Around Puerto Escondido

The welcome to your mooring ball bird. It announced its arrival with a loud gwawk.

We’ve settled into life on a mooring ball, one of maybe thirty or so boats out in the bay. Of those, maybe two thirds have people aboard. The hurricane season officially ends November 30 and folks are starting to return to their boats or stopping in while sailing south. Puerto Escondido is a good place to run into old friends and make new ones. Everyone masks up, hand sanitizer is outside every store and office and we all practice social distancing. The tienda in PE is well stocked, and the restaurant is open evenings. Having the car means we can head to Loreto for a broader range of provisions and rambling.

Loreto, founded by the Jesuits in 1697, was the capitol of Baja California Sur until 1777. We visited the main church in Loreto. It was founded in 1697 by Fr. Salvatierra. We went to the museum next door which has an interesting mix of religious art and mission artifacts. Most of the paintings were of saints or the founders of religious orders, all done by anonymous artists. There were statues of the Virgin Mary, with very white skin, and other religious statuary that must have been imported and carried up to the mission back in the day. The info placards infer that life was hard. It took a number of years for the Spaniards to adopt/adapt to the local way of life in the event that no ships came in with supplies. There was very little info about the indigenous population before or after the Spanish arrival. The reason behind the missions was to convert the natives. Any revenue generated by padres was to go back to the Spanish crown. The Jesuits, an evangelizing order, began making wine, and not all the profits made it back to Spain. They were expelled by the crown and replaced by the Dominicans and Franciscans, who continued building missions on Baja and up into mid-California.

Esther, owner of Snacks22, our new favorite place to eat in Loreto. Think Mexican tapas, small plates, and really tasty food. Everything on the menu costs 22 pesos. It was recommended to us by Maritza, who works in the marina office in Puerto Escondido. If you’re ever in Loreto, try it out.
A highway construction project. Just outside of Loreto, the hillside is slowly being taken out to widen the road to 2 lanes each way. The highway was closed for 3 hours one day for blasting. The bypass is a gravel section. Some days there are flaggers and others you’re on your own.

Loreto is about 25 kilometers up the road from Puerto Escondido. It has a couple of bigger grocery stores, a marine/fishing store, tortillerias and small aborrotes that we have been exploring and shopping at. We’ve learned to avoid shopping around holidays – like Día de los Muertos – especially if they are on weekends. Parking at the bigger grocery stores is tight at best and just crazy around holidays. And you learn to avoid the guy who’d like to wash your car with a dry rag while you shop for 100 pesos. Fresh vegetables are basic but abundant. Canned goods are limited in selection and we are now on a to find diced tomatoes. Tomato sauce, paste, salsa, but no straight up diced. We did end up getting a couple of cans from Chris, off Dharma Girl, who did a Costco run when he drove down to Cabo to see his brother who had been crewing on one of the Nada HaHa boats. He ended up getting them at WalMart.

Back on the boat, Bill has become a net controller on the Sonrisa net, a ham net for sailors. He started out as a sub but will have a short but regular gig in December to fill in for folks heading north for the holidays. Nina will get to try her hand as a net controller on the Amigo net, another net for sailors that does not require a ham general license to participate.

We finally finished enough projects that it was time for a quick trip out of the mooring field. Puerto Escondido has a number of islands on its doorstep that have some good spots to anchor. We headed for Bahia Marquer on Isla Carmen for an overnighter. And saw a whale on the way! Lovely anchorage. The wind was forecast to change to the north, so we thought we’d try Bahia Colorada on the east side of the island. On the way, Nina caught a nice 2′ dorado that was beautiful. It decided that it wanted to stay that way, so just before we got it to the boat, it shook itself loose. Colorada was beautiful, but between the wind and swell, it was really rolly. The south wind was still blowing and the swells were big enough to be really uncomfortable at anchor. Back to PE we went. Nice calm anchorage, and more projects.

Just outside of PE is Tripui, a small village that has a hotel and an RV park. We hadn’t realized the town part was there until we did a couple of day hikes with Dharma Girl and Beethoven up the hills to the east of it. There’s a small network of trails and we did a couple of different ones. The big hike, challenging and beautiful, is up Tabor Canyon, also called Steinbeck Canyon. As we got about as far as we could, there was a huge boulder blocking the way, a group of five or six Mexican women came up. They were all young and clambered up the boulder and went on. We watched them and headed back. On the way, Nina misjudged coming down a rock and twisted her ankle. She made it slowly back to the water treatment building at the trail head. Beethoven had gone ahead and got their truck, a bag of ice and an electrolyte drink. Heroes forever! Next day, a purple and swelled up foot. Everyone else went up the canyon a couple of days later with Javier, the harbor master, and the crew from El Rey, one of the big motor yachts. They made it farther up without major mishap, other than Bill banging his head on a rock. We will both survive.

For calmer adventures, we got to watch the International Space Station fly overhead one evening. Another night we were visited by dolphins swimming around the boat. Apparently the anchovies are running and they were on the hunt in the wee hours. They are noisy and sound like gasping snorkelers.

More projects done, and we’re off to Ballandra with Dharma Girl and Beethoven.

And ending with a sunset from the mooring field.

2 thoughts on “Around Puerto Escondido”

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