|ISLA CENTROS AND TURTLE BAY, Mexico|
Since leaving San Diego, the winds increased and we were making good time under sail. Unfortunately, the point of sail we were on gave a very rough and rolly ride. The seas were quite large, about 8 to 10 feet with winds to 30 knots. We had our foresail up with a pole to hold it out. Boat speed averaged 7 knots with rides to 10.3 knots down the surf.
Gord saw a sea turtle but other than that, there wasn't much sign of life out there. We were up to about 50 miles offshore and didn't see any other boats to speak of for 2 days. We caught a little tuna (we named it "Tunito") that got away. Because the sea was so rough, meals were a real challenge and neither of us got much sleep for 2 nights.
We were so exhausted from the lumpy, rolling seas and darkness was falling fast. We were approaching Isla Cedros so decided to try and anchor there for the night and get some rest. Isla Cedros is about 21 miles long and varies in width from 2 to 9 miles. Of volcanic origin, it has a backbone of steep mountains, no vegetation.
We spotted some lights on the Island and carefully worked our way through the darkness towards the shore. We managed to set the hook and, although still quite rolly, I made supper. We had just finished eating when we heard a noise outside "hola, hola". Two Mexicans in a panga had rowed out through the darkness to warn us that where we were anchored was "no buenos, roca." Luckily we were able to get the anchor back up and continued on down the island. By the light of the stars (moon not up yet), we managed to find another place to anchor that offered some protection. We enjoyed a good night's sleep and set sail again first thing the next morning.
We set the fishing line almost immediately and it wasn't long before we had a bite. When we reeled in the fish though, we couldn't identify it. I consulted my fish chart and we ascertained that it might be a small barracuda. Not knowing if you can eat barracuda, we threw it back. While we were attempting another catch, I read some other books that confirmed that Wahoo actually look like small barracuda, with blue and black stripes, very colorful. They are actually a type of Mackerel and are touted to be one of the tastiest fish available. We caught another one and although quite small, we decided it would make a nice meal. As Gord was cleaning our little catch, we got another hit. This time we got a much more respectable fish, another Wahoo, that would provide us with at least 4 good meals!
BAHIA TORTUGAS (Turtle Bay) or PORT SAN BARTOLOME
About 4:00 PM we arrived at Turtle Bay. Although the name sounds intriguing, there are no turtles here, and not much of anything else on initial sighting. The bay is surrounded by sculptured sand dunes with only the spattering of colorful mud shacks breaking up the monotony of the lunar landscape. Surprisingly, the small village at the end of the anchorage had many amenities, including supermarcado, liquor store, bakery and even internet (of sorts).
Many of our Canadian friends were anchored here and we were greeted by Gary & Dale on Reaction. They mentioned to us that there was a cruisers' potluck supper on the beach but they were having their fresh fish catch for supper and we decided to opt for the same plan, as we were anxious to taste the Wahoo we had just caught. Later the guys were getting together for poker on one boat and the gals on another to play hearts. We were very tired from our journey and instead went to bed at 7 pm.
The next morning brought the usual boat repairs. However, this time it was the watermaker that was spewing water all over. Somehow, being in Mexico without a watermaker did not carry much appeal! So Gord set out to take it apart but after 3 frustrating attempts working in the tiny area in the head, it still leaked. The attempted repair had taken him all day long so I was thrilled when Dale & Gary dropped by to see if I wanted to go ashore with them.
Getting ashore was a rather interesting experience. You had a choice of trying to beach your dinghy through the surf, a sure way to get wet, or tie up alongside a very high dock and climb a rickety rusty ladder, barely attached to the top rotting board. We opted for the ladder.
The village was a typical Mexican town, with dirt streets, dilapidated shacks, and immaculately clean children playing in the streets. We wondered around and found the grocery stores (supermarcados) and met other cruisers doing the same. The town seemed to be quite affluent as there were many new and expensive vehicles, mostly 4x4's, driving around the streets.
That evening, we had our fish again, this time cooked with lime juice and coconut. We sat in the cockpit, although the temperature was far from balmy, and watched the sun set. Strangest phenomenon. Turtle Bay is a very large bay, almost completely enclosed, and you get an amazing 360 degree sunset. There is red sky in every direction that you look!
Soon to arrive were Promise and Matarua.
We had a wonderful happy hour on Reaction
with Wandering Star, In the Mood and
Fueling the boats was an interesting undertaking. An industrious Mexican set up a barge that carries 2000 gallons of diesel and he comes to the boats to sell the fuel. He also takes away your garbage, gives you a ride to town or anything else that will gain him a few pesos.
Gord and I took the dinghy to shore and toured the town. We visited the cemetery which is more like mausoleums in Mexico with shrines maintained for the deceased. We had a cold beer on the beach with Dale & Gary before heading back to the boat to do more repairs on the watermaker.
At 5 AM the following morning we set sail for Bahia Asuncion under a gorgeous sunrise, with the intention that we would continue on Magdelana Bay if conditions were good. However, we motored the full day and arrived in Bahia Asuncion just at dusk.