So just when is the best months to sail the Sea of Cortez? And no time of year is better for recreation on the Sea than mid-October to late November. 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. When the winds are light (really light) or if there is swell we reef down. June, 2011 – After a violent spring Norther in Isla Coronado we found incredible beauty and serenity at Bahia Concepcion. I do believe the Sergeant Major has the advantage in these shallow reefs. A large colony is found on Los Islotes, with professional tours leaving from the town of La Paz. If a Norte is blowing, expect square 6-8’ waves to build, as the fetch from the Northern Sea is nearly 400 miles. 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. Would love to hear thoughts on our plans and suggestions. After things chill out, you can weigh anchor and keep going… slowly. The seaside Mexican town of La Paz is the perfect base for an ocean of adventure in the Sea of Cortez. Sailing Around the World Powered by the Sun. This is our hurricane season. I am a fairly experienced sailor, but have not owned a board for many years. There are some chances to see blue, fin and sperm whales with sightings decreasing as the season progresses. The rest of the year is fabulous. & I-10 at 7:30 am and arrived here at 3:15 pm, which seems to be the average time for us. 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. 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. 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…. Anchorages can be very crowded as the cruisers move through. Learn how your comment data is processed. Brush up on your Spanish and bring a pocket dictionary. Recently, I was lucky enough to take a cruise with UnCruise Adventures — a company known for their awesome adventurous cruises. Dock fees, haul out, annual dry storage? Kurt. It’s pretty great not needing to find a dock for generator fuel, and no noise/smells to deal with. 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. RV Refrigerator Management Tip – Winning the Turf Wars! NEW! This is a great time to travel before high-season crowds arrive during the December holidays. We swam with sea lions and floated over schools of vibrant tropical fish. 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. Baja Expeditions takes you to sites that have earned the Sea of Cortez its world-famous reputation for diving excellence. _________________________________________________. There’s a good sailing breeze. 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. Happy Trails!! Skip the time from the end of August to the end of September. While we were here, we did not find any wind prediction software to be accurate, nor the charts for that matter. April, 2011 – Ensenada Grande and Isla San Francisco are gorgeous anchorages, and we enjoyed phenomenal hikes up to spectacular views in each place. Ideally we landed in any of the hundreds of majestical, calm anchorages before the wind shut off for the night. According to the NOAA, we have a 0.29% chance to get hit and sometimes there is a little rain. The Sea of Cortez, Mexico: The Best Islands To Visit And What To Pack . Loreto’s gorgeous new Villa del Palmar was a shocking contrast to the leaping manta rays of UNESCO World Heritage SIte Isla Coronado. 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! Directions to San Carlos, Mexico By Bud and Penny Clark Notes from a trip to San Carlos, Mexico in November 2003. 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. Guidebook: Sea of Cortez, A Cruiser’s Guidebook, 3rd Edition by Shawn Breeding and Heather Bansmer . As for fuel, we don’t know being all renewable energy. The total is about 440 miles. 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. 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. I would plan to upgrade any boat you buy with a modern solar setup. 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. October, 2011 – Crossing the Sea of Cortez from San Carlos “the short way,” we found Punta Chivato very inviting. After a summer in the Sea, you do the Baja Bash home in November, when Baja winds tend to be the lightest. From rigging, to kites to batteries, here we list all the products we could not live aboard without. 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). The winter cruisers also only sail 7 to 8 months or so. I was considering San Carlos for dry storage. Why does it appear your foresail is slightly reefed while becalmed? San José del Cabo is the most commonly used gateway for spring cruises. 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? 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. Sea of Cortez Sailing is at its best in October and May. Think we are missing something? We never made it that far north on the mainland. Gray and humpback whale season begins with most whales arriving by late December. Thank you for your time, Volume 1 (left) reviews the geography, weather and seasons in Mexico and shows you what the best anchorages between Ensenada and Manzanillo are like. Montgomery and I are not exactly tiny people. Triple Tow or Toy Hauler? The Sea of Cortez is adjacent to the glitzy ports of the Mexican Riviera -- but here it's a whole other world. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); It’s young, having formed some five million years ago by tectonic plate action. 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. Keep us in the loop! Ask almost anyone who participated in the 2018 Baja Haha how many hours their motors were running when they were up in the Sea. Never miss a post -- it's free! The trouble is trying to sleep when you are getting air  in your berth as the boat pounds away. 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. 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. 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). 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. The wind forecasts shown here are from NOAA's GFS model. AMERICAN AIRLINES FLIES NON-STOP TO LA PAZ (LAP) from Phoenix and Dallas! We had friends that went there, and it seems to be affordable, but I am unsure. 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. 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. For about 4 hours a day, you have perfect sailing conditions. 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. No boats are allowed in or out. Great to hear both the pluses and minuses of Sea of Cortez cruising. Now, in a much more charted world, it’s your turn to discover these pristine, protected islands, jam-packed with marine life. I wrote a bit previously about the mining town of Santa Rosalia. In August you will find yourself baking beyond belief (but the water will be a balmy 90+ degrees F! Fortunately for us, Cinderella is a great light wind performer, and though wet, she can pound her way to weather if need be. Go Baja Sailing—making your dreams come true since 2005! 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. By the way, November is normally the best month to do the ‘Baja Bash’ back to California. We were met by Mariachi bands and entertained by young singers and dancers in beautiful Mexican dress. Copy, reproduction or use of text or images is not permitted without written permission from the author or photographer. When the Norte doesn’t blow, all predictions are off. We carry 45 gal onboard, 30 in a tank, 15 in jerry cans. In the Norte, you are taking hundreds of gallons of water over the bow and watching your tacking angles  get worse and worse. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Subscribe When the Norte blows, you have 30+ kts on your nose and it’s a bashingly numbing ride. You’ll know it when you get there. Less chafe on the sheets? For a very funny read about this area, check out The Log from the Sea of Cortez by John Steinbeck. 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? We ate delicious fresh ceviche, fish tacos and sashimi all from a few hooks hanging over the stern. Sea turtles and whale sharks, the largest fish in the world, become active. In summer the water is hot too and it is really hard to get cool. This video is about sailing North in the Sea of Cortez exploring remote anchorages snorkelling and scuba diving Sometimes the water was cloudy, other times like swimming in someone’s aquarium. Williams, Arizona – Home of the Grand Canyon Railway! To get the best experience, you need to be off the cycle of the other cruisers. Sea lions are curious, friendly and adorable and you’ll love swimming with them. The expedition ended up being wonderful. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. That should give you an idea of what it’s like to sail here. They also go snorkeling with whale sharks. You may want to run your cabin heater in January (and you definitely won’t want to swim). You may want to run your cabin heater in January (and you definitely won’t want to swim). A cruise ship anchored in the deep east-west channel that bisects the bay swung une… This area is surrounded by low reddish mountains that contain the occasional desert tree and huge cardón cactus. 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. Fall in Baja and the Sea of Cortez marks a return to pleasant temperatures and the beginning of the small ship cruise season. We left Dysart Rd. April, 2011 – Agua Verde is the quintessential Sea of Cortez anchorage: turquoise water, great snorkeling and hiking and a charming fishing village…. For about 4 hours a day, you have perfect sailing conditions. When the Norte blows, you have 30+ kts on your nose and it’s a bashingly numbing ride. The ship was warmly greeted in all of the ports. Sail the “Sea of Cortez!” Our boats are ALL certified Covid-safe. April, 2011 – Bahía San Gabriel and Puerto Balandra are classic and gorgeous Sea of Cortez anchorages near La Paz, but Watch Out! Some of the boats are yard owned vessels and other we are assisting our owner friends in the process of finding new ownership. Your email address will not be published. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); 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. 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. 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. How do you get to the Sea of Cortez? the Sea of Cortez and really not to hot. Either way, actually sailing in the Sea of Cortez, as with anywhere patience is key, and schedules will make life painful. FLIGHTS ARE COMING DAILY TO CABO! And there are many for sale in Mexico! I would say April, May, and June. Hey Tom! That mass of water moving south also tends to push a sizable current. The vessels we sail on include Catamarans in the 40-45 foot range, and Beneteau and Jeanneau monohulls in the 40-45 foot range. Thanks for some great info! When the light wind starts to blow in the early afternoon, we would weigh anchor and ride the puffs North. The season runs from November to May, and we usually have a trip running each month. Good to know! Book NOW. 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! Come November, either sail or truck your boat home. Don’t let the sailing discourage you, it is trying, but the experience here more than makes up for it. The water is approximately 80°F (27°C) and these are the best months for hammerhead encounters in the region. Water temps range from 69-72 degrees F, and the snorkeling is excellent. The first major city heading north, La Paz, even closes their harbor when they see 15kts of breeze from the North. The rest is absolutely hilarious. The major Sea of Cortez spotsThere are dozens of anchorages…. We hiked and snorkeled at La Ramada Cove and Isla Coronado, two great Sea of Cortez anchorages, but were alarmed by a shipwreck. I had suspected the sailing was very challenging but few people talk about it in detail. 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