[031211, 0140 UTC, Bahia Asuncion, BCS, Mexico; 27º08.1'N/114º17.4' W]

Dear Friends;

We spent our last day in Bahia Tortugas stocking up on fresh veggies and eggs (stored at room temperature here) and saying our good-byes.  Everyone was so warm and insisted on knowing when we will be returning to Bahia Tortugas (cuantos anos?).  One of our stops that day was Carlos’ and Mercedes’ palapa where we met the crew of Canadian Freight and Chokeva, and also a young family off Desiderata.  A special meal of langusta and cerveza was enjoyed by all and, by the time we left nearly four hours later, everyone was hugging everyone else goodbye.  Isabel, Carlos’ daughter and our server, seemed to really enjoy Leslie and gave her not only her address but a lovely silver necklace! 

We left Bahia Tortugas at 0540 local (mountain) time under the light of the full moon and inched our way out of the bay all the time on watch for lobster pots.  By the time the sun rose at about 0630, the bright moon faded some but the sky appeared like a serene watercolor picture of pink fading to blue.  We enjoyed easterly winds off the land for about an hour before all winds died and we were left with just long swells which were reaching us from storms in the Gulf of Alaska.   Most of the day we motored or motor-sailed and caught four bonito or skipjack tuna while we made our way to Bahia Asuncion.  Just north of Bahia Asuncion, near Isla San Roque, we picked up a brisk northwest wind and sailed the last hour or so as we came into the bay.

This morning we received a call on our VHF radio from Shari Bondy, a Canadian whale researcher who lives here with her fiancé (Juan Arce Marron, a fisherman, musician and radio enthusiast) and her daughter Sirena Bondy (Sirena means mermaid in Spanish) .  Shari arranged for Juan to pick us up at Carina in his enormous panga (27’ long and about 8’ wide!) and to deliver us to shore where Shari met us in her well-loved Isuzu Trooper.  Shari graciously took us around as we ran errands and then brought us to her small home on a spectacular bluff on the ocean west of town.  Here we enjoyed interesting conversation, mussel dip, smoked mussels and ceviche on tostadas made from a fish called “sheep’s head” (Mexicans call this fish “your old woman” because it is so ugly!) as we watched ospreys hunting and the surf crashing below.

Sirena, nearly 15, joined us after school.  She’s a tall beautiful girl who easily transitions between flawless English and Spanish.  She’s bright, intelligent and active in sports and music and very concerned about her upcoming birthday.   We later learned that it is a tradition in Mexico that on a young girl’s fifteen birthday she gets an elaborate party much like an enormous wedding complete with fancy dresses, attendants, a meal and a band.  Shari has negotiated to buy Sirena a car in lieu of the party (the driving age is 14 here) so Sirena frequently reminds her mother to save money!

Shari also runs a cultural immersion camp at Bahia San Roque just north of town where she teaches Spanish language, cooking and culture at a beachfront cottage.  She is also involved with an effort by the local government to provide services to cruising yachts so that more are attracted to stop here for as they transit the Baja coast.    Certainly if all cruisers who stop receive the warm and gracious reception we did, Asuncion should definitely see more cruisers in the future.  Tonight, however, a huge, orange moon rose over our lone yacht amongst only fishing boats and pangas…

Adios,

Leslie, Philip and Jake the cat