After a ten hour blustery motorsail with 30 plus knot winds on the nose at the north end of Cerralvo Island, we were taken in by a friendly cove of flat water. Winds were still gusting over the spit of land which broke the wind chop so we could get some much needed sleep after a two-day crossing from Mazatlan to Baja California Sur. The cove is formed by a narrow “S” passage between Isla Espiritu Santo and Isla La Partida islands north of La Paz.
The next morning it was still blowing from the southwest so we launched kayaks and headed through the shallow channel, in some places with only a few inches of water under the kayaks at low tide. The canyon and cave was calling me back after 28 years. You can’t see the cave from the boat anchorage across the isthmus in Partida Cove. We landed on the beach among hundreds of small fiddler crabs ranging in size from one half to three inches, which scurried away when we approached. We offloaded our dry bags into our backpacks, with binoculars, cameras, water, energy bars and our Keens and Tevas. Boy we should have had hiking boots and socks.
Here in the land of cacti, not in the tropics any more.
There was a sign that showed the trail leading off across boulders, not the arroyo. So we boldly hiked up the arroyo wash coming down from the mountain, and I think Hurricane Paul, the previous fall, had something to do with trail building.
We climbed over huge boulders, rip rap, and washed-down scrub trees. Jan looked up and said “Is that the cave?”. Sure enough, behind the stone pinnacles, cactus and scrub trees was the mouth. It was quite a scramble up to the main entrance, tall enough to walk into standing up.
The area is about twenty-five feet in diameter with a high ceiling and lots of round coves with shelves where candles and shells sit as offerings. To the left and up about eight feet is a small cave that opens to a view of the bay, and is hidden from sight by an old tree. This is my favorite spot.
On the other side, facing up the canyon, is another side room accessible from the inside or outside. I asked “Jan, is this not as cool as all the times I told you about it?” She agreed it was, but replied, “Let’s find an easier way down”. To a Goat Woman, the obvious easier way down has got to be up. There had been a few landslides leaving some thin areas below the rimrock of the mountain that we delicately picked our way up and up. Remember the socks and hiking boots we wished we had? Finally we crossed over below the top of the canyon and found a way down to the bottom. Pretty strange plants and trees, like the big fig trees with tiny black figs. They say they are only good for birds and children. You figure that one out. One of the coolest sights as we came down was a couple of short-eared owls which flew from perch to perch as we descended.
As we got to the bottom, out popped one of the island’s big black jackrabbits. Look at those ears! Back to the boat from a magic day on Isla La Partida.