We left La Paz on January 21 with plans to head north and meet up with another kid boat we had met earlier (they’re few and far between, so we tend to stick together or at least coordinate when possible). We knew there would be some strong north winds coming, so we staked out anchorages that would be protected and identified the calm(er) day that would allow us to make a big jump up to the next set of islands. But when cruising you need to write you write your plans in the sand at low tide. Our engine conspired against us to require a return trip to La Paz, and Tom will tell in his own words in an upcoming post the Saga of Our Engine and Its Oil. Stay tuned. In the mean time, here’s an overview of our eight-day escape from urban life.
Our first stop was Puerta Balandra, a stunning tourquoise cove with the famous mushroom rock tucked in under a tall bluff. Dylan and I jumped in the water straight from the boat the minute the anchor was set and swam to shore, followed by Tom and Andy in the dinghy. We all splashed and played and snorkled in the water while the sun went down until the evening cool drove us all back to the boat. It was picture-perfect until the wind piped up at 1:00 a.m. Balandra is not, as it turns out, a good place to anchor in north winds.
So we drove to a cove just a few minutes south, Caleta Lobos, which provided adequate protection from wind and waves, as well as plenty of to play. The kids loved the beach and the mangrove lagoon, and I loved the real hike (complete with trail and not just boulders to climb). It wasn’t a good place for swimming, because the head of the bay is simply too shallow, but it had more than enough on land to keep us busy.
We braved a slightly less windy and wavy day to head north to Isla Espiritu Santo, where we tucked into El Mezteno, a cozy cove with a beach, a hike, and a whole bunch of pelicans and sea turtles to watch. And decent protection from the swell building out in the Sea. We had planned to stay one night and make a big jump north to meet our friends. No such luck after Tom checked the oil. So we stayed put in Mezteno for a few more days. The boys dug holes in the sand and found a massive boulder they turned into their spaceship. I went swimming once and attempted the hike up the canyon. We couldn’t do much swimming because the wind made the kids far too cold to stay in the water long, but a calmer day would make this a kid-friendly splash park.
But eventually we were all itching to move again. We again faced the wind and waves to head around a point to Caleta Partida, a large bay that separates Isla Espiritu Santo from Isla Partida. It is actually the crater of an extinct volcano, which is very clear to see when you’re on the inside. There is only a shallow strip of water and long sand spits which separate the two islands, so protection from outside swell is good, though the wind funnels down the crater slopes and through the gap, providing a good fresh breeze to cool your boat and challenge your anchor.
Caleta Partida became a favorite. Though we only spent one night there, we enjoyed the time and made profuse promises to Dylan that we would come back. The kids found whale bones and pufferfish skeletons littering the east side of the rocky spit, and Dylan was fascinated by the fish camp (unfortunately, no one was there to buy fish from). We met a boat with a captain from Switzerland and a crew member from Taiwan, who had me over for a drink and and chatted about details of cruising Japan and the north Pacific.
We enjoyed the wildnerness again for the eight days that we were out, but La Paz and its marine stores were calling us back. Gray clouds do certainly have their silver linings, though, and one of the silver linings of returning to La Paz was that we met two more kid boats, one with a boy Dylan’s age and one with a boy Andy’s age. While the kids have become used to having each other as playmates, it’s still really good for them to meet other kids and learn to play together. Andy would gladly stay glued to my side all day, but that isn’t what I want, and he even told me that he is shy when he first meets somebody, but then later becomes friends.
We’re headed back out to the islands tomorrow, with hopes and plans to make our way north again to see if we can rendezvous with our friends and get a little more kid-time and wilderness time!