Two nights at Isla Tortuga with Southern Belle
Where we had taken the outside route to get from Bahia Ballena to Isla Cedros, we
chose to take the inside route, a fairly narrow passage between the mainland
and Islas Negrititos, with a couple of reefs to be avoided, from Isla Cedros
to Isla Tortugas. The weather was fine and the currents were nothing to worry
about so the short 6 mile passage went very quickly.
On our way over to Tortuga we got in VHF contact with SOUTHERN BELLE.
They said that coincidentally they too were heading to Isla Tortugas
from Bahia Bellena and we could expect to see them later in the day.
We got to Isla Tortuga at about 10:00 am. We had a bit of a problem
finding the right spot to anchor. When we first dropped the hook, we
ended up too close to a nearby buoy. On our second attempt the anchor
did not grab. Finally on our third try we anchored about halfway between
the two islands right in the middle of the passage. It was a little
rolly and somewhat exposed, but at least the anchor was securely planted.
We had towed the dinghy over from Cedros, so in short order we suited
up and took the dinghy and our snorkeling gear over to some nearby rocks
and reefs for a few dives. There were quite a few other snorkelers there
as it appeared to be the most popular place around. I would say there were
two or three pangas with maybe 4-5 people in each one when we arrived.
The snorkeling was pretty good, though not spectacular. The visibility was
somewhat limited, about 10-12 feet, and, probably due to the large numbers
of divers, the wildlife was a little sparser than we would have liked.
However, we did take some pictures which can be found at the bottom of this
After diving with all the other snorkelers, we took the dinghy to some
other places where there were no other people and tried a few dives, but
unfortunately the visibility in these other places was really poor, 2-5 feet,
and so after a couple of hours we returned to RHAPSODY for lunch.
In the afternoon we took the dinghy to shore where we found some nice palapas
and very friendly focus servicing the many tourists that come to the island
each day. We had some excellent, if expensive, margaritas from one
of the palapas. We got to meet the island mascot, a wild boar that had
been domesticated to the point where you could call it and it would come to
be petted. It was really cute!
A few of the workers at the palapa were playing guitars and congas
and, you know me, soon I was trading songs with them. As we were enjoying ourselves,
after switching to somewhat cheaper beers, as promised, George, Melinda,
and Joshua on SOUTHERN BELLE pulled into the anchorage. Almost immediately
after anchoring they brought their dinghy to shore and we all exchanged
warm greetings and hung out for a while. After we returned to RHAPSODY for dinner and the tourists
had all gone home (the island pretty much closes at 4:00 pm), we could see
George, Josh, and Melinda playing on the beach, which they had to themselves.
The next day, our last at Isla Tortuga, I broke out the battery powered
guitar amp and effects devices with the idea of showing off and having
a jam with George on shore. However, today when we got to shore, the
palapa we had jammed at the previous day was reserved for guests of a
particular tour boat and we were unable, at first, to join the musicians.
So we just had some beers and enjoyed the beautiful white sandy beach.
George and I jammed acoustically for a while, trading songs with one of the
locals who wandered by.
Later, after the tourists had thinned out a bit, I surreptitiously set up
the guitar amp and started picking some funky guitar riffs. Sure enough
the local musicians all gathered around on various rhythm instruments and
we had a fun time as many of the tourists appeared to be enjoying the impromptu
jam session. At one point a Mexican film crew, that was filming for a weekly
TV show even came over and captured a bit of the excitement for their upcoming
The next morning, on Friday, our time was running short, as we had to be in Los Suenos,
about 25 miles south, to pick up an important DHL package, and so we pulled up anchor
and headed out. SOUTHERN BELLE said they'd join us in Los Suenos the next day.