Returning to Puerto Refugio

Little birds singing sweet songs … 

Farewell Puerto Penasco! 

Wow, we had a very full two plus months here: Hanging out with then saying goodbye to our amazing cruising buddies, Tom and Katie on SV Absolute; digging daily into our long list of boat projects; making an uneventful trip to Arizona for boat supplies, provisioning treats, and refueling our souls with Chris’ family. We returned with supplies to paint the bottom of Dharma Girl and complete awaiting boat projects.  A unique ride to splash our girl.  The last 10 days we nurtured our new friendships with our Airbnb hosts, saying goodbye to them until next summer.

We are leaving behind hot days, project frustrations, and my 69 day Duolingo streak. We are taking with us great food and language experiences, wisdom from the Cabrales Boatyard personnel, and good memories from this uncomplicated and most friendly Mexican city.  Hasta la proxima vez.

This is Dharma Girl in the slings of the Travel Lift.  The lift moved her from her home of two months over an 1/8th of a mile back to the water, a process called splashing the boat.  Chris gives the OK the engine started and we have water flow.

The final 10 days we stayed at Safe Marina to relax, provision, and complete a few easy tasks to prepare the boat for us leaving Puerto Penasco.    

Heading South

Unlike our passage from Puerto Refugio to Puerto Penasco, we sailed a good bit of this passage back to Puerto Refugio.  The winds were generous and we took advantage of sailing aft our beam at 120 degrees most of the way.  It was a fantastic start for our goal this year to sail more and motorless.  


Chris caught and released a small dorado.  And welcoming us to Puerto Refugio was a very large pod of dolphins.  We never tire of watching them swim alongside the boat, under the boat, and zipping back and forth in front of the bow. Smiles all around.  After a 25 hour passage, we anchored in the middle bight, the same bay as in July.  Somewhat to our surprise there are five other boats scattered in the other bays. We’ll try a new anchorage for our next stop.  

Having returned to this picturesque location, our first evening reminded us of how we enjoyed watching the sunset change the texture and colors on the rugged surrounding mountains and islets.  The beauty calms us. 


It is very typical for us, and other cruisers too, to chill and catch up on sleep after a night passage.  So day one was filled with reading, sleeping, reading some more, eating, then a movie followed by bed by 9 PM. The second day we are ready to explore, hike, swim, paddle, and meet some other cruisers.  SV Gen M, a family on a catamaran built by the husband, hailed us to come visit (social distancing of course). Turns out Carrie met her on the women’s bi-weekly paddle in La Cruz.  Then a visit from another family boat, SV Yatra.  When the pandemic started, kiddos on a couple of family boats worked together, circumventing the pandemic by playing battleship over the VHF.  Listening to their game for a few minutes became something we looked forward to during the day.  It was just a hoot. A couple of days later a boat, SV Sunpiper, anchored in our bay.  We felt we knew the boat name and after we meet Léo and Kate, it turns out they are friends of our past buddy boat, SV Absolute. The cruising world is a small world.

Taking it in

After several nights we listened to the sea lions bark, groan, and such. Chris joked how the larger ones sounded like old men playing chess in the park.  We visited the south side of Isla Granito which hosts a large rookery of sea lions.  There were so many pups!  They played around much like black Labrador puppies but a wet version of them, if you could imagine that.  You couldn’t help but chuckle at their play.  The far east end is where you find the grande y muy gordo (large and very fat) adult sea lions.  It appears they haven’t moved for days.  But barking they do very well in their supine position.

The view of the rookery that is 1 mile from where Dharma Girl is anchored.
Look closely. What appears to be dark brown rocks are the pups!

The photo above captures the mamas and pups.  The mamas have light-colored fur and the pups have black fur. Then the seniors (below) are situated at the end of the island in their own ‘court’ of old men. 

The seniors, aka the bulls.

After we had our fill with the sea lions, we motored to the NE point of the East Bay, and fished at Punta Roca Rana and allowed the dinghy to drift into the East Bight. Chris gets a bite but releases the trigger fish. Then another trigger fish bites the lure and we knew this was a larger fish because he pulled and turned our dinghy starboard before Chris reeled it in.  We wished we got that on video.  And again, don’t ask, he releases it.  The sun now is beginning to set and we have a lovely ride back to Dharma Girl.

The east mountains in the bay.
The sun is setting and we need to head back to Dharma Girl.
You can see the sunset in Chris’ sunglass lense.

Exercising and Exploring

Each day we make great efforts to exercise.  And if exercising is included with exploring new terrain, then that is bonus for us because we are exposed to less sunshine. Our new friends, Gen M, suggested a nice hike on Isla Meja, an island just WNW of us.  We planned a morning for it and headed out for a nice dinghy ride, landing on a rock and shell-covered beach. Beachcombing reveals vertebras, starfish, seashells with fun colors, and little to no trash.  We hiked north on the shoreline to a large arroyo and many small empty day fishing camps.  Looking east we we can see Dharma Girl in the far distance.

We come across many cool bone findings, like this. This could be from a
land or water mammal.
Pose requested by Chris. 🙂
I want to take it all but no just take photos.
We could see the mast of our boat from this island.

We double back, past the dinghy and headed south. The terrain was less covered with cactus and brush but a nice trail took us to a beach.  We cooled off in the south breeze and sit-down to eat lunch. 

The following day we each explore the West Bay on our own.  Chris goes fishing in the dinghy and Carrie goes for a paddle.

The arch that borders the West Bite and the Middle Bite.
Experimenting with the light and black/white photography.
The Paloma, the true traditional drink of Mexico.

Look closely and you’ll see that the red and white strips are sails of SV Taiko.  We believe she is a Chinese Junk sailing vessel.  Their tender is a miniature of the boat but without the sails.  

While snorkeling around the boat, shrimp (above) and sergeant majors (below) were taking interested in 
Carrie’s face mask.  After playing with them in the water, she scooped them up to get a closer look of these intriguing swimming buddies.  We decided the young sergeant majors should be called sergeant minors and received a two finger salute versus a full hand.  Oh the things we come up to entertain our minds.  

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