Photo credit: Lowell aboard S/V Gato Loco captured us under the pretty sail
After our quick trip to Todos Santos, we had to beat feet to make it to the West Coast Multihulls (WCM) Baja Rally up in the Loreto area. Again, because we’d locked ourselves into a schedule (something you should never do when sailing), we had to go way too fast to get there, and then, we had to get on a plane for San Diego on June 10, so we had to go way too fast to get back to La Paz! Oy! Lesson learned. At least when we return from SD, we can mosey our way back up into The Sea at our leisure. But, back to the story at hand.
While living in San Diego, we participated in several of the WCM Catalina rallies, and they’ve been some of the most memorable times in our sailing lives. We met so many fun and interesting people, got dressed up in silly costumes for the theme parties, and enjoyed competitive, close-quarter racing (yeah, right! There usually wasn’t enough wind for our rally races). This year, for the first time because of our geographic location, we were able to be a part of the WCM Baja Rally. While there was no costume party, there was lots of sailing, glorious anchorages, and wonderful people.
As mentioned above, we had to move along to make it from La Paz to Puerto Escondido, where the ralliers were gathering by May 21. So the day after we got back from Todos, we headed out, but only made it as far as Puerto Balandra (about 9 nm north of LP) and enjoyed yet another brilliant orange sunset. Next up was Caleta Partida, where we dropped the hook in the southern part of the anchorage because the forecast we saw was for coromuels, and we assumed we would be best protected in this part of the bay. However, reality bites and the wind howled from the west, to which we were quite exposed, all night long. It was the first night since we began cruising that we pulled an all night anchor watch. And while the night was still young, our neighbor dragged and had to reset. Yeesh.
After a relatively sleepless night in Partida, we enjoyed a lovely sail up to Isla San Francisco, followed by a quick jaunt up to Evaristo, then on to Aqua Verde, around the corner to Candeleros, and finally the short hop up to Puerto Escondido. We are truly in the Sea of Cortez now. The water is blue, blue, blue – but not quite warm, warm, warm – and it’s the desert. Jody loves the desert. The mountains are dramatic and some are reminiscent of the Utah red rock. Eye candy.
Then it was rally time! Kurt, Mr. West Coast Multihulls, flew in from San Diego and flitted about from boat to boat. Among the boats were S/Vs Moon Drifter (Seawind 1160), with Ralph (i.e., the Grand Poopbah – am I right, Kurt?) and his beautiful wife, Helen, and friends John and Regina aboard; Gato Loco (Seawind 1000) carrying Lowell and Frankie along with pals Bob and Chris and a very expensive bottle of Herradura tequila; JollyDogs (Seawind 1160) with Mark and Isabel; Strikhedonia (Seawind 1160) with newbies Chris and Jean; and Stray Cat (Seawind 1000) with Guy flyin’ solo. We had a short visit with the family crew on Stray Catz (Privilege 45?) while in Juncalito. Oh, and then there was Free Luff (Fountaine Pajot Athena 38 – yes, the sole non-Seawind most of the time) with Capt. Randy, Ryan on the drone, and Jody. Despite being the odd-boat-out, we fit right in with all the Seawind folks and had an absolutely fabulous time.
The rally schedule/highlights: Meet and greet dinner at Tripui in Puerto Escondido. Sail/swim/paddle/sail to Juncalito for happy hour at Connie and Elvin’s cozy abode with an awesome deck on the roof and hummingbirds galore. Sail/skipjack to Yellowstone Beach on Monserrat for a bonfire and brilliant orange sunset. Sail/motor/rippin’ sail to the north end of Isla Carmen and the La Lancha anchorage where the wind blew all night but we had snacks and video viewing on Strikhedonia. Sail/pilot whales en route to Isla Coronados and a grind of a hike up the volcano at sunrise (damn you, Kurt!). And finally, the putt-putt to the roadstead off Loreto where we would wrap-up the rally with a yummy dinner together, we would meet our friends, Kim, AJ, and Kes, who were visiting Loreto, and we would bid farewell to Ryan – for now.
While we loved the sailing, we would have to say that the highlights of the highlights of the rally were the fish dinner aboard FL and the play day, both on Isla Coronados. The fish dinner idea was instigated by Ry, who was inspired by catching the skipjack just off Juncalito. When we did a head count, Ry quickly realized we didn’t have enough fish to feed everyone, so the minute we dropped the hook off Isla Coronados, he was off in the dinghy with the spinning rod and the drone to catch more dinner. He was somewhat successful; however, the generosity of JollyDogs was necessary to fill the 14 mouths that would be aboard. It turned out to be a scrumptious dinner with all the contributions from our fellow ralliers. Plus, the sunset was, as usual, quite spectacular.
The play day saw us awake at dawn with Kurt and John awaiting us in the dinghy for our short but strenuous hike up the volcano. It was early, but it was well worth it – for the view from the top and to beat the heat, which by the time we were on the way back down was hot, hot, hot! Thanks, Kurt and John, for getting our asses out of bed that morning! And thanks, Ry, for memorializing our pain by capturing the expedition with the drone!
Another highlight was the serendipitous visit with Kim, AJ, and Kes, who are having a house built in the south part of Loreto. Kim is one of my fellow Fish and Wildlifers, who remains entrenched in many conservation challenges back home. So, the family trip to Loreto was just what she needed (with the exception of the stress caused by building a house) and we got a friend-fix – always welcome. Hopefully, we’ll see them again down here in the fall. Right, Kim?
With the rally wrapped up, Kim and family headed home, and Ry having jumped ship, it was time for us to head back down to La Paz to catch our plane. The last fun surprise was a visit with Rand’s childhood buddy from Traverse City, David, whose boat, S/V Jean Butler, is in The Sea, and he was in Puerto Esco to have her hauled for the storm season. We were able to spend time enjoying the sunset aboard his lovely boat, share a meal at Tripui, and play three-way cribbage. Super fun! Again, we hope to see he and Grant down here later this fall.
Ok, now we were really on our way – quickly. Stops on the way back down were Candeleros, Los Gatos, Cabeza de Mechudo, and Bonanza. All much too fast, but we enjoyed some super sporty sailing and some perfect sailing. The water still isn’t super toasty, but there will be time for that once we return from SD and start up The Sea once again.