After leaving Lobos Rock we heading to Espirito Santa which is an island 15 miles North of La Paz. It is a park and so has limitations on commercial fishing, tourism etc. Side note – it really feels like Mexico manages their fisheries a LOT better than Canada does – there are a lot of zones all over the place where commercial fishing is banned, certain species aren’t allowed to be commercially fished (mahi and marlin being two of them) and important habitat is protected from shoreside development and fishing. Worlds apart from Canada, where it often seems to be a free for all for development/fishing without any thought to sustainability.
Espirito Santo has a huge amount of bays to explore, but most of them are on the west and with south-west winds predicted we headed into the south-east bay, called Bonanza. This is a two mile long beach with some rocks nearby that make for good snorkelling. On our first trip we saw a seahorse! It was tiny, around two inches long, and blended perfectly into the red coral. I have no idea how I managed to spot it but it was a great thing to see – the first seahorse I’ve seen in the wild! He was anchored to the coral with his tiny little tail.
The next day we went on a hike across the island, managed to miss the island and ended up bushwhacking to the other side through desert and floodplains
We finally got to the beach on the other side
Notice the storm clouds! We hightailed it back across the island (on the path this time so it was a lot quicker) as the rain started. I wasn’t super keen to get caught on a flood plain. We also saw some black hares and various birds (including some turkey vultures up close)
The next day we set sail up the east side of the island, heading north. With some light southerly winds, we were able to go downwind for the first time all year! So I broke out the spinny
We ended up sailing all the way up around the top of the island and then back down to the west side as I wanted to visit a bay called Candelero which I had visited a lot last year and has amazing snorkelling.
Candelero was really fun – we hung out with another boat that had a younger couple on and did some spearfishing. Liz found some underwater sculptures while I managed to get two snappers, including my largest spearfishing fish to date – a 5lb one! Either a dog snapper or a Colorado snapper (I think the latter)
The snorkelling here was amazing, with hogfish, cornetfish, sergeant majors and others all swimming around against a backdrop of a sheer stone cliff dropping into the depths. Liz actually tried spearfishing for the first time as well with my shorter gun and actually managed to get a goatfish her first attempt… although it was a bit too small to eat. Fish look bigger underwater!
The next stop was Partida Cove – the most popular anchorage in the area apparently. Due to this reputation, I’d ignored it last year but it was really nice. Probably the most protected anchorage on this side of the island, and just FULL of turtles. I managed to go swimming with a couple! Thereby ticking off thing off my list.
There were also caves, which Liz insisted on exploring (my personal feeling is that nothing is good is found in a cave)
It had never been used (having being carted around as a spare) but was still over ten years old so I was a bit nervous to see if it would still work or not – the membranes apparently don’t last that long. To my relief though, it worked great! It puts out around 1.3 gallons an hour, pulling around 5ish amps. Just the right amount so that I can run it a couple of hours a day (ideally watermakers are run every day) and keep my tanks topped up.
Installation was simple – I used the old unused thru-hull from the old head intake and the rest was very simple, just basic plumbing.
We left Partida Cove and attempted to sail to our next destination – the village of San Evaristo. However the wind was 15-20 instead of 10-15 and kicking up very short, steep chop which is very unpleasant to sail through so we gave up and ducked into the next bay up – Ensenada Grande. One unexpected nice bonus was we managed to get a nice fat bonito in the short time we were out
He made great sushi!
Ensenada Grande has three ‘lobes’ and we went into the Southmost one. This was another great location with excellent snorkelling, spearfishing and swimming.
My favourite are the guineafowl puffers which are just big balls of ridiculousness. They are so fat they can’t really swim very well. Unfortunately, I’ve been pretty remiss about recording underwater stuff as the gopro is a big pain to fit on in addition to my mask but I’ve been working on ways to get around that – for now you’ll have to take my word for it. Fish are great. I shot some goatfish for dinner, and then the next morning we set off for San Evaristo!