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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.