After our trips around Punta Balandra near La Paz, we were stoked on the packrafting opportunities in the Sea of Cortez. Our limited time budget meant that a multi-day trip out to some of the large islands near La Paz and Loreto was likely out of the question, so we improvised. The beach we were camped at near Loreto was ideally situated at the northern end of a long peninsula that stretched out into Loreto Bay, curling around to the tiny (and strange) resort "community" of Puerto Escondido. So, with calm winds in the forecast, we woke at sunrise one day, drank some joe, inflated the rafts, and started paddling toward a small island.
Once again, calm and clear water allowed us to observe dozens of species of reef fish from the comfort of our rafts. Which was great because, as we found out later in the day, the water was quite a bit colder here than at Balandra.
Paddling under massive cliffs, we rounded a corner and found a tiny beach tucked away between towering pinnacles. I pulled in for a pee break and discovered the most incredible shell beach I've ever seen. Jillian just so happens to be a shell fanatic, so it was easy to coax her ashore.
Continuing around the peninsula, we saw more fish, more islands, more calm water. A sandy beach near the entrance to Puerto Escondido made for an excellent late-afternoon rest stop. Donning flippers and masks we slipped into the water for a quick swim with the fishes. Instantly we realized this water was considerably colder. I think we lasted about 20 minutes before, in jaw-jattering speak, we agreed to head back to the beach. Jillian , being the grad student, devised a method of laying the sun-baked rocks along her goose-bumped skin to achieve maximum re-warming efficiency.
Marginally comfortable, we climbed back in our rafts and headed into the protected waters of Puerto Escondido, past the moored sailboats from California, Washington, British Columbia. Utilizing a rocky beach at the back of the cove, we portaged back over to the outside of the peninsula and completed our 8-hour loop back to Playa Juncalito and our awaiting camp.