Puerto Peñasco makes Sailboats fly!

The crew in front of Milagros hanging from the travellift

Our refit of Milagros is to start in spring 2021. But first our boat had to be brought to its place on the dry dock in Puerto Peñasco. Once there, we would have more than 1500 nautical miles behind us and a big project called Milagros ahead of us. After we had weathered a few days in Santa Rosalia because of the strong northerlies, we started on the last leg of our long journey.

The bow of Milagros hanging from the travellift

We were really lucky with the choice of our stops on the way towards Puerto Peñasco. We enjoyed a full load of pelicans in Bahia Santa Maria, battled a full load of engine problems in Mag Bay, and La Paz was great, too. Our current home Santa Rosalia was too. Who knows how we would have decided if we had had the time and choice. Maybe we would have headed north anyway. Maybe we would have used the north wind for a trip south. Or maybe we would have just stayed a few more days.

Bye bye Santa Rosalia

Right now, it was time to travel north on to Puerto Peñasco. A few hours after the wind subsided, we packed our belongings. We untied the lines from Fonatur Marina Santa Rosalia in the early morning hours and left the small port. We would sense and smell the sea air for another 250 nautical miles, listen to another 50 hours of engine noise, enjoy another night shift.

One Love

After we had left Santa Rosalia, the reception of our cell phones lasted for a relatively long time. We took the chance for video Whatsapp video calls to Pati and our friends in Switzerland. It was good to see all the familiar faces.

We also received some great shots of our departure from Sarah on SV Perspective. It is worthwhile to take a look at their websites, too! They have been sailing the Gulf of California for a long time.

Across a mirror to Puerto Peñasco

The journey itself did not differ much from the one from La Paz to Santa Rosalia. Our diesel engine moved us full steam forward. As we again used a windless weather window, the whole Sea of Cortez was as smooth as silvery glass. After all, we could now see all the sea creatures who put on a spectacle at night.

Biology lesson

The whole water was full of transparent creatures of all kinds. I did a little research out of curiosity. Comb Jellies certainly belonged to the abundance of life, as they are capable of bioluminescence. Many Salps also let themselves be carried by the current. Big, small, long, short, thin, thick, transparent or orange. They appeared to us in all colors and shapes. I don’t know whether they are capable of producing light reflections. If someone has a clue or knows better, please tell us in the comments. We moved forward through a mirror-like aquarium towards Puerto Peñasco.

Encounters of the dark kind

It was already pitch black when we passed the Midriff Islands halfway to Puerto Peñasco. These are made up of over 50 islands and are more or less in the middle of Baja California. They were formed when the Bahia California peninsula separated from mainland Mexico millions of years ago. Between the islands, during my watch in the middle of the night, I met a brightly lit fishing trawler, which was making its tracks through the darkness. A small sailboat also came towards us. It wasn’t lighted properly, so I had to observe its course closely. These encounters at night always have something mystic to them. You notice that you’re never alone, altough one can feel like it sometimes when underway on the oceans.

Navionics showing our track between the Midriff islands
Our passage of the Midriff Islands

Arrival in Puerto Peñasco

When Iñaki took over for his watch at 01:00 in the morning, I was happy. I was ready for bedtime. Practically the entire time on the boat, I only relied on my internal clock. It was my inner Swiss watch that told me the next day when it was time to get up, not the alarm clock. Still, I got out of bed practically every morning between 08:00 and 09:00. So too, on the day of arrival. As soon as I got up, it was time to prepare Milagros for our arrival in Puerto Peñasco.

The entrance to the port

The entrance to the port of Puerto Peñasco is narrow. We received instructions via Whatsapp from Salvador, the owner of the Cabrales Boatyard. We moved slowly on the way through the small, dredged canal. Slow is Pro. The venture turned out to be problem-free. Since the haul of Milagros was postponed a day at short notice, we stopped at the dock of the “Safe Marina” next to the travel lift to spend the night.

Milagros learns to fly

The time had come early the next morning. Milagros learned to fly. For the first time in many years, she was hauled out for an extended period of time. The Astillero Cabrales crew did a very professional job, and Milagros was fixed ashore safely. She was temporarily placed in the midst of many other boats that had also ended up on the dry. Milagros was high pressure cleaned below the waterline. Barnacles and other animals had made the journey on Milagros’ hull with us. These had to go. I used the few hours of waiting until we could “continue our journey” to our allocated spot in the boatyard to make a call to Switzerland. I didn’t want to withhold the impressive sight of Milagros on the hard from my parents.

Thank you thank you thank you

We had finally made it to Puerto Peñasco. A great trip had come to an end for the time being, but I was glad that we had finally arrived. The whole past week we had pushed forward due to the wind situation and I was pretty exhausted. Charging forward for miles in a fixed time frame is not what we’re up to on this adventure. We want to take our time, enjoy and go with the flow. Of course, I also have to thank Iñaki and Carmen again. For all their input, their help and simply for being there on an unforgettable first sailing trip with Milagros. One love.

Our new home

After a few hours of intermediate storage next to the travel lift, we were moved to our definitive location in the boatyard. Now we set out to prepare Milagros to be alone for a few weeks. Because soon it was time to say goodbye again. From Iñaki and Carmen, Puerto Peñasco and also from Milagros.

A picture of the drydock in Puerto Peñasco
Cabrales Boatyard will be our new home for the coming months

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