Why Puerto Esconditio? — Since we left La Paz, we had been thinking about a trip back to the states. Originally posted, we were headed to the main land side of the Sea of Cortez and North to San Carlos/Guaymas to leave our boat at dry storage (the marinas were all full, despite putting our name on the waiting list) for our trip. To make a long story short and after much discussion with other cruisers, the work to prepare our boat for dry storage was proving to be too much for a few weeks away from our boat. I won’t go into all of it but to share a glimpse…Boats get up to 130 degree inside while in dry storage and we would have had to take EVERYTHING, including electronics and all food items, off the boat…for starter. That doesn’t include the preparations for hurricanes like taking down all the sails and anything on deck, closing up all hatches, sea cocks, and thru hulls (except for the bilges). And if that didn’t scare us away…the thought of rats and cockroaches and other unwanted “land friends” we might come home to by leaving our boat exposed on land made the decision easy!
After we spent a few days in Puerto Escondito we came to the conclusion to leave our boat here, in the water (to keep the temperature cooler…and no rats/cockroaches). Though we are farther south than we wanted to avoid hurricanes (farther North in the Sea of Cortez, historically, experiences less hurricane activity), the people here are incredibly nice and the support we have received from other cruisers here has been tremendous.
The town of Loreto is small and about 15 miles away so it takes more effort to get things you need than other places we have been to but the scenery is to die for (the mountains that surround the bay reminds me of the Hawaiian islands, jagged and green not the dessert like scenery we have seen thus far) and the harbor is nice and protected. Loreto is a small but CLEAN town. It is quite and we were told is more like a retirement community here. Close to Cuidad Constitution where most of the kids go to school, parents and grandparents live here and family visit during summer and breaks. There are also multi-million dollar homes here as well. We learned you can’t own land here unless you are a citizen of Mexico but you can buy a house here for millions and for 100 years but never own the land. We heard you can now pass on the deed of the house to family but once the 100 years are up, the land and house goes back to the government.
Storm preparations – As many of you know, summer is the hurricane season. We have taken down and stowed everything off the deck of the boat, cleared out the fridge and freezer, had our mooring ball gear checked by a local diver, even paying someone to “watch” our boat while we are gone. We plan to watch the weather closely during our trip and will head back if there is a major threat of a hurricane in our area.
The circle of Knowledge – We are having a wonderful experience here with the small community of cruisers here. There use to be a Yacht club here who use to organize Loreto Fest and other cruiser friendly events throughout the year but it has since dissolved I guess in a somewhat negative fashion (the commodore embezzled thousands of dollars). During the off season, which is now, there are a few who sweat it out during summer and continue the NET and help those who venture here (that’s us). From rides into town, recommendations for good help in town and cheap prices for things, swim/snorkel buddies, history of the place, their own cruising stories: Ed, Ruth and George, Jake and Sharon, Jesse, Richard, and Danny and Deb.
Ed (and Lori who we have not met yet as she is in Canada visiting family) has really taken us in. Ed has been here for the better half of 15 years but plans to head south this fall, maybe Panama. He has owned a restaurant and hotel here in Loreto but lost it in a hurricane and walked away. He has helped us re-provision, invites us to join him if he is headed out to eat, and all around helpful with contacts and local knowledge.
Ed even took us to the small town of San Javier a 34 kilometers up the mountain from the marina where the second mission stand on the El Camino Real.
History: Between 1683 and 1834, Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries established a series of religious outposts from today’s Baja California and Baja California Sur (Lower California South) into present-day California. This walking path is also known as the Camino Real. El Camino Real, Spanish for The Royal Road or The King’s Highway, connected from north to south – from San Diego to Loreto (We saw this one too) – the missions, sub-missions, presidios (a Spanish fortified base), and pueblos (stone and adobe communities) over a distance of roughly 600 miles. It was also referred to as the ‘California Mission Trail’.
Danny and Deb invited us to their boat to have dinner and play “cruisers rumy” which involves 5 deck of cards and takes hours to play. They are Ventura CA and have been in Mexico for years but this is their first summer here on the Baja side of the Sea of Cortez. They have spent much of their time on the mainland of Mexico, a place where we are headed to this fall so we had lots of questions and enjoyed their photos of their travels there.
Jake and Sharon are the cruisers Weather Guru’s! Jake does the weather report every morning on the NET and also does the Amigo Net and Chabassco report every day. They are from Seattle and has converted Jesse to be a Seahawks fan (Go Hawks!). They were the ones who informed us that we could drive to the US from here and drew out a map of places to saty, places to get gas for our trip. He even helped us get our SSB radio to get the local NET…in exchange for chocolate chip cookies (Diana, thank you again for the amazing recipes…they loved it!).
Ruth and George have been here for years as well but they live in the next bay over on land. They have a small sail boat and MAGGIE the amazing swimming dog (and surfs too). George helps other cruisers with boat projects and Ruth is heavily involved with the NET.
Jesse lives on land now after hurricane Odiele. His Choy Lee ketch rolled 6 times during that hurricane and I think he is done and the boat is now for sale.
Richard has a house boat here. We had a chance to hang with him during one of our trips to town with Ed and he is a hoot for sure. He does know where to buy the cheapest liquor in town…..good to know! I guess he is actually a very wealthy man, so we are told but you would never guess it.
We learned from the cruising community here in Puerto Escondito, you can rent a car and drive it to the states and back to Mexico….it had never crossed my mind! Be it that we were close to the Pacific side of the Baja and plan to be much farther south on the mainland of Mexico, driving would not be an option later on for us. Additionally, we heard it is easier to cross the border with “parts” when you drive rather than fly. So we thought “one last road trip…why not….”! See you all soon.