Saturday, December 26, 2009

Back to La Paz

Merry Christmas/Boxing Day and a very prosperous New Year in 2010 to all our friends and family!

We are back in La Paz for a few days after more than two weeks in the southern islands and the lower inside coast of the Baja. Some of the anchorages were ones we have seen before and we explored a few new island anchorages. There is always something new we see in each place and this time we snorkeled and hiked with our old friends, Rob and Jo, from Blue Moon and new friends on Balena, Randy and Gina.

We visited an island with some amazing cacti, both barrels and cordons.

A huge cordon cactus, probably several hundred years old.

A huge barrel cactus - about 9 feet high.

An unusual double barrel cactus.

At anchor near an elephant rock.

We did some rock hunting along the coast, finding geodes weathering from the cliffs.

Geodes - some we found already opened, and a few we opened with hammer and chisel.

Closer view of geodes.

Chris chipping out a stubborn geode.

We have visited El Gato before both in the spring and earlier in the fall. This time we hiked the beaches with Jo and Rob and climbed the cliffs to get some great views up north.

On the beach at El Gato.

Hiking El Toro - El gato is in the distance.

Chris on the bluffs near El Gato, looking north toward Punta San Marcial (behind which lies Agua Verde).

Our next stop was San Evaristo, where we hoped to re-provision with fresh veggies, fruit, and staples.

Sailing downwind towards San Evaristo

We were to be disappointed! We arrived on December 16 , which turned out to be the feast day of the Virgin of Guadalupe. This marks the start of Christmas holidays and although we stayed here for 5 days, the small tienda never did open up. Our groceries were running very low, but fortunately, between Ladybug, Blue Moon, and Balena (who joined us here) we were able to gather enough food to hold several potlucks and to keep our larders from running dry. We also got together for several jam sessions, with Chris on uke and Jo on guitar - great fun.

We sailed out for a day trip to Isla San Jose where we toured the abandoned salt works at Punta Salinas.

Abandoned truck at the old salt works on San Jose island.

Salt works on San Jose. The ponds used to be filled with sea water that was let in through a bulldozed channel from the beach each year. When the water evaporated, the sea salt was collected using large wooden rakes and packed in sacks.

The women get together for a group shot on Balena after one of our potlucks. Jo, Gina, and Rani.

After hiding out at Evaristo waiting for food to arrive and for the strong north winds to abate, we finally gave up and left for La Paz, via Islas San Francisco and Partida shortly before Christmas. At Isla San Francisco we hiked up to the ridge that we last visited in the spring.

The stunning 'hook' anchorage at Isla San Francisco

At a look off on Isla San Francisco. Isla San Jose is in the background to the north. It was very windy on this hike ( note Rani's Medussa look! )

Rani and Rob perform some modern dance steps on the ridge overlooking the 'hook'.

From here we sailed to Caleta Partida where we spent two nights before a final run down to La Paz. We were able to sail almost the whole way, running our engine for a couple of hours only to recharge the batteries while making water.
On Partida we hiked again up the arroyo, this time coming down the cliffs above the anchorage. I'm afraid we did in Rob's knees on this hike and he is still nursing them here in La Paz!

We had a big potluck on Balena and Ladybug at Christmas, Blue Moon having her galley torn apart to repair a water tank. It is amazing what one can make on a small galley stove, especially with a well stocked grocery store within walking distance!

Jo and Rob at the Christmas potluck. Chris's hat got good reviews and was tried out by all.

Ardy and Marv from Odyssey joined us at Isla San Francisco and we sailed together for La Paz.

Dressed up for the Christmas potluck.

Gina and Randy of Balena.

Gina playing charades after the potluck.

Rani made these fish bookmarks as presents this year.

We are off to visit our friend Maleh near Mexico city tomorrow and will be back in the new year.

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