We stayed on Isla Espiritu Santo for Christmas 2022, arriving in Ensenada de la Ballena on Christmas Eve. It was a gorgeous sail to get there, but there were high winds predicted, so our first few days we expected to hunker down. The winds were coming from the northwest, consistently at 15-20, with gusts above 35 knots. Despite the mountains to the northwest, the bay was not especially protected. We heard from others who headed back to La Paz on Christmas and they reported terrible conditions, so it might just have been a hard couple of days to be anchored anywhere on the island.

On Christmas, the swell was getting annoying, so we tried re-anchoring closer to the north face, but it was hard to get the depth/distance from the wall right, and did not do much to reduce the swell. We started to pull up anchor to move again, then noticed that the pin holding the rollers into the anchor roller was about to pop off completely.

Ballena was gorgeous, from the water and from land. The army of cacti, the red pocked cliffs, the deep green valley, and the clear water make for heavenly surroundings. There is a great view of the sunset, and the lights pollution from La Paz is very minimal, so the stargazing is excellent. There are not a lot of animals, we saw a turtle, a few fish and stingrays, but no major snorkel action.

Once the weather finally calmed down, we snorkeled over to shore. The beach is wide and gorgeous, with soft sand. The valley is filled with saguaros, and a little estuary creates further vibrance with verdant plant life and the snowy egrets that dot the landscape.

We anchored at 24°29.308′ N, 110°23.242′ W.

Notes for boaters:

  • Anchored in ~9.5 feet of water with ~65 feet of chain.
  • The bottom is very sandy, so good holding once you get set.
  • The tidal swings are about as large as La Paz, we saw 5’ change from low to high tide.
  • There is significant shoaling, so you need to anchor pretty far from the beach.
  • There is no infrastructure of any kind, just a gorgeous place to drop anchor.