Archive for December, 2010

Isla Coronados

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

With a predicted stretch of good weather this last week, all was in place for our first paddling journey to a nearby national park island, Isla Coronados. We left Nopoló around nine, which is not early by local standards but pretty good for us; and just as well because it was fully four hours later that we reached La Picazón, south of Punta El Bajo. Following a splendid lunch it was another hour and a half direct to Ensenada Blanca where we spent two nights.

Our objective

Set Deck Compass on “N”

This late in the day, we were lucky to arrive without battling some wind.

The beach was empty but there were six sailboats in the bay, joined later by one little power boat. Many came ashore for their evening meal, but they returned to their vessels by six and I think that we had the island to ourselves that first night — except for the birds.

After surveying the beach we moved our boats to a campsite further north.

We were tired, and a little chilly when wet (it is December after all) but all our gear worked well, including our new extra-long three person (REI Three Quarter Dome Plus) tent and Alex’s new ultralight inflatable Thermarest. As on our last camping trip we cooked eggs for breakfast, this time two days in a row, and we had fresh fruit and/or vegetables both days.

The moon shone half and though darkness came early, the white sand soon seemed to begin to glow. Getting around camp at night was easy even without a light. There are palapas for day use but we chose to cook near our camp. The volcanic geology presents one minor drawback — there are no rocks with flat tops.

On our middle day we had hoped to paddle around the island, but we didn’t get started until eleven and by the time we got to the landmark rock on the north coast, two-foot waves were testing our commitment. We exchanged cheerful banter with a boatful of divers and then soon turned back, eventually landing at the spot marked CD-04, Norte de Bahía Honda, and having a nice lunch on the pleasant beach there. On our way across the cove a sea lion came to check us out. I looked just in time to see him dive; but the water was so clear I could watch him swim away well below the surface.

Our shade system
During the day it was warm enough that we gave our new tarp its first field test, putting our paddles to work as supports. I will write more about this fiendishly clever device elsewhere. See if you can find our tent in the picture of the beach below.

The beaches at Ensenada Blanca

By the way, though the island is widely referred to locally as “Coronado” it appears in some older sources as “Coronados.”  It could be that it was named for a royal couple, or there could simply be confusion with a group of islands in California Alta. We can see the island from our house, but the distance is over 13 miles as the crow flies. On the return trip, longer because we explored more of the coast, we stopped for lunch at the Hotel Oasis, at the end of the Loreto malecón.