Coronavirius Changing Plans in Mexico: Making Lemonade out of Muddy Water

It feels like so long ago now that we made our way back to San Carlos in two big passages to get prepared for our wedding. Although we had heard about the coronavirus along the way, it was on the radar but seemed distant and was initially unconcerning for us. So much has changed, but our plans have always been written in the sand at low tide, so we feel more suited to these hurdles in life. 

We had a great trip north, continuing the journey from Mazatlan by crossing the southern end of the Sea of Cortez and making landfall on the Baja at Bahia de los Muertos, about 190 nautical miles. Right off the bat we were beyond excited to be greeted by a pod of 30 or more Orcas six hours off the mainland coast, cruising around Echo for about half an hour. The distinctive dorsal fin of the pod’s lone male had to span over 6 feet tall, and as they charged the swells with smiling faces, we marvelled at the view and thanked our lucky stars for such a rare sighting. We settled into the evening, which remained uneventful until right before our 1AM shift change, of course, where we found ourselves in a high seas traffic jam, somehow perfectly meeting up with two massive tankers at their crossing point in the middle of nowhere. The next morning, as purple and pink sunlit clouds began the morning color show, Brian noticed a huge boil on the water’s surface as Echo woke a pair of sleeping fin whales. Later that afternoon, we dropped hook in Los Muertos and began planning the next move north. 

With one eye on the weather and an ear on the coronavirus news coverage, we were planning to go as far as the weather would let us. After three nights in Los Muertos, we left at daybreak on a weather window that would hopefully allow us to make it all the way to San Carlos. The passage began with stronger winds and choppy seas through that morning, and the weather smoothed out as predicted, until later in the first night when we started to see sporadic heat lightning over the Baja. We were staying well offshore to avoid shifty localized winds, but as the lightning began moving off of the Baja to intercept us, we felt extremely exposed. The thunderhead thankfully stopped flashing just as it began to pass overhead, and, as day broke, we relaxed and made the decision to keep trucking for San Carlos. We arrived in the Bahia around 1AM the next night, dropped the hook, and quickly passed out in the glass calm anchorage.

Once we arrived in San Carlos, the coronavirus became the focus of our attention, with every single thing we had been planning for so long hinging on its spread. Initially we were hopeful, but as the number of cases exploded and travel restrictions began to clamp down, we had to make the hard realization that our plans for the wedding were out of our control. It was tough accepting that we wouldn’t be getting married as we’d wanted, grieving the cancellations one by one, until we inevitably began building a new list of possibilities. 

After sitting on anchor for a week of deliberations, we moved into the marina and began formulating Plan B. At first we thought we would be simply re-provisioning for a two month trip back over to the Baja, enjoying the isolation that it offers. With her large fuel and water tanks and a watermaker that is efficient enough to run on our solar input, we’re very lucky that Echo can stay out of port for months on end, and we stocked up on staples to last until we’d planned to haul out for the summer at the end of June. 

All stocked up

As the days and weeks progressed, though, we heard news over the SSB nets and received messages from friends telling of tightening restrictions. A lot of the information we’d been hearing locally was either heavily opinionated, highly speculative, or just plain made-up. To further confuse the decision, just about every separate municipality seemed to be enforcing a different set of guidelines, similar to what we’d heard from the US. We also were considering the extra demand we, as guests, were placing on the locals. One of the reasons we love the Baja so much is its remoteness, sprinkled with small fishing villages, some of which have small tiendas where cruisers can resupply common staples and some fresh foods. The major problem for these places isn’t the threat of cruisers bringing the virus, but more that the cruisers will deplete the local food supply, with their roads being closed off and resupplying trucks not delivering as often. Because us cruisers usually show up intending to purchase a week or two worth of food, it only takes a few boats to clean the shelves to bare bones. This has taught us a lesson in wants versus needs. YES, we want to quarantine on our tiny island. YES, we want to be sailing. YES, we want to be in some remote, beautiful, clear-watered anchorage right now enjoying nature. And, YES, we could do it with the ability and knowledge to provision for so long. But the hard reality is we don’t need that, as we see this as a lifestyle, with many more years to enjoy. We’re thankful we have a car and sailing dinghy here, we have the option to store our boat in one of the safest places around, and we have amazing options of beautiful and affordable places to stay while we wait this out. 

Once we discussed all of the given information, out of respect for our host country, and striving to make the best decisions for our future, we concluded it’d be best to haul the boat out early. Over the last few days we’ve been busy closing Echo up for the season. Lauren even busted out the sewing machine, making masks for friends and family. We’re now moved in at this quiet little waterfront condo with an amazing view, swimming pool, and, best of all, we have the whole place to ourselves! We’re excited to have a change of pace, comfortably relax, and hope to enjoy this quarantine thing as a makeshift honeymoon. 

Lauren’s face masks were a real hit around the marina!
Old friends, together again!

We feel extremely lucky to be here in Mexico, and feel the state of Sonora has responded swiftly. The week of Easter, down here called Semana Santa, usually brings somewhere in the realm of 150,000 travelers/partiers to this tiny, quiet beachside town. It was completely canceled with closed beaches and road blocks not letting people in, and rumors of gas stations closing and beer sales shut off to further deter any travelers. That was a blessing. Over the last month, all non-essential businesses have been closed. Everyone is wearing masks, and social distancing is well practiced. We’ve heard of very few cases in the neighboring town and none reported here, so we’re feeling pretty safe and secure.What are our plans from here? We know we’ll be spending the next month in our condo. We’re thankful that our lifestyle allows us to remain so flexible. We WANT to return to the Rocky Mountains this summer, and spend some time in Chilko, B.C. Other than that, we’ve learned another lesson in all of this, to plan a little less and enjoy a little more.

7 thoughts on “Coronavirius Changing Plans in Mexico: Making Lemonade out of Muddy Water

  1. Hola great to hear from you guys we. have been wondering how you were doing. we are still in La Cruz got cancelled on march 30 for our April 23 flight. we are just riding it out here feel safe and cozy, the town is closed so no one in unless a resident or official business. Santa Semana closed right down churches and all. we feel they have done a great job here. the only hiccup is no alcohol for 2 months, my liver is trying to understand what’s going on. we are hoping to get a flight June 6th plus 14 days isolation. if you still are thinking of Falkland June 20th would be the earliest date for us. hope you can make it but understand if not. noticed a lot of pics. of Brian eating is this
    something new (NOT) I will close for now my typing is like my Spanish very slow. Great blog can’t wait to hear it live.
    Virtual Hugs and Kisses
    Barrie & Shirley


    1. Thanks so much for the update you guys! We’ve been meaning to write you for some time and think of you two often. So relieved to hear you are safe and sound down there in La Cruz! We’ll be in touch soon!


  2. You two have handled this entire situation so well and with such grace. Love you both. xoxo

    On Fri, May 1, 2020 at 12:00 PM Adventures of SV Echo wrote:

    > svecho77 posted: ” It feels like so long ago now that we made our way back > to San Carlos in two big passages to get prepared for our wedding. Although > we had heard about the coronavirus along the way, it was on the radar but > seemed distant and was initially unconcernin” >


    1. Thanks, Janey! We’re so lucky to have you and the family so close during this entire experience. Your support has been greatly appreciated!


  3. Great post! More later. CO JAM

    On Fri, May 1, 2020, 1:00 PM Adventures of SV Echo wrote:

    > svecho77 posted: ” It feels like so long ago now that we made our way back > to San Carlos in two big passages to get prepared for our wedding. Although > we had heard about the coronavirus along the way, it was on the radar but > seemed distant and was initially unconcernin” >


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