The Enchanted Islands & on home to Penasco
I’m writing this update at our casa in Cholla Bay after getting a days rest. Frankie and are preparing to close the Cholla house for the summer and hopefully head north to cooler weather although the weather here is still very nice. Anyway on to the last days of our Leg 7 journey back to Penasco (Rocky Point).
Thursday, June 13th
We finally had our first pod of dolphins join us as we approached Bahia Gonzaga. They spent enough time with us to get our dolphin fill. Unfortunately for Owen we’ve still not caught any fish.
After getting the huge push through Whale Channel at 8kts we turned more NW towards Gonzaga with a 15kt breeze at our back and some pretty big swells forcing some hand steering. The auto helm just can’t anticipate overtaking waves and takes a big heading swing as the wave passes. By 12 noon winds have lighten and we’re pretty much doing more motoring than sailing. The crew is happy we arrive in Gonzaga before 7 PM in time to get dinner at the Alfonsina beach restaurant. We anchor right in front and head in for dinner and enjoy the Gonzaga nightlife.
This beach along with El Burro in Conception Bay are the only beach anchorages with a nice restaurants for dinner. We are hoping the whale sharks, which spend the summer here, have arrived but we don’t see any as the anchor goes down. Drinks, dinner, a nice visit with locals and good scratches on the restaurants’ dogs belly and then back on Gato Loco’s foredeck lying watching shooting stars. I love this anchorage.
Friday, June 14th
We can’t pass up hitting Alfonsinia’s for breakfast. They had internet in past years but it’s not working so Murril, Owen and I take a walk down the beach to find a house that will allow us to use their internet. Probably 10 house down we find Rick working on his house and there’s a internet dish on the roof. Perfect! Turns out Rick and his Pilipino wife are from San Diego and happy to help us with internet.
Owen and Paul are a little concerned about having enough beer for the remainder of the journey so they bought a nice bucket of Pacifico from the restaurant bar.
I must say this is the nicest beach of our entire Baja journey
Mid mornin,g after no luck in spotting any whale sharks. we’re off to Isla San Luis just 12 miles north.
As we cross over the shoal that extends SW of the island winds pipe up to the mid 20’s, not the best conditions for exploring the islands.
Another first.. We take refuge from the wind near the volcano pool on the west side of San Louis. I laid in my bunk taking a nap when the boobies birds started fighting over landing on the bow.. Next thing I know a load of boobie poop landed on my chest and face… Yuk! After I got cleaned up then took these photos.
Murril and Owen visit the volcano pool with a inward waterfall as the tide is coming in.
The Enchanted island of Isla Pomo
This island is one of the major reasons I love the northern Sea. This little island sets on the NE end of San Luis and it’s a monolithic chunk of mostly pumice. It’s 478’ high and full of sea caves where the pumice has washed away. The anchorage on the east side sets on a tiny beach with a 400’ sheer wall of pumice sheltering the anchorage from the setting sun. It’s not the best anchorage since it’s open to the east and subject to night time confused seas rolling in but the setting and the afternoon shade makes it all worth it..
Let me mention we’ve not caught one fish yet but to our surprise the frozen block of chicken we bought in Santa Rosalia turned out to be fish fillets when we defrosted them. Yum… Fish tonight. Murril prepared nut and garlic encrusted fish dinner that was awesome.
Above and below are some late evening photos in the anchorage to show why I love it.. Also the photo above right shows what happens when you buy a bucket of beer and drink it in one afternoon.!!
The lone pinnacle rock that sets to the east of the anchorage then a late night moon set over the pumice western wall.
Saturday June 15
The winds apparently blew from the north somewhere last night. We had a beam swell coming into the anchorage at sunrise that was a little uncomfortable. Finally the wind shifted to turn Gato Loco into the swell allowing us to ride smoothly and sleep until 7ish. Well, except Owen who’s up at sunrise every morning watching the birds fly off their roosts. It’s time to explore the sea caves!! Swells rolling past the island will make this a bit more challenging. Murril appears a little nervous.
Check out the video below as we circumnavigate the island in our little dinghy.
10ish and were off for Puertecitos with light winds building from the SE. The plan is to pull into Puertecitos and get ice, beer and maybe a little fuel then relax until midnight then head for Penasco. Well, another plan change… 1 PM and the wind is strong enough to shut the motors down. By 1:30 winds are gusting to 25kts and seem to be building. My motto is to never waste good wind and after discussing with the crew we decide to point Gato Loco towards Penasco and take advantage of the freshening wind.
Before long winds are near 30kts and Gato Loco is racing towards Penasco at 9kts. We definitely don’t need any gas with these winds and will survive with the beer and ice we have.
Murril is a bit nervous with the conditions. Owen said they were worse when Shirley and him crossed from San Carlos with Bill. Paul is happy we’re going to have another perfect night crossing.
Check out the video below as Gato Loco cruises with ease in these conditions.
5 hours of 25+ kts of wind gives us a big push towards Penasco. Sunset and winds still are at 15. A little motor kicker and we doing 7+kts and it looks like we’ll make Penasco by 1:30 in the morning.
Moonlight sailing is awesome
Late night stogies with Owen help pass the time. The finally of the night and the season came around midnight when a large pod of dolphins joined us. Not since the Baja Haja 11 years ago have we had a night time torpedo visit like this. Under the moonlight I spotted a tube of Phosphorescence streaming up the port side. Before long there was 20 tubes of fireworks streaming around the front of Gato. It’s incredible they don’t run into each other in the dark. We have a steaming light shinning on the jib sail and I think they all wanted to check it out. It was so cool I get excited just writing about it. I did take video but as you might guess it was total darkness.
I guess this is were I get sappy as the 2013 season comes to an end. Leg 1 brought new family into my life. Spending 12 days with Lynnie, Jeffrey and Craig was a great experience and we’ve formed a great friendship. Thanks for that.! We were so happy to have Dave and Ellen onboard for the Rally. They’re life with teenagers has made it challenging to get away on Gato Loco. Leg 3 was such a special treat for Jane and Peggy. The guys loved it too, but I’m especially happy for the dancing girls. Leg 4’s booze cruise was great fun and first timers Ruthanne and Tres fit right in. And we’re very sorry that Rick didn’t get to sail.
Left – 1:30 AM, dock lines tied and another season completed the crew shares a celebration shot of tequila. SERIOUSLY it’s over???? Thanks for everybody’s encouragement and support. Enjoy your summer.
Until the next update
Aww! I can hear your emotions in your words Lowell! Another season ends.. But the fun always continues with all of you around! Looking forward toseeing you up north ;)! Looking forward to sitting around and hearing allll the details of your trips! xo
Truly one of the most unforgettable and incredible experiences of my young life!!! Many thanks to all that made it happen, including Bill, Carol, Mike, Lianne and Ruthann.
Hi Lowell & Frankie & Gato Loco team – Kerry & I have been with you in spirit through this latest Baha adventure and have enjoyed every posting. It is so wonderful to feel the enjoyment that everyone gets from your sailing adventures each year. And especially so because its a Seawind that it is making it possible.
And I’m almost there in person as well as in spirit. At least in the same region – currently in San Francisco after just finishing the US Corsair nationals. Great fun & some of the best sailing in my life. Sailed on one of our Dash 750s – a 24ft rocket ship in the strong SF conditions.
Both wonderful & sad to hear the emotion in your words as you pack up Gato Loco for the summer. 2014 is just around the corner – maybe the year, we can join you again – although you still owe us a visit to Australia.