted on our progress. Frankie can be reached by email in Cholla at: f_mcculley@yahoo.com [4]

Big Fun

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Isla Angel de La Guardia near Bahia De Los Angeles

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The cruise


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Gato Loco in San Carlos

Until the next update..


Conquering Baja, The Final Leg

Oct 9th

We have had good luck with the weather. The three hurricanes in the area have dissipated and the forecast at the moment looks good.

Bill arrived in San Carlos late last night after an 8 hr bus ride from Pureto Penasco. Today he reported that Gato Loco was indeed in good shape after Marty but extremely dirty. The boat had been moved to a different dock because our old dock was under repair. Damage from Marty I assume. He is busy cleaning today and checking on things that might need attention before we begin the journey north.

Tom and Lowell will be joining him tomorrow afternoon and they will all be working to depart mid-day Saturday.

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Marina San Carlos dockside

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I think the dirty condition of Gato Loco has had it’s effect on Bill!

Until the next update..

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Marina office and boat ramps

Conquering Baja, The Final Leg

Oct 11th

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Gato Loco Crew says Hola (Bill, Tom & Lowell)

Tom and Lowell arrived in San Carlos a little late with rainy weather in Phoenix. Bill had Gato Loco in great shape. First big challenge was port captain departure papers. Marina office said no papers until Monday but we could try the port captain’s office. Of course he’s nowhere to be found. Some fast and sweet talking and we finally got Eva at the marina office to issued papers this morning.

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First thing today we inspected the mast hardware. Lowell went to the top to inspect and took some photos while up. Looking to outer bay.  Bill’s smiley face below.

We left the marina a little after 9 today with light winds. Mid day we stopped at isla San Pedro for some snorkeling. We were immediately joined by a group of sea lions. Tom swam within 10 feet of one and can’t wait to tell Melissa.

Winds were up as we pulled anchor and we were able to sail without motors to our destination anchorage,

Ensenada Posomereno 30 miles north of San Carlos.

Isla San Pedro looking NW

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Beach homes

The fishing camp opposite theses homes was very busy unloading dorado (mahi mahi) from pangas. We watched as they unload 50+. Should have went over and staged a picture to make Dave jealous (darn).

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We lost our menu guide the ladies prepared so I think we may starve!! Bill is force feeding Tom to keep him healthy.

Beautiful evening with rain just at sunset producing a great rainbow.

Tomorrow we cross to Baja and hope to start at 5:30 am. Way to early but we have 82 miles as the crow flies to our next anchorage.

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Darado fishing camp

Until the next update..


Conquering Baja, The Final Leg

Oct 12th

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Today’s the day we cross back to Baja with a 81 mile leg. Our day started at 5 AM. We motored out of the anchorage and found shrimp boats everywhere. The sunrise was awesome as we motored thru the fleet.

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One of 15 Fin back whales we saw today. Bill even jumped in the water with one next to Gato Loco.

What a busy day!!

Winds out of the north and building most of the morning allowing us to motor sail at 8kts which should get us Bahia San Francisquito before dark.

We were catching Banita and throwing them back all morning before Bill gave Tom the pole. Tom’s 1st try bought us a 20lb darado for Lunch and meals to come.

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Great Lunch                                                                                    Tom’s big fish

Winds lighten mid-day but stayed out of the north. Morning progress better than expected. Around 2ish we saw our first whale spout and then noticed then everywhere. We actually had to steer around the one pictured above. They seemed to be sleeping on the surface. Shortly after moving past the pod we saw what looked like huge dolphins but now we think they were some kind of whale since they went down and we never saw then again.

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Bill feeding his friend                                                               Huge dolphins


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We arrived before dark in Bahia San Francisquito. Anchored 1st in the small south bay but the bugs soon ran us out. Not sure how the 2 boats here can deal with it. Moved with 4 other boats in the outer bay for the night. Beautiful moonrise across the Sea has we had dinner. Feels good to be back on Baja!!

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Sunset outer bay San Francisquito


Good Night all..

Until the next update..


Conquering Baja, The Final Leg

Oct 13-14

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15’ whale shark swimming around our anchorage in Bahia de Los Angeles

Bill’s French toast launched us from San Francisquito at 8 AM. Winds remained light until 11ish and built from SE to 14kts allowing us to reach to Bahia LA with sail only. As we turned west into the bay we set the spinnaker for the final hour.

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Gato Loco looking good as we sail in to Bahia LA

Looks to be 10 –15 sail boats in the area. We anchored in front of Guillermo’s boat ramp with 4 other sailboats. Noticed “Island Sonata” anchored near by. She is a Lagoon 38 catamaran that sailed the Baja Haha with us.

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Lemonades after a hard day of sailing                                                           very small village church.

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Getting fuel at the local garage.










Dinner at Guillermo’s (we were the only guests) and retired to the boat for some serious gaming.

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My luck was a little thin..                                Bill and Tom looking for the whale sharks.

Tom wanted to see a whale shark first hand after we talked to John and MJ on Island Sonata. They swam with the whale sharks yesterday while the sharks feed on plankton near their boat. These sharks appear to be very slow and gentle fish.

We’re off to Puerto Refugio on the north end of isla Angel de La Guarda after getting fresh supplies.

Until the next update..

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Guillermo’s                                                                                        Lugging 20 gallons of gas

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Whale shark goes under our dingy

Conquering Baja, The Final Leg

Oct 14-15

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Huge pod of dolphin playing with us as we enter Puerto Refugio.

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Refugio got an extreme amount of rain during Hurricane Marty. Desert floors are like green carpets.

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Students in an outback class sailed in and camped for the night.

Winds came up 1ish as we made Puerto Refugio and this time out of the NE right on our nose. A few tacks and we made the entrance. We managed to find a pinnacle rock below the surface. Depth went from 500 to 12 and back to 500. Tense moments!! On our final approach we joined 4 small sailing skiffs with three sails flying. Turned out to be college students on a sailing adventure. 6 people in each boat. Hope they don’t see bad weather.

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Sail rock at the entrance                                                                  Students

There was one boat lost here during hurricane Marty. Spirit Healer set out Marty in the anchorage we’re in tonight. Waves came over the 15’ rock spit and left them exposed dragging them back into the rocks. They were ok but lost the boat. The boat came to the Sea with us on the Haha. Sad and a first hand reminder of the power of the Sea. I wore my Haha T-shirt in their honor.

I don’t think this area could be any more beautiful. The rain has brighten the landscapes and everything is so green. Probably a once in a lifetime moment. Between the beauty and Spirit Healer it makes one a little emotional.

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Spirit Healer on the rocks behind our anchorage.  Gato Loco sets calmly with light winds coming across the spit just to the left.

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Early morning rain storm in the area.

Winds up as we leave anchorage early. 20+ kts from then SW. Perfect, we’re smoking to Willard bay at 8-9 kts. Winds lighten to 12 by ten and on our port steer so we are flying the spinnaker at 10:30. We should be in Willard bay by 4..

Until the next update..

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Happy hour on the bow                                                                         Cactus swollen with water


Conquering Baja, The Final Leg

Oct 15-16

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Gato Loco anchored off islote Pomo with isla San Louis behind. Tom thought there should be a nine hole behind us.

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This area is a pelican heaven.

Best Sailing Day Yet!

We did the leg from Puerto Refugio to Bahia Willard totally under sail. After leaving Refugio with 20kts of wind we put the spinnaker up a 11 and took it down as we tacked into Willard bay. The hearts tournament continued while the spinnaker flew it’s self. We continued to abuse Tom in cards.

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Tom showing his card of choice for the week.

Willard was a chance to have dinner out at Alfonsina’s on the beach. Remote village where many residents arrive by plane and park planes at their beach houses.

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Dirt runway behind Alfonsina’s resort. Great dinner last night.         Alfonsina’s restaurant motel

This morning (Thursday) we are sailing to Puertocetos after stopping at islands north of Willard.

Before leaving we held an official ceremony.

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Saluting another dead soldier.

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big sea cave on Islote Pomo

Pomo is partially pomes stone so it not surprising to see rocks floating. Took Tom to big cave on Pomo. Water was crystal clear with pelicans everywhere. Also stopped by reef on the NW corner of San Louis for some good snorkeling.

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Fishing boat working as we head north

Looks like we will be in Puertecitos by 6.

Until the next update..

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Morning coffee                                                                           Sea cave’s black sand

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Rocks near Islote Pomo

Conquering Baja, The Final Leg

Oct 17

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Puertecitos bay looking southeast

Made Puertecitos in time to walk to the market for ice and make a quick trip to the hot springs. The hot spring pools were full of rock from Marty and temp was way to warm to consider. Not many Puertecitos homes open. Did get one house on the radio and he helped us find the best spot to anchor.

This morning we left at 4:15 am (ugly) to ensure sunset arrive in Pt Penasco. Winds up today. 12kts from the north. Sails up after we cleared the shrimp fleet that worked the area all night just off our anchorage. Winds continue to build 18+ still from north and we are ahead of plan for the crossing. We’re taking waves on the bow. Tom is relaxing reading through this so I think he’s got his sea legs.

Bill caught his first darado today. A whapping 18 incher. Sent him back to the sea to grow up.

Our ETA is 5:30 at the moment (10:53) with 38 miles remaining (81 total). Bill says winds are still building. Great day of sailing for the final “final leg”. We all have smiles on our faces and looking forward to our arrival.

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Sunrise this morning

Until the next update..

Conquering Baja, The Final Leg

Oct 19

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Gato Loco home

Yes we made it to Puerto Penasco! Sorry for the email delay but we’re still recovering from 7 days of solitude and then festivities from Big Fun. Quite a contrast!

Friday’s Puertecitos to Pt. Pensaco leg turned out to be a sail only day. Winds leveled off mid-day at 16kts and held through the afternoon. We where able to fly both headsails on a reach with wind from N-NW allowing us to make excellent time. We made Cholla Bay by 4 PM and sailed near the beach in front of our homes. Frankie, Marilyn and friends waved wildly as we sailed by. Rick and Scott gave us Rick’s signature greeting. The final leg into Penasco was a spinnaker run along the beach. As we passed Playa Bonita we could see the Big Fun crew had formed for a margarita’s before joining us at Marina Penasco.

Gato Loco was closely inspected by all our friends as beers and margarita’s slid down after another warm day. Bill cleaned Gato Loco the next morning and could tell there was quite a party the night before.

Saturday afternoon 24 of us went for an afternoon sail. Quite a load! Sailed to Sandy beach between Puerto Penasco and Cholla Bay and anchored for some swimming.

Partners all agree it feels very strange having Gato Loco in her homeport. Up to now, sailing Gato Loco meant being in new waters. It Probably won’t be long before we heads south for new adventures.

Yes. It’s been Big Fun

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Gato Loco sailing past our homes in Cholla bay.                        Final spinnaker run near Playa Bonita

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Sails coming down as Gato Loco enters her home port for the 1st time.

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Welcome home

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Part of the 24 crew out day sailing celebrating Gato Loco’s arrival.

Until the next update.

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