Apparently there are still places in Mexico that are without cell coverage, which means no internet for us, and my last post had us getting blown into one.
We ended up spending 2 weeks in Bahia Concepcion, and I think the no internet thing was part of the appeal! My brother and his girlfriend had spent the night in a hotel in Mulege and we managed to get a ride into town in time to meet them for breakfast finally, only a couple of days late. After coffee (nescafe, blah!), we picked up some supplies and went back to the anchorage, a sandy beached bay, lined with palapa’s built by retiree americans who spend their winters staring at boats anchored out through their binoculars… ummm, we’re only 50m off shore, we CAN see you… subtle…
Bro had already spent 5 weeks travelling down through Canada and the US, so he was happy just to chill on the boat and work on his tan, which was good as after the month of work in San Carlos and the crossing, I was knackered. I hoped we would be able to sail back to Loreto and drop them at the airport at the end of the week, but the forecasted strong North wind showed up so we settled for a couple of hours sailing in the relatively sheltered bay. And oh did we sail!
The forecast, which came from a palapa on the beach where we were anchored, guessed around 10-15kt winds in the bay, so we picked up the anchor and hoisted the sails for the first time since the fins were removed, and seeing as the guy who was in theory looking out his window at us when he made the forecast called for up to 15 kts, I went with the full mainsail and mizzen and at the 2nd reefpoint in the genoa (its furled so we just didn’t unroll all of it). Pretty soon, we were actually sailing, and at a reasonable speed! Not so exciting for most sailors I admit, but seeing as I can count the days of good sailing since San Francisco over a year ago on one hand, I was pretty stoked! No surprises, but the weather-guesser was a little off again, and I soon had over 20kts bearing down on me, basically no crew, 2 guests and a catamaran under my feet that wanted to fly again! With full main up, she wanted to turn up into the wind a little and the short choppy seas didn’t make for the most comfortable ride at times, but we were sailing and faster than we had for… well shit, since we bought her! I didn’t push it as hard as I could have, falling off the wind to slow us down, while avoiding going too far off the wind so as to avoid hitting the back of the chop in front of us, we were still holding a steady 9kts for a while. The only other time I saw that speed in Sea Raven under sail was on our first day out with new sails in San Francisco, and that was with 2 sailmakers (also racers) on board, a good friend of mine at the helm and full sail up.
After an hour or so we turned around and went back in the direction we came in, I wasn’t ready to try and beat into the chop under sail, and it was going to take nearly twice as long to get back under power after our spritely run downwind. So we spun up into the wind, dropped sail and fired up the iron genny to head north again. This time we anchored one bay over from our first stop, mainly because I saw a sign on the road that said they had a bakery!
The next day we hitched into town with my brother and his girlfriend to drop them off at the bus back to Loreto to catch their flight to Mexico City, then on home to NZ, a quick visit made even shorter by our weather issues, but it was great to have some of Alma’s kiwi family visit her!
We stayed anchored out at Posada Concepcion for another couple of weeks, Sabi swam to shore and soaked in the natural hot springs each day, and I worked on the to-do list. The downsides of being there were, as I mentioned, no internet, a good and bad thing to be sure, and that the nearest town, Mulege a little over 20km away, wasn’t up to much in the way of provisioning… just getting there meant trying to hitch a ride from a passing gringo, harder than I originally thought it would be… but we managed!
We waited out another northern blow and planned to head south again as it died off, hopefully catching the tail end of the wind and seas to give us a boost south towards Loreto finally. The day before we left, Sabi headed to shore to get some bread from the bakery for lunch and as she was dragging the dinghy back into deeper water to get going, she was hit in the foot by one of the MANY stingrays in the bay… I had seen her walking the dinghy out, Alma and I were checking the windows to see when mum would be home, and had gone back to sit down and wait the 2 mins until she got back… I looked again a couple of minutes later, and could see her having trouble starting the outboard, no problems, it always starts, she’ll be here any second… What I couldn’t see, or hear as the wind was blowing towards her, was that she was crying from pain and having trouble with the outboard as the water was still not quite deep enough to get it down again, understandably, she wasn’t going to get back in the water after being stung. She eventually got it going, but not totally lowered so as she sped up the boat popped up out of the water, this is what I saw happening as she came back, and what made me realise something was wrong. I lay Alma down in her play pen and met Sabi as she got to the boat, saw her crying and bleeding, and carried her up and in side while she told me what had happened. I sat her down, elevated the foot and started tearing through medical books and fishing books, looking for what to do, while at the same time putting a call out on the vhf asking for assistance/information. We soon heard from a couple of people that we needed her foot in hot, near scalding hot, water to neutralise the venom, done. The next question was can she still feed Alma? Alma is completely in house catered. We don’t use formula and so didn’t have any on the boat, (lesson learned and corrected). After a couple of discussions with people on the vhf, one guy offered to give me a ride to town, and another offered me the use of their car to go myself, so I changed the water Sabi had her foot in and took off to shore to meet the neighbour (he lived in a house on the hill above us) and hightailed it into town. While all this was happening, from the ray’s strike, until the time I raced back to shore to get the car, there was some #$%# sitting on the beach watching… this guy sat there, less than 50m from Sabi, and did nothing while she was crying out for help and me… I very nearly went to talk to him on my way to shore, but getting Almita’s food was more important…. some people…
I raced into town, and remember, the speed limit signs in Mexico are more guidelines than anything else, to find that both of the towns pharmacies were closed until 4 pm… luckily the second grocery store I found had formula in stock, only Nestle, not my first choice, but it was an emergency, so back in the truck ( I miss driving v8′s) and toward home. On my way out of town, I passed a dive shop, and stopped to get his opinion on what to do. Turns out he was also an ex paramedic and after explaining everything to him, he was confident that Sabi could still feed Alma with no concerns, awesome. Some quick pedal work, and I was back in the dinghy and out to the boat, where Sabi was feeling much better, and Alma got down to the job of catch up munchies pronto!
We still pulled out the next day, we wanted to get somewhere with internet and better medical services, but with my only crew laid up, it was another day of chug chug with the engines. We stopped in San Juanico for the night, the same bay I had been aiming for when we were turned around 2 weeks earlier, and then carried on the next morning as the forecast had more south winds coming, no way I was doing that again.
We finally pulled into Puerto Escondido again, hooked up to a mooring, and caught up with some friends… and a washing machine!