We made it back to Loreto without any major mishaps. Planes were pretty empty. We managed to fly into and out of the same terminal in LAX, so our connection to Loreto was easy. Upon arriving in Loreto, we had a conversation with a nice official about our engine injectors, which we’d taken with us to Portland to have them serviced. Apparently, we should have updated our Temporary Import Permit before we left with them, but they would let us bring them in, just this once, with out the proper paperwork.
The next day we began the process of working on the boat in an exotic location. The injectors were reinstalled. White smoke out the exhaust. Not supposed to happen. And, something in the engine was making a new noise, and there was now a noticeable amount of water collecting in the engine bilge. The leak source turned out to be the raw water pump. Not the hose to the raw water pump, but the pump itself. We have some spare parts for it, but no spare pump. Luckily, Beethoven had a couple of old pumps and we cobbled a new one together with parts from his and from ours. The leak stopped.
On to the water maker. We unpickled it, flushed it and the solids reading was very high. We think we got some chlorinated water in our membrane sometime before we left, which basically fried it. We ran it for hours, ran two sets of cleaning chemicals through it and still got a high solids reading again. Time to go see the water maker guy in La Paz. While there, we’ll check out the diesel mechanic that friends recommended, and equalize our batteries (get them so they will fully charge more easily), and catch up on some needed provisioning.
Our week or so in Puerto Escondido was not all engine work, although we did take out and put in the raw water pump at least six times. We tried a CSA box and met some new folks. The veggies were beautiful, and the new friends introduced us to birria, little beef street tacos. Yum.
Nina got to experience a Mexican bank. Banks are used to pay rent, power bills, and other transactions, including paying for traffic tickets. You go online to find out how much you will have to pay, and then you go down to the bank and stand in line to get a number with an estimated wait time. There are rows of seats in the bank that are socially distanced, and you sit and wait for your number to show up on the monitor overhead. When it’s your turn, you hand over the official paper with the amount on it to the teller. If you want to pay with a credit card, only a Bancomer card will work, which of course we don’t have. She could have used her card to get cash from the ATM, but it was 3:00, the bank closes at 4:00 and the line to get back into the bank was down the block. The second try, with cash in hand, was successful. She is a free woman once again.
Northerlies were active while we were in Puerto Escondido. The wind blows from the north, with gusts into the mid 20 knots. Waves kick up, making a dinghy trip back to the boat a wet, bouncy experience, and Gypsy gyrates around her mooring ball as the wind ebbs and blows. After a few days of this, the wind,, thankfully, finally calmed. Goats roamed the hill behind us. A blue footed booby splashed down by the boat. We filled the water tanks with water from the tienda. We bought and hauled ten five gallon jugs of water out to Gypsy. Time to head south.
First stop, Agua Verde. When we were making our way down the west coast, in any conversations we’d have with boaters, we’d ask where their favorite cruising destinations in Mexico were. Agua Verde came up. Some day, when the engine and watermaker are working, and we’re fully provisioned up, we’ll actually spend more than a stopover night. It is a beautiful bay and we shared it with one other boat. And dolphins!
Punta San Telmo, is a small bay south of Agua Verde. There are a number of small bays you can tuck into when it’s calm. Winds out of the south were predicted, and San Telmo is a beautiful, safe place to anchor in when southerlies kick in. There is a nice sand beach and trails that can be hiked. The weather started socking in: totally gray skies, rain, fog, but not a lot of wind. It was like being in the Pacific Northwest!
The north side of San Evaristo was our next anchorage, since southerlies were still blowing. Rain and wind. We went ashore to see if we could walk over to San Evaristo, but were defeated by mud, and an inability to find a trail into town. We hauled up anchor and went by boat and anchored off the town. The boat, at least, was getting a good rinse off and the dust and salt were washed away. We spent a quiet day reading, knitting, and making brownies. In the middle of the night there, the wind kicked up in a new direction and we started rolling side to side. It was uncomfortable for a couple of hours, and then everything calmed down again. All accompanied by the bass line playing Mexican music from a speaker onshore.
Isla San Francisco is another place that gets mentioned as a favorite place to go. There’s a nice anchorage on the south side. Last year when we did an overnight there, we were one of about twenty-five boats, mostly sailboats. This year, the number of boats in any anchorage is much smaller. There are very few Canadians, as they can’t drive down because the Canadian border is closed into the US. When we got here, there were six other boats here: one other sailboat, five big catamarans. By the next afternoon, we were the only sailboat left. The seven other boats were all big motor yachts, at least 50+ feet in length. Some boats have Americans, but the rest have Mexicans aboard. It felt like a small version of Roche Harbor.