Espiritu Santo and Isla Partida are two islands just north of La Paz separated by a narrow channel about 30 yards wide. These two islands make up the Espiritu Santo Natural Marine Park so there is no development on these islands which are located only 11 miles from La Paz across the Lorenzo Channel. We decided to go to the north anchorage on Isla Partida first because there were north winds forecast over the week making south bound travel easier, plus we were coming back to La Paz after this week anyway. The geography of these islands look like a grizzly bear took a swipe at the eastern side creating multiple long deep bays in which to anchor. Let’s go!
November 24th, our destination was Ensenada Grande on the north half of Isla Partida. We took our time in the morning and set out just after 10. It was a beautiful warm morning with a light breeze. We anchored in the beautiful bay at 2:45 with a statue of Virgin Mary complete with solar lights looking down on us. We heard there was a good trail about 3 miles round trip that goes up to a cliff on the west side. Anxious for some outdoor recreation, we set the kayak in the water and paddled to the beach. The trail started through a mangrove area flat and well developed but soon the trail went up the arroyo and it wasn’t long before we were following cairns up the rocky ravine. It was rough going! We allowed 45 minutes to cover the mile and a half out thinking that would be plenty but the trail was difficult to follow and was a rock scramble the whole way. We could see the top as daylight became short and we decided to go for it. Wow! A beautiful view, totally worth it. We double timed it down the rocks and hit the mangrove section as the sun dipped below the horizon. We pushed the kayak away from the beach and followed the Virgin Mary beacon back to the boat. Thank goodness for her as we had not turned on the boat lights, thinking we would be back before dark. LOL
Happy Thanksgiving! This day we were in search of Blue Footed Boobies. Just a short dinghy ride around to the next bay, Las Cuevitas, was a Boobie rookery. We weren’t sure what time of year they would be there but it would be fun to go look. Bill agreed, it is always a good time to look for boobies! It also looked like there might be good snorkeling so we grabbed binoculars, snorkel gear, drinking water and set off. We slowly circled the bay and saw lots of pelicans and a couple of Boobies but we were unable to find any with blue feet. Hmmmm, were they females or were they regular footed boobies? Ah, well, we tried. The water was 81 degrees and clear as glass, time to snorkel. We entered the water from the beach and in a few minutes we were surrounded by a bait ball of fish! It was a whole cloud of fish all about 3 inches long and moving in unison. How did they do it? It was like those big flocks of starlings that seem to anticipate as a group which way to turn. Amazing! We swam slowly along parallel to the rock ledge. It appeared the little guys on our left were using us as protection against the bigger fish to the right. What an incredible site! Despite the warm water, we started feeling chilly and reluctantly left the magic and headed back to the beach and the dinghy.
Back at the boat we lifted the dinghy and prepared to set off to the next anchorage, Ensenada Cardonal, a whopping 2 miles away. Whew, these long passages are tiring! Ha! Ha! We had the anchor back down and the kayak back in the water an hour later. We paddled in for another hike. This hike was flat and well established. It went around a pond and over to the other side. We looked up at the cliff we had climbed to the evening before. It was really beautiful here! We returned to the boat and I cooked Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey does not seem to be popular here in Mexico so we settled on chicken, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, homemade sourdough rolls and cranberry sauce brought from Seattle. Bill played bar tender. We had a great time but definitely missed friends and family for the holiday.
Our next stop was Caleta Partida. We anchored in the crater of an extinct volcano, crazy! Our friends on Remedy were here too, yay! The weather turned grey and rainy. We took the dinghy out to the cut between Isla Partida and Espiritu Santo. There were sea caves about a mile down the coast of Santo but once we got out through the channel we felt the full blow of the weather in the open sea. We turned tail back to the protection of the channel and the bay glad to be sheltered here for a couple of days while the weather blew through. We met with our friends and traded sourdough bread and beer for some freshly speared Snapper. We both thought we got the better side of the trade! I filleted the fish on our new fish table, it worked great! We cooked them up right then with a little butter and Alpine seasoning, Caesar salad, and fresh bread, fabulous!
November 28th was still rainy and windy. We moved around to the first bay on Espiritu Santo, Ensenada del Candeleros. Near the front of the bay was a large rock, Roco Monumento which made a dramatic back drop to the anchorage. We spent the rainy day finishing some chores, laundry, etcetera. The next morning was sunny and beautiful! We went ashore for exploration. The guide book indicated a trail at the head of the bay so we took the kayak there. We found a vague trail going inland to a small pool of water under a big boulder. We started around the pool and came upon a goat skeleton, and another and another then a dolphin skeleton and a buzzard skeleton…..was this water poisonous? Sheesh, it’s like the grotto of death! We changed our hike toward the red rocks and found an actual trail up onto the red rock formation which helps give the bay it’s name- Candeleros. This ridge of rock splits the beach at the head of the bay in two, and appears impossible to pass through. Once on top we found going down the other side to be impossible, but there was actually a small slot near the water’s edge we could slip through to get to the other side, we just had to go back down to the beach we had ascended from. It was really cool! After going through the keyhole to the other side we found the actual trail up into the small canyon we had been looking for. Along the way was a dry well dug right into the rock. They must have used it more as a cistern. We were amazed at how the trees can grow over the rocks in this Dali-esque terrain, and after clambering up and down over said boulders we wound up at a cave with a view out over the bay. We went back to the boat for sundowners. What a fun day!
After breakfast the next morning, we changed into snorkel gear and took the kayak over to Roco Monumento. We landed between some rocks on the tiny beach. It was a little tricky to walk into the water over rocks backwards. I sort of fell into the water once it was over knee deep. Not graceful but functional! We snorkeled around the Roco. Very nice! Saw a three-legged turtle, got a jelly fish sting on my hand which was the only exposed skin, ugh. Worth it! Bill reminded me I have neoprene gloves I can wear. That will make me close to impervious to those damned jellies!
Our final stop was Puerto Ballena, a three-lobed bay: Raza, Gallo, and Gallina. We decided to stop at the north lobe, Ensenada de la Raza. We set off for the 4 mile trip after lunch. Our friends Chaos and Rochambeau were there! It is really fun to run into so many awesome people. We relaxed on the boat and swam when we got hot then relaxed some more, this is the life! Tomorrow we plan to return to La Paz, stopping for the night at Bahia Falsa to see if there is cell service there, and to set up for getting fuel the following morning before heading into the La Paz “waltz” one last time.