Thursday, December 15, 2011

On the Move Again!

As I write this, we are 25 miles offshore in the Sea of Cortez, nearing the end of a 190 mile trip from Baja to the mainland of Mexico. Hopefully the weather is a bit warmer since La Paz had turned chilly (70 degrees). I love the old saying, “We have cheated death once again!!”, which is often heard amongst the fleet after a long overnight or several day/week passage.

First, we left La Paz and sailed 50 miles south to an anchorage called Los Muertos (The Dead)….yes, this concerned me a bit too, but I was comforted by reading in one of our chart books:

“the word ‘muertos’ refers to buried anchors used in the early 1900’s by barges that loaded ore from the stone wharf in the east end of the bay.”


I have taken on the role of “researcher” as we pull into different anchorages, in addition to “navigator” which requires charting our course (“What the heck does Ben do?” you may ask….let it be noted that he is currently snoring and drooling down below). I’ve always had a love of maps and travel books so I enjoy these roles and they suit me well. This is despite the fact many of my family and friends are gasping with concern as they read this, due to my talent of getting lost and my sense of direction handicap. I inherited this from my mother with whom I spent hours wandering the streets of unfamiliar places in our old station wagon. The familiar exchange of, “Hey, mom are we lost again?” and her reply of, “Yep, but we’ll get there eventually!” still makes me smile. Not only was her attitude towards her directional ineptness comforting, but it usually let to some unplanned adventure or new sight to see.

Take heart in the fact that we use our GPS units as main sources of navigation, but I plot our course on charts as a back up in case of technology failure. We also have a sextant on board (an old tool used to navigate by the stars), but Captain and crew don’t know how to use it, therefore, it has been relegated to the Lego pile and is currently used as a Star Wars fighter ship.

We have fallen into the routine of me reading aloud the anchorage description from our chart books, as we approach our destination. It usually reads something like this (from Charlie’s Charts):

“a number of scattered rocks lie off the point of land forming the eastern boundary of the cove. They should be given a wide berth when entering or leaving the bay…..Anchorage is at the head of the bay, away from the wharf and store, in 4 to 6 fathoms.”

At the helm, Captain Ben pretends to listen intently, occasionally nodding in ascent at the wealth of information I spew, then pulls in and does whatever the hell he wants. Fortunately, this contrast in approaches suits us well. Ben driven by instinct and experience while I compensate for my “greenhorn” status by absorbing any information I can. In the beginning we would banter back and forth while dropping the anchor and it would go something like this:

Molly: “But the chart book says over there is the best and more well protected anchorage.”

Ben: “Uh-huh, but the wind is coming out of the north. Not a normal pattern and this location with the current swell pattern….blah-blah-blah….wah-wah-wah…”

About this time, my eyes glaze over as I start to hear Charlie Brown’s teacher’s voice, and as a result I reluctantly concede my position. It pains me to write this, but Ben is usually (ok…so far….always) right.

As we pulled into Los Muertos our routine played out once again and we dropped anchor. This entails Ben on the bow, manning the anchor with me at the back of the boat driving. We have improved upon this process by placing a younger crew member in the middle to relay communication between the two of us. With the wind howling at the bow and the engine booming in the rear, it’s often difficult to hear each other. Just as we finished, another boat pulled in with a middle aged couple on board and they began their own anchoring process. I need to mention that Ben and I have historically taken guilty pleasure in watching other couples do this. The disintegration of calm communication to wildly screaming at each other, tickles us to no end, mostly because we’ve been there, done that (hence the added communication crew member to our anchoring team).

With our voyeuristic needs satisfied, we lowered the dinghy in the water and made our way to shore. The village consisted solely of a restaurant and a small store, however, a friend told us that Warren Buffet had built an exclusive hotel here, which was located at the other end of the beach. In true Doolittle Hillbilly form, we landed our dinghy on the hotel’s private beach and proceeded on land to find the restaurant/bar. Following the sounds of “Football Americano”, we soon found a lovely wide open building overlooking a pool and the beach. Because Mickey tends to get homesick, we like to find a place on Sundays where he can watch a Forty-Niner or Patriots game. This was no Applebees!

An enormous operating train set was located upstairs where the kids could crawl through caves underneath. An infinity pool with water slide, play ground and an opportunity to play free old school video games like PacMan and Defender, the boys were in heaven! We spent the afternoon eating and frolicking with the rich and famous (not really, the place was empty), then returned to our little RV on the sea.

The next morning at 3:00 a.m. we set out for the 190 sail to Mazatlan…..I will post details soon in Part 2 of this blog entry….

Los Muertos anchorage. Full moon rising.

Anchored out at Los Muertos, watching the sunset, drinking a cerveza.

Mickey passing the time while underway. Absolutely no wind here and water smooth as glass.


  1. Nice post! Great picture of Mickey with the calm water. Sorry you have to endure 70 degree weather...

  2. love the pictures :) soak up some vitamin d for me