North Sea Cruising 2020

Part II - Isla Partida and Isla La Guardia

Isla Partida

The last 2 weeks have been SO much fun! I think we are still compensating for all the lack of fun we had during lockdown, and it's been a great time :) Since we last left the Village (2 weeks ago when we got groceries and had internet) we've been exploring the islands up here with our friends Bruce and Alene from Migration.

Nothing is too far away here, so we had some very nice say sails between anchorages and spent a lot of time at anchorages that were basically all ours! We left the Village and spent a night in Esta Ton - which is a very tiny bay - hardly big enough for 2 boats. But it's stunning - it's surrounded by steep mountains. Unfortunately, we only stayed that one night because the bees chased us out. It was only 14 miles to get to our next anchorage - Isla Partida, but we spent the better part of the day getting there - it was a fun and beautiful sail! Tide was against as at times, the winds were light and on our nose, and we had to make a brief stop to empty off our fishing lines. Yet again, I caught a stupid bird and the fishing line got tangled up in the wind generator. Paul saved the bird - it was nice to see him fly off, and he took apart the wind gen to detangle the line. Luckily Migration went for fish instead of fowl and caught a nice dorado that they shared with us that night.

Isla Partida was magical. It was mostly just the 3 of us there - but a few boats stopped over one night, and an Aussie boat was there for a couple of days. Covid still makes cruising weird - boats have formed "bubbles" and there's very little interaction outside of your bubble. Every day at Partida we did a different fun activity - we snorkeled everywhere. Did our first dive of the year out on a rock about a mile north of the anchorage. Went spear fishing - we had fish almost every night thanks to Bruce and Alene!! Yellow tail sashimi, cabrilla, dorado... it was a tasty week! We hiked to the top of the island one day - we needed a day to recovery after that! We did movie nights on the deck of Migration - using the big screen and projector. Went for a night snorkel which always seems other-worldly. It was a magical time at Isla Partida :)

Caleta Pulpito

We left there just before the North winds were expected to arrive - it's totally exposed. We decided to head straight for Caleta Pulpito because we had all heard so many good things about it. We bumped into Kavu there - the other Cincinnati Boat - so the girls from Cincinnati were reunited. It was a beautiful anchorage, and we would love to spend more time there, unfortunately the no-see-um mosquitos were brutal and we decided to move on the next day. Paul doesn't seem to get bit, but I have probably 50 bites on each limb at this point. You really couldn't be outside of your boat after 4 pm or before 11 AM without getting slaughtered. But we all went for a snorkel together and saw a TON of rock scallop. The next night Bruce made a delicious feast. Early in the morning before we left, Paul and I walked on the beach - and it was actually quite stunning from what we saw the night before. There's a hill on one side of the beach - which is a nice long white sand beach. And on the other side of the hill was a huge lagoon. It looks like something out of Land Before Times to me - there are mountains further back, with a big valley leading down to the lagoon, then this beautiful white sand beach and cliffs on either side of the beach.

Refugio Again

We all left Caleta Pulpito at the same time for Refugio. We sailed a little but it was not the most fun - the current around La Guardia is just crazy. We had 16 knots of wind and were sailing along beautifully, then it just stopped. Within about 1 minute we were left rocking and rolling like crazy in the large and short swell from the current. We spent more time motoring than we would have liked to. We came in the East side entrance to Refugio (the last side of the bay for us to explore since we'd already explored the rest of the bay in previous trips). We anchored one bay over from Kavu in our little tiny bay - it was a super cool spot. And Migration was just around the corner from us. We of course did more snorkeling, which at first seemed boring, then Paul started finding these really cool nudibranchs - mostly black, with a ruffled body and bright yellow and blue dots. They were super cool. As the north winds came in, we had to move due to the swell and the Royal Venture Role. We hopped over to the Western bay - which was totally flat. We went from 60 degrees of rolling to flat.

Kavu and Sunpiper were there and hosted a beach bon fire party that night. Migration traded fruit juice and $15 with some fisherman for 4 octopus, a snapper and probably a couple pounds of scallops. Not a bad trade! So they made a delicious octopus meal for all of us. Sunpiper had made bread and crepes!! We frequently get asked what we eat - a lot of people assume we eat "camp food". It's almost always quite the opposite!! It was a neat group to hang out with - Sunpiper is young couple from BC - a small island not far from Naniamo where Paul worked. And Kavu is a young couple from Ohio.

As the weather was getting ready to turn, and Kavu and Migration were heading North, they decided to celebrate Bruce's birthday a day early. Migration came over and picked us all up to go diving out near the sea lion island on the north side of Refugio. Migration is a 46 foot trimaran, so they have a TON of deck space which makes it a great dive platform, among other things. We all had half a tank left after our last dive, so it was a very shallow dive - mostly only in 15 feet of water. But we were surrounded by sea lions!! It was so cool!!! We would just sit at the bottom and they would swim all about and come check you out. Everyone but had been diving with sea lions before, and it's definitely intimidating. But they are so curious and so playful. Some would just sit on the bottom in front of you blowing bubbles as they stared at you. Others would swim around with you and as you did barrel rolls or turned directions - so did they! It was a very cool - and a cool way to spend your birthday!

With the rest of the seafood - I made Paella for everyone for dinner - chicken, spicy mexican sausage, octopus, and scallop! Migration hosted the birthday party with champagne and coconut cake! We had such a good time spending the last few weeks with Migration - they left the next morning to head north as we are heading south, but we plan to rendezvous further south around Paul's birthday. They were tough to keep up with! They do fun activities every single day, make amazing meals in the evening, have yoga sessions and never seem to get tired! I think they knew we were coming out of a funk after lockdown, and did a lot for our benefit to help us get back in having fun and enjoying life mode :) it certainly worked, and is much appreciated :)