Returning to Familiar Shores

We found ourselves back on the water after a lengthy hiatus. It was invigorating, even though we needed to reacquaint ourselves with our nautical rhythm. Sailing is somewhat akin to cycling – you never truly forget it, but it takes a few minutes to regain confidence. We were prepared for what lay ahead: old and new destinations, fresh experiences, and undoubtedly a few surprises.

So there we were, anchoring for the first time in six months, and it felt splendid. Our anchoring manoeuvre was a success, even though we initially fell into an old pattern. Approaching an anchorage, finding it overcrowded, turning around, reconsidering as it didn’t seem so bad after all, and then anchoring. This time, a mooring buoy in the midst of the bay had confused us.

Getting Our Sea Legs Back

We had to regain our sea legs and recall all the procedures. What exactly does one do after anchoring, and in what order? Ah yes, the anchor light needs to be switched on. The snubber for the anchor chain is somewhere in the cockpit locker. And we mustn’t forget the anchor tracker – after all, we want to know if our anchor holds.

A Feast for the Senses

It was magnificent when we shut off the engine and could finally relish the silence. Over a beer, we toasted to our successful relaunch and everything else. A shrimp snack followed immediately. While exiting the Guaymas channel, a panga with two young fishermen approached us, offering shrimp for sale. We agreed instantly, exchanged shrimp for pesos and two beers. The shrimp, whole and freshly caught (unlike our fiasco in Peñasco), were delicious sautéed in garlic butter.

Our New Dinghy

Next, we got to launch our new dinghy and test the outboard motor for the first time. It went smoothly. We took a short excursion to the beach, meeting other sailors returning from a hike to the lighthouse. Their directions were simple: keep the power lines in view, and you’re on the right track.

First, a Coffee

After completing our online work the next morning, we turned off Starlink, packed our backpack with water and snacks, and set off for the beach. En route, we stopped by Shannon and Rob’s ‘Ocean Villa’ for a coffee. They were preparing to cross the Sea of Cortez with their grand steel yacht.

An Impressive Vessel

Their boat is truly impressive. Originally built for a family, it boasts four bunks for children at the bow and a large aft cabin for parents. Between them lies a spacious galley with a dining table and a deck salon with sofas. Above, there’s a pilot house and a ‘terrace’ for lounging. Shannon and Rob use this ocean villa for charter trips around La Paz. If you’re ever in the area, check it out.

Heading to the Lighthouse

When it was time, we said our farewells and headed for the beach. The path wasn’t clear initially, but we spotted footprints and goat hoofprints, with the power lines guiding us. The trail led through a sandy, rocky landscape, dotted with small trees and prickly bushes, ascending the hillside.

Faro Cabo Haro

Atop, we enjoyed a stunning view of the rocky coastline and the vast sea. Following the path along the ridge, we could see the ‘Faro Cabo Haro’ lighthouse in the distance. As we approached, two dogs ran towards us. The brown one greeted us enthusiastically, while the black-and-white one kept its distance. They accompanied us for the rest of the way, healthy and well-fed, though their reason for being there was unclear.

The Lighthouse Keeper

At the lighthouse, we met Omar, the keeper. He invited us to join him to sit on the steps, sharing that the lighthouse operates around the clock, vital for cargo ships and the navy. He works a week at a time, in solitude except for the dogs. He occasionally receives visitors but rarely converses due to the language barrier. Every Saturday morning, it’s shift change for a week.

Beach Cleanup

A path from the lighthouse led down to a small beach, the transfer point for the keepers. We were appalled to find the beach littered with trash. We spent the next half-hour cleaning up, filling crates with plastic bottles, shoes, toys, lines, and other debris. We moved them as far from the water as possible, knowing the next storm might sweep them back to sea.

Goodbye, Ocean Villa

On our way back, we passed the lighthouse again. Omar pointed out a large white yacht with blue underwater paint leaving the bay – it was ‘Ocean Villa’. We watched it sway in the swell, hoping their crossing wouldn’t be too rough.

Anchor Problems

Reaching our dinghy, we saw Pete and Nicole on ‘Swansong’ entering the bay, struggling to anchor. We went over, and Pete explained their anchor windlass had issues. I boarded to assist, and we decided he should anchor without the windlass to address the problem later.

Boat Projects Galore

We celebrated Pete’s successful launch with an ‘anchor beer’ and pondered the windlass’ malfunction. Our theories ranged from a blockage to a power issue. We found the winch’s main fuse switch turned off – fortunately, nothing was broken. We also fixed his toilets, which weren’t drawing water, by adding some to the pumps.

New Year’s Preparations

For New Year’s, with little wind forecast, we wanted to try a new anchorage, less sheltered. Both ‘Milagros’ and ‘Swansong’, without foresails or tuned rigging, motored around the corner to this beautiful bay with clear turquoise water, inaccessible by land except by off-road vehicle.

A Convoy

Exploring ashore, we saw a convoy of SUVs heading for the beach, equipped for the terrain. It was a men’s outing – one man per vehicle. They deflated their tyres and continued over the beach and gravel road, occasionally getting stuck but freeing themselves.

Till Midnight

We spent a cosy New Year’s Eve in Milagros’ cockpit with Pete and Nicole, enjoying tacos and drinks. Surprisingly, we stayed awake till midnight, unlike last year when we barely made it to ‘sailor’s midnight’ at 9 pm. Waking up the next morning, ‘Swansong’ had already left to dock in San Carlos, taking advantage of the calm weather.

Dealing with a List

We used the quiet bay to work on ‘Milagros’. We tuned the rigging and mounted our foresail, admiring the new grey UV protection I had added at the boatyard. We also addressed a slight list. Since removing the old, heavy batteries from the port engine room, ‘Milagros’ had been leaning to starboard. The previous owner had installed lead bars as counterweights. We moved these bars to the bilge, balancing the boat but pondering what to do with so much lead.

Returning to Guaymas

Soon after it was time to sail back to Guaymas. Reluctantly, we left the tranquil anchorage, knowing the noise, dirt, and crowds awaiting us. But it was necessary, as David soon had to fly to Bangkok for work. I would spend nearly 20 days alone on the boat, so we chose to anchor near Fonatur Marina in Guaymas, next to the Malecón – not picturesque, but practical.

A Bad Omen?

Pete and Nicole joined us for breakfast on David’s departure day. We opted for the hotel buffet in front of the bus station, witnessing a pigeon fatally colliding with a TV under the awning. We hoped it wasn’t a bad omen for the weeks ahead.

Goodbye, David

Then it was time for David to embark on his half-world journey to Bangkok: Hermosillo – Mexico City – Tokyo – Bangkok, a 52-hour trip! And there I was, alone on the boat at anchor for the first time…

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1 Comment

Loved reading your blog and seeing your adventures. Looks like you are able to work and sail a perfect work life balance. So happy for you both ❤️

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