Beautiful Baja Cruising

It’s been a very interesting and varied few weeks since leaving the beautiful Isla Espiritu Santo, cruising north along the east coast of the Baja peninsular dodging the strong northerly winds every few days.  There are plenty of lovely anchorages along the way,  with varying protection. San Evaristo was beautiful and well protected with a nice walk along the beach, and one of the dirt roads that leads out of the small fishing village took us to some salt evaporation ponds on the other side of the point.

IMG_4918-squashed

The stunning Sierra de la Giganta mountain range

IMG_4925-squashed

A shrimping boat takes a rest

IMG_4973-squashed

Salt evaporation ponds gleaming in the sunlight

IMG_4978-squashedIMG_4982-squashed

IMG_4985-squashed

The tiny rural school in the village

IMG_4995-squashed

IMG_5003-squashed

The small fishing community at San Evaristo

IMG_5013-squashed

A chance to sail in the San Jose Channel

Our favourite anchorage was on the southern shore of Isla Coronados which is about 5 miles north-east of the small town of Loreto.  Uninhabited and part of the National Park, the island is actually a volcano with a beautiful sandy spit at its base. The volcano provided us with great protection in its lee during a week-long northerly with gusts up to 35 knots,  we sat comfortably with just a small amount of wind chop watching the large waves rolling on by past the island.  Within kayaking reach of a small beach we had the island all to ourselves, the tourists stayed away for days as the boat trip out from Loreto would have been quite horrible.  It’s not all that easy paddling against strong wind in an inflatable kayak, it was a wet experience but gave us a much-needed work out. We took a couple of hours to hike to the top of the volcano for a picnic, it was pretty tough on the ankles and trainers as most of the trek was across acres of rubble-like rocks which were quite wobbly and sharp.  The last part was very steep and slippery on loose gravel but we made it, our lunch stop at the top was pretty wind-blown as the gusts accelerated over the peak. Great views though.

IMG_5262-squashed

The volcano in the distance

IMG_5261-squashed

Cairns mark the trail across the rubble

 

IMG_5241-squashed

Looking across the sand spit to the mainland

IMG_5247-squashed

IMG_5252-squashed

Nice calm water in the lee of the island

IMG_5254-squashed

A great view of Isla Carmen 8 miles to the south

IMG_5217-squashedIMG_5227-squashed

Going down was tricky, that slippery gravel meant I was on my backside quite a bit.  Sadly my Sketchers were no match for the sharp rocks, now we are both in need of some new trainers.  The beach at the base of the volcano on the western shore is pretty stunning, and there is a network of well maintained paths that lead through the sand-dunes giving a much easier and gentle workout for the old knees. After our second trip ashore on one of the windiest days we kayaked back to Joy with the wind behind us, paddling hard so as not to miss her we arrived at the steps doing around 5 knots. The only way to stop was to grab hold of the fenders pretty quickly and hang on for dear life.  We really didn’t fancy missing the goal, being blown out to sea and having to paddle like hell to get back.  We made it, but I strained my dodgy knee getting out of the kayak and back up the steps, that put me out of action for a few days.

 

IMG_5202-squashed

Joy anchored in the lee of Isla Coronados

IMG_5209-squashed

A well-marked trail through the scrub

IMG_5225-squashedIMG_5228-squashedIMG_5229-squashed

IMG_5232-squashed

This poor little fella with a broken wind followed us up the beach, we returned the next day with some bait fish and left over tuna for him!

IMG_5233-squashedIMG_5284-squashedIMG_5346-squashed

IMG_5359-squashed

This one’s aptly named a ‘rambling’ cactus

IMG_5371-squashed

The windward beach, not so nice!

Loreto is such a lovely little town full of character and friendly people.  There is no protected anchorage just an open roadstead, but it’s an easy hop from Isla Coronados and when the weather is settled it’s possible to anchor off the small town harbour for a few hours. There are a couple of good supermarkets and plenty of excellent restaurants to choose from.   Mexican supermarkets generally have an abundance of avocados, limes and fresh coriander. Jez makes a fantastic chunky guacamole with avocado, onion, garlic, coriander and lime juice, a wonderful change from popcorn at beer o’clock.

IMG_5089-squashed

Approaching the beautiful town of Loreto

IMG_1552-squashedIMG_1556-squashedIMG_1568-squashedIMG_5380-squashedIMG_5381-squashedIMG_5382-squashedIMG_5383-squashedIMG_5385-squashed

IMG_1550-squashed

It’s amazing what you can find next to the bacon in the supermarket chiller!

IMG_1551-squashed

I’m not telling porkies……

The waters around Loreto are pretty special too, huge pods of dolphin can often be seen feeding as well as hundreds of pelicans and one day we were lucky enough to be startled by a humpback whale leaping from the water, crashing down with a huge loud splash.  Then again she breached but not achieving such a great height as the first time, then again. We watched in total amazement as this whale breached six times in succession before her companion joined in and managed two more!

IMG_5092-squashedIMG_5116-squashedIMG_5126-squashed

IMG_5130-squashed

Each time she landed on her back with her mouth open!

IMG_5138-squashed

Now her friend’s turn

IMG_5156-squashed

Our final leg to reach Bahia Concepcion was actually sailable, with some south in the light winds we even managed to get the asymmetric sail out for a few hours as we watched two humpback whales tail slapping. Bahia Concepcion is a large bay with several anchorages within it giving protection from just about every wind angle.  The downside is it’s close to the Mexican highway with noisy lorries during the day, it’s also a popular place for camping and the beaches are full of RV’s and campers.

IMG_5489-squashed

This shrimping boat overtook us doing about 10 knots – complete with a flock of frigate birds in his rigging!

IMG_5493-squashed

It’s not often the asymmetric sail comes out

IMG_5526-squashed

If you look really closely you can see that they are blue footed boobies

IMG_5529-squashed

Playa Coyote

IMG_5534-squashedIMG_5538-squashedIMG_5540-squashed

IMG_5541-squashed

Spot the osprey on her nest

IMG_5555-squashedIMG_5557-squashedIMG_5562-squashed

IMG_5568-squashed

Isla Requeson is connected to the mainland by a sand spit, also a popular place for campers

IMG_5571-squashed

Looking north from Isla Requeson across Bahia Concepcion

IMG_5575-squashedIMG_5581-squashed

IMG_5583-squashed

Millions of oyster shells litter the island

IMG_5667-squashed

The pretty point at Playa Santispac

IMG_5613-squashed

We found this strange little creature blocking up our water strainer for the fridge cooling system (released unharmed!)

IMG_5611-squashed

The authors or our excellent cruising guide for the Sea of Cortez, Shawn Breeding and Heather Bansmer, have also produced electronic charts of all the anchorages that they cover in the book. We bought these too as our Navionics charts were rather poor in detail, they have proved to be very useful and pretty accurate for GPS positioning and depth soundings. This is our favourite anchorage in Bahia Concepcion, Playa Santa Barbara, on the left is the Navionics chart compared with the authors chart on the right.

Santa Barbara Charts-squashed

Now we are heading south on our way back to La Paz to get the boat, and ourselves, ready to cross the Pacific next month.  We’re looking forward to visiting some of the anchorages we missed out on our bash north.

 

This entry was posted in Mexico and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Beautiful Baja Cruising

  1. florence1924 says:

    Such amazing photos Susie! Loreto looks so pretty and the whales spectacular!!! and the beautiful cactus too!! xxxx

    Like

  2. Chris Foster says:

    More great photos. I will have to step up my game!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s