A Visit to the Islands

A scant 20 miles north of La Paz lay the rugged volcanic islands of Espiritu Santo and Partida. These islands belong to a 244-island collection in the Sea of Cortez which from a Unesco World Heritage site. This is a boater’s paradise – fishing, snorkeling, and hiking in abundance as well as turquoise water and secluded anchorages. One could spend years here poking into new anchorages and sampling the delights of the area, and indeed some folks never leave once they get here.

1.

Anjuli on the hook in El Candalero anchorage

Our first stop was at the anchorage known as El Candalero on the west side of Isla Espiritu Santo. The anchorage is divided by two small islets around which good snorkeling can be had. Pangas bring day trippers and over-nighters from La Paz.   A short but spectacular hike takes you past a well (the only source of fresh water on the island) to a natural rock amphitheater and a large, open cave.

 Awesome rocks!

Awesome rocks!

Crews of Konami, Hoku Pa'a and Anjuli in the cave

Crews of Konami, Hoku Paa and Anjuli in the cave

Unfortunately this and all of the other anchorages on the west side of the island are open to wind from the west and south. The first night we were there, around midnight the wind howled in from the west, creating a 3-4 ft chop which meant little sleep was to be had due to the violent motion.

The day before New Year’s Eve, we moved up to Ensenada Grande, an anchorage on the west side of Isla Partida.

 Ensenada Grande anchorage

Ensenada Grande anchorage

A needle fish checks out the anchor chain

A needle fish checks out the anchor chain

From the beach at the head of the bay, a 2-mile trail heads up a canyon to the top of the island from where you have an unobstructed view of the Sea of Cortez. It’s really more of a scramble over builders than a hike, but completely worth the trip.

4.5.

View from the top

View from the top

Since it was New Year’s Eve, an impromptu pot luck was planned to ring in the New Year. Cruisers New Year that is, meaning, we celebrated at Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) midnight, which was 5:00 pm local time. Crews from four yachts as well as some French sea kayakers camped on the beach joined in the fun, with even an appearance from a bold Mexican jack rabbit.  Thanks to the folks at St. Helen’s Marina who presented us with a giant bottle of champagne when we fueled up on the way down the Columbia River this fall – it really helped to get the party started!

7.

Mexican rabbit

Mexican rabbit

Last sunset of 2015

Last sunset of 2015

New Years day was celebrated with some snorkeling (thanks to our friends on Hoku Pa’a who loaned us wetsuits – as otherwise the water is too cold this time of year).  Our new French friends headed out, and we had another potluck to say farewell to Hoku Pa’a who will remain in the Sea of Cortez while Anjuli and Konami depart for adventures on the mainland.

French sea kayakers Patrice and Isabelle get under way

French sea kayakers Patrice and Isabelle get under way

One last get-together for the crews of Konami, Hoku Pa'a and Anjuli

One last get-together for the crews of Konami, Hoku Pa’a and Anjuli

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2 thoughts on “A Visit to the Islands

  1. Sounds wonderful…and warm. We have had rain by the buckets, snow and lots of ice. Looking forward to following the sun. Tierd of sweatshirts and looking forward to flip-flops. All is well here. Our house sold the first day on the market and closes next Wednesday. We are looking for the perfect motorhome to upgrade to, but have not found it yet. So far our 293 sq. ft. 5th wheel seems like plenty of room. No problems at all. We are well and it looks like you are too. Love traveling with your blog. Keep it up. Have fun. Stay safe.

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