Saturday, May 28, 2016

PUERTO ESCONDIDO TO BAHIA CONCEPCION

May 7, 2016

We had resolved to skip the second day of Loretofest, but we did want to attend the swap meet.  We were ashore by 9:00.  I took a shower and then hit the swap meet where we managed to escape without buying anything but some nuts and bananas.  We used the internet for a few minutes and then returned to the boat.

Honeymoon Cove
Punta Baja was very low, flat protrusion at the end of an otherwise mountainous island.  We rounded the point and headed north along the eastern shore of Isla Carmen for a couple of hours until we reached Bahia Salinas.  We arrived in Bahia Salinas about 15:00.  I had awakened at 4:45 and kept nodding off on the way.  A tuna fishing boat had sunk in the bay in 35 feet of water.  It must have been a large boat because a portion of it was visible above the water as we entered the bay.  It looked like a rock from afar, but resolved into what looked like part of the deck as we passed.  We anchored in 18 feet of blue green water off a wide, white sand beach.  There was only one other boat in the large bay.
Wreck in Bahia Salinas

I was very sleepy and spent the remainder of the afternoon dozing in the sun.  About 18:00, I forced myself to get up and make tilapia, guacamole, chips, and salad for dinner.  A day of motoring and bright sunshine had charged our batteries up to 100%.  Don authorized me to run the computer off the inverter and, having consumed a small can of Diet Coke with dinner, I was able to stay awake long enough to write after dinner.  Then I took my rum and tonic out to the cockpit to shine a flashlight into the water and watch the profusion of life attracted by the light.
Fish Attracted by Light

May 9, 2016

We slept in on Sunday morning and then had breakfast burritos before heading out in the dinghy to explore the abandoned salt works on Isla Carmen.  Isla Carmen has a low spot on its north end that reaches nearly across the island.  This depression contains a seasonal lagoon and was once the site of extensive salt works employing up to 200 people.  The operation was abandoned in 1982 and mostly just left to rot.  Between the salt and sea air, the abandoned equipment looked like it had been there much longer.  We followed the levee that had once supported a narrow gauge railway out into the now dry salt ponds.  The rails had been pulled up, but some of the ties remained.
Former Salt Ponds on Isla Carmen


Abandoned Equipment at the Salt Works
Today, there is a hunting lodge where hunters gather when the national park decrees that the herd of bighorn sheep on the island needs thinning.  A caretaker guards the lodge and chapel, which remains in good repair, stark white against the landscape.  Someone had cleverly converted old forklifts and rail cars into cactus planters.  After walking through the ponds to the lagoon and back, we poked around the abandoned buildings and then strolled to the end of the white sand beach and back.  The former supply boat, the Guaymas, sank at the pier on its final run to remove employees and their belongings from the island.  We gawked at the remains scattered along the bottom of the shallow bay near shore.
Wreck of the Guaymas

Cactus Garden

Chapel at Bahia Salinas
Comet at Anchor in Bahia Salinas

We returned to the boat about 14:00 and spent the rest of the afternoon reading and dozing.  Just as I had started to make fajitas for dinner, the couple from the powerboat that shared our anchorage stopped by to give us a couple of fish they had caught.  We couldn’t say no after they had come so far in the dinghy, but Don slipped the fish back into the water after dark and they happily swam away.  Neither of us were big on cleaning fish on the boat.  We enjoyed our dinner in the cockpit and retired by 22:00.

May 9, 2016

Southerly swells combined with wind out of the east had kept us sideways to the swell all night and we had rolled just enough to prevent me from going back to sleep once I awoke.  Having gone to bed early, Don was up and about even before I was.  We pulled out of the anchorage at 8:10.  There were only a couple of knots of breeze, so we motored easily across calm seas, rounded Punta Perico and headed up to the north side of Isla Carmen.  We passed the small indentation known as V Cove and then turned into Puerto de la Lancha, where we anchored in twenty feet of exceptionally clear water.  We could see the anchor clearly on the white sand bottom.  Don made a pot of oatmeal and we paused there long enough to eat breakfast.

Puerto de la Lancha

We were underway again by 11:30, enroute on the thirteen mile leg from Isla Carmen to Isla Coronados.  Isla Coronados was an old volcano with a large sand spit extending from its southwestern corner to embrace a shallow bay of aquamarine water and white sand that makes a pretty anchorage in fair weather.  Tour boats bring snorkelers to the island from Loreto.  The sand spit continues under water all the way across to the shore, as shallow as twenty feet in places.  We crossed at the pass recommended in the guide book, passed Little Coronado Island, and hooked back into the anchorage staying in deeper water.  We dropped the anchor in 32 feet of water near the other four sailboats in the anchorage about 14:00.
Isla Coronados

We put the boat away and then sat in the sun taking advantage of the cellular and internet service that reached us from Loreto.  I was chilled from motoring through a cool breeze.  Once I warmed up, I ducked into the screened cabin to write because bees were buzzing around the cockpit, even daring to take a sip of my beer.  Don burned some incense which discouraged them while it lasted, but then they returned.  We saw no one stirring on any of the other boats, probably because they were hiding behind insect screens, also.

Dinner was salad and tamales that we had bought from the food vendors at Loretofest.  We had been busy taking advantage of the cellular service, so ate late.  After dinner, we listened to one of Don’s radio shows until we heard our bunks calling.

May 10, 2016

We had hoped to listen to the 8:00 net from Puerto Escondido, but couldn’t hear it at Isla Coronados.  Strangely, the cell service that had been so good the day before had evaporated.  We were disinclined to go ashore with all the bees around, so we pulled out of the anchorage about 9:15 and headed towards shore, trolling for a cell signal because Don needed to return a phone call.  We hoped that getting a line of sight to Loreto would restore service, but it did not.  When we got within a mile of shore, we turned and headed for Punta Mangles.  We followed the coast about a mile offshore and saw a large pod of dolphins leaping in the distance.  We were motoring, so they didn’t approach the boat.  I was still glad to see them because we had seen very few that season.

Ruins at Punta Mangles
The only obstacle between Isla Coronados and Punta Mangles is Mangles Rock.  The chart, surveyed in 1875, said it protruded two feet above high water.  It must have eroded over the past century and a half because we never did manage to spot it.  We passed inshore of it and tucked into the anchorage just inside Punta Mangles.  It didn’t look like much from afar, but turned out to be a wonderful spot.  We anchored in sixteen feet of crystal clear water over white sand.  We arrived about 11:00 and I made bacon and pancakes for brunch.
After the dishes were done, we decided to swim ashore to explore the ruins of an abandoned hotel project.  The water was so clear, that we donned masks and snorkels to snorkel to shore.  We didn’t see any fish on the way in, but there was lots of plant life on the many rocks that I swam over because my snorkel refused to stay attached to my mask and I ended up having to use one hand to keep it out of the waves.  It was tough to swim in a straight line with one hand and, despite my best effort to correct my course, I ended up on a rocky beach.  Don was probably laughing at me as he picked his way across the rocks to bring me the shoes he had carried in his net bag.
Former Restaurant Site

We climbed up the bluff to the ruins of what must have been intended to be a restaurant with a lovely view of the cove.  Concrete pillars reached for an absent palapa roof.  The building, which had been constructed of concrete block, was riddled with bullet holes and appeared to have been demolished with explosives.  Down on the beach, were the remains of two more buildings flanking a swimming pool.  Buildings and pool were filled with sand, rock, and driftwood, leading me to believe that someone’s vision had been destroyed by a flood or hurricane.  It had been built much too close to sea level.

 Our return to the boat was much more direct in my case.  I was in the lead and I saw a school of trout sized silvery fish and one large square bodied specimen lurking on the bottom.  Light was reflecting on the white sand bottom from the ripples above in dancing, glowing patterns.  We took quick showers in solar heated water and, refreshed, continued along our way to Caleta San Juanico, staying about a mile offshore in a hundred feet or more of water. 

Punta Mercenarios
Punta Mercenarios marks the southern edge of Caleta San Juanico and is composed of fabulous rock formations.  One of them resembled the sphinx, while others looked like people crouched on the reef.  We passed these features and anchored in the northwest corner of the bay, hard by a cactus crowned chunk of rock connected to the shore by a shallow reef.  There were already four boats in the anchorage when we arrived and they just kept coming.    Catamarans seemed to travel in packs in the Sea and soon we were surrounded by them. 

Caleta San Juanico
We had our celebratory beer and a snack and then took the dinghy ashore at 17:00.  We picked our way along the rocky shore to the cruisers’ “shrine” at the north end of the bay.  There, a tree was draped with all kinds of testaments to people’s visits to San Juanico.  Many rocks were carved with boat names and there were hats and bottles, burgees and plaques.  Some people had clearly planned ahead and devoted a lot of effort to their contributions.  Near the “shrine,” a path led to the top of the bluff and we climbed up there for a nice view of, not only Caleta San Juanico, but also La Ramada on the far side of Punta San Basilio.  Once we descended, we walked to the far side of the beach and back before returning to Comet for a dinner of spaghetti and salad.  Miraculously, my computer had held a charge and I was able to write after dinner.  It was a beautiful, warm night and we sat talking in the cockpit and watching the sliver of moon sink in the sky.
Cruiser's  Shrine


May 11, 2016

We took so long to decide what we wanted to do with the day that it was 11:00 before we sat down to a breakfast of goat cheese and bacon omelets.  Rather by default, we decided to remain in San Juanico another night.  The pride of catamarans departed, along with a number of the monohulls, leaving the anchorage a much more peaceful and attractive spot.


Lagoon at San Juanico
After breakfast, we took the dinghy across to the southwest corner of the beach near where we could see a road.  It was our intention to follow the road along the hillsides on the southern edge of the bay.  When we got there, we couldn’t determine where the road neared the beach.  We followed some horse tracks, thinking the rider must have come from the road.  He hadn’t, but the tracks led us to a beautiful lagoon that was hidden from the beach.  The trouble with the lagoon was that it was between us and the road.  We followed the lagoon back up a canyon where it became a stream and then a dry wash, figuring the road had to cross the stream somewhere.  The trail we were following degenerated into a warren of deer paths.  Tiring of cactus whacking, we slogged through the deep sand of the wash.  After close to three miles, we finally heard a car.  We were very hot and sweaty and might have turned back if we hadn’t heard that car.  As it was, we continued on and soon came to the road which led us back around to another wash that led back to the beach where our dinghy waited patiently.
Don Hiking at San Juanico


It was mid afternoon by the time we returned to the boat.  Ice cold beers revived us.  I was covered with salt crystals from our sweaty hike, so I dove in and swam eleven laps around the boat.  The water was alternately heavenly warm and frigid as I circled the boat.  Eleven laps didn’t seem far at all after our quarter mile swim of the day before, although it was slower going without fins.  The afternoon was the warmest we had seen since leaving the mainland.  For the first time, I could shower and sit to air dry without shivering in a cool breeze.  We were well satisfied that we had decided to remain another day in San Juanico.

Our Contribution to the Cruiser's Shrine
After my swim, I inscribed Comet’s logo on a scallop shell I had picked up for that purpose.  Don drilled a hole in it and strung it with a few loops of Goretex thread.  As the sun sank towards the horizon, we hopped in the dinghy and made a quick trip to the shrine tree to hang our offering.  Then we cruised around the rock pinnacles in the anchorage, disturbing large schools of fish and a few small rays.  San Juanico offered fascinating rocks and caves, but we had to be careful of submerged rocks that threatened our outboard.

Needlefish
We got back to the boat just in time for me to make mashed potatoes, salad, and spicy chicken wings for dinner before it got dark.  Another day of strong sunshine had our batteries at full strength and I was able to run my computer off the inverter after dinner.  Later, we sat in the cockpit enjoying Don’s eclectic music collection.  Once again, we shone a bright light into the water and watched the fish it attracted.  That night, we saw lots of neon blue needlefish darting about, feasting on the tiny creatures drawn to the light.





May 12, 2016

Punta Pulpito
I got up at 7:30 and made coffee.  By 8:00, Don was up and by 8:30 we were motoring past the pinnacles of Caleta San Juanico and heading around Punta San Basilio and up the coast to Pulpito where we dropped the anchor in a craterlike cove at the base of the 475 foot tall rock known as “the pulpit.”  We saw rays leaping out of the water and a large pod of dolphins heading south.



Don on Top of Pulpito
Our reason for stopping at Pulpito, other than shortening the trip to Bahia Concepcion, was to climb to the top of the pulpit.  It wasn’t very far to the top (1.3 miles), but it was very steep and hot and much of it was deep sand that slid back as we ascended.  There was only a tiny sandy beach for landing the dinghy.  From there, we clambered over a large pile of boulders and driftwood until we reached a steep chute of sand that led up to the ridge.  There was a road that led down to the beach from the ridge, but it ended at the far side of the cove where it was too rocky to land the dinghy.  It would have been a chore to hop from rock to rock all the way around the shore of the anchorage.

From the ridge, we followed a faint trail up onto the headland.  Where that track ended, we could see a pole erected on the summit and we scrambled up the red, volcanic rocks to the top.  It was hot and even the summit was almost windless.  There was an expansive view from San Juanico up to Santa Teresa Point.  We could see the anchorages of Bahia San Nicolas on the far side of the isthmus leading to the pulpit, useful if a southerly were blowing.

Comet in the Pulpito Anchorage
Cold beers were calling us, so we headed back down, descending much more quickly than we had climbed.  We were back at the boat by 14:00 where we had a cold beer, napped, read, and swam.  There were a lot of tiny jellyfish in the water.  I didn’t get stung, but they discouraged me from swimming laps around the boat.  The solar heated shower water was scalding hot.  Don waited until dinnertime to shower and fared much better.

Dinner was pork kebabs with quinoa and salad.  Clouds were gathering on the horizon and we could see rain to the southeast.  The clouds made for a spectacular sunset, but we hoped that we wouldn’t see a thunderstorm during the night.  Beginning in July, thunderstorms originating over the mainland known as “chubascos” would move west and hammer the west side of the Sea in the early morning hours.  In Puerto Escondido, a chubasco report was given every night at 21:00 during the season so that cruisers could prepare for strong winds if expected.

May 13, 2016

Sunrise at Pulpito
We had a long trip ahead of us, so got an early start.  I had been awake until 2:00 the night before and had been awake briefly at 6:30.  I was less than enthusiastic when Don got me up at 7:30.  Still, we were pulling up the hook and on our way by 7:45.  There was very little wind, so we motored around Pulpito and headed straight for Santa Teresa Point.  There was no scenic anchorage inviting us to stop for breakfast, so we had hard boiled eggs and an apple and kept going.  We turned slightly west at Santa Teresa and continued up the peninsula that formed the eastern side of Bahia Concepcion.  It was 37 miles from Pulpito to the anchorage at Santo Domingo.  We rounded Punta Concepcion and then Aguja and Hornitos and tucked into the anchorage by 14:00.

Rounding Punta Aguja
It was very hot when we arrived and soon a warm wind was blowing 16 knots from the east.  We drank a beer and contemplated the change in the weather.  The seemingly endless days in the vast and beautiful sea had lulled me into deep relaxation.  As Comet’s haul out date approached, the realization dawned on me that this period was finite and each day became incredibly precious.  I could hardly bear to think of all the places we would have to skip that year.  Only the knowledge that I could eventually return prevented me from refusing to leave.  The Sea of Cortez had surpassed all my expectations.

Santo Domingo Anchorage
We passed the sultry afternoon reading and swimming.  I did twelve laps around the boat.  The water felt cool and refreshing.  The east wind stopped suddenly as if someone had flipped a switch.  We had barbecued chicken legs and sweet potato home fries with salad for dinner and then I sat in the dark in the cockpit, perfecting the art of just being while the moonlight and mild evening air washed over me.

                                                                                                                                

Sunday, May 22, 2016

PUERTO ESCONDIDO AND LORETO

May 2, 2016 continued
Entrance Channel

Puerto Escondido (Hidden Port) is almost completely landlocked.  The 200 foot wide entrance channel cannot be seen until one is aligned with it and ready to enter the bay.  Some boats and buildings around the outer bay known as the “waiting room” can be seen from afar and provide a target.  Boats can anchor in the “waiting room.”  This is a good anchorage for deep draft vessels that might have trouble passing through the channel.    On the left, as you transit the entrance channel, is the man made anchoring basin known as “the Ellipse”.  Fees to anchor in “the Waiting Room” or “the Ellipse” are lower than inside the main bay and are payable at the API office.  Many cruisers who had made Puerto Escondido their home had installed private moorings in these areas, but it was rumored that the Ellipse was about to be developed as a marina.

Inside the bay, Fonatur had built a small marina and a large mooring field.  Moorings could be rented for $10 per night.  We found the bay to be calmer than most marinas, with jumping fish the largest disturbance.  At the far end of the bay were two low spots known as the “windows” which provided air circulation.  The low spits of land between them looked exactly like dams and blocked the view of the water on the other side, giving the bay the appearance of being a reservoir with a drop off on the other side.  The Sierra La Giganta (Giantess Range) rose dramatically to the west.  Puerto Escondido was rumored to be a caldera, which would explain its unique topography.
The Windows
 
We arrived about 16:00 and, after milling about for a bit, looking for an empty ball in the proper size range, finally selected one on the outer edge of the mooring field with the shore on one side and a large empty area behind us.  It was also possible to anchor in the main bay, but the fee was the same as for a mooring, so we took the easy route.  Many of the mooring balls had lost their numbers, making it difficult to determine which were which.  In general, the larger boats were located further out.  Don called the marina office and they told us where to go, although they were closed by the time we got settled and finally made it to shore.

The Tripui Hotel and Restaurant
We picked up the mooring without incident, a maneuver that involved my motoring up to a stationary buoy and stopping the boat close enough that Don could pluck the line out of the water with a boat hook.  Once the mooring line was securely fastened to our bow, we launched the dinghy and headed for shore, showers, and dinner.  Unfortunately, the showers at the Puerto Escondido Marina closed at 17:00 and we arrived too late.  We had to go to dinner in our unwashed and casual state of dress.  We first checked out the restaurant in the marina, but found it much too rich for our tastes.  All of the dishes were a la carte and still twice as expensive as the average restaurant in Mexico.  We decided to walk a mile or so up the road to the Tripui Restaurant and Hotel for dinner.

Fonatur and carved out some canals and paved and landscaped roads for a community of private houses that had failed to materialize.  We wandered through this maze for a while before we found the main road, got out of Puerto Escondido, and turned right on the main road.  The hotel, restaurant, and RV park were visible on the other side of the road shortly after we started up the highway towards Loreto.  The Tripui Restaurant is located next to the hotel pool, with tables under a shady arcade.  Prices were reasonable, the food was good, and two of their margaritas left me worse for wear the next day.  We enjoyed relaxing in their beautiful and welcoming environment.  It was well worth the walk to get there.

It was past dark by the time we returned to the marina, but the water was calm and we had a pleasant dinghy ride out to the boat under the starry sky, the lights of the marina making it easy to find Comet despite the dark.  We sat up for an hour and then slept soundly, glad to be unconcerned with a change of wind direction during the night for a change.

May 3, 2016

Our "Office" in Puerto Escondido

I was fairly useless on Tuesday morning after the Tripui Restaurant’s potent margaritas the previous night.  I couldn’t even face coffee.  We had accidentally left the radio on channel 16 and had slept through the 8:00 radio net.  The prospect of a shower, however, was enough to motivate me to go to shore.  We took the dinghy in and checked in, took showers (no hot water), and did some laundry in the laundromat.

We had been without internet or cell coverage since we left the La Paz area, so spent the late morning and early afternoon catching up on our communications.  Don talked on the phone with all our friends who were considering coming to join us, but none of them were ready to make a decision at that moment.  He was also trying to decide whether to leave the boat in Guaymas for another summer or to sail back to Marina del Rey.  He called the Fonatur yard where he had left the boat the previous year, but found them already full.  He made a reservation at another yard, just in case he decided to leave the boat again.  It was starting to seem as if Comet would be remaining in Mexico for another summer.
Puerto Escondido from the Marina


When our phone batteries started to give out, we headed back to the boat.  We hadn’t eaten breakfast, so I made tostadas for lunch.  Then I napped and read while Don scrubbed all the soot off the back of the boat.  We ate a late, light dinner of barbecued marinated arrachera, roasted potatoes and cauliflower, and salad.  Then we read until nearly midnight.

May 4, 2016

The radio net woke us up at 8:00.  We got up, had coffee, and left for the showers.  We took our propane tank to be filled.  Once again, there was no hot water in the showers.  We had to wait until the store opened at 10:00 to leave the propane tank, so we sat at the defunct bar on the upper level of the marina building and used the wi-fi until it opened.

Loreto Bay
Once the propane tank was delivered, we hired a taxi to take us the 25 kilometers to Loreto.  The taxi ride was quite expensive at 500 pesos (about $30), given that in Puerto Vallarta a ride of that distance cost only 350 pesos.  Unfortunately, there was no alternative.  There was no bus service to Loreto.  Our taxi driver did speak some English and attempted to give us a bit of a tour on the way.  At one point, he even removed his rear view mirror so that I could take pictures through the windshield.
We drove north along the highway at what seemed to us like an incredible rate of speed after having traveled by sailboat at five or six knots for weeks.  We passed Juncalito and the highly recommended Vista del Mar Restaurant at Playa Notri, both possible anchorages in fair weather.  Eventually, we crested a hill and saw the Loreto Bay golf course, resort, and housing community spread before us, vividly green against the desert landscape.  The palo verde (green stick) trees, so called because their branches are green and they have no leaves, were blooming, covering the countryside in yellow flowers.  It was a beautiful time to visit.  Temperatures were reaching only into the mid-eighties.

The Loreto Malecon
Our driver took us through Loreto and left us at the malecon.  We agreed to call him later when we were ready to go back, as he had offered us a 100 peso discount on a round trip.  Actually, the round trip fare from Loreto to Puerto Escondido was 900 pesos, anyway.  He had just deducted the surcharge for having to come out there to fetch us.

A pretty malecon stretched along the beach in Loreto with several shaded pavilions containing benches from which to admire the view toward Isla Carmen.  A pedestrian street lined with tourist shops and restaurants stretched from the Malecon up past the main plaza.  We stopped for breakfast at CafĂ© Ole on a side street where we got tasty spinach and cheese omelets with beans, chilaquiles, and orange juice for about $6 each.

Cafe Ole

After breakfast, we walked around Loreto and visited the hot spots.  The Our Lady of Loreto church is considered to be the head and the mother of the entire mission system in both Baja and Alta California. As such, we were surprised to find it very plain and unadorned.  It was made even more homely by a renovation project that had left the pews in the courtyard and the floor covered with piles of rubble.  More interesting than the actual church was the museum next door which related the history of missions in Baja California.  The missions were begun by the Jesuits, but King Carlos V expelled the Jesuits from his empire in the 18th century and that included Mexico.  He sent an army to remove them and they were replaced by the Franciscan order.
Our Lady of Loreto


Pedestrian Street in Loreto
After visiting the museum, we drifted back down the main drag and stopped at the Baja Bookstore where Don bought a copy of Steinbeck’s The Log from the Sea of Cortez, which was required reading in those parts.  Then we bought popsicles and followed the malecon to the small panga marina on the edge of town.  A number of cruising boats were anchored in the open roadstead off the beach.  There was a dinghy dock in the marina where cruisers could come ashore, making the anchorage attractive in fair weather.  We took a side street back through town to the Ley market, one of two big supermarkets at the entrance to town.  We did our provisioning and then called our taxi driver, who arrived within five minutes to give us a ride back to Puerto Escondido.
Don in Loreto
The Dinghy Dock in Loreto

We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing on the boat.  I made drunken chicken (chicken cooked in chorizo, tequila, and orange juice) for dinner and we gorged ourselves on chicken and rice.


May 5, 2016

Cinco de Mayo passed without remark in Puerto Escondido.  Loretofest was due to begin the next day and even the gringos couldn’t be bothered to celebrate.  Frankly, there were so few Mexicans visible in Puerto Escondido that I felt like I was in Arizona somewhere.  We went to shore after breakfast.  I actually managed to take a hot shower. 

Marina Buildings in Puerto Escondido

My mission for the day was to update my blog.  Unfortunately, my computer battery would not hold a charge.  I needed an electrical outlet.  Fonatur was having a meeting in the defunct bar that we had been using as an office.  None of the other outlets were live unless the lights were turned on.  The office had power, but was plastered with signs forbidding internet use inside.  The marina store offered charging at ten pesos per hour, but there was nowhere one could use the internet while plugged in.  We spent the entire morning milling around and using the internet on our phones, but I made no progress on my blog.  Finally, the Fonatur folks cleared out of the bar area and I grabbed an outlet.  Both the marina internet and Don’s hotspot were painfully slow.  It took me until 18:30 to get my blog entry done and, even then, I had to forego uploading the video of rays jumping at Isla Monserrate and end my post in the middle of a day because we were so hungry, having skipped lunch, that we just couldn’t continue working.  We headed back to the boat and had leftover chicken and salad, glad that food was readily available.

May 6, 2016

On the first day of Loretofest, we went ashore before 9:00 to shower and do laundry.  The women’s showers were occupied by four shrieking little girls, so I fled before my head exploded.  There was already a long line of women waiting for the laundry.  We joked about “laundryfest,” but actually had a good time chatting.  I eventually ducked out, bought a tank top, got a tamale for breakfast, and took a shower.  I spent the rest of the morning at the laundry, feeling like a throwback to the days when the women all took their laundry to the river to beat on the rocks. 

Don spent the morning sitting outside the store, chatting with other cruisers.  Every afternoon from 15:00 to 17:00, cruisers in Puerto Escondido gathered outside the shop to drink beer and exchange information, a gathering known as “The Circle of Knowledge.”  During Loretofest, this gathering went on all day.
The Ellipse

We were there for the twentieth and supposedly final Loretofest.  In my opinion, it was a festival that needed to be put out of its misery.  The food vendors and shady tents were appreciated, but it was a dull crowd and no one wanted to participate in any of the games.  Even the bar tent was largely unpatronized.  After eating a chili dog that had never even been in the same room with a chili pepper, we went back to the boat and read for the rest of the afternoon.  We went back to get carne asada tacos for dinner, but no one had signed up for entertainment, so we went for a walk to check out the Ellipse and the Waiting Room and then returned to Comet.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

LA PAZ TO PUERTO ESCONDIDO

April 23, 2016

Don decided he needed to refill his prescriptions before we set off, so he took a taxi to the Mega to attend to that while I got the boat ready to go.  I stripped off the canvas covers and filled all the water jugs.  The clear, collapsible jug and sun shower were green with algae, so I scrubbed them out with a dish brush and then added a few drops of bleach in when I refilled them to prevent that happening again.  I topped off the water tank, lowered the dinghy onto its cradle, and lashed down the jerry cans.  Don was gone some time because he needed to go to four pharmacies before finding what he needed.  Still, we had time to say a reluctant farewell to Jake and Jackie on Hokule’a and check out before noon.
Fuel Dock at Marina Palmira

We motored up the channel to Marina Palmira to buy fuel.  Having finally succeeded in isolating the forward fuel tank and pumping it dry, we wanted to calibrate the new dipstick so that we could tell how much fuel was in it going forward.  This process required three people because the pump with the meter was on shore.  We needed the attendant to tell Don when he reached each five gallon increment.  Don turned off the flow and then I dipped the stick and cut a notch at each level.  Of course I had to explain all this to the attendant in Spanish.  Everything went fine, however, and the attendant was very patient and helpful with the process.
Hurricane Wrecked Boats at Yard Next to Palmira

After leaving the fuel dock, we had to decide where to go.  Strong southwesterlies were predicted for that night and most of the anchorages were open to the southwest.  The only anchorage we could reach before dark not open to the southwest was Puerto Balandra.  The guidebooks warned that, while not a lee shore in a southwest wind, swells would wrap around and make it very rolly.  We elected to go there, anyway, since caffeine had kept me awake until 6 AM the previous night and I could barely keep my eyes open.  Sailing 42 miles to San Evaristo, our next good anchorage, was out of the question.

We arrived in Puerto Balandra and dropped the hook at 15:00.  Puerto Balandra was a large, gorgeous anchorage with white sand beaches and turquoise water.  Much of it was very shallow and looked like a great place to play in a dinghy on a hot day.  The best anchoring spots tucked under Punta Diablo were already taken by other sailboats.  We anchored as close to the point as possible.  We had our celebratory beer and a snack and then I napped until nearly 19:30.
Puerto Balandra


The wind had one southwest as predicted by the time I got up.  I made pork tacos and salad for dinner.  It was too rough to barbecue, but didn’t get really crazy until poor Don was trying to do the dishes.  The wind increased to nearly 20 knots and the swells were hitting us on the beam and rolling us mercilessly.  Despite a margarita with dinner, I had a hard time getting to sleep and then woke around 2:00 with what felt like whiplash in my neck. I lay awake until 4:00 when the swells started to abate somewhat.

April 24, 2016

By 7:00, I was tired of pretending to sleep and got up and made coffee.  I wrote and drank coffee until Don got up.  We readied the boat and pulled out of the anchorage about 10:30.

Sailing Past Isla Espiritu Santo
It was a gorgeous, clear day and we had a nice breeze in the morning.  We put up the sails, shook the reef out of the main, and sailed across the channel and up the west coast of Isla Espiritu Santo.  All of the usually popular anchorages were completely empty because of the southwest winds.  Our breeze died about noon, so we rolled up the jib and continued north under motor.

We took the scenic route between Isla Ballena and Isla Espiritu Santo.  Then we passed the shallow passage between Isla Espiritu Santo and Isla Partida and continued north past the previous day’s intended destination of Ensenada Grande and then struck out across open water for 15 miles to Isla San Francisco.  Except for the lack of sailing wind, it was a perfect day.  Don made us oatmeal for lunch.  I took a little nap.  By 15:00, we were approaching the island.  


"The Hook" at Isla San Francisco
Isla San Francisco was a small island with a curving arm that created a famous, turquoise blue anchorage known as, “the Hook.”  It was a beautiful spot, but unfortunately open to the southwest.  We anchored on the other side of the arm which, while not blessed with sugar sand beaches and a white bottom, was still a pretty anchorage and protected from the wind.  Most of the boats at Isla San Francisco had anchored in, “the Hook,” even though it would be a lee shore.  There were only two boats on our side.
Comet on the Back Side of Isla San Francisco

We took a swim in the somewhat chilly but beautifully clear water.  I did nine laps around the boat and then took a nice solar heated shower.  The sun was warm, but there was enough breeze to avoid turning the place into a reflector oven.  We relaxed all afternoon and then Don barbecued actual Polish sausages that we had found at Chedraui while I made curried cauliflower and salad.  We ate in the cockpit and sat sharing a bottle of wine and listening to music while the nearly full moon rose in the east.  The night was mild and we enjoyed being outdoors in the bug free air, feeling like geniuses for having predicted the nighttime shift of the wind to the southwest that provided us with a comfortable and secure anchorage.

April 25, 2016
Salt Pond on Isla San Francisco

We wanted to go ashore and take a hike up to the top of the ridge above “the Hook.”  We got up early and were coffeed up and ready to hop in the dinghy by 9:00.  There was no swell whatsoever on our side of the island, so we had a very dry trip to shore and an easy landing, although it was a job to haul the dinghy up the steep, soft, pink gravel beach.  We walked up the sand dune separating the two bays and then crunched across a dry salt pond in the center of the isthmus.  Everywhere, we could see lizard prints looking like bicycle tracks in the sand.  We crossed over to the pretty beach on the other side and followed that to a trail that led up the ridge.  Climbing to the ridge was an easy hike, but following the ridge to the end of the arm and the “summit” required some boulder hopping.  We had a snack on top and then followed the arm down to the tip of the spit that formed “the Hook.”  We took lots of pictures and then ambled along the beach and back over the isthmus to our dinghy.
Don on the Ridge Above Isla San Francisco

The Ridge Above Isla San Francisco


                                                                                                                              We had worked up an appetite, so I made pancakes upon our return to Comet.  I took a nap and we spent a lazy day until Don decided to go snorkeling.  Unfortunately, he found the water full of tiny jellyfish.  They didn’t sting him, but he got out just to be safe, quashing my intention to swim to shore later.  Instead, I played the guitar for a bit and Don constructed a new leg for the cockpit table, which had been out of service for some time.  Then we had a beer and relaxed until dinnertime.

For dinner, Don barbecued salmon and I made mashed yams, broccoli, and salad.  We felt very civilized, eating with a table in the cockpit.  After the dishes were done, it was very dark and we sat in the cockpit, all alone in the anchorage, enjoying the multitude of stars and listening to music.

April 26, 2016

Isla Coyote

Rocas Focas
We didn’t have far to go, so there was no need to rush.  We had coffee and still pulled up the anchor by 10:30.  We headed north around Isla San Francisco and then cut across to the San Jose Channel, passing Isla Coyote and Rocas Focas (Seal Rocks) along the way.  Isla Coyote was an anomaly because, despite being a tiny island surrounded by sheer cliffs on most sides, it was one of the few inhabited islands in the Sea of Cortez.

There was plenty of wind, so we hoisted the sails and sailed across the channel.  By the time we cleared Isla San Jose, the wind was blowing over 18 knots and we had to roll up most of the jib.  We had a wet sail across, but the increasing velocity lifted us as we went, allowing us to sail higher than anticipated.  We were close enough to San Evaristo when we reached the far side of the channel that we just rolled up the jib and motored the rest of the way, rather than tacking up the coast.
Sailing


We were the first boat to arrive and dropped the hook in the northwest corner of the bay by 13:00.  We put the boat away and had guacamole and chips with our celebratory beer, only feeling slightly guilty for drinking so early in the day.  Don took a swim and scrubbed the waterline of the boat, but I waited until the sun shower heated up.  A couple of other small cruising boats arrived, but they were quiet and the bay was spacious.  Eventually, I took a swim, but the water was so cold I only managed one lap.

When the sun lowered in the sky, we took the dinghy ashore.  Despite the still howling norther, there was no surf and we made a perfect landing.  We walked over the hill to check out the salt evaporation ponds on the other side.  It is also possible to anchor on that side of the point in the event of southerly winds.  We turned around there and came back, traversing the town to the Lupe Sierra’s and Maggi Mae restaurant on the far side.  All the fishermen were returning and pulling their pangas up on the beach. Dozens of gulls, pelicans, and even turkey buzzards were loitering about, hoping for scraps.  They all looked well fed and we marveled that such a sere landscape could support so much life.
Salt Ponds in San Evaristo

San Evaristo

Lupe and Maggi’s restaurant was a trip.  The restaurant sat atop a sand dune overlooking the bay with tables on a covered porch.  Everything was decorated with seashells.  They encouraged visitors to paint shells with their boat names and we saw many that we recognized.  They had even set up driftwood “trees” which were covered with more shells.  A succulent garden in front was embellished with painted rocks and curly sticks resembling snakes.  We were waited on by the son, Pepe, who spoke passable English.  Everyone was very friendly and the food was good, plentiful, and reasonably priced.  Don had fish tacos and I had shrimp quesadillas.  They told us they were expecting a charter with 26 people later that night, but there was no sign of them at 17:00.

Memory Tree at Lupe Sierra & Maggi Mae

We were enjoying cocktails in the cockpit when we saw a charter catamaran pull into the bay.  We were rather surprised that he chose to anchor in the windy middle of the bay, rather than the sheltered shallows closer to the shore, but he got the hook down without incident.  As the sun was setting, three more boats arrived from the south, the first two of which managed to anchor after only one or two tries.  All of the boats were filled with Italians.  We realized this was the group of 26 people that Pepe had mentioned.

The last catamaran arrived just as it was getting dark.  By this time there was a lot of radio chatter in Italian.  The poor skipper of that last boat was under the mistaken impression that the way to set an anchor was to drop it and back down fast.  He could not get that anchor to hold.  He kept jerking it free.  He must have tried ten times.  The other skippers kept calling him on the radio.  He was clearly stressed, snapping, “Non ancora (not now),” at them repeatedly.  He scared us by trying to anchor far too close to us in what was still a serious blow, but eventually chose a spot at an acceptable distance.

Suddenly, the anchorage was a very noisy place, with 26 voluble Italians trying to organize going ashore for dinner.  It was nearly closing hour by the time they finally got to the restaurant.  The Sierra family had a late night.  The cold wind finally drove us inside after the anchoring fiasco ended.  We read for a bit and then I retired about 22:00.

April 27, 2016

Don at Lupe Sierra & Maggi Mae
We got up too late to attempt a long passage north, so we decided to spend the day in San Evaristo.  We passed what remained of the morning chatting with other cruisers in the anchorage.  As a woman seriously considering cruising alone with another woman, I was encouraged to discover that the boat whose seamanship we had admired was sailed by a pair of retired ladies from Seattle.    About noon, we went ashore and had a leisurely brunch at the restaurant.  The Italians, who had been buzzing all over the anchorage in their dinghies since early morning, had all departed for Isla San Francisco.  We met and shared a table with the crew of Encore and enjoyed conversing about sailing in the sea.

We swam and lounged away the afternoon.  The water seemed warmer than the day before and I managed six laps, despite a nasty swell that kept smacking me in the face, before a minor jellyfish sting chased me back into the boat.  The sun shower was warm and I washed my hair and lay in the sun.  We had chicken thighs in guajillo chile sauce over rice for dinner, accompanied by green salad.  We sat in the cockpit for a bit after dinner, but it began to get very windy from the west.

The wind blew twenty knots all night.  Despite multiple efforts to quiet them, halyards banged against the mast and shrouds all night long, making it very difficult to sleep.  One of the spinnaker halyards was run through a keeper on the mast, preventing us from running it forward to the bow where it wouldn’t bang.  I stood out in the howling wind for ten minutes in my pajamas, trying to silence the noisy halyards, but didn’t think of a way to do it until I was safely ensconced in my warm bunk.

April 28, 2016

The wind had blown itself out by morning.  We got up early and were pulling up the anchor by 9:00.  All the other sailors in the anchorage had passed even worse nights than we had and were feeling pretty rough, from what we could hear over the radio.  It didn’t look like any of the other boats were planning to leave San Evaristo that day.  I had thought San Evaristo a pretty desolate place when we arrived, but it had grown on me quite a bit due to its friendly, cheerful inhabitants.

Nopolo

We left San Evaristo and continued north up the San Jose Channel.  We had had visions of flying the asymmetrical spinnaker in the southerly winds of the previous couple of days and had even gone so far as to rig the lines, but we found the wind on our nose instead.  We hugged the western side of the channel and poked our nose in the anchorages at Nopolo just to see what they were like.  We found them small and rather unprotected, although there were some houses along the northern beach.

Bahia Los Dolores



We continued north along a fantastic coast that looked like a soundstage backdrop for a Hollywood western.  We crossed Bahia los Dolores with the palm trees of isolated Ranhco Dolores looking like an Oasis and then passed between tiny Isla Habana to port and Islas San Diego and Santa Cruz to Starboard.  We passed the black Rocas Morenas and then tucked into Timbabiche to explore the anchorage there.  It was quite windy and didn’t look well protected, so we continued on around Punta Botella to Puerto Los Gatos and dropped the anchor at 13:00.

Timbabiche
Puerto Los Gatos was a slightly larger and more protected anchorage with the advantage of spectacular pink bluffs on the north side making it quite scenic.  Numerous reefs in the bay required careful navigation, but provided ample opportunities for snorkeling in warm weather.  Don took the dinghy ashore after we put the boat away and I took a nap, tired after the previous sleepless night.
Sunset at Puerto Los Gatos

I got up in time to make spaghetti with Italian sausage and salad for dinner.  We conserved our rapidly dwindling supply of limes by drinking a bottle of red wine with dinner.  Then we passed a relaxing evening listening to music in the cockpit before retiring early.
April 29, 2016

We got up early and headed to shore to explore the rock formations and climb to the top of the two pink peaks north of the anchorage.  It was already windy by the time we reached the ridge.  We took lots of pictures and then hiked back down and poked around the tide pools formed by the reef.  Big black crabs scuttled across the rocks.  Moss was shockingly green in that desert environment.  We saw bleached bones from the skeleton of a small whale.  
Puerto Los Gatos

Unfortunately, the chill north wind discouraged snorkeling for those of us lacking wetsuits.
Red Rock at Puerto Los Gatos
                                                                                                                                                            We returned to the boat at 10:30, loaded up the dinghy, and pulled the anchor.  As soon as we poked our nose out of the anchorage it was blowing 20 knots.  The seas were large and hindered our forward progress.  We could only make about 1.5 knots and were getting very wet.  We quickly decided to turn tail and return to Los Gatos where we anchored tight against the northern beach in the shelter of the bluffs.

We were hungry from our morning’s exertions, so I made a big breakfast of bacon, eggs, beans, tortillas, and pineapple.  We were too well rested to nap, so I settled down to write.  All day long, boats arrived, battered by the winds and seas.  The wind gradually abated as the day wore on.  By 17:00, we could no longer see whitecaps outside the anchorage, so we decided to put a couple of more miles under the keel.  We pulled up the anchor and motored a couple of miles around the corner to Punta San Telmo.

Punta San Telmo
We were the only boat in San Telmo.  The anchorage wasn’t quite as good as Puerto Los Gatos (so named because a puma was once seen there), but it was sheltered from northerly swell and the wind was light and continued to lighten as the evening wore on.  We arrived right at 18:00.  As soon as we got the anchor down, I started cooking dinner.  We had tilapia fillets with boiled potatoes and carrots and salad.  We were able to play our music as loud as we wanted, since we were all alone in the anchorage.  Our solar panels had been working so well that Don encouraged me to use the inverter to charge my computer even though we weren’t running the motor.

April 30, 2016

Rancho Santa Marta
We awoke to a beautiful, clear morning with calm seas.  Don and I had agreed the night before to get up and go if the morning was calm.  I boiled some water for coffee and got Don up by 7:30.  We headed out just after 8:00.  We made very good time over the flat seas, so decided to explore the anchorages we were bypassing on our way to Agua Verde.  Don had been using the Navionics app on his iPhone for navigation since his GPS had failed.  Suddenly, the icon representing the location of the boat had disappeared from the screen, forcing us to rely on my phone and GPS instead.  He could not reinstall the app because we had no internet service.  I also had Navionics on my android phone, but it operated differently and lacked the automatic routing feature of the iPhone version.  Still, my version showed our current location, so we made do.  After determining how to manually enter a waypoint, we were able to plot a route that agreed with the one in my GPS.  Navionics showed more detail of depths and hazards than the chart plotter on my GPS, but all detail disappeared just past Agua Verde, possibly as a result of my failure to download the maps for that area.  Of course, this was also a problem that would require internet access to correct. 

San Marte
Our first stop was Bahia Santa Marta about 8 miles north of San Telmo.  Santa Marta was a pretty spot with a rancho sheltering in a grove of palm trees, but didn’t offer much in the way of an anchorage.  Ensenada La Ballena, the next cove up the coast, was so little indented that we motored right past it and only noticed it because of the large sea cave on the north side.  We had intended to stop there for breakfast, but continued on to San Marte instead.  San Marte was a nicely protected anchorage in the case of northeasterly winds.  Steep cliffs ringed the anchorage.  It was reasonably easy to approach from the south as long as one hugged the shore.  We dropped the hook in the northeast corner of the anchorage at 10:30 and spent an hour eating breakfast burritos and going for a swim.

Departing San Marte required backtracking quite a long way because of a reef that extended southeast even farther than noted in the cruising guides.  We motored well past the GPS coordinates for a northerly approach and were still seeing submerged reefs.  Even after we turned north, I suddenly noted a change in the color of the water and we slowed the boat a proceeded cautiously until the water got deeper again.

Approaching Agua Verde
Once free of the San Marte reefs, we had to thread our way between Punta San Marcial and the visible and lighted San Marcial reef.  Once we passed that channel, we could clearly see white Roca Solitaria on the far side of Agua Verde.  The anchorage at Agua Verde wrapped around behind a detached chunk of rock.  We found the anchorage crowded with boats.  We motored around for a while and finally elected to anchor close to the beach dubbed the “Agua Verde Yacht Club” because of the number of impromptu gatherings that occur there.  The water was as turquoise as a swimming pool and we were well sheltered as long as the wind didn’t turn to the south.

Our First Anchorage at Agua Verde
Unfortunately, the wind did turn to the south.  I made shredded chicken tacos and salad for dinner and we ate in the cockpit, keeping a close eye on the wind indicator.  The wind kept building.  We were only a couple of boat lengths off the beach.  The anchor was holding fine, but we knew that neither of us would sleep a wink being that close to the shore.   Still, we hoped the wind would die after sunset.  When we saw the wind build to nearly 20 knots, we pulled up the hook and moved to the other end of the bay, reanchoring just as it got dark.  We were lying in 30 feet of water far off shore where we spent a very peaceful night, not worrying which way the wind was blowing, although it dropped shortly after we relocated.  We sat in the cockpit, drinking margaritas and listening to the music from a quinceanera that was being celebrated in the village.  It was an elaborate affair with catered food, a band, generators, and lights that illuminated the entire hillside.

May 1, 2016

Second Anchorage at Agua Verde
The radio woke us, although it was Sunday and there was no net.  People were still inquiring about the weather.  The general consensus was that it would be light that day and windier the following day.  The anchorage rapidly emptied as boats left for Puerto Escondido or points south.  We wanted to spend the day exploring Agua Verde, so we had coffee and then I made pancakes.

When breakfast was behind us, we took the dinghy back across to the isthmus where we had originally anchored.  We beached the dinghy and climbed up the hill on the east side of the anchorage.  We took some photos from up there and then descended and climbed over the hill on the western side.  On the back side of the hill, we found an old cemetery.  The newest grave was from 1977 and many of the graves were in poor repair.  Not far past the cemetery, we came to a small, stagnant lagoon lined with an oasis of palm trees.  Downed trees and palm fronds littered the ground. It was apparent that a hurricane had ripped through there at some point.  We followed the bank of the lagoon to the beach where we could look north to Puerto Escondido.
Oasis at Agua Verde

We proceeded back up the other side of the lagoon where a maze of trails wound through the sand of a dry wash and back to the cemetery.  Then we turned right and followed the base of the hills until we reached the road.  The road climbed over the range of hills and traversed across the slope and back down to the isthmus where we had started our hike.  The views were spectacular and we stopped often to take pictures.  For once, reality was even more gorgeous than the photos in the guidebooks.
Agua Verde from the Ridge

Church in Agua Verde
We took the dinghy back to the boat and, after a quick stop to collect wallets, made our way to the beach near where we were anchored that was the location of the village of Agua Verde.   Not much of the village was visible from the beach.  There was one sometime restaurant that sold fish tacos when open and an outhouse that could be used for five pesos.  The restaurant was closed when we arrived.  We followed a dusty track into the village.  Agua Verde was a disorganized collection of dwellings scattered across a level valley.  The generally bare and hard desert earth made official roads unnecessary.  We explored the village.  Walking was somewhat hazardous as pickup trucks zoomed about at high speed and it was difficult to predict where they were headed.  There were two churches (Catholic and Evangelical?) and a tiny school with a basketball court that appeared to have been the site of the previous night’s festivities.  A slightly more established restaurant was also closed when we passed at mid-afternoon.  The quinceanera was still underway on the edge of town, the location obvious from the large collection of pickup trucks parked around one of the homes.

Maria's Tienda in Agua Verde
We located the small grocery store near the beach.  It was brightly painted in Pacifico Beer yellow but, despite all the Pacifico paraphernalia, we were only able to purchase one six pack.  The store was tiny, but had a good variety of staples and junk food.  There were homemade flour tortillas for the gringo cruisers.  They even had some produce.  We bought tomatoes, onions, and a ripe avocado.  Unfortunately, they did not have any limes.  We were out of rum and reduced to making margaritas with double strength lime Tang.  They did have that, so we bought a backup supply.

We were back at the boat by mid-afternoon.  I took a swim, washed my hair, and spent the rest of the afternoon reading and dozing in the sun.  We had hamburger patties, guacamole and chips, and bacon slaw for dinner.  We had no neighbors, so could play our music without guilt as we enjoyed the mild evening.  The previous night’s offshore winds failed to materialize.

May 2, 2016

Isla Monserrate
We got a fairly early start on Monday and were out of the anchorage by 9:30.  Winds were light and seas were flat.  We motored for Isla Monserrate and dropped anchor off the southern shore by 11:00.  The anchorage had extremely clear, blue green water, but didn’t offer much wind protection.  We decided on just a quick stop for breakfast and a swim.  I made huevos rancheros while Don swam and then I did ten laps around the boat while Don was doing the dishes.  The water was alternately very cold and almost bathtub warm.  It was very odd, but far preferable to the consistently cold water we had been experiencing.  Big black rays were leaping out of the water in the distance, but I didn’t see any while I was swimming.
Passing Las Islas Candeleros

The way from Agua Verde to Puerto Escondido is a gauntlet of rocks and small islands.  By sailing out to Monserrate, we missed the first half of the obstacles, but we still needed to cross over the chain of islands known as Las Islas Candeleros.  We plotted a course that took us between Isla Pardo and Las Tijeras and then turned north and paralleled Isla Danzante which looked like a sleeping horned toad with all its rocky spines.

Puerto Escondido (Hidden Port) is almost completely landlocked.  The 200 foot wide entrance channel cannot be seen until one is aligned with it and ready to enter the bay.  Some boats and buildings around the outer bay known as the “waiting room” can be seen from afar and provide a target.  Boats can anchor in the “waiting room.”  This is a good anchorage for deep draft vessels that might have trouble passing through the channel.    On the left, as you transit the entrance channel, is the manmade anchoring basin known as “the Ellipse”.  Fees to anchor in “the Waiting Room” or “the Ellipse” are lower than inside the main bay and are payable at the API office.  Many cruisers who have made Puerto Escondido their home have installed private moorings in these areas.  Rumor has it that the Ellipse will soon be developed as a marina.

The Waiting Room