Another early start - this time leaving Isla Angel De La Guarda
We left Isla Angel de la Guarda at the very first hint of daylight for the long sail. We had light winds for the first hour or so and then it kicked up, giving us a nice push to L.A. Bay, which sits along the inside of a wide, curving beach.
We anchored next to a large motor yacht right off the only boat launch ramp in the village that was still in use. (There were lots of fishing pangas being launched and retrieved from there throughout the day). By now, we understood how unusual it was to spot a fellow cruiser in the bay with us (at least at this time of year) and hoped to at least say hi to our new neighbor, but when we tried to swing by to say hi to the occupant, he set off in his dinghy in a different direction (we are not entirely sure that he saw us, but decided to leave him to his privacy after that).
Anchored in time for sunset
Bahia de Los Angeles is reputed to be the center of the local cruising community as it is the jumping off point for many of the Midriff islands in the Sea of Cortez. We had expected to encounter many other cruisers here and have to find a spot amongst a dozen or so other boats. In my mind, I pictured a Caribbean anchorage where all of the good space was filled by 2pm. Instead, it was just us and the motor-yacht. Plus, it turns out, there is enough anchoring space in front of the village for a hundred boats.
We later learned from another boater that, even in summer, the Bay of L.A. cruising population is generally around a dozen boats. Mostly, they stay within a couple of days sail from the only safe hurricane hole in the Sea of Cortez. This early in the season we appeared to have almost everywhere to ourselves.
Day in Bahia de los Angeles (village)
We were thrilled to awake to our first warm day – finally it was comfortable to sit out in the cockpit to enjoy our breakfast.
This is the type of place that still exists with no cell phone service, a situation that seems quite unbelievable, but true. This was especially frustrating to us, since our guidebook clearly stated cell phone service was available (locals verified it had never existed). Past hurricane damage is still very evident (we assume insurance is rare and it is a cash economy – so any disasters such as hurricane damage are devastating and repairs must first be saved for). Everyone here most likely has several jobs; if the weather is good, the men go fishing.
We were here mainly so we could formally collect the permit required to visit the islands. We were not entirely sure where to go for the permit, so we bounced about official looking buildings and were pointed a little closer each time. Eventually, we arrived only to find out that although they could (technically) give us the pass we expected, they didn’t have the annual ‘passport’ to issue to us, nor the daily bracelets currently in stock – but we could pay for several daily permits and keep our paperwork as evidence. Problem solved (just not as we’d expected).
Despite being a small hamlet of a town, numerous guidebooks and other cruisers all mentioned that the museum was not to be missed. Naturally, we went (we were the only visitors for several days if the visitor log was to be believed), and along with the exhibits, we had ‘Jill’ the ginger cat to keep us company.
The small, but well presented museum (and the cat)
After the museum, we happened upon a bakery – the bread rolls we purchased were warm, right out the oven – so rather than keep them for a later meal, we decided to just eat them there and then!
Our walk about the remaining town took us past a few small grocery stores and taco stands (but not much else)… Each little grocery store seems to have a side speciality, so it is well worth stopping in them all (once has a section of hardware and auto parts, another a butcher, etc). Maryanne was quite surprised to find a pint-size bottle of mineral oil in one of the mini-markets. (We use it to treat our butcher block). In Ensenada, we’d only managed to find 100ml bottles, and in Santa Rosalia we could not find it at all (available in neither pharmacy nor hardware stores) – so it was quite unexpected to find it in a tiny village.
There is reported to be some decent trails for hiking that would have been nice (I had on the wrong shoes). Also, just 20km out of town, some cave paintings that would have been interesting to see… but all the folks with 4-wheel-drive vehicles were out fishing on an unusually calm day .. oh well!
about Bahia de los Angeles
The following morning, with a fresh weather report downloaded, and really not much else to the town, we decided to move on south and make the most of some good wind.