Thursday, June 30, 2016

Loreto and Isla Coronados

Loreto rests at the shore of the Sea of Cortez

We spent 3 sweets weeks sailing between Loreto and the surrounding islands 
which compose Loreto National Park. 

Welcome to Loreto! 

The map shows the town of Loreto, Isla Coronados and Isla Carmen. 
We are currently anchored at El Burro Cove in Bahia Concepcion.

The Catholic church here is 300 years old

The Blue Anchor, our favorite internet place in Loreto

The Sea of Cortez ruins sailors.

There, I said it.

When Chris and I were sailing the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, wave heights of 5-15 feet were pretty much all in a days work. Expected. But here in the Sea of Cortez, it's so protected that a typical swell size is one foot. A scary day might mean swells of 3-5 feet. 

It's that flat calm.

The water surface can be so benign in the Sea of Cortez that we actually motored 6 miles across open ocean between Loreto and Isla Coronados with our sunshades up and WITH OUR DINGHY HANGING ON THE SIDE OF THE BOAT. 

You landlubbers won't get the relevance of this. But in the regular ocean, be it Pacific or Atlantic -- the above motoring scenario, well, it simply isn't done. 

We enjoyed several days at calm and beautiful Isla Coronados

One day I went for a long swim across the bay at Isla Coronados. Halfway through my swim,  mother and child humpback whales surfaced about 30 feet away. 

My first instinct was to panic. 

Yikes! There are two gigantic whales only 30 feet away! 

But after a few deep breaths, I settled down and just tried to exude calm (Generally speaking, flailing and freaking out around wildlife is not a good idea). They surfaced again and then calmly headed towards the open ocean.

Wow. Pretty cool.

Later that night, while relaxing in the cockpit and watching the full moon rise over the mountains, we heard an explosion from the direction of the mainland. 

"What in the hell was that?" we asked each other.

A moment later, we heard another explosion emanating from the direction of the mainland. The sound bounced ominously off of the mountains, across the water and out of the pitch blackness.

We sat silently, listening through the darkness.

We heard the sound again, but this time it was preceded by a large and loud exhaling sound, and then, the gigantic explosion.

The whales! It was humpbacks breaching -- diving deep and then hurtling through the ocean surface and smashing down again. They were so large, and it was so loud, each breach sounded exactly like dynamite exploding in the mountains.

Again and again, we listened to the sound of whale after whale breaching,. There must have been at least 3 of them. 

We were anchored only a couple of hundred feet away.

The ocean between the mainland in the distance and Isla Coronados is where the humpback whales breached over and over again under the cloak of darkness

The next morning, we popped over to Loreto again.

Loreto brick and palm

Loreto has an adorable ficus walkway that goes right through the center of town

Mountain peaks soar behind the city

With the palm trees and the towering mountains, Loreto has almost a South Pacific feel

We watched a game of the NBA finals at gringo sports bar Augie's 
with John and Julie of s/v Myla

After provisioning at the Ley's supermarket in Loreto and downloading all of our favorite podcasts, it was time to head north again -- away from civilization and into the wildness once more.

We actually caught some good wind and enjoyed a refreshing sail.

Chris set the auto pilot and rode Espiritu like a bucking bronco

That's it for now. We're currently anchored in Playa Burro in Bahia Concepcion with several other sailboats awaiting the big annual gringo July 4th fireworks show local expat Geary puts on every year. All is well.

What are your July 4th plans? Let me know!


  1. Dawn and I will be at Lake Gregory where past fireworks have been spectacular. Some year come down the mountain a few 1000 feet and join us.

    1. Thanks for the nice note, Art. We definitely will come see your place in Lake Gregory once we return stateside! Until then, keep an eye on the mountain for us... XOXO Liz and Chris

  2. Dawn and I will be at Lake Gregory where past fireworks have been spectacular. Some year come down the mountain a few 1000 feet and join us.

  3. Love the new post! John and JUlie are great! So miss you guys!
    PS this marne

    1. Hey Marne -- miss you guys too! Hope things are going well with your work up there (I heard there were fires in Oregon), and with your family and friends. XOXOXOXOXO Liz and Chris

  4. Grace is currently moored in the Everett Marina, about 30 miles north of Seattle. The state has opened the crab fishery for the 4th of July weekend. There are a multitude of small runabouts and dinghies flying in and out of the marina tending crab pots. Crabs are being cleaned and boiled and consumed on all the docks. Tomorrow the city will be treated to a fireworks show. The location luckily for us is just off the marina. We will be hosting friends on Grace for the evening.