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Old 14-11-2011, 19:45   #1
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Gunkholing the Pacific Coast of Mexico

When pre-planning our trip's 1st leg, from L.A. to La Paz, via clearing in at Ensenada, I figured we'd be doing a lot of runs of 1.5 to 2.5 days. "Imagine2Frolic" mentioned a couple of other options to me as to where we could put in, as well, should we want a break. When we were chatting with Rogelio Gregg(Roger), the Dockmaster at Baja Naval(Ensenada), the other day, he gave me a couple of sheets that mention the available anchorages along our route. I couldn't find such a list on the site, so, I thought I'd list them for the benefit of others. Those who have used these anchorages before might want to give their impressions.

Puerto Santo Tomas: is 35 miles from Ensenada and is a nice day cruise. There are swells & kelp to be aware of, but a nice anchorage.

Punta Colnett: is 40 miles south of Santo Tomas. Go around the point and find the deep gorge and anchor in about 25 feet.

Bahia San Quintin: Coming around Mt. Maza you can anchor in 3-5 fathoms just outside the shoal line, marked by small breakers.

Isla Geronimo: This island is 35 miles south of San Quintin. It has a lighthouse on top of the hill. Anchorage can be taken in 20-25 feet.

San Carlos: San Carlos is 19 miles from Isla Geronimo. It is a good jumping off point to Cedros Island.

Cedros Island: On the east coast of Cedros Island are several anchorages, but the small harbor is a nice refuge. It is a very short dinghy ride to the village. A nice place to provision, but no fuel available.

Turtle Bay: Also called Bahia San Bartolome, it is about 45 miles from the harbor at Cedros Island. A good anchorage can be taken almost anywhere in the bay. It has an easy dinghy landing for getting supplies and an internet cafe. Clean fuel can be brought out to your boat.

Bahia Asuncion: This bay is 50 miles south of Turtle Bay. A good day ride. Anchor in 6 fathoms.

Punta Abreojos: This is a nice large bay. You can anchor in two places. The closest anchorage is a normal anchorage, but the one a little further in is much quieter. Either one is good.

Bahia San Juanico: Is 60 miles south of Abreojos. It is a good anchorage.

Bahia Magdelena: "Mag Bay" is 115 miles south of Bahia San Juanico. Man O' War Cove is a good place to anchor. There is a small town there, some supplies can be had & you can arrange for fuel.

Cabo San Lucas: is 152 miles south of Mag Bay. There is good anchorage outside the harbor or you can take a mooring ball. Supplies & fuel can be found here.
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Old 14-11-2011, 19:50   #2
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Re: Gunkholing the Pacific Coast of Mexico

I'm noticing that the Mexico Pacific Coast section of the cruising wiki is still empty.
Mexico - a Cruising Guide on the World Cruising and Sailing Wiki

Would sure love to see this upgraded.
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Old 14-11-2011, 19:53   #3
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Re: Gunkholing the Pacific Coast of Mexico

It's too bad this is out of print:

Baja Boater's Guide, Vol. 1: The Pacific Coast
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Old 14-11-2011, 20:05   #4
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Re: Gunkholing the Pacific Coast of Mexico

I can only vouch for Turtle Bay, Magdalena Bay and Bahia Santa Maria.

We went into Abreojos, dropped the hook during some big wind and decided to keep going as we didn't want to end up on the beach.
Becoming a story on Latitude 38 as a victim wasn't in our plan.

Other anchorages may be fine, but we didn't stop at any of them.
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Old 14-11-2011, 20:10   #5
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Re: Gunkholing the Pacific Coast of Mexico

Also Isla San Martin just north of San Quentin, and Bahia Santa Margarita just south of Magdalena...

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Old 14-11-2011, 20:13   #6
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Re: Gunkholing the Pacific Coast of Mexico

I can only really speak to sailing as far South as San Quintin, none of these other anchorages that you listed North of there are particularly good anchorages. Santo Tomas is and Punta Colnett are essentially divots in the otherwise harsh coastline. The cruising guides don't mention that you can enter the mouth of the San Quintin Estuary, It is actually an incredible place, we anchored there and had whales feeding 50 ft off our stern. We did not go too far into the estuary with the big boat but took the dinghy way into the Northeastern side of the estuary to a hotel where we got showers and internet.

Isla San Martin also offers limited protection but the lights on the chart are on the Northern side of the Island and in reality they are on the Southern side.
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Old 14-11-2011, 20:13   #7
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Re: Gunkholing the Pacific Coast of Mexico

Here check this out. This is from a post I did a while back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by unbusted67 View Post
Here is my response to a PM that someone sent me regarding SQ

"

Hey There,

I would be happy to help.

I am going to attach a picture of San Quintin and I'll tell you about it as we go. Please only take these as estimates. I do not have mt GPS coordinates with me so can't be specific. Also do heed the warnings of the cruising guides: the channel entrance has the potential to shift big time, so be very careful if you decide to enter the estuary. In order to get to the upper estuary all of the locals say you really need a guide to show you the channel.

You can also see more pictures of the trip on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#!/album.php?aid=38616&id=1579148817 I think maybe a third of them are of San Quintin, please forgive the fact that they are missing labels.

The points of interest are as follows:
1)Isla San Martin: Colleta Hasler Harbor, we found very poor holding in sand and gravel and some very destitute fishermen living in shacks along the beach. Judging by the skulls and bones lying around the Island it looked like they were poaching from the seal rookery on the South Side.
2)This is one of the anchorages that the cruising guide recommended but that we found would have been a bit swelly.
3)There is a hotel here that looks very run down from the outside but upon entrance becomes a veritable palace, with trickling fountains and cherubic kids running around. It was cheap too and had wifi but all I got to do was make one lousy phone call after walking down the entire isthmus of beach between there and...
5.)our anchorage that we found after picking our way gently through the channel. We found very good holding in mud and sand and endured 3 days of a shifting two knot currents and 15 knot winds.
4.)This is the other anchorage that the cruising guide recommended which sits outside of the breakers on a windswept beach, I can't imagine taking any kind of dingy through these breakers.
6.)A place where some other boats were anchored which may have been more out of the wind and current but which we found a tad crowded.
7.)Is where, if you had some local knowledge, a guide, or the patience to sound out the channel, you could have yourself a very good Western Baja all weather anchorage. On the little point on which the number 7 rests is a hotel where you can get a hot brackish shower for $5 US, stock up on some limited provisions at a market, and use some wifi, heck you could even stay there.

San Quintin is a very cool place with more wildlife than you can shake a stick at (forgive the expression), and a lonely barren feel. I highly recommend stopping off here.

I think that is it let me know if you have any more questions.

Sincerely,

Ben"
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Old 14-11-2011, 22:36   #8
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We stopped at many of the places (on our way back from the Sea of Cortez) you mentioned but not all. We tried to travel fast but stopping at night when we could to enjoy the sights. These were he best, most safe looking anchorages. we also didn't go to town except Ensenada, Turtle, San Jacinto and Cabo. We used Raines Guide to Cruising Mexico & Sean Breeding & Heather Basamer's Cruisers Guide to Mexico & Sea of Cortez (2 beautiful books with great info & beautiful enough to be a coffee table book (if I had a coffee table on boat)

Santo Tomas-way too much kelp to anchor. Don't recommend it.

Punto Colnett seems like a fortress but we didn't stop. Hard to find the 'nose' where you anchor from a distance.

Ensenada-Bahia San Quintin. (111 miles) It's an interesting spot. Wind & current can go opposite directions (flow goes into lagoon, wind onshore) and there are breakers that don't see until tide is lower. I heard not to go into lagoon unless local shows you in-too shoals.

San Quintin-Fonda San Carlos (60) nice but open anchorage off beach. Nice if quiet.

San Carlos- Isla Cedros N. (77) North-East side great. Small shelf to anchor but deepish so have lots chain & rode. We stayed on south-west side on way down as we were out farther due to big storm. Good anchorage and more shallow.

Didn't stop at Asuncion. Heard it's great.

Isla Cedros- Turtle Bay (50) Love Turtle Bay. Great breakfast spot called Morocco-best Huevos Rancheros- made with light sauce instead of thick enchilada
sauce we serve in US.

Turtle Bay- San Juanico (171) Longer but worth it to bypass some of the not as good anchorages. Big anchorage- but watch mooring balls, traps, etc. Nice tienda in town with fruit, veggies (meat is dicey but probably ok)

San Juanico-Santa Maria (101) great anchorage & easier to get in & out than Mag but only if a stop before going into Mag. Take AA batteries for fishermen & they may have catch of the day for low price.

Mag Bay is to good to be missed.It's amazing to see -about size of San Francisco Bay Whales everywhere Love Belcher's Cove anchorage.

Santa Maria-Cabo San Lucas (203) no stops in between. No mooring balls anymore as fas as I know. Good anchoring all off beach. Fun to see the crazies at the bars. Beware of getting too close to Billigan's- fireworks drop as we were anchoring on top of you. I thought I would be a Roman candle as sparks dropped on my head so we moved quickly!

Watch for ships traveling in Cerralvo & San Lorenzo channels if you go on to La Paz.

Cabo- Muertos Cove (92) Restaurant on beach is sometimes open. We haven't made it when it was

Muertos - La Paz

Have a great trip!!
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Old 02-12-2011, 22:04   #9
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Re: Gunkholing the Pacific Coast of Mexico

This is a great post. The only thing I'd like extra would be costs associated with these ports.
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Old 02-12-2011, 23:32   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gpshephe
This is a great post. The only thing I'd like extra would be costs associated with these ports.
Thanks! I loved the trip so much I am always glad to chat with others going. As far as costs, most of the stops were all anchorages so they were free. The tiendas & restaurants were very reasonable so cost was way low for that. [Don't forget to take canvas bags for groceries & plastic egg cartons for eggs as the tiendas probably won't have them. Canvas is safer dingy or kayaking back to your boat anyway  ]

Marina in Cabo- $186 per night!... but anchoring is free-although you will get dizzy from jet ski, parasailers (who I thought would get shish-ka-bobbed on our spreaders they came so close) and banana rafts buzzing around. It was fun for 1 day-kinda like going to the zoo . They have water taxi so I did take the bus to Costco & a fruteria to get food while my husband guarded the boat from those who want to drop their anchors on yours. 

La Paz was wonderful. Marina cost was about $15/ft/month for Marina Palmira (we enjoyed our stay). Mariana de la Paz was about the same and Marina Costa Baja (aka Costa Lotta) was more $ but it was beautiful with lots of amenities (pool,spa).

Food was reasonable if you eat the local food (so good you will want to) The stores (Sam's Club bulk store for wine & big purchases & the ubiquitous Walmart) are good- we found American products but they are more expensive but nice to get. There is a wonderful bakery (French couple, I think) that bakes bread-worth getting to early.

Cost in the Sea of Cortez is low also since it's all anchoring except Puerto Escondido has mooring balls (held us- but you may want to dive to see if all is in good shape) but there is anchoring right outside the entrance in 'the waiting room'. Mooring balls are cheap and are nice if you want to go to Loreto to sightsee (usually can share a taxi van with others) or stock up on provisions.

Nice things that we found:
*take extra cheese in your refrig if possible (or can wrap in cheesecloth soaked in vinegar to keep it longer. We had Parmigiano reggiano from Costo for over a year doing that). It will make you very popular with cruisers who have been without.

*things fishermen from small villages on Pacific & in Sea asked us for was AA batteries, water (we had a watermaker) and candy for their children. We gave them as gifts in remote villages & never bartered with gifts when buying their catch. However, the gifts can put your boat as their first stop when selling their catch of the day though . Being in those villages really made me appreciate what I had. We had used dock line that we gave one fisherman-he looked at it like it was a prize. It was a gift to me just watching his face.

Hope this was what you wanted as far as costs. Happy cruising!

gloria
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Old 03-12-2011, 02:19   #11
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Re: Gunkholing the Pacific Coast of Mexico

That's a big help and thank you for your reply. I always help the native folks. they have a hard existence and aren't as lucky as we are. I guess I'm still curious though about visa fee's and/or port entry fee's. I've read other folks talk about countries requiring bonds, etc..Thank you again
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Old 03-12-2011, 10:06   #12
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Re: Gunkholing the Pacific Coast of Mexico

Gary, for clearing in information, read this thread: Entering Mexico

Once cleared in to Mexico, As you move from port to port, you clear in/out with Port Captain via VHF & there is no fee. When we cleared in at Ensenada, we were required to get the TIP(temporary import permit) which allows you to keep your boat in Mexico for 10 years. You can read about this stuff on the other thread.

Excellent info., Gloria, much appreciated!

Due to boat repairs & mounting our windvane, we had intended to leave Ensenada today to head south. Unfortunately, a bad cold hit me yesterday, so we'll be heading off tomorrow, for San Quintin, then further south.
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Old 03-12-2011, 10:57   #13
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Re: Gunkholing the Pacific Coast of Mexico

I anchored at Haslers Cove on Isla San Martin twice,no problem.Isla San Geronimo is worth the stop also,sheltered enough for overnight.Anchor right off fishcamp shacks.I found that entire trip down the baja can be made comfortably with only 3 overnight legs.Puerto Santo Tomas was ok,watch the rocks 1 mile north.Colnett was like anchoring in the middle of the ocean,in 40 ft. depth. Cabo is good for a day or two.Los Frailes is a great snorkel stop,Los Muertos(Bahia de los Suenos)is one of my favorites,restaurant is always open,also one at hotel.Cerralvo Channel is best taken northward early in a.m.,current can be strong there also.Use the dinghy dock at Marina de Lapaz,20 pesos a day.Garbage,oil dump,and water included.The anchorage in Lapaz requires careful consideration.
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Old 03-12-2011, 11:27   #14
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Re: Gunkholing the Pacific Coast of Mexico

For Gary & others, I should mention:

- We've been staying at Baja Naval, in Ensenada, which I highly recommend. Rogelio "Roger" Gregg is the dockmaster & will organize your paperwork for you for free, or personally assist you, for a fee.

- The Port Authority office, where everything happens, is only a few blocks away. We don't use creditcards, never have, so there was one fee that we had to pay at a bank - about 6 blocks from Port Auth. - and return to continue our paperwork. The other fees we paid in Mex Pesos at the P.A. office.

- There is a "cruisers' net" on VHF ch.69, weekdays @ 8am, Saturdays @ 9am, where they do a daily check-in & "Duckbreath" gives the weather & intl. news.

- If a visit to the American box stores is needed - Walmart, Home Depot, Costco, McDonalds, Burger King, Scotiabank, HSBC, etc. - You go to the front of the "people's park" in front of Baja Naval(where the 3 heads & big flag are). the main road there is Costeras Blvd & at about the middle of the park you'll see a sign with the picture of a bus on it. You catch the bus that says "Zorrillo" on it. (Actually, they look more like large camper-vans than buses.) To return from the box stores, you take a bus from across the road from the mall, any bus that has "Blvd" on it will do, but ask, "Costera Boulevard?" just to make sure. Home Depot doesn't have stainless steel fasteners, unfortunately. For such resources, see: http://www.ensenadacruisers.com/Ense...r_Resource.pdf also view Ensenada Cruisers for other info.

- Getting your laundry done is not cheaper than a laundromat at home! We dropped ours off with the Baja Naval security guards, who arrange the pick-up, & it cost 320 pesos for 2 loads. We talked to someone who took his laundry to the place himself & he paid almost the same price.

- If you're hungry & want some excellent Italian food for a decent price, I recommend Alfonso's Pizza. From the "people's park", on your left if you're facing Costeras Blvd., you will see an OXXO, which is the equivalent of a 7-11, on the corner. beside the OXXO, also across from the park is Alfonso's. It is owned/ managed by an Italian fellow & has excellent food. A plate of fettucine alfredo, big enough for 2 hungry people, plus fresh bread & butter, is 110 pesos.

- The other day, I received a message from WAYNE MOYERS·owner at THE BOAT PLACE Hi ! I live in ENS & have yachting skills----- need help ??? WAYNE MOYERS My private cel ,avail some =646192-2538........FAIR WINDS !! The work I was doing - mounting windvane - was already finished & Baja Naval doesn't allow outside workers, if I understand correctly. But this would be someone worth contacting with boat-related issues, I think.

Our experiences in Ensenada have all been good. I was probably a bit paranoid about theft, etc., when we arrived, as I spent time here & around Northern Baja in my early 20s & things were quite different then. On this trip, we feel that people have gone out of their way to help us & make us feel at home. Yesterday, Jeanne arrived back at our boat with an entourage that had carried the groceries for her. They wanted/would accept nothing in return. To be honest, I think we'll miss Ensenada when we leave.

Mike
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Old 03-12-2011, 14:18   #15
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We have been trying to remember how much it was to clear into Mexico in 2008. I have our papers & it said $502 pesos (approximate $50). It seemed more than that but we got our fishing license (a must have for all on boat-we did online this year & it was amazingly simple) in the US before we left so I may have been adding in that cost in my mind. That was for 2 people visas, boat Temporary Import Permit (TIP) and port captain fee. We had a slip in Hotel Coral (but I'm sure Marina Cruiseport has someone too so they have a driver who does it all for you & all you do is agree with what he says. I know others did it themselves but it may be easier with help if you don't know the language well. He did it for tips.

The only somewhat scary part was the stoplight. You press a button-green is good, red they come to the boat & check to see if your papers were correct. Just time consuming for tired sailors. It was pretty easy & all were nice. I don't know anyone who got red but someone on CF may have a different story.

We checked in again this past summer so our TIP was good so it was only $40 for visa & port captain. There may be someone who checked in recently who can confirm the cost.

Happy cruising!
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