Up the Baja Coast

When we left the Baja last December, the strong north winds of winter were making it difficult to explore.  But returning this spring we found conditions to be much kinder and gentler.  Light winds and warm but not too hot.  Gorgeous.

Don and Emily flew down from Bainbridge and met us in La Paz to start the journey north along the Baja coast.  We worked our way up to Loretto—-about 120 miles—in short hops.  Each place seemed to be more spectacular than the last.  It’s such a contrast to the more tropical southern coast.  We also get that kind of remoteness feel of Vancouver Island with cactus instead of trees and sand instead of streams–but just as majestic.  And, lots of wildlife above and below.   Really happy we have the water maker now because we’re drinking massive amounts of water with this 15% humidity.  Another contrast is we often anchor in bays without swell.  No ever-present rolling that we often experienced on the coast.  The Sea can get really choppy at times but when the wind dies, the waves calm down nicely.  Sure makes beach landings in the dinghy more sedate.  But I do miss kayak surfing.

Emily is a avid hiker so we usually had a daily excursion into the back country.  The key is to go early before the sun gets too warm.  But with the dry air, it cools down  into the low sixties in the morning, giving several hours of easy hiking.  Unfortunately, the 10 days flew by and we arrived in Puerto Escondido where Don & Emily were to depart all too soon.  We felt we just scratched the surface of things to do here.  Then it was down to just Donna, Lucy & I.  We had another 10 days to get over to San Carlos/Guaymas where we will ultimately be hauling out for the summer hurricane season.  We found some more amazing anchorages and hung out with some buddy boats before heading across the Sea.  Our crossing from Conception to San Carlos was only 71 miles.  Quite easy compared to the southern crossing–300 miles from Baja to Puerto Vallarta.  And San Carlos is quite nice, not what we expected at all.  We rented a car and drove up to Phoenix where we bought an old van which we plan to make road trips with during the off season.  Next we have to prepare the boat to sit in the super hot Sonora sun for 5 months.  Then, onto the next adventure.

 

Don and Emily near the summit of San Francisco Island. What a view.

Don and Emily near the summit of San Francisco Island. What a view.

The erosion at these pink cliffs in Ensenada Grande are filled with caves.

The erosion at these pink cliffs in Ensenada Grande are filled with caves.

The "short" boulder hike across Isla Partida had Lucy & I seeking what little shade we could find.

The “short” boulder hike across Isla Partida had Lucy & I seeking what little shade we could find.

Emily leading us on a hike across Isla Partida. about 3 miles further than we thought.

Emily leading us on a hike across Isla Partida. about 3(00) miles further than we thought.

Spectacular views from the ridge of S.F. Island.

Spectacular views from the ridge of S.F. Island.

Carmanah at anchor at San Francisco Island.

Carmanah at anchor at San Francisco Island.

Lupe's cantina at San Evaristo. Lupe makes a mean fish taco. He also gave us three fish to take home for the bbq.

Lupe’s cantina at San Evaristo. Lupe makes a mean fish taco. He also gave us three fish to take home for the bbq.

Obviously dogs are no problem at Lupe's.

Obviously dogs are no problem at Lupe’s.

Lucy was mobbed by the school kids on recess at this school near San Evaristo.

Lucy was mobbed by the school kids on recess at this remote school near San Evaristo.

Don decided to take this puffer fish skeleton home on the plane.

Don decided to take this puffer fish skeleton we found on the beach home on the plane.

We met up with Dave and Becky at Lupes before they headed back down to La Paz to put Tranquility on a ship bound for Puget Sound. We left Neah Bay with them last August.

We met up with Dave and Becky at Lupes before they headed back down to La Paz to put Tranquility on a ship bound for Puget Sound. We left Neah Bay with them last August & crossed paths many times.

On a hike across the desert near Bahia Aqua Verde, we found this oasis.

On a hike across the desert near Bahia Aqua Verde, we found this oasis.  Amazing what a little water can do.

Don kneading doe. Advantage of having the founder of the Bainbridge Loafers aboard was lots of great bread.

Don kneading dough.
The advantage of having the founder of the Bainbridge Loafers aboard was lots of really good bread.

Back side of S.F.

Back side of S.F.

Stairway to heaven at Bahia Juanico

Stairway to heaven at Bahia Juanico

Donna and Lucy at San Juanico, amazing rock formations and crystal clear water.

Donna and Lucy at San Juanico, amazing rock formations and crystal clear water.

San Juanico rock formations near the anchorage

San Juanico rock formations gave protection to the anchorage

Getting ready to go deeper into this cave at San Juanico.

Getting ready to go deeper into this cave at San Juanico.

Maggie of Agamere and Lucy lovin a warm morning at Ballandra anchorage

Maggie of Agamere and Lucy lovin a warm morning at Ballandra anchorage

Paddling to a beach fire on Isla de Carman (across from Loreto). So much easier than deploying the dinghy.

Paddling to a beach fire on Isla de Carman (across from Loreto). So much easier than deploying the dinghy.

We had an orca escort crossing the sea from Baja.

We had an orca escort crossing the sea from Baja.  Two passed uncomfortably close under the boat.

Always love to watch the pelicans soar inches above the water in the morning.

Always love to watch the pelicans soar inches above the water in the morning.

San Carlos is somewhere behind the "goat utters". We'll use it as a base while we prepare for the summer haul out.

San Carlos is somewhere behind the “goat utters” as these peaks are called. We’ll use SC as a base while we prepare for the summer haul out.

Dave on a La Cruz beach with scores of Holy Week vacationers. Shortly after returning home, he was hospitalized with a severe case of dengue fever

Dave on a La Cruz beach with scores of Holy Week vacationers. Shortly after returning home, he was hospitalized with a severe case of dengue fever.  We felt terrible that he was exposed while visiting us.

4 thoughts on “Up the Baja Coast

  1. weworkshop

    As always we are trying to envision your journey from a crazily different world where it has been below freezing still some nights and then once in a while in the high 60’s days. Vegetation is behind it’s usual pace but we are finally seeing many daffodils with our Japanese Cherry just opening up. The grass is green but not long enough to mow yet and today it has rained all day. However we had a beautiful sunny weekend north of the White Mountains where all three daughters ‘surprise showed up’ to celebrate our 50th. Getting back to Etna our granddaughter had a photo show and tell of her just completed Spanish class trip to Guatemala … it was really exciting to catch her with all the details fresh in her mind and have her Aunts there to hear all about it too. Two weeks ago in Brooklin the ground was still quite wet so the anticipated stump removals will wait probably until June. Still and all lots of raking and hauling was clearing things up so it will be more useable by summer. Remember you are ever welcome when you run out of other adventures. Our next big jaunt will be in just two weeks to the islands of Orkney and Shetland … we love islands too.

    Safe travels, happy reconvening in WA for a while! ET/WT ♡♡♡

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  2. Emily Mansfield

    Gorgeous photos. So fun to recall those beautiful spots. Was Lupe’s really that tiny? In my mind it was bigger, somehow…..must be Lupe’s open-heartedness! Also, I can’t believe San Francisco was really that perfect — I thought I made it up but photos don’t lie. We miss you guys and hope your van adventure continues the magic. (We opted out of the van search.) Love, Emily

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  3. Joan Prater

    Ohhhh! Such beautiful, beautiful scenery! My favorite is the Carmanah at San Francisco Island – isn’t that everyone’s DREAM! Joan

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