May 2, 2008 — Puerto Escondido — N 25 degrees 49′ 14.3″/W 111 degrees 18′ 40.7″

3.6nm for the day; 557.5 nm cruised on the trip overall

We both slept in late this morning, and didn’t rise until the sun was well up. I missed most of the weather on the SSB, but caught enough to make plans for the next two days. This morning we’d make the short crossing over to Puerto Escondido, fill all our fuel tanks, and get water if we could. We will stay the night there ad check out the scene of Loreto Fest, which is in full swing today.

The sea was flat as we motored across toward Escondido. We were nearly to the harbor entrance when a gang of dolphins charged our boat and began playing in the bow wave. Sandy went up to watch and I held the boat on a steady course. I looked back toward the middle of the channel and saw hundreds of dolphins tearing up the water. I circled back in their direction. She took the wheel and I went forward to enjoy the spectacle. We circled along the outside of the dolphins, and were constantly escorted by them, both on the bow and in our wake. Every so often a group would veer off and leap into the air before rejoining the main group. It was the most spectacular encounter we’ve had with these wonderful creatures to date. Finally it was time to head in, and we turned back for Escondido. A small group of dolphins escorted us much of the way.

As we entered Puerto Escondido it was clear that the fleet of cruisers was here in force. The “Waiting Room”, the circular anchorage outside the main harbor, was full of boats, mostly larger ones. We passed the narrow entrance and found the Elipse, where we’d anchored on our way south, also full of boats. The main Singlar mooring field was a sea of masts, with boats moored everywhere except for a stretch opposite the low beach on the far side. This area, called “the window” is known for being quite windy, and boats were avoiding it. We went directly to the fuel dock. This time we had no difficulty in obtaining gas, and I took pains to fill all my tanks and jerry cans, right up to the marked fill lines. This will be our last fuel stop before we return to San Carlos, and I want to be sure I have ample fuel for the trip. I also filled the solar shower from the non potable hose bib at the fuel dock office. I got permission to leave the boat at the fuel dock while I went over to Singlar to check in and pay for a mooring ball. That done, we went out and secured the boat, amongst the fleet. While eating lunch we were visited by the yellow Singlar launch, and they requested that we move to another area. It seems we’d selected a mooring ball reserved for larger boats. Heck, every boat is larger than us. We complied and moved farther out. After lunch we ran in with the dinghy to shower and check in with Ken on the internet. I caught up with e’mail, but it was a struggle. Their connection is so weak that you can’t connect inside the building, where the power outlets are. The only place I got a decent signal was outside, and I had to work off the laptop’s battery.

By mid afternoon, chores were done. We got into the dinghy to return to the boat, drop off the computer and shower stuff, with plans to check out the Loreto Fest scene back on shore. I forgot to open the fuel line on the kicker motor. We got about 100 feet from the dinghy dock before the motor died for lack of fuel. I’ve done this before and restarted with no problems, but not this time. I pulled and pulled, but no start. Glumly, I grabbed the oars, facing the prospect of a 3/4 mile row across the mooring field, against a 5 knot headwind. I figured that all benefits of my shower would be lost by the time I got out to our boat. I’d only rowed a hundred yards or so before a rigid inflatable zoomed up to us and asked if we’d like a tow. Boy, would we. He grabbed our painter, and proceeded at a modest speed, so Sandy wouldn’t get splashed. What a nice guy.

Back on board, I grabbed my dinghy motor tool kit (Sandy’s leatherman) and removed the little outboard’s protective cover. I took the carburator off and found a little grit inside. I wiggled the little brass pivot that rides on the float, and put it all back together. Hopefully I gave it a pull. Nothing. I tried a couple more times, and then opened the choke and pulled again. This time she sputtered and came to life. It appears that the carburator is this little motor’s weak point.

We motored in to the old dinghy dock at the Elipse, which was jammed with dinghies from the fleet. We wormed our way in and tied up, then walked over to the Loreto Fest canopies. A big crowd of cruisers were there, drinks in hand, socializing and having fun. We got beverages and hot dogs. The music was loud, and we failed to recognize any of the cruisers we’d met along our way. We decided to head back to the boat and relax there.

Tomorrow we’ll head over to Isla Carmen, before a final visit to Loreto. We should arrive in Loreto on May 4. If we can again tie up inside the boat basin we may lay over on May 5, which is Cinco de Mayo down here, a big holiday in Mexico. We don’t know what to expect, but it might just be very special.

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