Kayaking in Baja, Mexico // Isla Angel de la Guarda Circumnavigation

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Last month my friends and fellow Anacortes Kayak Tours guides Gary, Wyatt, Dan, and myself left San Diego and headed south to the small town of Bahia de Los Angeles in Baja Mexico. Our goal was to circumnavigate Isla Angel de la Guarda, an entirely uninhabited island in the Sea of Cortez twelve miles off the mainland. Circumnavigating the island is no easy feat, with fierce winds , no fresh water, total remoteness, and with very few options for rescue we worked very hard to plan and mitigate as much risk as possible. The idea for the trip actually came from Gary’s need to complete a senior capstone project for his Expeditionary Studies degree through SUNY Plattsburgh College in New York (I know right! Gary actually gets to major in sea kayaking, trust me it got some belly laughs whenever he would tell folks about it lol).

We were really blessed to receive alot of very generous help along the way to make this trip possible. To begin with Gary’s friend Colin lent us his car for the trip which was so awesome.  Jenn Kleck, owner of Aqua Adventures in San Diego, hooked us up with a great deal on boats, let us crash in her studio apartment , and was an all around great source of information, support, and not to mention a great friend! We got some great info on the island and really enjoyed meeting two local LA bay paddlers, Peter & Deb. Peter who is in his 70’s has been paddling in the area for 45 years and was just a crack up to talk to. Deb has also paddled there for several years  and was kind enough to lend us a desalination pump which gave us all alot of peace of mind. Last but not certainly least was Mary Crawford. We met Mary through Gary’s aunt & uncle who had lived in the area for a number of years. Mary was our Baja Mom. She  has a beautiful  property on the outskirts of LA Bay and graciously welcomed us in and provided us with an amazing homebase to work out of (and hot showers, and cake, and great company). Thank you guys!!!

We set out from Mary’s house with heavily laden boats full of fresh water and food (mostly summer sausage lol) and paddled back onto her beach twelve days later. In those twelve days we had the a journey of a lifetime. We encountered all sorts of crazy weather, big seas, neverending headwinds, sea lions jumping over our boats, rugged headlands, stunning pristine landscapes, crazy Panga captains, epic starry skies, bio-luminescent paddling, wonderful silence, camaraderie, cheap tequila, good laughs,  and the best… the unspeakable beauty of it all.

I really wish that I was better at keeping a journal to share some our stories but I’m better at taking photos, I’ll let them speak for me. Below is a collection of some of my favorites from the journey.

 Click To See Photos

You can see the full gallery with larger images at  – http://galleries.rbcrosby.com/Adventure/Adventures/Isla-Angel-de-la-Guarda-Kayak/28093977_skLRt5

Arriving in Bahia de Los Angeles / Meeting Peter & Deb / Offroading to Mary’s House

Camping at Volcán Coronado before our crossing to La Guarda.

Camping at Volcán Coronado before our crossing to La Guarda.

Sea Turtle Shell / Baja Stars / Playing Night Bocce Ball

Early morning crossing over to Isla Angel de la Guarda

Early morning crossing over to Isla Angel de la Guarda

Escaping the bad weather under the Bothy Bag. Dan!!!

Bothy Fever / Paddling Outfits are so stylin!

Paddling with Sea Lions!!!

More Sea lions!

Magical sunset after the rain

Late Camp / Sea Cave

Shipwreck

Paddling Along

Getting Pumped

Refugio

Gary’s prized Whale bone / No Comment (Wyatt) / Camped at Refugio

Refugio / Sunrise Paddle

Rounding the North end

“Fresh” Fish / Brunch on the Beach

Sea Lion Colony / Watch out for the big guys!!!

Dolphins

Gary’s Bone Paradise

Bonehead / Storm Brewing

Goofing Around

Surf’s Up

Epic Sunset Paddle

Wyatt & “Dandito”

Paddlin Away

Clouds

Whale Bone

Taking a Break

Summer Sausage + Peanut Butter = Perfect Lunch?

Finally a little tailwind!

Wyatt “Sailing” / Yoga

Cacti

Cards Under the Stars

Wyatt Pre-Coffee / Post-Coffee

Jawbone

Rounding Southern Tip

Amazing Campsite / Sunshine!!!

Beauty Everywhere

Beauty Everywhere

Dan

Seascapes

Seascapes

The crew / Milky Way

Startrails

Circumnavigation Celebration

Quesadillas on the beach

Getting Zen

Contemplating the crossing

The crossing that shall never be forgotten

Sailing/Surfing into Mary’s House

We Survived!!

Celebrating with Mary & Luke (Mary’s dog)

23 thoughts on “Kayaking in Baja, Mexico // Isla Angel de la Guarda Circumnavigation


  1. Great photos. I'm Mary's neighbor in Bahia. I've been to overnight fishing trips out to Isla La Guardia and in a small way, got a glimpse of the awesome beauty of the place. Well done. Ernie Minney Blog @ minneysyachtsurplus.com.

    • rbcrosby4

      Hi Ernie,
      Thanks alot! La Guarda will now always remain ones my favorite places in the world, the diversity and beauty of the area is unreal!


  2. Great photos. I'm Mary's neighbor in Bahia. I've been to overnight fishing trips out to Isla La Guardia and in a small way, got a glimpse of the awesome beauty of the place. Well done. Ernie Minney Blog @ minneysyachtsurplus.com.


    • Hi Ernie,
      Thanks alot! La Guarda will now always remain ones my favorite places in the world, the diversity and beauty of the area is unreal!

  3. Sue Pond

    Amazing photos, Blake! Thank you for sharing them with us!

    • rbcrosby4

      Thanks Sue! My pleasure.


  4. We’ve spent almost 4 years full-time in the Sea of Cortez on our sailboat and Isla Angel de la Guarda is by far our most treasured and special place. This past year thanks to the rains it transformed it into an even extra special place…it went from a dry, thirsty, dusty, barren island to a lush green, thriving and happy one. I love it in all states but seeing it so different was a treat which you can still see (months later) in many of the beautiful photos you took. The island was still holding onto the contrast in its greens and browns and reds and yellows…which from now out will fade somewhat until the rare rains again set in. That could be years. Many years. It was a joy to see this beautiful island in your photos and see many of the same beaches we’ve hiked with our 7 year old nature girl – from a different point of view. The nighttime photos are crazy good and star watching is always brilliant in the Refugio area….so well done you guys. Great trip, stunning photos and with some good luck this amazing island will always remain just enough off the beaten path to make it a gem not walked on too much and will hold it’s beauty until we are old and gray and we remember our days on this gift-of-an-isa out in the Sea of Cortez as one of the finest memories…ever. Nancy s/v Eyoni

    • rbcrosby4

      Thanks alot Nancy!! It’s great to hear from someone who’s also gotten to experience the wonder that is Isla Angel de la Guarda. Now I feel really lucky to have seen the island in the “Rainy” condition that we did, There were so many different colors it was amazing! I checked out your blog, You’ve got some nice photos yourself. It looks like you’ve got one lucky little girl! Safe Journeys! ~ Blake

  5. Nancy J Jones

    We, upon s/v EYONI, have spent almost 4 years in the Sea of Cortez full time and it was a treat to see our favorite island in a slightly different light with your amazing photographs. It charmed us to see some of the very same stretches of remote eastern shore beaches and the amazing bones our 7 year old girl (always in the lead) would scream in delight in finding (though we didn't see the sperm whale jaw!)…I am thrilled to see a fine group of guys getting such a grand adventure out of this fine, fine island and even more fun to see the beautiful photos of the nighttime sky which we've sat at anchor at marveled at. You've captured the specialness of this island and I'm glad you had the chance to be charmed, as we've been, and wow, it makes me not want to sail south into Central America, rather turn around and spend a 5th year in the Sea for it's truly one of the gems of the world. Thanks again for the amazing view into your days spent paddling around a fine, fine place called Isla Angele de la Guarda.

    • Linda Edeiken

      Agree 150%

    • Julie Korey

      Awesome! Thanks for sharing Nance.


    • Thanks alot Nancy!! It’s great to hear from someone who’s also gotten to experience the wonder that is Isla Angel de la Guarda. Now I feel really lucky to have seen the island in the “Rainy” condition that we did, There were so many different colors it was amazing! I checked out your blog, You’ve got some nice photos yourself. It looks like you’ve got one lucky little girl! Safe Journeys! ~ Blake


  6. Great pictures..headed down on the 7th to fish,camp and snorkel there. We are setting up camp on the north end….surface fishing for trophy fish


  7. Great pictures..headed down on the 7th to fish,camp and snorkel there. We are setting up camp on the north end….surface fishing for trophy fish

    • Joni Goode

      You are going top have a blast.


  8. Incredible photography! Looks like you guys had a phenomenal time.

    • rbcrosby4

      Thanks Vaughan! It was amazing!!


  9. Excelentes fotos amigos baja california es sorprendente. saludos desde Nayarit, México. Great pictures my fellows baja is amazing.


  10. SIMPLEMENTE ME ENCANTARON TUS FOTOS ,FELICIDADES

    • rbcrosby4

      Gracias! Fue un viaje hermoso!


  11. Blake, I stumbled across this beautiful post while researching anchorages on Angel de La Garda. Our time sailing in this area of the northern sea was quite rewarding in the lack of other boats and the incredible variety of wildlife. Strong winds and currents, crazy tides, wonderful remote land and sea scapes. Thank you for such a wonderful job visually documenting your trip.

  12. Jennifer

    Love the pictures! Love the area. Any recommendations for a place to camp…North, South…somewhere in between?

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