Posted by: Carol | January 21, 2008

Leaving Baja

2008 Mexico – San Diego to Barra

CBParker_D3_20080119_Cabo-024Saturday morning we pulled into Cabo San Lucas right at dawn after a high speed run down the last bit of Baja’s Pacific coast. We had been dawdling along in very light winds, only 1-2 knots most of the afternoon, but late in the day came to an abrupt demarcation in the water where the flat glassy sea turned to a rough dark blue with white caps. Sure enough, as soon as we crossed the line, the wind speed jumped into the high 20s and Raven clocked along all night under sail (three reefs in the main and just a hint of a jib) making 9’s and 10’s, and occasionally 11 knots.

We only stopped in Cabo to refuel, and must have arrived as a fishing tournament was getting underway – an entire fleet of fishing boats all went racing out of the harbor simultaneously as we were pulling in. The entire harbor there is a madhouse of activity, even so early in the morning. We had no intention of staying, not only because of the hectic atmosphere but because the overnight fees are the highest in the world – I have been told (but find it hard to believe) $995/night for a boat slip!

So we continued on our way along the cape, past Palmilla, and pulled into a new marina/resort complex still under construction in San Jose del Cabo, a few miles to the east. A much more inviting environment, even though incomplete. More affordable as well! Once safe in our berth with paperwork out of the way, we spent the rest of the morning napping, doing laundry and housekeeping, and other assorted odd jobs. Mike and I explored on foot nearby, and we had a really lovely dinner at a charming restaurant in town named La Panga per recommendation of our Lonely Planet guidebook. We highly recommend it as well, if you get down this way. A romantic outdoor courtyard – a bit chilly but the staff produced ponchos for each of us (we turned down the sombreros). The town of San Jose del Cabo was extremely inviting, with beautiful old buildings, charming inns, inviting shops, and a huge central square and fountain. Lots of tequila-tasting boutiques! We didn’t really get to explore it all that thoroughly, but there was lots to see and enjoy.

Sunday we rented a car and drove some 2 1/2 hours north to La Paz – a beautiful drive through some spectacular mountainous scenery. Our mission was to locate a suitable berth for Raven to spend hurricane season (June 1 – November 1) – our insurance policy stipulates that we are not to be ‘south of La Paz’ in that time frame. Mike and I had been to La Paz last October for a dive trip, so we knew our way around reasonably well, and after visiting each of the three available marinas, settled on the one we thought offered the best protection – and fortunately it appears they will have space for us!

Mission accomplished, we drove back to the cape but via a different route, cutting across the peninsula to the town of Todos Santos on the Pacific side. There we enjoyed a frappucino that would put Starbucks to shame, and then followed the coastal highway home. Right offshore for miles we could see the spouts of dozens of humpback whales – there must have been hundreds of them all together! We have left the gray whales behind in the lagoons of Baja, but now we are coming into the territory where the humpbacks comes to calve and mate. We have seen them repeatedly in the water – yesterday one was playing around laying on its side with both a fluke and half a tail waving in the air.

Monday morning we pulled out of the harbor bright and early to make an overnight voyage to a small island named Isla Isabel, en route to Puerto Vallarta. Along the way we had several humpback sightings, also dolphin encounters, a turtle, and near Cabo we saw small manta rays or similar species leaping high up out of the water.


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