Just time it with the tides…. When the Norte blows, you have 30+ kts on your nose and it’s a bashingly numbing ride. According to the NOAA, we have a 0.29% chance to get hit and sometimes there is a little rain. For a very funny read about this area, check out The Log from the Sea of Cortez by John Steinbeck. That mass of water moving south also tends to push a sizable current. Live-aboard diving with Baja Expeditions is the ONLY way to dive! The only drawback I can think of is water tankage, as most racer/cruisers don’t have very much. In part one of our series on "Whale Sharks, Sea Lions and Gray Whales: Adventures in La Paz", we head out to sea to swim with whale sharks, the largest fish in the sea. We never made it that far north on the mainland. The Sea of Cortez is a truly beautiful place with natural wonders, wildlife and culture. Now, in a much more charted world, it’s your turn to discover these pristine, protected islands, jam-packed with marine life. In late March or early April, cross into the Sea of Cortez and spend the rest of your time there. Would love to hear thoughts on our plans and suggestions. 2. Water temps range from 69-72 degrees F, and the snorkeling is excellent. Sea of Cortez Sailing is at its best in October and May. All Catamaran courses receive free Cabo to La Paz airport transfers! But hey, there is wind! A Norte is a strong northerly wind that seems to occur once every week or so and last a few days during winter months. This is a great time to travel before high-season crowds arrive during the December holidays. Come November, either sail or truck your boat home. We attempted sailing North in both a Norte and without a Norte. In the lulls you drift aimlessly in circles, listening to sails flog. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); After things chill out, you can weigh anchor and keep going… slowly. Expect to develop monk-like patience here if you attempt to experience the Sea under sail as daily passages tend to be roughly one third to one quarter the mileage you experienced coming down the West coast. This video is about sailing North in the Sea of Cortez exploring remote anchorages snorkelling and scuba diving Finding a Fifth Wheel Trailer or Toy Hauler to be a Full-time Home! For instance, 20 miles may take you all day. Living costs there seem very reasonable. Just time it with the tides… The wind forecasts shown here are from NOAA's GFS model. From rigging, to kites to batteries, here we list all the products we could not live aboard without. When I tell people that Jerry Montgomery and I spent eight days cruising in Baja California on his Montgomery 15, they often look at me as if I were crazy. In general the FP Helia 44 and the Leopard 44 are based out of the Loreto/Puerto Escondido location, while the FP Saba 50 most often calls La Paz home. After a summer in the Sea, you do the Baja Bash home in November, when Baja winds tend to be the lightest. The winter is windy and the summer is hot. We wish we had more time to stick around and spend a few seasons really exploring. Ideally we landed in any of the hundreds of majestical, calm anchorages before the wind shut off for the night. Sailing - Mexico - Sea of Cortez - The Adventure Travelers sail up the coast of Baja Mexico into the Sea of Cortez. We ate delicious fresh ceviche, fish tacos and sashimi all from a few hooks hanging over the stern. When the Norte doesn’t blow, all predictions are off. After a couple of months back in California, you … Learn the Language: In La Paz, you will be able to find English-speakers, but once you sail north, they are few and far between. learn to sail in the sea of cortez, it’s breathtaking Fantastic sailing conditions, and breathtaking marine life, make this an amazing place to conduct our sailing lessons and courses. Corumuels are Nasty! You will be traveling… Here are some pictures and then a video. You may want to run your cabin heater in January (and you definitely won’t want to swim). We have a broad spectrum of both sail and powerboats available for you to begin your adventure in the Sea of Cortez or find a bargain to transport or sail back to the states. 3. On any given week from November to May, the Sea of Cortez north of La Paz offers a combination of calm mornings, afternoon breezes from the north, and often a day or two of whitecaps and winds in the 20s. October, 2011 – Resuming our boat travels, we found ourselves in beachwear enjoying beers at a beach palapa in San Carlos, happy to be back in Mexico…. All of the tall volcanic islands and hills in the area seem to confuse the fickle winds and make prediction difficult. The major Sea of Cortez spotsThere are dozens of anchorages…. In summer the water is hot too and it is really hard to get cool. There are go… Cheers WEsail, Your email address will not be published. I was considering San Carlos for dry storage. The Moorings, which charters sail and power cat boats out of La Paz, has produced cruising charts for its customers. That should give you an idea of what it’s like to sail here. Volume 1 (left) reviews the geography, weather and seasons in Mexico and shows you what the best anchorages between Ensenada and Manzanillo are like. Sailing in the Sea Of Cortez, on Rhythm, our 1979 Pearson 424 sailboat To get the best experience, you need to be off the cycle of the other cruisers. From languid tropical bliss to raging, violent storms, the Sea has shown us her glory and her fury, as she does to every sailor that ventures there. I don’t think the weekly regatta has been allowed out to sail once with a decent breeze. Snorkeling and scuba diving in the Sea of Cortez peak during the same time period with visibility sometimes in excess of 20 meters. Baja Expeditions takes you to sites that have earned the Sea of Cortez its world-famous reputation for diving excellence. Great to hear both the pluses and minuses of Sea of Cortez cruising. Roads Less Traveled is a participant in the Amazon Services Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn money by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Montgomery and I are not exactly tiny people. May, 2011 – Puerto Escondido surprised us with an RV park and unfinished canals, while charming Loreto offered up a farmer’s market and special Dia de la Marina. Thanks for this, we just arrived (it’s May 2020 now) from the south and plan on spending a year in the Sea before heading across the big blue… I really needed to find someone writing about the actual SAILING here, and had been suspecting exactly what you just said about the winds, but needed to hear it I guess, all in all very helpful and very appreciated! The Sea of Cortez, Mexico: The Best Islands To Visit And What To Pack . What better way is there to celebrate over 500,000 students that have graduated from ASA sailing instruction, than to sail in the Sea of Cortez? Copyright © 2020 Emily Fagan - All rights reserved, November, 2011 – An impending Norther sent us into La Paz where Groovy joined the other anchored boats in the “La Paz Waltz.”. Brush up on your Spanish and bring a pocket dictionary. $750 Non-refundable Deposit Required to Reserve Your Berth. Required fields are marked *. If a Norte is blowing, expect square 6-8’ waves to build, as the fetch from the Northern Sea is nearly 400 miles. Thanks for some great info! Directions to San Carlos, Mexico By Bud and Penny Clark Notes from a trip to San Carlos, Mexico in November 2003. We can still get a kt or so of drive when there is >3kts by reefing down. If you are considering sailing the Sea of Cortez, have a look at our pages: The Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California, is a stunning, raw land of contrasts. It’s pretty great not needing to find a dock for generator fuel, and no noise/smells to deal with. November, 2011 – Tiny Isla Coyote is one of the few inhabited islands in the Sea of Cortez, but its once vibrant community of 30 has dwindled to 1. It's cooler on the water and you'll have time to do 4 - 5 dives per day. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Ask almost anyone who participated in the 2018 Baja Haha how many hours their motors were running when they were up in the Sea. the Sea of Cortez and really not to hot. How do you get to the Sea of Cortez? Thank you for your time, They also go snorkeling with whale sharks. RV Refrigerator Management Tip – Winning the Turf Wars! Copy, reproduction or use of text or images is not permitted without written permission from the author or photographer. No boats are allowed in or out. Recently, I was lucky enough to take a cruise with UnCruise Adventures — a company known for their awesome adventurous cruises. And there are many for sale in Mexico! In the Sea of Cortez, the wind either doesn’t blow at all, or it blows like crazy from exactly where you want to go. We're starting off from an anchorage and heading for a port that are both different from what we originally planned. Do you have any knowledge of costs in the area? Fall in Baja and the Sea of Cortez marks a return to pleasant temperatures and the beginning of the small ship cruise season. Go Baja Sailing—making your dreams come true since 2005! The water is approximately 80°F (27°C) and these are the best months for hammerhead encounters in the region. As for fuel, we don’t know being all renewable energy. Come December, you sail to Cartagena, then to the San Blas Islands, transit the Canal, and start working your way up the west coast of Central America and Mexico, making sure you get up into the Sea of Cortez by the start of hurricane season in July. Keep us in the loop! We swam with sea lions and floated over schools of vibrant tropical fish. Here's some of the GEAR we use and great IDEAS for you! Both are trying. Small Boats Can Handle Mexico's Sea of Cortez From Sea Magazine, March 1984 Story and Photography by Diego Kahr Contributed by Randy Watkins, M-15 #194 . We left Dysart Rd. Some of the boats are yard owned vessels and other we are assisting our owner friends in the process of finding new ownership. Think we are missing something? Sometimes the water was cloudy, other times like swimming in someone’s aquarium. Guidebook: Sea of Cortez, A Cruiser’s Guidebook, 3rd Edition by Shawn Breeding and Heather Bansmer . This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. We just recently added a 3rd reef in our main that helps a lot to steady the boat when the swell is big and the wind isn’t cooperating. Sailing Around the World Powered by the Sun. When the winds are light (really light) or if there is swell we reef down. We’re Alive and Well and Camping in Arizona! The sea was calm and the colors of the sea changed often from dark blue to green and turquoise. Before we installed our watermaker, we had to provision every week or so. The cruising yachts and pangas that crowd the narrow northern shelf were pitching and rolling and swinging almost randomly. The seaside Mexican town of La Paz is the perfect base for an ocean of adventure in the Sea of Cortez. The rest of the year is fabulous. Either way, actually sailing in the Sea of Cortez, as with anywhere patience is key, and schedules will make life painful. Following are our Sea of Cortez sailing posts: To see the links to our blog posts from the other regions of Mexico, besides the Sea of Cortez, check out these summary pages (you can also find them all listed under the MEXICO menu item (Pacific Mexico Destinations) in the menu bar at the top of each page): To follow our sailing travels chronologically, see Our Cruise (cruising links only) or the Route page (cruising and RVing). My wife Patti and I (Tom) just bought a Gemini 34 105 MC catamaran based in San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico. Never miss a post -- it's free! All too often, people skip straight to Mexico’s popular, touristy resort destinations, so I was thrilled to discover Mexico’s best-kept secret and visit the islands! Most blogs you read about sailing in Mexico describe the amazing things there are to see and why it’s worth spending a few seasons there. What I’m saying is, it’s a motor boater’s paradise. A cruise ship anchored in the deep east-west channel that bisects the bay swung une… For a very funny read about this area, check out The Log from the Sea of Cortez by John Steinbeck. In August you will find yourself baking beyond belief (but the water will be a balmy 90+ degrees F! Learn how your comment data is processed. I would plan to upgrade any boat you buy with a modern solar setup. Less chafe on the sheets? Hernan Cortez discovered the pearls in 1542. Guidebooks provide chartlets of harbors, appropriately marking them “not for navigation.” The newest is Sea of Cortez, A Cruiser’s Guidebook, written and published by Shawn Breeding and Heather Bansmer. We love it here in Mexico. Sea of Cortez. shoot us an email at sailingcinderella@gmail.com WiFi has been few and far between here in the South Pacific, but we get email pretty regularly. While we were here, we did not find any wind prediction software to be accurate, nor the charts for that matter. So just when is the best months to sail the Sea of Cortez? How to RV Full-time with a RZR. I’m planning to cruise for a year or two and am thus deciding on what boat to buy… Sounds like the Sea of Cortez would be more fun (and cheaper as far as fuel costs?) Beginning in September we plan to sail out of San Carlos at first on short day sails and to local bays on the Sonora side. La Paz to Puerto Balandra– Arrive La Paz, depart marina and anchor at Puerto Balandra (8 miles, 1.5hrs) passing Roca Lobos to see sea lions. The Sea of Cortez (also known as the Gulf of California) is my new favorite sea. We were met by Mariachi bands and entertained by young singers and dancers in beautiful Mexican dress. When the light wind starts to blow in the early afternoon, we would weigh anchor and ride the puffs North. The vessels we sail on include Catamarans in the 40-45 foot range, and Beneteau and Jeanneau monohulls in the 40-45 foot range. _________________________________________________. Unfortunately, when the wind veered to the northeast the bay became a washing machine with winds gusting up to 30 knots driving a steep choppy swell into the anchorage. Fortunately for us, Cinderella is a great light wind performer, and though wet, she can pound her way to weather if need be. If we timed it right, there wasn’t any swell, and we would be hunkered down in an amazing anchorage while the Norte kicked up for a few days. San José del Cabo is the most commonly used gateway for spring cruises. August to November is the season for liveaboard diving in the Sea of Cortez. The first major city heading north, La Paz, even closes their harbor when they see 15kts of breeze from the North. It’s less sail weight for the wind to hold open and it stops all the heavy sail from banging around if the boat is rocking back and forth. It’s young, having formed some five million years ago by tectonic plate action. April, 2011 – Agua Verde is the quintessential Sea of Cortez anchorage: turquoise water, great snorkeling and hiking and a charming fishing village…. Book NOW. This is an isolated, unpopulated coastal area with eight beaches, an interior salt lagoon and a rock formation called “El Hongo” (the mushroom) which has become the symbol of La Paz. Williams, Arizona – Home of the Grand Canyon Railway! Hey Kurt, good questions. I wrote a bit previously about the mining town of Santa Rosalia. The ship was warmly greeted in all of the ports. Hey Tom! While the Pacific is cold, the Sea of Cortez is at its warmest so many boats change their itineraries during these months. We returned to Puerto Escondido Wednesday night from our road trip to Santa Rosalia and San Ignacio. In August you will find yourself baking beyond belief (but the water will be a balmy 90+ degrees F! The winter cruisers also only sail 7 to 8 months or so. Sail the “Sea of Cortez!” Our boats are ALL certified Covid-safe. Don’t let the sailing discourage you, it is trying, but the experience here more than makes up for it. Americas Mailbox – Mail Forwarding & So Much More in South Dakota! In the spring of 2011 and the fall of 2012 we sailed up and down the Sea of Cortez, mostly along the east coast of Baja California, and we visited almost all the anchorages between San Carlos and La Paz. We had friends that went there, and it seems to be affordable, but I am unsure. They visit places like Los Cabos, Los Frailes, Bahia de los Muertos, Balandra Cove, Isla Rocas, La Paz and So much more. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Sometimes the wind is blowing from the south, sometimes the west, sometimes the east, but never over 10 kts (on rare occasion you might see 15). The summer heat breaks, the humidity drops dramatically and yet the waters of the Sea are still incredibly warm and inviting. Sea of Cortez Complete Sailing Course (ASA 101, 103, 104 & 114) ... if not the world. Our trick was to wait until well after the Norte shut off and  use a honed skill of… looking out the window. I am a fairly experienced sailor, but have not owned a board for many years. NEW! Seligman, Arizona – Birthplace of Route 66! When the Norte blows, you have 30+ kts on your nose and it’s a bashingly numbing ride. The red color of the mountains contrasts with the white sands of the beaches faci… We carry 45 gal onboard, 30 in a tank, 15 in jerry cans. I will admit, I am bias of racer/cruisers… But yes, its a great place to cruise with a light wind boat. Sea turtles and whale sharks, the largest fish in the world, become active. If you are not familiar with the location of these popular anchorages in the Sea of Cortez, check out Maps of Mexico’s Anchorages for more detail. By the way, November is normally the best month to do the ‘Baja Bash’ back to California. Between 2010 and 2013 we sailed our 2008 Hunter 44DS sailboat along Mexico’s entire Pacific coast, from Ensenada in the north and Mexico’s border with Guatemala in the south. Volume 3 (right) provides all the info you need to get off the boat for an adventure-filled trip to Oaxaca. Drag Boat Races in AZ – Top Speed FUN on the Colorado River! Volume 2 (middle) gives detailed info that can't be found in any of the guidebooks about the glorious cruising ground between Manzanillo and the Guatemala border. 4. You may want to run your cabin heater in January (and you definitely won’t want to swim). Gray and humpback whale season begins with most whales arriving by late December. For about 4 hours a day, you have perfect sailing conditions. But don’t worry, there are plenty of perfect beaches to help you find heart’s center. October, 2011 – Crossing the Sea of Cortez from San Carlos “the short way,” we found Punta Chivato very inviting. A much-sought-after encounter in the Sea of Cortez is the opportunity to swim alongside a colony of sea lions. The rest is absolutely hilarious. This is our hurricane season. Good to know! I would say April, May, and June. Expect lots of lulls and lots of drifting. with a light displacement racer/cruiser for the calm days and under cover when the Norte blows. Kurt. There are some chances to see blue, fin and sperm whales with sightings decreasing as the season progresses. Dock fees, haul out, annual dry storage? A large colony is found on Los Islotes, with professional tours leaving from the town of La Paz. Hope to see more pictures of the sailing conditions. Anchorages can be very crowded as the cruisers move through. And no time of year is better for recreation on the Sea than mid-October to late November. You'll have time for night dives, when the undersea world bustles with animals that hide during the day. For about 4 hours a day, you have perfect sailing conditions. You can begin and end your charter at either location, taking time to explore the islands, nooks and crannies of this amazing area. The Sea of Cortez is adjacent to the glitzy ports of the Mexican Riviera -- but here it's a whole other world. You’ll know it when you get there. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Subscribe FLIGHTS ARE COMING DAILY TO CABO! Quite a different vibe compared to the race boats in Santa Cruz that come screaming back into harbor under big powerful kites in all but treacherous conditions. In the lulls you drift aimlessly in circles, listening to sails flog. Loreto’s gorgeous new Villa del Palmar was a shocking contrast to the leaping manta rays of UNESCO World Heritage SIte Isla Coronado. In the Norte, you are taking hundreds of gallons of water over the bow and watching your tacking angles  get worse and worse. Triple Tow or Toy Hauler? I have a book about the sea life in the Sea of Cortez and I just about saw everything! I had suspected the sailing was very challenging but few people talk about it in detail. Your email address will not be published. Best way to sail the Sea is to take the south winds up into the Sea, which start May/ June, spend the summer and hurricane season (June to November) in the upper Sea, north of Santa Rosalia and sail the north winds back down from November (to April) at the next season. My very first jump in brought eels, sea snake and octopus plus tropical fish. If you have a typical “cruising boat” that is heavy and doesn’t point high, expect to fill those diesel tanks often! The expedition ended up being wonderful. Why does it appear your foresail is slightly reefed while becalmed? The trouble is trying to sleep when you are getting air  in your berth as the boat pounds away. Watch whales and giant manta rays glide by the boat, snorkel with playful sea lions, and catch Mahi Mahi, Yellowfin Tuna, Grouper and Snapper for your evening meal. & I-10 at 7:30 am and arrived here at 3:15 pm, which seems to be the average time for us. Lots of cruisers take a ‘vacation’ from cruising in August and September when it’s so very hot in the Sea of Cortez. We're leaving tonight to sail across the Sea of Cortez from the Baja peninsula to the mainland of Mexico. There is a middle chapter by a chum of his that is very esoteric and boring. AMERICAN AIRLINES FLIES NON-STOP TO LA PAZ (LAP) from Phoenix and Dallas! Sea of Cortez Sailing is at its best in October and May. Skip the time from the end of August to the end of September. The Sea is amazingly beautiful, Jacques Cousteau fittingly described it as ‘The aquarium of the world,” and It’s absolutely worth every minute you spend there exploring. Bahia San Lucas is a pleasant anchorage with good shelter from the northerly winds that predominate during the winter months. 15 kts!! April, 2011 – Bahía San Gabriel and Puerto Balandra are classic and gorgeous Sea of Cortez anchorages near La Paz, but Watch Out! Although we’ve sailed the Sea of Cortez on a previous trip, we decided to return to rediscover the unrelenting beauty, serenity, and dramatic contrasts of sailing surrounding by the hot, crushing desert. Happy Trails!! June, 2011 – After a violent spring Norther in Isla Coronado we found incredible beauty and serenity at Bahia Concepcion. Spring in the Sea of Cortez is the best time to see large pods of dolphins and various species of whales, whilst one of the great wildlife spectacles is in full swing at Isla Rasa - the nesting of thousands of Heermann's gulls and elegant and royal terns. Sometimes they occur back to back and they last for nearly a week. There’s a good sailing breeze. I do believe the Sergeant Major has the advantage in these shallow reefs. 1. April, 2011 – Ensenada Grande and Isla San Francisco are gorgeous anchorages, and we enjoyed phenomenal hikes up to spectacular views in each place. Sea lions are curious, friendly and adorable and you’ll love swimming with them. La Paz: Doing The “La Paz Waltz” and Hiding from Northers, La Paz: Isla Coyote, Isla San Francisco & Isla Partida – Remote Islands, Loreto Area: La Ramada Cove, Isla Coronado & Puerto Escondido – Gifts From and To the Sea, Bahía Concepción & Punta Chivato – Great Sea of Cortez Anchorages, Bahía Concepción – From Fury to Fantasy in the Sea of Cortez, Loreto: Fun times in Puerto Escondido and Loreto, Loreto: Isla Coronado & Villa del Palmar – Taming the Sea of Cortez, Loreto: Agua Verde – “The Best of the Sea of Cortez”, La Paz: Ensenada Grande & Isla San Francisco – Stunning Anchorages, La Paz: La Paz, Bahía San Gabriel & Puerto Balandra – Beauty & The Beast. We tried PredictWind, Sailflow, Windy, and NOAA’s GRIBs, but none of them were accurate when a Norte wasn’t blowing. We hiked and snorkeled at La Ramada Cove and Isla Coronado, two great Sea of Cortez anchorages, but were alarmed by a shipwreck. The total is about 440 miles. In the Sea of Cortez, the wind either doesn’t blow at all, or it blows like crazy from exactly where you want to go. 1. This area is surrounded by low reddish mountains that contain the occasional desert tree and huge cardón cactus. The season runs from November to May, and we usually have a trip running each month. 80°F ( 27°C ) and these are the best experience, you have any knowledge of costs in world. 90+ degrees F, and it seems to be affordable, but i am bias of but! I-10 at 7:30 am and arrived here at 3:15 pm, which seems to be average. Anyone who participated in the 40-45 foot range to do 4 - 5 dives day. Colony of Sea lions and floated over schools of vibrant tropical fish things chill out, you the. 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