Isla Carmen and Coronados

Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Sea of Cortez, Baja California Sur (BCS), Mexico

026-6.660 N
111-17.040 W
Marine forecast for this location

Ahoy from the crew of the BlueJacket!

Bahia SalinasI'm way behind in writing logs, so I had better get my butt in gear and get caught up. We've been hanging out in Puerto Escondido at a cruiser's rally known as LoretoFest and that's been chewing up all of our time. Anyhow, when I last wrote we had stopped in Bahia Candeleros and we were headed to Isla Carmen to find protection from an approaching front. We didn't quite make it before the front came though, and we even got to see a cloud to cloud funnel as it passed, but it wasn't too bad of a ride and the anchorage provided good protection from the N winds.

We had stopped at Bahia Salinas on Isla Carmen last year and we really enjoyed walking on the miles of the soft sand beaches as well as exploring the abandoned salt mine. This year the resort workers rather rudely told us that we couldn't explore the salt mine ruins, which is very strange as there were no guests there. Personally it made me wonder what else was going on there...So were had to content ourselves with walking on the beach and diving on the wreck of a 120' shrimp boat that had sunk there quite some time ago in relatively shallow water and is now home to lots of large fish. I really enjoyed that dive.

Painted CliffsThe northerly winds were switching to the SE, so we needed to move anchorages. After the morning dive on the wreck, we headed around the corner to an anchorage known as the Painted Cliffs, where I really wanted to stay. Unfortunately there was a SE swell wrapping around the point, so we decided to head to the N end of the island where would get protection. Well, that didn't work well as when we got around to the N end, we discovered that not only was there SE swell, but there was a NE swell as well as a larger NW swell. I decided to turn around and go back to Painted Cliffs and put out a stern anchor to keep us pointed into the SE swell and that worked pretty well. Far Country decided to move to the W side of the island so that they could get Internet, but I didn't like that suggestion as the winds were supposed to go westerly. Not exactly a great set of options with SE, NE, NW well and winds going to the W...

Anyhow, the reason that I wanted to stay at Painted Cliffs was that the rocks there are absolutely stunning. It looks like someone took pastel paints and painted the rocks varying shades of pink, green, yellow, gold and all kinds of shades in between. I got up before sunrise to photograph the cliffs in the warm morning light and I wasn't disappointed.

DolphinsAnother thing that I wasn't disappointed at was the snorkeling and diving. We dove and snorkeled the point near there and I was amazed at the number of large fish that were present. I saw Dorado (aka mahi-mahi or dolphin fish) which I've never seen before on anything other than a fishing line. I also had a huge school of 4+' Almaco Jacks closely circle me for minutes. That was definitely a Jacques Cousteau type moment.

From there we headed to Isla Coronados which has a wonderful ellipse-shaped anchorage on the W side of the island. Due to the white sand, the water is beautiful shades of aquamarine and is regularly patrolled by schools of dolphins. On more than one occasion we were treated to aerobatic displays. And while we missed it, other people reported whales fully breaching in the area. Wow, what a sight!

View from Volcano TopThere's also a trail that heads up the extinct volcano cone which Gordon (S/V Far Country) and I decided to hike. It's a little less than 1000' to the top, but you need to be in relatively good shape to climb it due to the rock fields that you have to cross and the steep top section is a loose sand/rock mixture where you slide back about 50% of each step. It took us less than 2 hours to make it to the top and there we were treated to sweeping vistas and it was well worth the hike.

We hung out at Isla Coronados for several days enjoying the area, diving and having cruiser beach parties. Ah, life is good! From there we headed to Puerto Escondido for LoretoFest, but that's a story for another log.

-- Geoff & Sue


Dolphins on the bowFor the cruiser:

At Bahia Salinas we anchor in 17' over sand at 25-50.45N 111-06.53W. Note that you can go MUCH closer to shore and still have plenty of water. This is a huge anchorage. You may want to keep away from the resort as they have a generator that runs at night.

At the Painted Cliffs we anchored in 25' over sand at 25-59.805N 111-04.403W. Note that there's a barely submerged rock at 25°59.906'N 111°04.448'W which is barely mentioned in the Shawn and Heather guide book. Do not anchor or pass west of this due to rocks.

On Isla Coronados we anchored at 26-06.64N 111-17.04W, but there's a ton of space to anchor. I dove at the N end of the island and had OK dives. Check my logs from last year for info on diving on the E side.


Log ID: 1486

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Photos/Video: Photo Album Isla Coronados Photo Album Isla Carmen 

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