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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

June 13, 2018-In Puerto Escondido to Avoid Hurricane "Bud"

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Bar in Puerto Escondido

There is this bar at the marina in Puerto Escondido. It’s upstairs, totally open air, and here, as I sip my huge Pina Colada, I have a good view of Wings floating nearby and an astonishing view of the harbor and surrounding Baja scenery. The breeze is cool. The other patrons at the bar are mostly cruisers, many of whom we know, and are laughing and chatting quietly A couple of friendly bartenders are waiting on me. The fantastic Sierra Grande Mountains behind Puerto Escondido are slowly spreading their shade over us as the afternoon turns to evening.

I think this is paradise.

I could stay here forever except I couldn’t afford it. The reason we are here is because of Hurricane “Bud” which is coming this way. Puerto Escondido is one of the few hurricane holes on the Sea of Cortez. If it wasn’t for “Bud” coming we would be headed south towards La Paz, but the stretch of coastline between here and there is pretty open and none of the harbors offer good protection. It’s not that Hurricane Bud is so very scary, it’s rather a mild hurricane as hurricanes go (or will be as it hits the cooler water this far north), but “Bud” could fool us and turn violent. We’d rather be tucked inside Puerto Escondido than anchored in an unprotected place.

That’s why we’re hanging out here. And, since we’re here, might as well enjoy it. Hence the Pina Colada at the open air bar.

Humm, I wonder what this place will be like when the hurricane hits? My guess is that they will close it up and take everything inside. Drink on, closing time is coming soon.

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Puerto Escondido Marina

We’ve been here before. Twenty years ago, when it was an unfinished development with roads and little else (except clean, sweet, free, mountain water, which is why we came) and again two years ago when Fonatur had built a marina and finished some of the other infrastructure (and the water was still free). And we spent three days here last week. The place is pretty fantastic. There is a new owner and they’ve been on a serious upgrading binge. The facilities ashore are totally refurbished, everything clean, everything works, and there is a very complete and modern store and several shops. (And yes, the water is still sweet, cool, and free). The overall area is landscaped to perfection. It is all beautiful, very beautiful. And then there is the surrounding Baja scenery which is simply stunning. We love this place.

After our visit last week the threat of Hurricane “Bud” has kept us in a holding pattern at anchorages within a few miles radius of here and finally, today, we came back in just to be safe and, since several other boats are headed this way, to get a good mooring spot. Maybe the thought of a few more Pina Coladas had something to do with the decision.

Steinbeck Canyon Hike

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Rock Climbing

Since we first heard about Steinbeck Canyon, named for John Steinbeck who visited the Sea of Cortez in the 40’s, we wanted to hike it. Steinbeck Canyon is in the Sierra Gigante Mountains right behind the marina and the canyon goes straight up into those towering rock cliffs. We thought it would be beautiful to walk up a trail into the mountains so one morning we got an early start and headed west. A taxi took us back across the desert floor to the trail head. But it didn’t look too far, so we sent him back after he dropped us off, saying we’d walk back. Looks can be deceiving. What appeared to be a short distance from the marina to the edge of the mountains was actually a fair distance. Later, after our hike, when we walked back, it took over an hour.
It also turns out that the hike is really a climb. It goes straight up a boulder strewn gully.

After paying off the taxi driver, we started up. There was no easy going. It was climb up a boulder then down the other side, one after another. People who have gone the whole way said it took them 4 hours up and back. That’s two hours each way. Going that far rewarded those hikers with some beautiful pools of cool clear water way back up in the canyon. We didn’t make it that far. An hour into it we ran into a vertical head wall that looked passable but dangerous and besides, we were thinking, what about the abuse we were giving our aging bodies? An hour of vertical rock climbing was a lot for us and going down would be just as tough, so we turned back.

We got down okay and then managed another hour walk back to the marina. All in all a three hour hike in desert conditions was quite enough. Surprisingly we had no injuries or aches and pains. We did stop at the bar that afternoon.

It will take a couple of weeks to get to La Paz, assuming we can leave after Hurricane Bud clears out this weekend, and then we head back across to La Cruz.

Click here for more photos.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Puerto Escondido

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