Welcome to our mid-life crisis! These are the chronicles of Laura and Patrick, their young son Jack, and their goofball Labrador Retriever named Evinrude (Rudy), as they travelled the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific coast of mainland Mexico in their catamaran. We went cruising in search of a change of pace, a closer knit family, and peace of mind. We found all three and more. The fun all started in October, 2008 and nearly four years later the Mexican adventure came to an end August 3rd, 2012. With our mid-life crisis cured in Mexico, we are excited to start a new adventure - life back in America.

Patrick has since joined the Sales Team of Marine Servicenter as a boat broker. Whether you are looking to make your dream of sailing away come true, or ready to sell your boat he can help. He can be reached at http://marinesc.com/about/crew/patrick-harrigan

Candeleros Chico

Candeleros Chico
Just another beautiful day at anchor on the Baja. 2010

Dolphins at play in the bow wake 2011

Dolphins at play in the bow wake  2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Circumnavigating Isla Angel de la Guarda

The small islands of Hueso Bay that provide protection to the north winds. The beach at Hueso is just loaded with good shells, especially pustulatas.

The East Bay, West Bight - our favorite Refugio anchorage.

We came north our third year with just a couple goals in mind. The main one was to circumnavigate Isla Angel de la Guarda (Guardian Angel Island) which is the second largest island in the Sea of Cortez. It’s a 41 mile long island, just outside of the LA Bay area, which has no permanent residents. There is one anchorage on the island called Puerto Refugio (Refuge Port) on the very northern tip which is often visited by cruisers, but few venture past Puerto Refugio to visit the rest of the island. La Guarda is full of tricks - changeable wind directions, strong winds, extreme tidal movements of up to 12’ on average, sudden storms, hidden reefs, pinnacle rocks and other dangers. The east side of the island is not well charted, and few cruisers visit it, so there is little information to go on.

La Guarda’s remoteness has always called to us. Since the first time we entered Refugio three years ago, we have talked about what we would find if we explored the rest of the island. Puerto Refugio has always been our favorite anchorage in all of the Sea. It is so ruggedly beautiful and full of life. Unfortunately, each year we were blocked by bad weather or bad timing. We’ve visited Puerto Refugio several times each summer, but we could never get a break to see the rest of the island. Twice in the past, we have tried to anchor at Bahia de Hueso (Bay of Bones), just south of Refugio and were bounced out by big swells and wind in the middle of the night. And each time that we even thought about rounding around to the east side of the island, high winds from the north were forecasted and so the trip had to be put off.

But finally we have reached our goal. We just made it back to the village of LA Bay after a wonderful two week cruise around La Guarda. Our weather has been phenomenally calm, with light and variable winds every day, which has made our trip around the island, idyllic, simple and completely out of character! We have walked miles of beaches and found great shells (28 pustulatas on one beach!), 6 rapalas laying in the high tide line (an expensive fishing lure), 1 salmon plug (!), and lots of dolphin, sea lion, whale and turtle bones. We were visited by dolphins at numerous anchorages, and even had them come and play in our dinghy bow wake while we sped along, just inches from us. We’ve swum with numerous sea turtles, seen some very big groupers and schools of good-eating fish. We have eaten so much sea food that we started giving it away and finally just stopped fishing. We experienced perfect wind conditions for every anchorage, so we were able to see even more than we could have hoped for. We can now tell you that there is far more to Isla Angel de La Guarda than Refugio, and it just gets better.

During our circumnavigation we spent 5 nights in Refugio, 2 nights in Bahia de Hueso (eerily beautiful and my favorite place in the world), 2 nights in Caleta Pulpito West, 3 nights in Caleta Pulpito East, and 1 night on the north side of Estanque. I can’t begin to tell you of the beauty and life we saw. It was magical. The only fly in the ointment was No-See-Um’s, but every paradise has to have something to keep you from staying forever. And our experiences were worth the price of a few more scars from scratched bug bites.

1 comment:

  1. sweet trip. we plan to kayak around la guarda at the end of the month. how were the tidal currents on the outside of the island?