March 19, 2008 – At anchor in Martini Cove

We rose to a lovely morning. We ate a breakfast of muffins and coffee in the cockpit. While enjoying the colors of sunlight on the red rock cliffs around the marina, I spotted an interesting looking gull. I got the bird book out, and while looking it up, one of the brown pelicans which regularly patrol the marina dove on a fish. He smacked the water about 3 feet to my left, and totally drenched me, my coffee mug, and bird book with his splash.

After breakfast we finished prepping the boat for our cruise. I rinsed the road dust off with Rich’s dock hose and filled the porta-potty and solar shower. Sandy and I both showered at the marina bathhouse. One major task was trying to get the Wallas stove working. It ran for us on the drive down, but at our last stop, just north of Nogales, it failed to light. The red starter light just blinked when I turned it on. The manual said that behavior indicated low voltage. I checked the power connection, the in line fuse, and the connection to the panel. All were good, and it still failed to start. I got out the ScanMarine card, where we bought the unit. Rich loaned me his cell phone, since ours isn’t set on the right plan for here. I got a call through to Mike at ScanMarine first try. I described the problem and he said he was confident that the wire connection between the blower hood and the stove was the cause. I thanked him, hung up, and checked that wire. Sure enough, the black wire had come loose. Nearly impossible to spot unless you’re specifically looking for it. I scored big time points with Sandy for fixing the stove. Thanks Mike of ScanMarine for helping me look good.

Around 11 am I went over to the marina office and hitched the empty trailer to the truck. I’d arranged to meet Al of Al’s Mini Storage there at 11:30. We met and I followed him out to his storage facility, about 3 miles from the marina. He’s a neat guy, about my age, and has a small fenced yard with barbed wire on top and a watchdog on patrol. He lives directly across the street, so I feel very good about leaving the truck there. He even thought he could install a new fender on the trailer while we’re out. He gave me a ride back to the marina, and after lunch we made ready to depart.

The calm morning had given way to a stiffening breeze which was whipping through the marina. Yesterday afternoon it had built to a very gusty wind. I was counting on today’s weather to be a little lighter. We left our slip around 2 pm, and followed the narrow, twisting channel out of San Carlos Bay. My destination was Martini Cove, just a short distance away. We wanted to be clear of the marina, which was rather noisy last night, and get started on our cruise. We’re both glad we made this move. Martini Cove is a lovely spot, just 2 nm from the marina, but completely screened from view. There are no houses nearby, and only the lights of Guaymas, many miles away across the Bay, hint of civilization.

We anchored in the cove, sharing it with a few dive boats which use the area for dive training. It’s dark now, and all have left except us – just like Cunningham’s cruise guide book said. The shoreline is rugged and heavily vegetated with cactus. There are lots of pelicans, gulls, and the occasional frigate bird. The northwest wind which was present when we anchored shifted to a very gusty land breeze by late afternoon. It appeared that we were dragging, so we reset the anchor. When I got it up I discovered a boulder about the size of a small watermelon hooked in the Bruce claw. The gusts reached a measured 18.5 knots, which was amazing since we were only a hundred yards from shore, and the land looked to offer protection. I think they call this type of gusty afternoon land breeze a chubasco around here. Tomorrow we’ll head up the coast about 15 miles, to Bahia San Pedro, and hang out there for dinner. If conditions are good, and the forecast is favorable, we’ll begin our crossing after dinner.

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