Mexico 2022: Bahia Los Frailes

February 19, 2022

Steve called an end to our marina life and we cast the lines at 6:00 am. The forecast models conflicted so we didn’t quite know what to expect. In the end, it was not as nice as we’d hoped, and we ended up with the wind in our face as we rounded the Baja Peninsula and headed north. We had already planned for this eventuality of course and quickly decided to call it and anchor off Bahia Los Frailes. We did have a half hour of rough seas that ended in a dish breaking and the beavers being tossed around a bit.

The anchorage was protected, and we had a nice afternoon and sunset. We did have a neighboring boat jaunt over to see if we wanted to join a group to dive the next day, but that was not in the cards as we were going to head up towards La Paz early tomorrow.

Mexico 2022: Puerto Los Cabos

February 15-18, 2022

Whales! and more whales! On the trip over to Puerto Los Cabos we saw at least 4 whales breaching and many other groups of whales slapping fins and tails. I missed most the breaches as I’m just not quick enough with the camera. I managed to get lucky with a whale that was nearby. It was awesome to see.

Upon approach to Los Cabos Steve got a message that we were on the waiting list. He gave them a call and they said we could come in but had to take a 60-foot slip. That works! The Los Cabos marina is nice and very peaceful compared to Cabo San Lucas. The majority of boats here are expensive, go-fast fishing boats. Coda looked a bit out of place and definitely not as waxed. We found out that it cost about $60 a day to have your own boat guy washing (and waxing). A guy worked on Steve’s boat for two days and what he did was the cleanest and shiniest that Coda has been. He’ll have to find a new guy in La Paz!

After getting settled we a quick check in on the plans. The result was the wind was not going to be in our favor for the next few days.  Steve checked in with the office and it was finalized. We’d be here until Saturday, a three-day delay.

The marina is close to the beach area. They have two nice beaches protected by the break water and then miles and miles of beach along the coast. It was a nice place to run for a couple of days.

The marina has a nice restaurant called Hook Up that we frequented over the multiple days. The staff was very friendly, and it was easy to chat with them. And the food, all seafood based, was amazing.

On two of the days, we took a $3 uber ride over to San Jose Del Cabo. On Thursday’s they do an art fair on the sidewalk, so we checked out all the booths and walked around the many shops. For dinner we met up with Karen and Jeff from SV Music as they also checking out the many offerings of San Jose Del Cabo. Steve picked up a new cockpit light. It will be interesting to see how long that will last in rough seas.

Mexico 2022: Cabo San Lucas

February 13-14, 2022

Phew! Overnight voyages are always interesting. I seem to have drawn the 12-4 shift on most of these crossing, which is fine, and I think out of all of us it’s easier for me to sleep in the early evening. I remember my college days driving down to Florida. I always found the 3-5 am time the hardest to stay awake. It’s different on a boat though. You can walk around and stretch so it seems way easier.

We pulled into Cabo San Lucas just at 9 am. I wouldn’t recommend that time as it was pretty much rush hour for boats. All the tours were departing for the day. Basically, it was chaos. It didn’t help people yelling from the shore and just overall distractions. After weaving thru the boats, we made it to the slip.

On the way to the marina office to check in I was offered 10 whale watching trips, weed and some blue bills to get the party started. I pretty much think you can get whatever you want in Cabo. It reminded me a lot of Vegas walking down the strip.

After we did the necessary paperwork, it was time to have that safe arrival beverage. We tucked into a Tiki themed restaurant and partook in their 2:1 margarita. Yes, it was 10 am but since we did an overnight crossing, I think it’s acceptable. When leaving the restaurant, the waitress reminded me I had an extra on my 2:1 drinks. And promptly appeared with a to go cup. What service! The voyage was starting to catch up with us, so it was time for the midday nap.

After the nap, I decided it was time get out and try to run. Exercise is one of the hard things when doing a trip like this. You do walk around towns but sometimes the logistics of getting to shore and lack of places to go make it difficult.

I set off towards the beach and ran around it a bit. Then headed back thru town and around to see that Cabo looked like. While running I had at least a dozen people offer me a massage while hanging out doors and windows. After getting in about 4 miles and fending off the salespeople I was back at the marina for a shower.

Boris told us we had to go to Cabo Wabo, so we headed there first for a drink. It was nice but we were definitely back in the western world and high prices. After our appetizers and cocktails, we decided to head back towards the marina and check out the other restaurant options. We choose one with a nice view out the harbor and settled in for a nice meal.

The Cabo marina was nice, but the party is ongoing, like Vegas, and thus the night was filled with DJ’s, screaming people and boat traffic. Not a good place for a calm relaxing stay.

We had a nice late breakfast at a nearby restaurant and pushed of the dock on route to Puerto Los Cabos 2.5 hours away.

Mexico 2022: Puerto Magdalena

February 12, 2022

Today we had a relatively short day around the point and into Bahia de Magdalena. The reviews basically said there was one little village named Puerto Magdalena with a restaurant and friendly people. We anchored off the beach by the village next to what we think was a large Coast Guard vessel.

The plan was to drop the dinghy and pop into the village for a look around. That was almost thwarted as we could get the crane to let out line but not pull it back in. A key component to lifting. After a bit of troubleshooting, we found that one of the pins in the pendant had corroded and broke off. Hmm, now what? Steve spent a bit trying to find a pin that he could solder into the connector. Once he found a likely candidate, he realized he used all his solder on a Christmas present for his grandchild. Now what? Ah, alligator clips! We unscrewed the connector and jumped the wire for the missing pin. We were back in business!

At this point, Barbara reminded us that we didn’t yet have our safe arrival beverage, so we had to relax and take the necessary time to enjoy the afternoon.

With the dinghy in the water, we jetted into the beach and walked up to the restaurant. It was pretty obvious as it was the only business in the area and had a big orange open sign.

The staff was all sitting around chatting and said we could sit wherever we liked since we were the only customers. They gave us the dinner menu, which was basically a menu with all the breakfast items covered over with stickers. The recommendation from the host was lobster or shrimp. And with a quick look at the menu, we had two options! Can you guess? Lobster and Shrimp! We opted for both, and the staff all disappeared into the back. We sampled the fried lobster, breaded lobster and sautéed shrimp. All of it was amazing! Probably because it all was fresh from that morning. The lobsters were small compared to what we’ve had in Maine, but each plate came with 1.5 lobsters so still a lot of food. When asked about desert and they said they didn’t serve dessert but had cookies. So of course, we had to try all the cookies!

With full bellies we headed back to the boat for the evening.

The plan for the next was transit to Cabo San Lucas and leave at noon so we had some time. We knew the restaurant was open again so we decided to check it out again for brunch.  This time we got menus with all the options. The covered-up areas were basically all just egg options. I went with my standard, eggs and ham. You can’t go wrong there!

It was time to head for Cabo. We pulled anchor and headed out for the 21-hour voyage.

Mexico 2022: Bahia Asuncion to Bahia Santa Maria #2

February 9-11, 2022

I’m going to combine a few days together because they were basically the same. Cruise, fish, anchor, eat, sleep!

Over the 3 days we went from Bahia Asuncion to Santa Maria #2 just north of Magdalena Bay. I say #2 for Santa Maria because it has the same name as the bay we stayed at on Feb 4. Looks like they need more saints to prevent the conflicting names.

The highlight of the journey was we saw a bunch more whales and fishing improved with a nice Mahi Mahi and Yellow Tail. Steve is more a let’s clean the fish immediately than get pictures, so we don’t have any real good here are the fish pictures.

We stayed in Bahia De Ballenas (Whale Bay), off a little point by San Juanico and then finally Bahia Santa Maria. The first two anchorages were really just points that had protection from the big swells. They were relatively protected and allowed for a decent night sleep even being in the middle of the ocean.

In Santa Maria Bay we anchored in by some sailboats and there seemed to be a warship anchored on the other side. Interesting to see.

Here are some random pictures from the 3 days.

Mexico 2022: Bahia Asuncion

February 8, 2022

Today was a nice short trip to Bahia Asuncion. We pulled in around 3ish and the anchorage was nice, protected and calm.

After our experience in Tortugas, we were a little anxious about leaving the boat on the beach. We walked around a few streets and after not finding much Steve said he’d had enough and was going back out to the boat. Barbara and I helped him get the dinghy refloated and he was off.

Barbara and I then walked around the town and loosely went looking for a cantina. We walked a good couple miles and ended up on the end of the point. Never did find the elusive restaurant that the locals told us was there somewhere. We did have an offer to get a ride to one local but declined as it really wasn’t that important. The view from the point was awesome.

Luckily there was another beach area close to the point, so we didn’t have to walk back into the town. We called Steve and he came over and retrieved us.

Mexico 2022: Bahia Tortugas

February 6, 2022

Today was a long transit day. The log shows just short of 24 hours for the trip which finished on the 7th. We caught a few fish and saw lot of dolphin and whales. I managed to get a decent picture of a whale with its head out of the water. Along with a couple of the fins and tail.

February 7, 2022

The long-haul voyage ended around 6:30 in the morning. The crew was wiped out and slept in most of the morning. We also hit a timezone change so we’re now in La Paz or Mountain time.

In the afternoon, we put the dinghy down and decided to check out the town. As we approached the beach, we could see a man walking towards us and it was obvious that he was only there to talk with us.  He told us where to come in on the beach and was friendly. He showed us where the only open cantina was. He also declared that there were many banditos around and he would watch our boat. We guessed he was the bandito that you paid to keep the other banditos away.

The restaurant was ok and the lady that was there had the soap operas on in the corner and didn’t seem that interested in serving us. The burritos were decent, and we had a couple of the local beers to wash them down. This is a good time to describe burritos so far. It’s not the large stuffed shell that you get in the US. It’s usually a few rolled up tortillas with filling inside. More like a taquito if I were to classify it myself.

We walked around a bit of the town and it looked like it was once a cool place. The guide said there were multiple restaurants and markets. We could see where there were probably some in the past, but they were either boarded up or clearly had not been open for a while. I’m not sure if it was a timing thing or if Covid closed them down. Either way, it wasn’t quite what we expected.

On returning to the beach, our friendly bandito was still hanging about with other people. He didn’t really engage us, so we started getting the dinghy situated to go out and his friend started telling us we needed to tip him for watching the boat. We gave him a few bucks and that seemed to satisfy. I’m not sure what the going rate is for someone watching your boat in Mexico.

Steve and Barbara declared it was nap time. The long voyage had taken a toll and that was the end of the day as they slept the rest of the afternoon and into the next day. I loved the name of the fishing boat next to us. Bozos Y Pescadores I (Bozos and Fishermen).

Mexico 2022: San Quintin

February 5, 2022

San Quintin is one of the places the Olsson clan would boat to as kids. It was also the farthest south they ventured. Steve’s parents had a good relationship with the owners of the Old Mill. Steve and Barbara remember the banana tortillas they would make in the small restaurant off the hotel.

The charts in the area are very limited so we decided to dinghy into the area versus try to take in Coda. It was quite a ways in. Just inside the inlet we saw a couple of gray whales swimming around and stopped to watch them for a bit. Onward around the corner we arrived at what was basically the town.  It was a motel with restaurant and then a few other restaurants that were closed. There was a group of American’s staying at the motel that were there for duck or goose hunting. We had heard some shots earlier in the morning and it turns out it was them out hunting. They were also walking around trying to see if the local store was open.  It was supposed to be open but wasn’t.

As we walked back along the road a car pulled in the store opened. Guess they local open times give for a buffer of 30 minutes or so. Since we were there, we went in to check it out. It was basically a small market that would translate to a convenience store in our world. We picked up a few Gatorades for hydration and walked back towards the Old Mill.

While walking there was a group on horseback that trotted by. Horses seam to be a common thing round here as I saw some in Ensenada as well.

At the Old Mill there is a decent restaurant called Eucalyptus. It was basically a breakfast joint. As Steve is always looking for omelets we went in and had a nice meal. I ordered eggs with ham, and it was tasty.  The ham was basically two pieces of deli meat rolled up so that was odd, and the meal came with refried beans and potatoes. I also had to sample the breakfast sangria to see what it was all about. It came out layered and looked cool.

After breakfast, we walked around a little bit and by then it was noon and the other restaurant in the area was open. Since we needed to see everything, we stopped by for a beer and a shrimp taco. Well, we thought we ordered a shrimp taco, but it turned out to be a shrimp quesadilla. Which if you go by the tortilla, shrimp, cheese concept it’s pretty much the same, right? At this point we’d had two meals in an hour and a half and decided it was time to go back to the boat.

The rest of the day was a nice relaxing evening and we got in a few naps to round it out.

Mexico 2022: Ensenada to Bahia Santa Maria (San Quintin)

February 3, 2022

Woke up with a nice mocha from Captain Steve and lounged around for a bit discussing the plan for cruising. We departed Ensenada around 9:30 am and headed around the point and tucked back in so we could see the La Bufadora. This is a popular tourist attraction in Ensenada and one we could see from the boat. The La Bufadora is a large blow hole that spouts water when the ocean swell comes in and traps air and water in a cave. The info says this blowhole is the second largest in the world and the only one on the American continent. Pretty cool.  It also says it’s capable of spouting water 100 feet into the air.

After we recovered the drone and packed up, we took a nice short journey down the coast to Santo Tomas. We had previously decided to make today a short 3-hour day and not do full 13 hours it would take to reach San Quintin.

Santo Tomas is a very small town with a boat ramp and a dozen or so Panga boats tied up to mooring balls. However, it’s one of the few bays that has any protection down this stretch of the Baja. The bay has good holding but has a lot of kelp so I’m sure that pulling the anchor will be fun.

We spent the afternoon watching the local fisherman come in and relaxing. No complaints.

February 4, 2022

The swell picked up overnight, so we were rocking all over. Woke up at 5:30 am to Steve starting the boat and pulling the anchor. It took a while to pull the anchor with all the kelp. Luckily, it was just few swipes of the knife and the kelp fell away for the most part. With a few minutes of cutting the anchor was stowed and we were cruising down the coast with just a small hint of sunlight in the distance.

After the sun peaked up, we threw out the fishing lines and Steve went to make coffee. After a while I heard Barbara yelling. I think we have a fish. At that point a bit of chaos ensued. I’m not sure we thought we’d ever catch a fish. Steve was running around; the boat was rocking since we stopped in windy and choppy seas and none of the gear was accessible. I went back to the helm and got us back on course to stop the rocking and basically sat back and laughed at the rest of the commotion. Someone must drive the boat, right? The fish was a Bonito. I know there are many that see it as a lesser fish but it’s still pretty tasty when it’s fresh.

After the fish commotion was over, we decided to pull in the fishing lines because the sea was getting very rough. I tried to take a nap but ended up getting back up because the boat was trying to throw me out of the bunk. The good news was that windy said the weather would calm down after we around the point at Punta Colnett. And the better news was the forcast was correct! The sea calmed down and the rest of the trip was smooth.

Barbara started fishing again and was able to pull in a bigger Bonito the second time. It was again comical because Steve was in his cabin and just happen to pull up the rear camera. He saw the fish on the line and came up and asked Barbara if she had a fish. She looked back and yep, there was a fish on the line. We now have enough fish for a few meals.

The highlight of the voyage was dolphins. We came up to a spot and it looked like hundreds of dolphins were coming towards us. They came up to the boat, swam in our wake and jumped all over. It was an amazing site to see. We also saw a few gray whales. They didn’t come out of the water much so I can’t say they were all that exciting compared to 100s of dolphins playing about.

We arrived at Bahia Santa Maria around 5 PM. The whole bay is around 25 foot deep, so we had no problem setting the anchor.  It does appear that we’re anchored in the middle of the ocean but it’s relatively protected from the swells and the wind forecast for the next few days is calm so we should have any issues.

The dinner for the night was fish tacos and margaritas. You can’t beat having fresh fish! It was an early night given the early start.

Mexico 2022: South to Ensenada Mexico

February 1, 2022

The one thing consistent with Captain Steve is early mornings. The start to this adventure was no different and we were off the dock at 6 am sharp. We cruised out of San Diego Bay past the Navy fleet with the rising sun. The clouds made for nice scenery and some great views.

Out in the open ocean it was a bit choppy with some cross winds. The time quickly came to raise the Mexico courtesy and quarantine flags as we crossed the border into Mexican waters.

We arrived in Ensenada just after 4 PM and was greeted by the very nice and helpful marina staff. After securing lines we were instructed to stay on the boat until the health inspector could come by and make sure we weren’t infectious. We figured it would take a while, but no, the inspector arrived in 15 minutes and after a bunch of paperwork and getting our temperatures taken, we were cleared to leave the boat. The first question on the list they asked was did anyone die on the voyage. I understand wanting to know this but I’m pretty sure we would not be there if someone had died on the way. Just saying.

The marina we stayed at shared the area with the cruise ships, so we were in somewhat of a gated community next to the waterfront tourist restaurants and shops. As we started our walk, we could hear a band playing. It turned out to be an orchestra playing in the nearby park. We stayed and watched them play a few songs. It was interesting to see their uniforms and the crowd gathered around. Not sure how often they do it, but it was nice for a Tuesday night. They also had a ginormous flagpole they I guess they use for special occasions.

After another block we were called over by the shop keepers and one of the guys promised Steve tacos, so we were off to the restaurant next store. We pretty much had the place to ourselves. This was the start to the quest for the best Tacos and Margaritas. I would say they were the best tacos I ever had in Mexico. And so far, only Tacos I’ve had in Mexico. While munching and sipping, a local Mariachi band yelled to us and wanted to know if we wanted them to play a song. And of course, they wanted money to do so. Barbara dug out a few dollars and it was enough for a quick song. After that, it was evident that the city was closing, and we found out that everything in the area closed at 6 pm. Good to know.

We did a bit more walking and determined that the area was gated off from the rest of the town. Apparently, we were in a health quarantine area of town.  The walk only lasted a few more minutes and we were back to the boat to call it an early night.

February 2, 2022

We awoke on the second day and Steve made some wonderful coffee. The expectation was we would go to immigration around 9 given all the information we’d read. However, at 7:55 the dockmaster came down and said we should be in the marina office at 8 to do paperwork. We scrambled to get everything together and rushed up. We spent the next 3.5 hours doing paperwork, busing over to the official offices, and getting cleared. The marina was very helpful and did almost all the work for us. Steve just had to sign a lot of papers and give them his credit card at every window.

With all the paperwork done, we realized that we were ready to continue the quest for Tacos and Margaritas. This time we didn’t head to the tourist district and walked further into town. After a few blocks, we found a nice main street and found a good-looking restaurant. The tacos and margaritas were mighty tasty. A bonus was we had 3 times the food and it was the same price as the night before.

We relaxed for the rest of the day and unfortunately, I had a call I needed to attend to that night so that took up most of the evening. Barbara cooked a wonderful rice and veggie meal and one of Barbara’s son’s friends stopped by to chat and sample the Captain Steve Manhattans.