What a splendid part of the world for boating! Quiet and even isolated anchorages that provide great swell protection, cute towns, spectacular weather. Who could ask for anything more?
Well, maybe a working anchor windlass! Yes, ours packed it in, again. Jon rebuilt it last year and had the foresight to plan for a more robust replacement using the non-identical motor replacement that the last owner left on the boat (thanks, Ken!). This motor requires a mechanical brake rather than the brake that we’ve been using – so that had to be ordered from Australia. But that was all done last year – so now when we need it we (supposedly) have the parts. We’ll let you know how that job actually goes.
In the meantime we’ve had a wonderful time since leaving La Paz and have an assortment of anchorages to tell you about. Each of them is marked on the Finding Eurybia page if you want to see where they are.
Ensenada de Cardonal
Twenty-six nautical* miles from La Paz, Cardonal is on the Isla de Partida, just a hair north of Isla Espiritu Santo. The two islands are uninhabited and protected as parks. We had planned to stay at Ensenada Grande, but Cardonal came first and is cut much deeper into the island so that it nearly bifurcates the island. We figured this would promise the best protection from swell and rolling. I don’t know whether it was better than Grande, but it was perfectly calms both nights that we stayed. The glowing green waters are home to rays (that leap into the air dramatically while feeding), sea lions, turtles and of course lots of fish. We saw dolphins on the way, but not inside the bay.
The bay has the opening on the west, with a little slot open to the east for wind. We did get some strongish winds for a bit that night, but the boat didn’t move. The bottom is sand and holds well. We anchored in about 16-20 feet.
The first day we had a couple of other boats within a half mile, but the next morning they both left and no one else joined us. So the swimming pleasures of the day before were exponentially improved by skinny-dipping. No drapery to deal with, no swim suit to dry, and that lovely feeling of delightful water against your skin. Highly recommended.
We cooked meals, read, swam, diddled about on the boat, watched the stars … perfection.
Twenty-nine nautical miles up the road from Cardonal, this time on the mainland, is a pretty little fishing village called San Evaristo. It is home to maybe 20 fishing families.
The bay opens to the east. With softly wafting south winds as we entered we didn’t worry much about the protection in the bay. However by 1 in the morning the increasing rolling motion made it impossible to sleep. Sadly we have not yet rigged the flop-stoppers so it was too difficult to try that at night. I tried the salon settee, I tried the salon floor, I finally gave up and sat with Jon in the cockpit and we talked our discomfort away. It was lovely outside, despite the motion. Finally a couple of hours the worst of the rocking abated and we were able to sleep fitfully. We left about 6:30 that morning though since we had a bit of a trip to get to the next place.
From San Evaristo we went all the way to Agua Verde, forty-four nautical miles away. This small fishing village is home to maybe 10 families, but it still manages to have a small tienda, internet station, and taqueria. We did not avail ourselves of these luxuries but others in the marina did. It turns out the name of the place may refer to the color of the water itself, not the apparent color above the white sand. As you are swimming the water is actually green – apparently hell on watermakers – but pleasant to swim in anyway. Visibility stinks, but it is fine-grained algae or whatever it is and pleasant to swim in.
What did we do? We swam, we read, we took Zoë about in the dinghy (she does love that dinghy). We also took her to shore for a little hike above the marina. About 20 yards from shore she suddenly leapt out in true (untrained) Portuguese Water Dog style and swam to shore. She was waiting for us when we finally pulled the dinghy up, very pleased with herself.
We also met an intrepid Swiss couple who were parked on the beach in their custom Toyota Land Cruiser. It was kitted out 20 years ago with a lift-up roof tent (like the old VW campers), a stove, stowage, solar panel on the roof for the Engel Fridge – quite the setup. For the last few years they have been slowly making their way north from Uruguay.
Marina Puerto Escondido in Loreto
Finally we pulled ourselves away from Agua Verde to go twenty-two miles up the road to Marina Puerto Escondido where the mooring balls would enable us to safely work on the anchor system. This is the best protected marina in Mexico with a fabulous inner harbor. It is however still in possible range of hurricanes.
They have a good system at Marina Puerto Escondido (the Fonatur marina here closed six years ago). Anchoring and mooring balls are the same price – $US 1.00 per foot per day, or $US 3.00 per foot per week and that price gives you all the amenities of the marina – great showers, a pool, laundry, potable water at the dinghy dock and an excellent air-conditioned computer room with great wifi. The marina slips are $2.50 per foot per day, or $7 per foot per week, or $21 per foot per month (for a 40-49 foot boat). They take payment in pesos (at a high 25 peso per dollar rate) or with credit cards. Everything is clean, new, working, and the staff is very friendly and helpful. Nice place.
Loreto is an easy taxi ride away, or the marina will rent you a car for $40 (cheaper than the taxi), or you can anchor outside Loreto in very calm weather. Loreto is small so even the grocery store is just a few blocks from the anchorage.
That’s it for now, folks, enjoy a couple of more pictures and we’ll be back with more once we’ve fixed our windlass and are ready to venture north again. Hasta luego!
* a nautical mile is approximately fifteen percent more than a US statue mile – just pretend you’re tipping. A knot is one nautical mile per hour.