Sailing with Grandma and Grandpa

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Our first stop was Puerto Refugio which is a 15hr sail away from Puerto Penasco but it is important to arrive during daylight as there are many unmarked reefs and rocks that must be avoided. Therefore it is necessary to leave in the afternoon, sail through the night and arrive in the late morning. We had a great sail as we left Puerto Penasco and everyone quickly readjusted to the motions of the sea. The wind died in the late evening so we motored into the early morning when at 1 am we sailed again. We sailed into the beautiful bay and anchored almost exactly where we did that last time we were here. The bay was calm and beautiful and both my parents seemed to appreciate the beauty of the Sea of Cortez in our first anchorage. We spent 2 days and one night in this wonderful little bay. We took my parents to a great snorkeling spot but the time just did not work out well so there was not much to see. However it was still fantastic swimming in the warm clear waters even if there were not as many fish as we remembered. From there we were dodging weather systems for 4 days as we made our way south. We spent one day motoring across calm seas taking in the views of the islands around us as well as the mountains of the Baja peninsula. On another day we motored and we sailed in steep rolling waves for 24 hours only to finally anchor in a rolling anchorage. We were able to get off the boat and explore the white sand beaches of San Juanico and do some more snorkeling. From there we made our way to Honeymoon cove where we were finally back to calm seas and light winds. We spent two days in the most beautiful bay with amazing snorkeling right from the boat. We stayed at Honeymoon cove as a hurricane passed 250 miles to the south of us. Four miles away from Honeymoon Cove is a good spot to be if a hurricane were to come up into the sea. Once the hurricane passed we continued moving south. After another rocking and rolling day of no wind and confused seas (from the hurricane), we arrived at our favorite place in the sea, Isla San Francisco. We had been telling my parents about this place for 2 years now. So it would have been understandable of we had put it on some type of pedestal that was unattainable. Nope, it was just as amazing as we all remembered. The water was a breathtaking turquoise blue, the crescent shaped, white sand beach was right out of a tourism brochure and the weather was perfect. We spent several days swimming, hiking, snorkeling and just playing on the beach. We met a wonderful Australian family and joined them for an afternoon of swimming off of their catamaran. Alexander was able to ride their foiling board. They have four kids whose ages matched pretty well with our two kids. We planned to meet up again as both families head south.  A weather window opened up for our crossing to Bandaras Bay so we decided to cross a few days earlier than we originally planned. The crossing from Isla San Fransisco to Puerto Vallarta is 350 miles which is three days and two or three nights. There was supposed to be winds from 5 to 15 knots the entire way across. Often times the wind estimates on our forecasting programs is rather low so we thought the winds would be perfect. They were perfect (if you don’t own a sailboat). For three days and two nights we crossed the Sea of Cortez under motor with the winds most always below 5 knots. Oh well, at least there were calm seas. The passage was uneventful with lots of time spent playing games, watching the dolphins play on our bow wave and just relaxing with grandma and grandpa. Overall the weather could have been much better for my parent’s time in the Sea of Cortez. The wind was blowing too hard or not at all. And the hurricanes that had just passed before we arrived and the one that passed while we headed south really churned up the ocean and sent a big northbound swell counter to the normal south moving wind waves. I later learned that the hurricane also made for some higher than normal temperatures in the locations that we were sailing. But anytime with grandma and grandpa is good time even if you have to sweat all night in a rolling boat.

Overlooking our anchorage at Isla San Francisco
One of the many sea caves around Puerto Rofugio
Alexander about to get in the water and go snorkeling for the first time in 15 months.
Everyone kitting up and about to get wet!
Our little fish!
Almost from day one he has been comfortable exploring beneath the waves.
Every time we go out his breath holds get longer.
He loves to swim down to the bottom and explore the nooks and crannies.
It is about 18 feet deep here and he gets to the bottom with ease.
You can just see a school of fish in front of him. That school had been following us for about the last 15 minutes.
Victoria and Ashley on the paddleboards

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