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sv Code Blue – Up to just before Puerto Don Juan 8-2-13 August 7, 2013

Posted by steveandjudy in Code Blue 2013.
East Bahia Animas

East Bahia Animas

7-20-13 to 8-2-13

We left Santa Rosalia at 8:11pm on Saturday 7-20 and headed to Bahia San Francisquito 84 miles total we took. 31 miles sailing regular and another 6 miles with our asymmetrical sail, so 53 motoring due to light winds and didn’t want to put up the ace in the middle of the night even though the moon was out pretty good. We at first were setting up to anchor near the beach when Ray from s/v Sea Note called and said they moved from there due to rollers and current that appear later on in the night. We moved to another small beach east of the cove entrance N 28 26.042, W112 51.800 in 25 feet, settled in at 6:05pm on Sunday the 21st. Only one other boat s/v Sara M with Alan was in the anchorage nearby. The next day we explored the cove.

There were some Mexican Army guys in barracks nearby and about 10 of them were doing exercises with three guys directing, then later they were swimming from a dock back to where the calisthenics were being worked on. We hiked around the regular buildings and such. No one was around except the army guys. We went up the road a ways and noted an airport for small planes and several houses and maybe a restaurant as a possible hike in the future.

On Tuesday the 23rd Chicgaila from Sea Note joined us for the hike to the airport and restaurant. We made it to the beach at Punta San Francisquito. The restaurant was a bit of a disappointment. They had beer and pop but no refrigeration or ice. Judy and I hiked up to another place that looked like a better restaurant from a distance, but it was a house and in worse shape. We came back to the shade and wind and Judy had a warm Coke for 13 pesos. Chicgaila and I drink our water. We headed back to the cove and the tide was up some so didn’t have to row out to deeper water for the engine. Mary from s/v Iver anchored in the cove. She’s headed north to work on her boat with the high tides for August and left the next morning with moonlight still burning. Wednesday the 24th Judy and I went snorkeling at a point near our boat. Ray and Alan had done it the day before and said it was great with lots of variety of fish. Visibility was 50 to 60 feet and as promised, lots of fish but mostly in less than 40 feet. You could swim out to deeper water but no fish.

The twenty fourth we stopped by Sea Note to get a world tide program from them and some help with getting faxes from NOAA for weather. I stopped over at Alan’s boat for a tour also. s/v Sara M is a one up 57 foot wood schooner, home build by Alan near Parksville on Vancouver Island. He took ten years part-time to build, then another 18 months to finish the inside. This is a sailing only boat at this point. He likes the simplicity of no winches, no motor, no watermaker, not much electricity not much to breakdown or repair. The forward spar is from a fir tree that was in his backyard. The main spar is a solid glue up he made. He has a 7/16 inch, schedule 70, chain 350 feet with a hand windlass. If he does need motor power, he uses his 15 hp dinghy to push his boat into say Santa Rosalia Harbor by attaching the dinghy onto the stern, snugging it down and steers with his sailboat rudder. He does have two solar panels that are older but would like more. Alan is a single sailor. He does have the stern area setup for a diesel install if he chooses to put one in later and take out some ballast.

Sea Note and Sara M. left on the 25th in the morning with no wind conditions with his dinghy pushing him along for a while until the winds kicked up later, further out in the sea. We moved from our anchorage about 3 miles further north in the north cove of Calle Mujeres, a one boat anchorage. s/v Viva a catamaran came in the Francisquito anchorage the night before where we first started out, then moved to the cove where s/v iver had been. Bob liked the smoothness of the water inside and plenty deep for him.

July 26th we left Mujeres and sailed mostly to Isla Partida. The last five miles the winds died to 2 knots or less so motored. Partida seems like a ¾ crater rim island with not much growth on the land. Not very many small cactus. Snorkeling was good inside the north east cove. We tried the southwest and didn’t see much, so did a second tour on the northeast part. This time we saw two large sea turtles and about 3 feet and 4 feet long. Lots of kelp growth, some over 30 feet tall and wide curtains of the stuff. Light brown small fish were all over the kelp growth as their home. We could hear and see some sea lions on a distant rock island.

On the 28th we made water while sailing and headed to Animas Slot. On the way we saw s/v Viva (Bob) taking our spot in Partida. He had to excuse himself from the radio for a bit as his pole was calling him. It was just a kelp snag when we checked later. 7 sail and 6 motor to Animas Slot NM 3856, has two snorkel/dive sites so we’re hoping for better snorkeling than what Partida turned out to be. Vis was less than 20 feet and surface temp about 76. We got down to 1/8 of a tank of water so started making some at anchor in the morning. We make about 15 gallons an hour with both pumps going. The wind had died down to 2 knots for a while since we got close to land, so started motoring. The hot air over land lots of times extends out to sea and kills the wind we have there.

We went for snorkeling in the two spots along here that the book recommends. Later, S/V Red Witch II, Rhodes Bounty 41 yawl 1959, came in near us and anchored in shallow water, Rob and Stephi went for a swim race over to the farthest snorkel area then back to the boat, Stephi then took the kayak out and paddled around, she dropped by our boat and we exchanged boat cards. Another long inflatable stopped by the snorkel area and did some snorkeling while one of the kids put a pole in the water. Later Bob of Viva stopped by with his dinghy, he was bothered by the flies and bees at Partida and came over to the bay next to us last night on the 28th that we didn’t see that he moved. We invited him for dinner later on at 6:30pm. Red Witch took off as did the dinghy.

About 7pm we realized Bob had changed his clocks to Bay of LA time and we still were on Rosalia time, so I called and he came over right away. Viva is a 1989 Fountaine Pajote 44 Cat. He used her to take backpackers from Panama to Columbia eight at a time and then another group back. Five days to do the trip each way with a stop in San Blas islands. This worked great for several years, then Columbia stopped him due to complaints from local boats that weren’t getting as many people. Even backpackers are smart enough to realize the advantages of life rafts, charts, radar, working sonar and such, plus three local boats sunk with no loss of life one year but, all their backpack gear was gone. Anyway, now he’s in Mexico using his social security as best he can. Once in a while friends come down to sail with him.

On the 30th we sailed from Animas Slot to East Bahia de Las Animas for 6 miles. Later, two other boats Entre Nous, Kevan and Drifter, Ken came into the anchorage also. They were up from Rosalia to San Francisquito, then here. We heard coyote yelping and yapping at night, like calling to the moon. In the morning we took our dinghy, stopped by Kevan and headed to shore where a big whale skull bone from a humpback was located. Ken from Drifter was already out on the beach. It was mostly clean and white but still a number of cockroaches were on it in the shade parts and smelled if you got close enough. All four of us headed to a small bay with our dinghy where we saw four coyotes. As we got closer we saw two more for a total of six. This was the first time Kevan had seen coyotes as he was from New Zealand. We came back to the boats and then left the anchorage to East Bahia de Las Animas a four mile sail at trip mile 3860 total. This has two fish camps. We were interested in the lagoon but checking it out in the evening the tides aren’t right or extreme enough for the next several days is what one of the fishermen said. We did see a couple of blue heron and an oyster picker. High tide is around noon tomorrow, so we’ll try then with the dinghy. Evening or early morning are best for bird life.

High tide at 1:30pm is when we started our adventure on the 1st into the lagoon. Lots more water depth and we were able to motor most of the way but in some parts paddled or set the lower unit at low draft then sat on the motor and steered with my body. Not very many fish, but lots of small rays and several birds, some blue herons. It was quite a ways back to the end, but not very deep of about 2 feet or a little more. We stopped several times to try our hand at clam digging with lots of holes in the sand that looked like clam neck holes. I dug down about 8 inches and came up with nothing several times. Our shovel was back at the boat.

We took a tour of the outside area, another fish camp and two small islands with the dinghy then headed to the boat and took off at 3:35pm to Ensenada El Quemado. This is a bay with better southern protection and crescent shaped. We saw a sailboat in El Pescador with not as much protection in the front as we went by and we thought might be a ketch or yawl and if a yawl Red Witch II. We tried calling them several times while going by and when we got to the bay we were in. It was too late to walk over due to darkness and fixing dinner. The next morning we walked over to the small resort but the sailboat was headed out and not answering on 16 or 22 just as we got to the resort. A couple of guys were working on a front loader and some gals and kids were at one of the middle buildings. We asked about the boat and yes it had been in. Red Dress they thought when I was directed to a lady that could speak some English. When I said Red Witch, she said that was it and the little girl, Monse, got a colored drawing that Stephi had given her. They offered up cold Kirkland water bottles from the Ensenada Costco from two nice big refrigerators that were in the main group building. Even though the place is not open yet there was nice wine in a wine fridge and booze on the counter tops. The small buildings are not done yet with a count of 10 that we saw. These are part of the same ownership as the next bay over at Las Animas Wilderness Retreat with about 10 Yurts at Ensenada el Alacran. The guide book shows a trail back to our bay and asked about that but they said there wasn’t a specific trail. Very nice beach, small dock not well made, high tech solar lights on the outside for each unit. The front loader was dragging a long pole to smooth the sand. Many buildings were not finished. We headed back to our bay then called Drifter and Entre Nous, they were headed to Puerto Don Juan one of the north Sea of Cortez’s best natural hurricane holes, with protection from wind and waves from all directions and a careening beach for boats to paint the bottom or make repairs.

Steve and Judy
s/v Code Blue



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