Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Going North!

We left La Paz and have been working our way north up the Sea of Cortez. There are many little islands and bays to stop at and most trips are only 3 - 4 hours so it's easy sailing and even though winds are usually light, we don't mind spending a few hours at a very leisurely pace.

Once away from La Paz there are few towns and most of those are small fishing villages. The mountains and hills of the desert mainland often come right down to the sea. As the offshore islands are similar, we often find ourselves sailing between hills! The desert landscape has very little green but the rocks are many colours although reds and browns predominate. There are always cacti and very occasionally there will be a flowering bush but as it rains so little there are no big splashes of colour. The sunsets do make up for this as they sometimes cover the whole west horizon in pinks, oranges and reds. Quite spectacular!!

Our destinations are always pretty and as it's so hot here, we are grateful to get in the water for a swim or snorkel (except for the jelly fish!). The one disappointing thing about Baja is how relatively few fish there are and how few species. Even when we dive we don't see that much. Maybe we got spoilt in the Caribbean but it just doesn't seem to have the variety. As most books seem to agree that the Sea is a great place to see fish, etc. we can only conclude that there has been some serious over fishing to reduce both numbers and species. That said, fishing here has been good with Tuna and Dorado not too difficult to catch but then, these are migratory species that come here to spawn and feed.

We have seen a few whales and lots of dolphins on our travels and had some distant views of 3 or 4 sperm whales. It's pretty difficult to count them as they are never all on the surface at the same time. Still, after three years we can finally say “ thar' she blows”!!

Of the boats we meet, most are American with a few Canadians plus one or two Brits and Europeans. It's not the worldwide fleet that we have been used to from Panama onward but at least we all speak the same language or something close to it!! We guess most boats do go straight across the Pacific although we have met one British boat heading from here to the Galapagos.

Our progress now is constrained by the need to reach San Felipe by the 12th September so that we can leave the boat in a marina whilst we visit the USA again. Our journey to get there will be a little hurried as it's a few hundred miles and we are trying to avoid overnighting. This means most stops will be short ones and that we will have little time to look around. We hope to use this as a means of picking some 'must visit' spots for our return trip. We aim to be back in La Paz around Christmas so we will have three months for travelling South. This should give us time to stop and see most spots on the way back.

As it's the hurricane season here at the moment, there are few boats and many stops we have had to ourselves. It's always especially idyllic to have your very own desert island if only for a few days. The prettiest spot so far has been the aptly named Honeymoon Cove on Isla Danzante where we anchored on bright blue water in an almost completely enclosed spot in the south of the cove. Just wonderful!

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