Isla Carmen to La Paz

Fishermen pulling in their net, Canal de San José. They must have caught something as the pelicans and gulls were waiting patiently.

When we left Punta Colorada on Isla Carmen, the morning wind was light. Our choices for a day trip run would be 22 nautical miles to Agua Verde, about a four hour trip motoring, or we could keep going to Punta San Telmo (also known as Punta Prieta). Our calm weather window was two days before the winds kicked up toward 30 knots again and in that time we could cover the 70 miles to San Evaristo. During the day, the seas were calm, and so was the wind. We saw whales in the distance. We passed the National Geographic Venture, a small cruise ship, anchored at Puerto Los Gatos and we headed for Timbabiche, a small village a few miles south of Los Gatos. We dropped anchor late afternoon after putting about 40 miles or so under our keel. We were met by a fisherman in his panga who asked if we’d like to buy some fish. We bought a pierna from him and he filleted for us on one of the seats of his panga after sharpening his knife on a stone. We cooked up with salt, pepper and lime juice; it was very tasty.

The village of Timbabiche.

The next morning we left as the sun was rising. Chilly, but not too bad. Just before the San Jose Channel we had a dolphin fest off our bow for about 15 minutes. Three, and then four, of them swam off the bow, crossed under it and crossed over and under each other, and finally headed off. They were beautiful and majestic and left us with huge smiles on our faces and a lot of bad, blurry dolphin photos. The best are below.

That was the best part of the trip down toward La Paz. We dropped anchor in San Evaristo early that afternoon to spend the next couple of days boat bound because of wind and waves. Mid afternoon the wind started to blow. Gusts during the night were up to 35 knots. In the morning, there would be a lull of a few seconds and then the wind would build again. We had gusts into the high twenties. At one point, Nina tried to figure out how many days we’ve been boat bound since we left San Carlos in January and came up with 11 days. And with no internet during those days. We’ve read a lot of books so far this year.

We got a break in the wind and headed to Isla Partida. Outside of the San Evaristo, winds were a steady 22 knots. We sailed with a partially reefed genoa and headed south at 6.9 knots. With the wind and waves behind us it was very rolly. Around noon the winds dropped to the low teens but the waves were building all morning. Some of our waves were over 10 feet high. We were on a converging course with a 600 foot tanker at one point, so we turned the engine on to give us a slightly faster, more consistent speed. It passed behind us about a mile and a half away and it still looked huge. Waves on the way down were so rolly that we couldn’t take pictures of the flat horizontal layers of rock banding. South of San Evaristo the mountains flatten out and the layering does too.

Mid afternoon, we dropped anchor in Caleta Partida. Five other boats were anchored and we hailed on of them just to make sure we weren’t dropping our anchor on top of theirs. Later we were hailed by Osprey, a Dream Yacht Charter boat out of La Paz. They asked where we’d come from and if we knew of any locations nearby that would be close but good to visit before the had to get the boat back. Bill suggested the nearby bays and coves on Isla Partida and Isla San Francisco. It’s got to be tough to be chartering when the wind blows like stink, the waves are big and close set. There had been northers blowing much of the time they’d been out. And it’s been cold, so not much of a sailing in paradise scenario. The wind finally calmed down in the afternoon. The sunset was beautiful.

We weighed anchor the next morning to head toward La Paz. One of the other boats was heading into La Paz to provision. We were going to Bahía Falsa, just outside La Paz. We hugged Isla Espiritu Santo as we headed south. The wind had dropped to the low teens, waves were smaller than the day before. Solid cloud cover, slate gray water. The sun finally peaked out by the time anchored among seven other sailboats. Bahía is less of a party beach than Pichelingue but a sousaphone was spotted and heard on the small local beach. The band was pretty good but they didn’t play long.

The next morning we headed into La Paz for some grocery shopping. It took us a couple of hours to get to the Mogote to anchor. We dinghied in and then walked to Mega, reversed the process and made it back to Bahía Falsa by mid afternoon. We had a good trip in and out, hitting the tides just right – incoming in the morning and an ebb in the afternoon. Nina was pleased that she checked out with the port captain completely in Spanish.

We spent a couple more days at Falsa, caught up on boat chores before crossing the Sea of Cortez to Mazatlán.

Weighing anchor at Bahía Falsa to discover we’d snagged another anchor. Not what you want to catch when you’re trying to get underway. We used the rope to catch one of the flukes so that we could untwist it from our chain. We did not keep it as a souvenir.
Sunset at Bahía Falsa.

4 thoughts on “Isla Carmen to La Paz”

  1. Nina and Bill – thanks for sharing your adventures with us land bound folk. Our water related pleasure -we’re enjoying our place at the coast with our front porch view of the North Fork of the Nehalem River and plenty of beach time. My 10′ kayak will hit the water sometime in April when they drop the dock back in. Take care and enjoy to the fullest! Chuck


  2. Oh the cruising life. Helped a friend deliver their sail boat to Port Townsend yesterday. Went with the flow. Twenty knot southerly big ebb tide— eight knots SOG with gib and a little diesel.
    BTW— dolphin photos don’t get any clearer.
    Fair winds,


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