Sailing on the Sea of Cortez

January 5th, 2012


It’s not officially Christmas without Bedders in a santa hat - Feliz Navidad from Baja California!

Arriving in La Paz on Christmas Eve, we treated ourselves to a bed, a much-needed shower and a festive feast of tamales, fish tacos and roast chicken. It turned out quite a few other Pan-American riders had decided to do the same, and we spent time catching up with Lee and Andy, and met Ruben and Heidi from the inspirational Pedal Powered Family.

We headed down to the marina to see if we could find ourselves a passage across to the Mexican mainland, and came away with an even better offer. Michael was heading out into the Sea of Cortez for five days of snorkelling and fishing, and invited the three of us along to crew on board his 46-feet yacht Fan.

We jumped at the chance to swap pedal power for wind power for a few days, and it was bliss. I can’t think of a better way to wash off the desert, wrap up our Baja experience and celebrate almost six months on the road.

Michael had recently bought Fan as a working project in San Francisco, and sailed her down to Baja for the winter.

Home-built by a carpenter, Fan is full of character with beautiful wooden details such as these flowers above deck. Michael has plans to renovate her fully in 2012 to bring her up to scratch and ready to sail anywhere!

So, after some last minute stitching work...

...the sails were up and we were underway. We headed north out of La Paz into the Sea of Cortez, the incredibly rich body of water which separates Baja from the mainland and which Jacques Cousteau famously called "the aquarium of the world".

After a couple of days finding our sea legs (and stomachs), we worked our way along the sheltered coves of Espiritu Santo Island, quickly settling into a tough routine of reading...

...swimming and snorkelling in the incredible turqouise water...

...and perfecting our nautical "gaze at the horizon" poses.

In between, Michael took time to show his novice crew some of the ropes...

...and despite her track record for wayward steering, even let Bedders take to the helm (no punctures this time you'll be pleased to hear).

Despite a sea teeming with marine life and our best efforts, the fish refused to bite...

..but we did get lucky with an incredible afternoon spent snorkelling at a sea lion rookery. The pups inquisitively swam right up to our faces to check out the strange gringos in wetsuits, while the adults torpedoed below us with incredible power and grace.


At the end of each day we were treated to a spectacular Baja sunset show, as the sun dipped towards the horizon...

...before setting the sky alight with a fireshow of reds, oranges and purples.

And what better way to celebrate New Year's Day than an early morning leap into the Sea of Cortez! A very Happy 2012 to everyone - to friends and family back home, but also to all the new friends we met and who helped us along the road in 2011. Here's to more Latin American adventures in the coming 12 months...



6 Responses to “Sailing on the Sea of Cortez”

  1. Sam Wyld Says:

    Happy New Thingy to you both… it’s incredible how much you’re getting out of this and how much can unfurl from cycling along the desert! Pictures are FAB as always, so envious! I was getting quite excited about our impending trip to Center Parcs… WAS. Although Center Parcs/Mexico – it’s all the same really. Can’t believe you’ve been away for so long already – if that was me, I’d be in competition for the best beard by now! M turns the big 4-oh on Sunday [snigger]. Loves to you both from us xxx


  2. Gayle & Mark Says:

    Wonderful photos you have been taking, as so brilliant to get an opportunity like this to go sailing for a few days. It’s incredible how many wonderful, generous and kind people you are meeting along the way, it’s obvious that whilst the scenery is incredible it’s the people you are meeting along the way that are making your adventure so memorable too! PS Beard is getting very serious now James! Love to you both and big Happy New Year from dull, VERY windy and wet old Blighty xxxx


  3. Emma Mehmed Says:

    You guys are having some amazing experiences and good fortune!! Nose-to-nose with sealion pups – how wonderful?!


  4. Sparky Says:

    Only one mention of food in this blog – must be the change of location and scenery…….James, hopefully you were also spurred on by the fabulous beards surrounding you on the sail boat. Simply awe inspiring.


  5. Paul and Laura Says:

    Happy New Year! Your photos are beautiful and you are clearly having a wonderful time. It all sounds incredible. Keep it coming.
    Lots of love
    Paul and


  6. Al and Caro Says:

    Congratualations on making it through Baja. I am jealous of the sailing on the Sea of Cortez. Looking forward to following your travels.


Leave a Reply