Caleta Candelero – Isla Espiritu Santos grows on us

We woke up in Gallina Bay and a breakfast outside made it clear that bobos were back in numbers! Time to move on and hope that the apparent wind will get rid of them. Unfortunately, still very little wind, so we turned on the engine to rally Candelero bay, two coves up the coast. The route between the coast and the islotes (small islands) of Gallina, Gallo and Balena was very scenic. Caleta Candelero revealed itself after a short hour of motoring: A large bay with a central rock, the “candle” that had given it its name, tall mountainous red wells with cacti and two beaches deep in the bay, also separated by little rocky islands. A last motoring full throttle into the wind that had picked in a desperate but somewhat successful attempt to get rid of our bobos who had enjoyed the ride so far and driven me crazy, and Tire-Bouchon found a place at anchor on the Southern side of the Bay, by one of the two motorboats already installed.

Tirb on the move again
Caleta Candelero

The water was still more green than turquoise and we couldn’t see the anchor as we dropped it to the sandy bottom, but the place was definitely more exciting and we were eager to explore. After a quick lunch, we inflated the kayak (and in parallel finishing one of the never ending patching of the dinghy, now downgraded to our “city ride”) and, masks in hand, took off for the central island. A group of kids had arrived on a panga and waved at us warmly as they jumped one by one in the water with snorkels and life jackets. Definitely a nice way to dive into snorkeling, I thought as an instructor was, I assume (it was in Spanish), explaining the basics. The panga had its own mooring to wait for the kid, but we didn’t. We carried our ride to the little beach, not the easiest task as the landing was rocks but the water was clear with no algae, so we couldn’t complain… Or at least not until the bobos found us on the beach! I had wanted to enjoy this cute island (a tall red rock with cacti, some birds, a beach, reefs to snorkel) but we dove in promptly, already annoyed at the flying wild life! But it wasn’t a bad thing, as we swam around the reef and then around the island, we saw Butterfly fish and Rainbow fish along with the usual Sergent Majors, Angelfish, Cornetfish etc. The snorkeling session was lovely and following a fish around to see it chased by another fish when trying to feed on a rock that was apparently already or dodging the route of a bigger fish was entertaining and somewhat magical.

Our snorkeling paradise

Since this beach was unusable due to the bobos, we paddle the kayak to try our luck on one of the large beach inside the cove. The rightmost had a group of people dining under beach umbrellas, so we naturally decided for the left one and were not disappointed. First the water was really clear as we approached in the shallows and we could follow schools of fish swimming here and there, but that wasn’t the sight! The sight was sort of brown sand “dry bay” past the white sand beach, surrounded by tall red walls dotted with cacti. It was something, as Yalçın put it. We walked in the silence of this solemn place, that seemed so majestic and at the same time so unfit to human life. A sign, first official evidence that we were in a National Park if we needed any, was describing a rocky feature that looked like a large armchair, explaining that the middle wall that was separating the two beaches, had been weathered by elements. The rounded cliff had even a narrow opening to a tiny on the other side that lead to tiny little beach. Sadly, we didn’t have cameras or phones with us, so the majesty of the place will have to stick to our memory.

As I wandered on the middle rocks to spot more fish, Yalçın had spotted little animals walking one of the steep walls that made the bay. We took the kayak for a closer sight and discovered two little goats slowly ascending a mountain that looked huge compared to their side. They were making progress valiantly, trying to find a path up with intermittent, and maybe complaining (?), “behehehe”. We spotted two more at the top of the hills, but our attention had been drawn by another curious phenomenon, in the water this time. A fish seemed to be leaving its tail out of the water! We tried to approach in silence, but the tail would disappear. We saw a couple more while paddling back to Tirb, sometimes there seemed to be some fighting action, as if the fish attached to the tail was catching something under the surface, but we weren’t able to learn more even with the identification book.

Back in the boat, Yalçın spotted more goats on our side of the bay, tiny dots that I was barely able to distinguish in between cacti and bushes. We made diner, eggplant (which we had had a hard time finding in Mexico) was on the menu, and we were able to enjoy a bobo free night! We had opened our dodger and it seemed to let enough wind in to chase them away, and despite the small island beach, this bay seems way less infested anyway. To celebrate, we finished our movie outside under the stunning star sky. Espiritu Santos was definitely growing on us, despite the night Coromuel winds that picked up once again between 10 and 11.

Keep looking, you’ll spot a little black goat in the middle

The next day, not in a rush, we took our time before moving on to the next bay: pancake breakfast, even pilates on the deck for me (a big cruising dream of mine, made possible since we deflated the dinghy the day before which freed up the space), a dip by the boat, a thorough hydrovane rudder cleaning session for Yalçın, and after a light lunch, we were off for our next destination, motoring again! We had fantasized about using the breeze that we had in the morning to cross to San Francisco island 20 miles from here, but had feared that the breeze would be short lived. It was, San Francisco would have to wait a little longer and we weren’t quite done here anyway. Isla Espiritu Santos was almost over though, with only one cove left to the North. We checked it on our way: El Mezteno was a cute little opening that we had heard good things about (SV Prism, a YouTube couple who sailed the Pacific coast from Berkeley as well (!) described it as “one of their favorite place on Earth”!), and the number of boats anchored there seemed to agree. Not enough room to add one more boat though, and, in any case, we were looking for an anchorage with more protection (this one was totally open to the West and Southwest) and our last forecast from La Paz was predicting stronger Coromuels for tonight.

On the move again
Checking out El Mezteno
Happy cruiser

We were therefore bound to the anchorage between Isla Espiritu Santos to the South and get little sister, Isla Partida to the North. Flanked by mountains on both sides, there is an opening of half a mile between the two islands, closed by a sand bank on the Eastern side. At high tide apparently, a passage opens for dinghies to cross to the other side, which sounded super exciting! Our destination was Caleta Partida, an opening in the North island that offered protection from almost every side. Half of the cove was too shallow for Tire-Bouchon’s keel but such shallow depth was giving the water the turquoise tone we had so avidly been looking for. We anchored with the three other boats which were already there, surprised that the other boat that entered the in-between island passage with us dropped their hook on the Southern side by Isla Espiritu Santos. That choice only made sense if the wind was still from the South, or South West as we had experienced the nights before. In our cove, the motorboat which was in the middle left, allowing us to reposition by the Western cliff in between the two catamarans. That new position was more strategic for the forecasted Westerlies: the closer to the cliff, the better our protection to the wind waves (and we had been bouncing the previous nights!), second, when the wind would turn later on, we would be the upwind boat and therefore wouldn’t have to worry too much about another craft drifting at us if their anchor dragged (it’s always easier to set an anchor alarm that tracks your GPS position to check if you are not dragging, than to monitor your neighborhood by looking if they don’t drag). For the moment, there was no worry on that end since we were the only three, or actually four (a boat had also anchored by one of the catamarans) boats in the cove, but as the afternoon and evening progressed, that cove and the channel would be full. For now, we had no idea and this lovely place almost to ourselves, it was time to go snorkeling!

In-between islands

Thursday and Friday, April 15th and 16th, Day 2 and 3 on Isla Espiritu Santos

2 thoughts on “Caleta Candelero – Isla Espiritu Santos grows on us

  1. A very interesting and well illustrated story
    Thank you for sharing your emotions with us
    I particularly enjoyed the small wild, black and valiant goats…
    I hope you never meet any more bobos…!
    Kisses from France, proud of you children…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In this period when you don’t have internet, I was very curious about you.
    Fortunately it is not like I feared. Good adventure..Love you both.

    Liked by 1 person

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