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    Cruising the Sea of Cortez, whether in a sailboat, motorboat, or even in a kayak is an experience difficult to put into words. 'Spectacular' and 'amazing' are two words that almost do justice to cruising this amazing body of water.

    Although just jumping into a boat and heading into the Sea of Cortez without a plan may sound romantic, in reality a successful trip along the east side of the Baja Peninsula should include a significant amount of preperation before the hull ever hits the water.

    Several main factors come into play when taking a cruise into the Sea of Cortez. The time of year to take the cruise is very important, and will affect many of the variables that can come into play, includng the weather. Aside from winds and occassional storms, the weather in the Sea of Cortez is usually very good and the Cortez can generally be enjoyed all year long.

    Chubascos (hurricane's Mexican counterpart) can make their way into the Sea of Cortes as early as June and as late as November. During some seasons Baja gets no chubascos, other seasons it can get one or two. Since these tropical depressions rarely come without warning, it's a good idea to watch the Weather Channel before heading out to sea.

    Planning departure points, routes, and destinations are also big parts of the cruising picture, and more than half of the fun. Some folks want to experience just a small area of the Gulf of California, others want to cruise for extended distances up or down the coast. Deciding on possible ports of call along the way is a good idea, even if those initial plans are ultimately changed.

    If fishing and swimming are to be part of the cruise experience, it is important to remember that from late November through June most of the Sea of Cortez waters are not warm. Warmer waters from June through November usually allow for better fishing and make swimming more enjoyable.

    Air temperatures along the Sea of Cortez are hot in the summer, and warm for most of the rest of the year. Daytime temperatures in summer can be in the 90's and up to 100 degrees, and temperatures in the 70's are common from December through March. Temperatures in the southern part of Baja are generally warmer in both summer and winter.

    Baja travelers not used to being on a boat at sea may be surprised at the amount of dew that accumulates every night on board. Anything left on the deck overnight will probably be wet in the morning, so plan accordingly.

    Provision stops are few and far along Baja's coast. Everything from fuel to food should be planned in advance for those who are planning extended stays on the Sea of Cortez. It's also nice to plan certain stops where the land-lubber side of Baja can be enjoyed as part of a Sea of Cortez cruising experience.

    Popular large ports of call along Baja's Sea of Cortez include La Paz, Loreto, Mulege, Santa Rosalia, Bahia de los Angeles and San Felipe. Smaller ports of call to hole up include Isla Espiritos Santos, Agua Verde, Puerto Escondido, Punta San Basilio, Punta San Francisquito, Las Animas and Puertecitos.

    Cruising Baja's east coast is generally a quiet and relaxing expereince. It doesn't take long to fall into the rhythms of the daily tide cycles, to appreciate the amazing wonders of nature at every turn, and to realize that returning to the fast pace of life back at home is an option, not a necessity.

    To follow along with Carlos Fiesta on his 2,200 mile solo circumnavigation from Los Angeles up the Sea of Cortez into the Colorado River drop the CIRCUMNAVIGATION section of Baja Expo.

    And for a really cool picture of the Sea of Cortez from space drop by our SEA OF CORTEZ photo!

    Two of the best books to keep handy on a Sea of Cortez cruise include Mexico Boating Guide by Captain John Rains and Charlie's Charts by Charles Wood.



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