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The Two Captains


Volume 78
July 2002
Part Three: The Puerto Escondido/Loreto Cruising Grounds

Tackless II was waiting for us after our excursion to Cabo San Lucas as placidly as we had left her in a small cove just outside Puerto Escondido called “The Waiting Room.” Terry Kennedy, bless him, had kept an eye on her during the week we were away, keeping Don connected with the ever important amps in-amps out equation by email. Much as we had hoped when we installed all our alternate energy systems (solar panels and wind generator), all our systems were successfully maintained during our absence. It helps a lot when human beings are not there opening the refrigerator’s doors every few minutes!

Our friends and fellow divers were glad to see us back safe and sound, and you can be sure a lot of DAN memberships were signed up for and/or renewed that week! At the same time, our long-awaited LAVAC head arrived from Downwind Marine via the infamous Baja Express. The “Baja Express” is an informal delivery system by campers and boaters who pass through San Diego’s Downwind Marine each time they drive back and forth from California. The new toilet, ordered back in April, was to replace the one in our guest head, which had for a year only been operable by the use of the deck hose through a porthole!b

We passed about three days more in the Waiting Room socializing, before we broke free for three more days around the bend in Juncalito, where we’d enjoyed the fireworks on the fourth of July. Juncalito became one of our favorite anchorages in the area thanks to a nice mix of breeze, view, and good hunting grounds. Since I was allowed to “free dive”, i.e. snorkel without scuba tanks, Don and I spend every afternoon (in between the head installation project) scoping out the nearby reefs, and incidentally keeping fresh fish on the table. It was during this visit we got to know some of the “campers” living in the string of palapas on the shoreline. We also made the acquaintance of a father son pair who were “real” campers, spending their second summer vacation tent camping and fishing together throughout Baja. Talk about quality time!

From Juncalito we moved across back to Marquer, where we spent another three days hunting and relaxing. Yes, it’s a rough, rough life. Our lack of motivation to move on had to do with staying close to Escondido to be on hand when Terry Kennedy’s girlfriend (can you believe it, Dawn Wilson) drove down with our new, special ordered Suunto Dive computers. Not only can one program “personal adjustments” into these units, but you can download your dive profile onto your PC and track the nitrogen absorption pattern of each actual dive!

Once the computers were in hand, however, we ready to move on. It was killing us to listen to the exciting dives Terry and his gang were doing that we couldn’t be a part of. Of course, Don could have partaken, but frankly he was having so much fun with his hunting, he didn’t claim to miss it. And so we backtracked to Ballandra, then through Loreto to reprovision with fresh veggies again (Monday is definitely the best day!) and to clear out, and finally back to our other favorite spot, Isla Coronados.

This time our arrival in Coronados was greeted by leaping manta rays! Just like the dolphins a month before, the manta rays were leaping and splashing making as much noise as possible all around the bay! Throughout this region we have seen the occasional manta, either leaping once or twice or, even more often, cruising through calm water with their wingtips trailing through the air, much as a human might trail a finger tip through the water. Here, though, there were dozens in the air at one time, and, as we drove Tackless II into the anchorage, we could look down from the deck and see scores –maybe hundreds – layered below!

It would have been easy to stay on here indefinitely. Indeed, a cluster of cruisers seemsb to have stuck there, making it their farthest north destination for the summer. But Don and I want to see as much of the Sea this first summer as we can, so on August 7, a few weeks behind our original schedule, we hoisted the hook and set off for new waters.

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Published at Burlington, VT