Posted by: Sailing Camelot | August 23, 2011

July 29th – Tom’s Birthday! – Cala Puertocito de Enmedios

On the morning on Tom’s birthday there are THREE coyotes on the beach, all very wisely walking in the water, cooling off their paws. We spend quite some time observing them, before we decide we’ve seen enough of San Francisquito.

Tres Amigos

Coyotes on the prowl

In no hurry we look at our map; picking our next destination, we pull up the anchor and leave. We choose to travel a short distance, today. Bahia de Las Animas (Bay of the Souls) is 38 miles up, should take us about 6 hours. There’s not enough wind at departure time, so we turn on the engine.

We’re traveling between the Baja Peninsula Coast and the many island scattered in the middle of the Sea of Cortez. Every island has an individual name, but as a group they’re called the Midriff Islands. The body of water between the coast and the island is called Canal de Salsipuede. Sal Si Puede literally means Leave If You Can. As we travel north in the Leave If You Can Channel, the name suddenly makes a lot of sense. Plenty of vicious currents swirl the water in every direction, confusing both seas and sailors. Every now and then we cross a current line, where the sea is flat and we get a temporary respite from the push and pull action. Later the wind shows up, if only for a short time, so we raise the sails for a while and let Camelot run free. Half way through our trip the currents subside, the wind goes to blow somewhere else, the sea gets flat, the sails come down and the engine comes on.

I take advantage of the calm and slip down below, muttering something about stuff to do. What I am up to, really, is to start preparing Tom’s Birthday Cake… Mind you, I never baked a cake in my life (Tiramisu’ doesn’t count). But my friend Donna from the sailboat Salonah gave me this foolproof, simple recipe for a good cake and I intend to succeed –or get splattered while trying-. I do my preparations in stages, so Tom doesn’t really know what I’m doing. Stage One: prepare the batter, show up in the cockpit for a little while, disappear down below again. Stage Two: pour batter in pan, shove in oven, return to cockpit. I’m not sure how long I can keep this up, Tom is looking at me funny…

A little over an hour later I have produced a nice Focaccia Bread (as a decoy!) and a very plain-looking, nondescript cake. Tom is getting suspicious; I can’t hide the wafting aroma of baking, so I admit to making the focaccia but keep mum about the cake. Besides, I think I’ll need to make some custard to liven up my first experiment. I need more time, dammit! It’s not easy to keep secrets on a boat… I decide to interrupt my secretive baking activities and return on deck for the remainder of the trip. Tom is still looking at me with a puzzled expression…

For the last hour of this trip (that I know of, since I was engaged in illicit baking activities down below) we’ve been escorted by pods of dolphins, their festive antics a warm welcome. With one last flip of tails, one final jump-and-spin, they take their leave.



Better than Marine World!




We spot our little refuge at last, one of many small and very pretty coves in this region of the Sea of Cortez know as Bahia de Las Animas. This little cove has a big name: Cala Puertocito de Enmedios.

We’re the only “tenants”, so we pick the best spot, right in front of a colorful canyon. The imposing Sierra Agua de Soda range (Soda Water Mountains) towers over the anchorage with its characteristic antique-rose color, providing a great backdrop against the emerald green waters. There are a few rocky islets on each side of the cove and a number of birds flying about. Yes, another corner of Paradise.

Soda Water Mountains

The Colorful Canyon

As soon as we’re settled in, I let Tom relax while I finish my secret cake preparations. The blasted cake seems too bland, even with the custard (bland as well), so I end up squirting chocolate syrup all over it (cheap trick) and call it quits. I have my doubts about the results, but I’m counting on the element of surprise…

Later we enjoy an early dinner and eventually the pitiful result of my efforts and good intentions is unveiled. It looks like something the cat dragged in, but Tom (ever the true gentlemen) is impressed and very appreciative nonetheless. I have to admit, it tastes better than it looks!

After dinner, as a special Birthday present for Tom -and possibly a reward for my sweaty laboring- we get to enjoy the most spectacular show: a group of Devil Rays delight us for over an hour with their acrobatics, jumping out of the water, shooting many feet up in the air, twisting and turning before slapping loudly back in the water.

Devil Rays Airborne!




Ta Daaahhhh!


To end the day, we’re treated to a truly perfect sunset.

Happy 51st, Tom! You don’t look a day over 40, you handsome devil…




  1. Happy belated birthday Tom. the cake sounds scrumputios, Lori.

  2. Tom, you are exactly one month older than me! Happy late bray. Cathy and I are sailing down on the haha in Oct. Hope to cross paths sometime. Lori was always a pleasure to work with.

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