Sunday, December 30, 2012

Bahia Los Frailes & Ensenada de Los Muertos

Sunset at Bahia Los Frailes.
The passage from San José del Cabos was a complete bash, meaning that the wind was on our nose and the tides seem to be conspiring against us to make the passage long and tiring.  But hey, we got nothing but time so we sucked it up and enjoyed the ride.  At times we were moving very slowly as the tide seemed to build and then subside randomly.  We finally pulled into Bahia Los Frailes in the late afternoon, dropped the hook and settled in for the night.

The hill at Bahia Los Frailes that we wanted to climb.
Bahia Los Frailes is a large open bay backed by sand dunes, a hill and an expanse of cacti just waiting to get you. Everything about the area behind the sand dunes screamed "Keep out or I'll prick you!"  Did that stop us from hiking though?  Hell no. The guide book we were using (Sea of Cortez by Shawn Breeding and Heather Bansmer; highly recommended) told us that the views from the top of the hill at Bahia Los Frailes offered expansive vistas of both the bay and the mountain range that backed the beach.  At first it was hard to find the trail and we spent quite a bit of time hiking, at times crawling, through an immense field of various prickly cacti, not without the occasional whiplash of a branch covered in thorns.  We finally decided that the route we were so earnestly pursuing was not worth it and decided to backtrack and head straight up the hill.

Success!  Silly hats and all!
This proved to be more difficult that at first appeared as the "direct" route had us climbing hand over foot over boulders, around cacti and looking down pretty steep inclines.  But with a lot of perseverance we finally reached the lower of the two summits in view.  And the views were definitely worth the effort.  But wait...what's that right over there just a few feet away?  Why, I think it's a trail marker.  You got to be kidding me?!  Yes folks, we spent the better part of a couple of hours scrambling over boulders, loose gravel, around cacti, etc., only to find a trail that would have led us easily up to the top in no time.  Live and learn.

Snorkeling the reef at Bahia Los Frailes.
We spent a couple of days in Bahia Los Frailes.  I took the dinghy to shore each day and did some snorkeling on the reef off of the point at the base of the hill we climbed.  The reef was teeming with all kinds of fish that I am still trying to identify (I recently purchased a new fish identification book that includes tropical fish).  I met a couple of guys on different boats that told me about the "End of the World" party that was going to be held on the beach in a few days but Richard and I decided to get out of town before that happened...just in case.

Trying to keep on schedule, we left Bahia Los Frailes and headed to Ensenada de Los Muertos or Cove of the Dead.  Sounds nice, eh?  Well, we got there pretty late and it was already dark so we dropped the anchor and tucked in for the night.  While we didn't get to explore Ensenada de Los Muertos, we plan to come back on our way to the mainland so we'll see if it fits its name and report on that later.

More pictures from the hike and snorkeling.  PS...underwater cameras rock!

View on the hike.
View coming up for air.
Crazy polka dot fish.
Wrasses on coral head.
Moorish Idol.
Blue Parrotfish.
Sea Urchin.
Unidentified Surgeonfish.
Lots of cool fish.

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