We work as ecotourism guides (as well as biologist and boat captain) often on the BC Coast, but also as far ranging as the Arctic and Antarctic. We have an insatiable curiousity for the planet; all its hidden gems and what makes them tick. That and our love of sailing is what inspired us to sail around the Pacific in Narama, our tough and pretty little sailboat.
A new species of fish took our line the evening we sailed from Bahia Magdelena for the 180nm jump down to bottom of the Baja peninsula. Thus we feasted on dorado for the next two days - magnificent in all respects, the colours are so vivid when it is first caught . It got off the hook before I killed it, so another bloody mess in the cockpit while it slid around with the boat bouncing merrily along and me trying to subdue it with a little brandy and a winch handle. Fish don’t have eye lids, so they see the winch handle coming with every strike, the large fish with big eyes make this process fairly unappealing, hence the alcohol(for the fish). Approaching the sprawling condos and tourist traps of Cabo we ran out of wind after a good sail down with only 4 sail changes. I wonder how Steinbeck would have described the jet skis, para-sailers, cruise ships, dinner cruisers, glass bottom pangas, sports fishing vessels, tall ships……… all crammed into the protection of the small Cape. All this in only 30 years! So we left the next morning. Our planned early departure was delayed by heavy sleep and we paid for it as we beat into 25 – 30 knots and steep sea’s later in the day, so Bahia Los Frailes was a welcome relief late that evening. As part of a national park, the waters and reefs here were teeming with fish. Even the snorkelling around the boat with large schools of green jacks that adorned each of the dozen boats in the anchorage was an experience. Not a bad place to be stuck waiting for weather. Manta rays often leaped out of the water nearby and we had a potluck beach dinner with other cruisers, flew a kite, cut Heidi’s hair and hiked on the white sand beach and hills above the bay. The need for internet to organize Christmas plans and work contracts for Heidi (now dissolved) and a fairly dire need of water (down to 30L) pushed us on. So another day of heavy weather motor sailing into 25- 30kns for another 46 miles up to Los Muertos. Finding our needs here but still running low on most other things (the only fresh things on board now are a few limes and ½ a chili, the yeast is done so its all un-leven bread, and no more eggs for baking), so we have been creative with the canned food supply and growing lots of sprouts. Our perceived short supply of tucker is relative to the plentiful larder we are used to, in reality we could make do for much longer, but we are fortunate having the option to restock. Many of the small fish camps that we have past don’t always have this option. So we stayed till the northerly winds abated and had a great sail most of the way around to La Paz. Now it is clean up time for us and the boat to rid the many layers of salt that has slowly coated everything.
Six years ago we were introduced to Baja on a kayaking trip to the remote mangrove channels north of Bahía Magdelena (Mag Bay) by our friend Rick, a great adventurer and kindred spirit. Sailing Narama south was a perfect opportunity for a Baja reunion. So we met Rick in Asuncion a few weeks ago, where Angela and Miguel were gracious hosts to us all six years ago. They were wonderful to us once again; son Miguelito took us fishing for the day, then Miguel BBQed our tuna that evening. It was a special treat to take some of the family out for an afternoon of sailing as a thank-you and have a hundred dolphins swim past. Sailing with friends in Asuncion
On the next stage of our reunion, Rick paddled out to meet us in Puerto Magdelena, for a week of exploring new territory in Mag Bay. First a hike up the ridge on Isla Magdelena for spectacular scenery of the outer bay and mangrove channels, then we sailed south to anchor in an isolated little bay on Isla Margarita. Stevo and Rick did an overnight reconnaissance paddling trip to see if it was possible to cross the “Rehusa” a potentially narly mouth of water where wind and tide can whip up and be unfriendly to kayaks (no crossing this time). Heidi explored on land from the anchorage and discovered a beautiful lagoon full of birds and a great hike. So we all went up a canyon into the middle of the island, which we named “Arroyo Mariposa” after the multitude of butterflies on all the greenery lining the canyon. We even found a pool of fresh water to freshen up on the return – a rare treat in Baja!
Rick is an avid fisherman and caught us a fine dinner of Corvina, Spotted Bay Bass and Halibut, which we cooked over an open fire on our beautiful beach. It was a quintessentially perfect evening – sunset, bottle of wine, fire, great food and company, in a week of great sailing and exploring. As Rick would say, “we’re living like millionaires!”
Dining out on the beach
Mag Bay Species List
Great Blue Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron
Yellow-crowned Night Heron
Little Blue Heron