The Sea of Cortez, or the Gulf of California as it is now called, is one of the best cruising and fishing destinations we have ever experienced. In April of 2009, during Spring break, the Verheyen family ventured down to bask in the sun and experience some of God’s most stunning creations.
The two-hour flight from Los Angeles to La Paz was almost too short to make the work to play transition. The word is almost! We hailed a taxi for the quick trip from the airport to the marina, with a short provisioning stop at the local super market. Our new boat (52-69), “Pura Vida” (translated; Pure Life) awaits us at the beautiful Costa Baja Marina, a sprawling development with a state-of-the-art marina. We quickly unpacked and joined some friends down at the beachside restaurant. After al fresco dinning at the Marina Azul, we walked back to the boat along the beach and called it a day.
Our adventure began with breakfast on the beach at the Costa Baja Beach Club. After breakfast, we fired up the Cummins QSM 11’s and motored out to sea. Our destination was Isle San Francisco, about 40 miles north. We ran the engines up to about 2000 rpm, which made us about 20 knots with full fuel and water. The sea was flat and glassy at 11:00 am, and stayed that way all day. Along the way we passed Espiritu Santos, a long island with lots of protected coves and long sandy beaches. It was fantastic!
At 1:00 pm, we pulled into the natural harbor of Isle San Francisco and dropped the hook in 18 feet of water over a sandy bottom. After a quick swim and some lunch, we took our dingy fishing on the north side of the island. Everything there was clear: the water, the skies, and the air. We came across a large school of dolphin chasing fish near the beach. They entertained us for an hour running with our boat, jumping and feeding.
The day ends after amazing chicken tacos barbecued on the stern. Another perfect day on our perfect boat! Pictured is the Verheyen Family from left to right: Davis, Ken, Stephanie, Kohlman and Tera.
We start our day with pancakes grilled to perfection on the Maritimo’s grill located in the cockpit. While we were skeptical about having a grill instead of a barbecue, Bill and Michelle (Compass Point Yachts) assured us that we would love it. Well, they were right! We love it and use it for almost every meal.
After pancakes, it’s off to some fishing. After catching a variety of fish, we returned to Pura Vida for a swim and some kayaking around the cove. At sunset, we took a long hike along the ridge overlooking Isle of San Francisco. What a beautiful place!
We cooked steaks on the barbecue for dinner and watched the fish swarm behind the boat with the underwater lights on. Does it get any better than this? After dinner the family moved up onto the enclosed bridge to watch a movie. Kohlman (18) summarizes the day with a sign and says, “This boat is perfect!”
Up early, after an amazing breakfast of egg burritos, we pulled the hook and headed northwest to San Evaristo, a small village on mainland Baja. In San Evaristo, we bought some gas for the dingy and met a new friend, Bento who lives on the only inhabited island in the Sea of Cortez; a rock called Isle Coyotes. He invited us to stop on our way back to La Paz. Just off the beach in San Evaristo, we bought some groceries (I have never seen $ 20.00 buy so much!), then headed east to Isle Coyotes.
We dropped the hook off Isle Coyotes and took the dingy onto the island where Bento warmly welcomed us and showed up around. This place is very remote and peaceful. What would life be like here? Before leaving, we offer some water to Bento. He pulls his panga boat alongside Pura Vida and we filled 20, 5-gallon containers for him. He was very grateful and wonders when we will return. We fired up the watermaker and quickly replenished what we gave Bento.
Late afternoon we headed to Ensenada Grande on Isle Partida about 20 miles southeast. Along the way we saw hundreds of jumping manta rays with wing spans about 4 feet wide. We dropped the hook at about 6 pm and enjoyed an amazing sunset while fishing for dinner. Dinner was grilled fish and salad. Perfect!
Up with the sun and out fishing again. No luck this time so the kids went shore and built a large bonfire. After lunch we went again to shore and took a long hike up a beautiful valley. We finished the hike with a swim off the magnificent sandy beach.
Back at the boat we pulled the anchor and headed for the marina. Along the way we passed a school of dolphin that is 3 miles wide by 3 miles long. Thousands! It was amazing. We pull in at 6:30 pm and took in the sunset while enjoying our steak tacos.
After a quick breakfast at the marina, we packed our bags and headed to the airport. A few hours later we are home in Newport Beach with fresh memories of our latest adventure to La Paz and the Sea of Cortez. It is a marvelous destination; one we hope to continue to enjoy on our amazing Maritimo.
In October 2008, after an eight-month search for the perfect boat, we purchased our new Maritimo 52. The men and women of Maritimo have nailed this one, and the Compass Point Yachts team set her up beautifully. There is no roughing it on this boat. Even 50 miles from nowhere you have everything you could ever need or want. Amenities like air conditioning an endless supply of fresh water, electric grill on the aft deck, a large freezer, two heads with full showers, HD TV and an incredible Bose sound system, make living on this boat a dream. Powered by a pair of Cummins QSM 11’s, she runs quiet and smooth. Fuel efficiency is amazing burning only 1 gallon a mile while making 10 knots.
In the end, we could not imagine a more suitable fit for our family of five. We look forward to many years of adventures like the one to the Sea of Cortez. Not sure about Maritimo? Jump in; the water is warm!