After Cabo San Lucas we circled the Baja California Peninsula and headed towards La Paz. Our first night we anchored outside of San Jose del Cabo, Cabo San Lucas’ more put-together older sister.
Our anchorage near Palmilla point was a bit rolly but beautiful. We got all dressed up (well… cruisers definition of ‘dressed up’) and took our dinghy (Charlie) over to a beachfront restaurant to meet the family for one last dinner. Beaching the dinghy at sunset was a bit intimidating since the coastline was hugged by nice sharp rocks and surf swells… but we managed to zigzag our way to safety.
Our technical beach landing was rewarded by quality time with quality people. A birthday celebration, smiles, laughs, inside jokes about a fishing curse, a debate about the mysterious identity of a Dutch cookie thief, killer seafood, and a tres leches that ruined our future dessert-searching endeavors.
After a terrific dinner, we rowed Charlie past the break and rocks and motored back to Bravo. We used our 1000 lumen spot light so we could see where we were going, and hundreds of tiny fish started jumping around us. Bright neon blue needle fish. It was surreal. Gorgeous. Felt like a scene right out of The Life Aquatic.
Once past Cabo, we anchored at Los Frailes and Ensenada de los Muertos. Most of our route up north was into the wind, reminding us of the intense heeled-over sailing we’d become accustomed to in the Bay but had yet to experience here. On way to Los Frailes, the winds picked up to 25 knots at our nose, leading to a wild ride. Los Frailes was a fantastic taste of the cruising lifestyle, as we slowed down our pace, snorkeled, strolled on the beach, and enjoyed a lovely sundowner with our newfound friends from SV Tiny Dancer.
We met Steamboat friends for dinner the next day at Ensenada de los Muertos and learned it had been given this name because a boat from China had arrived there with no water and everyone died. Apparently, they tried to re-baptize it Ensenada de los Sueños but it didn’t stick.
Our sail from Los Muertos to La Paz was uneventful except for a relatively stressful Canal San Lorenzo. The channel markers were missing in action and our chart plotter had incorrect information. Our GPS showed us to be in deep water, and out of nowhere our depth meter read 10 feet – we were about to run aground in a shallow rocky shoal! Thankfully we had been warned that chart plotters can be inaccurate in Mexico so we were paying extra attention and were able to quickly maneuver away from the rocks. Crisis averted!
Many cruisers absolutely love La Paz, and while we were there we got to understand why. Once in La Paz we docked at Marina Palmira for 5 days as we let the dreaded northerlies die down. Most of the boats around us hailed from the US and it was fascinating to have Mexico courtesy flags flapping in the wind as far as the eye could see. We took this time to work on Bravo and repaired a couple of small tears in our jib. La Paz is so much more laid back and calm as compared to Cabo San Lucas, food was cheap, provisioning plentiful, and there are a handful of marine supply shops. Cheapskates that we are, we would take the free shuttle into town for errands and slowly walk our way back to the marina on the sunny malecon. The boardwalk was lined with beautiful sculptures and tons of cafes, restaurants, shops and local artwork.
For Andy’s birthday, we swam with whale sharks. Bucket list – check! Whale sharks feed on plankton and are noble, beautiful and large sharks. Despite it being a bit murky it’s size and spotted pattern were clear and we were able to follow it, side-by-side for about 5 minutes. Doesn’t sound like much time but it was really awe-inspiring.
Overshadowing our stay in La Paz was the recent news of several murders. Military dudes in big trucks with big guns were a not-so gentle reminder of the reality faced by locals. The US government had recently lifted a travel advisory to the area and it was reported that the drug-related violence was not aimed towards tourists. Nevertheless, we took precautions and did not venture into town past sunset. With our jib repaired and our weather models indicating a good window ahead, we departed towards our next destination: Isla Espiritu Santo.
Beyond the hopscotch from A to B, we have begun to sink into our new rhythm and are excited for the discoveries that lay ahead.
Until next time…