We motored, again (seems like the thing here, no wind, or too much wind), up the 10 miles to Bahia Candeleros. Miraculously, as we rounded the corner to the bay, a gigantic hotel loomed in the middle of the desert. Like a Las Vegas-style resort oasis, The Villa del Palmar perched on a wide sandy beach cradled by picturesque mountains, complete with several restaurants, golf, pool and beach bar, all seemingly brand new. Bonus: free wifi! What a nice surprise…and to think we almost didn’t stop here.
We rowed to shore and got our visitor arm bands and went to the beachside restaurant for hamburgers and delicious french fries. Our 3rd meal out in 13 days…and I thought I’d have to cook the entire time…Ha!
We rowed back to the boat and got our wifi on for several hours. We were surprisingly able to catch 2 shows on Netflix! Dr. Who and Elementary. Time for a happy dance! The wifi worked well enough for me to post 2 blogs and several photos on Facebook. Then it died and never worked the second day…blogging postponed. I think they were onto our Netflix takeover. No cell towers though, so no phone calls.
That night the water was as still as a lake and we slept like kings.
We decided to stay another day just because we could and it was so nice and calm there. We got the yak out and went around the corner to the outside of the bay to the east where we ran into 3 other “real” kayakers. These were die-hards, with ocean-going inflatable yaks, complete with spray-skirts and a small sail for traveling long distances. Indeed they had departed from La Paz and got to Candeleros in 12 days, camping along the way… their final stop was to be Loreto. It took us 13 days in a boat to get the same distance. Wow, I’ve got it easy! No paddling involved to get to the next stop each day, no setting up camp, no campfire cooking. What an interesting 2-week adventure though. Just goes to show you what ideas people come up with for their vacation.
We kayaked past some interesting rock formations and came upon a rocky beach that the yakkers pointed out, where the resort had built crude steps into the steep hillside for their guests to hike. We beached and scrambled up the stairs to a nice view of the bay, the resort and our boat. The hiking trails meandered all along the ridge and down to the resort, so we could have kept going, but we wanted to go snorkel. The water was really clear and surprisingly cool due to the swift current, but not too many fish. We had heard over the radio to watch out for jellyfish and something called a string-of-pearl. Well, we saw one of those and I yelped underwater, flailing to try and get away. It was smaller than we anticipated… looked just like the name, like tiny opaque pearls on a string hanging down vertically near the surface, no more than a couple inches long.
We got back to the yak and were glad to be out of the cooler water. The sun warmed us while we coasted back around the rocky shoreline letting the current push us effortlessly, gazing lazily at the surrounding rocks and reef. Brian wanted to go back but I wanted to keep snorkeling so we got to the bay side of the shore and I got out in the sand and snorkeled while Brian relaxed in the yak. I had hoped to see a stingray, not too closely of course, but no luck. I did happen upon a pelican who did not seem to care how close I came. It just kept eyeing me with those deep, dark mischievous eyes, “yeah get a little closer chica, I’m feelin’ a little hungry.” It never flinched.
Back at the boat I made lunch: a salad of canned chicken, garbanzo beans, tomato, cabbage, gouda cheese, pine nuts, red wine vinegar, olive oil, sugar, mayo, dried mustard, oregano. And of course the main course, Salditas (saltine crackers, a Mexican staple). After working on a blog that I could never upload, I made a packet of mushroom pasta and added my last zucchini for dinner. Brian thinks I am crazy to tell you what I make for food, but I think inquiring minds want to know. I would. What the heck DO you eat on a boat?
That night we got a taste of the westerlies at night, caused by warm days and hot wind swooping down off the hot mountain hillsides into the cooler sea. It blew 15-20 kts from the west for several hours before it dissipated and we woke again to calm weather. Our anchor was dug in perfectly though, and there was no swell, so we still slept well. Little did we know, this bay is apparently notorious for severe westerly night winds reaching 30 knots. I loved this tranquil spot; it made up for the rollies at Agua Verde. Our time in Candeleros was as perfect as one could get.