The sun coyly winked on the horizon, daring us to come closer, as our compass needle crept towards east. After a month and a half along the long, thin Baja peninsula we had reached the tip and it was time to turn the corner. The sky grew lighter and in the distance we glimpsed the famous rocks that grace countless brochures, luring tourists to popular Cabo San Lucas. The rocks called Lands End are just that, the southern most point of the peninsula and you round them as you turn into the harbor. We didn’t have a whole lot of interest in spending time in Cabo- we prefer more remote areas- but we needed to replenish our food stores and we were happy to rest after 2 days of sailing. Plus we’d never been there and wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
We already knew we were in a different world as we entered the small bay because we were completely surrounded by fishing boats that weaved and circled.. at some point we just stopped trying to get out of their way. We found a somewhat precarious spot to anchor near our friends on the boat Shakedown. There is a narrow band of 15-30ft sand between the wave zone and a steep drop off. It took a couple of tries but we were fairly secure and unfortunately broad-side to waves that were rolling in but not breaking. The first thing we noticed as we were dropping the hook was that the water was shockingly turquoise and so clear. We could see the anchor and all of our chain sitting on the bottom. As soon as we were secure we both jumped in the water… and It Was Amazing! So warm and perfect and completely different than any of our last pacific anchorages. We were finally in the tropics! Literally. We passed the tropic of cancer line just in Todos Santos just before arriving to Cabo. I jumped in and swam toward what appeared to be a roped off swimming area and got tossed by strong waves onto the steep beach. After a nice warm stroll (having not been on land for a week) I prepared to swim back and noticed that in the time I was gone there were now highways of jet skies and tourist boats zooming all around the bay including the space between me and Orion. I went for it and often stopped waving my arms wide to show my whereabouts. It was crazy.
Cabo gave us a bit of culture shock. Jet skies, fishing boats, mega-yachts, tourist pangas, dive boats, techno pumping pirate ships zooming all around us. On land expensive American chain restaurants and designer shops in malls. Not a taco stand in sight. We took the bus to Walmart and filled our collapsible cart to the brim and made plans to leave.
We had about 4 days to get north to La Paz to prepare for my parents’ visit, which didn’t give us too much time to dillydally along the way. We day sailed to a lovely anchorage called Los Muertos and did a little freediving and swimming in the perfect water. While we were there we heard hooting and hollering and came out on deck to see our four friends on Sangvind waving as they sailed up to the anchorage, the kids doing excited acrobatics in the rigging. We had last seen them in San Diego. They were eager to get south after a delay and did the entire Pacific coast in one shot. The ground we had covered in 6 weeks they did in seven days without stopping. Needlesstosay they were impatient to get off the boat… and tired. The kids immediately jumped in the water.
Muertos is an important stop before going through two channels into La Paz that can be difficult in certain wind and currents. It is best to leave early in the morning. We left late in the morning and spent an half day fighting halfway through the first channel only to turn around and have a nice sail straight back to our spot in the anchorage in time for sunset. We did better the next day.
We made it into La Paz with two days to do a big cleaning to prepare the wreck of Orion for my parents. We settled into a comfy spot in the anchorage, got the lay of the land, and exhaled. We hadn’t realized it but this place had been a destination for us, some place we were aiming for. We were now in the Sea of Cortez. Everything was different now. Different winds, different direction, warm weather, tropical water, no waves to speak of, totally new set of concerns… and we were in the cruising ground for hundreds of boats. We were excited to be part of a community and there is no bigger cruiser community in the Sea than in La Paz.