After waiting out the 2017 hurricane season onboard in San Carlos, we were anxious to get back out on the water and do some more exploring! We left on November 3rd and decided to spend a night at a nearby anchorage called Algodones which was a short hop away. The seas were really lumpy and we were grateful that this was only a quick hop. The next morning, we opted to go straight to Caleta San Juanico on the Baja side. This picturesque anchorage is not to be missed and is only favourable during the Fall and Winter northeries, so this was the perfect opportunity to check it out. At about 100 nautical miles away, this would be an overnight sail- approximately 24 hours to arrive. The seas can really kick up in the Sea of Cortez, so we were very happy that they were calm and comfortable for this crossing, but we didn’t get to sail as the wind never hit more than about 5-6 knots. The full moon was so bright, it was almost like daytime during the whole evening and we had very good visibility of the water, which was excellent.
From Caleta San Juanico, we headed south to the southern anchorage at Isla Coronado. This was a quick hop away and with not much wind, we motor-sailed for about 2.5 hours to get there. The seas were a bit sassy with some cresting waves that were fairly close together. This anchorage has cell coverage, which was nice so we could check in with family and friends. Jason did a quick check-in on the condition of the oil in our sail drive leg while here and discovered it was very milky. This indicates sea water ingression into the leg through a small leak. Very frustrating as this had just happened to us the year before and we had to haul out and fix the issue when we were in Monterey, California. We figured we could investigate further when arriving to P.E. as they have a mechanic and a haul-out facility there….
The water temperature was perfect and we enjoyed an after-breakfast swim the next morning before making our way further south to Puerto Escondido. We had a nice day sail down, but getting closer to Escondido, the seas really picked up and the swell began to build outside of the bay. Bloom was surfing down some decent-sized waves! We were happy to get around the corner and into the protection of this beautiful bay. We grabbed a mooring ball and began making inquiries with the local mechanic with regards to our saildrive issue. The decision was made to haul out here to drain the oil and investigate for the source of the leak. We had to wait about a week to get hauled out, but it was a fantastic experience.
The staff at Puerto Escondio Marina’s boatyard are extremely professional and very helpful. Dago was the lift operator and he did a great job of hauling Bloom out safely with their travel lift after Jason stealthily backed her into the haul-out slip that was TIGHT! Once out, Greg with Puerto Escondido Marine drained the oil from our sail drive leg and assessed it. It was determined that the sea water was getting in via the housing unit that connects the prop and the leg together- we needed to order a new one and it was going to take a few days. The few days turned into about a week as the wrong part was delivered and PE Marine made it right. We made the best of our time on the hard by hanging out at the fantastic new wood-fired pizza bar there, using the store’s WiFi in the breezy-shade and feeding the 18 boat yard cats and kittens (which later got spayed and neutered by some good samaritans, yay!)
After nearly three weeks in Puerto Escondido and with Bloom repaired and in ship-shape, we were ready to make our way back to La Paz. We headed south again with a plan to stop at San Marte . With new friends on sv Happy Dance, we buddy boated along with them and ended up surfing some big swells again, coming in closer to the anchorage. We were again happy to get tucked in and out of the open waters into this fairly calm anchorage. First thing was first, we jumped in the water! Manta rays greeted us all around with their loud SLAP! sounds as they bellies flopped graciously against the flat waters. A peaceful night was had and we headed to Mangle Solo anchorage the next morning.
This was a really pretty anchorage with a huge cactus forest onshore that made for a beautiful backdrop during cocktail hour. We noticed several other Canadian boats anchored here as well- one being our friend Ken from sv Island Drifter that we’d met in Santa Rosalia. We reconnected with him and then decided to link up again the next day at the western anchorage of Isla San Francisco.
This gorgeous anchorage boasts beautiful and warm turquoise waters and a white sand beach. Carson and Lisa decided to swim ashore and explore a little bit (we were anchored in very close) and Jason and Ken connected up for some cold beers. It was a wonderful stay until the very unusual southerly swell began the next morning and encouraged us to be on our way. We decided to head for one of the anchorages on Isa Ispiritu Santo- just north of La Paz. As we sailed south down the island, we inspected each anchorage as we approached. Most of them were extremely busy with many large motor yachts and jet skis zipping around. We continued on our way until we reached a very calm and peaceful anchorage which became a fast favourite- Ensenada del Candelero, or ‘Candlestick Cove’ in English.
This cove offers two little lobes for anchoring one to two boats in each and a fantastic ‘Roca Monumento’ in between them that turned out to be fantastic for snorkeling! The shallow, clear waters allowed us to see all the way to the bottom and made anchoring in the sand very easy. It’s always fun when you can easily see your anchor while snorkeling or even from the deck of your boat looking down. Amazing!
From here, we opted for one more overnight stop in Bahia Falsa, just outside of the Costa Baja Marina in La Paz as we knew that the wind typically kicked up in the mornings and we wanted to have an uneventful docking experience. Bahia Falsa was really pretty and not to be overlooked! We were the only boat in the anchorage and were surrounded by Sea Turtles surfacing the entire time there. It was magical.
The next morning we motored into Costa Baja Marina in La Paz and settled in. November is a fantastic time to be in the Sea of Cortez. Without the threat of a hurricane hanging over you, the temperatures are just perfect- the water still warm and there are a ton of anchorages to protect you from the northerly weather. We absolutely loved our journey south back to La Paz.
We were now excited to be getting a visit from family- Lisa’s Grama who would be coming down for a week from Washington. We enjoyed our last few weeks in La Paz, knowing that we would likely not be returning and had an absolute blast. Lots of time with family, friends and enjoying the beaches and all that La Paz has to offer. Next stop- Mazatlán!