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.
Jojo
w/ Brad and
Vicki
SlowFlight
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 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.
What not to do at the helm when 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.
Towing the kayak.
The kayak adrift
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
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 day.
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 water.
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 Cove.
Old Loreto Cathedral
Relaxing in Loreto
Loreto shoreline
Honeymoon Cove
Jojo in Honeymoon Cove
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.
Billy Bucko.
Cruiser's potluck.
Village house.
Pyramid Rock
Overview of Evaristo.
The beach at Evaristo.
Backdrop at Evaristo.
The 'hook' at Isla San
Francisco.
Trail at Isla San Francisco.
Puerto Escondido.
Sabre 38 Capriccio
Marina Costa Baja, La Paz
Sunset at Los Gatos