Ricks thoughts so far: Isla Espiritu Santo
This was our first trip out to the nearest island 21 miles from La Paz. Our friend Lynne from San Francisco, and our first official visitor, was with us for the trip to the island. On the way we checked out a few anchorages along the Baja peninsula that we have been interested in seeing for future reference. Playa Pichilingue is a diving resort with a nice sand beach and a beachside cantina. The other anchorage we will visit soon is called Caleta Lobos, which has three options for anchoring in the fingers of two small bays or in the lee of a small island between it and the peninsula, which looked the most inviting.
The first anchorage we stayed the night at at on Isla Espiritu is known as Bonanza. It is a very large anchorage with two miles of white sand beach. We anchored over sand in about 14 ft of clear water. We took advantage of the conditions to dive the bottom of the boat and inspect our zincs. For our non sailing readers, the zincs are pieces of sacrificial metal attached to strategic corrosion vulnerable parts of the boat. The zinc corrodes easier than the metal it protects so it spares that metal the effects of corrosion. Though the cruising community considers the water cold this time of year, at 72 degrees we thought it was perfect. The air temperatures this time of year are in the 80s during the day falling to 50s at night. It reminds me of spring time back home in Coloma. Since arriving in La Paz we have picked up the remaining things we needed for snorkeling and this was the first time we tried it all out. We went to Bonanza because the conditions were perfect for it. Otherwise it is unprotected from the Northeast and South so not the place to be with wind and waves from those directions. As it was, after dark it got a bit rolly but not unmanageable. My definition of unmanageable would be the conditions we encountered on Catalina island in Desconsia (restful) Bay. The night we stayed there we rolled so bad, out port lights were getting splashed and sleep was not possible. As for Bonanza, The swells settled down around midnight and everyone had a good night’s rest. In the morning we took the dinghy to the shore (Lynne swam) and we walked most of the length of the two mile beach.
Our next stop was to an anchorage on the far NW section of Espiritu in a very protected anchorage between Espiritu and Partida islands. There is very little separation between the islands and the bay is in the crater of a volcano. This place was very special. It was a bit breezy late in the afternoon when we arrived but at sundown the wind died and the water was like glass. We had a great dinner of fajitas aboard… It was a group effort in that Cindy gathered all the ingredients and set them out, and made salad. Lynne cut up the peppers and other veggies and made an awesome roasted Tomatillo salsa. I sliced the chicken and cooked it all up. For the occasion we got into the wine cellar and pulled out a great bottle of Windwalker Zin we had put away for over a year. Perfecto.
After dinner, while Cindy and Lynne chatted on deck, I got in the dinghy and rowed around the anchorage. It was magical. I felt like I was moving through a painting. The water was so still that even rowing with the cheesy accessory oars on our dinghy, the boat glided long and smooth with each stroke. (I miss rowing rivers, can you tell?) I explored the whole anchorage; the only thing that took away from the peaceful aloneness of the time was some yahoos in a large motor cruiser (it is almost always the case) who decided to set off some emergency flares for the fun of it. The pyrotechnics did not last long though, and calmness returned.
We had read about some sea caves that were within a couple miles of where we were. They are actually along the East shoreline of Espiritu the but at high tide, there is a shallow but navigable (by dinghy) channel that runs though the sandbar, allowing access. We set off in the dinghy early in the morning so we would have enough water to cross the bar going and coming. The caves we found about 2 miles south were so worth the trip! We explored several caves from the dinghy. After the last one I spotted a whale spouting about a half mile further down the island. We headed that way but unfortunately by the time we made it there, he was gone.
We headed back to La Paz, which would be another 21 mile trip. As we left the anchorage, the wind came up to 20 knots and the seas were several feet on the beam. We deployed our mainsail and motosailed downwind awhile. Then the wind settled and clocked a bit so that we could set the jib and sail. We were able to sail all the way to La Paz Channel. We did not catch any fish on this trip though I trolled the entire way!
After we got back to port, Lynne treated us to a great dinner at Rancho Viejo and ice cream on the way home. We escorted Lynne to the bus station the next morning where she caught the bus to the Cabo airport and her plane to San Francisco.
Lynne will be mailing some post cards we sent with her to expedite the mail system so don’t be surprised if some of you receive a post card from us postmarked in California.