Bahia de Magdalena

Wednesday December 18, 2019

We arrived in Bahia de Magdalena in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, more than a little sea-worn and sleep deprived.* The sail down from Ensenada to “Mag Bay” was exhausting. For the first three days (of what turned into a five-day transit) we had lots of downwind breeze –gusts to high 20’s and ten foot seas. Mark rigged the preventers to lessen the chance of an accidental jibe and had double reefed the main sail so Estelle was zipping along safely. Such conditions are no big deal for Estelle but the lightweight sailor paid her dues to King Neptune for the sea height and accompanying downwind boat roll (had to get out the big boys–thank the gods for compazine and zofran.) Night watches–when the winds and seas were at their highest, were a b@#ch–just sayin’. By Tuesday conditions had changed dramatically, from boisterous to calm seas (less than a meter) and lovely “light” wind (10-15 knots).

*In all fairness the Capitania de Puerto had closed Ensenada Harbor Saturday morning and we were delayed about an hour leaving the marina. We had to submit a letter to the Port Captain stating that we understood there were gale warnings and assumed all responsibility for leaving port at this time. Once again a big shoutout to the incredibly helpful staff at Hotel Coral Marina who sped our letter to the Port and got us our departure paper in record time.

So why did we decide to leave amid gale warnings and a Harbor closure? Frankly, the conditions were no problem for Estelle–only for the light weight sailor– and we had the DD (darling daughter) to meet in Cabo on the 21st. We also had wind predicted to die on us before we would arrive in Cabo. The wind predictions for the first couple days of the planned transit were only in the 20’s, seas predicted at two meters, and the friendly marina staff let us know that it was not uncommon for the port to be closed on the weekend for “weather”. So we went.

Aside: Estelle was built in Sweden, built to play in the rough North Sea. Her purpose in life is to cross oceans. Estelle is bored if she has less than 10 knots of breeze, loves 15 knots of wind, and begins to party at around 20 knots. C, A, and A – you all can confirm, yes?

Despite the wild ride during the first 3 days of the transit, we were both worried about the wind crapping out on us and slowing Estelle’s progress south of Mag Bay–remember we were on a schedule. So the Captain decided to forgo Bahia Tortugas (our planned first anchorage) and push to Bahia de Magdalena. Because of the early strong breeze out of Ensenada (we were cooking along at a steady 7+ knots of boat speed) we didn’t need to refuel at “Turtle Bay”. Refueling is one of the main reasons cruisers stop there–but since we weren’t running the engine with all that breeze we had plenty of fuel. Mag Bay would be our only stop from Ensenada to Cabo.

We dropped anchor in Bahia de Magdalena at 5am on a beautiful moonlit morning. Mag Bay was all that it is reported to be: isolated, ruggedly beautiful, and blessedly peaceful. (Thinking of your recommendation Dave and Sarah!) We spent a blissful overnight in Mag Bay – each of us enjoying afternoon siestas and a full night of restorative sleep.

Bahia de Magdalena Smileys and Frowns


Mag Bay is a lovely, isolated anchorage: a very welcome respite for two weary sailors. We anchored a couple of miles inside the mile-wide harbor entrance along the west shore of the Bay. From our solitary anchorage we had a picturesque view of a small collection of fishing cabanas further down along the beach and enjoyed watching the morning panga fleet head out.


No real frowns. We did not venture up the channel to San Carlos–the local metropolis– read: village. We will check it out another time when we are not subject to the sailor’s curse: a schedule.

It’s a beautiful sunset in the neighborhood.

Next Stop

We are off to Cabo San Lucas on Thursday (12/19) –a quick 25 hour transit from Mag Bay. We plan a boat break in Cabo, staying in a Cabo hotel for a few nights as the marina is reported to be very noisy, a giant cruise boat – Señor Frog, kind of scene. Best of all we are looking forward to a Christmas reunion in Cabo with the DD (darling daughter.) Fingers crossed for an easier transit for the light weight sailor on this next short leg.

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