We had a good weather window to cross the Sea of Cortez on Friday, so we started to go South on Thursday to the place where we'd start our crossing. We wanted to get a last round of forecast: we knew our weather window was good as it had been confirmed by the Chubasco net but we wanted the details, was the wind going to die or change direction at some point for instance? That way, we could better plan our route. In addition, we wanted to go back to the caves we hadn't been able to see on the Eastern part of Isla Espiritu Santos when we got distracted by the manta rays. The plan was to anchor Tire-Bouchon on that Eastern side of the channel between Espiritu Santos and Partida and take the dinghy from there to the cave.

That's how it looked like

But anyway, we were still in Isla San Francisco and it was still a long way to sail. We departed on a late 11AM, sailing out of anchor with Jeff from Joy wishing us goodbye on the radio. And we were off.

Adìos Isla San Francisco!
Heading back to Isla Partida

The sail was pleasant until Los Islotes where the wind died, likely sheltered by the islands themselves, and we had to turn on Monsieur Engine. We needed to make it to El Portico, in between the islands, timely in order to be able to explore the caves and reach our anchorage for the night 10 nm South after that.

Arriving at El Portico, between Islas Partida & Espiritu Santos, with a little wind just to get in

We anchored Tirb in between worlds and jumped in the dinghy as soon as we arrived. Too soon even! We had forgotten the gas... On a trip like that you want to take extra supply and it turned out handy as the outboard tank did run out on the way back. The coastline was gorgeous but the cave somewhat disappointing. We stayed by the entrance not sure whether we could dinghy through it. I was pretty sure I remembered David say we could but we were worried about puncturing the dinghy on the rocks. From outside, it was probably less impressive... The dinghy ride itself, pounding in the waves had been more adventurous and wet. The majority of things that David had mentioned were even further out, he had talked about a big rock pillar that we could make out almost 2 miles away. Again, that was too far for today!

Another dinghy came for the cave as we were retreating, they didn't go much further than we did
As we were ready to cast off with Tirb when we saw this unusual mastless embarcation

We turned back and rode the waves, which brought up good memories of dinghy sailing in the bay, and didn't linger around for long as the sun was starting to set and we still had to reach our anchorage in Playa de la Bonanza, further South. The manta rays hadn't shown up in the spot where we had seen them last time, in-between the islands, but their ballet of wing tips gliding and 360s in the air surrounded us on the way down with Tire-Bouchon. I guess sunset time is their time! We watched attentively, tried to get pictures of them as they jump out of the water (easier said than done: no success for either of us this time!) and simply enjoy our last hours in this sealife watching paradise. As we got closer to the anchorage, flying fish took over and the first mahi-mahi (the tuna family) surprised us by shooting out of the water following a small flying fish. We had never imagined there could be that many fish action on this side of the surface! When we eventually anchored in the night (not the best to get our stuff ready for the crossing tomorrow...), shining our light would trigger many jumps in the distance! We would only discover the white sand beach of Playa de la Bonanza the next morning, and we started some of the cooking for the passage and readily went to bed. We had hoped this anchorage would have internet to check the forecast as advertised on Navionics, once more it didn't and once more we hadn't helped believing it would. No big deal, that just meant going closer to La Paz before departing tomorrow, but in the meantime, good night!

No need for the hydrovane anymore since we had to motor the rest of the way
On the lookout for mantas
Last sunset in the islands...

April, 22nd 2021

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