Isla Carmen circumnavigation – Snorkle, snorkel, and more snorkeling.  Plus a trip to a resort

We decided to take a week and adventure out side of Puerto Escondito and explore the many islands that lay near by.  Isla Carmen is the largest of them and is about 20 miles in length.  We believe part of the island is privately owned by Carlos Slim, the CEO of Telmex-Mexico’s largest cell provider, basically the richest man in Mexico.  He has an annual big horn sheep hunting gathering so there is no hiking on this island.  The other parts of the island (not sure where the line is drawn) is part of the Loreto National parks…we still didn’t try to hike on the island.

Bahia Marquer – We had heard this anchorage offered the clearest water to snorkel in and they all were right.  This as a blessing and a curse:  after we snorkeled here where we could clearly see 30 or so feet below, other snorkeling since has been a disappointment…imagine that!

Trevor free diving on the anchor…it’s only about 15-18 feet.
This guy followed us though out our snorkel at Marquer bay….every time I would look back, there he was.  We could tell it was him/her because of the hole in it’s top fin, not sure if you can see it in the photo though.
This needle fish was actually brown and green moments before we took this photo.  Then as Trevor got up close it changed it’s color to this which is what we are use to seeing when snorkeling. IT was cool to see it change it’s skin!

Vee Cove (aka El Refugio) – This tiny cove only has room for 1 boat…that was us.  Little coves like these often give you a lee shore (when the wind blows your boat towards land) since you are surrounded by rocks/cliffs but the wind was mild and we gave our selves enough scope and positioned our selves if we drug our anchor.  This has been my favorite anchorage thus far for scenary…. We had little sea caves to explore, a small white sand beach to ourselves (we even saw the bighorn sheep grazing one night), and the water was just as clear as Bahia Marquer was.

Isla Carmen_Vee Cove_flashlight fun
We took a flashlight out at night and would attract needle fish feeding at the life the light attracted. The needle fish were a bright blue and had a long “needle” shaped mouth that would open and close…pretty cool.
Shot from under the water in a small cave.
Another small sea cave.
And another small sea cave.
Trevor from inside the sea cave.

Only one small issue….the BEES.

  • BEE TV!!!!!   We had been told about bees….they visit your boat in search of fresh water and had encountered them in small numbers at other anchorages.  This would suggest NOT to rinse out the snorkel gear in fresh water after playing in the ocean but we have rinsed in every bay we anchored and snorkeled then and actually had a routine down…no major trouble with bees.  So we snorkeled for hours and got back to the boat and I routinely rinsed out our snorkel gear.  We had a about 20-30 bees around the drying gear at the front of our boat but they stayed there and didn’t try to come inside or bother us in the cockpit.  However, in the morning they descended on our boat and there must have been hundreds of bees all around our boat.  Trevor was the hero and actually went out and moved a bucket of gear from the cockpit I had left overnight to the back of the boat so they would be less likely to come inside the boat near our hatch in the cockpit.  With nothing we could do…we decided to wait them out so we closed up everything, started the generator, fired up the A/C.  We watched the bees swarm through our port holes of our boat.

    This is the view of us looking through our port hole at a PORTION of the bees that were trying to get fresh water.

Bahia Salinas – This use to be an old salt mine until about the 1980’s. There is a small deserted town there and old salt ponds to explore.  Additionally, a hunting cabin/palapa (aka: a beach house) there for the owners of the island.  There were a few care takers there and it is customary to ask permission to tour the old town, it was granted.  : )

The old office of the salt mine.
Church…still in use we believe as there was a lock on the door.
Tracks that use to bring the salt up from the ponds.
Abandoned building.
The brink here has stayed pretty much in tack but the mortar has eroded by the wind
A wall of shells on the side of the building…pretty impressive and must of taken a lot of time.
We walked to the old salt ponds and tried to capture the salt crystals that had formed on EVERYTHING!

Los Candeleros Bay… A day of extravagance (our last night out for this trip)! – This area is actually a group of inlets and very small islands south of Isla Carmen and Isla Danzante which is very popular for sport fishing due to its rocky pinnacles and surrounding reefs.  We had read there was a resort in the larger bay and decided to treat ourselves to a meal, pool, and drinks with ice (ice is a sort of commodity out here).  For $70 USD per person we were able to enjoy all the facilities and eat/drink we wanted and because it is off season, we had the place almost to ourselves.  So we milked it: choose the most expensive items off the menus, drank as many beers and drinks as we could both poolside and at the restaurant….we wanted our money’s worth!  Later we heard from the other locals cruisers the resort use to let cruisers in for free and use the pool and such so long as they eat and drank there.  I guess people took advantage of this and would sit by the pool in large groups and order Happy hour drinks to share.  No judgement here….but I do see why the resort now requires a pass.  To sum it up, we had a great time using internet that was “fast” and “reliable” dipping in the pool where the water was about 90 degrees, drinking beer and eating great meals… say the least, we both were a little drunk by the time we returned to our boat.

Resort Villa del Palmar
Resort Villa del Palmar

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