In anticipation of the north winds we moved to Bahia Salinas on Wednesday morning. As mentioned earlier, the land doesn’t cut the wind very much but we’re able to anchor pretty close to shore in 10-12 feet of water and thus cut the swell down to nothing. Wednesday and Wednesday night were very windy. Winds out of the N-NW at a steady 10-15 knots with gusts into the 20s. But the anchor was dug in solidly so we stayed put and the lack of swell was certainly a treat.
And speaking of anchors, I need to take a second out here to sing the praises of our 35 lb. Rocna anchor again. This thing digs into the bottom like it was planning to stay awhile. When it grabs, it grabs hard, usually pulling chain over the top of the gypsy on the windlass before I can get it (the chain) secured with a snubber. Makes us feel very secure in a blow.
Had a drive-by inspection by the Navy. They came in on one of their go-fast-looking boats. This may be a newer generation of PT boat or something like it. It has a reverse shear that makes it look like a shark getting ready to attack. Looks like it’s going fast when it’s just standing still. They sailed by us slowly. We exchanged waves but they didn’t stop. They did stop at the SW end of the beach. We couldn’t tell if they were planning to anchor or what but apparently they were just talking to the kayakers camped there.
I’m actually writing this on Friday, the 12th but I used the 11th in the title to keep it separate from the entry for the 12th which I’ll probably write later today. So, anyway, yesterday (Thursday), we took the dink ashore to look around. Bahia Salinas is a wide bay with beautiful aqua blue water and a long white sandy beach. The water under the dinghy while we were going ashore was gin-clear. We hauled BabaLooie (or, as Lulu calls him, “Bob”)well above the high tide line and headed towards the old salt drying operation. I don’t believe that they dry salt commercially here anymore although there did appear to be water in one of the drying ponds.
We had read in the cruising guide that it’s usually OK to explore the old buildings if you check with the caretaker first. As we approached the cluster of buildings, headed towards the only person we saw, a couple of local dogs came out to greet us. They acted all guard-doggy at first but we just stopped, waited for them to approach, talked soothingly and let them sniff us. Of course, once we petted them, we were all bonded. We continued up to talk to a fellow working on an old Suzuki Samurai. As soon as we said, “Hola, buenos dias”, his face lit up in a smile and he was as friendly as the dogs. His name is Omar and, although we had no idea if he was the caretaker, we asked if it would be OK if we looked around at the ‘edificios viejos’ (old buildings). He said it’d be fine. We exchanged a few more pleasantries and then continued on past several houses to the old drying operation.
I’m not sure when they last used the facility but it’s clearly falling down. Wind has eroded most of the buildings which are made of concrete blocks, stone, and bricks with tin roofs. The wind has eaten a lot of the mortar from between the stones and bricks and has even eaten some of the porous stone away. It was fun to poke around and I did get some good photos which I’ll post when we get back to Puerto Escondido in a week or so. There are a few sun and wind bleached signs that are still legible that indicate that there was a school, a company store, and a doctor’s office.
As we wandered back towards the dinghy, we passed 2 new-looking buildings. They didn’t seem to be inhabited but they looked nicely appointed with fancy plates on the walls, big upholstered patio furniture, planters, etc. Looked like some sort of mini lodge or eco-hotel or something but there were no signs telling us. We found out later that they were lodges used for guests who come here for hunting and fishing trips. We stopped to tell Omar that we were all done and asked him how many people live at Bahia Salinas. He said that there are 6 permanent residents but only 4 were there at the moment. We asked what sort of work they had and he said basically that they took care of the buildings, keeping things clean and working. He said that ‘el jefe’ (the boss) comes and goes. He then introduced us to his teenage daughter who goes to school in Ensenada but was home for a vacation. She looked pretty happy about it as she flashed us a huge grin.
We said our good-byes and decided to wander down to the other end of the beach and visit the kayakers. Jim and Susie are from Utah and apparently do kayaking trips in this area every year. Rather than go with a group as many choose to do, they each rent a sea kayak down here and go off on their own as a couple. I guess when the Navy stopped by and talked to them yesterday, they were a little bit freaked out and weren’t completely convinced that it really was the Navy. So, when the Captain asked if they were with the yacht (that’d be us), they said yes so that they wouldn’t appear to be just 2 defenseless people all by themselves. They had a pretty nice little camp but, it was still a camp and made us glad we could return to our “home” where cold beers and hot showers awaited.
As predicted, the winds began to shift from north to south during the night and with them, the swells. We could feel the boat turning and had a slightly rolly night. It was funny, though. On the night we got here, things were very noisy. The wind was shrieking, the snubbers were creaking, the dinghy was bouncing off the mother ship, etc. It was noisy but we both managed to sleep through it. But last night, when the only sound was the fender between the dink and the boat bouncing softly against the hull every time the boat rocked, I HAD to get up and re-tie it before it drove me bonkers!
We had a great time at Bahia Salinas and really enjoyed our stay. But, with S-SW winds coming it’s time to move on.