Skirting the Edge at Isla Natividad

open doors side tube

5am. Matt woke me up in the aft cabin and announced in the pitch black: “We’re here.” We had just sailed overnight from Isla San Benito.

I surveyed the disorienting lights. The wind was gusting to 20 knots. We were in the middle of a 6 mile wide channel. The Coast Pilot listed many reefs and hazards in this area. “Give the entire south-east corner of the Isla Natividad a wide berth of at least two miles. Hazards abound.”

san benito to turtle bay

An inhospitable boating environment… but the allure of waves was strong. A small, early season south swell was peaking.

Sailing and surfing.  They seem so compatible… yet… not always so.  Whereas sailors seek flat water, surfers seek the opposite: they seek swell magnets.

There IS one thing in common however: both sailors and surfers rejoice in offshore winds, which grooms the ocean like a Zen garden. This is what we found at Isla Natividad; although in radical proportions.


The sun peaked over the Vizcaino peninsula as we sailed into the corner of the island and dropped the hook in 35ft of water next to peeling right handers.  NW wind blew over the sandy point then blew spray over the waves in rainbows.

Exposed to the swell, the boat heaved and yawed slowly. A monohull would be rolling like a pendulum. Here is one area the trimaran shines — we  go to the wildest surf or dive spots without too much concern of our dishes falling off the counter.


Thanks to the offshore winds, it appears to be a smooth anchorage … but the edge of “Punta Arena” was exposed to the windswell from the NW and groundswell from the SW making for interesting oceanic wobbles.

Two days of waves satiated our surf lust. Using a cruising boat to hunt for waves is vastly more than just riding waves — we are riding the whole ocean. Wind and tides aren’t just important for the quality of the waves; it is an equation of safety. Our entire home exists in the 42ft sailboat that is sitting outside the lineup, vulnerable to the very waves we are indulging in. Skirting this edge beckons as much caution as it heralds excitement. Finding the right conditions brings a connection with wave-riding that is unique to the sailing/surfing combination.


As if surfing on the edge of this windswept island weren’t enough, team Shore-Landing (Ryan, Sabrina, and Matt) were so amped to get to the village they paddled SUPs a quarter mile in 20knot offshore winds to reach a small cove, scored a lobster dinner, and celebrated Matt’s last night traveling with us. This crew is no joke!


We re-grouped back at Aldebaran which was now tied to a ship’s mooring with incredibly thick lines, which was offered by the Patrol Boat of the Cooperativa given the otherwise shabby anchoring conditions.

Our next stop was idyllic Turtle Bay, 20nm south and halfway down the Baja peninsula, where we found momentary calm from the raw Pacific Ocean.



3 thoughts on “Skirting the Edge at Isla Natividad

Comments are closed.