Caleta Partida is a well protected (and bug free!) anchorage 25 nm north of La Paz. Located between Isla Partida and Isla Espíritu Santo, it is actually the crater of a large, extinct volcano. The eastern and western edges have eroded over thousands of years and boats can enter through the unobstructed west passage – see below. On the journey up from La Paz we passed at least five other protected coves and they were all empty… Clearly Caleta Partida is the most popular anchorage in the area as there were 10 boats already there when we arrived (that’s a lot of boats for anchorages around here).
We had plans, big plans, to take our 9ft Achilles dingy (with 15 HP engine) a further 6 nm north to Los Islotes – a small group of islands at the northern tip of Isla Partida that is home to a sea-lion colony. I can’t wait for the adrenaline rush of swimming with the 300 lb beasts! Which will be interesting for me since I’m nervous to jump in the water on a normal day… However, we overlooked a few important facts when considering this plan: 1) our fuel tank was less than half full so there was a chance we’d run out of gas, 2) it’s actually kind of a long way (12 nm total = approx. 1 hour of bouncing around, getting sloshed by waves, and scorched by the sun), and 3) there are days and days worth of things to do in moon-like Caleta Partida. Those sea lions will still be around in a few weeks time.
In the morning my new inflatable paddle board (steal of a deal at the Oakland Boat Show) sliced through the crystal water so quietly that a large turtle popped his head up next to me and failed to notice that I was standing there gawking at him. These turtles are fast! When he finally caught my eye he swooped underwater so quickly that I almost fell off. The only other time I wobbled was when I glided over a sting ray in the shallow water… big pressure.
The rugged and powerful beauty of these Islands left us awed. I kept wishing at least one of us was a Geologist!
A ten minute dingy ride (aided by Rob through the shallow waters) took us over to the eastern side of the islands and to the sea caves.
Everything looks pretty cool from the surface and when we put on goggles and stuck our heads overboard, things brightened up even more. The water clarity is amazing and there were hundreds of fish – bright, camouflaged, curious, shy, small, medium, large ones lurking in shadows out in the deeper water (eeek!). Dingy snorkelling is great but eventually we tied the boat to a rock to jump in. A fish guidebook is now on the shopping list.
We had to try our hand at fishing on the way up. Not for the cute colorful reef fish, of course, but for something more substantial. A 20 lb tuna perhaps, a marlin, a shark?
Here is our fishing summary from the weekend:
- Hours spent fishing: Rob – 2, Will – .5, Sarah – .05 (I get bored quickly)
- Number of fish caught: Rob – 4, Will – 0, Sarah – 0
- Average size of fish caught: 3 lb
- Number of lures lost: Rob – 0, Will – 2, Sarah – 0
- Number of broken reels: Rob – 1 … Thanks Rob!!