Northern Sea of Cortez

We are amazed by the dramatic landscapes and geology of the rocky islands and eastern coastline of Baja, Mexico. Hiking is sure different among the massive, colorful rock walls.

The various sandstone sculptures is jaw dropping. Basically living outdoors on the water, we experience all the natural elements, including weather.

Sailing south in the Sea of Cortes in August???
Not an easy task and it must be considered at many levels. We sailed south at 1 am because we needed to time the current and minimize the southerly winds or we could have had a slow miserable trip.
We had at least a 2 knot tail current and much help from some westerly gap winds out of Punta Trinidad.
Not only that, but the last 4 out of 6 nights we’ve had storms (known as Chubascos) crossing the SOC at night. Eek, glad it didn’t happen while on passage.
Happy to say we made it to Santa Rosalia in great time and good spirits.
We spent 1 night, as little time as possible, as it is the HOTTEST place on Planet Earth (well at least Baja).

In the Sea of Cortez, in the summer there are 3 major wind events that we have to be aware of; Chubasco’s, Coromels and Elephantes. These are fast moving convection cells which may have lightning, rain and high winds of 40 knots. Its been an amazing adventure in so many ways. Love it all!

Puerto Refugio! Amazing cruising grounds. This place is super remote even though San Diego is less than 300 miles away (as the crow flies).
We are anchored just north of Isla Angel De La Guarda. The snorkeling and fishing are amazing and the views are to die for. We are swimming with turtles just feet from us almost every time we get in the water. We will definitely remember this as one of the highlights of everything we’ve seen.

This is as far north as we will be going in the Sea of Cortez. Next we are looking forward to doing some land travel on the Mexican mainland as well as visiting family in California in September.

Bye for Now

Phew! All the boat chores are done; sails down, repairs made, laundry done, dingy on deck, through holes closed, fridge defrosted, hatches tight, sytems set, all locked up…

Our home is double tied to a mooring ball in beautiful Puerto Escondido for the month. We welcome a few weeks travelling inland to experience the city sights of Guadalajara. Then we plan a few weeks in California to visit family and friends. Looking forward to it all and a break from the heat.

Yes, I admit, I am a Bird Lady

Yellow crowned night heron

Traveling nearly 3,000 miles along the coastal regions of the Baja and Mexican Mainland, I have enjoyed my search for new birds, both on and off the water.

Blue footed Boobie

Besides noticing the numerous typical sparrows, wrens, hummingbirds, pigeons, finches, jays, hawks, cormorants, pelicans, vultures, gulls…. I have also photographed and recorded hundreds of other birds over the last year. I have found the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Merlin App very helpful.

Majestic Frigate

I have enjoyed identifying my birds along with learning feeding habits, behaviors, sounds, and breeding.

Jalisco Hummingbird

The photo identification below is a partial screenshot from my Merlin App for anyone who is interested.

5 most Commonly found Plants in the Baja

Cardon Cactus, reaching 19 meters high and living more than 100 years, is prolific here on the Baja Peninsula. The fruit was eaten by the indigenous Indians of this area, but it only produces fruit at 50 years old, kind of rough for any farming.

Agave; common to North America and Mexico- is also referred to as Century Plant. It flowers, usually with a tall spike with yellow blossoms like below, but only after 15 to 25 years. Then it dies.
These are fascinating plants dead or alive. The Sonora Jumping Cholla; seen all over at about hundred feet above sea level. These strange looking plants got their name from the small ball like barbed cactus piece they drop. Many hiker friends of ours have been “jumped” by this cacti/ball, needing a pair of needles to remove the thorns.
Elephant Tree; they only seem to grow a few feet tall, but can be as tall as 25 feet. These are shorter on the Baja, probably for wind protection. Cream colored flowers with pink in the center blooms in May, depending on moisture. A town along the Baja reported no rain in a few years.
Dwarf Morning glory; its rare to find one with a bloom, as its so dry here.

Wonders of Bahia De Los Angeles

We witnessed the best, epic day of snorkeling with the whale sharks!  These docile, gentle giants hang out in the late afternoons when the light shows their dinner, which is microscopic plankton. Lucky for us all, they don’t mind snorkelers touching them. They summer here in 85 degree waters of the northern Sea of Cortez, Bahia De Los Angeles. Then head south to La Paz in the winter months.

The amazing assortment of sea life has been beyond our expectations.
Below is a surface shot of the Whale Sharks. We videoed these underwater with a GoPro 4 my Dad Ashley Erwin gave us a few years ago.
Swimming with the Whale Sharks are common and does not endanger the Shark at all. Scott actually rode along while holding the dorsal fin of one.

We also experienced the full moon  fun ride down the rapids! There is a lagoon   that is nearly a mile long and a foot deep at low tide.. high to low tide).

However, its not all fun and games. Most days are pleasantly hot at 92 degrees, but some days, and nights are blistering hot at 103 with 80% humidity.

Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to be inside your convection oven? 25 knot 100+ degree winds off the Baja.
Ooh yeah…..Thank God the Tecate is cold. We don’t get westerlies like this very often.