Coromel!

The Captain and the Admiral returned to Snug Harbor in mid February for a 10 day La Paz and cruising fix. We came solo as one of the couple that planned to join us had an ear problem that led to a no- fly order from their doc. Bummer!

Shortly after returning to Snug Harbor the Admiral fired up the microwave for a cup of tea, heard a “pop”, and all the port side AC was gone on the old girl (Snug Harbor, not the Admiral!). The Captain figured it was likely a recurrence of a problem he had with the GFI (ground fault interupter) mysteriously kicking off. Last time he fixed it after much experimentation by turning a neatly organized and tie-wrapped set of AC wires for the TV and speaker system into an untie-wrapped rats nest. Go figure. So with great trepidation the Captain pulled out the offending GFI outlet to replace it with a spare, to see if that was the problem. As the Captain pulled, a wire pulled free of its crimp fitting! Eureka! Crimped on a new fitting and the AC was hunky dory again. Maybe that was the problem all along?

Our berth in Marina de La Paz is next to the Ocean Quest, a very large, old, wooden and beautifully restored trawler. Ocean Quest’s owner is Captain Bill Lee, an ex Navy guy, who bought the trawler, a retired minesweeper trainer in poor condition, from the Navy for chump change and did a multi-year bottoms up restoration.

Bill has now lived on the boat in La Paz for 11 years and installs and repairs water desalinization systems. It was Bill that brought Snug Harbor’s water maker back to life 3 years ago. He also has a wealth of information on the local scene and is great fun to chat with.

I asked Bill about the Los Arcos Hotel, a dilapidated and empty hotel occupying prime water front space on the Malecon. How could such a prime location go unused? It turns out that 11 years ago, the staff, members of the local labor union, struck for higher wages. Now in Mexico the unions are even more powerful, and more politically connected than in the US, if you can believe that. The owner did not like the idea of acceding to the union’s demands, and said no. The union took legal action against the owner, which until settled, prevented the owner from operating the Los Arcos. The owner, of no meager means, said the heck with it and refused to settle. So here we are at 11 years and counting – no union jobs and an old empty hotel slowing going to pot in a prime location on the malecon.

On Monday morning Snug Harbor headed for the Captain’s favorite anchorage, Ensenada Grande on Isla Partida, about 20 miles north of La Paz. We had an uneventful passage, anchored in a stunning location, made dinner, watched a movie and retired for the night in calm conditions. The Captain awoke at 1:30 with Snug Harbor doing its best impression of a bucking bronko. The winds had come up from the unprotected west side of the anchorage with considerable vigor and Snug Harbor was now bucking to her anchor with a rocky lee shore 200 yards astern. So the Captain spent a mostly sleepless night in the cockpit on anchor watch. Bummer!

The westerly breezes that fire up around midnight in the La Paz area are known as Coromels. They happen when cool winds blowing down the Pacific Coast of Baja jump east over land and exit at La Paz. They are infrequent during winter and more common in spring. Also hard to predict.

The next day we headed 20 miles north to Isla San Francisco, one of the most drop dead gorgeous anchorages any where in the world

There is a large crescent shaped white sandy beach enclosing the bay. Steep cliffs surround with knife-like ridges topped with hiking trails that offer great views like the above – although not for those that suffer vertigo.

There were fleets of pelicans in feeding frenzies dive bombing various parts of the anchorage. Along with the wild life there were some wild humans on a catamaran who appeared to be offering their child up to the wind gods. For details check out the following video:

The “Ice Bear”, a nice little 171 foot yacht, also came by to share the anchorage:

Ice Bear is owned by Walter Scott, a billionaire philantropist, buddy of Warren Buffet, and board member of Berkshire Hathaway.

And we were treated to a nice cocktail hour as we watched the sun drop down below the Sierra Giganti mountain range on mainland Baha.

On Thursday morning we upped anchor for the 44 mile trip back to La Paz. We had a good breeze and a rollicking sail for 30 miles until the wind died.

The Captain was pleased that the wind died as Snug Harbor’s slip is pretty tricky to get into in heavy winds as two boats fit in the slip side by side and Snug Harbor has the windward side of the slip. If the Captain pulls in and doesn’t get close enough to the dock for the Admiral to jump off with the bow line and the Captain to jump off with the stern line, then you just blow down on the other boat in the slip, things go crunch and egos and boats are damaged.

Despite there being no wind, there was a 2 knot current running and two idiots in a blue runabout that stopped exactly in the place where Snug Harbor needed to be to turn into her slip. 30,000 pounds of Snug Harbor had no where to go and the current was pushing us towards the Ocean Quest. It is amazing how fast a crowd can form on the dock! After lots of forward and reverse at high rpm the Captain managed to back Snug Harbor out of the marina and make a second try at docking. Naturally the two idiots returned with the blue boat to get in the way again. They skedaddled a little sooner this time, and thanks to helping hands on the dock, Snug Harbor pulled into her berth unscathed.

4 thoughts on “Coromel!

  1. Charley,
    Great write-up and awesome photos! You bring back so many memories for us…the good AND the bad. Keep up the good work!
    Gary & Dorothy

  2. Wow, I was on pins and needles. So glad you got in the slip without incident. I can imagine your anxiety. It sounds like a lovely trip, Charley. I’m sorry we missed that Stellar Anchorage. Have you seen many whales?

  3. We have enjoyed hearing from you as we find your sailing most interesting! Also enjoyed hearing about the yacht & trawler! Have a great time, we pray all goes well! See you at church! Fondly, Lois & Jerry

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