Our first stop after the long stay in La Paz was Puerto Balandra, just 12 miles north. We arrived in the afternoon and immediately hopped in the water. We hadn’t been swimming since visiting the pool at Costa Baja with Eric and Jaime. The water in the La Paz anchorage is not the cleanest, so we couldn’t just jump in whenever we wanted.
Sully and I rode the kayak ashore to play on the beach, while Nate snorkled and chased after puffer fish. Then we all went for a walk in waist deep water to see the famous mushroom rock, ‘El Hongo’, but Sully started shivering so we went back to the boat.
At sunset our buddy Reid from s/v Luna pulled into the anchorage with his friends John, Shannon and her brother Shawn on s/v Prism, a beautiful Hans Christian 33. We checked out their boat for happy hour and then everyone came back to Astraea for dinner.
Ensenada del Candelero
The next morning we all pulled up our anchors and headed north 14 miles to Ensenada del Candelero on Isla Espiritu Santo. This bay would have good wind protection from the strong north winds that were about to blow. We stayed in Candelero for three nights. It was cloudy and windy a lot, but we did get some sun when we went for a hike.
Bahia San Gabriel
On Friday we decided to head south to Bahia San Gabriel to meet up with Eric and Jaime on s/v Coconutz. We knew we’d be crossing the sea to Banderas Bay soon and wanted to spend time cruising with them before we left. It was cloudy and sprinkling, but I could imagine how beautiful it could be on a warm sunny day. Sully and I went to shore with Jaime to walk and play in the sand. The beach is about a mile long and we had fun looking for shells and dead puffer fish.
With a good break in the weather to head north on Sunday the 25th, we sailed up to Ensenada Grande on Isla Partida. This bay has three beaches to choose from and we chose to anchor in the southern most anchorage for wind protection. This ended up being my favorite spot in the islands.
Eric and Jaime came over for Margaritas and dinner on our first night there, and we caught our first fish with Sully’s fishing pole – a trigger fish. There was a beautiful sunset that night and a rainbow, too!
We took a dinghy ride to explore the northern beach. The rock formations in this bay are beautiful. A lacy fringe hangs down hiding caves and crevices – great hiding places for the hundreds of crabs that scurried along as we passed by.
The hike from the beach to the other side of the island was a challenging 2 kilometer scramble up a rocky arroyo. It was a hot, sunny day, so the sea breeze was as welcome as the beautiful view at the top.
After five days in Ensenada Grande we went south again to Caleta Partida, the anchorage between Isla Espiritu Santo and Isla Partida. It was a quick one hour of motoring, but unfortunately it was raining and continued to rain most of the day. Eric and Jaime brought lunch over and we hung out playing games into the evening. The sun finally showed it’s face the next day, so we took the dinghy ashore and found thousands of fiddler crabs all over the beach. Later in the afternoon, I did laundry on board for the first time. I tried the dry bag method – put clothes in dry bag with water and detergent and shake it around.
Bahia San Gabriel
We followed Coconutz back down to Bahia San Gabriel on Sunday, February 1st. After nap time we loaded the dinghy with Sully’s sand toys and headed for the beach. The tide was way out and it wasn’t deep enough for the motor, so Nate jumped in and pulled us through the shallows. Once out of the dinghy I remembered Jaime talking about the clams in the bay, so we started digging with our feet. We ended up finding enough for a little snack, so once we got back to the boat, we invited Eric and Jaime over for one last game night and clams.
Baja Rummy is a really popular card game among cruisers in La Paz, so we looked up the rules and made sure we had enough cards to play. It’s like Canasta, but you play with teams. We started with boys versus girls and Jaime and I kicked some serious butt! We took a break to cook the clams in onions, garlic and white wine and they were delicious! While we were eating, someone came over the VHF with the score for the Super Bowl. We didn’t even know the game was on, but our little get together became “Baja Rummy Super Bowl Clam Fest 2015”.
The next morning, we said goodbye to Eric and Jaime as they headed back to La Paz. It was so cool to hang out with them 1000 miles from where we both started. They were nice enough to take our trash back to town so we wouldn’t have to sail with it across the Sea to Banderas Bay. We took advantage of the weather and sailed to Ensenada de Los Muertos, about 50 miles south. We stopped for the night to get a good night’s rest before our three day passage across the Sea of Cortez.