Beach cruising in the Sea of Cortez
On “Loon”, a bay river Skiff
By John Sperry
I could have missed it, but in my years of MAIB devotion I’ve yet to read of any small boat sailing adventures at two very special destinations: the Great Salt Lake of Utah, and especially, Mexico’s Sea of Cortez. These bodies of water share two important ingredients: supremely isolated waters and miles of roadless coast. In both cases, the isolation is from the lack of freshwater; “water everywhere but nary a drop to drink.” The result is a fascinating contrast of harsh desert and vast waters where my wife Lynn and I have enjoyed many beach cruising trips.
This story is about our addiction to the Sea of Cortez. It happened almost immediately on our first visit to La Paz when we stayed about 10 days on a big sailboat owned by friends. La Paz is near the southern end of the Baja peninsula on the Cortez coast. We took a brief journey from the port to the nearby islands of Espiritu Santo, Partida, and San Franscisco. We fell in love with the combination of desert and ocean—both full of life but with such a different cast of characters. The operational overhead of a 44 foot sailboat, however, made for inefficient and limited exploration. The coastline and islands cried out for intimate gunkholing and beach cruising that requires a smaller craft.
So we returned two years later with our own 15 foot sailboat. In two trips so far, we have traveled about 240 miles along mostly roadless country from Bahia Concepcion to the north down to La Paz in the south, camping along the exotic coast. This shore is commonly traversed by sea kayakers in the winter months when conditions are generally too windy for comfortable small boat sailing. In the spring, summer, and fall, however, the winds are generally light and kind to small boats. Yet, the coast is deserted, leaving us with crusoe’s freedom along sweeps of beach and cove. The pangueros (Mexican commercial fisherman) whiz by occasionally in quest of fish, but are unobtrusive, being preoccupied with their own affairs. The reason for the peace and quiet in this time of year is the heat. However, we found that with shade and frequent dips over the side, the heat was bearable. On our July trip we could not do much hiking away from the shore because once a few hundred feet from the sea the oven-like heat really clamped down. The heat was not as much of a factor during our other trip in late September. We suspect that October is the best month, combining light winds with relatively cool air temperatures and warm water temperature.
Our boat is a 15’ “Bay River Skiff” designed by Graham Byrnes of B&B Yacht Designs in Vandemere NC. It was skillfully built by Tom Lathrop of Oriental NC, and christened “Loon” by his bird-watching wife, Liz. We bought it during a brief stay in NC when we deluded ourselves that we could live east of the Rockies. It is a cat-ketch and can sail in 6” of water if necessary. There is no on-the-fly reefing capability – the only option is to take down one of the two masts, and remount the other in an intermediate step. Pretty difficult while underway in a rising wind! Not being able to reef, we have always gotten by—even when caught in a 35+ mph gale I’ve adjusted the sails to spill wind and managed to make a prolonged and ill-advised crossing without mishap.
Although technically you can sleep on board under a tent, we haven’t tried this, always opting for a spacious shore camp. The boat is simple to rig and sail, can carry 30+ gallons of water and two weeks of food and camping gear, and is reasonably fast and sea-worthy. Its only drawback for beach cruising is that ours is a bit heavy for a 15 footer. When we don’t feel comfortable leaving it at anchor overnight (probably half the time), we rig a block and tackle to a rock or shrub and haul it up the beach on rollers made from boat fenders tied in pairs. We’ve gotten good enough at doing this that we can haul it up stern first out of a “surf” of good sized white caps. We carry very long ropes so that we can always find a tie-off point regardless of how broad the beach.
On one hand, a lighter craft that is slightly longer, slightly drier (higher volume), and faster might be preferable (a Core Sound or Sea Pearl, perhaps). On the other hand, we love the low-to-the-water intimacy of the skiff — lounging at the tiller we can lay a hand over the gunwale and drag it in the water. In this way it is similar to John Thompson’s 12’ “Moondance”, a design that I built for our initial sails on the Great Salt Lake. All in all, we like Loon very much. We have a 3.5 hp mercury on the transom that we use as little as possible while cruising. However, once we reach camp, we take the masts out of the boat, and presto—we have a decent fishing skiff with motor. This is highly recommended, because the fishing is excellent in the Sea of Cortez.
Probably the best way to relate the joys of a Baja beach cruise is an abridged log of one of our trips. What follows is a digest of our second trip—a two-week sail from La Paz north to Puerto Escondido near Loreto. We opted for a July timetable for 2 reasons, a) to see just how hot it can get in summer down there, and b) to catch Dorado. The outcome will soon be apparent.
A little checking with chart-meister Jerry Cunningham confirmed what we suspected – that the best direction for a La Paz to Loreto sailing trip would be to travel north, out of La Paz, to catch the typically southern breezes in summer. We assumed we would find a shuttle at La Paz w/o too much trouble. The route is about 140 miles that we plan to cover in 14 days – a leisurely pace to allow plenty of time for snorkeling, fishing, and land exploration. We used a travel club (Vagabundos del Mar) to help getting all the boat, fishing, tourist permits and insurance. Maybe it’s just lack of familiarity, but US red tape has a ways to go to achieve Mexico’s level of bureaucratic nonsense.
A 3.5 day driving marathon brought us from Salt Lake City to La Paz. With no AC in our Bronco, we had a chance to adapt to the heat. We used a spray bottle to cool off, and made sure we had beaded seat covers. For those unfamiliar with Mex 1, the single highway down the spine of the peninsula, 1 hour of driving on this road equals 4 hours of driving on an interstate in terms of stress; the opposite in terms of mileage. So, we were more than ready to park the truck in La Paz at 3 or 4 pm on day 4. What a haul.
Within an hour of arriving at the La Paz marina we arrange a shuttle with a local man for 150$ to drive the Bronco back to Puerto Escondido on Mex 1– quite a bargain for this day-long round trip. Lynn’s (my wife) excellent Espanol helps considerably in this effort. We prepare the boat in the sweltering marina, downing a few Dos Equis for refreshment. Marina life goes on around us, utterly indifferent to the humble doings of craft under 25 feet. Symptomatic of this, the marina office was completely uninterested in helping us find a shuttle; we had to ask the friendly gals in the dive shop. Eager to get away, we decide to sail across the protected harbor of La Paz and camp for the night on the El Mogote peninsula that shields the harbor from Bahia de La Paz. We waft across the harbor on a light evening breeze thru a seine of moored cruisers – many fewer than were anchored when we first visited La Paz in the “high season” of winter. We are loaded with 30+ gallons of water, food and camp fuel for two weeks, 10 gallons of gas, and all our camping gear. Somehow we can sail with all this gear.
We find a sandy beach along the peninsula to roost for the evening. In such protected waters, we just anchored Loon (2 anchors) for the night, and attached a separate safety rope to tie to a mangle dulce tree on shore. I remember a MAIB reader writing a letter of some clever anchoring system wherein the boat could be pulleyed in and out between shore and a mooring without the need to swim out and back. However, I never could find that issue again, and in trying to reconstruct this system from memory, I ended up with a confusing mass of ropes and pulleys and buoys that was woefully impractical and unsafe. The tides here appear to be about 6 feet with one evening high and morning low at present.
We enjoy a simple ramen dinner and watch a beautiful sunset that is soon opposed by a big orange moon rising over La Paz across the harbor. We toast this 4th of July evening with “Jimador sours” (El Jimador tequila, lime, lemonade mix, water). We’re ready to sail for a while after the big drive. Our tent is 80% mosquito mesh, and is as airy as possible. We sleep with just a sheet for covering – and nothing else. It’s warm, in other words.
The next two and a half days we try to make maximum miles to get by the 55 mile stretch of rather featureless shoreline along Bahia de La Paz. Once past this, the roadless coast begins with the Sierra Giganta coming right down to the water creating an interesting cove and point and cliff topography. The breezes are generally light and the best we can do is about 22 miles per day. To protect ourselves from the merciless and constant sun (no cloudy days down here to speak of) we use a modified umbrella that fits into oar-lock sockets located at strategic spots around the boat. We move the umbrella from socket to socket as necessary to cast the best shade and while tacking. When the breeze is down, we also jump overboard and ride behind the boat, hanging on a tow line while cooling off. We generally try to stay within a mile of shore. As a rule, whenever we are tempted to get 4 or 5 miles offshore the wind comes up and things get too exciting.
The fourth night finds us well past Bahia de La Paz and camped at “arroyo verde.“ This is a gorgeous pebble and sand cove between high volcanic cliffs at Punta Mechudo. This point marks the entrance to the 4 mile wide Canal de San Jose between the mainland and the long Isla San Jose. Now we’re in the interesting part of the trip and ready to slow back down to a leisurely 10 mile per day or less pace. The high cliffs provide much appreciated shade, and we relax before donning our snorkeling gear. Normally, the snorkeling in these waters is (to our landlocked eyes) mesmerizing. However, this year it is more turbid than usual, owing to a later warming of the water and thus a later disintegration of the Sargassum weed and thus a later clearing of the water – or so we were told and have no reason to doubt. Nevertheless we enjoy the glimpse into the lively underwater world. After an hour or so of snorkeling, we’re ready to convert Loon to a fishing skiff, and troll the reefs. Here we follow the creed of “Neil and Gene”: Neil Kelly and Gene Kira, authors of the highly recommended “Baja Catch” fishing/camping guide for Baja. Our reward is 5 leopard grouper which are quickly converted to a fish taco dinner topped off with more Jimador sours. The evening entertainment is a full moon rising complete with flickering “heat” lightening from the mainland, 50+ miles distant across the sea.
We arise with the dawn—something that is completely atypical for us, but comes naturally when dawn equals heat. We take a very pleasant hike up the arroyo behind camp and enjoy the textbook display of convergent evolution wherein plants from every evolutionary background none-the-less look exactly the same because there’s only one thing that works. In this case, what works is a fat stem for water storage, small leaves borne on short-shoots, and a drought-deciduous habit. We are both professional botanists (yes—you can make a living knowing about plants) and our “job” is to appreciate the marvelous adaptability of the plant world. Cacti take the stem-succulent strategy to the extreme, and Baja is host to an exceptional diversity of these water-misers. Several of the cacti are in flower. The general picture is a landscape worthy of Dr. Seuss, but real. We could spend the entire day here, but would die of heat, so we head back to the sea and its refreshing breeze beckoning us to set sail. The birds, however, seem remarkably indifferent to the heat, and we see cardinals, woodpeckers, verdins, jays, sparrows, and hummingbirds in abundance.
Back at Loon, we opt to cross the channel to Isla San Jose in order to explore this island and the mangrove swamp on its south end. A light southerly breeze wafts us over the five mile crossing at a pleasant pace, perfect conditions for Dorado trolling. In fact, this fish (Dorado) is the chief reason we are braving the heat of midsummer down here, because it is at this time that they migrate up into the Sea of Cortez. Over goes the top-secret lure (see “Baja Catch” for details), and within 10 minutes of adjusting the color properly…bang! I have a leaping, flashing, charging Dorado on the line. We heave to (an easy manner in a cat-ketch) while I spend the next 30 minutes fighting a 3+ foot fish. They are leapers, and a very good fight. Eventually I tire it out and we can scoop it inboard with a woefully inadequate net (they don’t sell gaff hooks in Salt Lake City). We watch it change all colors of the rainbow, and stow it under the transom as we resume our crossing.
On our way we steer close to “seal rocks”, aptly named for the huge brown animals draped over the islets, sleeping, yelping and swimming. A mile further away is a slightly bigger islet that is home to a small fishing community—scarcely room among the rocks for their dwellings. A mile or so beyond here we reach the pebble spit off the south end of Isla San Jose, and anchor off to process our Dorado. An extended lunch break ensues during which we deep fry half of the Dorado filets and enjoy another serving of fish tacos. This is a grand fish that cooks up superbly – firm, white, flavorful flesh. It’s a grand lunch hour as a building breeze and a band of clouds keeps it relatively cool. We sit in our chairs on the pebble spit and gaze out on the turquoise waters of the San Jose Channel. After lunch, we whisk across the little bay of the spit in a 15 mph breeze. We aim for the opening to a mangrove lagoon. Loon’s ultra-shoal draft takes us across 1 foot waters to the lagoon mouth where we unload packs and masts and motor/row into the mysterious world of the mangroves. Another miracle of the plant world—de-salinating machines that use negative pressure to separate water from salt, quietly and efficiently. The snorkeling amongst the roots of these trees is simply fantastic. We could easily spend an entire day lurking under these trees and watching the exuberant life. Lynn spots colonial eels emerging from their worm holes. We resist the temptation to fish here, since we still have half a Dorado to eat.
The day is waning, so we make our way back out of the lagoon, gather our stuff, and sail down the coast of the island on a nice southerly breeze. Again, shoal draft allows us to glide swiftly and surely across the turquoise shallows. We find a reasonable stretch of beach, unload, and haul loon out with the block and tackle. The Dorado is grilled over hot coals while the sun sets over the ragged Sierra Giganta. Jimador sours top off a great day.
Next day we arise a bit later than usual owing to the merciful shade cast by the rugged spine of the island (the land is pretty much up-and-down in these parts). Once again, we begin the day with a hike inland, firming up our acquaintance with the botanical denizens. They are waiting the late summer monsoons, and are relatively dormant. We stumbled across a grave site—stone crosses, turn of the century deaths. Not wishing to join the dead, we escape the building heat and head for the boat. A morning of pleasant gunkholing along the island coast follows; my favorite type of sailing - brisk breeze, rippled water over shoals, and an interesting shore drifting by a couple hundred feet away. It is effortless, quiet motion, endless visual interest both above and below the water. At a point we cross back over from the island to the peninsula and see Dorado chasing their favorite fare, the flying fish. The wind, however, is too brisk to risk fishing so we concentrate on the crossing to the little fishing village of San Evaristo. We sail right by some porpoises and their babies. This channel between island and peninsula has a very fertile look to it and is supposed to be gold-medal fishing quality. A quick crossing has us ripping into the bay of the fishing village where we heave to right off the sandy beach. We lie at anchor and seek water, hot sauce, and beer at the tienda. Alas, no beer. Hot sauce is found, and water, we are told, is best had in quantity from a spring at a ranch up the coast. Again, Lynn’s Espanol greases the skids. The villagers continue about their fishy business and we beat out of the bay.
I should make brief comment about the local fishing craft. They are called “pangas”, and the design is from a gringo who, I believe, founded the La Paz marina once upon a time. The panga is perhaps 22’ long, fiberglass, and apparently well-suited to the job of jetting about the Sea of Cortez in nearly all weather with hefty (65 +) horsepower on the transom. It must be a successful design, because it quickly replaced the earlier dugout affairs and is now the only boat that the local fishermen use. It’s probably worth the analysis of someone more savvy to powerboat performance than me.
As we zoomed northwards along the coast from the village on a brisk south wind we congratulate ourselves on choosing the right direction for the trip; tacking against the generally southerly breezes all the way from Loreto to La Paz would have been tiresome. The coast north of the village is essentially roadless all the way to Bahia Aqua Verde – the next village some 50 miles north of here. The coast is extremely rugged, with the Sierra Giganta plunging right down to the water’s edge, with long stretches of high cliff. Building clouds and winds forces us to stop behind a protected point and land on a cobble beach tight under a looming bluff. We haul Loon in preparation for a storm, but the system skirts us just to the west. Lunch, followed by extensive snorkeling under the point and a wonderful fresh seafood dinner (with hot sauce), round out the day’s activities. We spot a baby rattlesnake tucked up in a crevice behind camp. He stays there without moving the entire time we are in camp. Last trip I was nearly bitten by a much bigger one that did NOT rattle, and just missed my legs as I walked past his ledge.
The morning dawns calm, and our bluff provides precious morning shade. As we eat, we hear the puffing and blowing of a porpoise pod on a feeding frenzy out in the channel. We’re off on a rising south wind which pushes us quickly past Nopolo – a small set of beaches and fishing shacks cowering under soaring cliffs. These bluffs are with us for the next several miles with no beach whatsoever. We reach a prominent bay ringed by mountains and opt to camp on another cobble strand in front of an arroyo. The afternoon passes with naps and snorkeling, and an unproductive evening’s fishing. The evening is marked by a dandy sunset – always a relief to see the orb drop below the mountains, and enjoy the lingering summer twilight with a Jimador sour in hand. Our view to sea encompasses the north tip of Isla San Jose, Islas San Diego and Santa Cruz.
We take a walk up our shaded arroyo in the morning and see lots of bird life, including a canyon wren that reminds us of southern Utah. A big fig tree provides exceptional greenery; leafy trees are rare in these parts. Back on the water, the morning’s destination is an isolated ranchero where water is to be had. We zip there on a nice c. 15 mph breeze and anchor off the oasis of palm trees that marks the ranch site. The proprietor emerges from an open stucco and tile house with open windows and doors and directs us to la bomba (the pump) a half mile back. Water is flowing across the hot and parched earth in narrow irrigation channels, sustaining among other plants some mango trees that are in full fruit. At the pump we find a cistern the size of a small swimming pool that is brimming with freshwater. Oasis indeed! We resist the strong temptation to plunge into the drink, and instead fill our 6 gal. jug and rest in the shade. We buy an armload of mangos from a ranch hand and haul our goods back to the boat. The mangos make for an excellent lunch desert. On the water the S. wind is still strong and healthy whitecaps are running; as we sail we wonder what it is like living at the peaceful and remote ranch we just visited. We sail another couple of miles and it becomes rougher than we prefer. We pull up in the lee of a small point and lounge contentedly in our chairs under the shade of the bluff point, watching a pair of trawlers working a few miles off shore. Later we take a hot hike amongst the desert scrub. As late afternoon approaches, the wind moderates, allowing us to sail a bit further to a promising campsite. Here there is a sweeping sand beach backed by dunes, flanked at one end by tall bluffs, and at the other by a picturesque low rocky point complete with an arch. We joyfully land at this paradise and convert loon to fishing boat status. On the reef we land barred pargo (big time fighters) and leopard groupers. What follows: golden lingering sunset, fantastic fish tacos, Jimador sours, the first stars of the night and the mellow coolness of evening? Wow.
On rising we are greeted by a perfect sailing breeze—which for us is about 8-13 mph. We employ this following wind to methodically gunkhole close along the coast—smoothly gliding just a few hundred yards from land, looking below for reefs and fish in the clear water, looking above at the procession of rugged bluffs and sandy coves backed by desert scrub and cacti. I must be truly lazy at heart because I can’t get enough of this effortless and quiet motion bringing with it an endless panorama to leisurely scrutinize. We experience a counter-intuitive wind shadow effect upwind of the bluffs—forcing us off shore a bit more. A long morning of this perfect sailing brings us to a cluster of rocky islets off a point. We skirt behind and land in another perfect sandy cove, plant the umbrella in the sand, and enjoy a nice lunch sitting in the shade with our feet in the water. The pelicans and boobies like the shallow sandy bottom for targeting fish, and we are entertained by their diving antics. The boobies, especially, are fearless in their high speed free-fall vertical dives. The snorkeling here is fantastic, and we like this place so much we just stop for the day. Fishing is great on the reef, yielding more leopard grouper that we grill this time for variety. We are treated to another spectacular sunset that calls for double Jimador sours. We amuse ourselves watching sand crabs clean up the fish grill—they do a great job. The bumbling antics of the hermit crabs add to the entertainment.
Breakfast is the bird-show with more diving antics in front of camp. This day follows a pattern, light winds in the morning, building during the day to hit c. 20 mph maximum. The whitecaps of the afternoon find us opposite a multicolored bay (puerto gato) with a gorgeous sand beach facing the stiff breeze. We sail in on a rollicking sea, heave to and anchor just beyond the surf line, playing out enough anchor line so that we can wade out to unload. This landing and unloading on a lee shore in a stiff breeze is a bit
tricky. We always unload the masts as well, so that the boat rides easier at anchor and with less windage. We explore our environs, and become a bit panicked as a party boat cruises by catching us a half mile from our “fig leaves” (very few clothes were worn on this trip). Fortunately, they continue on without stopping. There haven’t been many such boats, most being seen at quite a distance. Too rough to fish today; the evening’s entertainment is non-stop lightening storms far across the Sea of Cortez on the mainland, perhaps 50 miles distant.
The next day is Dorado day for Lynn. Late morning trolling in a light breeze off a rocky coast and wham! She’s fighting a 3’ fish. Many jumps and runs follow, but eventually we manage to get it in the boat with our inadequate net. The golden body changes colors as we watch, and Lynn is ecstatic. The breeze rises to a very stiff 25 mph, bringing significant whitecaps. We sail in behind a reef, drop anchor, and swim ashore to reconnoiter a good landing and camp site. These we find on a cobble shingle beneath a sheer gray bluff (= shade) complete with cave. After unloading we enjoy fresh Dorado tacos for lunch. We had excellent snorkeling with clown hawkfish, eels, Mexican hog fish, sea chubs and parrot fish. Later we take a hike in a nearby arroyo and gather mesquite wood for grilling the rest of the Dorado. We enjoy this gourmet fare while taking in our gorgeous view of rugged Punta Pasqual to the south, and the palm-studded mouths of arroyos along the coast. This evening our grill-cleaner is a cute little pocket mouse, gray with a long brushy tail. Williwaws whooshing down the arroyos from the Sierra Giganta lull us to sleep.
We get going early to beat the williwaws and are soon becalmed. A little motoring moves us around a few points, but we prefer sailing, however slow. Back to sailing we slowly wash around Punta Pasqual and then like a switch was thrown, a very brisk southerly breeze springs up and we are soon nearly planing on a downwind romp towards the fishing village of Bahia Agua Verde. This is tucked in a complex set of bays within bays, all rimmed with cliffs, backed by cactus-studded arroyos leading up to the hills and mountains. We aim for a particularly beautiful and deserted one—clean sand, turquoise water, and protected from the now very stiff breeze. Another day in paradise! That evening, when we unloaded the food pack, who should jump out but our friend from the previous night—the pocket mouse. Rather than stowaway for another day he scampered off to shelter.
The country and conditions the next day remind us a lot of the Great Salt Lake: light and variable breezes, dry mountains with scrub vegetation sloping down to cobble and sand beaches, the coast a succession of sweeping beaches between low points. Not so many cliffs and bluffs along here. A lot of lollygagging in light to vanishing breezes is followed by the usual building afternoon breeze. The morning’s lazy travel is replaced with an afternoon’s dash in whitecaps and 15-20 mph breezes along a more spectacular coast—we are back to the rugged bluff-lined sea. It’s been windier this trip than our last, but manageable. We aim for a stretch of beach that is poorly protected from the building sea. Once again, circling behind a reef provides some protection from the surf. Although I don’t like landing on a lee shore in these conditions, more protected coastline seems too far off, so we anchor, and swim ashore to assess the landing situation. We find a spot with the least surf and wade the gear ashore. We are rewarded with a spectacular camping spot—reminds us of pictures of Tahiti or some south sea island with crashing surf and deserted shoreline of rugged pinnacles of rock leading back to high mountains. We set up our chairs in shade, and relax – studying the scene, identifying plants, eating lunch. Later we take a great hike up an arroyo.
The morning brings light winds as usual, but a large left over swell from yesterday…Probably the most uncomfortable sailing conditions—rolling about in big swells with flaccid sails. Nevertheless, we can’t bring ourselves to motor, and watch the coast rock by at a snail’s pace. The wind eventually springs up, fortunately not as strong as yesterday, and we enjoy some near-perfect sailing on up towards the island complex off of Puerto Escondido and our final destination. More boats are seen now that we are within a day trip of the ramp and marina located here. We are also in prime Dorado grounds, and Lynn hooks one that gets away. We zoom through the Las Candeleras (the candles)—a family of rocky pinnacles thrusting out of the sea—and aim for Isla Danzante, a real up-and-down island near to Puerto Escondido. The scenery never quits on this trip—absolutely stunning vistas the entire voyage. We land in the protection of Danzante in a pleasant Sesuvium- lined cove and enjoy a shore lunch followed by a great snorkeling session. The waters are gradually clearing. We make an early camp on a beautiful white sand spit along the steep western flank of Danzante. More snorkeling and fishing take up the afternoon. The fishing is disappointing—probably too much pressure around here with the increased boat activity. We had a gorgeous sunset for our last night on the water—punctuated, however, by some brats on jet skis whipping by from a big boat anchored at the tip of the island. Quite a contrast to the near total isolation we experienced in the rest of our camps, and we have to get used to clothes again. The luminescence is spectacular this night, as we discover when washing up from dinner. We could even track fish swimming by. A night swim was quite an experience, you could see your toes 5 feet down illuminated in the yellow glow. Leaving the water, our bodies sparkled until we dried off. Later we took a night hike back in the cacti to view the night-blooming Pitaya Dulce, or “orgy” cactus.
Loath to end the trip, the next morning we sail back through the Dorado grounds but are skunked except for several skipjack. Mid afternoon finds us heading into Puerto Escondido’s perfect (hidden) harbor. We sail right up to the ramp, past a menagerie of seemingly permanently anchored “cruisers.” Observing and conversing with the gaggle coming and going while we loaded up did not incite any big boat envy in us. Very little voyaging or sailing was discussed, rather the talk was of maintenance, trips to town, and the night’s video; different goals of boat owning than ours. Alas, we are all too soon loaded up for the loathsome trip back up Mex 1. We will be back at the next opportunity—more exciting coast awaits our personal discovery—in particular a much longer roadless stretch to the north from Bahia de las Angelas to Santa Rosalia.
Guide to pictures
1. Loon at anchor along Baja California’s Cortez coast; somewhere between Mulege and Loreto.
2. Lynn at the helm, Punta Nopolo and cliffs to the right, Isla San Jose to the left.
3. Lynn with Dorado
4. A lunch spot that was so nice it became a campsite