Despite the strong north winds, it was cozy in Honeymoon Cove. Outside the wind howled and shook the boat. In the sheltered belly of Milagros, Pati and I enjoyed our new life on the water. Finally! Even after a few weeks, we still had to keep reminding ourselves that the time in Puerto Peñasco was finally over. Looking out of our little windows we took in the view. Only water and the dramatic scenery of the Sea of Cortez far and wide. At the same time, we were already preparing for our onward journey.
It took two or three attempts to anchor in honeymoon cove, but our confidence in our anchoring equipment increased hour by hour. Despite strong gusts, Milagros stayed exactly where she should. The damage caused to the bow roller by the fishing boat in the harbour basin of Puerto Peñasco didn’t seem to affect the performance of our gear. So far so good. In our thoughts we were already further ahead, we wanted to move on with the next favourable weather window. Since there wasn’t much to do in the windy conditions outside anyway, we devoted ourselves to planning our route further south.
We have to hide again
It quickly became clear that after the north wind phase in Honeymoon Cove we only had a few days to quickly hide in a bay that is protected against north winds again. The weather forecast didn’t bode well. A northerly blow would be on the move again, this time an even stronger one than the one we were already waiting out in Honeymoon Cove. With a stopover in a pretty anchorage called “El Gato”, we decided to sail on to San Evaristo where we expected internet reception thanks to the fishing village of the same name. There we would wait out the next norther.
Where to stop?
We decided on El Gato because even with the north wind gone, we still needed a stop that was sheltered from waves. When the wind has been blowing for a few days, it usually takes a further while for the waves to calm down, too. It was decided, and when the wind situation calmed down, we weighed the anchor at the crack of dawn and were on our way again. The route briefly led back towards Puerto Peñasco so that we could circumnavigate the northern tip of the island on which Honeymoon Cove is located. Since an emergency situation was in progress at the southern tip, we didn’t want to get in the way. Nevertheless, after a few hours we were able to catch a glimpse of the motor yacht “Vixit” which ran aground on a reef the day before.
Fear and panic
The sail to El Gato was relatively uneventful. The first half took place exclusively under engine. This changed in the second half of the route where we actually got to sail. When we arrived at El Gato we had to take the plunge yet again. Was the bay really protected enough against the remaining waves? Did we dare to anchor in 5 meters of water? We just scouted the southern part of the bay with Anila, didn’t we? What happened if? What was first? The chicken or the egg? Questions upon questions. Nervous again. Our brains strained all sorts of webs about what could go wrong.
That’s not too bad
We almost gave in and bailed having already sailed past the turn towards the anchorage when we decided not to give in to our worries, turned around and anchored easily over sandy ground. The anchor held immediately, our communication was spot on, the landscape was stunningly beautiful as always. Time for an anchor beer. Eat this, common sense! It’s all a matter of experience. We’ve now noticed that everything isn’t half as difficult if we don’t drive ourselves crazy and just try things out. That was already the way to go during our refit, why should it be any different when on the water?
We’re too close to shore!
Right after the anchor beer it was to launch the dinghy and explore the area. Especially the beautiful sandstone formations on the shore looked like they were worth a look. A few campers had made themselves comfortable on the beach with their vans, it was warm, no cloud in the sky. Milagros was anchored close to the shore, so we decided not to mount the outboard motor at all. We just let the water float us to shore, while the sun shone on our bellies (which have gotten noticeably smaller in the last year but need a bit of tanning) Did we say Milagros was close to shore? Puff cake. Everything was put into perspective relatively quickly when we went ashore. Milagros was anchored faaaaaaar away from any possible danger. Seems to be a common phenomenon.
The sandstones of El Gato
The El Gato anchorage itself is known for impressive sandstone formations in its northern part and a reef in the southern part. In May 2021 we had visited the reef on Anila with Iñaki and Carmen equipped with diving goggles and snorkels, now the sandstones were due. We walked barefoot along the beach and were once again just amazed by the creations of mother earth. The sandstone lay there in orange, reddish-brown and beige tones, shaped by wind, weather and waves. Beautiful! Back on Milagros we let the day end and were surprised by one of the typical, colourful Baja sunsets. The next morning, with the first rays of the sun spreading over the horizon, we set off again, onwards to our destination that was San Evaristo.
We fall in love for the umpteenth time
And you know what? We could really sail this time! For hours, practically the whole distance, we had great wind and Milagros was once again able to show what she’s made of. We bought such a great boat. Every time we hoist the sails a burst of energy goes through the Milagros and we realize just how much the Kelly Peterson 44 was made to be sailed. As soon as the wind pilot and the boat were grooving and everything is well balanced, Milagros moves towards her destination like the force of nature that she is. And that destination was San Evaristo. When we reached the “Canal San José”, in which the entrance to San Evaristo is also located, we observed a catamaran crossing from one bank to the other and again and again. But their movement made no sense in terms of wind or waves. Was the boat on reconnaissance trip? Were they looking for something?
Same procedure as always
Shortly thereafter we arrived in San Evaristo. We got trapped in the same mind games as in El Gato. There were already a few other boats in the anchorage that had the same idea as us to hide from the next big blow from the north. First reaction? Can’t go there, too many boats, no space, everything would be too close, there’s waves wrapping into the bay. Past the entrance. But on second thought? What are we doing here? We turned back, assess the situation from up close and then anchored without the slightest issue. Easy peasy. Hello, San Evaristo, our name is Milagros. Nice to meet you!
San Evaristo is characterized by steep rock formations and a fishing village of the same name that lies on a long beach. The residents have set up a cute little bar for the sailors (and probably also the many thirsty fishermen) where we could buy internet access as well as food and drinks. Hence our first appointment after cleaning up Milagros – the WiFi at the bar. Let’s see what’s going on in the world and get the weather report. Unfortunately, bad news. A catamaran with only a dog aboard had washed up just off Honeymoon Cove. No sign of the skipper. The internet was raging and people were busy searching for the owner via Facebook and other social media. Probably the catamaran that we saw earlier in the channel also was in search of the missing sailor. Not good, and the norther coming up wouldn’t make the search operations any easier either.
And then the norther arrived
Because as announced, the northerly blow arrived shortly after. Catabatic wind bursts of up to 30 knots whipped over the steep hills into the bay and pushed around the boats at anchor. Milagros endured the wind situation stoically (as did we), moved from left to right, and also this time around the anchor held firmly. We continuously monitored the situation on our tablets so that we could react if s*** hit the fan. That’s basically how the days passed. We also got to know Marcia and Peter from Chile on their “Frejya” and enjoyed a beer or two or ten with them. Exciting and fun people, but on a mission, because they’d be flying home again soon. Their plan was to store their boat somewhere in La Paz for safekeeping.
We couldn’t do much more than sit tight and wait for the norther to die down. Again, we used the time we had to relax and plan further. The next stop on our way to La Paz should be Isla San Francisco, a yachtsman’s dream. Why it is that? You’ll see in the next blog post. 😊
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