03 March, 2006

Los Frailes

Easy Days in La Bahia de Los Frailes (Bay of the Frairs)


Three am a few days ago—not even sure what day it actually is today—I finally weighed anchor and headed away from Cabo San Lucas.   I think it was a Thursday, which would have me floating there for nearly a week.

This next leg would take me 43 miles to the northwest to Los Frailes, a small bay on the east side of the Baja peninsula.   This would be my first experience in the Sea of Cortes, which I was anticipating.  The leg should nice, I expected.  It would be the first solo sailing I've done since cruising around the San Juan Islands up in Washington over the summer.

Another caveat is that this trip was taking place with a flotilla: Matt and Tilikum were coming along on "Laurabelle" and also Herbert and Jean Claude, two newer friends, though I met Herbert in San Diego.


When I started hoisting up the anchor the only person who looked at all alive was Jean Claude, or "Papillon" as his boat is named.   He weighed anchor just behind me.  But Herbert would catch up within an hour or so and Matt and Tilikum much later in the afternoon.

We did this funny dance because they were motor sailing and I wasn't and the wind was variable and faint, so when the wind was good I'd catch up, but then it would die and I'd fall behind.

Sailing with a group was a lot of fun.  We talked a lot of the VHF radio, made jokes and raced.

The wind was terrible and I made slow time.  The farther we turned north and moved into the Sea of Cortex proper, the more the wind increased and punched us right on the nose.   It was a slow go—steep, choppy seas.

Everyone dropped all sail and motored for Los Frailes.  Herbert was the only one to make it in by dark (I think).   In the end we all made it in safely.


And was it worth it!

Los Frailes is would cruising on  a sailboat is—in part—all about.  Beautiful open bay, constant sunshine, no town—only dusty country roads, a closed hotel and one small restaurant/bar.

On the beach is a small community of gringos living out the winter in RV's and tents, lots of folk from British Columbia.   At night there is always a fire on the beach.


The days have been going something like this:

I wake, go topsides to stretch and exercise on the bow, drop the drawers and jump in for a swim. (The water is crystal clear.   You can see your shadow on the white sandy bottom.)  The swim really gets me woken up (which is otherwise a sore trail). 

Often I swim over to Herbert's trimaran, "Bamboo".  Trimarans are great because they have tremendous deck space.   They are very broad and stable. 

So I swim over and sit on deck with Herbert and Tilikum.  It is always sunny and hot, even in the mornings, perhaps 80°.   Yesterday I even drank a cup of coffee.  Often Tila will come over to my boat for a cup of "choc hotlate" which we are both unabashedly addicted to.

Between the four boats, we all socialize a lot.  We keep our radios on channel 22 and joke and make plans.


Yesterday Tilikum left us.  She headed north to Todos Santos to have some time to herself.   She was missed instantly, but we all took it in stride and headed to the bar for pitchers of margaritas.

Two days ago Matt went up to a fishing boat that had come in from the tough swell and got a tour and made some Mexican friends.   On his way out, they tossed him a couple 15 lb yellowfin tuna.

So last night we had a big bar-b-que—grilled the fish (Jean Claude is an old caterer) passed around a bit of rum     Tila—you would have enjoyed it.

Hopefully Tilikum will meet back up with us in La Paz.


As of this morning, Papillon (Jean Claude) and I are the only ones left.  Bamboo and Laurabelle left this morning because of calm winds and flat seas.   I, however, wish to sail and the wind tomorrow should be a bit more steady.  Papillon is heading across the Sea to Mazatlan and also wants a good wind to push him across.

In two to three days I should make La Paz.  Hopefully I will find Dan and Sonya still there—Perhaps I'll go and visit Hubris who is up in the yard.


And where is Brian on Thistledown?? He should be coming up behind me any day.  It has been nearly a month since I saw him last in San Diego—with no reverse gear, and still no reverse gear.  We all have our handicaps.

The weather is supposed to hold for a few days.  Today I recover from mega-sunburn   (oops), write a little, sleep a little, prep the boat, and in the afternoon or morning I head out for La Paz.


I'll send this when I get there.


--sting rays jumping.

--climbing los frailes

--Matt on the radio




No comments: