Stay a While If You Can

mapMarkerGrey Stay a While If You Can...

Salsipuedes – North Slot

Stay a While If You Can

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This place is pretty magical, but not for the feint of heart. Or for unsettled weather. The name translates literally as “leave if you can,” which some would take as a testament to the uneasy feeling one might have stranded on a rock-strewn tiny speck of an island, many miles from shore and other people, in a rising wind. We like to think of it as a comment on the allure of this place. If you do stop here, you’ll have a hard time leaving. It’s a technical anchoring situation, with precision and good visibility important to your success. There are two prominent notches here (North and South Slot) that face each other from opposite sides of the island, the apparent result of a single wide fissure in the rock being clogged up by a gravel/sand bar a few millennia ago. You can also anchor outside the south slot in either of two bays surrounded by scattered rocks. Our preference, and the only place we’ve anchored here, is the North Slot, which gets short shrift in most of the guide books, but has room for up to 3 friendly boats if they coordinate their anchoring. The views of this raw rock, lichen and grass covered island are stunning, while the birds and sea life provide endless entertainment. You might find it hard to leave, too, unless the bugs are out in force.


While the island is largely clear on the south side, around the northwest point, and down the north side, there are a few offlying rocks to mark closely as you pass. The SE side of the island, meaning the pass between Salsipuedes and Isla Animas is chock full of reefs and scattered rocks, and should not be transited except for within spitting distance of Isla Animas, where we have found clear passage.

North Slot: The entry to the slot itself is clear unless you draw over 10 feet, in which case there is a large prominent rock nearly mid-channel at the mouth of the slot, making a curved entry from more east the better call. See the marked up aerial. This anchorage is obviously best for settled weather, and provides no protection from north wind or waves.

South Slot: The additional rocky bits scattered around the south bays are well documented, and noted here as well. Pilot very carefully. Inside the South Slot will indeed feel very confined, and requires a flat sea state and settled weather to work well.


North Slot: Drop your hook as shallow as you dare, right down the middle of the sandy-bottomed slot, with not likely more than 3:1 scope. The bottom is good holding sand, and while the depth falls fairly quickly to 9 feet or so, it slowly gets more shallow after that, down to 3-4 feet at the head of the slot, so multihulls or swing keel monos can crawl way up in there if you like. Many opt for a stern hook in here, for obvious reasons.

Click on gallery above title for more images.


Lots of birds. And rocks. And more birds. Honestly, we didn’t actually step ashore, so looking for some input here. No obvious trails that we could see, although a panga did come and beach on the next small cove to the north, so maybe there’s a trail connecting the two?

Don’t Miss

The reason we didn’t bother going ashore is that we were in the water the entire time. The snorkeling is easily some of the best in the sea, aided by the remote location and central position in the current-addled middle Sea. Large and varied fish of dozens of species are visible everywhere, in particular just outside the slot itself, north or south. Fantastic.


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