Exploring the Islands..

Espiritu Santu – Calle Partida


November 24th


Our first order of business after we officially said goodbye to the Cubar gang was to get out of Dodge – our crew Val and Bill had been with us on Cubar 2015 but because we were so late to the party ( tail end Charlie that we were) we didn’t have a chance to head out to Espiritu Santu and check out the Sea of Cortez. This time, we were determined to spend a few days showing them why we love it here so much.

Freshly provisioned, we headed out along with some of the other Nordhavns – – Tanglewood, Sea Level, Sprezzetura, with plans to do American Thanksgiving at Calle Partida on Tanglewood..

By the time we arrived a few other boats were anchored, and throughout the three nights we stayed there, many boats came and went. Some were party yachts, generators and lights on all night and water toys running around all day. However it is a big anchorage so we really had no problems. 

The first day Cam and Kim took Val and Bill on an excellent adventure, trying to find the caves on the other side of the island. Weather wasn’t perfect and they didn’t ever find the caves but it was a fun outing..

Evenings were spent doing dinner parties – first night was bbq dorado on our boat, (as well as margaritas, courtesy of Lawrence! well received and delicious)


Next night was bbq on Sea Level, another great party and a good time was had by all. Last night was Thanksgiving on Tanglewood, with ten of us coming together to give thanks and share an amazing meal! Wow! I may not have to eat for a while, as I have had more food in the last three days than I usually eat in a week. 


Snorkelling around these islands is excellent, although the best is to be found near rocks and reefs – we took the dinghy out one day with Val and had some of the best snorkelling ever – unfortunately I didn’t have the go-pro with me so you have to take my word for it.


Today we decided that our last night needs to be spent at Isla San Francisco – which defies description so we needed to take Val and Bill there to experience first hand. The trip up was unusually good, no rough water or wind, just beautiful. No fish though, although I tried.

There were a few boats already anchored, surprisingly enough three Canadian Sailboats! Val and I kayaked around getting everyone’s back stories, all of them pretty interesting and note worthy.

One young couple have a young son, on a small 28 foot sailboat. Another man on a 28 footer is sailing around the Sea of Cortez alone and has done so since he retired two years ago. His last words to us as we passed by him were “ retire now! just do it!!”

The third larger sailboat was a couple who had literally “been there done that”…. South Pacific, Caribbean, and so on – six months somewhere in the Canadian prairies, six months cruising. 

I cannot think of any happier people I have met than these ones. It was fodder for some long interesting conversations on board Northern Ranger later, as we are all of us at or near retirement age and in different stages of realizing it. ( I realized it a long time ago, giving up work life for home and family life, figuring each was equally gratifying and important)


Val and I had a little hike across to the other bay, collecting shells and marvelling at the difference between one beach and the other – but this time around we didn’t hike up the hill. Another day! 

Eric from Sprezzatura offered up his services as chef ( menu: seafood risotto ) if Sea Level would offer up the space, and of course we all agreed that was a marvellous idea!

Thus our final meal together was truly memorable. Eric took over the kitchen and when we arrived the cooking smells were absolutely delicious – garlic, saffron, fish, prawn scented steam wafting out of the galley.. plenty of cold wine, delicious salad, and restaurant-quality risotto…

I must say, the food on this cruise has been plentiful and fabulous. 

Once everyone leaves it is back to salads and fish and water!






The trip home Saturday was another calm, warm passage. I put the lines out, ever hopeful we would get lucky and catch the next big fish. It didn’t take very long – the cedar plug was another success! Huge hit, a lot of line was gone before I organized myself to bring it in.. ( where’s my glove!!!! my lucky galley glove!!!!) and in a few minutes there was a flash of green and another bull dorado was at the stern waiting to be gaffed. Well, maybe not waiting so much as destined. It took a bit, again – they don’t want to be gaffed, surprisingly – then it was on the swim grid. This time we poured cheap vodka over its gills in the vain hopes that it would pass out and be more amenable to being dispatched. Not so much – once again I am reminded I love fishing and catching but not dispatching. (later I opened up one of our fishing books in the hopes they would have advice about the killing of fish – it entails some pretty complicated and meticulous surgery, I’m thinking I need a medical degree to figure this one out. Maybe a bigger bat)

Luckily Lawrence had bought me a big cooler chest so Val emptied it of the unimportant stuff ( veggies and beer) and threw in all the ice we had ( thank goodness for ice makers!) and once I had cleaned our catch it just fit in. Whew. To be dealt with later.

And with that my fishing was over – can only handle one big fish a day! 

A few hours later we were ( very expertly ) guided into our slip ( neighbour still here, making it very narrow and somewhat harrowing) … tied up… cleaned up… and ready for our last night together before the crew departs.

We had a drink by the pool as the sun set, and then headed to the restaurant for dinner.

Long day, lots of fun, and we were all ready for bed by nine o’clock. 


Sunday morning – up early , while Val and Bill cleaned up and packed I went to the little tienda here and picked up some breakfast pastries – we had our tea and coffee, and then right on time the taxi driver showed up to whisk our crew away to the airport. Water and muffins in hand, they were gone! 


I wish we could have shown them more anchorages, but the ones we picked were beautiful and they certainly got a glimpse of why this place is so special… now after we do a few chores and clean up a little, we will head back out for almost two weeks and maybe discover some new beaches and bays and fishing holes!

… the dorado gets a makeover and we have more fish for the freezer! hooray!