From Kathy Mitchell & Dan Finkelstein, S/V Lungta

From Kathy Mitchell & Dan Finkelstein, S/V LungtaWe spent much of our time this summer in an anchorage 20 miles north of Loreto, called San Juanico. It’s a large bay with lots of little nooks and crannies to explore. The terrain is rocky, but every cliff face is different, in color, texture, features, and vegetation. There are a few islets/big rocks in the bay as well, providing lots of interesting places to snorkel, kayak, and fish. We learned how to spear-fish here and how to harvest rock scallops (although we’re not yet able to spot them with any consistency – they’re amazingly well-camouflaged!). We did our first scuba dive of this journey at one of the off-lying rocks here and are looking forward to more! The dive compressor we bought on EBay last year is now installed and we’re “commissioning” it, and learning how to use it and how to maintain it.
We got some more good advice – and a fortunate piece of material – from a lovely couple we befriended earlier in the summer, and now our SSB radio is working reliably. We updated the grounding path (again!), this time using a 4 inch wide strip of copper “foil” instead of a heavy-gauge wire. This has made all the difference, and now we’re able to participate in the morning and evening radio “nets” whenever we want. We’ve also got it hooked up to our computer now, so we can send and receive limited email. This is huge, because it means that we can get daily weather forecasts even when we’re out of range of the internet. Ain’t modern technology grand!? The radio email is very slow, but it’s nice to know that we can connect with our loved ones even when we’re in remote places
We’ve been back and forth between Loreto and San Juanico at least half a dozen times, and find ourselves sailing a lot – hooray! We put up all five sails most of the time now, we’ve figured out the order in which everything needs to happen and a few tricks to make each step go smoothly. Most of the time the wind is moderate, 10-15 knots, but it’s not unusual to have a slow period to the day when the winds change directionFrom Kathy Mitchell & Dan Finkelstein, S/V Lungta
and go through a nearly flat stage. We often just bob around until they pick up again, because we’re enjoying being able to get from point A to point B without even starting the motor. But we do sometimes have to, especially at the beginning or end of the day, if the winds aren’t doing what we want. We won’t spend a sleepless night on the water just because we don’t want to run the engine for an hour or two. It’s quite a change from the PNW, where we motored significantly more than we sailed! But not all days have been mellow. One day we arrived at our anchorage just in front of a front :-), and the winds picked up dramatically just as Dan began lowering the anchor. Before he finished he was drenched from heavy rain and blown around by winds over 20 knots. It didn’t last much longer than the period it took to set the anchor, though. :-0
This whole period has been full of unusual “unsettled” weather, mostly as a result of a series of hurricanes or smaller tropical storms that have spun up and traveled just outside of the Baja peninsula. As they fade away, they spread out and dump all of the gathered moisture over a wide expanse, including here on the inside of the peninsula. We’ve been hearing all summer that it hasn’t rained here in three years and things have been drier than usual, but for the last couple of months that has all been turned on its ear. We’ve had rain on the boat perhaps a dozen times, and we’ve seen
nearby clouds with rain below almost every day. There are “thunder-bumpers” on the horizon most afternoons, and many nights we’ve had a dramatic light-show on the horizon, sometimes with an accompanying sound-show. Several times we’ve seen a really dramatic refraction phenomenon, where swirls of rainbow
colors appear on a thin backdrop of cloud, usually peeking out from behind a big cumulus cloud. Really beautiful!
The result of all this moisture has been a phenomenal burst of life, trying to take advantage of the windfall before it disappears again. The hills are completely covered with vegetation, and the cactus don’t stand out as much as before because there’s a surprising amount of bushes and other plants that are normally almost invisible. Many of the plants are blooming too! Recently after another few days of rain there was mist in the hills in the morning. I thought the view could have been from Ireland, or maybe the South Pacific – as long as you don’t look closely enough to see the cactus mixed in! The other “bloom” that we’ve experienced has been in the insect population, from flies to mosquitos to moths to butterflies, the place is crawling! The variety of
moths has been astonishing, and one variety is so large that when it flitters past at night we sometimes mistake it for a bat, and have taken to calling them vampire moths.