Leg 10 - La Paz to Loreto and back (5 week loop)
Leg 10 - La Paz to Loreto
April 20 thru May 23, 2007
After nearly a full month of rest and re-provisioning we were ready to go again. We decided to cruise north for the five weeks
remaining before our guest came out for a weeks vacation. We wanted to checkout the islands and get a feel for the inside of baja
before our extended summer stay. It turns out that spring is the perfect time to cruise the Sea. We also decided to buddy-boat with
Jojo a Catfisher 32 catamaran and Slowflight a 43' Krogen Trawler motorboat.
w/ Roger and Florine
Click to enlarge images below. Click the Photos page for more pics of each location.
Our first stop was Partida Cove at the local islands
about 20 nm away. We sailed nearly all the way. A
great way to start. After a restful night we inflated the
kayak and went exploring with Jojo. Partida Cove
actually splits two islands, Isla Espiritu Santo and Isla
Partida so there is a shallow channel between the two.
We landed on the sandy beach at the back of the
cove and walked a short distance to the rocky beach
on the other side. The water was very clear and
looked good for snorkeling.
During the next few days we 'cove hopped' to El Cardonal and Ensenada Grande, all within a few miles of each other. Being that it
was springtime there were a fair number of boats in all the anchorages but still plenty of room. We hiked to the back of El Cardonal
passing a lush lagoon and ending at another pristine rocky beach. Bridget spotted a sea turtle while we were relaxing back at the
boat. Although a bit windy we enjoyed all three coves and will be back sometime later in the summer.
A funny side note. We have hand signals to let Bridget know what to
do at the helm while we are anchoring. While we were anchoring at El
Cardonal, Jojo passed us snapping a few pictures on the way. I was
up on the bow with Bridget at the helm. I gave Jojo the thumbs up for
the picture. Well that is also the hand signal for reverse while
anchoring, which Bridget dutifully engaged. I resumed anchoring and
noticed the kayak, which we had been towing, was drifting by.
Unwittingly we had run over and cut the tow line to the kayak with the
shaft cutters. I jumped in and rescued the kayak and endured many
thumbs-up jokes for the remainder of the trip.
On April 25 we headed for Isla San Francisco a 21 nm run. We saw so many dolphins that at times it looked like breakers in the
distance. We anchored in the 'hook' of the island which is a sandy bottomed cove with crystal clear water and moderate protection
from wind and swell. The island has high ridges with excellent trails and views near the anchorage. We all went on a half day hike
that was well worth it. Back at anchor we were treated to many different types of fish constantly swimming thru the clear turquoise
water. With an eye to the weather this anchorage has remained one of favorites.
We left Isla San Francisco for Bahia San Evaristo only 10 nm away on the mainland. We enjoyed another fine sail with light
southerlies. Evaristo is typical of the many small fishing villages along the coast. Each morning the fisherman depart in their pangas
for the various fishing locations. The tiendas(markets) are small but adequate for most basic needs. The people are warm, friendly
and honest. We picked up some vegetables and cheese and snorkeled the end of the anchorage. Unexpectedly there was a huge
variety of fish in the clear waters.
Up the coast was Agua Verde, 47 nm to our next destination. For those of you who will be sailing here from the south, stay at least 2
nm off Punta San Marcial to avoid the reef just north-east of the point. We anchored in the SE bight on a sandy bottom near the small
fishing village along the beach. There is a 115' pinnacle rock near the north entrance of the bay with fantastic snorkeling. The best yet.
Later we dinghied to town and stopped at the tienda and had fresh tortillas made for us, Jojo and a few other cruisers. There is no
electricity or liquor in town. There was a cruiser potluck which, unfortunately, we were not able to attend. Brad and Vicki from Jojo
said we really missed a good time.
Well by now it's almost time for Loreto Fest 2007. This is an annual function put on by the HPYC (Hidden Port Yacht Club) and is
actually held in Puerto Escondidio 15 nm south of Loreto. We left Agua Verde with no wind for the 23 nm motor-sail up to Puerto
Escondido. This passage has a variety of ways of getting thru or around Los Candeleros, the three islets between Punta Candeleros
and Isla Danzante. We passed safely between Punta Candeleros and the first Candeleros islet in 75' of water.
We picked up a mooring ball in Puerto Escondido with the help of m/v Contagious (thank you), payed for a week ($75) and settled
in. This area is very picturesque with the rugged Sierra La Giganta mountains rising 1000' just west of the anchorage.
We joined Jojo for dinner up the road at the Hotel Tripui. It was packed with cruisers for the buffet style Mexican fare ($16/person).
We had a good time at Loreto Fest even though we became ill the second day and missed the last two days.
Late one day we trekked up the road from the anchorage past Highway 1 and found Steinbeck's Canyon. This is the canyon John
Steinbeck wrote about in his Log from the Sea of Cortez. We had planned on returning the next day to search out the waterfalls and
cool pools of water that are said to be there. Unfortunately we were bedridden for the next few days and did not return. We spent an
evening on Capriccio (Sabre 38) with fellow Sabre owners and good friends Jan and Vivian. One of the pleasures of cruising is
meeting all the wonderful people along the way. The Monday after Loreto Fest we arranged to share a taxi ride ($65) into Loreto with
Jojo. Loreto is full of historic buildings and has good provisioning at the El Pescador market. Most of Loreto can be explored in one
The surrounding area is the start of one of Baja's National Parks. All of the islands and some of the mainland are protected and require
a park pass ($25 annually) to visit. Leaving the anchorage we stopped at the Singlar dock and filled our tanks with fresh mountain
It's was a short 3.5 nm jump to Honeymoon Cove in Isla Danzante. Along with Jojo we anchored in the south bight in 12' of water
with a coral sand bottom. I know we've said this before but this place is beautiful. Great snorkeling, exploring and daily dolphin shows
to beat none. This time of year we had no problems with no-see-ums or bees, a big plus. We really liked it here. It was here that we
had to part with our buddy boaters and good friends Brad and Vicki on Jojo. They had an appointment in San Carlos to have the
boat put on the hard (put on land) for the summer and we needed to head south again to pick Ray up for his week of vacation. We
had been traveling together the entire trip and had an absolute blast with them. In the morning we said our final goodbyes as they
headed for Loreto. I dare say there were a few tears shed. Several hours later they radioed us that they were experiencing battery
problems and may need assistance. We immediately got underway to meet them in Loreto. We arrived in the evening and jointly
decided to tackle the problem in the morning. Meanwhile Tony and Shannon from Sweetie dinghied over for a nice chat. Both our
boats are from Ventura and first we met them coming down the outside. The next morning the battery voltage seemed to be holding
and the consensus was everything was OK for now. Another 'goodbye 'till next fall' and we were heading south, back to Honeymoon
We kept heading south after Honeymoon with a stop in Agua Verde where Tom and Diane from Imagine (Catalina 42) were
gracious enough to invite everyone in the anchorage over for cocktails. Tom, having been a bartender in his previous life, whipped-up
a bunch of blended margaritas and everyone had a great time.
Next stop was Los Gatos this time. Los Gatos is a fairly open bay with marbled red/pink/orange sandstone around the perimeter. We
were fortunate to have good weather and a comfortable night. The diving was very good for invertebrates along the reef in the south
end of the bay. We found some scallops there which we had for dinner.
The next stops on our way back to the marina were Isla San Francisco and then El Cardonal (Isla Partida). There was a fierce wind
called a Cormuel blowing thru El Cardonal during the night with wind waves breaking over the bow. We had left the dingy on the
davits and about every fifth wave was slapping it so hard it sounded like thunder. Not much sleep that night but no damage.
We moved over to Partida Cove the following morning and waited for Dave and Kellie of s/v Sweet Lorraine to come in from La Paz.
How excited we were as we anticipated seeing them for the first time since last November!!!! As many of you know, we occupied the
slip next to them while in Ventura for 6 years. They are great friends and we had missed them a lot. As is customary in the cruising
world, as soon as their anchor was set, we were on their boat for cocktails, followed by a fine dinner. Lots and lots of hugs were
given/taken and then we went on to swap stories of the good, bad and braveries of the ocean passages. We chatted until well into the
late evening. The next day we exchanged another "adios", as we needed to head back to the Marina in preparation for Ray's visit. We
plan to meet up with them again in June, where we will likely buddy boat throughout the summer in the Sea.
That day we were back to the comfort of Marina Costa Baja. The end of a most satisfying trip.
|Jan from Capriccio took this unique opportunity to take some great
pictures of our two Sabres in the beautiful baja anchorage of Los Gatos.
|The 'hook' at Isla San Francisco.
|Trail at Isla San Francisco.
|Jan + Vivian sitting on their
Sabre 38 Capriccio
Marina Costa Baja, La Paz