Bahia Los Frailes to La Paz
May 26, 2016
We had a fabulous time in Bahia Los Frailes. The water was warm and it was nice and sunny. The bay is a wide open bay with white sand beaches. Around one side are rock faces where you can snorkel and there is a sea lion colony around the point. We anchored in about 30 feet of water along with several other boats. We got a chance to meet some other cruisers who are headed up along the same path as us, so I’m sure we’ll run into them this summer in the Sea!
After Mike’s crab incident (see his post below) we blew up the paddle boards and headed to shore to check out the beach. It really is great getting around on the paddle boards (and lots of fun too!). They are much easier to get in the water than launching the dinghy, and as we were just playing around in the bay and going to shore there was no need to have an engine to get around.
The only challenge to the paddle boards is when there is a strong wind or swell, which takes some balance practice and perhaps some strong paddle strokes. And, when there is some surf that you have to negotiate when landing the boards on the beach. I only dumped the board once when I mistimed a landing. Oh well.
There were some really cool rock formations right on the beach that we climbed to snap some pictures. Then we decided to hike up to Cerro Los Frailes, which is a scramble up 750 ft. It was a little challenging at times, but the view from the top was an absolutely fantastic 360 view of the bay, the mountains and Cabo Pulmo on the other side of the point.
After a few days playing around at Bahia Los Frailes, we decided to head up farther north toward La Paz. Our next stop was Ensenada de los Muertos. We were able so sail most of the way on the 46 mile trek north until the wind died out an hour or so before our arrival. Unfortunately we had a bit of a difficult time anchoring, because our anchor chain had toppled over onto itself, which did not allow me to drop the anchor with the windlass. Mike had to crawl into the anchor locker and literally move 300 feet of chain to untangle it. Ugh! We got it straightened out and dropped anchor before we lost the daylight.
We weren’t too impressed with Ensenada de Los Muertos, so we decided to pick up the anchor the next morning and keep moving north. We had really light winds from the wrong direction, so we ended up motoring most of the day to make it up to Puerto Balandra.
Puerto Balandra is beautiful! There are multiple sand beaches and several different anchorages. We had to anchor quite a way from the beaches as it is mostly shallow shoal. You can probably walk out at least a quarter mile from the beach and still only be in waist deep water.
When we first arrived in the late afternoon, we dropped the hook in the anchorage where the wind was blowing us off of the beach. We took a quick dip in the water and realized it was about 10 degrees warmer than Los Frailes! Quite a surprise. We were greeted by a large manta ray that swam up to the boat, which was pretty cool.
The anchorage really calmed down just before sunset, and the water was completely flat. However, right after the sun sank over the horizon, the winds started blowing from the complete opposite direction. Within minutes, we had 15-18 knot winds that would have blown us into the rock face if our anchor dragged. So, we quickly pulled up the anchor and scooted over to the anchorage on the other side of the bay which would not put us in a lee shore situation. This was our first experience with the cormwell winds that blow in the La Paz area at night.
The next morning we pulled out the paddle boards again to explore the bay. The shallow water over sand gave the impression of a giant swimming pool!
It really was a beautiful anchorage, and I hope we make it back there sometime soon! But, it was time to move on again, so today we took off for La Paz. We’ll be here at Marina Palmira in La Paz for the next few weeks. Hoping to get the end of our projects done so that we can spend the rest of the summer checking out the local islands.