Loreto? Where’s that? What can I say about this amazing cruising ground that isn’t obvious from our pictures? Bottom line, this area should be on any cruiser’s short list of destinations despite – or maybe because of – the fact that it is almost unknown. The weather is perfect, the anchorages are close together, the scenery is stunning, the people are friendly and helpful, and the water is warm. But options for getting a berth are limited to sailing your own boat down, or staying with a friend – there currently are no charters operating out of Loreto.
Loreto is a small city a couple of hundred miles north of La Paz, on the east side of the Baja California peninsula. It is an old, historically significant city of about 15000 that is still off of the mainstream tourist trail. It boasts a small charming downtown center with good restaurants, a few hotels, and a small beach. It is popular with travelers looking for a laid back pace and outdoor recreational opportunities, especially water sports – fishing and diving. The closest facility for cruising boats is 15 miles south in Puerto Escondido.
Our story really starts with our Haida Gwaii trip in 2015. As I like to do every time we tie up somewhere, I went for a dock walk just to see who I’d meet. Just down the finger, I struck up a conversation with a fellow named Dennis installing a watermaker on his sailboat Ultegra. I asked a few questions, and his very thorough answer eventually led to sundowners in the cockpit.
Normally, this would be the end of the story. We meet, and socialize, with people on the dock that we never see again all the time. This time was different; two weeks later we just happened to anchor next to Ultegra in Haida Gwaii. Serendipity. This coincidence resulted in an excellent potluck, and eventually, an invitation to join Dennis at some point on his journey. Even though we didn’t really know him – we’d only spent a couple of evenings socializing – we didn’t really spend much time thinking about it. After all, he was offering up a berth aboard his boat in one of my dream destinations…What could go wrong?
As it turns out, nothing. I won’t bore you with the details, but our gracious host opened his home to us and allowed us to share 11 days of fantastic sailing, perfect temperatures, mind blowing scenery, amazing food…the list is long. He was kind and trusting enough to include us in all of the daily operations of the boat: planning, sailing, provisioning, cooking, and cleaning (yes cleaning – nothing makes you feel more at home than doing the dishes); we very quickly felt comfortable and at home.
I’m so glad we jumped at this opportunity. It would’ve been easy to say thanks but no. Happily, we didn’t.
A massive thank you and safe journey home to our host and friend, Dennis Giraud aboard the SV Ultegra.