Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Cortez Crossing and Santa Rosalía

Joy ride in the Walker Bay in Santa Rosalia Harbor.
“28…30…32…” Clif is reciting the wind readings as I type. The “El Norte” has surely set in. The dock lines, halyards and doorknobs are all banging and rattling out of unison. The distinct whistling through the rigging tells me the wind is sticking around 35 knots. Luckily, we knew this little windstorm was coming through long before it arrived, so we tied up securely to the Marina Fonatour early this morning. Not at hour after we secured the lines, the wind went from 10- 25 knots in about 10 minutes. The north wind of the Sea of Cortez (“El Norte”) has a mind of its own. It whips up the sea into short, steep chop, making it virtually impossible to move anywhere besides directly downwind. We can peek out beyond the harbor embankment and see huge white caps that have been traveling from the top of the Sea, thankful we are inside a little shelter and attached to a dock that survived Hurricane Odile last fall (up to 100 mph winds here in Santa Rosalía).

Young boy in Santa Rosalia watching a palm tree be cut down. One of the favorite shots of the week!
We had a very uneventful crossing culminating two days ago (nothing like the wind we’re experiencing currently). We managed to pick a night that had just enough wind to sail for 6 steady hours, allowing us to attach our wind monitor and relax. In San Carlos, we arranged to cross with another boat, S/V Alma, owned by our new friends Greg and Diane of Quincy, CA, and stayed with a mile or two for the majority of our night on the Sea. VHF radios enabled us to communicate occasionally, until the next day with Alma motored ahead and we chose to sail a little further south to avoid bashing upwind. The crossing from San Carlos to Santa Rosalía took us a total of 16.5 hours, beginning at 10pm and ending the following day at 2:30pm.
Walking the streets of Santa Rosalia.
We reminded by several cruisers in San Carlos, that Santa Rosalía was significantly damaged by Hurricane Odile last October. We were fairly in tune with the Hurricane watch while our boat was in Guaymas on the hard, but it’s a completely different thing to see the outcome months after the fact. One of the two marinas in this little harbor was completely destroyed. There were also many boats attached to that dock that were significantly damaged or lost. Two boats are still among the broken pilings, waiting to be lifted out of the water or salvaged. There’s a pangueros dock, also in ruins, and parts of cement from the ferry dock in the middle of the harbor. The town, originally a French mining town, had many structural relics that didn’t make it through the Hurricane as well. It’s a good reminder to also check the weather and never underestimate the power of the wind. (Which, fortunately for me, I’m petrified of what the wind can do over 20 knots… it’s a positive and negative sailing trait in my opinion).

On the bright side, we’re attached to a dock that has power and water. We can charge up all of our electronics and top of our batteries. I can wash the boat with fresh water (hasn’t happened quite yet, waiting for the weather to die down a bit), and can use as much water as I like to scrub the dishes! It’s also a very short 5-minute walk into a hustling, bustling pure Mexican town. No tourists beside the occasional gringos driving through on Hwy 1, and myself, lugging laundry for 20 minutes to find the cheapest, most authentic lavandería I can find. Santa Rosalía is home to a very famous Mexican bakery, Panadería El Boleo, making fresh pan dulces every day. Little “Cochas” and “Pitahaya” buns (mis favoritas por desayuna) go for 7 pesos. Check out this sweet 90’s Mexican TV footage I found on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoRD7AnH4uI
You might not understand a word, but about half way through the video, the baker lists off the names of the typical buns--- super helpful for me being a beginning Spanish speaker. Gotta learn my bakery terminology!

Panaderia El Boleo buns... fresh out of the oven!
It’s also fun to go seeking out the best tortillas and best tacos in town. We were recommended by a gringo local to have tacos at “Tacos Paisano,” where the Asada tacos are excellent and go for 20 pesos ($1.50). Two can fill you up--- way to go $3 dinners! Many taco stands, particularly under a roof, allow you to bring in your own cerveza, which is an added bonus. Mucho barato, very cheap.
World Famous.

From Santa Rosalía, we will be heading down into Bahia Concepcion (within the next day or two) to meet up with our friends, Pam, Eric and Andy aboard Emma Bell. We might have Pam aboard a couple nights before Eric and Andy can cross from Guaymas, but we will all be frying fresh fish again soon.

Tacos Paisano with new friends, Greg and Diane.
Going to indulge on as many dock luxuries as possible right, since we’re grounded: hot showers, fresh water usage in general, wifi and battery charging. Clif’s tying off another line to the bow, which is getting the brunt of this wind, so we might not be wondering too far from the boat today… maybe to get another taco or two.


Tacos de Carne Asada
Hiking up the hillside to see the cemetery of Santa Rosalia.

1 comment:

  1. my old town!!, I hope someday back to this small town in the mar de cortez and enjoy the quiet life there.
    Thanks Clif and Giselle!!