Category Archives: General

Espiritu Santo

These two islands about 20 miles north of La Paz are part of a Mexican National Park. The wildlife in and around the islands are unique and protected. We were a little disappointed, because a lot of the wildlife is undersea, and even though I went in the water, it was always to cold to enjoy it. Any in the water time was spent hunting dinner. The islands provide nice hikes and as you would expect, beautiful anchorages. In the two weeks we spent around the islands we visited five different anchorages. All of them unique, but this is still a very arid climate, so plenty of cactus and rocks on these volcanic islands.

Contrary to most of the island, this beach looks very tropical

Contrary to most of the island, this beach looks very tropical

The first anchorage, Playa Bonanza, has a beautiful white sand beach that goes on for miles. The beach was littered with shells and sea glass to find and enjoy while we were there.

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Beyond the beach there is a trail that will take you to the other side of the island and into our next anchorage, Bahia San Gabriel. We skipped the hike. Why hike when you can sail there?

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At Bahia San Gabriel there is an old abandoned oyster farm. Which in this case simply means a lagoon separated from the bay where they used to farm oysters.

san-g-frigate-rookery2Lots and lots of shells along the shore, but more exciting was the frigate rookery located on the breakwater to the lagoon. Hundreds of these large birds nesting in the trees and making quite a mess.

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dscf2480At Ensenada de la Raza we were tucked into the northernmost of three large bays. The bays are also tucked in behind a couple of small islands or islets. When we came to the first bay, it had boats in it. The second one had what looked like a tent resort set up on the beach, and the third one was just right. Sounds like “Goldilocks and the three bears” Anna and I planned on diving near one of the small islands, but it turned out to be a little rough and with the cold water we passed. Other than the diving option at this anchorage we didn’t see much to do. Anything on shore would require bushwhacking up over the hill. So after one night we moved on.

Diva loves the selfies

Caletta Partida is a cove that separates the two islands. It is different from the other bays because there is a small canal that at high tide you can dinghy through to the other side of the islands.

The western side of the island, where we were anchored, had sand beaches before reaching the mountainous terrain. The eastern side from what we could see, just dropped off into the sea. cp-western-cliff cp-tree-clinging-to-rock cp-gull-wathcing-us-go-by cp-eastern-cliffThe eastern side has much better fishing. Both sides had awesome rock formations and caves that reached deep into the water. Amazingly there was a big difference between the rocks on the northern island and those on the southern island. Even though they were separated but such a short distance. Maybe it has something to do with the timing of the eruptions?

Ensenada Grande, the northern most anchorage we visited is about a mile from famous Roca Islotes. Known for the sea lions that live and breed there. The sea lions are quite friendly toward divers and snorkelers and tend to interact with them. Or so it’s said. The weather still a little sour made getting up around the end of the island in the dinghy out of the question. Stray Catz yes, but in the unprotected anchorage, it wouldn’t be safe leaving her while Anna and I were in the water. So that adventure will come later.

There is a trail that goes to the top of the mountain and takes you cliff-side to the eastern shore. This is not a simple hike. It was necessary to crawl across more than one rock, but if you make the trip amazing views await you. Our friends from Sea Fern joined us on this adventure.

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Some of the sparse four legged wildlife spotted on the islands

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A natural stairway halfway up the mountain.

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That was the easy hike. It paled in difficulty to the one we did the next day. No crawling, we had to climb rocks to make this hike. We wanted to see the fossilized shells in the caves along the way.  The shells were disappointing, but the hike was fun. It also was a good way to end our time exploring these islands. The next day it was time to head back to civilization. It was time to stop putting off repairing the roller furler. Ugh!

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La Paz

We sailed into La Paz on a windy afternoon. The harbor in La Paz is a bit tricky for a couple of reasons. The first one is that after four plus miles of channel you have to cross over a sand bar to get to the main anchorage called the Mogote. The first trick turned out to be no problem. Our guide-book was a few years old, so maybe things have gotten better, but it wasn’t as tricky as the guide-book made it out to be. We quickly dinghied to shore to get back in touch with the world electronically. Soon thereafter it was down the malecon to enjoy some of the sights. La Paz has many sculptures along the waterfront. One of the most famous is this mermaid chasing the dolphin.

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A less famous one, but still just as fascinating, is the Anna stuck in the knees of the fisherman.

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On the second day we were blessed with a very special treat. Spotting two dolphins heading towards Stray Catz is exciting by itself, but this time they were after some fish that were hanging out under the boat. These two cetaceans spent about ten minutes chasing the fish under and around us. Anna and I were running inside and out trying to watch the dolphins chasing the fish. Inside of Stray Catz are two escape hatches for the unlikely event of a capsize. I quickly opened these to see if I could get a better picture of this Animal Planet event. Unfortunately this is the best I could come up with.

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While we were in La Paz it was Denise, from Sea Fern’s birthday. Anna got to take advantage of the overpriced cookware we had bought years ago and cooked stove top, a delicious dobash cake. The cake was so good it alone almost made the cookware worth it.

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We spent only a few days in La Paz getting caught up and restocking the shelves. Long enough to experience the infamous La Paz waltz. The other tricky part of La Paz harbor. This local phenomenon happens where currents through a harbor are stronger than the winds blowing a from different direction. Here it causes boats at anchor to swing all different directions. One boat might be pushed forward on its anchor by the current right behind another boat being pushed backwards by the wind.

Normally boats at anchor will all be facing the same direction depending on the direction of either the wind or the current. In La Paz however you can not count on this. The currents in the harbor are strong enough to, depending on hull shape and tonnage, send boats sideways, or even opposite direction to the wind. But to top it off, its a constant battle between the two forces, so boats continue to dance around in all different directions. If you’ve made the mistake of anchoring too close to another vessel, you may very well bump it. Even though we came close to two other boats, we didn’t have to move to avoid a collision.

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The Mexican people are very resourceful. This young man had a flat tire, so he started cooking food on his engine to help pay for the repairs.

la-paz-bandidos-photo-bomb Not really.

Our roller-furler still needs repaired, but sometimes it’s very easy to get distracted. It will have to wait, because after our re-provisioning was done, we were off to check out the islands north of La Paz for a more secluded cruising lifestyle.

Aqua Verde

We stopped at a spot called Aqua Verde because it was the right distance to avoid an overnight sail and we had read about the goat farmers in the area. Aqua Verde has a small bay that is protected from the prevailing north winds. When we arrived, there were already four boats there. Adding two more, Sea Fern and us, was a bit tricky, but we squeezed in. The next day three of them left. Was it something I said?

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There is a small village that includes a tienda, restaurant, goat farms and a fish camp. Having heard about the goat farmers we were intrigued to try the goat cheese. There is also an established hike over the hill to a cemetery and to another beach on the north side of the point.

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We hiked the next morning to the cemetery and saw some beautiful views of the bay and surrounding mountains.

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After the hike Anna and Denise visited some local fisherman to inquire about their catch.

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Our plan was to enjoy dinner at the local restaurant, but since it is such a small village, we didn’t realize you had to make reservations or they don’t open. I guess when there is so few people around it’s not good business to open up and hope. The next morning we were leaving early, so even though we had seen a herd of goats, we never found anywhere to acquire goat cheese.

After leaving Aqua Verde, we spent two more nights at beautiful anchorages, Honeymoon Cove and Bahia San Francisco on our way to La Paz. We had been out of touch electronically for a while, so we didn’t take the time to enjoy them. I really wanted internet, but as it turned out I didn’t miss much.

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