Monday, January 13, 2014


Back to the islands again....
Happy Man sailing.

In January and February the wind can blow hard from the north - 600 miles all the way down the Sea. The seas are short and steep and winds can get to 30-plus knots. So, when the weather is clear and bright and calm we make tracks out to the islands fast.
We sail past long strips of white sand beaches on Espiritu Santos searching for the perfect spot to land. So many choices. Today we are on the look out for a protected spot with no other boats. 

Ensenada el Gallo

Our first stop is Ensenada el Gallo,we dropped our hook in tranquil water next to Gallo (Rooster) Island. We swam a bit in 75 degree water, explored nearby beaches and islands in the dinghy, and during our cocktail hour watched a large pod of Mellon Headed Whales feed near the surface of the water. Our first introduction to this smaller whale was a blessing as they do not frequently visit the Sea. All was peaceful until 3am when a south swell kicked into the anchorage turning our serene night into a lumpy one. Soon after our morning coffee we decided to find another spot free from the southern swell.

We headed north in pursuit of a sheltered bay. Bingo. My favorite anchorage, Ensenada Grande, lies at the most northern tip of Espiritu Santos. It was a most excellent choice. There are three lobes in the bay to set an anchor. In 27 feet of crystal clear water we can see our anchor is well set. Our preferred spot is the most southern lobe because it is exceptionally clear, shallow, and offers warm green water. Perfect for plenty of swimming.

Lets Go! 
Kayak Campers lined up on the beach.

Happy Boy!

The islands in the Sea of Cortez are environmentally protected, and we must purchase an annual pass for $70.00 US to anchor. What a deal! Part of the agreement with the Mexico Parks System is that in order to use the islands - we must not take our dog ashore. Bummer, but we understand. And yes, he does his business on board and it is bagged up tightly and deposited properly back at our marina. Since Spark requires lots of exercise and loves to swim, throwing the ball across the water keeps him happy for an extended length of time. He usually does not wear a life vest, but it is easier to pull him back on board El Tib and it also helps him float better enabling him to stay out playing longer. D and I also swam a lot with him.

Clear Water, Happy Vizsla, Anchored El Tib 

Spark on the look out for wild animals

After our swim we took a little dinghy excursion around the Bay. The Bay is surrounded by lacy pink rocks, caves, and happy sea birds soaring overhead. Can you see the pelican perched on the ledge? He's standing next to the cactus. We also spotted a big school of  colorful Cortez Angelfish, flying fish, and a few spotted porcupine fish cruising around the rocks. There were also lots of manta rays popping up in the air and landing with a big slap as they hit they water. They always make us laugh, and Spark is wild about them too.

There was a group of kayaking campers sharing the beach with us.

Kayak-camping has really taken off here in the past few years. It's wonderful to see people of all ages enjoying this Aquarium teaming with sea life and geographical wonders. Baja Fun out of Costa Baja appears to do a great job guiding groups for several days moving from one end of the island to the other end.  I highly recommend this adventure.
Baja Fun out of Costa Baja treats tourists to island adventures.

After so much activity, D decides it's Tecate Time.

Colored solar lanterns light up our cockpit at night.
Muy Festive, yes?

For me, the best time of the day is late afternoon when we shower on the stern of boat. I love outside showering so much we are going to build one up at the house - and I will use it spring, summer, fall, and winter! Nothing is as invigorating at bathing outside in fresh air under blue skies. We were getting very relaxed and very comfy.....but remembering the night before when our perfect anchorage turned rocky, we decided to pull up the hook and move down to Caleta Pardita which is known as a spot with little fetch regardless of the winds. So off we went. Forty minutes later the hook is back down and we are ready for cocktails and the sunset.

Our neighbor, True Love, at Caleta Pardita

Cocktails and a Sunset

Red Sky at Night, Sailors Delight

We also had a Red Sky at Morning Sailors Take Warning 
And it blew like stink, rendering us captives onboard all day.

We are not good at sitting on the boat for extended periods, so after one such day, D was going nuts. So off we traveled south towards La Paz. He wanted to leave the day before, but I will not raise the anchor on a Friday - an old sailors superstition.

The landscape resembles the Grand Canyon, and at times the surface of the Moon!

Just under 3 hours of "Sailing on the Moon" and we decided to set the hook just one more time. Only 20 minutes from Marina Costa Baja we settled down in Bahia Falso on the mainland so Sparky could run onshore and we could have fish tacos and a margarita at a palapa restaurant on Tesoro Beach (The former is Not recommended, the later is).

One last swim.....please.

Another Northern Blow is due in on Monday thru Tuesday, allowing us some dock time to do necessary boat work, go out for dinner with friends, and resupply. We head out again on Thursday. 

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