We left La Paz over 2 weeks ago with our buddy boat Salish Dragon and are transiting the Baja Coast for the 5th time, 3 times north and 2 times south. Our choice of anchorages is almost always dependent on what the wind is doing. If the wind is blowing from the north, we will be looking for an anchorage with north protection and if its blowing from the south an anchorage with south protection. When we go and how far we go are always decided by the wind too. Many times, we’ve had to pass by interesting places enroute to a safe harbour. We finally had a calm day as we were passing by Isla San Francisco, so we decided to go check out Isla Coyote. This small community supports itself mainly from fishing. Its one of the few inhabited islands in the Sea of Cortez and they welcome visitors. We anchored out and launched the dinghies to check it out.
Punta Salinas on Isla San Jose was another spot we got to explore because of calm conditions. It once was the site of a large salt mining operation. It is now abandoned with heavy equipment rusting on the beach and old buildings crumbling away. After checking out the ruins, we headed back out to our boats only to find bees swarming looking for any source of fresh water. We got the anchors up quick and got the heck out of there without being stung.
One of the other stops we could make this season was Puerto Los Gatos. This bay is notable for its red rock formations. Climbing around on it reminds us of all the moon pictures. Hey maybe this is where they took the pictures. No, let’s not get involved in that conspiracy.
After Los Gatos it was Agua Verde. We have stopped here before but this time the crew from Ghillie asked us to go on a “walk” with them. Turns out it was more like a hike over the hill, past the oasis and back around the shoreline, made for a great afternoon.
We had a nice sail down Bahia Conception, rounded the corner into Santispac and could not believe all the tents we saw lining the beach. Its Semana Santa week in Mexico, their Easter celebration. Many Mexican families take advantage of this spring holiday and flock to the beach. Multi generation families in tents, with barbeques, generators and water toys are packed in wall to wall utilizing every inch of the beach. Everyone was having a good time, people were well behaved, we did not see any evidence of rowdiness. They even had a Ferris wheel and all the usual carnival rides set up. While we did not partake in any of the rides there, we did have a double dose of the fresh made churros.
Cruising is not always fun and games. While we were in Santispac, a guest on board Salish Dragon suffered an altered state of consciousness at the breakfast table. Steve and Tracey were quick to react and put out a call on the VHF radio for assistance. Dan was the first to respond, he is a paramedic from Michigan who happened to be camping in his motorhome right there on the beach and monitors channel 16. Timothy aboard the sailboat Avalon is a doctor and was about 5 miles away, heard the call, responded, turned his boat around and came to help too. In the meantime, a shore-based station called for an ambulance from Mulege. We were able to get the patient to the shore and into the ambulance. From Santispac it was an hour and a half drive to Loreto, Steve and Tracey accompanied him. It was determined that further testing would be required in Cabo San Lucas and that was going to require an air ambulance, Tracey went along too, Steve came back via cab to the boat. After a 48 hours hospital stay, he was stable enough to fly back to Seattle for further testing by his doctors. Tracey hired a driver to drive her the 8 hours back to Santispac.
It was as great to see how this cruising community came together in an emergency situation. Also a good reminder to brush up on our first aid training and have good health insurance. Another takeaway we as cruisers need to consider when having guests aboard is to have medical histories along with lists of medications for everyone.
Along with Salish Dragon, we sailed to Santa Rosalia. We are here for a few days. Partly to wait on weather, partly to chill from the experience a few days ago and just because this is one of our favourite towns on the Baja coast. In a couple of days it will be a 4 AM departure in order to make the next anchorage, Bahia San Francisquito, 78 nm away, in the daylight. In a week or two we will be back in Puerto Penasco and begin the decommissioning tasks. Will update you then.