This post is a continuation of the Mar y Aventuras’ Baja Coast and Islands Loreto to La Paz 9-day kayaking trip. For an introduction to this trip see Part 1 of this series. For more general information and logistics, see Part 5.
Snorkeling with Sea Lions
Day 7 – April 23
Camped at Candelero Bay on Espiritu Santo Island
The day begins with coffee at sunrise.
No fish were caught on the morning’s fishing excursion but we did see a pod of dolphins in the distance.
Breakfast – Scrambled eggs with green chilies, refried beans and a tortilla. Fruit and yogurt are also available.
With the windy conditions we had a long panga ride on rough waters, soaking the guests on one side of the boat and then the other side. This is why you need to pack rain gear. They also have a tarp on board that protects one side of the boat or the other from the spray.
Before lunch we stopped at Isletos to snorkel with the sea lions. We first cruised around the island, passing numerous sea lions sunning themselves, lying limp as melted wax on wind carved rocks.
Snorkeling with Sea Lions
This is a popular activity with day trippers coming from La Paz. At 11am there were only a couple of other groups, one of which was diving.
We change into our wetsuits and snorkeling gear on the boat and use the ladder to enter the water. For me the water is freezing even in a 5mm full wetsuit. We swim through a school of sardines upon entering the water and soon find the sea lions. Just as Carlos warned us the young ones want to play. One is so close to me, diving down and around, he puts his face just in front of mine almost touching noses.
Soon large bulls appear. Carlos warned us not to get to close to them and to stay away from the rocks. They will play king of the rock with you and you will lose.
Back on the boat we head to the other side of the island for lunch. Trying to change out of a wetsuit on a crowded boat is a challenge, but everyone seemed to manage.
We have lunch on Partida Island at a pretty beach with turquoise water. After we eat we will start kayaking from here. Don and I lay our clothes out on the rocks to dry while we eat.
Lunch- burritos of smoked fish and shredded beef with a side of cut fruit – oranges, cantaloupe and papaya.
The waters are shallow when we set out our kayaks for the 3-mile, 1.5-hour trip to camp. At first it is relatively calm but then we turn the corner and the wind picks up. We have a short channel crossing to Espiritu Island. Once near shore again we follow around the coast. The wind stays steady all the way to camp.
Candela Beach is beautiful and a popular spot for day trippers. Camp is windy and there are a few tourists about. The water is a beautiful blue green surrounded by wind-blown rocks. Setting up the tent is a challenge in the wind.
We have the option of going on an hour hike in the desert canyon but Don and I stay back hoping to practice exiting and reentering the kayak. But will the wind cooperate?
One of the boats has gone to La Paz to pick up supplies – water and tortillas and other essentials for the next group arriving the day after next. Unfortunately they took the beer cooler with them. We hang out in the shade – the cook, Alberto, gives us a platter of fruit – oranges, pineapple and grapes.
The wind is still blowing and it is much cooler than previous days.
The wind dies down a bit and Don and I take the kayak out for one last exit and reentry exercise. Performing the best yet we both shimmied in without much difficulty.
Happy hour – Margaritas and jicama with tajin and green olives.
Dinner – Barbeque chicken, mashed potatoes, vegetables and flan for dessert.
Day 8 – April 24
Our last morning starts as usual with coffee at sunrise. Today, however, camp faces west instead of east so there is just a soft pink glow in the sky and water, still one of the prettiest sunrises of the trip. It’s cool with little wind.
Although there was no action on the morning fishing trip, not even a bite, we did see baby pelicans. The panga circled Ballena Island where half grown pelicans hang out on the upper cliffs.
This being the west side of the island there is not that first morning light on the cliff like we saw at other sites.
Breakfast – Pancakes with bacon. As usual fruit and yogurt are also available.
Beautiful morning with still blue-green waters. We have a choice of snorkeling or kayaking on this last morning. Everyone chose kayaking. The kayak trip heads along the shoreline south of camp. Amazing wind-carved pink ash cliffs that look like lace formed by escaping volcanic gases. The loveliest paddle of the trip but no fish were caught. Paddled 1.5 hours.
Back at camp we hang out until lunch, some on the beach and some in the shade.
Lunch is a buffet of a cheesy veg casserole, tostada shells, rice, and pineapple and lemon cookies for dessert.
About 1pm we head back to La Paz and arrive at 3. The two hour boat ride was mostly dry and uneventful. Close to town the sea became choppy and soaked us enough that they got out the tarp to wrap around us. Unfortunately it only protects one side of the boat at a time.
Once at the marina we help unload luggage. Big bags are loaded on carts and taken to a pickup that drives it to the hotel. Guests walk the 2 blocks with their hand luggage.
Our Covid test was scheduled for 3pm – just when we arrived. (We needed a test for our flight back to the US the next morning.) We had arranged for a technician to meet us at the hotel but there was a mix up and we had to walk about 10 minutes to a local lab, otherwise the test went smoothly. Bring your passport or a copy if you want the passport number on your test results, $45, test results in 1-2 hours. The results arrived on time as promised via email but the hotel clerk also printed a hard copy for us without us asking.
For dinner we met the group down stairs and walked 2 blocks to La Costa for the trip goodbye dinner. The dining room is an open air covered terrace facing the marina. Included in the price of the trip is 1 drink and a select menu option – fish prepared various ways or beef. Both were served with rice and salad. No dessert. Well prepared and friendly service.
For links to all the posts in this series see the Sea of Cortez page.