We left San Jose del Cabo on April 28th en route to La Paz, just over 130 miles to the NW, well inside the Sea of Cortez.
And what a route it was – we did it in 10 days, stopping at three anchorages along the way, one prettier than the other. It was a great sample of what lies ahead as we slowly explore the Sea of Cortez over the next months.
We also had the privilege of doing it along with our buddy-boat and friends s/v Coastal Drifter, which made the trip even more enjoyable.
We planned the trip so that we could do it in three legs, without the need for night passages:
We left San Jose del Cabo and gradually turned left, northward, thus definitely entering the Sea of Cortez. It took us just over 3 hours to get to Los Frailes – our first stop. We covered it under engine, and spent most of the time watching the deep-water fish jump outside of the water (no wonder there are so many sport-fishing boats around this area!):
Los Frailes is a beautiful, wide bay, with a long white sand beach, and surrounded by a gorgeous landscape:
We spent most of our time there in the water – cleaning Pesto’s bottom, checking out our new stabilizing system …
… and swimming back-and-forth between Pesto and s/v Coastal Drifter:
Los Frailes is close to one of Sea of Cortez’ most formidable reef – El Pulmo – and we were hoping to snorkel there. However, the bay is wide open to the SE, and as things are, a mighty SE wind coupled with a SE swell decided to settle in while we were there. Each day it blew stronger and the waves grew accordingly:
Eventually conditions got pretty blustery, and we found ourselves riding waves of up to 1.5 meters at anchor:
EL Pulmo would have to wait – for us, it was time to go. Next up, Ensenada de los Muertos, some 50 miles away, which we covered partially under engine, and partially sailing upwind:
Despite it’s name, Ensenada de los Muertos is a truly beautiful place. Again, a white sandy beach, with sparkling dunes, surrounded by mountains:
It is also smaller and more protected than Los Frailes – thus having a clearer water. Accordingly, we spent a lot of time on – and in – it:
The bay also has a cool, relaxed restaurant, where we splurged on Mexican’s delicacies a couple of times:
We also used their premises to do homeschooling one day – just for a change:
Every day, the sun would rise from the Sea of Cortez – just behind s/v Coastal Drifter …
… then it would blaze hot …
… setting behind the mountains, painting the sky in the process …
… and handing it in to the moon, which was large and bright, and provided for illuminated nights while we were there:
We had a great time at Los Muertos:
Spirits were high:
But we knew there were still other attractions on the menu. Besides, we needed to reach La Paz within a week for Adriana had a business trip coming up. So, we raised anchor again:
We were surprised by a good wind and flat seas, and with that we crossed the canal between the continent and Isla Cerralvo under full sail:
It was glorious sailing, going upwind on 18 knots, full sail, and Pesto reaching 8 knots at times:
Our next destination was Puerto Balandra – a picture perfect bay, with four white sand beaches in it, clear turquoise waters, all surrounded by a dramatic geography. Adriana and I agreed that it is the most beautiful beach we have ever been to:
The anchor had hardly touched the bottom and the dinghy was already on the water – Paulo, Raquel and Adriana waiting anxiously for me to join them in exploring the place:
On the picture above, Raquel was saying “this is it” … and, yes, it is !
Paulo got crazy with the snorkeling around there:
We spent time in the warm turquoise water…
… and walking the white sandy beach:
We then crossed the bay toward another beach – it’s hard to say which one was prettier:
As beautiful as it is, Balandra was a one-day-affair tough, ironically. That night, a strong Corumel wind blew, making the anchorage very rolly and keeping us awake all night long – literally.
The next morning, exhausted, we decided to raise our anchors and anticipate our arrival to la Paz. The Corumel will not blow for ever, and we will go back to Balandra and enjoy it the way it out to be done properly.
At La Paz, we met with our friends from m/v Adagio. We’ve met with them during our way down the US coast last year, but hadn’t seen each other since October.
It was like turning a page, and moving into a different story – one which belongs in a different post.