Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

We had to leave the beautiful anchorage in San Juanico because of unpleasant conditions, so we sailed north to meet Marga on Dogfish. She was anchored in Coyote Bay, a beautiful place halfway down Bahia Conception. We stayed there for a little over a week, battling the heat and boat projects. But we also had the opportunity to explore the Baja by car.

Initially, we had planned to stay a little longer in San Juanico. But after only one night in the north bay, we pulled up the anchor at sunrise and said goodbye. As expected, the night was quite uncomfortable. Waves and wind came from different directions, so the boat was constantly rocking side to side. While trying to sleep, our bodies were moving too (which is always an interesting experience, because it feels as if the skin stayed in place and only the bones and muscles inside moved). Plus, there was the clatter of dishes in the boxes and all the other annoying noises. We really would have liked to stay longer because we had by no means explored the area enough just yet. But we didn’t want to put ourselves through any more nights like that.

Fog Soup

With a coffee in hand, we moved (not sailed) further north. Since we couldn’t pick the best possible weather window for this 10-hour journey to Santo Domingo (because we had to escape), we couldn’t expect sailable wind until around noon. Therefore, we glided under engine through a strange something, the likes of which we had not experienced for a long time. Fog. We quickly switched our radio to AIS because we were still missing a small device that would allow us to operate radio and AIS at the same time. And we also put the radar into operation. After all, we didn’t want to collide with anyone.

Wind steering system

We enjoyed the cool, fresh air in our lungs and the cool drops on our skin. This soup of fog also presented us with an interesting natural phenomenon: a fogbow, a special form of the rainbow. This white rainbow stretched all over the horizon. After a little more than half of the journey, we were finally able to hoist our genoa (our headsail) and sail comfortably downwind up the coast. In the process, we let our wind steering system do the steering work. Since the winds often follow the lines of the land, we didn’t even have to adjust the sail position on the last tack to the anchorage. Because around the cape in front of the bay the wind shifted just as much that our wind steering system simply steered us around the corner to our next destination, an anchorage called “Santo Domingo”.

Reunion in Coyote Bay

We only stayed one night in Santo Domingo and sailed into Bahia Conception the next morning. In Coyote Bay, Marga was anchored with Dogfish, our sister ship. It was great to finally see each other on the water again after 4 months. We had to celebrate this with margaritas and tacos, of course. It was super nice that we were the only two boats in the anchorage. Less terrific were the temperatures around 100°F and the motorway on which 40-ton trucks hummed down the somewhat sloping road with engine brakes 24/7.

Plague or cholera

We wanted to continue working through our to-do list, but the heat made us lethargic and robbed us of sleep at night. We had fans installed to cool us down, but they are noisy, and the constant wind flow also was kind of annoying. David finally gave up sleeping below deck in the heat. It was cooler in the cockpit at night, but he traded the fan noise for the noise of the trucks. He had the choice between plague and cholera.

Whenever there was a breeze at night, there was the strange phenomenon that it could only be felt on my side of the bed down below. We still haven’t found out why, but probably that’s why I could sleep a little better. But the advantage of these temperatures was definitely the water temperature. In San Juanico a few days before we had brain freeze while snorkelling, and here we could swim in 90°F warm water and still cool down (a bit).

Hitch hiking

Marga rented a car for an upcoming survey and had to pick it up in Loreto, about 100 km away. There were basically three ways to get there without a car: take a taxi, take the bus, or hitchhike. The first option is very expensive, and the second is quite inconvenient as Coyote Bay is not an official stop. So, we tried the third option. At 8am on Saturday morning, we lined up by the road with a sign. Car after car passed us, but no one gave us a lift. This wasn’t because we looked outrageous – although of course I was wearing my pink Crocs – but because (almost) all the cars were packed, with people or things. Not like here in Switzerland, where people seem to prefer always driving alone (or at all costs).

We succeed

After what felt like an eternity (like after 1.5 hours), a car with two ladies finally stopped. They were on their way to La Paz and still had room for three vagabonds in the back seat. David took the thick quilt on his lap and immediately had a backseat airbag. He could use that too. Not because the lady couldn’t drive, but because the road in general was quite dangerous. It was winding, narrow, with animals on the side of the road and the breakneck driving of some road users. Fatal accidents occur on this road time and again. For example, just a few days ago, a van overturned while trying to take the main actors of a series from the nearby film set to the airport. Two of them did not survive the accident.

Spare part

But we survived the trip unscathed and were able to pick up the rental car in Loreto. And we also took the opportunity to get an important spare part. A few days before, something annoying had happened. I was sitting comfortably in the cockpit with a book and coffee and suddenly there was a bang at the stern of the boat. The propane hose between the bottle and the regulator had burst. I was able to close the bottle quickly and since everything was outside, there was no danger. But without that hose, there is no coffee. That is not good.

The burst propane hose

Teamwork

Luckily Marga was with us. But: When we wanted to cook burgers on Marga’s grill that same evening, it suddenly lost heat. It was out of propane. But the spare bottle was also empty. So, we quickly fetched our own propane bottle on Milagros and connected it to Dogfishes propane system. Teamwork makes the dream work. Marga also helped us out with hot water for our morning coffee. And during our propane-free time, we revived the lovely coffee tradition from Ensenada.

Anyways, we found a spare propane hose in Loreto, unfortunately not the one we wanted, but one. Better than none. Then we drove back to our boats, loaded up our propane bottles and headed for Mulège. There we enjoyed a beer at the local brewery, strolled around the little town and treated ourselves to tacos and hot dogs. We also dropped off our gas bottles for refilling and were able to pick them up the next day.

Since Marga had rented the car for a few days, we also took advantage of this opportunity and made a trip to the Pacific side of Baja. On the way, we picked up Mike and Katie from Alegría, who were moored in the marina of Santa Rosalia. In the oasis town of San Ignacio, we stopped for lunch and visited the mission church of San Ignacio Kadakaamán, built in 1786. We enjoyed the mild temperatures and the shade of the large trees that lined the village square.

Pacific breeze

An hour later we arrived in Punta Abreojos. The Atlantic breeze provides moderate temperatures there. Funnily enough, we found the 75°F prevailing there almost cool. We also enjoyed that very much. Looking for a toilet, we found one in the fish factory. It was closed on Sundays, but the guard let us in anyway. This is Mexico. We tried to ignore the seagulls hanging around inside, pooping all over everything. But we snooped around a bit anyway. You don’t get an opportunity like this every day.

Tacos in the living room

Before we headed back, we looked for tacos in the small town. After some asking around, we were sent to a house. Outside, a woman was hanging out the laundry. When she saw our searching faces, she opened a door to her house for us and said the taco place was open. When we entered, we were probably in her living area. In one half there was a television with a sofa that obviously also served as a bed. In the other half was a large, well-equipped kitchen and two plastic tables. The lady immediately started preparing all kinds of vegetables and sauces, which she gradually put on the table for us. She also prepared the meat fresh for us. My “La Gringa” tacos (pork with pineapple chunks and cheese) were very tasty!

Milagros wants attention

After all the excursions, Milagros demanded attention. We still needed to get our rigging right. Reluctantly, we complied with this need and tightened the steel cables. David had to climb the mast a few times. I will spare you the details here. What counts is the result: now everything is set correctly. We also got to work on two unplanned projects. One morning the inverter stopped working when I wanted to start Starlink. Our 150-watt device had simply given up the ghost. Unfortunately, we had already switched from our 500-watt inverter to the smaller one because of a loose contact on the plug. Now we had to activate our creative solution-finding mode because we didn’t have a suitable new plug at hand. But after 30 minutes we had internet again. We bypassed the plug by connecting the inverter directly to the panel.

Dirty water

We also had to empty our water tank completely (luckily it was almost empty) and clean the insides, as we had accidentally set the tap to “tank” instead of “sample” when we started the water maker. Countless microorganisms live in salt water. If this water sits in a hose for only half a day, these organisms die, and it starts to smell like rotten eggs. If you then press this water through the membrane of the water maker, the salt is gone, but the stench remains. That’s why the first litres after starting the water maker must go straight overboard. Because we have fed this stinking water directly into our tank, we have contaminated all the remaining water in it. Hence the purification. At 100° F.

The energy balance

After eight days we were ready to move on. Not only had we had enough of the heat, but also our batteries. The fridges ran more often, we generally used more electricity because of the online work, and we had a few cloudy days. In combination, this meant that sometimes we didn’t manage to fully charge the batteries until the evening. This meant several things: our energy balance was out of whack and our batteries were possibly starting to show signs of age. We may have to work on an electricity project in the autumn.

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