Off the Dock
13 March 2015 | Isla Espiritu Santos
Rick/Sunny & Windy
So after a dry spell of being on the dock getting the boat back in pristine condition we shoved off for a week to explore the Island of Espiritus Santos and some of the anchorages out there. The Island is a park some 20 miles north of La Paz; there are actually two large islands separated by a small channel. First stop was Caleta Lobos a small anchorage away from the lights of La Paz some 10 miles away where there were sea lions sunbathing and birds on the cliffs. We watched these bird as the sun began to set the first night dive on the waters around the reef rocks as the water began to boil with bait fish I think; too far to tell exactly. Didn't catch any fish here and the wind was blowing 10-15 knots but that kept the temps down but made anchoring fun and rolly. We saw the mangroves in the back bay and a bit of a beach at the base of some cliffs which appeared to have some hiking trails and dirt roads that seemed to lead to nowhere. But as there was a northerly blowing we didn't launch the dink and after a couple nights beating off the BoBos ( small black pesky nat like bugs) annoying charges we pulled anchor in search of better surroundings.
By now we were ready to move on up the inside of the island to an area called Puerto Ballena where there are three rather nice lobed bays with several small islands (Large rocks) on the outside. My intent was to pick one to anchor and do some fishing out at the rocks with the dinghy and perhaps some snorkeling. More on that later. The cliff shad serrations and strata with varied colors. As the winds were still blowing as before I elected to seek the anchorage with the best lee protection to provide a peaceful nights sleep for the both of us.
The approach to all of the bays is free from obstructions and had good sand bottom for holding. I chose the northern most lobe/bay Ensenada de la Raza as it presented very high cliffs with a steep drop off in front. We motored up nice and close allowing more than enough swing room not being too close in the event the anchor drug. By the time we got the anchor down solid the wind had blown us back a ways and had shifted to the east coming between two large hills like a funnel. This made for good swing time for the next few days on the hook of an included angle some 150 degrees but as the day wore on they subsided. I had the choice of the other bays of the three but heard on the radio the BoBos had swarmed one boat. Not that they intended to leave us entirely alone when the wind died down.
Again the cliffs were serrated and we could see the geological changes in the strata and the scrubby trees growing outward to the bay. There was something surreal about seeing Sorrow cactus growing on the cliff tops with birds circling above. In fact there is a rather large Island at the bay entrance that we observed to have the appearance of a whale and the same cacti were on top of it. Again there were no fish in the bay but we did see two or three turtles! We believe there were green turtles as there are different species and we are not familiar with all. These only surfaced enough to show their brownish heads. We threw some lettuce in the turquoise green water to try and attract them to no avail.
There were two other boats from our dock anchored as well and due to the winds none of us dared to put the dinghy down as one boat tried and only got soaked trying to motor around the bay. None the less we were getting our sea legs back and the time alone on the hook was magical. We watched as night after night mother nature put on a show for us to include some stupendous sunsets. (see the gallery) Being a studious observer of the weather I learned there was a front coming in that promised to bring thunder boomers and rain to the desert floor. I pushed the time window to the max and on the last day and pulled the anchor about noon. As we headed back I saw the thunder boomers behind us and they were black. The winds began to pick up to the extent that before we got the channel entrance I was marking 20+ knots that wanted to blow me off course. I continued making course corrections and ended up coming straight in from the east. We called for some line handlers at the marina as by the time we got in it was blowing pretty good and we no more that tied up when the down pour started in buckets.
Of course I did some fishing going both ways and bagged one Dorado and lost a Crevalle jack on a 60# pole with 50# test line and a 60# steel leader that snapped right as I got it to the boat. It was huge and had to weigh at least 30+#.