Sunday, November 22, 2015

Puerto Escondido, Loreto and Dallas

The morning after that miserable Chubasco in the middle of the night, we arrived in Puerto Escondido on Aug. 24 and were happy for the sanctuary the harbor provides. The name itself means Hidden Port, and is one of Baja's most protected harbors, which makes it a popular hurricane hole to anchor in during the summer months (hurricane season}.  

Poerto Escondido is overshadowed by the Sierra de la Giganta mountains to the west. Loreto is north and the mainland is in an easterly direction across the Gulf of California, also known as the Sea of Cortez.  The inner harbor is virtually landlocked with a spectacular view of the mountains and two "windows" looking toward Loreto and Carmen Island.

We were greeted by our friends Pati and Eric off of s/v Shearwater. They had been in Puerto Escondido for nearly half a month and were ready to introduce us to the local group consisting of couples from Canada, Colorado, Las Vegas, and Oregon, were happy to meet us and we felt welcome.  They explained that there are more cruisers expected as the cruising season begins in late October, which happens to signal the end of Hurricane Season.  There was a daily afternoon gathering in front of the Mini-Mart (run by Rafa and Patty).  It was called "Circle of Knowledge", where you managed to get an earfull on a wide variety of subjects.

A day or two later, we decided to split the rental of a car for the day, to explore Loreto, the town about 25 kilometers north of the harbor.  Loreto is a quaint small city with lots of history and good places to eat and shops to look at.  Hopefully, the pictures will give you an idea of our day spent in Loreto. After driving through most of Loreto, we had lunch down on the waterfront at "Augies:.  It was pretty good and very reasonable.  

Our next stop after leaving town was San Javier Mission which is up into the mountains, as is over400 years old.  Everyone at the harbor told us not to miss the equally ancient olive tree behind the church. As the road was like an old monkey trail that went up into the mountains, it is hard to imagine the missionaries hauling the stones needed to build the mission up this road that must have been just a trail 400 years ago.

Our days are filled with swimming, socializing and drinking beer.  We hardly have time for the boat projects!  Unfortunately, the captain is always challenged with some major project.  The raw water pump on the water maker failed and a new one was ordered.  Arrangements were made to ship the pump to the main office in the harbor.  The old familiar running to the dock for water to fill up water jugs was again in play.  Fortunately, the water is claimed to be spring water from the mountains and, after we tested it, we were pleased to discover that it is drinkable.  Meanwhile, in between the socializing, beer drinking, and swimming, there had to be water runs to the dock and back.  Fourteen gallons at a time. Ah, the life of the sailor!  Good news, the captain replaced the impeller to the Ferryman generator and the water flowed which indicates it's working.  Time to go have fun.

We joined our new friends to celebrate Labor Day.  We went to Loreto Bay Inn and spent the day on the beach. We snorkeled, socialized, and had lunch at the restaurant on the beach.  Then we swam in the swimming pool and had Margaritas.   A lovely day was shared by all.  

We had torrential rain for two days and, were happy to ride to Loreto with our Colorado friends, Cindy and Ed for supplies. To reciprocate we had all of our new friends on board Shakedown for cocktails and snacks.

The captain does not let us down, the water maker is back on line and working like a champ!  Oh happy days, just in time for football.

We experienced more storms toward the end of Sept. and had bowls and towels ready to catch the rain inside the boat.  All boats leak, so I am told!

We have friends for dinner on Shakedown and, we are invited to friends boats or palapas for dinner.  All in all, it's been a wonderful Sept. in Puerto Escondido and Loreto.

The highlight of our Oct. was a trip to Dallas, Texas for the captains submarine reunion.  The USS Snook fast attack nuclear sub event brought old shipmates together and we had a great time.  We visited the George W. Bush Museum, the Arboretum and the State Fair of Texas. We did a lot in one week. We even went shopping at the "nicest mall in Dallas"!

The Arboretum

The State Fair of Texas

Projects on the boat continue, hurricanes pass us by, and we continue to enjoy this beautiful place.  The snorkeling is fun and we have discovered many species of fish.  Our new pets are called Chubs and they live under the boat.  They watch us , they follow us in the dingy and they expect to be fed.  There is a competition to see how many Chubs we all can collect under our boat. We are doing quite well with just under twenty.

We greeted the end of Oct. with a hike into the Tabor Canyon, (Steinbeck Canyon) in the Sierra de la Giganta range.  The book said follow the trail but all we found were huge boulders to climb up and over. Pati and Eric were with us and by the time we returned to the harbor we were tired and sore but very proud of our accomplishment.

We had been looking forward to November when son Steven will come for a visit. We plan to cruise the islands and we hope the weather will cooperate.  We know the temperature is cooler because we don't like to take cold showers any longer!

A short trip (3 nights) to Honeymoon Bay, Isla Danzante

A short trip (3 nights) to Bahia Aqua Verde

Had dinner with Eric and Patty at a Loreto Bay restaurant that specialized in Pizza...yum!

Our last day in Puerto Escondido saw us sending off Steven at the airport for his return to the Baltimore area, returning to the port in time for the annual Taco Feast for returning cruisers.  Got a chance to say so long to our good friends and we're heading out in the morning on a slow journey back to La  Paz.

George & Ruth saying goodbye