At the end of June, I embarked with my longtime crew on a sailing expedition to explore the Sea of Cortez, Mexico. This was another epic adventure in a long series of sailing adventures that we’ve been doing as a group, in one form or another, for nine or ten years now.
Although we’ve sailed the Sea of Cortez on a previous trip, we decided to return to rediscover the unrelenting beauty, serenity, and dramatic contrasts of sailing surrounding by the hot, crushing desert.
The expedition ended up being wonderful. We had a great time sailing, fishing, scuba diving, cooking, relaxing, swimming, hiking, and exploring the Sea of Cortez, and surrounding desert. Here are a few photos from our adventure. Video clips and other related media are coming asap.
The sailing trip began by assembling everyone in Cabo San Lucas, on the southern tip of the Baja Penninsula. From there, we rented a suburban, and the 6 of us drove north to La Paz. La Paz is a larger city in Baja, and is the center of operations.
During the northward drive, naturally we had to stop for some delicious roadside tacos. It’s good to be in Mexico!
Delicious tacos and drinks, on the way up to La Paz. Sean drove the massive suburban, and did a great job of getting us to the marina. All six of us fit in the car, with all of our gear.
On our way north, we were stopped by a few small inspection stations. Enough said.
Arrival at the Dream Yachts marina. This marina was shared by a few different charter companies, and was located just outside of La Paz. Our boat was ready and waiting for us when we arrived in the late afternoon.
After loading our gear onto the boat, we walked across the street from the marina and took a refreshing dip in the 5 star resort pool, which we had access to since we were living on one of their sailboats.
Naturally, we had to take traditional beginning of the trip tequila shots before we did anything else. It was good to be back together as a crew!
On the evening of the first night, we drove into La Paz to watch sunset over the water, and have a tasty mexican dinner on a rooftop.
First dinner! In downtown La Paz, Mexico.
After dinner, we went straight to the grocery store, where we bough about $600 of groceries – enough to feed 6 people for ten days. Not so bad when you divide it out. Here we are deliberating on what to get.
Dyana had a bit of a shopping plan, and doled out responsibilities accordingly. Sean was on hot sauce and fruit juice patrol.
I was on checkout duty, and managed to keep the checkout girl calm as she scanned $600 of groceries at closing time.
Loading provisions onto our boat. Every space on a sailboat is used, and there are endless pockets and storage areas behind the cushions, under panels, and beneath the floor. I love this aspect of sailboats – every bit of space is thought out and used.
Sean reviewing the Baja cruising guide, the night before our departure. Sean is sitting at the nav table, with all of the electrical controls and instrumentation. Under the table is emergency gear, and inside the table are charts and guides.
Breakfast at the beach club, shortly before our departuer from the marina.
And one last swim in the luxurious infinity pool.
We rented deep sea fishing gear, and had a great time catching a few dinners.
Our first catch – a Bonito that we later ate for dinner.
Zac filleting the Bonito. Tasty!
One of the anchorages we stopped at, from the midpoint of our desert hike. Our boat is on the left.
Dried cactus found in the desert – this makes pretty good kindling for a fire, as we later found out when making a beach fire to cook clams.
Shower time at the end of each day. On the boat, we take “navy showers” – jump in the water to get wet, soap up on the transom, jump back in the water to wash off the soap, and then rinse with fresh water from the hose. It’s effective, fun, and saves on fresh water. And you get to do it with friends – here’s Dyana giving Zac a scrub.
Dyana relaxing on deck with a sunset drink. This is what it’s all about.
Zac adding a little beer to the ground beef, to give our tacos an extra little kick. Cooking on the boat is always fun!
Dinner in the cockpit – this was taco night, with lots of hot sauce.
Evan and Kaitie right before Scuba Diviing with the sea lions.
Me and Sean before diving.
Swimming through a narrow passage into a swirling school of fish.
Evan checking out schools of fish.
Wildlife abounds in the Sea of Cortez – here we saw a whale and her calf.
Our crew, minus Kaitie, at the end of our second dive.
Evan walking onto the shore to enjoy some post-dive lunch and refreshments.
This particular sailboat had a motorized winch, so in order to raise the main sail, we just had to push a button. Here, I’m steering us into the wind while we watch the sail raise. Shorly affter this I steered the boat to “fall off” and catch the wind in the sail.
Under sail. It’s peaceful and quiet while sailing, with just the wind whistling and the waves splashing around the boat.
Evan reeling in a Mahi Mahi.
Zac with our first Mahi Mahi – dinner!
Two girls from another boat standing up on their twin kayak at sundown.
Dyana dives off the bow for a late afternoon swim.
Evan brought along an inflatable donut to lounge in. Perfect!!!
Dyana and Evan float in the nearly still water, while our boat floats anchored just off shore.
Sean hikes a ridge on one of the small anchorages we stopped at. Sunset hikes are great.
We had a small grill on the boat, and used it to cook burgers, fish, and veggies. An essential accessory on any sailing trip.
More hikes in the desert with the full group.
Isla Coyote, one of the small fishing villages we encoutered. We bought fish and clams here.
Chocolate Clams, fresh from the sea and very tasty.
Towing Evan behind the boat in his donut. Mmmmm
Approaching another one of our anchorages, at the mouth of a beautiful valley.
Sean and I went exploring the valley at sundown, and found lots of animal bones – and animals!
Relaxing while underway.
At one of our anchorages, we found the remains of an abandoned hotel.
Cactus flowers in the hot desert.
Hiking through the desert back to the sea. The contrast is extreme.
A dried puffer fish found on the hot, dry beach.
Our peaceful beach fire spot, where we cooked and ate lots and lots of clams.
Dyana and Evan checking out the first stars of the evening, as our fire burns down to cooking coals.
Kaitie and Dyana selecting fresh clams, while Sean, Zac and Evan supervise the fire.
We cooked clams directly on the fire, as well as by boiling them.
Eating fresh cooked clams by the fire, under an almost full moon.
Dolphins frequently swam with our boat.
The full moon, rising over the desert peaks.
Naturally, there are always always minor disasters on every trip – completely expected, and we can ususally deal with whatever we need to. This small engine issue was a quick fix.
Dyana reeling in.. a shark!
Hot dogs for lunch.
Sean made himself a swing from the boom.
I got hoisted up the mast on the emergency halyard. A spectacular view!
Sean driving the Dinghy through a small mangrove forest. This was on our last day of sailing. After this, we returned the boat to La Paz, and then got in the car to head back down to Cabo.
On our way back to Cabo, we witnessed a large drug bust.
Our last night in Mexico was in Cabo San Lucas, and it was the 4th of July! We checked out lots of lively, trashy parties on the beach, and had lots of fun watching fireworlks from afar.
Entering spring break zone at El Squid Roe.
End of the trip drinks at El Squid Roe. For our final night in Cabo, we stayed at a generic hotel on the main strip. Comfy and easy.