Bahia de San Quintin

We are anchored up at Bahia de San Quintin watching whales come about and squirt! The anchorage is rather flat although a bit windy and lying off a volcanic rock and sandy point to the West. We have full protection here from the prevailing Northwesterly seas and have found the anchorage rather agreeable despite the large ‘bomby’ (bombora:  Aussie slang for an offshore breaking wave) off the stern into the bay several miles from shore. It’s really hard to believe the bay is so shallow so far from land. Several small volcanoes are to our North and a large mountain range and sandy beach are miles to the East. It is a very open anchorage and our most exciting landfall ever after a rather rough night at sea.

At anchor in Bahia de San Quintin

We left Ensenada on Friday early in the morning after almost leaving on Thursday. On Thursday around noon we headed to get fuel at Marina Coral (up the bay) and were looked at a bit sideways by a salty older gentlemen who asked our whereabouts to/from. He said the winds will be up out there and gave us one of those you-young-kids-don’t-know-shit kind of looks. We had been admittingly obsessing over the forecasts and although the winds did not look light, they didn’t look bad. 15 knots-ish at their height around 1pm. There was also a decent swell running – about 10 feet at 17 seconds but we were ready to get going and thought it looked managable. He did, however, make us doubt our own forcasting so went back to Baja Naval for another night at the dock and decided to get an early start in the morning. We walked into town and had fish tacos that night for a dollar a piece at a roadside stand that were without question the best food we ate in Ensenada. The fish was fresh, the tortillas melted in your moth and they offered all the traditional fixings to be made yourself… YUM!

There is so much surge in Ensenada harbor it may have been one of the worst nights I’ve spent at a dock yet. With all the grinding from the docks and boats, and all the banging and pulling of the lines you’de think you were in a fine mess. One fender had completely given up and turned into a pancake. We were anxious to leave the next morning and had the yanmar firing as the light showed over the mountains.

We motored in calms through the passage between Punta Banda and the Todos Santos Islands and laid a course a little offshore down to San Quintin – about 110nm South. Dolphins followed us in clear calm water for some time until the winds started to pick up around 1pm. I snapped a video of the show but will have to post later due to media limitations.

We were full sail and making 7 knots on a broad reach – excellent speed! The winds really started to pipe so we reefed down the main and half furled in the genny – still making close to 7 knots. The seas started to build enough I went below and laid down, while Andrew was having fun above. Nearing sunset I got sick and heaved up lunch all over the transom and pretty soon Andrew was too. I am apt to seasickness so not surprised by the arrival, but Andrew rarely gets sick (only once since i’ve known him), so it was unfortunate we were both fighting for the bucket. As night closed in on us the winds didn’t die (as we had expected) and the seas had built enough to give me a solid scare. It was a rather miserable night both of us being sick, but the boat sailed beautifully and we headed a little off course, farther out to sea thinking we might just head farther South (bad idea since the winds and sea are greater out there). We decided to heave-to around 2am when we both recognized we needed rest and the winds had only abated a little to try and feel better. I managed to sleep about an hour and Andrew not-so-much after what seemed like a rather close encounter with an unknown large cargo-ish vessel. It showed on the AIS and was coming at us quickly but we couldn’t get a good feel on it’s course. It passed behind us less than 1.5nm and that certainly didn’t help us feel better. In the morning the winds died down and we headed for San Quintin with overcast skies – still sick.

We arrived in Bahia de San Quintin at 2pm on Saturday and sounded our way to the anchorage. We both felt hugely relieved when the swell stopped rocking the boat and dropped the hook in about 20ft. There is good holding in hard packed sand and one other boat in the anchorage to keep us company. We did a light clean-up and had some rice (our first food in 24hrs) and slept. Looking back we should have waited out the ground swell that probably caused the seas to grow a bit more than we would have liked. Oh well,  at anchor and feeling better now.

Andrew picked up a Telcel internet stick in Ensenada that allows us to get internet from anywhere we can get phone reception. Fortunately there is great reception along the coast and we are able to get weather reports, contact the folks, get other info, post the blog, etc. We have been here three nights now resting and waiting for a rather smooth weather window. We are anchored in what I’m calling the Pangeros Highway…  there is a lot of fishing activity here both Mexican pangas and American sport fishing. The channel that runs into the lagoon from sea is off our bow between us and the more near land where the panga men haul-ass out to sea through the night into the early morning and then back in around noon when the winds come up. This morning there was dense fog and I was certain we were going to get rammed, but Andrew was certain we would not. We did not. A panga came by and offered us 3 Lobsters for $20 (no pesos, please) we passed on the offer, although they looked enticing. Being from Maine, Andrew is not so impressed on the claw-less creatures of the western coasts. Ha! We have been reveling in the fact we are paying for nothing at the moment and have plenty of food on board. I do hope to drop in a line and do some fishing but we have yet to give it a go.

Two nights ago there were two large Mexican fishing vessels that were lying nets shining huge lights in the bay just behind us. A little close for comfort due to the spanish yelling on the loudspeaker at the men on deck.

Yesterday we lowered our outboard onto our inflatable and made a mission into the beach for a little exploration. There was a nice landing on the sand and we learned that we can’t lift the dinghy with the engine. We took off the outboard and Andrew carried it up while I dragged up the boat. We met a nice guy who was the only soul around 4-wheeling by who spotted us on the beach and came to say hello. He was a nice gentlemen from Grass Valley, CA who gave us a good lift in spirits and had many positive things to say about the peninsula as he had traveled it by boat many times. I was hoping to spot some shells due to reports we had read, but there was nothing but sand and lava rock.

I turned 27 on February 2nd and we decided to splurge and rent a car (in Ensenada) for $44. We drove out Punta Banda to a small town called Bufadora where there is a huge blow hole for a little day adventure. Unfortunately the tides were too low and the blowhole wasn’t blowing but it was a great spot with beautiful views and the usual stretch of Mexican offerings. On the way there we stopped at the beach to check out the waves and had a few beers enjoying a little freedom from the city. I was hoping to find some seaglass but all I found was tons broken glass up in the dunes unwashed by the waves. It was amazingly green on the drive out and the coastline was dramatic and beautiful. There was a strong Santa Ana blowing (they just keep coming!) and large clouds of dust were blowing out to sea along with whitecaps moving out of the bay.

The hills and houses on the way to Bufadora

Andrew looking over the cliffs of Punta Banda

We hope to leave soon but are taking some time to relax and watching the weather carefully to hopefully have a little smoother ride South. Sorry I don’t have more photos this time, the internet it slooow. Lots of love to everyone who has posted comments, each one means so much!!

11 Responses to “Bahia de San Quintin”
  1. Terry Kluh says:

    Hello, Thanks so much for the update I needed a story after not talking to you for a few days. There’s a lot going on out there in that ocean and with each new post it gets more interesting. Take your time going down. glad you’re having some R&R and that you have each other. Love to you both, Mom and Dad

    • Patty Layton says:

      Hi Julie…your mom gave me your blog address and I passed it on to Steph and Sus….You are on such an incredible journey! I love your writing and your photos. Please know that we are thinking of you and wishing you good wind, cold beer and beautiful adventures….stay safe and know that we are cheering for you both! I’m looking forward to “following the arc”. Love, Patty

  2. Fabienne Nitopi says:

    Julie, your posts are so fun and inspiring to read! I hope you had a great birthday, what a way to spend it! Thinking of you and Andrew, and love to be able to follow your whereabouts. Be safe, we love you too.

  3. Amber Robinson says:

    Julie, Andrew,

    Loving your stories! I just got done cleaning diesel from our bilge : ( thinking all the while, “I bet Julie would have known how to handle this”. I on the other hand phoned in my dad. Things are lookin’ much better now! But you know the thing that keeps me sticking it out & keep learning (even as my skin still reeks today)? It’s exactly what you ARE doing. To go cruising, to see life through a different lens, to be okay with the not knowing. Everytime I read your blog I feel heartened by the reality of that happening. I look back to the conversations about your departure and know it’s “a dream until you write it down, then it becomes a project” -Alvah Simon. Just for safe measure I put on the beautiful hand-crafted necklace you made, said a little thank you to “Babe” for still floating, and started my day with high hopes for the future.


    p.s. Congrats Julie, on a the beginnings of a new year!

    • followthearc says:

      Diesel in bilge?! My god! I hope you got everything sorted out! We have been thinking of you guys on your rock-solid boat. Because if I were you I would want to know… Yeah, it’s scary sometimes but it’s all good. What’s it like to finally “go cruising”… you’re hair is super greasy and starting to dread cause you haven’t washed it in 3 weeks, you spend less time sleeping than you ever have in your life, you’re fixing all the projects you did before you left because you did a crappy job, you’re wishing you had remembered just that one extra spare… but you’re also cooking every meal with all the time in the world, hiking on remote beaches, exploring isolated hillsides, making landfall to dramatic headlands, studying spanish and talking to fascinating brave people, feeling the weather’s every mood, memorizing the stars in the sky, reading, drawing, stretching, and breathing fresh, clean, amazing (usually windy) air everyday. And the dream is still a project, that’s what makes it so rewarding. Make sure you have really good anchor gear! Say hi to Damien and hopefully we’ll see you out here soon. Love ya – Julie

  4. Chris says:

    Nice work surviving a hairy night at sea!
    What’s going on with the sand point and the ground swell?

  5. Allison Shephard says:

    Ahoy friend! First of all–you’ve got the terminology/lingo/jargon/sailor-talk down!! I think there was one sentence up there in which I knew about two or three of the words you mentioned. Hahahaha. Your trip sounds so amazing and exciting. I wish so badly I could call you and hear all of the details–but this blog is an awesome way to hear your stories and see some of the sights you’re encountering. Say hi to Andrew for me. You guys stay safe and live it up for me!


  6. Lacey says:

    Hey Guys!

    Sounds like you’re having a blast! Good to hear you both are doing well and enjoying it so far. What a way to spend your birthday!!! Enjoy!!

    Love – Lacey

  7. Pat says:

    Happy Birthday Julie!!

  8. Joaquin says:

    Want to see las tablas!!! that board bag hold some filete!!
    Saludos gumbaaaaaaaaa!!

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