Saturday, July 7, 2012

Loreto Area Part I

On June 9 we left Bahia Salinas and sailed north along the east side of Isla Carmen.  The rugged coastline with its colorful cliffs and rock formations reminded us of Death Valley.  Once around the island’s northeast point, we made our way west to a little cove called La Lancha.  The sandy bottom provided good holding for our anchor, but the rocky shoreline offered little in the way of a beach.  The snorkeling was excellent.  We spent two days at La Lancha and each afternoon the south wind would howl across the island, through the cove, and out to sea.  A steady blow of fifteen to twenty knots cooled down the boat from a long day of sunshine.  On the second morning we resumed our counter-clockwise circumnavigation of the island, and headed south to Puerto Escondido.

The busy harbor of Puerto Escondido offered a nice taste of civilization.  We bought a few groceries, topped off the diesel tanks, and did laundry in an actual washing machine.  The highlight of the stop was getting back together with Andrew and Rebecca on Andariego, friends we first met in Los Gatos.  Their cruising days had come to and end for the year.  Andrew was heading back to the States for work and Rebecca was on her way home to Australia.  Andrew was looking to sell his spear gun and knew we were in the market for one.  We got together a table outside the marina tienda where Andrew went over the gun’s operation and gave an impressive firing demonstration that left a big dent in an environmental education sign.  The South African manufactured gun had seen a lot of miles and killed a lot of fish.  It would require some maintenance in the way of oiling and replacing the 5/8 inch thick latex bands that launch the spear.  After a couple rounds of negotiations, we agreed to a price of $50/USD.  This was a screaming deal compared to the $250 to $300 we were planning to spend on a new gun.  The price of fish just went down.  

On the morning of June 13, we left Puerto Escondido and followed Seychelles north to Loreto, the only large town in the area.  The fair weather anchorage at Loreto is described as an ‘open roadstead’ offering essentially no protection from wind or waves.  We wouldn’t have considered anchoring here without the encouragement of our friends Patrick and Laura on Just a Minute.  The weather report called for strong winds building from the south, so we were in a big hurry to drop the anchor, stock up on provisions, and get on our way to better protection.  We were dragging our loaded cart and several bags of groceries back to the dinghy when we noticed that the wind had piped up considerably.  By the time we got to the dinghy we saw that large waves were building and causing Interabang to do some impressive hobby horsing.  Once we got the dinghy along side the boat, we had to coordinate our movements with the waves to safely get ourselves and our booty transferred from the dinghy to the boat.  It was a wild ride.  As quickly as possible, we got the anchor up and started a six mile sail north to Isla Coronados.

The main anchorage at Isla Coronados
Isla Coronados is a beautiful island formed by a volcano.  The Loreto park service maintains several nice palapas along the beach at the main anchorage.  Each morning the pangas start arriving loaded with tourists from Loreto.  We enjoyed the beach and hiking the treacherous volcano trail.  One afternoon, after all the tourists and pangas had left for the day, Rick and Pam from Hotel California, John and Nikki from Seychelles, Gravel and Natalie from True Companion, and Interabang got together on the beach for a little palapa partying.  True Companion and Hotel California had purchased a yellow tail tuna from a panga fisherman earlier that day and they were kind enough to treat us all to sushi, complete with soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger.  After the food was gone, a rowdy game of liars dice broke out that was finished by flashlight.  Pam won, as usual, but a good time was had by all.

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