Friday, August 9, 2013

Leaving Baja Behind

Wow, this is the longest that I have ever neglected the blog. The last post was about Santa Rosalia and now it seems a lifetime ago that we were there.
From Santa Rosalia we crossed the Sea of Cortez to the mainland of Mexico. It was a crossing that I had been worried about for weeks. I don’t know why I worry so much about every little thing, but I do. So far not one of my gazillion fears has come to pass. Maybe all that worrying keeps the problems at bay? Or, maybe I should just stop worrying and relax a little. I know that Mike would prefer the latter.
Ever since we left La Paz I had been concerned that we would encounter a chubasco. “A chubasco is a violent squall with thunder and lightning, encountered during the rainy season along the Pacific coast of Mexico,...”
The crossing from Santa Rosalia to our destination, San Carlos, is 74 miles of open sea and, in my mind, 12-15 hours of opportunity for lightning to strike the boat. I know, just call me “Chicken Little.” As usual, my fears were unfounded and we had a beautiful sail with almost perfect conditions. For the first half the seas were lumpy enough to make me seasick and we had very little wind, but then the wind picked up and we enjoyed a glorious sail into San Carlos. With 8-9 knots of wind from the southeast we sailed at a steady 6-7 knots and reached our destination in the late afternoon. The timing of our arrival was critical, not only because of weather concerns, but also because the channel leading into the marina is only 9’ deep at zero tide. With a draft of 8’3”, we wanted to arrive at high tide. We were a couple of hours early, but made a very slow entrance with all eyes on the depth sounder and had no problems.
It seems there is no perfect marina. With plans to leave the boat for a few weeks, it was most important that this marina be well-protected from storms. Surrounded by several high hills and not exposed to any open water, Marina Real is an almost perfect hurricane hole. The price is reasonable, water (non-potable), electricity and wi-fi are included and a gorgeous swimming beach is about half a block away. But, there is absolutely nothing within walking distance. They offer a shuttle to a grocery store in San Carlos proper 3 times a day, 6 days a week. From there it is a short walk to restaurants, coffee shops and laundry facilities or one can catch a bus into the nearby city of Guaymas.
The movies The Mask of Zorro and Catch-22 were filmed here in San Carlos and parts of the old  Catch-22 movie set can still be seen. It is a planned community, developed in the 1950s as a vacation and retirement community specifically geared to Americans. By the way, although Mexico is technically part of North America, the Mexicans usually refer to people from the USA as Americans or North Americans and themselves as Mexicans. There is a popular t-shirt that says something along the lines of “Don’t call me Hispanic. I am not from Spain. Don’t call me Latino. I am not from Italy. I am from Mexico and I am proud to be called a Mexican.” San Carlos is heavily populated with Americans and Canadians as well as affluent Mexicans. The homes are modern and beautiful and the countryside is green and gorgeous. We look forward to spending several weeks here after a short trip back to the States.