OCC RoRC report from Topolobampo, Sinaloa, Mexico

OCC RoRC report from Topolobampo, Sinaloa, Mexico

s/y Spruce entry into Mexico at Ensenada was made easy with the help of Victor at Marina Baja Naval.

By Sue & Andy Warman - 27/01/2020


The various officials are located in one building. Fishing licences, required for all aboard, were procured at a fishing equipment shop. There are two other marinas, one out of town and the other less central than our preference. Anchoring is not an option.

A US boat owner said, “Welcome to America”. What? Then we began to realise why. Certainly, the Baja California Peninsula boasts a large number of ex-pat homeowners, boaters and RV tourers from the USA, and fewer from Canada. Will the real Mexico please show itself. Foreign cruisers, other than from those countries have numbered one British boat, and we met them in Canada. Maybe we shall meet some more farther south, poised to cross the Pacific Ocean.

The weather here typically causes people to arrive in Mexico after the hurricane season in one year, to head for the mainland during the northern winter, then to cruise north into the Sea of Cortez for the next year's summer hurricane season. And then to go south again ahead of the succeeding winter season. Some cruisers then opt to head into the Pacific Ocean, normally either to the Marquesas, in French Polynesia, as the first step of a South Pacific voyage, or out to Hawaii before returning home after a period there.

We chose an alternative strategy, not to have two seasons in Mexico. We sailed south ahead of most boats. Short stops in a few anchorages along the outer Baja gave a flavour of a desert coastline. After the summer in green tree-lined Canadian coasts, this was quite a contrast. Before winter northerly winds set in, we had to await pauses in southerly spells of weather to make easier progress. Good sheltered anchorages are sparse; the main ones are at Bahias Tortuga, Santa Maria and Magdalene.

Once around Cabo San Lucas, the full splendour of rampant resort and holiday developments along the southern tip of the Baja is revealed. As weather permitted we pressed on into the Sea of Cortez stopping at a couple of pleasant anchorages protected from the north. Any significant swell from the ocean to the south would make this an exposed coastline. There are a couple of marinas, but they are aimed at North American clientele with prices to match.

Our plan to beat the winter northerlies was to go early into the Sea of Cortez for a couple of hundred miles to visit the “best” of the Baja coastline. We can confirm, that the coastline north from La Paz, (we cruised as far as Santa Rosalia) has spectacular scenery. The Gigantas mountain range comes to the shoreline with amazing craggy peaks and colourful layers of twisted sedimentary rock formations. It is rather like sailing alongside a Grand Canyon. At four locations there are old Spanish Missions worth visiting: San Ignacio and San Javier needed a drive inland to reach.

Christmas was enjoyed back at La Paz meeting up with people we met earlier when cruising in the US and Canada. The day after Christmas Day we headed over the Sea to Topolobampo. The plan from here is to travel inland, aboard the El Chepe train through the Copper Canyon, to view more amazing rock formations up to an altitude of 2,400 metres where winter will be cold. Upon our return, we shall sail south, and head back to the warmer tropics before a passage to new parts of French Polynesia in the spring.


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