Stag Cruise to Loretto

Mike Pernitzke and Chris James arrived the day Mitzie and the Hartsells left. They  came for two weeks with the plan of cruising 140 miles north to Loretto and then back to La Paz:  Here are Charley, Mike and Chris hiking at Isla San Francisco, a pretty anchorage 40 miles north of La Paz.  Snug Harbor is one of the boats in the background.

    

Hiking in Mexico does not always offer OSHA approved trails.  

 During our passages we trailed a lure and caught three skipjacks. Mike got two and Chris got one. They put up a heck of a fight, but are oily and not very good eating so we released all three after catching them.  
 The best part of Mexico is all the friendly people you meet. Most of them do not have much but they enjoy life and freely share that joy with you. I met Jacob shortly after I arrived at Marina de La Paz and hired him to watch the boat when I was gone, to wax it, and to give it a good bath from time to time.

  
Jacob skippers fishing boats in the summer and hangs out at Marina de La Paz in the winter, looking to pick up whatever odd jobs he can. His english was  a little bit better than my poor spanish and he was the person I logged the most time with practicing my spanish.

  
The goal of our trip was to get far enough north to spend a day checking out Loreto, a town of 15,000 that is the site of the original mission in all of California (both Baja California and California USA).

 

  
It was from this site that all the missions were launched. Senior Loretto, founder

  
The centro area around the mission is very well preserved. We wandered into the lobby of the Hotel Posada and concluded that if we brought our better halves here that we would score some big points.

  
Loreto’s water front malecon is also extremely well kept, lined with nice hotels and housing, up to level of what you would expect to see in the US.

  
The Captain started thinking that maybe a waterfront retirement condo on the Malecon would be sweet. We saw a condo building that looked nice and well maintained from the front with a “Se Vende” sign on it and went over to check it out. We walked around in back and saw that the building was deserted, with trash piled up and what appeared to be lots of cracks in the structure. As they say “Buyer beware…..”

There are islands in the Sea of Cortez all around Loretto and looming behind are the impressive Sierra Gigante mountains.

    
A bit south of Loreto we saw a new development targeted at gringos that looked very nice, as long as you are happy pretending you are not in Mexico when you are really there!

  
One of the anchorages on the way to Loretto was Ensenada Agua Verde where we were treated to a nice sunset.

  

Another anchorage was Ensenada Los Gatos which is known for its beautiful red rocks.  

We were “out” on the cruise for 10 days, about half of that to get north, and the balance to work our way back to La Paz. Going north the wind was either too light, or on the nose, so we motored. We had a couple of days of favorable winds on the way back and had some excellent sails. 

We did lots of things to keep busy – including swimming, snorkeling, reading, guy talk, movies at night, boat chores, eating great meals prepared by Mike, and taking siestas.

  
One of the tasks every night was to select an anchorage and get the boat securely anchored for the night. We used a cruising guide to figure out where the anchorages were, the best spots to anchor and where the reefs and other hazards lay. The electronic charts for Mexico we have help you find the anchorage, but do not have depth information and are usually based very old charts that were done before gps was available. So the charted location of land and other places is often inaccurate. We had one instance of an island that was off on the chart by a third of a mile. It is disconcerting when you are anchoring the boat and the chart shows that you are on land! Mike and Chris handled the ground tackle while Charley drove and picked the spot to anchor.

  
One of the key considerations in picking an anchorage was the direction you thought the wind would blow that night. You want to have land between the boat and the direction of the wind so that waves don’t build. Get it wrong and you can have a pretty bouncy night. It is OK if you are wrong if the nighttime wind is light because then there are no waves. However, if it is heavy, then the boat is bouncing, sleep is hard, and the anchor holding is the only thing keeping you from being blown on the rocks and the boat getting destroyed. Out of our 10 nights we had a couple when it was pretty bouncy, but none where we feared for our anchor dragging.

  

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