Sailing north up the Baja from La Paz to San Carlos
Updated: Jul 20, 2021
With hurricane season approaching, we decided it was time to leave La Paz and head further north into the Sea of Cortez. Although La Paz is an approved location by our insurance company for hurricane season, we wanted to change things up for a bit, as we had been in La Paz for four months.
We thoroughly loved our time in La Paz. We met some amazing people, ate some fantastic food, and got in some good boat projects. We met Pedro on the docks of Marina de La Paz and he helped Doug re-varnish the exterior teak. We have a ton of teak on Karuna, so Doug appreciated the help to get Karuna feeling pretty again. It's a lot of sanding, taping, and varnishing...and in the Mexico heat, there were some miserable days for Doug.
Back when we re-powered Karuna, we opted to add a second, larger alternator. We had back-burnered hooking it up, however with our upcoming trip north, we decided it was important to get it installed, along with the new larger battery cables that it required. With our new 220 amp alternator, we can charge our batteries very quickly and even run our water maker off of it. Other projects Doug completed before setting sail were tightening the loose steering quadrant, installing a new battery monitor, installing a new inverter, he serviced the sea strainer, tightened the life line set bolts, installed a new VFH and new remote mic in the cockpit, fixed the chain pipe cover, re-tightened the engine bolts, changed the engine anode, changed the transmission oil and oil, pieced together an emergency VFH antenna, installed new 12 volt fans, worked on deck seams, and added bolts to secure the whisker pole track up the mast. Doug definitely deserved a nice break from all the projects!
I spent the weeks leading up to our departure with meal planning, provisioning, and meal prepping. I had planned and bought four weeks of food, in hopes that we would not need to re-provision on our way. There are only a couple places that possibly have fresh produce along our way north, so I did my best to create meals with lots of veggies in them. I then froze them to use later on in our trip, when we would most likely be out of fresh produce. Here are some the meals that I prepped prior to leaving: Asian Chicken Salad, Chicken & Vegetable Coconut Curry, Lasagna, Quinoa and Vegetable Salad, and Teriyaki Pork & Vegetables. Other meals on the menu were: Southwestern Beef Casserole, Sausage & Cabbage, Arrachara Tacos, Chicken & Veggie Kabobs, Egg Souffles, Breakfast Burritos, Beef Taco Salad...and of course fish tacos from the fish we caught.
Our wonderful dock neighbors, Barbara and Johan, lent me their vehicle so I could provision the week leading up to our departure, which was extremely helpful. It would have been a lot of bike trips to and from the market to get everything we needed.
When planning our journey north, we went through the guidebooks and came up with a tentative plan. There are hundreds of anchorages along the way, so it was difficult to decide which ones we wanted to go to. We now understand how people stay for years in the Sea of Cortez. There are so many beautiful places to see, with many of the anchorages in uninhabited locations. We realized our itinerary could change at any time, depending on weather and how much we liked or didn't like a spot; but it was nice to have some sort of plan. We actually didn't veer to far off our tentative plan.
We left La Paz on June 24th. Here is a list of the places we stopped:
Isla San Francisco
Puerto Los Gatos
Punta San Telmo
Bahia Agua Verde
San Juanico: La Ramada
Bahia Santo Domingo
We arrived in San Carlos on July 13th
Some of the stand outs were....
El Mezteño, which has been a favorite of ours for months now. This is where Doug caught his first Triggerfish of the trip. Once Doug cleaned and filleted the fish, I marinated it in lime juice, fresh garlic, and paprika. It made the best fish tacos!
The hike at Isla San Francisco provided great views and it was nice to stretch the legs!
The bees at Los Gatos were crazy. Our anchor didn't set right away, so between that and the bees, we left and went to San Telmo.
San Telmo has been added to the favorites list. Amazing views, the bird watching here was incredible. There were cows on the beach and bunches of wild palm trees. Wish we could have stayed longer here, but hurricane Enrique was still developing, so we decided to head further north.
Agua Verde was a lunch stop. We had wanted to stop here since the first time we heard about it, but the smaller anchorage was pretty full so we kept on heading north. We will be back for sure!
Bahia Candeleros was the first time seeing buildings and lights since we left La Paz.
Puerto Escondido we caught a mooring ball and waited to see what hurricane Enrique was going to do. Here is where we found our favorite coffee and a beach umbrella in the small tienda! We were able to do laundry here and the Captain's Lounge was pretty nice with good internet! Met some nice cruisers here.
Bahia Marquer is where we spent a few days, including the 4th of July. Doug caught another Triggerfish here. For the 4th we made potato salad and grilled hamburgers...and hoisted our American flag.
Loreto Roadstead was a great afternoon stop. We anchored near town and picked up some ice and fresh produce. We bought some beautiful Mexican pottery and had the BEST lunch at Cafe Ole! What a beautiful little town! We look forward to coming back and exploring more!
Isla Coronados had an amazing white sand beach. The anchorage was shallow and had insanely clear water. This is one of our favorite beaches thus far. Definitely on our favorite places list.
San Juanico: La Ramada is a tiny cove. We were the only boat there. Nice beach and good protection from the south winds. For hours we watched the Mobular Rays jumping out of the water. So interesting! We also made water here topping off our tanks.
Bahia Santo Domingo has a huge protected bay and is also on our favorites list. We settled in here and we took our longest layover. Nice clear water and tons of shells on the beach. We got internet as well! Met some great people here and had a fire on the beach. This is also when we experienced a lightening storm, which was a little unsettling. We buttoned up Karuna and put our electronics in the oven to be safe, in case of a lightening strike. One bolt definitely hit close as the strike and thunder happened simultaneously.
These past few weeks have been amazing. Up next, we are looking forward to exploring San Carlos and everything it has to offer. We are also looking forward to getting back to Baja and revisiting some of our favorite spots and new places too! Below are some more pictures from the trip north: