5/22/2013 – Catamarans, Coromuels, and chicken wings

Yesterday we made the 20 mile trip from Isla San Francisco to Ensenada Grande on Isla Partida. The night before we were invited over to Pam and Eric’s catamaran, “Pied a Mer III” to watch a movie. The boat is a 38-40′ Seawind cat. I think that’s the right make and I’m guessing on the length based on moorage cost discussions I had with Eric. It’s a beautiful boat but could not be more different than Siempre Sabado. First, you get aboard by climbing up one of two staircases at the aft ends of the hulls (are they “amas” on cats or just on trimarans?). Then you walk up to a wide open, covered deck (the patio) which is separated from the cabin by a glass door that can be folded up and hoisted out of the way allowing the entire salon and patio to be one big space. The salon is as wide as the deck between the hulls and sports a long wrap-around couch, coffee table, bookcases, etc. In the starboard hull, the galley was a real treat. Lots of counter space, two freezers in addition to a front-opening fridge, lots of light from the ports and an ungimballed stove. We also have an ungimballed stove on Siempre Sabado but that’s just because that’s how I installed it. On Pied a Mer, the stove is ungimballed because it doesn’t need to be gimballed as they don’t heel. I asked if it’s true that they could set a wine glass down on the table, go sailing, and come back later to find it still where they set it. They said it was definitely true. After touring the boat and visiting a bit, we watched Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall and Edward G. Robinson in “Key Largo”. Eric set his laptop on the coffee table and plugged it into a projector that was also on the coffee table. He projected the movie on to the back of a chart (SF Bay to Pt. Mendecino) so we had essentially, a big screen TV. It was great. There’s a lot to be said for multi-hulls as I’m coming to learn. Too bad there aren’t very many around in our price range other than old beat-up plywood tris.

The trip from Isla SF was another slow one. We had wind on our nose the whole way or at least when we had any wind at all. The seas were still pretty riled up from last night’s Coromuel winds for the first couple of hours. And, yes, they were from the south so we’d be shuffling along and then suddenly hit about 3 big swells in a row that would bring us to a dead halt for a few seconds. Very slow going. Later in the day, the seas laid down and, fortunately, once the tide started to fill in, we got a little speed boost for the latter 1/3 of the trip. After a cool morning, the afternoon was brutally hot.

On the other end of the speed spectrum: As we neared the north end of Isla Partida, I spied a dark boat with a big white wake behind it. As it got closer, which didn’t take too long, I checked it out with the binocs. It was either some kind of military boat or some drug runner’s dreamboat. It was dark grey and black. Very angular looking from the side like it’s been built of flat sheets of metal, all hard edges. No markings and it was hard to see if it even had any windows. And it was moving along at well over 30 knots, maybe even 40. A couple of boaters on the VHF said it was moving 50-60 knots but, since they weren’t able to pick it up on radar and it also didn’t show up on AIS (obviously, if it was military or narco), they were just guesstimating just like I was and, I suspect their guesstimates were a tad high. I forgot to snap a photo but it was pretty far away anyway so it probably doesn’t matter. You can bet that once we get to an internet connection, I’ll be seeing what I can find.

We anchored in the little cove at the SE end of Ensenada Grande. Figured that was our best chance of hiding from any swells that might come in as a result of the coromuels winds we were more than likely to experience. For those that don’t know, “Coromuels” are a local wind phenomenon that is a result of cool Pacific air moving across the lowlands west of La Paz as they move to the lower pressure over the Sea. In other places it’s not unusual to have onshore winds caused by the cooling of the water at night but in order to be true coromuels, the winds need to have come across that flat spot between La Paz and the Pacific Ocean. The big problem with coromuels around Isla Espiritu Santo and adjacent Isla Partida, is that almost all of the anchorages on these islands are wide open to the SW and guess where the winds typically come from? If you said “the southwest”, you’re a winner. Go get yourself something good to eat or drink in the fridge as a reward. Go ahead, we’ll wait for you…..

…Well, now that you’re back, we had a good coromuel last night. Came up about sunset and really felt good as it cooled things off. It had been really hot until the sun went down and even after until we got a cool breeze. Well, the winds built pretty good and by bedtime, they were ripping through the anchorage. But, the beauty part was that they were coming almost directly out of the south so we had no swells to contend with. But those winds were blowing so hard and were so cool that I actually slept under a blanket for the first time since we were up in Bahia Concepcion back in March. Coromuels typically die out at sunrise but we’re still getting a fair amount of wind this morning and it’s 10:30. Hoping they’ll die a bit sooner tomorrow as we plan to head down to Bahia Falsa tomorrow. However, if the winds don’t die down until the afternoon, we may leave later and just go halfway tomorrow an finish the trip on Friday.

We’re scheduled to arrive at Marina Costa Baja on Saturday, a mere 3 days from now. In taking stock of our supplies, I can see that we did pretty good but it’s time to get to a major provisioning spot. I ground up our last bag of coffee beans this morning, we have just enough cheese to get to La Paz, we’re down to our last 2 boxes of fruit juice, I’ll use our last onion today when I make beans, etc. On the libations end of things, we’ll have to slow down a bit on the beer consumption so we don’t run out. We already ran out of rum but we have enough tequila to get there, and, we should have plenty of agua mineral to finish the trip. We’re certainly not hurting but there are a lot of “zeroes” in the quantity column of our provisions inventory.

Besides feeding my internet jones, there are a couple of things we (and me in particular)are looking forward to once we get to La Paz and, I know you’ll be surprised when you find out that they all concern food. First on my list is a big plate of extra hot chicken wings. There’s a restaurant in the Vista Coral complex (“Chilpotio’s” or something like that)that specializes in wings. And you order them by how many you want and how hot. Instead of getting a little appetizer plate, you can actually get a proper meal’s worth of wings. And Lulu can order them how she wants and I get them how I want. And they serve huge mugs of ice cold cerveza. Second meal stop will be at Bufalito’s grill for a nice ribeye steak. Following that will be a trip to Rancho Viejo for arrachera beef and then a trip down to the Super Burro for some papas rellenas. Oh, man! My mouth is starting to water.

If the wind stops blowing and it gets hot again this afternoon like it did yesterday, we’re going to go snorkeling along the rocky shore later. Guess that’ll just have to tide me over until we get back to civilization, spelled f-o-o-d.


About sryoder

Steve & Lulu... retired. Had enough of the cold wet dreary fall/winter/spring in the Pacific Northwest. Bought a boat, fixed it up, sold our home and sailed to Mexico in November, 2010. Been here ever since except for occasional forays to the States (summer only, thank you) to visit the kids, parents and siblings. If you're looking for a sailing blog, this is the wrong place. This is a traveling, hunkering in, eating blog. Sailing is just how we get from place to place when we can't walk.
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3 Responses to 5/22/2013 – Catamarans, Coromuels, and chicken wings

  1. Sandy Holeman says:

    You are so very entertaining!

  2. We know exactly which Wing place you are talking about. We scorched ourselves the first time because we ordered the hottest ones…….knew afterwards to tone it down on subsequent visits. And of course Rancho Viejo – best arrachera!!! That’s the bummer about traveling further south – we have yet to find any food worth talking about, except to say that El Salvadorean papusas, should only be fed to dogs and chickens.

    Food ROCKS!


    • sryoder says:

      Ate at Chiltepino’s last night. Lulu had 20 of the “mediana” wings (heat of “2” on a scale of 1-4 with 4 being the hottest) and had to bring half back to the boat. I had 20 of the “chiltepino’s” (the hottest ones – the sauce is heavily, if not totally, dependent on habanero peppers). I didn’t bring any home with me, at least not in a bag or box. That’s what I’m talking about.

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