Left Cabo behind one morning and turned northwest to start the last 1000 miles up the Baja California coast, first stop Magdalena Bay. 145 miles away, Mag Bay would be a 29 hour sail/motor so leaving at 0800 would put us in after noon the following day. Fishing poles out trolling for hours, then ZZzzzinnng the line was going out muy rapido as we scampered to grab it. Andrew got their first and started reeling in as I readied in support. ZZzzinnng!! The other rod went off and I grabbed the reel and started winding hard and fast –two fish on at one time! Two beauties – yellow tails. As Andrew was just finishing up filleting the first… ZZZZiinnnngg! This was going to be a big one. I started just hold the rod with hand on the reel making a little progress but keeping the fight at a standstill while Andrew put the vest on with the special belt and clips to get serious reeling in this one. I handed over the rod to Andrew and went for the gaff. Andrew played this fighter well and minutes later had it at the boat’s transom. It took me a couple careful tries to set the gaff and lift this pretty boy up on deck – a 42” Dorado (aka Mahi Mahi) weighing in at nearly 20 pounds. The fillets were two inches thick eight inches wide and about two feet long. We almost forgot about the yellow tails which alone was quite the catch. Oh and did I mention Andrew was in his underwear during all this so he wouldn’t get blood all over his shorts and shirt. Don’t worry I’ve got pictures. We were set for fish for the next 3-4 days.
It turns out that stash of fish came at a good time because once into Mag Bay the wind blew hard with no end in sight or weather forecast. We anchored up the bay off of the fishing camp called Man of War Cove. This Magdalena Bay is famous for its population of visiting whales, Humpbacks in particular, from November through March each year – we just miss it and wanted to take a look none the less. Before that as we entered the mouth of the bay there was a smell in the air. Neither of us could help from not commenting of the stench. I was trying to identify it because it was familiar. Then I remembered where I’d smelled it before in Florida’s Gulf coast on Sanibel Island – decomposing shellfish. Here in Mag Bay there are millions of tiny red crabs populating the water and there dead become flotsam and streak the water in long lines marching to the shore. As you look at the beaches they are red – red with rotting red crabs. One can imagine the feast these little critters are for those whales. One night there and we were gone but not too far because the strong winds never backed down.
Less than 30 miles away just on the ocean side of the enormous Mag Bay is Bahia Santa Maria offering us a nice shelter to hole up in for a couple days in hopes of the winds backing down. We were not the only sailors with the same needs and idea so there was four of us anchored at the top corner of this bay. We all met on the beach the next morning at the mouth of a canyon to go for a hike. Most took the high trial along the ridges but two of us found the canyon bottom more intriguing with all its exposed geology. But we met at the headwaters and joined them on the last ridge looking out over the Pacific.
Back on the INNcredible, a panga with local fishermen pulled up looking for AA and AAA batteries in trade for lobsters. Well just so happened my Boy Scout training prepared me with keeping a stash of batteries on board so we negotiated a deal – eight AA and three AAA plus a small bag of candy for 6 lobsters…Yahoo! Those lobsters hit the BBQ each in half to grill em, then pull the meat and set it aside while I throw all the shells into a boiling pot with onions, garlic, celery, peppers and herbs to make a base for lobster bisque. When ready, shells out, cream and diced tomatoes in plus the lobster meat and some of our Mahi Mahi to make a monster pot to feed us for several meals.
That afternoon Ken from Mariah share his surfboards with Andrew and I and we paddled in from his boat to the breakers to do a little surfing. Great fun in 1-2 foot winds perfectly shaped by the strong offshore winds kept us out there for hours. Happy Hour on Mariah made a perfect finale to a great day of exploring.
This bay has no town, no tourists and very few visiting boats but its beaches go for miles and backs up to a slough which cuts through to the sea. Because of this the beaches are littered with wonderful shells and that became the next days excursing – hours of walking the beaches, fording the slough to reach remote beaches looking and collecting great shells – love it.