Posted by: Sailing Camelot | September 15, 2011

Sep 5th to 8th – Isla Angel de La Guarda – Puerto Refugio

We reach the picturesque anchorage of Puerto Refugio,  located at the far Northern tip of Isla Angel de La Guarda, after a six-hour,  33 miles trip. It would have been nice to sail but there was no wind to speak  of.

We didn’t encounter any other boat, and the white sail I’ve  been tracking at a distance for hours turned out to be a rock! Roca Vela, to be precise (Sail Rock). Tom was already suggesting I need new glasses and an eye  check… But I’m told everybody falls for that illusion, so there!

Roca Vela - Sail Rock

Rounding the tip of Isla Angel De La Guarda

I start to perk up once we got closer to our destination. Sighting land is a feast for the eyes;  we trade blues for reds and flat, shiny waters for hills peppered with cacti.

The Incredibly Red Hills

Valley Of The Cacti

Isla Angel de La Guarda (quite narrow and 42 miles long) is  known as the Guardian Angel of the Sea of Cortez, sitting smack in the middle  and serving as a buffer for the winds and waves that can get pretty intense up  here.

Lucky for us conditions upon arrival are absolutely calm and  favorable, so we claim a prime spot in our new neighborhood, Puerto Refugio.

View from our stern - Piedra Blanca

Amazing view from our Bow

There are three or four secluded and separated little bays to anchor in. We’re all alone in our chosen spot, but there’s another solitary  sailor in another cove – Captain JJ on sailing vessel Ocean Echo -.  We exchange  greetings and pleasantries over the radio, and end up passing by his boat  during one of our “dinghy-safari”.

Cactus Island!

Islets of Puerto Refugio

The northern part of the Sea is the most infrequently visited area by cruisers so that’s pretty much the only contact with humans we get up here, which is fine by me; so much to see, so many pictures to shoot, I  welcome the solitude.

About a mile in front of our anchorage there’s a small  island –Isla Granito-, entirely inhabited by seals and sea lions. When the wind blows just right we hear quite a ruckus, as they’re very vocal.

Sea lions on the beach of Isla Granito

Camelot at anchor in front of Isla Granito

We just had to go take a peek, and were not disappointed.

It's not over until the Fat Lady sings!

Happily Frolicking

There are hundreds of barking seals, some frolic in the water, others lay on the rocks sunning and snoozing.

Mothers defend their young, big males (called bulls) fight for turf. Very entertaining and a little unnerving!

The weather is perfect, a little hot and humid at times, nothing that a dip in the vast pool in our “backyard” can’t cure. The water is very clear, there’s at least 25 feet visibility. Since we are in the water so much for cooling purposes, it makes sense to also take advantage of the water clarity to give Camelot’s bottom a good and much needed cleaning. Tom takes care
of the big belly while I scrub the flanks. There, she’s good as new! And I bet she’ll sail a bit faster, too…

The Arch

We only stay In Puerto Refugio four days, though I could have easily stayed four weeks. But we’re on some sort of schedule, we have a mission to accomplish.
Our visas are expiring soon, so the plan is to travel further north and to the “other side“of the Sea where the USA border is only an hour’s drive away.

If the need to worship strikes you...

You can find a chapel even here!

We leave at 15:20 on Thursday the 8th, motoring for hours, chasing the ever-elusive wind. At dusk we finally get enough breeze to justify raising the sails. It’s a smooth trip and we make good speed. It’s been a while since we did an overnighter and I’m thoroughly enjoying myself. We pick up passengers along the way, too! A small bird lands on the lifelines,
breathless and ruffled. It looks a bit like a sparrow and reminds me of Woodstock, the bird from the Peanuts (you know, Charlie Brown and gang). A few minutes later a booby that’s been circling the boat for a while gracefully lands on the port spreader, unfazed by the raised sail, and promptly starts preening and grooming. All night it stays perched there, quiet company I’m grateful for. By the time dawn breaks, we have one booby on the spreader, Woodstock on one side, four more sparrow-looking birds (Woodstock’s brothers?) on the other side and another booby crouched on the deck towards the bow.

At sunrise they all leave Camelot – now also known as The Avian Express.

Couldn't leave this one out...

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