Off to the Islas

One of the great things about La Paz is the close proximity of many beautiful anchorages with great diving, snorkeling, beach combing and hiking. With fair winds, we can get to gorgeous Isla del Espiritu Santo (Holy Spirit) in about four hours. We spent Dec 5 – 15 exploring the nearby islands.

My mom said I should explain something about our daily life aboard Sugata. Really, “daily life” varies depending on where we are. When we’re at a marina, things are hectic by cruising standards. We catch up on email and blog posts, shop for groceries, do laundry, fill our diesel and water tanks, and take care of things like changing the engine oil or, in Capn BrownThumb’s case, rebuilding the head (toilet). We also enjoy hot showers and eating out. But after about four days in port, I get antsy to be back out at anchor.

When we’re anchored out, I’m typically up at 6:45am. I make myself tea, and if we’re out of cereal, I’ll lovingly prepare oatmeal or pancakes. Capn Sleepyhead might roll out of bed by 8:30. We sometimes spend all morning reading, or if we’re feeling ambitious, we’ll go snorkeling or exploring in the dinghy. I dig around to find something to make for lunch or dinner, while Capn Guzzles debates whether to drink beer, wine, or margaritas. At night we might play a game or watch a movie, or get together with the crew of another boat. By 8pm we’re tuckered out; 9pm is called “Cruiser’s Midnight” because if we stay up past then, we congratulate ourselves for being such hard partiers.

When we’re out, Todd is always a bit anxious about our anchor dragging, and claims he doesn’t sleep well. This is odd because I’ll be awoken by the sound of his snoring, and the next day he’ll say he was “up all night”. Now, it is true that one night, when we were anchored at lovely Bahia San Gabriel, a southwest wind came up that blew waves right into our anchorage, and Todd and I took turns sitting up on anchor watch.

One of the fun things about Capn Nightmare is that he has vivid, anxiety-fueled dreams. For instance, one night we were anchored at the very well-protected Caleta Partida. In the middle of the night he shook me awake.
“Ok, get ready,” he said flatly.
“For what?” I mumbled.
“Something big,” he murmured.
“Aye aye, Capn!” I purred.
“The anchor’s dragging,” he continued.
I realized he was wasting my time. “You’re hallucinating,” I said firmly. “It’s dead calm out.”
Within moments, he was snoring again, and I lay there awake, faintly disappointed and not a small bit irked.

But the following night, it happened again. He woke up swearing like a… like a… person who swears a lot. This time I didn’t even bother to ask what he thought was happening; I just told him it was a dream and to go back to sleep. The next morning he explained that he thought the floorboards were completely awash. Because of these nagging fears, though he really enjoys being out at anchor, after a couple of weeks Capn Yacht Club needs to tie up in a cush marina.

One of the highlights of this time out was a dinghy excursion that we took to the east side of Espiritu Santo, to check out some caves. See those pics here:


Another highlight was spending more time with our good buddies on Imagine, who joined us in Caleta Partida and on Isla San Francisco. See the pics of our “hike” (it really wasn’t very far) ashore, and video of the porcupine fish that hid under our boat, here:


And of course, I always love snorkeling. Some of the species we often see around here are the Cortez rainbow wrasse, the king or passer angel fish, and the blue barred parrot fish. We’ve also seen the Cortez angel fish, the finescale triggerfish, and an eel of some sort. (Click the names to see pictures, although the photos show fish out of the water and not nearly as beautiful as they really are.)

Poor Koiya! She got a hold of our Baja guidebook, and got really excited about all the sharks, turtles, iguanas, snakes, etc. described therein. Unfortunately, every description ended with something like “these are hunted for food” or “these are particularly tasty”. At Isla San Francisco there were a lot of dead puffers on the beach, but she took that pretty well, burying them and decorating their graves.

All too soon, we had to be back in La Paz to get Koiya on a plane to SF. And, we bid a fond farewell to Eric, who ended up joining Imagine for their crossing to the mainland. He may even join them in the “puddle jump” to the Marquesas in March!

If you aren’t burnt out on photos, here is the Espiritu Santo album:


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