Weather was coming into Cabo San Lucas and after 4 days anchored in front of Mendano Beach in a zoo-like atmosphere, we decided it was time to take off. We had provisioned, made water, bought a jerry jug of gas and hauled forty gallons of diesel back to the boat…we were provisioned. We left Sunday with little concept of what the day would be like, as the first 4-5 hours of the trip was in nearly perfect weather, 10 knts on the bow and little swell. However, right past Los Cabos comes a point and a small course change…and then we could see the wind and white cap line coming at us quickly. We tried to sail several different points as the 20knts of wind and white caps hit us but it was a washing machine. At 1knt…we decided to motor and turned up the RPM’s on the Iron Ginny, as it was already 1300 and we needed to get another 19 miles…at 2-4knts and direct swell, current and wind on the nose. At this point, the other sailboats within 5 miles did the same thing we did..sails down and engines on…most of them passing us eventually. By 1930 we crept into Frailes in the dark. This wasn’t that hard with depth sounder and electric charts (Frailes and Muertos are big open bays with few nav hazards). Luckily our friends on S/V LeeAnn told us where there was room for Tulum and even threw on a big blue cockpit light for us, ensuring we found a great spot over about 35 feet of sand. After anchoring, we got some dinner and passed out. The next day was spectacular and Frailes is an anchorage not to be missed…when there’s no swells. After getting Quincy Dog her beach time with nearly no beach swells, we declared a beach day and hit the beach with our snorkeling gear in hand. Frailes beach has the beginning streaks of one of the largest coral reefs in Mexico and we were determined to see just a bit of it…so we took the kids out of their first snorkeling spot in Mexico. The water was fairly clear and there’s life everywhere on the rocky reef. There was also live unbleached coral, large schools of fish and small life everywhere you looked. We didn’t seem any large pelagic action cause we were still in the anchorage and just off the beach, but it may be there in deeper water. After nearly an hour snorkeling…the kids hit the beach and waves and we found the other folks from boats on the beach. Middle of nowhere…five boat crews on the beach for a beach day with no coordination…weather and great beaches do that. But weather was coming…so we knew we needed to move on…to Bahia Los Muertos.
Since we beat into Frailes this first time, we’ve been back to Frailes multiple times and it’s one of our favorite anchorages in Baja. Frailes is our jumping off and return point to/from mainland Mexico and will be the last anchorage we do in Baja as we prep to start south permanently…soon.
Ease of anchoring: Like Cabo, Frailes has an anchoring shelf but it’s not a big deal. We anchor in 20-30 feet of water over sand and we have always had great holding.
Noise at anchor: None, unless my reggae is too loud again.
Provisioning: None, Just one eco resort and some high end houses across the bay from the anchorage is.
Cellular reception at anchor: YES (spotty). There was no cell service the first time we anchored in Frailes, but since then we’ve pulled in some cell service.
Wifi in the anchorage: None
Water Clarity: Clean water but spotty clarity. We’ve snorkeled here and found various clarity levels depending on season and water temperatures. I’ve been able to dive on my anchor several times while at anchor here, so it’s clear sometimes.
Protection: Northerly protection. Because swell usually rolls from the north to the south, there’s swell protection without much wrap around. Little protection from southerlies or southerly swell.