I heard mixed reviews on anchoring outside Las Hadas, the exclusive famed resort that Bo Derek made a name for back in the late 70s with the filming of “10″. The marina was out for us (perhaps it was the mere mention of med-mooring), but even reports of the expensive dinghy dock made me question wanting to anchor in the vicinity. We had just recently left “Disneyland” in Barra de Navidad (see last post) and I wasn’t looking to drain my account on the added expenses that come with a resort with nice restaurants and the temptation of a day pass. Even so, Chad had fond memories of spending time here as a cruising kid years ago and we were about to celebrate 2 very important birthdays onboard, so southbound we went to check it out!
As is the case with all other anchorages, my advice is this: Go and experience it for yourself with a strong filter for the coconut telegraph, cruiser urban legends and isolated “this one time in band camp” stories you hear. Context is everything and no doubt, our experiences have been fiercely shaped by the COVID era – both the good and bad, so take it all in with a grain of salt.
This bay unexpectedly turned out to be yet another favorite for the views, beach time, company of good cruising friends, ease of provisioning and overall comfort.
We had heard that an alternative to the expensive dinghy dock at Las Hadas marina was the black sand beach on the other side of the bay and this is where we spent most our time. Simply put: Marina dinghy dock = a mostly secure location to tie off your dinghy (for a fee) and avoiding flooding your outboard engine in a surfline whilst soaking yourself in the process for easy access to the marina without sand between your toes (where’s the fun in that?!) Beach landing = questionable safety: both from landing and launch to having your dinghy drift away in a rising tide, questionable security, pushing/pulling your dinghy with the possibility of getting soaked in the following surf if you don’t get moving quicky enough, but mostly free parking and the added benefit of sand between your toes. There are choices we make in every location. We went ashore using both approaches depending on our plans, but most days opted for sand between our toes. We found the beach fairly easy to land and launch our dinghy with some reasonable consideration for timing, not to mention small and unpopulated, making it a great runabout for Quincy. There were some occasions when I missed my not-so-olympic-worthy vault into the dinghy and was left swimming next to it followed by a floundering struggle to get back in, but let’s not talk about that now, shall we? Timing is everything.
Once you get past the stunning views of the Las Hadas resort, there is a large palapa sitting just above the beach with the sign “Restaurant Restaurant” underneath. We peer in our binos to see if it’s open, craving cold drinks and something not homecooked for once. Finally, we see signs of life on the second deck – we’re going in! Our plan is to take some electronics for the possibility of WiFi and dare I say, charging?! Turns out our boat batteries are missing the long days of summer where they were filled with solar power galore. Restaurant Restaurant turned out to be a gold-mine like none other for us. The food was good, margaritas were cold (highly recommend the frozen zarzamora), service was great and they had both a strong WiFi signal and charging plugs available. The views were spectacular and the kids could play on the beach below until they had their fill, shower off, and join us for some highly coveted WiFi time and lunch off the boat – wins all around! We had full view of both our boat and dinghy, and could hear the occasional barks of our beloved at-sea-security-system whenever jet skiiers or “ferocious” kayakers got too close – what’s not to love?!?!? They additionally provided top notch service and generosity for Kellyn’s birthday party with friends off S/V Kyrie and S/V Descanso. From an anchoring standpoint, the swell and rocking that we experienced in the evenings at Carrizal once the wind died was not as prevalent here and the lights of Las Hadas and the surrounding buildings gave it a soothing Mediterranean feel. The high-speed jet ski slalom races through the anchorage got annoying towards the end of our stay, but they weren’t around every day. We did finally go to the resort for an excellent dockside Italian meal with a soothing ambiance that concluded with a guest appearance by some very bold racoons – sneaky little devils. This marks the furthest south we will head this season, so I’m happy to say that it is a memorable bay that we enjoyed with some of our favorite people.
One last shout-out to Ensenada Carrizal
After a week of sipping our weight in margaritas at our new favorite, Restaurant Restaurant (yes, I know it has another name), while enjoying WiFi and beach time, we were craving different scenery and so back to Carrizal we went. We planned to stay only for a norther to blow itself out, but found ourselves reaping the benefits of said norther the following day. The water was the clearest we’ve seen and the warmest we’ve felt yet. With ease, we cancelled our plans to head back to Las Hadas and had a great day adventuring with Descanso. Chad returned from spear fishing out at the point with Descanso and Silver Wings and described the experience of submerging and hearing what he thought was a whale singing in the distance. During his trek, I had taken the girls for a snorkel. Teagan’s response to yet “another” snorkeling trip in cool January waters was kinda “meh” until I offered up my gopro for her to play around with. She has profound creativity and returned with some great photos and videos which we’ll put on the Youtube channel in the near future. We were sitting in the cockpit later that day doing a rough preview of our shots when we all heard it. Kellyn exclaimed “That sounded like a whale!” Teagan rewound the video and sure enough – the same sound Chad was hearing out at the point was now distinctly audible on video footage Teagan took far into the shallows of the cove! We no doubt missed it amidst our bubble blowing, vigorous finning, and unintelligible snorkel talk exchanged at the surface. Too cool
Fast forward a few days when we returned for our final stay in Carrizal, and this time a similar melody was bellowing throughout the shallowest points of the reef underwater during our snorkel and was unmistakably from a whale. I couldn’t get enough of submerging to just above the vast coral reef where I could hear it the clearest – pure magic! Upon returning to the boat, you could still hear the song, only this time resonating through the hull of the boat. Listening to the soothing sounds from belowdecks was simultaneously eerie and peaceful. We watched a baby humpback breaching and playing out at the southern point of the cove then later saw a huge adult come within 100 feet of our bow, repeatedly surfacing with a colossal blow of mist. Were you the source of this mysterious melody that captivated us all afternoon? Who knows for sure. One thing I do know is that between the mesmerizing song that went on for hours and now the massive beauty surfacing and blowing right next to the boat, Quincy would sleep well that evening, having thoroughly “protected” the family from this mysterious new creature. No wonder she was all a twitter since our arrival! The best part of this whole experience was that not one of the 8 cruising sailboats felt a need to rush out for a closer look. Instead, we were all satisfied with enjoying the wonder of mother nature from our own boats. Herein lies yet another beauty of sitting on the hook. These awe-inspiring moments arise at unexpected times, but are such a gift amidst the never-ending boat repairs and continued quarantine. ¡Muchas gracias a las ballenas!