Isla Coranado 3-4 Nov
From San Juanico we motored 18 nm south to the lovely Isla Coranados. This dormant volcano is 928 feet of dark red volcanic rocks and the background to the turquoise colored waters and white soft sandy beaches. There is a large yacht in the middle of the bay, so we drop anchor in the NE corner. Though we are far off the yacht, their size gives the appearance they are much closer than they are. After getting the boat shipshape, we settled in for a quiet evening and another sunset. We stayed one night because we need to provision!
Puerto Escondido aka Hidden Port, 4-21Nov
There was not wind and the sea was flat. Just little over three hrs of motoring 18 nm, we are cruising south with Isla Carmen on our Port side and the Baja on our starboard. The view of the grand mountains southwest are the Sierra de la Gigantes range and we begin to daydream about hiking up that beautiful Tabor Canyon trail again.
Coming back here is like coming back to home central. Returning to Puerto Escondido is comforting on many accounts. The marina has made a lot of improvements; the staff are super friendly, the tienda is well stocked (Kirkland items AND draft beer … say what?!), – there is a new cruiser’s lounge with a clean modern aesthetic – large windows, with internet and big screen TV, A/C, a comfy couch and tables to sit at, and plenty of outlets.
After the pandemic hit, this marina became a popular spot to haul out and put the boat on the hard for the summer. Our good friends and many fellow cruisers we often saw during the sailing season left from Puerto Penasco. So naturally, we were grateful to be in ‘town’ when many who returned did so during our stay.
We are so grateful that our friends, John and Marcella, on SV Beethoven, showed us the new-ish Tripui Hills trail system. The hill has six main trails totaling over 3 miles of desert hiking. And when we start from the marina, that adds an additional .75 miles warm-up. I really enjoy the options with one trail that takes you down to a beach where you can opt to take a swim before continuing your hike. I have included below the full information of the trail system*, if you are interested, it’s a lovely story. And during our stay, we learned that a new friend of ours, Marty on SV Perspective, thoughtfully added large beautiful clam shells from a feast he had weeks before installation, alongside the trail signage that includes mileage in kilometers.
Chris also took another hike up Tabor Canyon with our friends Bill on Gypsy, John, and Marcella on Beethoven, and friends of Javier, the Puerto Escondido Harbor Master. The upper sections of the hiking require a guide with local knowledge. A few places in the boulders require climbing using some previously installed ropes and logs. Tabor Canyon is also known as Steinbeck Canyon. One source shares John Steinbeck reported healthy big-horn sheep. And it is encouraged you read ‘The Log of the Sea of Cortez’ while you are here.
As play is more welcoming, we do take some time to work on the boat. The list was pretty routine and we did include a few things we did not get to over the summer. We installed the last of the engine bay insulation behind the foul weather gear locker. We took the coachroof handrails down to bare wood and oiled them, as the varnish was starting to fail. We also put a maintenance coat or three on the bow pulpit seat. Carrie touched up the Kiwigrip on deck.
Chris Visits Cabo San Lucas
Pat had caught a ride south in this year’s Nada HaHa rally and found himself in Cabo San Lucas with a few days to spare. We were actually able to chat for a few minutes each day beforehand on the Amigo Net as their boat made its way south. The day they arrived, I too pointed our rental car south and took the day trip down and spent a long weekend hanging out. The drive was uneventful despite the lack of a shoulder on the highway. If you were wondering, there are a lot of cactus. A lot.
Our hotel room at the Tesoro was three floors up from where we parked Dharma Girl after we cheated death and finished the 2020 Ha Ha. It was fun to sit and watch all the hullabaloo going on in the marina – booze cruises, tuna boats, booze cruises, a few sailboats, the occasional snorkeling trip, and you guessed it – the pirate-themed booze cruise. Deciding where to eat was rather overwhelming for two creatures of habit, so we went to all the usual haunts – Baja Cantina, the tequila place a few blocks away, The Office, and Mangoes.
Pat splurged on a dune buggy expedition with Amigos Cabo Moto Rent, so we were bussed out to a spot near Todos Santos and spent a few hours getting all dusty while trying to go as fast as they’d let us. It was a great deal of fun on the Razor 1000.
Carrie’s brother Steve happened to be in town as well; Steve, Michele, Larry, and Sonia graciously met up with us and we shared a great dinner together after fighting our way out of a happy hour in full swing at Mangoes. Sunday came, I dropped Pat at the airport for his flight back home, then made the drive back to Puerto Escondido. I made it back just before nightfall and we had a late dinner with John and Marcella.
Back in Loreto
We also made a few trips with friends into Loreto to do some more grocery shopping. For the uninitiated, Loreto is a delight to visit. There’s three supermercados: Ley, Pescadero, and a Bodega Aurrera. Translate that to: a good, affordable chain grocery store, a pricey gringo store with lots of Kirkland products, and the Mexican equivalent of Walmart. Ferremar has all the fishing gear you’d need, as well as a good supply of boating specific hardware. The town square is pretty, with the cathedral, an old hotel, restaurants, and the bank.
Last but not least, El Zopilote Brewing is there as well. We planned our visa run in and out of LAX while sipping a few cold beers one afternoon. The day after I got back from Cabo, we hopped an Alaska flight to LAX for one night, then returned the following day in order to renew our tourist visas.
Flying back gives you a quick view of all the places we’d visited on our southbound leg.
Thanks for following us
* “Information About The Tripui Hills Trail System
The original Hart trail was built 40 years ago by Horace and Helen Hart. They were among the first visitors to the Puerto Escondido area. They truly were in love with the place which is evident in the poetry Horace would write about it. When the port was first being developed, Horace and Helen would organize soccer games on the beach for the construction workers who were pouring the concrete. They would go to the store in Loreto and buy cases of beverages for them, and Helen always brought a tray of treats. Even though they spoke no Spanish, for years they had Mexican families from Loreto come to spend Sunday afternoons with them. And every day without fail, just before sundown, the two of them would climb up their trail and admire the view. The never tired of it. The painted cairn at the bottom of the Hart Trail was placed by another camper years after Hart stopped coming down to Loreto. In 2006, Richard Thuiller and his wife Alexis, a Canadian couple from Vancouver Island, B.C., began adding and improving the trails. In 2010, Thuillier spent the majority of his days in the area working on the trails, and between 2014 and 2019, he completed the View Trail, Mid Trail, and Backside Trail. The entire trail system has over 5 kilometers of spectacular desert hiking trials. Numerous indigenous plants can be observed along the trail, including the Organ Pipe Cactus, agaves, and other desert shrubs like Palo Adan. Occasionally, on may spot a raccoon or a desert lizard. Along the trails, there are incredible views of the islands and mountain ranges in the area, namely at the top of Hart Peak and the viewpoint.”