Shortly after our Christmas post, we stopped off at the most amazing beach and dunes at Bahia Santa Maria (on the outside of Magdalena Bay). This is a several mile long sand spit, dunes, and beach with fields of murex and clam shells (see pictures). The dune formations are stunning and there are huge sand dollars on the beach, which we used as frisbees until I took one in the face (cutting open my nose - duh!).
Murex and clam shells.
Rob, Rani, and Jo exploring the dunes.
Back of a huge sand dollar - these make excellent frisbees, but a helmet is recommended.
Dune formations with Santa Maria anchorage in the distance.
Rani collected some attractive murex shells.
Rani and Rob (of Blue Moon) enjoying some sand skiing action.
Jo of Blue Moon with a perfect murex shell.
After returning to Man of War cove, we celebrated New Years eve at a Mexican dance with a very loud band that played waltzes and some more lively numbers. The Mexicans danced in waltz style to them all! A truly unique New Years, surrounded by strangers who at midnight gave us foreigners great big hugs to welcome in 2009.
On New Years day, we headed toward the entrance to Mag Bay and stopped at Belcher bay where Rani found her next vehicle (see picture) and we had a potluck with our friends on Blue Moon (see their boat below).
Rani's next SUV
Blue Moon motoring to Belcher Bay.
From Mag Bay, we sailed for Cabo San Lucas and after 2 days of sailing we rounded the end of the Baja, decided to skip Cabo and turned north into the Sea of Cortez. We anchored at Los Frailes ('The Friars') and spent a few days here snorkeling in amazing waters full of corals and brightly colored fish - the best snorkeling I have ever done! We saw dozens of rays jumping clear of the water (no idea why they do this) and had some great hiking along miles of beautiful beach and through deserts and dry gulches to a nearby beach and coral reef (national park).
Ray jumping out of the water at Los Frailes.
Another flying ray at Los Frailes.
Next, we sailed north towards Los Muertos, hoping to meet up with our friends on Blue Moon, but high seas and strong headwinds changed our mind and after 3 hours of beating up our boat, we ran off east on the 170 mile crossing of the Sea of Cortez to Mazatlan. We arrived 33 hours later and tied up at the Singlar Marina north of the town, where we are booked in for a week's stay. Mazatlan has a lively old town, a great market, and all the conveniences. We have met or talked on the VHF to several cruisers we had not seen since California and even Oregon. Ken and Faye on R Genesis had us over to the El Cid resort where we enjoyed the hot tub and waterfall pool with swim up bar. Pretty decadent after a month in small towns and without seeing more than a handful of people at a time.
Dawn arrival in Mazatlan after 33 hour crossing.
Chris and Rani enjoy the pool at El Cid resort.
An iguana also enjoys the sun at El Cid.
Rani and Faye at El Cid.
We will probably be here a week or two and then head south toward Puerta Vallarta.