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Happy New Year from the Gato Loco Crew

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Happy New Year from the Gato Loco crew. It’s been a while since you’ve heard from us. I’m writing this at our Cholla Bay home the day after New Years. Weather is a bit cooler than normal with a north breeze kicking up whitecaps in front of our house. We’ve had a wonderful Holiday season and we’re looking forward to 2013 and especially the up coming sailing season.

Our friends John and Ragina on catamaran DreamCatcher recently sent me their log for their sail from Puerto Penasco to San Carlos. They had quite an adventure sailing during a November norther . Read their log below. I‘ve also posted some interesting YouTube links for the Sea of Cortez that are very informative to watch. See them  after the Google map of our favorite anchorages in the Sea.

We’re starting to think about our Baja 2013 cruise. Loreto Fest cruiser Rally is scheduled May 2nd – 4th and we look foreword to May 5th – 10th for the 6th annual Seawind Baja Rally.  Gato Loco will probably sail south to Puerto Escondido around April 21st and spend a few extra weeks in the area after the Rally. I hope to send a little more time in the northern sea as the Gato Loco heads North in June.  The Peacemakers Circus Mexicus XXII will be held June 6-9 so we need to factor that into our schedule. If you’re interested in sailing with us this season now is the time to let us know. Enjoy the rest of the blog and here’s hoping that you all get to throw off the dock lines and head out on your adventures in 2013.

IMG 3731

November 2012

Here are some details of our recent trip on ‘DreamCatcher’ from Puerto Penasco to San Carlos:

We had friends from Germany staying with us up until the day we left on Monday November 5th. In fact they dropped us off at Joe’s house before they left for the airport on Monday night. Joe’s brother took us the the shuttle bus to Penasco as the adventure began. This was the first time for the shuttle but all went well. We had to unload luggage at the border and walk across but they had a wheeled cart that made it easy. We arrived at the boat about 9 pm and had a good first night rest. Tuesday morning was busy with provisioning and getting the boat ready to sail. All was good until we were ready to shove off about 12:30 when our depth gauge/fishfinder would not turn on. We knew our wind vane was broken by a bird earlier but not having a depth gauge was worrisome. We did some trouble shooting and found out the power cable connection was corroded and would not make contact. We spent the next hour coming up with a jury rig to power up the unit.

The weather is 84 F and the winds are predicted to be 20 knots from the NW the next 24 hours so we are excited to leave at 14:55 for the long passage to Puerto Refugio. The sail starts out wonderfully with a full main and jib and 5 knots of boat speed. As the sun sets the winds begin to die out and by 18:00 the iron jenny is needed to keep our speed up. Stars are awesome as we see some shooting stars light up the night. Temperature only drops to 78 F. The night passes very peacefully with not much swell or wind for that matter. So much for the nice forecast. Sunrise brings a finback whale across our bow. Joe catches a Dorado and life is good. We arrive in Refugio at 11:30 to swarms of tiny flies. They Dorado [2]don’t bite but they won’t leave you alone either. We can not take it any more and up anchor and drift out to sea to fish and wait for the sun to go down. The plan was to stay at this beautiful anchorage another day to rest and fish but with the flies and noseeum’s we head for Bahia de Los Angles at first light. The winds are still light so we motor sail down the dreaded Canal de Ballenas. Saw some sea lions but did not catch any fish. The winds start to pick up in the afternoon. When we got close to rounding Punta Arena and the light house for Bahia de Los Angeles I forget to look at the charts and almost run aground on the shoals. The depth gauge got down to 3′ 9” with ‘DreamCatcher’ drawing 3′ 6”. Don’t want to make that mistake again!

We anchor in front of the village and dinghy in to get more gas as we had to motor a lot already. Dinner is at Guerrermo’s. The Baja 1000 is next weekend and there are crew race cars testing out the roads and setting up for the big event. We talk to Alfonso from Ensenada who owns Valle de las Animas. He just flew some marketing people in from Atlanta with the plan to build some yurts on the beach and cater to the ‘green generation’ for vacationing. He had a lot of stories to tell about Baja.

Bahia del las cruces [3]We stay in BDLA for two days as the winds have now been continuous at 25 to 30 knots. There is a norther predicted for Monday so we head to Puerto Don Juan Sunday to hunker down until it blows through. The winds are really howling over the ‘window’ in Don Juan as we can see over to the open water and lots of white caps. We are glad to be safe and sound in a hurricane hole. Joe catches a lot of kelp bass but releases them all. Late in the day we are surprised to see another boat pull into Don Juan, a 34′ Tartan named ‘EverGlean’. It is single handed by a guy from Montana. George anchors right in front of us with the entire bay empty. Monday the wind is still blowing and we see George out on the deck of his boat. He starts to get close to us and we holler are you OK? He says he is having problems and he is now drifting right into our bow. Joe fends him off the best he can and I yell at him to turn his engine on. He finally sorts things out as he had snagged a buoy or a fishing trap that he had anchored right next to. George re anchors, right in front of us again and we settle in for another night in Don Juan.

The winds are suppose to be 20-25 today (Tuesday) and the crew is getting cabin fever so we put in a reef and pull up the anchor to stick our nose out of our cozy bay. The seas are rough but we figure we can make it to Animas Slot for our next Yellow tail [4]anchorage. Well, when we get there, there are white caps across the entrance and it is very narrow entrance so we do not try to go in. We now need to decide where to anchor for the night?! Beating back into the swells would not be an easy task so the captain decides to head for Isla Salsipedes. It is downwind and we can make it by dark. Regina is not happy as we are in for a wild ride. We are surfing down the waves at 13 knots of boat speed. We arrive at the anchorage in one piece but feel we need to put out a stern anchor to keep from swinging. This is a first for us but with Joe’s help it is a breeze.

Wednesday the winds finally are manageable and we head for Isla Tiburon with full sail and jib. The day is spectacular with dolphins coming to greet us. I snag a large fish but when it gets close to boat it is spooked and high tails it for deep water breaking the 50# test line with it. Joe schools me in what to do next time. We anchor in Bahia de Las Cruces. This anchorage is spectacular. Thursday we head for Kino and I catch an 8# Yellow Tail for a great thrill. Joe catches a bigger one but it jumps off the hook just as we try to land it. We anchor off the beach in Kino and dinghy in for an exception meal at The Marlin restaurant. Friday we start the push south towards San Carlos. Saturday night we anchor at Pozo Moreno. On the shore there is heavy equipment working until 9 pm to make a new restaurant. Sunday we head south and stop at Bahia San Pedro and talk to another single hander on ‘Silverado’ an all aluminum monohull that he built in Tucson. We arrive Sunday afternoon to hot showers and good food. Joe finally gets some shore leave. We meet new people on the dock and get ready to head home Monday night. We take the Tufesa executive bus that leaves at 23:30 from Guyamas and arrives in Phoenix at 11:30 Tuesday. The end of another adventure!

Horses on the beach [5]Soogy Peso 2 [6]

DreamCatcher anchored in front of the Soggy Peso Beach Bar


Until the next Update

Zoom in on anchorages John mentions in the Google app below

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Bahia De Los Angeles


Another Log from the Sea of Cortez


La Vantana Kite surfing


Surfing the Pacific Baja


Recovering a grounded boat
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