April 5 – 6, 2008 — Loreto

House battery at 6 am: 12.47

Yesterday was one of those days when things just fell into place, perfectly, from dawn to dark. I rose at the usual time, and caught the Amigo net weather while enjoying coffee and breakfast. Saturday and Sunday were forecast to be calm, but winds were predicted for Monday afternoon. I had thought we’d spend Saturday night at Punta Mangles, 7 miles south of San Juanico, however after hearing the weather, I decided to move on down to Loreto, in case we needed to move on by Monday. Loreto has no marina facilities, just a small boat basin. Cruisers visiting Loreto must either anchor out front of the boat basin, in open roadstead, or go 13 miles further south, to Puerto Escondido, and then take a taxi back to town. I figured the settled weather on Saturday and Sunday would allow us time to anchor out and explore Loreto, before the Monday winds arrived.

We got underway at 8:40, and stopped off at a fishing hole near the entrance to San Juanico to try my luck. I caught one small fish, which I put on ice, but only one. I tried for a half hour, and then we resumed our southerly cruise. As we neared Punta Mangles, Sandy saw a spout off the port bow. A single gray whale was alternately spouting and sounding. We got several good looks as our paths crossed. Further on we saw a small group of dolphins. I trolled a big lure behind my deep sea rod, but again without luck. Punta Mangles is a dramaticly beautiful headland, with contrasting bands of red, brown, and white rock. After rounding Punta Mangles we needed to keep a sharp watch for Mangles Rock, a reef and pinnacle rock area, just barely awash, and over a mile offshore, right along the logical route for cruising south. We visually located it, in its charted location, and gave it a wide berth.

Isla Coronado was our next waypoint on the way to Loreto. We were intending on heading straight for Loreto, but I began thinking about how long it had been since we’d been able to shower. We were both feeling quite salty and grungy. I decided that a short stop at Isla Coronado might afford a good chance for solar showers and donning fresh clothes before arriving at Loreto. With its lack of marina facilities, I knew public showers wouldn’t be available there. As we approached the broad eastern anchorage, I could see a large number of pangas and fishing boats on the beach at the north end of the anchorage. However, the bay is large, and the southwestern end terminates in a sheltering hook, over a mile from the pangas. The water is shallow there, with broad expanses of sand bottom, which gave the water a lovely bright aqua color, reminiscent of waters we’d seen in the Bahamas. Best of all, no one else was around. A perfect shower stop. I anchored and went for a salt water swim while Sandy showered, and then took my turn. The solar shower was up to 110 degrees, we sat in calm waters with light winds. It felt great to clean up and put on fresh clothes.

We took our time cruising the final 9 miles to Loreto, motor sailing most of the way. We located the boat basin by watching the pangas as they headed in. As we neared the breakwater, I decided to poke our nose in, to see if there was any chance we could tie up inside. We dropped centerboard and rudders, secured the dinghy on a short painter, and idled in. The boat basin is perhaps an acre in size, with pangas tied up on all sides to the breakwater, bow in and with sterns secured to small floats. There are 2 small floating docks, one on each side, both with 2 short finger docks. A couple of large sport fishing boats were tied up to the far docks, and it looked like it was used by a charter fishing service. The other is located just inside the breakwater entrance, and the slip space along the entrance to the boat basin was unoccupied. The length looked to fit our boat perfectly. We slid on in and tied up. I could see no signs or indications of limitations or prohibitions to our being there. It was a perfect spot, and well sheltered.

After securing the boat, we walked over to the charter fishing office, and found a guy who spoke English. I asked him if there was any problem with us tying up there. He didn’t think there was, and asked some other guys hanging out there in Spanish. No problemo. With that, we turned our backs to the boat basin, and started our explore of Loreto. We wandered over to the town center, with a first stop at the Mission Church. It is the oldest mission in Baja, and has been beautifully restored. The doors were open and we looked inside. The altar area is beautifully decorated with colorful and gilded statues and liturgical art work. Next door is a mission museum, which we wandered through. It told the story of the mission period in Baja quite thoroughly, and contained some remarkable artifacts. Afterwards, we did a little shopping, and then walked back toward the waterfront, in search of a restaurant. The walkway down from the church is landscaped with a series of small hedged trees, arranged in pairs, and trained to grow together over the middle of the street. These hedged trees form a series of green arches for several blocks on either side of the church. It’s a very lovely and inviting street.

For dinner we selected La Palapa, a nice, traditional Mexican restaurant near the waterfront. The roof is thatched palm leaves, and the walls are woven mats. The atmosphere was warm and colorful, and the waiters had energy and style. Our waiter had a bright red crewcut, but was clearly a true Mexican. He had a good sense of humor, spoke fair English in a heavy accent, and served us well. We ordered margueritas, and they brought us an excellent salsa tray. Sandy ordered shrimp, and I had scallops. The food was excellent. After dinner Sandy wanted to try their flan. The waiter asked if I would like some Mexican coffee. I hesitated a bit, then said Si. He beamed and gave me the “right on” arm pump. A short while later he returned with the flan, and a tray with coffee cup, an alcohol flame holder and two metal cups. With great flair he heated the tequila in the two cups, then flamed the contents, and proceeded to pour from one to the other the flaming tequila. He created a flaming stream over a foot in length. It was quite a performance, finished off by pouring a little flaming tequila on Sandy’s flan, and the rest into my coffee. Perfect way to complete a delightful meal.

We walked back to the waterfront as dusk settled, and then strolled the malecon back toward the boat basin. We walked out to the end, where our boat was slipped. A family group was at the small gazebo on the end, a man, two women, a young boy and two dogs. We walked down to the boat, closely followed by the boy, who displayed an intense curiousity about the boat. He peered over the side, trying to see what was inside. One of the women came down, I think to make sure the boy wasn’t being a problem, and she too became extremely curious about the boat. I tried to explain things in spite of the language barrier. She asked about sleeping area and “banos” facilities. I showed her how our little boat handled these things. I told her it was our “agua casa” or water house. She got the idea.

I went on deck to put up the sail covers. While working on them, I heard a loud splash behind me. I thought it was a pelican diving on fish, but saw that it was the man, standing at the end of the finger dock. He was working a throw net. I watched his next throw and marveled at how he achieved a perfect circle as the net hit the water. I have such a net, and have tried many times to get the hang of throwing it, but never succeeding. It always splashes into the water in a hopeless wad. I told the man how much I appreciated his skill, and then pantomimed that I’d tried, but couldn’t get it to work. He immediately motioned me over to his net, and indicated that he would show me his technique. I was hesitant, but he was insistent. He first looped the end of the retrieval line around my wrist, then carefully gathered up the line and the top portion of the net in a series of folds, held by my right hand. He hooked a portion of net over my right elbow, and then gathered folds of net also into my right hand. The remaining net was gathered up into my left hand. I then twisted myself counterclockwise and then tossed the whole affair out toward the water in an exaggerated frisbee toss motion. Expecting my usual wadded up mess, I was astonished to see a broad circle of net splash into the water. Both the man and I cheered my success. I slowly pulled the net in, feigning much strain, as though it was full of shrimp. It came in empty, but I was delighted nonetheless. A little while later, the man did finally get one shrimp, which he proudly gave to me. I decided to offer him a beer. He nodded, but misunderstood. He went over and tried to give me one of the few beers he had with him. I shook my head, and then got beers and cokes from the boat. We all celebrated shrimp netting from the dock. We exchanged introductions. He is Leo, his wife is Victoria, and the boy is Roberto. I don’t recall the name of the other woman. Our little bit of time spent together was a joy, and deeply memorable, a fitting cap to a perfect day in Baja.

[April 6]

Today was a layover day, however we rose early, because we wanted to attend the7 am mass at the mission church. While sipping my coffee in the cockpit, shortly after 6 am, an older man walked out to the end of our slip with a fishing rod. He eyed our boat and, in fine English, admired it. We struck up a conversation which was most interesting. He once had worked for the Baja Department of Agriculture, and explained how he had been involved in a program to eradicate cattle screw worm in Baja. It was apparently a big problem. My friend, who introduced himself as Bill Gusman, would drive out to all the ranches in Baja, no matter how remote, and test the cattle for screw worm. If he found infected animals, he would go out to the nearest phone, and call somewhere in Texas. A DC3 plane would take off, headed for the affected area. Bill would mark the target area with a big circle of gypsum, and when the plane arrived, he would signal with a mirror. The plane would then drop small boxes containing up to 1 million sterilized screw worm flies. These flies would then breed with the wild flies, and after a couple generations, screw worms would be eradicated in that specific area. He mentioned with pride the date in 1981 when over 400 people who had worked on this program gathered to celebrate the total eradication of screw worms in all of Baja.

Shortly before 7 am we walked up to the mission church. Unfortunately, the mass had already started, but we did attend the last half, and heard some beautiful hymns sung to the accompaniment of guitars. After the mass we walked over to a cafe and had breakfast. I ordered huevas Mexicana and Sandy had huevas nopalita, which is scrambled eggs with diced cactus leaves. Both entrees were excellent. After breakfast I found a table in the shade and caught up with my journal. We managed to locate an internet cafe at a place which was combination gift shop and bar. The people were very friendly there, and offer free WIFI. Of course, we did a little shopping, to show our appreciation. I was able to catch up on e’mail, and send son Ken the latest journal entries and photos.

We then located a car rental agency which the folks at the internet cafe had recommended, and arranged to rent a car tomorrow, so we can drive up to visit Mission Xavier, the second oldest mission in Baja, and reputed to be one of the most beautiful. We also did a little grocery shopping before returning to the boat. We just hung out in the shade of the bimini and sunshade during the afternoon. While sitting in the cockpit we saw the woman and dad that we had met in San Juanico. They had run in to pick up crew. A little later we were hailed by Howard and Pat, from Tuna Time, whom we’d last seen in Santa Rosalia. They came aboard and we caught up on our experiences since seeing each other last.

We fixed dinner aboard this evening. I fried up the fish fillets and our one shrimp, while Sandy sauteed up onions and squash, spiced with a little jalapena pepper. We really wished we’d had a few more shrimp, and a little less jalapena. The dinner was most enjoyable nonetheless. Afterwards, we went for a walk up and down the malecon. We weren’t alone in enjoying this simple pleasure. Many people were out walking in the comfortable evening air. The street itself was jammed with cars, cruising up and down, with Mexican music piped loudly from CD players. It was like American Graffiti, ala south of the border. We ended things off with dessert at a fine waterfront restaurant.

April 7, 2008 — Layover day in Loreto

House battery — 12.40

Bill Gusman and a couple of his fishing comrades were out on the dock when I got up around 6 am. Fishing was better this morning. The sardines were in, and the fisherman had several nice 16 inch long flounder flopping on the dock. We thought we had gotten up in plenty of time to get our car at 8:30 am, but we learned that a couple days ago, Baja California Sur changed to daylight savings time, and we’d lost an hour. I did manage to find the National Park office open, and I bought 2 annual park passes. I also visited the Port Captain’s office, and checked in.

We then walked up to the car rental office, and went through the process of renting our car. The insurance ended up costing as much as the rental fee for a day, but I didn’t want to take unnecessary chances, and I got the best insurance they offered. The car was a compact Chevy, with 4 tires plus spare, all with air, manual shift and no power steering. The air conditioning worked, but there was no radio. I didn’t know they made cars without a radio any more. I put $10 worth of gas in the car, and we headed for the hills.

We managed to make all the right turns, and soon found ourselves on the road to San Xavier Mission. The first 8 km or so was newly paved, with guard railing in the process of being installed. Beyond that, the road was a rough, bumpy desert dirt road. Provided I didn’t exceed 30 km/hr, our little car handled it fine. We drove up a narrow arroyo, which had an intermittent stream running through it. In places, the water stood in pools, and flowed over smooth rock and in narrow channels. Numerous small groves of fan palms lined the arroyo, testifying to the availability of water. We passed a couple of shrines along the roadside. A sign marked the location of a small cluster of Indian rock paintings. We stopped to examine them. They weren’t as spectacular as the ones we viewed at La Trinidad, but were interesting nonetheless. As we continued up the road, we climbed sharply upward. The road was carved into a steep mountainside, and weaved in and out of narrow draws. As we neared the summit, we could look back and see the distant Sea of Cortez, and the town of Loreto, far below. On the other side we drove through an arid valley, which gradually began descending into a canyon. Another stream flowed in this canyon bottom.

Just after noon, we arrived at San Xavier. The mission church could be seen from a distance, its bell tower projecting above the palms and trees which marked this as a place of peace, rest and shade. A small community of about 150 people surround the mission, which is still used as an active place of worship. This mission is the second oldest in all the Californias. The interior is beautifully decorated with statues, paintings, and carved woodwork. These remarkable works of art arrived at this remote desert location after a journey by sailing ship around the Horn, and then by pack animal up to the mission.

Our drive back down, out of the mountains was uneventful, except for the sign which detoured us away from the newly paved section of road. We were routed onto a rocky graded road which ran down a dry wash, right through the middle of an active gravel operation, and finally out to the main highway. After hitting pavement, we drove south, out to Puerto Escondido, to give the facilities there a quick look. (We should have looked closer). Our plan was to run down there next day in the boat, for fuel at their fuel dock, and to do laundry and take showers. The Singlar Marina at Puerto Escondido offers all the above facilities.

We returned to town, bought groceries, and drove them out to the boat. We then returned the car to the rental agency, and walked back through town. We stopped in at a little restaurant called Mita Gourmet, which had been recommended to us by people we’d met the day before. It features an outside dining area, and adjoins a lovely plaza quite near the Loreto Mission church. We arrived ahead of the main dinner crowd, which was fortunate, as this place is quite popular. The chef personally greets each group of diners, and answers any questions you may have about the menu. He has a captivating personality, and readily conveys his love of preparing gourmet meals. While we were sipping our pina coladas a musician began setting up. He played an amplified acoustic guitar, and beautifully played both classical and popular tunes. The food was outstanding. Sandy asked if she could take a picture of the chef at work. The waitress said no, but that she’d go back with the camera and take one for us. She took a great picture of our chef at work.

April 8, 2008 — Puerto Escondido — N 25 degrees 48′ 50.8″ W 111 degrees 18′ 35.5′

house battery at 7 am (savings time): 12.38 (away most of the day, couldn’t aim solar panel)
15 nm cruised for the day; 261.9 nm cruised on the trip overall

The good fortune and happy times we associated with our visit to Loreto lingered for awhile after our departure this morning, but as we left Loreto in our wake, problems began to present themselves. The day started pleasantly enough, to the sounds of panga fishermen talking enthusiasticly among themselves, some powering out of the boat basin toward their favorite fishing spots, others circling around, casting throw nets for bait fish. The old man who comes out to the dock on his bicycle every morning and evening to fish with his hand line was at the end of our dock when I emerged from the cabin. If I were a portrait artist I would paint him. His face tells a thousand stories, and he says “Buenas dias amigo” with genuine warmth and feeling. I prepared to cast off, handling the lines while Sandy started up the motor. I felt a nudge on my shoulder, and the old man looked at me, then glanced over at Sandy behind the wheel and said “Capitan?” I nodded affirmatively, and when the lines were free, I told Sandy to take the boat away from the dock. She powered up, and we idled our way out of the boat basin. The old man smiled and waved, impressed that Sandy was our boat captain, and Sandy appreciated the moment as well.

We took our time motoring south, toward Puerto Escondido. I trolled a lure, and we sighted a pair of humpback whales, which passed closely enough to allow for pictures. We also saw a sea lion, floating on his back with just flippers sticking out of the water. A cruise ship bound for Loreto passed us northbound, while we were watching the whales. I was glad we were able to see Loreto before the cruise ship arrived there.

Problems started as we neared Puerto Escondido. Sandy was below, organizing the laundry. She noticed a rotten smell in the king berth area, and discovered the source to be a hard boiled egg which I’d forgotten to remove from my day pack. It was a left over from the sack lunch I brought on the La Trinidad hike, over a week before. Whew, was it ripe. Next little mishap occurred as we were getting fenders and dock lines ready for arrival at the Puerto Escondido fuel dock. I’d clipped the backstay cable that supports the mainsail boom onto a plastic clip instead of to the stainless loop on the end of the boom. When Sandy grabbed the boom for support, while working on deck, the plastic clip broke. Not a big deal, just irritating.

On to the fuel dock. I’d gone to considerable trouble confirming the availability of gas here at Puerto Escondido. Before leaving home, I e’mailed the cruising club in La Paz with an inquiry. They made some phone calls on my behalf, and e’mailed me back that yes, indeed, the Singlar Marina had both diesel and gas. Based on that information, I had opted against hauling gas to the boat while in Loreto by means of jerry cans, although that wouldn’t have been very difficult while we had use of the rental car. I figured that a nice convenient fuel dock, a real rarity down here, was a luxury too good to pass up. We eased up to the fuel dock, beneath the huge Pemex fuel tanks. Two dock hands were standing by to take our lines. One guy queried “Diesel?” I said “No, gasoline”. He shook his head, saying “No gasoline today”. I was incredulous. Back and forth we went, in his broken English and my almost non existent Spanish. Eventually, I gathered that their gas tank was empty, and that they didn’t expect fuel delivery until around 10 am the next day. This was beginning to feel like our hot water problems at the Singlar Marina in Santa Rosalia.

We had little option but to wait for tomorrow, in hopes that the promised fuel delivery would actually occur. We anchored in the convenient area known as the Elipse, nice and close to the Singlar docks. We ran over to the dock in the dinghy, loaded down with laundry, computer and shower gear. I went into the office, and received one piece of discouraging information after another. In order to check in, I would have to hike about a half mile over to another office, because Singlar didn’t control the area we had anchored in. We needed to deal with API instead. We wash our clothes, but the driers didn’t work. It seems the propane tanks for the driers were empty. Internet works, however, it is painfully slow. There was some debate as to the availability of hot shower water. Sandy took her chances, and found the one shower stall that, with a long enough wait, eventually achieved a flow of warm water. When my shower turn came along, I had to use the women’s shower, same one Sandy had used, because there is no hot water at all on the men’s side. Sandy also discovered that none of the electrical outlets in the bathroom work. She ended up drying her hair in the marina office/computer room. I asked the marina official if I could string up a clothes line to dry our laundry, since the driers didn’t work. She said no. When I persisted, she picked up the phone and called for a couple of workers to come over. After a flurry of conversation, she said that they could get one drier to work. It appears they had just enough propane to dry one, not two, loads of laundry. I said fine, and we got as much clothing stuffed into the drier as possible. I took the remainder back to the boat and strung it out on lifelines and jib sheets. Our little boat looked really festive, with all those “flags” flying in the warm breeze. We were able to catch up on e’mail, while the wash dried. A couple doing updates for Charlies Charts stopped by, and I filled them in on our experiences here thus far. The guy nodded and offered the comment that Singlar is trying, single handedly, to destroy cruising for Mexico. It seems that the local marina employees have virtually no decision making authority. Almost all decisions must be made by someone in Mexico City. Consequently, things break but no authorizations are given to fix them. Rules make no sense, nor do charges and fees. It’s not surprising that cruisers, who are very well networked, tend to stay away from Singlar facilities by the droves. It’s only the unfamiliar ones, or those who really need the services supposedly available, who come here. It’s really a shame, because with some decent management and on site decision making authority, this place could be very successful. Here I go, thinking and acting like a gringo.

I certainly hope tomorrow is a better day. We’re pretty well dependent on that fuel delivery. To cover my bases, though, I plan on checking in with the local cruisers net on VHF, and asking if anyone is planning on driving into Loreto, with room for a couple jerry gas cans. One way or another, I need to have 10 more gallons of gas on board before I will feel comfortable setting out for La Paz.

April 9, 2008 — Bahia Agua Verde — N 25 degrees 31′ 22.4″/ W 111 degrees 04′ 28″

house battery at 7 am: 12.50 volts; 68 liters of gas purchased for 552 pesos; est. 36 gallons on board; est. mileage from Santa Rosalia, including sailing: 8.5 mpg
24 nm cruised for the day; 286 nm cruised on the trip overall

Well, I have to give Pemex and Singlar credit. They said gas would be available by 10 am, and they were right. While sipping our coffee and listening to the Amigo net weather forecast at 7:30 am (8:30 savings time) I saw the tanker truck drive up the entrance road. He first turned down toward the API offices, and a half hour later rolled into the Singlar Marina and parked next to their large, above ground tank. I got into the dinghy and ran in to find out how soon I could get gas. The Singlar guys said 10 am. They didn’t start work till 9 am, and then it took a while for the tanker to connect up to the storage tank and transfer fuel. We raised anchor and motored over to the fuel dock. Sure enough, just after 10 am they were ready to pump me some gas. While getting set up, the gas attendant pointed excitedly toward the water, in front of our boat. There was a lot of thrashing going on. “Roosterfish!” he kept saying excitedly. I grabbed a spin pole and cast toward the action, but was too late. We then proceeded with the mundane, but necessary task of filling fuel tanks. I avoided overfilling the main tank and jerry cans, and figure I took on perhaps 3 gallons short of my 39 gallon capacity. I was very grateful to have tanks full, and the boat ready for the run down to La Paz. While at the fuel dock, I filled the solar shower and porta potty flush reservoir with tap water. We were now well stocked in all respects.

While still at the fuel dock, we talked with a Canadian who had pulled up in a pickup with a bunch of empty jerry cans. We got to talking about manta rays, which can be seen in these waters. As he described his encounters with these remarkable fish, we suddenly realized that the “sea lion” we had seen basking at the surface just after leaving Loreto the day before had actually most likely been a manta ray. We had seen two flippers, which were undoubtedly the tips of its wings. We never saw a nose come up to breath, like a sea lion would have done. This guy said you can get right in the water with manta rays. When you do, he advised looking them right in the eyes, and they might accept you and move in close. Wouldn’t that be a thrill!

We got under way at 11 am, and had lunch while motoring south on calm seas. We occasionally picked up a slight breeze, and were able to motor sail part of the way, and even had enough wind to shut the motor down for short periods. I finally got some action with my deep sea rod, which I regularly troll while cruising. We were only doing about 3 1/2 knots motor sailing when we heard the big Penn Senator reel start to zing. I grabbed the pole with visions of yellowtail in my eyes. The pull of the fish didn’t seem that strong, however, and when I reeled in enough to see the fish, I was disappointed to see that a slender, 3 foot long shark had gotten a mouthful of treble hook. I carefully shook him free with the aid of needle nose pliers. We got going again, and I again let the line out. At least I knew that my diving lure was attractive to something. A mile or so further on, the reel again sang out. We went through the same drill, only to find another shark fouled in the hooks. This time it was even more difficult shaking him free. I decided to put the rod away, noting that trolling at under 4 knots was the probable reason for hooking sharks. I’ll try keeping my speed higher in the future.

Our goal for the day was Bahia Agua Verde, one of the more protective anchorages along this stretch of coast. Since some northerly wind is forecast for tomorrow afternoon and Friday, Agua Verde seemed like a good place to hang out and see what developes. I had planned on at least 1 layover day here in any case. We got in around 4 pm, and found another 5 sailboats and a large power cruiser already swinging at anchor. We were able to find a suitable empty patch of water and dropped our hook. The bobos were waiting for us here, so we put up the dodger and bug netting over forward hatch and cockpit. We were able to enjoy margeritas and munchies in the cockpit without being bothered by bugs. For dinner, we fixed up delicious beef fajitas, with some of the meat we purchased in Loreto. It was an outstanding meal. As we sat in the cockpit, I heard a loud splash. Sandy exclaimed that a ray had just leaped out of the water. I looked in that direction just in time to see a second leap. A ray, about 12 inches across, had leaped completely out of the water and smacked down again. I’d heard that they jump like that, but this was the first time we’d seen them.

April 10, 2008 — Bahia San Marte — 25 degrees 30′ 16.7″ W 111 degrees 01′ 02.3″

House battery at 7 am: 12.50 volts
7 nm cruised today; 293 nm cruised on the trip overall

We had planned today as a layover day, partly because of wind in the forecast, and partly on the basis of favorable recommendations from other cruisers regarding the attractiveness of Agua Verde. However, we found Agua Verde lacking on a number of counts. To start with, it’s way too popular, and at least one of the big cruising sailboats there has such high electrical needs that their 200 watt solar array is insufficient, and a Honda generator is needed for supplemental power. Also, the bugs were a big nuisance there, and we didn’t find it all that attractive a place. Lastly, if a strong north wind did develop, the low sand spit at the head of the anchorage didn’t look like it would afford much protection.

These considerations made the decision to move to another anchorage an easy one. The cruising guides described Bahia San Marte as a nice, isolated spot with good norther protection if one tucked well up into the cove. It also would afford good hiking and beach combing opportunities, which would be welcome if we got pinned down there for a couple of days. We raised anchor following breakfast and motored out of Bahia Agua Verde. A 3 foot swell was running out of the northeast, and it kicked us around a bit as we rounded Punta San Marcial. We paid close attention to our GPS position, since both cruising guides warned of numerous dangerous reefs in the vicinity of Punta San Marte. Two of these reefs are well off shore, and just barely awash at zero tide. We opted to take the conservative, long way in, holding well east of longitude W 111 degrees, which the chart showed would give us good clearance. As we approached Bahia San Marte we noticed a curious white shape on shore, at the base of the rock cliffs. At first, we couldn’t identify the object, but binoculars proved it to be the wrecked hull of a sailboat. Obviously, we were looking at a victim of the San Marte reefs. This sad sight reinforced and justified our caution as we entered this anchorage.

We were able to tuck in close to shore in the pretty little cove that is San Marte. Despite the winds and swell outside, this place afforded good shelter from both. We were the only boat here, and very happy with our decision to move. We rowed ashore to burn trash and explore the beach. The tide was out, and we found lots of interesting shells here, as well as a large number of stranded jellyfish. We walked out and around Punta San Marte, and proceeded until we reached the shallow indentation where the wrecked sailboat had been tossed from the sea and onto a rock shelf. I scrambled over rocks to reach the remains. I was surprised to see a 2008 Washington State registration sticker on the bow. A jagged hole, about 1 foot in diameter, punched through the bow at water line. The first 10 feet or so of hull bottom was shredded and shattered, bearing mute testamony to the violance of her collision with the reef, which had sealed her fate. The fiberglass keel was broken and askew, most likely as a result of waves casting the hull up on the rock shelf. Lettering on the stern revealed her to be the Hanalei, from Seattle. The hulk had been completely stripped. Only the fiberglass hull, some stainless steel railings and lifelines remained. This vessel had certainly been much better outfitted and equipped than our little boat, and its captain was likely a more experienced sailor, and yet, here she lies. It is a harsh reminder of how fine the margin is between a relaxing, enjoyable cruise and tragedy. We can only hope that Hanalei‘s captain and crew escaped injury. We will do some inquiries in La Paz and on the internet, to see if we can learn the story behind this wreck.

Editor’s note: I did a little searching around and dug up a few clues, but nothing conclusive:

Following our beach explore, we returned to our boat for lunch, and then gathered up beach blankets, umbrella, books, and snorkel gear for a leisurely afternoon on the beach. We set up the umbrella, and enjoyed the solitude of our beach. I put my wetsuit on and snorkeled the close in reef. The water was quite chilly, only 64 degrees, and my spring shorty wetsuit was barely adequate. I could only stay out for 25 minutes or so before becoming chilled. My time in the water was a delight, though. I hovered over a small moray eel, startled a couple large puffer fish, and saw several schools of colorful wrasses. Water clarity was reasonably good, and I hated to get out, but it was too chilly for me to stay in longer. We decided to walk the beach to the south, and hadn’t gone more than a couple hundred yards before we heard an outboard engine, rounding the point from the north. It was a panga, with 3 people aboard. They headed in to the beach, near where we stood. Two young men in their late teens and a girl about the same age got out and began a broken conversation. The point of their visit became clear when one of the guys grabbed his plastic fuel container, gave it a shake, and querried “Gasolina?”. I could see about a gallon sloshing around inside his gas tank. Sandy gathered that they were taking the girl home, and were running short on fuel. Fortunately for them, our refueling stop at Puerto Escondido had left us in good shape regarding fuel. I got in the dinghy and ran out to the boat, grabbed one of my 2.5 gallon jerry cans, and returned to the beach. After making sure they understood that my can held only gas, without any mix oil in it, I poured it into their fuel container. They were very appreciative. The girl gave Sandy one of her shell necklaces, and the guy tried to make clear to me that, if we were still here tomorrow, they would stop by and square up for the gas. I told them “no problemo” and then they were off, to take the girl to her home, somewhere down the coast.

We continued our exploration of the beach, and then hauled everything back to the boat. I rinsed the salt off with the solar shower. Sandy got the fixings together for a great pepperoni pizza, which she baked up on our backpack oven. That little oven does a great job on pizza. With the last half hour of sunlight shining into the cockpit, we lounged on the seat cushions and enjoyed our pizza. As dusk settled, I saw some bright lights to the south. I got the binocs out, and made out a sailboat, headed in to our little anchorage. I had just raised our anchor light, so they had something to sight on. The center pilot house sloop set anchor a hundred yards to our stern. I expect they were very glad to shut down for the night.

April 11, 2008 — Puerto El Gato — N 25 degrees 18′ 14.6″ / W110 degrees 56′ 47.5″

House battery at 7 am: 12.48 — No weather forecast available from Don via Amigo Net
13.8 nm cruised for the day; 306.8 nm cruised overall

Not all days are perfect. This one started out innocently enough. The anchorage was calm all night, and we slept in a bit. Skies were clear first thing, the air and cockpit dry. We decided to treat ourselves to a fancy breakfast. Sandy fixed up scrambled eggs and added the beef fajita mix from the other night. I did toast in the frying pan, and we enjoyed a delicious breakfast. Afterward, I rowed over to chat with the couple on the boat that came in late last evening. They were nice folks, about our age, and gave the impression of being former hippies. They were very eager to chat, and hoped that we would spend the day at San Marte. They offered a movie on board their boat this evening. As things turned out, that would have been the better choice.

However, I felt we should take advantage of the NW wind and move to the next anchorage south, a place called San Telmo. It was only 12 miles distant, and I thought we could manage a downwind run with the wind and seas I could see from San Marte. The run to San Telmo went quite well. The wind was fairly steady, at 12 to 15 knots. Trailing seas ran 3 to 4 feet, but at about 4 second interval. The short wave period caused problems for dinghy. Trailing seas would catch her square stern, and try to push her sideways. We were sailing under jib only, which gave good control of the boat. However, with the dinghy acting up, I ended up motor sailing down to San Telmo. The outboard, running at just over 1000 rpm’s, enabled us to make about 4.5 knots on average, and the extra speed helped dinghy track.

We reached the approach to San Telmo around 1 pm. The anchorage is nothing more than a shallow little bay, situated behind a small island. A reef connects the island with the mainland. Lacking a sharp point, refractive swells swing in around the island, thus making the little anchorage very rolly. Nonetheless, we were glad to be off the main water and securely anchored. Steering during the downwind run had tired me out, so I decided to take a nap.

While I was dozing, Sandy decided to row the dinghy ashore on her own. This is something she hasn’t done before. She handles the oars well, but the water between our boat and shore were rolly, and small but steady waves were breaking on the beach. A stiff breeze added to the challenge. She managed it fine, however, she found the beach to be a disappointment. It proved a bleak place, its most outstanding feature being the large number of dead things, such as ray carcasses, lying about.

I rose from my nap and saw her ashore. I gave a toot on the conch horn, and she proceeded to row back out to pick me up. I didn’t watch very carefully, however. She had a lot of trouble getting the dinghy off the beach, and when she rowed up, I could see a large quantity of water sloshing about in the bottom of the dinghy. I got in and tried rowing to shore further down the beach. However, sizeable waves were breaking everywhere along the beach, so I finally gave up the effort, and rowed back to the boat. It was a tough row, as I was fighting both the wind and 2 to 3 feet swells that kept rolling in.

Once back on board, I got the cruising guide out and studied the harbor charts for both San Telmo and Puerto Los Gatos, another anchorage just 1.5 miles further south. Los Gatos looked to offer somewhat more shelter from the swell, so we pulled the anchor and headed back out. By this time the wind had stiffened a bit, and the swells were significantly higher. Still running very close together, they were mostly 5 to 6 feet, and occasionally higher. I ran with motor only, and had to run away from shore quartering the swell. Once out far enough I swung south. The Macgregor was handling the swell just fine. Our problem was the trailing dinghy. I concentrated on steering, while Sandy kept her attention locked on dinghy. It was a very tense mile and a half, with the dinghy threatening to become swamped several times. I kept experimenting with speed and angle to the swell, in an attempt to find the best combination. I never really did, but we weathered the challenge and finally swung into Puerto Los Gatos. Three other sailboats were swinging at anchor, however, there was plenty of room for us to drop our hook. It did indeed appear to offer better shelter than San Telmo.

This is truly a stunning place. Beautiful beaches encircle the bay, and the north end is defined by brick red sandstone rock formations. They are eroded into fantastic shapes and forms, smooth and rounded in some areas, and jagged in others. The beach in front of the red rock is a deep red in color. We went ashore for a most enjoyable stroll.

Upon returning to the boat, we had margeritas in the cockpit while stew was heating on the stove below. The boat was rocking significantly from the refracting swell. I tried setting a stern anchor, which seemed to help a bit. After dinner Sandy offered to whip up an orange/raison upside down cake on the backpack oven. That sounded just great. However, we hadn’t counted on the radical side to side rocking of the boat. The upsidedown cake was a few minutes shy of being done when a nasty set of swells struck us broadside. The sudden pitching of the boat dumped the covered pan containing the cake off the burner and onto the floor of the cockpit. Now we really did have an upside down cake. Sandy grabbed pot holders and scooped it back together, more or less, and we popped it back on the stove. The swells started getting bigger, timing their impact on the boat perfectly. When it came time to pull the dessert from the oven, a really strong swell hit. The cake slipped from Sandy’s grip and about a third of it dumped onto the cockpit floor. She scooped most of what was left into two bowls. I was trying to keep two cups of tea from sliding onto the floor, while passing the two bowls back to the rear cockpit cushion. I missed my grip and dumped one bowl onto the floor behind the pedestal. This whole operation was beginning to resemble the classic food fight from the movie Animal House. Upsidedown cake was flying everywhere. Believe it or not, we actually managed to salvage two edible bowls, and it was excellent, however, by this time, neither of us was particularly in the mood to enjoy it. The next 40 minutes was spent cleaning the whole mess up. Moral of the story: never attempt to fix an upsidedown cake on board a Macgregor when the mast is swing more than 25 degrees back and forth. And to think, if we’d stayed at Bahia San Marte today, we’d have been visiting with our friends and watching a movie instead of mopping upsidedown cake off the decks. Oh well, not every day can be perfect.

April 12, 2008 — Layover day, Puerto Los Gatos

House battery 7 am — 12.48 volts; weather clear, dry, and breezy

I listened to both the Amigo Net and the Sunrisa Net on the SSB this morning. They both agreed that it would blow 20 to 25 knots in the central Sea of Cortez today, but would die down by tomorrow morning, with several days of settled weather in the offing after that. Sounded like a good time for a layover day. I got to know Brian and Elaine on Exodus while out in the dinghy first thing. They spend much of their time on board their 34 foot boat, and have been living here in Baja for the past 4 or 5 years. They have a porta-bote dinghy similar to ours, which immediately gave us something in common.

Sandy and I got things together and set out in the dinghy for shore. Along the way we stopped by Polar Bear out of Sitka Alaska, and met David and Nancy. They invited us aboard, and we spent the next hour in animated conversation, mostly swapping sea stories. David played a key role, during the ’80’s, in modifying the Forest Service logging practises in Southeast Alaska. He was also very familiar with Pete Johnson, at Little Harbor in the Bahamas. We had a great time with them. They plan on having a beach bonfire this evening for the cruisers anchored out here in Los Gatos. Favorite beverages, munchie snacks, some music — sounds like great stuff. We finally made it to the beach, and went for a nice walk to the south, with our new friends on Exodus. I climbed the small hill above the beach, and took some beautiful panoramic pictures of the anchorage and surrounding rock formations. We walked back to the dinghy, and then continued northward, toward the rocky point and some intruiging tide pools.

We’re back on board, and the afternoon winds haven’t given up yet. We’re bouncing around a lot still. If I moved closer in to shore we’d be more protected, but I’m not sure I want to go to the trouble. For now, we’ll just go with the flow, or bounce as it were.

Tomorrow we’ll resume our cruise south. There are some traditional Baja fishing villages along the way. We’re hoping we’ll be able to trade or purchase some fish there, and maybe even some lobsters.

April 13, 2008 — Evaristo — N 24 degrees 54′ 50.2″ / W 110 degrees 42′ 10.8″

28.6 nm cruised for the day; 335.4 nm cruised on the trip overall

Last night’s beach party was a memorable social event. We decided to fix up fried tortilla chips, coated with cinnamon sugar. I pulled out our folding chairs, extra seat cushions, and my backpack reclining seat. At dusk, David and Nancy ran over to Mija in their dinghy. I was hoping Eric and Terry would bring out their conch horns, so we dinghied over to their boat as well. They invited us on board and offered us something to drink. They wouldn’t be coming to the beach, but Eric did haul out his collection of conch horns. Two were made from Bahamian conch shells, and one was a Mexican conch like the one I had made on this trip. I had brought my two along, and it didn’t take long before we had 5 conch horns blowing more or less at the same time. Terry named this extraordinary musical event the “5 conch honk”. We had more fun passing horns around and giving them all a try. I can only imagine what the coyotes on shore must have thought.

After the concert had concluded, we climbed into our dinghy, followed by David and Nancy in their RIB for the run in to the beach. As we ran by Exodus, we saw Brian and Lorrie climbing into their dinghy. David kindled the camp fire, and we set up chairs and cushions around the flames. We passed snacks around, and enjoyed the peace and solitude of a lovely Baja beach as night settled in. Under the stars, and with a bright half moon directly overhead, we shared stories and poked at the cheerful fire. David introduced us to his big project, an invention he calls the “glide cycle”. It has 2 wheels and handle bars, like a regular bicycle, but instead of a conventional frame and pedals, the wheels are joined by a tubular arch, beneath which is suspended a sling type seat. The rider sits in the sling seat and propels forward with a running motion. It enables a rider to engage in aerobic running exercise without the pounding of regular jogging. David says he can do 5 minute miles on the glide cycle. He has big plans to manufacture in quantity, and is hoping it will really take off. He was most interested in hearing what we thought of his invention. We all agreed that it looked great, and we wished him much success with it.

I got up this morning around 7 am. While taking the sail covers off I noticed a panga approaching the anchorage. I figured it to be Manuel, the fisherman from Timbibache who visits regularly to sell his catch. He hadn’t been around in a couple of days, because of the winds and rough seas. He motored by the other boats, but didn’t see anyone up. He spotted me on deck and came over. The other cruisers had told me they all had blue marks on their hulls from Manuel’s panga bumping up against them. It was calm, and he was able to grab onto my boom, which I had swayed out on the starbard side. He introduced himself with a friendly grin, and I responded likewise. I tried asking him if he could provide “dos lingusta” (two lobsters). He said “manana” and mimed a diving motion, suggesting that he would have to go diving to hunt them up. I got across that we would be leaving today. He then offered me a small sierra which was lying in a plastic box in his panga. I looked the fish over. It was very dry, very stiff, and I couldn’t quite tell how many days it had laid in that plastic box. I politely declined the sierra. He then asked if I was interested in some cabrilla. I brightened and said “Si!”. I asked when he might have some. He said “Ocho hora”. I said ok and he ran out in his panga to try for cabrilla.

Sandy and I had our breakfast and were almost ready to raise anchor when Manuel returned. He had a disappointed look on his face. Obviously the cabrilla weren’t biting. He then inquired “Gasolina?” It appears that Manuel is perpetually short of gasolina, and he conveyed to me that the nearest gas, at Everisto, is very expensive, and he has no dinero. I figured Manuel to be a hard working, honest fisherman of limited means, who isn’t always lucky, but still burns his gas trying to supply cruising boats, and gave him a gallon of gas. He was very appreciative. He siphoned it into his tank, added a little mix oil, which I later learned had been given to him by Eric on Mija, and watched as he wiped the end of his siphon hose off. He stuck that end into his mouth and blew on it, thereby mixing the new gas and oil. Simple but effective. With warm thanks he moved off and went on his way. I enjoyed meeting Manuel, and hope I will be able to buy fish or lobster from him, perhaps on our return run.

Around 9:30, boats began pulling out. First, Exodus got underway, heading for Isla San Francisco. They were followed by Mija, bound for Evaristo where Eric and Terry planned on buying fresh provisions at the small tienda there. We were next to move, somewhat uncertain of destination, but heading south. That left Polar Bear as the last boat in the anchorage. As we motored by, David stood out on deck and saluted us with his diggeridoo. We waved farewell, with fond thoughts of last night’s beach party and hopes that his glide cycle is a smashing success.

Our route south took us past the small fishing village of Napolo, tucked tightly in behind a rugged, rocky headland. We cruised into the San Jose Channel, between the Baja mainland and San Jose Island. At least 6 sailboats passed us heading north. Maybe Manuel will be able to sell fresh cabrilla to some of them. A fresh breeze came up, first out of the north, but swinging to the east as we entered the channel, and further along, it became a 15 knot following wind, perfect for unfurling the jib. The seas were big and rolly, 4 feet and sometimes higher, but fairly well spaced, and we had a comfortable passage. We decided to head for Evaristo, with its well protected anchorage. We got in about 3:30 pm, and once we’d anchored, we dinghied ashore. We walked up to the little tienda, with an ostentatious sign stating “Mini Super”. The building was a low, flat roofed affair, and the front door was open, so we walked in. It was poorly lit inside, but was stocked with a surprisingly good variety of basic foods and snack items. We bought a half dozen fresh eggs, some dry cereal, and some fruit and vegetables. We were lucky we arrived when we did, because as we were walking back to the dinghy, we saw them closing up.

We motored back toward our boat, with a slight jog which took up past Mija, also anchored in Evaristo. Terry greeted us and we paused to chat. Sandy told her she wanted to fix chilli rellenos with the fresh eggs we’d bought, and the special peppers we’d gotten in Loreto. Terry had a Baja cookbook with detailed directions for preparing chilli rellenos, and she read the recipe to us while we bobbed in our dinghy. The description was making us both hungry, so we ran back to the boat. While Sandy was getting things ready, I went for a quick swim around the boat, followed by a foredeck solar shower. The shower water had warmed up well and felt great. We then went into serious chilli relleno production. They were a bit of work, but turned out great.

Tomorrow we’ll make a lengthy run down to Isla Partida, which is about halfway to La Paz. The weather forecast is good through Wednesday, so it makes good sense to cross tomorrow. That will position us well for making La Paz on Tuesday. This destination for such a long time has seemed so distant, and I’ve always told people that our destination for this cruise is “hopefully La Paz”, so as to not jinx things in the event that some problem arose which prevented us from making it all the way. Now, we’re feeling confident that we will soon be enjoying a visit by water to La Paz.

April 14, 2008 — Caleta Partida — N 24 degrees 31′ 59.7″ / W 110 degrees 22′ 54.51″

House battery at 6 am — 12.4 volts
31.8 nm cruised for the day; 367.2 nm cruised on the trip overall

We’re sitting at anchor in Caleta Partida, one of the premier destinations in the entire Sea of Cortez. The last rays of sunlight are turning the red sandstone rocks that enclose this anchorage an even deeper shade of crimson. Romantic Mexican music is playing on the CD player. Pelicans are circling the shallow cove behind our boat, periodicly plunging into the water for fish. Some hit so hard they sound like boulders being dropped into the water. Sometimes, a pair and even up to 3 or 4 dive in formation. The fishing must be good here.

We got a nice early start this morning, and were motoring out of Evaristo within a half hour of sunrise. The sea was rolly, with 2 to 3 foot swells coming in from the south, but there was no breeze. About 5 miles out we picked up a light southerly breeze, right on our nose, but as we moved out into deeper waters, the swell laid down, and the motoring was easy and pleasant. I tried trolling once again, and we passed through a number of baitfish schools, but again, without success. Sandy spent much of the passage in the cabin, downloading and labeling pictures. We had fallen way behind, and running the picture program on the laptop requires quite a bit of power, so it’s best done while motoring.

I had to interrupt her computer work about halfway across to Isla Partida, so she could enjoy seeing the dolphins that were feeding near our route of travel. We took turns going up to the bow pulpit, where we could look straight down into the water as they effortlessly propelled themselves right beneath our bow. They are truly incredible creatures, and there seems to be a connection as they peer up at us from their world. They would play for a while in the bow wave, and then drop back to slalom in our wake. From time to time, groups off to the side would leap clear of the water, 3 or 4 at a time. It was an amazing spectacle, and we felt privileged to have experienced it.

Around 1 pm we neared our intended anchorage between Isla Partida and Isla Espiritu Santu. There were only 3 other boats anchored there, and we were able to take up a position in shallower water, inside all 3. It is a very snug spot, in about 7 feet of water. This anchorage can get hit with night time westerly wind, called coromuel, which can kick up to 30 knots. If such a wind occurs tonight, we’re in the best possible location.

We dinghied to the beach at the head of the bay in the afternoon, and went for a nice, long beach walk. We barbqued thin cut steak for dinner, accompanied by rice and a beautiful tossed salad. That refrigerator has truly improved the quality of meals possible aboard our little boat.

Tomorrow we will cruise the final 21 miles into La Paz. We’re looking forward to the change of pace which La Paz promises. It will provide a good opportunity to get cleaned up, give the boat a good wash down, reprovision, and sightsee.

April 15, 2008 — Marina de la Paz, La Paz Harbor — N 24 degrees 09′ 18″/W 110 degrees 19′ 37.1″

26 nm for the day; 393 nm cruised from San Carlos to La Paz

We have reached our planned destination. The run in this morning from Caleta Partida presented its challenges in the form of a 12 knot southerly wind which raised surprisingly uncomfortably steep and closely spaced 4 foot seas as we neared the south end of Isla Espiritu Santo and the San Lorenzo Channel.

We got an early start, partly because we wanted to reach La Paz fairly early in the day, and partly to get away from an extremely inconsiderate power cruiser who had rolled in at dusk last night. He was the last boat into the anchorage, and instead of mooring at the outside edge of the cluster of sailboats anchored at Caleta Partida, he bulled his way right between 3 boats and dropped anchor. He ended up sitting closest to us, about 200 feet off our beam. The owner sat up on the bridge and surveyed his realm, while his Mexican deck hand worked below, under bright deck lights, cleaning fish, washing down the boat, and doing numerous other chores. All the while, this guy’s generator ran. It’s exhaust port was aimed directly at us. What otherwise would have been a delightful evening in the cockpit, watching the stars come out, was disturbed by this guy’s generator and bright deck lights. As 9 pm came and went, with no indication of peace and quiet, I made the mistake of rowing over to ask when the generator would be given a rest. He said around 10 pm, and that he tried to be a good neighbor. I told him I thought 9:15 would be a lot more neighborly, but I got the distinct impression that he had completely missed my point. I rowed back and the generator droned on. His deck hand proceeded to try jigging for bait fish. 10 pm came and went. He didn’t shut down until after 10:30. I figure the extra half hour of bonus generator noise was his way of thanking me for my visit to his boat. If I never again encounter this Marina del Rey boat, it will be too soon. If there is a next time, I might consider a stealthy approach and stuff a plug into his exhaust port.

We left Caleta Partida just as the sun broke the horizon. The sunrise was perfectly centered in the gap between Islas Partida and Espiritu Santo. The water was choppy as we made our swing south, paralleling Espiritu Santo’s heavily indented eastern shoreline. Once we cleared the partial protection of Isla Ballena the chop became rougher. The wind was directly on our nose, so sailing was not an option. By the time we’d reached the south end of Espiritu Santo the sea was generally white capping, with closely spaced 4 foot swells. The best speed I could maintain was 4.5 knots, and every so often I’d have to back off from that as a set of particularly big swells would begin synchronously bucking our boat. I was beginning to wonder if making the run to La Paz was such a good idea. However, I felt committed, and I figured once we got about half way across the San Lorenzo Channel the swell would start to diminish, due to reduced fetch. We were encouraged by the sighting of a pair of humpback whales out in mid channel. As we neared the south side of the channel we were back to mere choppy water and I could run at the speed of my choosing. I pushed our speed up to 6 knots for the run into La Paz Channel. I was startled when the engine cut out. Apparently wind and seas on the nose had taken their toll in terms of fuel consumption, and I was out of gas in the port side tank. I switched to the starbard tank, which still held a few gallons and we restarted. I still had 10 gallons of reserve in jerry cans, but I didn’t want to stop and siphon, so I kept tabs on gas level as I neared the La Paz marinas. I radioed Marina de La Paz regarding slip availability, and was advised that they could accommodate. They didn’t have gas at the fuel dock, so I put in at Palmira Marina and we filled our tanks before continuing on to our slip at Marina de La Paz. We’re on the 300 dock, a parallel tie up, and we’ll need to hand line the boat to face the opposite direction before we can get back out.

It was just past noon, and getting very hot outside. We got our sunshade up, had lunch, and then finished setting the boat up for its marina stay. We hit the showers, and in late afternoon walked up to the Dockside Cafe for margeritas and nachos. We wandered out to explore La Paz. We walked down the malecon, enjoying the bronze sculptures along the walkway. We got uptown as far as the cathedral, then wandered through some shops before seeking out a dinner spot. We landed at Kiwi’s, on the waterfront. We sat down outside, where we could enjoy the beach scene and savor the sunset. Dinner was excellent, and before we finished a pair of guitar players had set up and begun to play. They were great, and we applauded every song, which pleased them immensely. They also liked the fact that I tipped them well and bought their CD (20 songs and only 50 pesos). We later played the CD and it was so good we stopped by the next evening and got 2 more, for friends.