Algodones Bay, San Carlos.
Palms line the beach at Bahía Algodones.
Beachside villas on Algodones Bay.
Groovy anchored between the palms.
San Carlos harbor anchorage.
San Carlos Harbor
Marina San Carlos.
Marina San Carlos.
Marina San Carlos.
Raccoons raided the pantry on a
Resort near the Soggy Peso Bar.
We are back in vacation land...
...back on the beach...
The "Palacio Municipal" in downtown Guaymas.
The cathedral in Guaymas.
The lighthouse outside the Fonatur/
Marina San Carlos.
San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico
Early October, 2011 - After saying goodbye to the bugling elk and
Route 66 memorabilia in Williams, Arizona, we hustled down
from the mountains to Phoenix where we put the trailer into
storage, gathered a few things together, and took the overnight
bus to San Carlos, Mexico. Groovy was waiting for us in her slip,
and she eagerly welcomed us back.
San Carlos has special meaning
for us, as it was not only the end-
point of our cruise last year, but
is the place where our cruising
ideas were initially hatched
during Thanksgiving of 2005.
A friend of ours has a
lovely home at Marina
Real in San Carlos, and
he had taken us out in
his open fishing boat
that fateful Thanksgiving
weekend. Feeling the
wind in my hair and
watching the sun
sparkle on the brilliant
blue sea, I was
enchanted and suddenly
blurted out, "Hey Mark,
we could do this -- we
could go cruising!"
As a lifelong lover of the woods and
the desert, his feet planted firmly
between pines and cactus, he looked
at me in wonder. "Cruising?!"
"Sure!" I said, "We could live on a sailboat and sail the seven seas and
fish for our dinner and swim in tropical anchorages…" It was all so
vivid in my mind. He wasn't sure what to think, but he was very excited
to catch a yellowfin tuna during that little Thanksgiving excursion.
As we motored along the rugged shore with the fish on ice in a cooler,
I spent the next several hours painting a colorful picture for him of us in
our swimsuits living on the sea and sailing from one exotic port to the
next. I realized I had made an impression on him when we returned to
the dock and he suddenly said, "Well, if I'm going to be fishing for my
dinner, I'd better see how this thing is filleted." He closely watched
every flash of our captain Carlos' fillet knife, studying the way he
expertly carved up the
fish. "Wow," I thought,
"Maybe we really could go cruising…"
A long long time had passed between
that little fishing trip and our cruise of
the Mexican coast on Groovy last
winter, but when we pulled into San
Carlos this past June we felt like we
had come full circle. We sailed by the
island where Mark had caught his
yellowfin tuna on our friend's fishing
boat, and we anchored just outside the
entrance to Marina Real where we had
seen a Beneteau anchored way back
This past summer had given us the chance to revisit our home in Phoenix and run
away in our trailer to the Utah red rocks for a few weeks. Now we were back in San
Carlos with a new cruising season ahead. For us San Carlos seemed to be a point
of intersection, the juncture of past dreams and present transitions.
A lot of the boats we had traveled with
last season were on the docks in San
Carlos, and the air was abuzz with their
various plans: Central America, Panama
Canal, South Pacific, Caribbean.
We didn't have any concrete plans beyond
sailing the Sea of Cortez for October and
November. We took the kayak out into the
harbor and enjoyed the early morning light,
slowly getting used to living a water-based life
One morning a couple told us they had had
returned to their boat after a night ashore to
find that otters had wreaked havoc aboard.
They had seen webbed footprints, but it
wasn't clear if otters were really the culprits.
After a little sleuthing, it turned out that a family of raccoons lived in
the bushes next to the marina docks, and they had taken advantage
of the boat's open hatches to get aboard and raid the pantry. Food of
all kinds was strewn throughout their cabin.
Mark was returning from the shower one night and saw the raccoons
up close. It was a little family of five, and they were very cute,
although one parent hissed in annoyance at having its photo taken.
San Carlos is a gringo
vacation town, and one
afternoon we joined some
friends to check out the
Soggy Peso Bar. This
breezy little beachside bar
sits on the edge of the white
sands of Algodones Bay,
and it has a fantastic view
looking back towards the
Marina Real enclave of
The beers were ice cold and
the beach scene was hot,
and in a flash we realized we
had left the US along with our
life in our trailer, Route 66
and Utah's red rocks far
behind. We were in our beachwear once again,
back in the land of sand and sun, back on the
The village of San Carlos is a small vacation
community that was built on a single rancher's
ranch land a few decades ago.
Ten miles down the road is the
much older city of Guaymas,
complete with a historic city center.
We took the bus there and strolled
around one afternoon. A
"Municipal Palace" building
dominates a huge, open plaza, and
the cathedral lends a touch of
charm to the otherwise gritty town.
A lighthouse marks the entrance to the
municipal marina, and there is a nice
"malecón" or waterfront boardwalk for
We had dashed down to
San Carlos in hopes of
resuming cruising while the
water was still warm at the
very beginning of October.
When we arrived it was reportedly 91
degrees. Fantastic!! We couldn't wait to
get going. But two hurricanes showed
up on the radar down south--Jova and
Irwin--and although we were far from
their path, the weather promised high
winds and choppy seas in our
neighborhood for a while.
So we waited in the marina and
watched the water temperature slip
down to 82 degrees over the course
of a week. Finally our window of
opportunity came, and we left the
marina for Bahía Algodones around
the corner where we got the boat
prepped for this season's first
crossing of the Sea of Cortez. Punta
would be our first stops on the Baja side.