After an easy 30 hour overnight passage that had some drama on a fellow boat involving my medical expertise (more on that in another blog post), we pulled into Bahia Santa Maria. The view was a tiny fishing village and miles of sandy beaches. We relaxed on board and hosted Justin Edelman, the CUBAR photographer and videographer, for dinner. It was a lot of fun to hear about his adventures photographing sailing around the world, and he has kindly shared some photos with me to use on the blog.
The next morning we up anchored for a short cruise down the peninsula and into Magdalena Bay, where we stayed for two nights. Magdalena Bay (often called Mag Bay by Americans, but according to the professor we heard lecture that is not preferred by Mexicans) is a gigantic natural harbor at 25 miles N-S and 13 miles E-W with multiple good anchorages. We anchored in Man Of War Cove.
The bay is obviously full of fish. We had a constant accompaniment of pelicans bombing head first into the water and sea lions surfacing and breathing hard all around our boat. It was a deterrent to swimming in the 74 degree water for me, but so much fun to watch. The pelicans are hilarious the way they look like they are about to kill themselves on the water. I can’t help thinking – it’s gotta hurt to slam your head into the water over and over again! But apparently they are made for that.
There is a tiny fishing village on the shore with about 160 people. The Miramar palapa restaurant served us wonderful fish cooked various ways and we relaxed all afternoon. I walked around the village taking pictures and bought a few things from the tiny tienda. I missed out on fresh tortillas but was able to get a few limes and some refried beans. There is no road access to Magdalena Bay – all supplies are carried in by ferry from San Carlos, a larger town across the bay. The village is fortunate now to have a desalination plant for their water supply which opened in 2018, so it no longer has to be ferried in.
The people in Magdalena Bay were all very friendly, smiles and waves when I walked around. I had fun talking with and practicing my Spanish with the restaurant proprietress and her charming 1 year old baby boy.
The guys were slightly disappointed because earlier cruisers had drunk all the beer so the owner of the restaurant was running across to San Carlos in his panga to get more beer once he saw 25 boats turn up. It was hours before he came back though, and by that time a small squall had come up and it was time to return to the boat.
The next day we were led on a dingy tour to the mangrove estuary.
Enrique in his panga led the way through shallow sand bars and crab pots with some commentary over the VHF radio. It turned out to be a very long way from the anchorage at high speed in choppy waves, fun for the most part, with frigate birds and pelicans flying around us.
The estuary was beautiful, with sand pipers and ospreys waiting for us.
There was some drama when Justin launched a drone from the panga and it lost its’ mind and dropped into the water. Justin instinctively jumped in and was able to retrieve it from 13 feet of water. Editor’s Note: We have now christened Justin “El Hombre de Augua”… Aquaman!
We hosted a group from the boat Lahaina Sailor with CUBAR organizer Dave Abrams and family on our boat for the CUBAR potluck dinner circle. We feasted on mahi-mahi and tuna that Larry and Sean caught. Larry is a master of cooking fish and it is truly spectacular to eat the fruit of our labors (guess I should say Larry’s labor:)!